Thursday, January 25, 2007

"What makes this Canada?": Veronica Mars

Spoilers exist within, and if you love Tina Majorino as much as I do, you'll wait to watch the episode to read 'em.

Look, I love Mac on this show. And I really like Tina Majorino's character on Big Love too. But when both this show and that show end, someone needs to give her her own program, preferably involving her debunking urban legends or staring furtively at a computer or pining for a circus clown or something. The twee-er the better, because our Tina can play twee.

All in all, I think Veronica Mars is back to its season one high of mixing overarching mysteries, smaller mysteries and soap opera angst. The obligatory action climax to the serial rapist arc had a few silly moments (and must Veronica be in danger all the time), but it reunited all of the main characters convincingly and made us remember why we loved them. So did this episode. Sure there were minor bits about the Dean O'Dell murder (mostly from Keith -- carrying the expositional load), but the college stuff was solid, and the dueling rebound relationships between Parker, Mac and Veronica made it seem like the title character had -- sigh -- friends. What's more, the episode made me care about Veronica and Logan again AND let us see just how great a guy Piz would be for Veronica in REAL LIFE, not a pseudo-noir universe where nothing is as it seems.

For once, the mystery of the week was rather engaging too. It helped that the monkey, when found, was pretty cute, but it also made the obligatory "animal rights!" episode every show with an animal rights supporting star has to do seem less like the cliche it could have been. It was nice that the mystery of the missing monkey had some shades of moral ambiguity too -- Veronica essentially lied to a client (though, admittedly, she gave them their money back) to protect an animal, and it was always clear that the monkey was being used for some form of important research. I think we were meant to side with the anti-monkey-killing side, but the show didn't demonize the opponents, which lent it an aura of complexity that made the whole thing work.

Also, this was hands-down the funniest episode in a while, from Keith's clumsy undercover work to Veronica and Mac's many quips. And it gets points for not making Mac's new boyfriend the culprit. Girl deserves some happiness, doncha think?

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