Fast Times at Neptune High (Part 2)

This is the second part of my “live-blogging” the Veronica Mars series. You can catch up with Part 1 here.

Nancy Drew meets Philip Marlowe, and the result is pure nitro. Why is Veronica Mars so good? It bears little resemblance to life as I know it, but I can’t take my eyes off the damn thing.” Stephen King

Thoughts halfway through Season 2.

I know I said let’s meet back at the end of season 2, but I thought maybe I will check in halfway through too.

The Kickstarter campaign closed on April 12, and it was a huge success. I kinda wish I donated to it now, but I didn’t know at the start if I’d even be a “Marshmallow” (i.e. a fan of the show). I can say now that there is enough about the show that I love (and hate!) that I can count myself among the Marshmallows. What’s a male Marshmallow called? A “Mansmallow”? Sounds gross. Anyway, their final tally was $5,702, 153, well exceeding their goal of $2,000,000. It was the fastest campaign to reach the million and 2 million dollar marks, it was the highest funded film and had the most backers in kickstarter history, and actually was the third largest project in kickstarter history. So yeah, I guess people love Veronica Mars. Again, I ask: what does this mean for Firefly?

Wow, season 2 begins with a “bang” literally, with a school bus driving off a cliff, Sweet Hereafter style, killing the driver, a teacher, and seven students. Only one student survived, Meg, but she is in a coma, Ronnette Pulaski style. The first episode of season 2 brings us all up to speed on what happened over the summer. Sho’ nuff, that was Logan at the door at the end of Season 1, but he is all effed up. Looking like he is about to be charged with his own girlfriend’s murder, he is about to end it all on a bridge when he is intercepted by Weevil and the PCHers. What happens next is a little like “A Trip to the Dentist”. All we know is that a PCHer is killed and Logan is the prime suspect. He goes to trial and is acquitted, (again, arrest, investigation, trial and acquittal all in about 10 days), sparking off a new round of violence between the PCHers and the Oh Niners. With a little bit of flashback trickery, we are led to believe that Veronica Mars and Logan are now dating, but by the end of the episode we learn that she realized that Logan is, and always will be, a soulless psycho-path, and so chooses Mr. Blandsauce himself, Duncan Kane. (He used to be my boyfriend).

Just as justice moves on a different timescale in Neptune, so do grudges. With the exception of Logan and Weevil, whose rivalry sees new heights this season (come on, you two, why not get a room already?), no one stays mad at each other too long.

For example, here’s a paraphrase of a conversation between Logan and Dick Casablancas.

Logan: “I’m sorry I’m diddling your step-mom.”

Dick: “Nah, that’s cool. I used to fantasize about screwing your hot dead Mom myself.”

Logan: “Cool”.

Or how about Duncan and Logan? Remember Logan’s Dad killed Duncan’s sister. This isn’t something that most people can find room in their hearts to forgive in a lifetime, but over one quick Neptune summer we overhear this conversation.

Logan: “That really sucks that my Dad killed your sister, she was also my girlfriend, you know? Oh yeah, and I was having sex with your ex-girlfriend all summer who is now your girlfriend again.”

Duncan: “It sure does suck. But that’s cool. Do you want to be my roommate and play some vids?”

Logan: “Cool”.

Throughout Season 1, I was approaching the series through the eyes of Keith Mars, and wondering how I would be if I were in Keith Mars’ shoes. In season 2, I sort of shifted my perspective and cast my mind back to my own high school days and wondered where I would fit in, if I had the misfortune of moving to Neptune. In high school, I just hung around with my neighbourhood friends and sang in the choir, played in the band and was in the school play. How would this translate to Neptune? I wouldn’t have the support of my circle of neighbourhood friends, so that leaves band, choir and drama. I don’t think I’d fit in with the drama group. It’s run by Logan’s older sister and it seems pretty cliquey. There’s been no sign of choir or band either so far. I think maybe I would probably be closest to Mac, if she would have me as her friend. I could see the two of us hanging out on weekends and doing fun stuff, poking fun at everyone quietly from a distance. I think I’d get a kick of out Dick Casablancas, I’d find him a harmless boob who would give me great material to share with Mac after school. I don’t think Logan or Duncan or any of those cool guys would even have me on their radar, to be honest.

