In the nineteenth episode of the first season of Veronica Mars, Veronica discovers a mystery involving ransomed dogs while EVERYTHING ELSE IS UNFAIR AND RIDICULOUS. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Veronica Mars.
Trigger warning just in case: We have to talk about abuse to address the Echollses’ storyline.
Too many plots, too much heartbreak.
Yeah, I can’t deal with dogs being hurt or kidnapped or dying at all. And then we’ve got Mandy, a viciously bullied young girl who is forced to deal with her dog being stolen as part of a dognapping ransom scheme, and you’ve got the perfect storm of emotional turmoil for me. That’s why I call this episode unfair: I am expected to deal with the worst combination of emotional buttons on top of the stories involving Logan, Weevil, Keith, and Duncan, and who do you think I am? I am not a robot. I HAVE FEELINGS, OKAY?
Mandy herself is one of the most sympathetic characters we’ve gotten on this show, so it was hard to watch her doubt and devalue herself because lord, I’ve been there. And I know that it’s easy for Veronica to say that she just needed to stand up for herself, but for someone like Mandy, that’s way easier said than done. However, I’d say that’s the reason she invested in that zapper. She wanted to finally stand up to the people who torment her, so Hans ended up getting a ton of electricity run through his body for what he did. I didn’t really feel bad about that. OH WELL, MANDY IS AWESOME.
I also realized after the episode ended that the whole subplot with the Mexican day laborers might have been super confusing to some folks! I lived in Southern California most of my life, and it’s just how things are. Many Central American immigrants are hired for under the table work here in my state, and I know that’s the case in other parts of the country, too, so I just state that this wasn’t the show just… I don’t know, making up the fact that there were just random Latino men hanging around and taking odd jobs? I wish the fucked-up nature of what Hans and his boss did with these men was explored more, because using labor like this as part of your little crime ring is super horrible. And probably a bit racist!
I just put it all together, y’all. Celeste’s confrontation with Veronica is pretty much all the confirmation that I need that Lianne’s affair with Jake Kane resulted in Veronica. That has to be what Celeste’s comment to Keith means, the whole bit about seeing what’s right under his nose. IT’S VERONICA, ISN’T IT. HENCE THE DNA TEST. Oh god, he knows, HE KNOWS. Is he going to look at the results or toss them like Veronica did? WHY DOES IT ALL HURT SO MUCH?
Because this show has no interest in making this easy for me. Seriously, at this point, the only people I don’t suspect for Lilly Kane’s murder are Veronica and Keith. I don’t want it to be Weevil or Duncan, but guess what? There’s nothing here to disqualify them as possible murderers. “Hot Dogs” reveals that Weevil knew about the pen Lilly had that she used to pass messages to her “lovers,” and it’s the real reason he broke into the Kane household. Christ, WHY? What happened between those two? I mean, I suppose Logan’s theory isn’t actually a terrible one. What if Lilly wanted to rebel against her parents (specifically her mother) by hooking up with someone she knew they’d hate? And does that mean that Weevil developed feelings for Lilly that she never reciprocated? There’s nothing here to suggest that Weevil’s lie about his mother’s ring was anything but a lie, so am I supposed to believe they had something more?
I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS AND NONE OF THEM ARE BEING ANSWERED.
As much as I talk about how messed up the Winchesters are in my Supernatural reviews, I can’t ignore how much more FUCKED UP the Echollses are. Every second Aaron is on the screen, I just want to crush him out of existence. He is so relentlessly creepy, and his behavior in “Hot Dogs” is no exception. It doesn’t help that this family has no “normal” way of supporting one another because in another context or another world, this might be a lot more cathartic to watch. Hell, even when it comes to Logan wanting to help Trina, this isn’t a clean-cut issue. She has to point out to Logan that he’s never been concerned about her welfare before, so why start now? Of course, we know the answer: Logan knows what it’s like to be abused.
Which is what makes this such a complicated episode to watch. Trina’s boyfriend is beating her, Logan figures it out, and he tries to save the day. Except Aaron gets there first. It’s horrifying to watch because as he starts to explain to Dylan how he recognizes the signs of domestic abuse in his daughter, we learn that his father abused his mother. But what if he’s lying??? I mean, y’all, WE KNOW HE BEATS HIS SON. What if he’s really just referring to Logan the entire time he’s talking about his mother? Of course, it’s not uncommon at all that abuse is passed along generations, so I don’t mean to imply that at all. It’s just that Aaron’s attack on Dylan is terrifying in its brutality. It doesn’t feel like a father getting revenge or defending his daughter. Well, it does at first, which is good, but it quickly becomes so much more sadistic than that. He’s trying to prove to his family that he cares about them, and he does so by BEATING DYLAN TO WITHIN AN INCH OF HIS LIFE. Not that I feel sorry for Dylan; the dude is an abusive scumbag. I feel bad for Trina and Logan. I feel bad that their father uses this sort of thing to show them he cares because he’s overcompensating like hell.
God, it’s all just one huge mess.
Oh, Veronica. You are such a complex character, and it’s so goddamn fun to write about her, y’all. Her complexity makes this a challenge for me, but you know what? I want the characters I care about to be layered, to be hard to grasp, to be difficult. And that’s Veronica Mars in a nutshell. Throughout “Hot Dog,” she drifts between so many disparate emotional moments, and it all makes sense. She can be viciously confrontational with jerks at school. She can be awkward and reluctant when it comes to Deputy Leo. She’s willing to be adventurous (at least privately so) with Logan while they explore what it means to be attracted to one another. And it all fits! It’s all part of this portrait the writers are painting and Kristen Bell is portraying, and I just wanted to definitively say that I am in love with this character. She’s flawed, she’s determined, and she feels so real to me, y’all. She feels complete, and that’s the best compliment I could possibly give the people who made this show.
So, no more Veronica/Leo. Veronica/Logan is in style! I admit that I’m kind of transfixed by these two. It helps that Logan is not who I thought he was when I started this show, and it helps that Jason Dohring has been slowly winning me over with his complicated portrayal of Logan. I’m totally willing to trust the writers at this point. Of course, I’m saying this with just three episodes left this season. I am expecting to be destroyed by this. That’s fine, right?
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