In the twenty-first episode of the first season of Veronica Mars, Veronica sets out to discover what really happened at Shelly Pomroy’s party. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Veronica Mars.
Trigger Warning: For rape, nonconsensual drugging, sexual assault. This is going to be a rough one.
- So, let me start off by saying a few things. First of all, I really liked this episode ultimately, so don’t let the very challenging things I’m going to talk about stand in for my thoughts on the acting and writing here.
- I think this may be the first time my attention wandered a bit during the video commission, and it was intentional. This is a ruthlessly difficult episode to get through, not the least of which would be my own personal experience with being raped.
- I really haven’t ever gone into detail about it for a number of reasons. Honestly, it’s not that I’m afraid to. I don’t feel shame about it anymore; I stopped blaming myself years ago after I got some professional help and after discovering other men like myself who had been raped. The reason I’ve refrained from talking about it is because I feel like I’ve told the whole Internet everything forever about myself, and there was some sort of power in keeping it to myself.
- At the same time, I think one of the big reasons I liked “A Trip to the Dentist” so much was because it felt so cathartic to me. It’s about finding answers and getting closure, even if the experience is so viciously uncomfortable.
- So, without getting into too much detail, I want to tell everyone this. The first time I was raped, I was a freshman in college, just barely 19 years old, and I don’t even know his name. He was twice the size I was, and at the time, I was attracted to men bigger than me. I invited him over to my dorm after a date. He held me down the whole time and told me that this was how it was supposed to feel, and that if I was ever going to get better at sex, I would have to learn how to have it. I couldn’t go on a proper date or have a guy over without someone else in a nearby room for years because of it. Until my most recent boyfriend, I always ALWAYS dated men smaller than me because I was so terrified of being held down again.
- Then, just two years later, I was raped by someone I lived with, and through a combination of drugging and psychological manipulation, she would do things to me while I was asleep or unconscious. I still don’t even know the details of it all, I’ll never ever get closure over this, and I have no idea what happened to this person. This in particular is why a lot of this episode caused me to blank out a few times because it’s so hard to deal with lost time and lost memory. It’s miserable, frustrating, and eventually, I just had to let it go. I had to accept that I would never get answers.
- In that sense, this episode is kind of like a power fantasy for me. Veronica confronts every single 09er who was somewhat complicit in her rape, she holds them accountable for the shitty things they did to her, and she gets an answer in the end. This is all pulled off in a Rashomon-style story that highlights just how difficult it can be to navigate fault and blame when you’re drugged and assaulted. Well, and it also works as a brutal condemnation of this culture too, doesn’t it?
- I’m not particularly interested in recounting all of the twists and turns along the way for reasons relating to my own health, but there’s a lot of character development and revelatory plot shit here that I do want to discuss!
- Let’s talk about friendship, but there are two stellar examples of my favorite thing in the world here. There’s Weevil, who (TWICE!) comes to Veronica’s aid when she needs to get away from Logan. He doesn’t even question it, which is a neat parallel to the other best friend, Wallace. Both men don’t question Veronica when she asks them to do things for her. Even now, when Wallace’s mother clearly lost her job because of what Veronica had Wallace do for her, he still doesn’t shy away from being her friend. He’s there for her after the experience she has at Duncan’s house, and it’s when Veronica finally lets Wallace in on everything.
- I JUST LOVE THESE TWO A LOT.
- So, am I meant to assume that Alicia chose to be fired rather than break up with Keith? That wasn’t perfectly clear, but she is still interested in him, and I love that Veronica is so honest about how much her father cares about Alicia.
- It looks like I still have every reason to distrust Aaron Echolls, who is REALLY FUCKING UNCOMFORTABLE HERE. Oh god, there was that moment where he grabbed Logan and I thought this whole thing would unravel and NOT OKAY. And the whole birthday party? Okay, yes, it’s funny because WHOOPS EVERYONE KNOWS ABOUT VERONICA/LOGAN now, but it rang so hollow to me. I DON’T LIKE AARON ECHOLLS AND YOU CAN’T MAKE ME.
- “A Trip to the Dentist” also brings Duncan Kane back into the story. After being found by Keith in Havana, Celeste is the worst. She doesn’t even pretend to be happy that her son is back, and then she cheats Keith out of the reward he actually earned. Ugh no.
- For the record, with like…half a second of thought, clearly Celeste is not the worst in this episode. Would you like a list? Because: Dick Casablancas, Madison, Beaver, Sean, LOGAN.
- Anyway, back to Duncan. It’s just so heartbreaking to watch him in this episode because even if he knows he didn’t kill Lilly, he’s still clearly not okay. He has two huge outbreaks in this episode, and the guilt and stress he’s under continues to overwhelm him. My god, that poor kid.
- And for what it’s worth, while I’ll accept that Veronica and Duncan believe their sex was consensual, I think it’s kind of a problem to assume that two people who are both high from being drugged with GHB are able to consent. They can’t? At all. Honestly, it’s a super, super complicated issue because how can two parties rape each other like this? So, if Veronica and Duncan are ultimately fine with what happened, then that’s all I need.
- Though…they’re not fine because DUNCAN KNOWS VERONICA IS HIS HALF-SISTER.
- Celeste just stands there. DID SHE TELL HIM? Oh my god what is this show. Of course, seeing Veronica with Logan ends up being the last straw for him, and he has that frightening outburst at Logan’s house. My god, Duncan, what is happening to you?
- WHY IS THIS SHOW HURTING ME FOREVER?
- But really, “A Trip to the Dentist” is a rollercoaster of a journey when it comes to Logan. We start off this episode upset at him supplying GHB to whomever raped Veronica. At the very least, he’s apologetic and wants to work towards making things better, but that’s really not enough for Veronica. She needs so much more than that, and again, this becomes a story of accountability and closure. So it made sense that Veronica would go back to Logan to work out her issues with him, especially once she found out the truth of what had happened, that Madison had been the one to drug her accidentally. And yet, this isn’t going to be that easy, is it? See, I was happy that Logan didn’t give a shit what his other 09er friends thought of him dating Veronica. Hell, he even let Duncan go once he thought about it. Veronica was the most important person there.
- I admit to feeling strange about how quickly Veronica forgave Logan for being the one to drug Duncan? That’s weird.
- Regardless, it’s all kind of a moot point now, isn’t it? Seriously, I’m convinced that trust plays a crucial role in understanding a lot of the character dynamics on this show. And now, it’s obvious that Veronica cannot trust Logan. Jesus, who else did he film? Was he ever going to tell Veronica about this, or was he just using her to blackmail her or something? It’s ugly, it’s gross, and mostly? It’s disappointing. Logan Echolls, you fucked up.
- HOW IS THERE ANOTHER EPISODE THIS SEASON?
- Right, because Lianne is back. GOOD GOD, GIVE ME THE NEXT EPISODE RIGHT NOW.
- I’M GONNA GO DO THAT RIGHT NOW.
- WISH ME LUCK
The video commission for “A Trip to the Dentist” can be downloaded right here for just $0.99.
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