Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"I'm just trying to figure out which Gilmore Girl you are": Veronica Mars

Hey! Who's that guy?!

Anyway, with the dismal ratings this show is getting and the fact that this will be its third straight season on the bubble, I'm just hoping that Rob Thomas and company have inserted plenty of our favorite characters into the final five episodes. If there's a complaint to be made about this season, it's that the characters other than Veronica, Keith and Logan have been brutally underserved. I know that most of this has to do with budgetary restrictions, but it still smarts to have what amounted to this whole Dean O'Dell arc unfold with minimal contributions from Wallace (one of the show's most enduring characters) and Piz (who's come on strong in this, his first season).

It also hurt that the Dean O'Dell arc had to lose one episode, so the mystery's solution had to be truncated into this hour, making the resolution incredibly wordy. While it was fun to watch Veronica catch the perpetrator up in his own logic (and seeing the perpetrator's speech about improvisation turn against him), it also was a scene that almost became too cumbersome. Fortunately, Kristen Bell and James Jordan managed to find a way through the density, and the scene almost approached the climax of an Agatha Christie novel (and congrats to Veronica for finally questioning who she suspected was the murderer in a non-secluded setting). It wasn't quite all of the suspects in the drawing room with the detective drawing her final conclusions, but it worked in spite of itself (and I suppose one could argue that over-expository closing scenes are a pitfall of the genre itself).

Other than that, it was a muted conclusion for a show that often goes in for action movie theatrics (especially for the conclusion of what looks to be the last big mystery arc ever, regardless of whether or not the show gets a fourth season). There was even time for a little soap opera excitement in between the crime solving, with Logan and Parker growing closer and closer. . .and neither wanting to hurt Veronica (awwwww).

Most of the episode though was dedicated to Veronica and Tim trying to figure out who killed the dean and finding themselves drawn ever more to Landry and/or the dean's wife. It's too bad that Landry has now left the show (and if you haven't seen the episode, I'm not really spoiling anything there) because he was both a compelling foil and friend for Veronica. Then, so was the dean.

The show has been really good of late at mixing up the comedy and the noir, and tonight's episode was no exception. It bounced effortlessly from Veronica one-liners to that creepy image of the body of a woman washed up in the surf, neck twisted at a disturbing angle. It wasn't the best this show could be (or even the best it's been recently), but it did enough well and closed up the arc well enough that I'll give it a passing grade.

(Incidentally, Rob Thomas said that there would be a red herring that would go unexplained due to the compressed nature of the arc. I'm not sure what he was referring to. Any ideas?)

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