Mark Watches ‘Veronica Mars’: S01E16 – Betty and Veronica

In the sixteenth episode of Veronica Mars, I ask for more Wallace Fennel and I get it in the most beautiful way imaginable. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Veronica Mars.

HOW DID I MISS OUT ON WATCHING THIS SHOW? Actually, wasn’t it airing at the same time as LOST? That’s probably why. I went through a super annoying period of my life where I believed that only that show and The X-Files were the only shows worth watching. I’m glad I changed. Anyway, like “Ruskie Business,” this is a complex episode full of a lot of interlocking stories and it’s just ridiculously satisfying to watch. SHALL WE?

  • If I was to try and guess the ending of this season right now, I’d be hard-pressed to come up with anything coherent. The mystery of Lilly Kane’s murder is designed in a way to keep me interested without giving me enough to definitively point the finger. I had initially thought that the Kanes were responsible for it in some way, and Clarence’s involvement is extremely suspicious. But with “Betty and Veronica,” I’m left utterly clueless. Who the hell is left to suspect??? If both Celeste and Jake were in that hotel room when Lilly actually died, then who is paying Abel Koontz to be the patsy?
  • In that sense, it’s brilliant that the result of Veronica’s reunion with her mother is split up as flashbacks over the course of this episode. It is a mystery by itself, but it also adds tension to the season-long arc. (Well, I suppose I’m assuming that season 2 will address something else. OH GOD I AM SO UNPREPARED FOR THIS SHOW.)
  • Ultimately, it’s a testament to the amazing writing here that the mystery-of-the-week is just so darn compelling when we’re dealing with some so emotionally heavy as Veronica’s reunion with Lianne. Of course, it helps that this episode focuses on Wallace’s growth as a character and his experience at Neptune. If there was a spin-off following Wallace Fennel, I’d marry it.
  • You can hold me to that.
  • The thing is, Wallace largely fills a sidekick role this season. It’s not an awful thing, but I find him to be such a compelling character that I’m always eager to see more. He’s fascinating to me because he’s been such an outsider in Neptune. His mother may work for Jake Kane, but he’s not nearly as well-off as most of the people in this town. He has no history here, and he’s not embroiled in the drama that unfolds every week. In “Betty and Veronica,” we find that his natural talent on the basketball court has led to POPULARITY. Genuine popularity! People like him! They compliment him! And the thing is, it’s so pure. In a place as brutal and shallow as Neptune is at times, it’s so goddamn refreshing to watch this happen, you know? Maybe Neptune really isn’t such an awful place sometimes.
  • Granted, it can be a difficult place for Veronica. Thankfully, this time, Principal Clemmons doesn’t have an accusation to fling at Veronica. Nope, he’s actually INQUIRING ABOUT HER SERVICES. Bless the negotiation scene. It’s wonderful.
  • I think “Betty and Veronica,” while being INCREDIBLY funny in terms of watching Veronica play herself and Betty at the rival school, also deals with the emotional ramifications of Veronica’s reunion with her mother. God, could you even imagine how hard it would be to balance every day responsibilities after what Veronica just did?
  • More on that thing at the end, when I spend some time sobbing over this goddamn show. One of the overarching themes of this episode is of loyalty and how Veronica shows her loyalty to the people she cares about. Loyalty is important to Veronica because of how difficult it can be for her to be in Neptune on a day-to-day basis. So it’s challenging for her to see her friend Meg with Duncan, despite that Meg isn’t doing anything wrong here. It’s challenging for her to deal with her mother, who is struggling with alcoholism. It’s challenging for her to lie to her father to protect what she knows of Lianne.
  • (Oh my god, the overdraft thing should have been a clue. I assumed it was due to the flight, but that makes ZERO SENSE WHATSOVER. The show tried to prepare me, and I still didn’t notice it.)
  • Can I also appreciate the idea of Veronica being a femme fatale to get what she wants? I haven’t commented on the lovely noir themes and motifs present on the show in a while, mostly to avoid repeating myself every episode, but “Betty and Veronica” features a great example of her using allure and seduction to take advantage of men to get information. It’s a very noir-esque trope (that’s right, I just used “noir-esque”) that is wielded brilliantly by Veronica. MORE OF IT.
