Mark Watches ‘Veronica Mars’: S04E01 – Spring Break Forever

In the first episode of the fourth season of Veronica Mars, I MISSED THIS ALL SO MUCH. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Veronica Mars. 

Trigger Warning: For discussion of a bombing, grief, death.

Oh my god, I’m so happy. 

I still regularly talk about how much I loved experiencing Veronica Mars, and even if every season wasn’t perfect—there were sure some rough patches here and there—it was such an incredible show. And then, thanks to community member and friends szark, I actually got to go to Hollywood and attend the premiere of the film, where I got to meet and take photos with the whole cast. And also, Rob Thomas had some really, really nice things to say to me. So yeah, I fucking love this damn show, and it is my goal in life to write a YA noir that’s as brave, emotional, and impactful as this show has been to so many of us. (Seriously, that first season is perfect.)

I made variations of this comment throughout the video for “Spring Break Forever,” but it’s still astounding to me how easy it was for me to fall right back into the seedy, humorous world of Neptune, California. And after this single episode, I know I’m back in good hands. This may look sharper, and the language is no longer PG-13 all the time (though the whole anti-cussing joke is beautiful), but it’s absolutely Veronica Mars.

I am so thrilled, y’all. 

So, yes, there have been changes in the years since the film came out. Some of those are cosmetic, such as the new opening credits, which I dig a lot. They set the tone for the show that unfolds around it. The whole thing is in a crisp, high-def picture, and I noticed a lot more cinematic camera shots and angles. And while these things give a sense of grandeur to the episode, the writing itself still feels firmly grounded within the world of Veronica Mars. That’s still the case largely because Veronica did not pursue a career in law; she remained home to work with her father. (Not sure where Mac is, though.) So we’re back at a place that feels familiar, and as each of the recognizable characters return, it definitely feels like coming home. There’s Logan, back from a tour… somewhere. (He’s quite vague about this. Is this a possible plot point?) Wallace is now married and has a kid named Noah AND IS AN 09-ER. Holy shit??? Cliff has changed exactly 0%, and if there was gonna be one character who remained the same over fifteen years, it was absolutely gonna be him. We also see Keith dealing with the ramifications of Cobb’s attack on him in the film, and I appreciate that sort of continuity. That accident really fucked up Keith, and I found it realistic that the show was willing to talk about the long-term ramifications of such an accident.

It also seems willing to continually address what it’s like to exist on one side of the class divide. We see that in Keith’s struggle with his injuries, in how he has to ask how much something necessary costs even though he’s got health insurance. (This is the biggest MOOD of the whole episode, oh my GOD.) The Mars’s speak frequently about how they need to make more money or they risk losing their business. Then there’s NUTT, run by Big Dick, which is full of potential. Organizations like that are often means of gentrifying neighborhoods, and “beautification” is almost always targeted at non-white people and the poor. (And the intersection of that, of course.) If anything, Neptune now exists in a world where the rich have gotten even richer, and the show isn’t afraid to portray that. 

There’s also so much information given to us prior to the episode looping back to Veronica and Keith standing outside of the Sea Sprite Motel. We’ve got a whole new cast of characters, each of them tied to the bombing at the motel. There are the DnD-obsessed nerds, whose friend Gabriel is murdered. But Gabriel is attached to a completely different set of characters, most of them located in Mexico. I admit that I wasn’t initially all that pleased with the idea of a ton of Latinx characters being associated with a cartel in Mexico, but I’m interested to see where this is going. I love Clifton Collins, Jr., and I was pleasantly surprised to see him on the show. Plus, his character, Alonzo, is being sent to Neptune to determine who killed Gabriel, and his whole outlook on life and fate and the randomness of it all fascinates me? HE’S GONNA MAKE EVERYTHING MORE COMPLICATED, ISN’T HE??? And what about the motel owner’s daughter? How does she complicate Veronica’s life? 

Yet before the bomb even happens, Veronica’s life is terribly complicated by Logan. Y’all, I went from happiness to VICIOUS DISCOMFORT in about five seconds during his proposal to Veronica. It seemed so romantic, but Logan miscalculated Veronica’s response. Marriage simply isn’t her thing, especially not since her job exposes her to the worst kind of married couples. (Like the divorcees in the opening sequence.) And from her perspective, I get why she sees marriage as something so toxic and unsustainable. But Logan loves her! It probably seems to be the next logical step for him to propose, but LORD, does it ever backfire. 

So, it’s with all of this brewing under the surface that Veronica and her father find themselves wrapped up in a new case. The bombing of the Sea Sprite killed four people, and now, all these various parties are converging on Neptune. And thanks to Cliff’s scummy practice of hanging around hospitals, the Mars’s are connected with the Maloof family, who hire them for a LOT of money to solve the perpetrator of the bombing. But this is Veronica Mars, y’all. There will be twists and turns; there will be betrayals. There will be red herrings and mistakes. And at this point, I don’t have a single idea who might have done this, aside from someone targeting the Maloof family. Was the real target one of the other characters? Gabriel? Tawny? Jimmy? The owner of the Sea Sprite? Someone who wasn’t even there??? ALSO: WHAT OTHER PAST CHARACTERS WILL WE SEE???

The video for “Spring Break Forever” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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