Veronica Mars. I tuned in when it originally aired on TV, donated to the movie Kickstarter, and drooled over the SDCC coverage…but when the heck was the last time I actually watched the show?
Yes, while I adored VM when it was on, even went to far as to buy the DVDs, I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and watched the entire series through a second time. With the movie set for release next year, I figured this was the best time to sit down and relive the magic…or see how the show looks 10 years later. (Plus, I have two friends that need to be turned into Marshmallows by the movie premiere).
1. PILOT (extended): My DVDs only have the “extended cut” version of the pilot and that is the only way I have ever seen it. I can’t remember when I started watching Veronica Mars but I feel like I saw season 1 on DVD, not in real-time. But of all the episodes, this is probably the one I have seen the most as I have tried to hook new viewers. It’s hard for me to focus on the actual episode because while I’m watching all I can think about are the stories to unfold.
As pilots go, it’s pretty solid but you can still feel that uneasiness of the cast and writers. No one is quite sure who they are yet (except for maybe Enrico, who IS Keith Mars). There are SO MANY mysteries to set up in that first 45 minutes – Lily’s murder, Veronica’s rape, the disappearance of Veronica’s Mom and, to a lesser extent, why Duncan dumped her so abruptly. PLUS introducing us to a rather large cast of characters while giving us backstory about the murder investigation and how that changed Veronica’s world. It’s a very packed 45 minutes.
It does have some very important moments – this is the episode that gave us the “Veronica Mars: She’s a marshmallow” line and the dealings with Weevil and his gang carry over for the rest of the season, allowing Veronica to easily move between the world of the 09ers and a street gang. And, of course, BFF Wallace is introduced and it’s hard not to like him right away.
2. Credit Where Credits Due: Everyone seems a little bit more comfortable in their skins in this episode though the writers are still struggling to catch up the audience on Veronica’s backstory, especially the Veronica/Duncan plot and her relationship with bad-boy Logan. Ugh, and Paris Hilton. Why? Nothing dates this show more than her appearance. Luckily, this is her final episode.
Not sure how the newspaper teacher could be quite so oblivious to Duncan and Veronica’s previous relationship, no matter how new to the school she is. Veronica is a little too snarky towards her from the start, but again you can tell the writers and Kristen Bell are still massaging her character. She can only be so jaded…but how jaded?
This episode is all about loyalty and betraying trusts – we have Duncan and Veronica awkwardly reconnecting, Catlin (Hilton ugh) betraying Logan, and Weevil’s cousin trying to pin the credit card fraud crime on Weevil’s grandmother then on Weevil. Veronica confronts her father about his on-going investigation in the Lily Kane case. And then the photo of Lily running the red light…it’s a tangled web of intrigue!
My favorite scene is with Veronica and her Dad when the go to the hotel to try to get the information on who rented a room. I also love the little moment in the diner when Keith tells Veronica to take off her hat – a sweet Dad moment. I love their dynamic, probably one of the best father/daughter relationships ever on TV.
3. Meet John Smith: I remember this episode blowing my mind the first time I saw it. It was really well paced and the mystery had enough twists on it’s own plus we had Veronica’s story and Duncan’s story, which are finally maturing in the characters we will come to know later. Re-watching, I had forgotten about Duncan’s own issues and it was good to show him struggling with the depression that came from dealing with his sister’s murder and the fact that, deep down, he knows it has not been solved.
I was never a fan of Troy. I’m still counting down the episodes until he leaves. Which is funny because I liked him in X-Men! Still, Veronica trying to get over Duncan and move on with Troy leads to some cute scenes. When she pulls away at the last moment as he leans in to kiss her, you do feel for the guy. But she trusted her gut, and it was the right thing to do.
Again, best moments in the episode are still Keith and Veronica. When she comes in late after her date and he asks her how it went, she comes back with “the sex was great” and he deadpans “that’s not funny” and she makes that great *thinking* face and says “Pretty sure it was.”
Later on, after Keith overhears Veronica talking with her client about how if his father left the family he is probably better off without him and Keith peeks in on Veronica later to try to defend her mother and Veronica comes back with “The hero stays, the villain is the one that leaves.”
Then there is that final scene, when Veronica thinks she has finally found her Mom and Kristen shows us the emotion she can convey. After 3 episodes of Veronica being stalwart and stone-faced, seeing her start to crumble as she asks her aunt where her mother is and why would she leave…breaks my heart.