Mark Watches ‘Veronica Mars’: S04E02 – Chino and the Man

In the second episode of the fourth season of Veronica Mars, multiple people crop up as possible suspects, while Veronica discovers that a victim’s daughter reminds her a little too much of herself. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Veronica Mars.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of trauma, grief, death, racism, and ableism

Oh, I’m just so in love with this show, y’all. In every way, this still feels like the Veronica Mars I loved all those years ago, and it makes me so very, very happy. Let’s discuss!

The Dicks

Y’all should know at this point that I love character growth, and yet there’s something weirdly comforting about the fact that Dick Casablancas has not changed at all over the years. Like, I don’t find him a comforting character—he’s still just as revolting as ever—but more that I grew up in Southern California, and there are so many people there who grow older, but don’t age out of their high school or college personas. And why would Dick do that? He’s never seriously been challenged by most of the people in his life. Yes, Veronica and Mac got him to change little things over the course of the first three seasons, but Dick jumps from one comfortable environment to another. Look at him in the movie! He’s always insulated because of his privilege, and it’s in that same vein that Big Dick’s story continues to explore what money and power grant you.

That being said, the presence of Clyde makes the Casablancas men a BILLION times more interesting. I don’t trust Clyde, for the record, and that was the case even before it was revealed that he orchestrated the attack on Big Dick while in lockup in Chino. He’s too certain in how he moves about Neptune and his bizarre arrangement with Big Dick. I fully believe he is here to exploit the Casablancas for his own gain as much as humanly possible, y’all. I also can’t see any evidence that he’s possibly tied to the bombing itself, so for right now, he’s a solid subplot character I’m trying to pay attention to. 

Penn Epner

One thing I enjoyed about the film and am thrilled by even more with this season is how Veronica Mars stays culturally relevant. Veronica herself has already made jokes about being a millennial, but through Penn Epner, the pizza delivery guy who was injured by shrapnel, the show manages to address the complicated nature of social media. It feels so natural that Veronica Mars would comment on the rise of online crime solvers and podcasts about murder. Through Penn, we get a glimpse of someone who has been in Neptune a long time, and he’s part of an (initially) small online community that “solves” cold cases. (Which also has a fascinating connection to Patton Oswalt himself, since his wife, Michelle McNamara, was influential in the case against the Golden State Killer.) Penn is not as respectful as many of those who are interested in true crime, and his portrayal here is one that’s inflammatory. While I certainly think there’s more to the Maloof family than meets the eye, there is virtually no real evidence that Congressman Maloof murdered his son’s fianceé and nearly murdered his son, too. So why make such a bold claim? Should I be looking at him as a suspect, too? Because wouldn’t THAT be fucked up??? He staged the bombing so he could gain notoriety for “solving” it… which seems like a lot of work for someone who just delivers pizzas? I DON’T KNOW.

The Maloofs

Hi, SOMETHING ELSE IS HAPPENING HERE. First of all: boy, the Carr family is super gross and racist!!! Now, if you are at all confused by the presence of a family like the Carr’s in a coastal city in Southern California, let me just tell you: 100% ACCURATE. While I wouldn’t be surprised if they were Neptune residents themselves, I’m betting they’re from the eastern part of the county, which is full of tons of people just like that! So, with that in mind, it’s clear why Alex’s engagement to Tawny caused so much conflict. (I should note that I was confused about Daniel’s role on video; I now get why Alex said he wasn’t his dad. He literally isn’t; they’re brothers.) The Maloof family resents who Alex fell in love with; the Carr family is convinced that Alex stole the ring he proposed with. And in the wake of death and grief, combined with a lot of racism and xenophobia, the Carr family is explosive. They nearly fight at the morgue, and then they COMPLETELY fight at the Maloof’s hotel suite. If they’re willing to do this so soon… lord, I think this is only going to get uglier. 

I must also admit that I think Daniel is hiding something, and this murder is going to tear his life wide open. 


Oh, well, let’s just punch me in the heart, shall we? I knew that Matty reminded Veronica of herself. How could she not? She was sarcastic, strong-willed, and she had a knack for losing someone tailing her. But it wasn’t until the end of this episode when Veronica spelled it out for me that I realized that the show was calling back to the first season. Matty’s life, post-divorce, was torn apart by the murder of someone she loved. Her way of grieving? To focus on solving the case. YEAH, SOUNDS A LITTLE FAMILIAR, DOESN’T IT. And it’s all too-fitting that she has a run-in with Liam Fitzpatrick, just like Veronica did. Except in this case, Matty has no idea who the Fitzpatricks are, and when she confronts Liam about a possible connection to the bombing, she is quickly in over her head. I think she would have escaped, but the difference here between Veronica and Matty is that at Matty’s age, Veronica knew more about the people of Neptune. Can Matty say the same? And does she even care? Right now, she’s focused on solving her dad’s murder, something the rest of her family is disinterested in. Veronica isn’t her friend, and she has no reason to trust her, either. 

So this is what Veronica meant in the premier when she said that Matty got to her. OH NO.


The show is toying with expectation and stereotypes with this subplot, and for the most part, I’m amused at how the show addresses the perception of the men that El Despiadado sent to solve the murder of Gabriel. It all feels deliberate, too. We know they work for a cartel leader, and we know that they’re willing to be crushingly violent. And yet, that violence rarely manifested as I expected. Like when they interrogate Gabriel’s friends, treating them as if they are serious suspects or witnesses, when, at best, they’re just nerdy teenagers. But the writing also plays with the racism of Neptune. Look, I literally have lost count of how many times some white dude has asked me for weed or crack or coke or heroin or molly or ANY POSSIBLE COMBINATION OF DRUGS THAT HAVE OR WILL EVER EXIST. Which is made all the more ironic by my sobriety, of course, proudly announced by the Xs on my hands. I’m not joking; I’ve literally had men recognize the straight edge tattoos and then immediately ask me for drugs.

I think that the humor that is written through their subplot is making me enjoy their characterization more and preventing this from falling into familiar traps for Latinx characters. Alonzo and his partner are agents of chaos, set loose in a world they think they understand, but one that’s very different from the criminals they are used to. I mean… they already beheaded the man who was angry at Gabriel because of robotics. 



So, show of hands for anyone who has been through therapy or was prescribed medication and then was told, by people they care about, that they now aren’t the same person anymore? And not in a good way? “Chino and the Man does an incredible thing here in exposing how flawed Veronica’s behavior was towards Logan, something I don’t know I’ve ever seen on a mainstream television show. I loved the casual reveal that Logan was in therapy, something his character needed THREE WHOLE SEASONS AGO. It’s a remarkable bit of growth, and it showed me that he was taking his anger and impulse issues very seriously. Which explains his reaction to the proposal rejection! He wasn’t trying to be weird about it; he wanted to be fair, supportive, and to keep his own anger in check.

And then Veronica pushes him. And pushes him. And pushes him. I get why, and I do think the show tries to give us both of their perspectives so that the characters are understandable and real. In the end, it lands on sympathizing more with Logan and the difficulty of what he’s been through, and I was so shocked by that. In a good way! It’s something I couldn’t used and pointed to years ago when I heard the same thing from folks commenting on me being in therapy. I’m not less of a person because I’m trying to get better, you know? 

Of course, this doesn’t make things less complicated between Veronica and Logan, but I feel like she understands (mostly) what she did wrong here. BUT NOW LOGAN HAS A JOB WORKING FOR DANIEL MALOOF. Oh, she’s absolutely going to use that, isn’t she?

The video for “Chino and the Man” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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