In the eighteenth episode of the first season of Veronica Mars, Veronica stumbles on a possible bomb threat plot while simultaneously unearthing surprises in both Duncan and Logan. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Veronica Mars.
This show is real, this is a real show that I am watching. Oh lord, we’ve got so many storylines to address, so let me get to it.
A surefire way to get me upset is to threaten the beautiful, life-giving friendship between Veronica and Wallace, and this episode does it WITHIN THE FIRST FIVE MINUTES. Of course, that largely relies on the fact that I forgot about Keith and Alicia expressing interest in one another. They are so cute together! Unsurprisingly, this puts a wedge between Veronica and Wallace beyond the obvious reason. Yeah, it’s awkward when your parent dates your best friend’s parent, but I think these two could weather that. The problem is that Veronica knows that her mother hasn’t disappeared. This is not like Wallace’s father, who is dead, because there’s still the chance that Lianne will come back into her daughter’s life. But Keith doesn’t know this, and thus, Veronica creates a horribly unfortunate dilemma for Wallace. If Veronica wants her mother to come back to Keith, that means that Alicia is destined for heartbreak. Who wouldn’t want to protect their mother in this case?
What I love about how this is handled is the fact that, yet again, the writers are able to take Veronica and show us her flaws openly. Her treatment of Wallace is brought up as a negative quality, and she’s forced to acknowledge that she does rely on him to do what she needs more than the other way around. Even when it comes to his own mother, Wallace is asked to put Veronica’s needs first. And that sucks! He can’t always be her sidekick. Sometimes, his needs come before hers, you know? So I’m glad that Wallace is able to work this out with Veronica, and I am so eager to see more of Alicia and Keith as a couple. I’M INTO IT. Friendship FRIENDSHIP.
Well, hot damn.
I think this episode helps portray Logan as someone torn between two friends, and that’s actually a larger theme of “Weapons of Class Destruction.” (Holy shit, what a clever title.) Wallace is torn between protecting his mother and being a friend to Veronica; Duncan is torn between despising Veronica for investigating his sister’s death and the dawning fear that she may actually be on to something; and Veronica herself is torn between Ben, Norris, and her own suspicions about what’s really going on in this episode.
Logan, however, isn’t initially conflicted about anything at all. The guy isn’t afraid to tell Veronica that he confessed to Duncan that he knew she was still investigating Lilly’s murder. It seemed strange, though, because why would he warn her? If he didn’t like her or care about her, why give her a heads up? This is further complicated by the fact that upon hearing Veronica being “kidnapped” by Ben, Logan IMMEDIATELY GOES TO PROTECT VERONICA.
WHAT. WHAT THE. DUDE. DUDE. Logan just did an UNDENIABLY NICE THING. Look how much he hovers over Veronica in that motel room. HE REFUSES TO LET BEN ANYWHERE NEAR HER.
So, as soon as Logan and Veronica kissed, I felt shock and then… shit. It kind of made a lot of sense. A lot. It’s not unfathomable to me that Logan grew to like Veronica or vice versa. And you know, their attraction to each other isn’t forced either. It’s awkward, yes, but it’s not… impossible? Good lord, this is going to be interesting to watch.
I’m also pleased that the writers gave Duncan a voice here so he could tell Veronica that it was inappropriate for her to peek into his medical records. The height of that argument is when he tells her that if he wanted to tell people, he would have. A M E N. On top of that, this whole outburst he has here, the very one that probably influenced him to run away, wouldn’t have happened if Veronica hadn’t violated Duncan’s privacy. Again, the willingness of the writers to show us how Veronica’s dedication is both an admirable quality and a dangerous thing is great, and this is a perfect example of that. Her dedication gets Norris off the hook, but it also hurts Duncan. It’s scary to think that he disappeared out of fear that he did kill his sister. I don’t believe that’s the case, personally, but I also don’t know why his family was washing his soccer uniform right after the murder. IT’S ALL PAIN. PAIN FOREVER.
Okay, a few random points before I talk about this:
- That’s two Home Improvement alums in one season.
- MAC AND MEG BOTH MAKE APPEARANCES HALLELUJAH
- I just figured out why the actor playing Pete seemed so familiar to me: IT’S STEVE NEWLIN FROM TRUE BLOOD. Good LORD, that was bugging me.
Veronica juggles a lot in this episode, which touches on school shootings, bullying, journalistic responsibility, and trust, and y’all, I was tired by the end of this just from watching Veronica scurry around town. She is too much. I’m totally in love with how a nonsense story about fire alarms morphed into THIS, though, and right through the end, I’m still left guessing how this is going to end.
Initially, I though this was mostly going to deal with the paper and how precarious investigative reporting can be. The show has often deal with the ramifications of what Veronica and Keith do, and this felt like another version of that. Was Veronica putting people in danger by revealing the fact that the school had been receiving bomb threats, or was she obligated to share that with the student body?
By folding Norris and Ben into this narrative, the writers further complicate the issue for Veronica. Like many of the other plots on this show, appearances fall in line with stereotypes and existing tropes, but as Veronica delves further into the case, she finds out that things aren’t what they seem. By all appearances, Ben and Norris seem like perfect candidates for the rash of bomb threats and “KillEmAll.net” tagging. Well… sort of. Norris was kind to Veronica when she was bullied, but we later find out that he ruthlessly bullied Pete, which is why Pete set Norris up to take the fall for the bomb threats. Then we’ve got Ben, who ends up being an undercover ATF agent. And also awful. Yeah, he ends up being horrible: a horrible agent, horrible at being undercover, and HORRIBLE FOR PLANTING EVIDENCE TO ARREST NORRIS.
It’s a messy case, one without easy answers. Norris was still a bully, Pete appears to have possibly gotten away with what he did, and Miss Stafford is the ultimate victim, since she’s fired for disobeying Clemmons. (I’m unclear on Pete’s end here, but feel free to correct me if I misread the story that Veronica and Miss Stafford ran.) But Veronica does help avert a crisis at Neptune, even if there never was a bomb to begin with. She saves Norris from having his life ruined, and she exposes Pete’s revenge. That’s a good day’s work.
Also, she made out with Logan what the fuck.
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