In the thirteenth episode of Veronica Mars, Veronica teams up with her father to help locate one of Veronica’s old friends while Logan copes with the trauma of recent developments in his family. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Veronica Mars.
Oh my god, this episode was fantastic, and I’m really enjoying the way the writers are able to balanced serialized storytelling with these super engaging mysteries that are resolved within the episode itself. Let’s talk about the two stories present in “Lord of the Bling.”
Yolanda has disappeared
Y’all, there are just so many interesting themes explored in this show, and by gods, “Lord of the Bling” is incredibly layered when it comes to the Hamilton family. We’ve got Veronica’s issues with loyalty, friendship, and peer pressure. There’s Bryce’s rebellion against his father’s disinterest of him because he doesn’t fall in line with Bone’s idea of masculinity. AND HOLY MASCULINITY ISSUES SURROUNDING BONE. It’s a dense story, one that’s largely handled well, too! It’s nice to see that the writers are willing to explore how a black family experiences life in Neptune. Initially, I was a little worried to see black characters immediately associated with hip hop and violence, but I thought it was really neat that these bits and pieces ultimately weren’t the real answer to the complicated mystery at hand.
Yolanda’s disappearance was a red herring in itself, but that doesn’t negate the importance of this to Bryce, Bone, and Veronica. Through flashbacks, we learn that Veronica was once friends with Yolanda when she first came to Neptune High. It’s interesting to see these glimpses of Neptune as it once was because they convey how much things have changed for these characters in the wake of Lilly’s death. I mean, I didn’t expect to see Lilly so much on this show because she’s a dead character, so I’m glad that I get to understand firsthand why she was so beloved. But I also noticed that 09er culture, while still full of problems, isn’t quite as vicious as it became, and I think that Lilly’s death signified a huge cultural shift for the population. I mean, do you think the 09ers would ever welcome Yolanda into their group now? Granted, these people are still concerned with class standing in that flashback, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t a whole lot nicer in some ways.
Still, we’re left to wonder why Yolanda and Veronica fell apart for most of the episode. Meanwhile, as she and Keith try to discover what happened to her, there are a lot of intriguing things revealed about this family. I really love the way the writers examine Bone’s desperate attempts to portray himself as this hypermasculine, tough hip hop executive and how such attempts end up harming those around him. Bryce, his ridiculously smart son, is left feeling unloved and alienated by a father who thinks he is “soft.” Yolanda ends up getting married in Las Vegas because she can’t deal with her father’s willingness to let a rumor lend validation to his reputation. And then there’s Bone himself, who loses a daughter and must deal with a rebellious son, all because he can’t let go of his image. Multiple times in this episode, he puts his own economic interests first, and it’s disturbing.
It’s entirely related to Veronica’s struggle, though, because she put her own reputation before her loyalty to Yolanda. Yes, the 09ers are a lot nicer in some of these flashbacks, but “Lord of the Bling” demonstrates how Veronica caved in to peer pressure and left Yolanda hanging. I don’t think the writers exonerate her for making out with Logan (and Logan has a ton of issues himself that I’ll address later); instead, they’re showing us how willing Veronica was to abandon Yolanda when the situation got too complicated for her. It wasn’t Veronica’s responsibility to fix this, but it hurts to be left alone during something like this, you know? Plus, there was the chance that it really was Logan who initiated the kiss, and the glimpse that Veronica got wasn’t the full story at all.
Let’s get back to abandonment in a bit. This episode is WAY TOO FULL of Keith and Veronica being the best crime-fighting, mystery-solving duo in the universe, and I cannot find a new way to say that I love their dynamic. I love how Keith teeters between being super annoyed that his daughter doesn’t obey him and being incredibly proud of Veronica for not obeying him and helping to solve the case. God, she’s so incredible here. (One moment of slight disbelief: How did she fake being a hotel employee in front of another hotel employee? I thought that was really strange.) Also, can Wallace just be around more all of the time? I just adore the way he talks and his hair is wonderful and his face is adorable and I have developed an obsession in thirteen episodes, haven’t I? OH, WELL.
I was satisfied with the end of this episode because the resolution doesn’t provide us with easy answers. Bone finds out his daughter was never taken away to begin with. No, she’s run off to Vegas to elope with the son of Bone’s apparent mortal enemy, a man he allegedly ordered a drive-by on. Except Bone just took credit for something he had nothing to do with. Again, this man’s obsession with his image is destructive; it drove his daughter away. And good for Yolanda! I love it that the writers give her this decision, she sticks with it, and she’s portrayed sympathetically throughout. She’s in love with Ben, and she wants to share this moment with her father, but she refuses to do so on his terms anymore. So yeah, good for her. Oh god, I do wish we could see more of what happened to Bryce, though. The guy had to FAKE A RANSOM LETTER to even get his father to give him any sort of positive attention, and that’s messed up. So is Bone going to change? We don’t know, and as much as I’d love some closure, I appreciated that the writers didn’t make it the responsibility of Veronica to wrap this up. This family has to work on their own issues themselves.
HAHA FAMILY ISSUES???? In comparison, the Hamiltons are a Folgers Christmas ad when put up against the Echolls. Oh my god, let me start off by saying JASON DOHRING, HOW THE FUCK DO YOU DO THIS? I’m still torn on Logan as a character, and my feelings towards him are complicated as hell, but I cannot deny that Dohring is incredible as Logan here, as he’s able to drift between sadness, sarcasm, rage, and incredible grief in the space of a few WORDS worth of dialogue. In the wake of his mother’s apparent suicide, Logan’s frustration with the superficial and infuriating life he’s been forced to lead overflows every second. It’s absolutely difficult to watch because Aaron’s problems have never felt so glaring. I don’t believe a goddamn word from him, and that whole scene where he tries to reminisce about Lynn and be affectionate with Logan… NO. NO NOW. NO TOMORROW. NO FOREVER. That man is so revolting and manipulative, and Logan can see right through it. And yes, maybe Logan uses his sense of humor and his apt for sarcasm as a coping mechanism, but it’s not for the reasons Aaron lays out. It’s because his father is the cause of all of this, and Aaron refuses to take responsibility for anything he’s done!
I also don’t place any hope in his attempts to reform in this episode. I think he’s trying to control Logan and that’s it. That’s the only reason he tells his agent that he’s quitting as far as I’m concerned. UGH, I CAN’T BELIEVE I ONCE SAID THAT AARON WAS NICER THAN HIS SON. HAVE I EVER BEEN SO TERRIBLY WRONG BEFORE?
So, while I have no hope in Aaron, Logan is a source of hope when it comes to Lynn Echolls. God, how great is that scene between Logan and Duncan? Duncan has been more and more concerned with how his best friend is acting, so there’s that aspect to the scene that I like. But Logan expresses a sort of beautiful excitement when he talks about his mother. Yes, he misses her, and that’s why he wants Veronica to find Lynn, but I feel that he genuinely is happy that his mother got away from the bullshit of the Echolls’ life, you know? Logan clearly wants to escape it, too. It’s all a very neat parallel to Yolanda, who did manage to escape her home life. So, does Logan want to join his mother? CAN THAT HAPPEN? I would totally be up for that. Oh gosh, Logan asked Veronica for help. This is going to be interesting, y’all.
The video commission for “Lord of the Bling” can be downloaded here for $0.99. In case you missed the announcement, here’s an explanation for why I must start charging for video downloads.
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