  • Oh god, here’s one disadvantage to writing my reviews a week ahead of time: I have no idea what the answer is to my inquiry about Deputy Leo and Veronica’s ages, so now I have to hope I’m not being a broken record here by saying that I still don’t know how to feel about them? It’s great that Leo’s helping her, and I’m glad that Veronica trusts him, but… yeah. I don’t know? I like Leo a great deal, though!
  • But the tapes that she gets… I honestly didn’t think we’d ever get to see those scenes. Hell, it didn’t even cross my mind, but it’s so important to understand why the Kanes despise Keith Mars so much. They’re uncomfortable to watch on multiple levels. We now know that BOTH Jake and Celeste lied to Keith, and even worse, it appears Keith was still wrong about Jake because it was impossible for him to have killed Lilly. Oh god, the answer to this isn’t going to be easy, is it? Plus, we still don’t have an established timeline for Celeste. She arrived and was present for 20 minutes, and she clearly saw Lianne and Jake together, but what was she doing before that? How does Clarence play into this, and why threaten Veronica’s life? What else does Lianne know that she didn’t share with her daughter? WHY ARE NONE OF MY QUESTIONS BEING ANSWERED? (Because there are still six episodes left, DUH.)
  • So, back to loyalty. Y’all, Veronica made the snickerdoodles for Wallace. SOUND THE ALARM, MY HEART NEARLY EXPLODED WITH JOY WITH THAT REVEAL. And you know, it’s incredibly sweet of Veronica to do this because in nearly every episode before this, Wallace has done something loving and sweet for Veronica without asking for anything in return. This is about supporting her best friend by doing something that demonstrates how much she cares about him. That’s why she chooses to watch Wallace’s game at the end. He is more important to her than her distaste for school events. It’s also why she goes out of her way to return Polly and Billy to their rightful schools. Wallace deserves to play!
  • I honestly didn’t expect that weird animal rights subplot to be a red herring. For a while, I was certain they were responsible for Polly’s disappearance.
  • NOPE. It was Wallace’s own jealous teammate who resented the fact that Wallace was starting instead of him. (Nice fakeout with the 13, though, writers. I fell for it!) ugh, too many Veronica/Wallace feelings, I swear.
  • Same goes for Meg/Veronica, and I’m glad that Meg addresses the awkwardness between them. I hesitate to say it’s unfair because Meg is aware that she’s dating Veronica’s old flame. At the same time, that doesn’t mean they can’t be friends away from Duncan. I support this. I support it a lot.
  • But let’s just end this review with talk of Lianne Mars. Oh my god, I just… I wasn’t prepared at all for this! Clarence BUGGED VERONICA’S HOUSE. For how long??? For how long??? His presence at that bar wasn’t because he was tailing Lianne at all. And it’s so sad to watch Lianne drift from thought to thought, terrified by Veronica’s presence while ecstatic to see her. The answers we get from here, as disjointed as they could be sometimes, were necessary to understand her departure. Well, at least partially understand. The mystery of the Kanes and the Mars deepens, and I don’t feel like I’m all that closer to guessing what’s going on. Still, it was both uplifting and heartbreaking to learn why Veronica had overdrawn her account. Rather than convince her mother to come home, she paid for her mother to go to rehab. With her college money. And she didn’t tell Keith at all.
  • My heart cannot handle this. I can’t even begin to fathom how Keith is going to react.
  • And then we’ve got a doozy of a reveal at the end. Abel Koontz has someone to pass along the possible money he received for being a patsy and dying in prison: a daughter.
  • So who the hell is Amelia DeLongpre???

The video commission for “Betty and Veronica” 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.

Mark Links Stuff

You can now purchase a personalized Holiday Card from Mark for just $20!
– If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running, I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
– Please check out the All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. The schedule for Double Features is also updated through the end of the year!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Veronica Mars and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.