One other thing to note at the halfway point: I loved how when Mr. Casablancas was presented with the knowledge that his wife was cheating on him, his first and only reaction was to jump up from his desk and start shouting “It’s over. Start shredding EVERYTHING. It’s over!” or something like that. He was more concerned about his pyramidy real-estate company than the infidelity, and as he marched through the office, all his employees just started destroying stuff, like it was the American embassy in Iran or something. And this is the best part: he gets to the roof of his office (and I kid you not) he has a fucking helicopter fueled up and ready to go, and without another word he is gone gone gone. You can say what you want about Mr. Casablancas, but that guy had a sweet exit strategy in place, am I right? I mean if the roles were reversed, and the shit was about to go down at my place, I would probably just stupidly sit on my couch until the police came. I mean, it took me 6 months to get out of church council meetings, so that gives you a bit of an idea of my personal pace.

And one last thought at the midway point: they’ve cast Steve Guttenberg as a businessman running for mayor in Season two. This also involves a shady subplot where there is a movement to get Neptune incorporated. I don’t really understand all the details at this point, but wasn’t it Anton Chekov who said that if you introduce a Guttenberg in the first act, you must have that Guttenberg do something by the end of the play? So yeah, that story-line must develop by the end of the season somehow. I mused aloud at some point early on if the two mysteries will at some point converge (i.e. the bus mystery and the mystery of what happened with Logan on the bridge), but at the halfway point, I am still in the dark as to how it will all play out.

Thoughts at the end of Season 2

Holy cow! We just finished up Season 2 last night at about 2 am after attending a Fleetwood Mac concert. SPOILERS, obviously. So “Don’t call me Beaver” Casablancas turns out to not only be the bus bomber but also as it turns out to be Veronica Mars’ rapist from Season 1. I KNEW there was more to that whole “Trip to the Dentist” episode. I knew we weren’t getting the whole story, and I love how this series keeps you guessing, even on events that seem to be wrapped up and in the past. I mean, Beave was a sort of sympathetic character from the end of Season 1 and throughout the bulk of Season 2. Dick’s younger brother, who seemed to have a lovely burgeoning romance with my girl Mac, was also harbouring some terrible secrets that blossomed into Logan-level psychosis. His roof-top admissions just kept on coming. Yes, he was sexually abused by Mayor Woody along with at least 2 other students (a.k.a. they got “Guttenberged”!), yes, he bombed the bus to keep the abuse from becoming public knowledge (a bit extreme, yes?), yes he killed the stunt-man who knew about the bombing and wrote Veronica’s name on his palm and yes, he was the rapist who passed on the mysterious STD to Veronica Mars at that fateful party. (Speaking of which, if STDs are a thing in Neptune, how is it that Logan hasn’t contracted anything yet, having spent so much “quality time” with that walking Petri dish, Mrs. Casablancas?) I was expecting the Beaver to admit to stealing those dogs in season 1, arranging the sex change on that video store kid’s Mom/Dad and also being the real father to Meg’s child. His suicide in the season finale means that there won’t be any long drawn out prison or court storyline in Season 3, like we had with Aaron Echolls in Season 2, but it also means that there’s no real closure to any of the crimes that the Beave committed. Jeez, just when you think you know a guy!

Season 2 felt a little more fragmented than Season 1. We always had the Lilly Kane murder mystery to keep us on track if we ever strayed too far into subplots, but in season 2, the viewers were balancing the bus crash, the Logan blackout bridge murder storyline, the “what’s Guttenberg up to?” storyline, the “girlfriend in a coma” subplot, the “Fitzpatricks” menace, etc etc. Rob Thomas, creator of VM, is a master of the red herring, and his season had more red herrings than a Swedish BBQ (and I’ve been to my share of “Swedish BBQs”, if you know what I mean!)

As a result, it feels like there are so many loose ends. Now, some of these may be addressed in Season 3. We were too tired to pop in the first episode of season 3 to see where we are all at, but I can’t wait to see where they go from here.

Here are just some lingering questions I have. (Some of these may have been legitimately dealt with, so please let me know if you know). I feel like for most of these, we can just say, “Blame it on the Beave!”

  • The rat on the bus. What’s up with that? Was that ever adequately explained?
  • What the hell was going on with Meg’s family life? Wasn’t Sheriff Lamb doing some extra surveillance on their place and wasn’t something supposed to come of that?
  • So Wallace I guess is NEVER ALLOWED TO RETURN to Chicago, because everyone thinks he ran over a homeless guy there?
  • The re-introduction ofVeronica’s ex-boyfriend, Troy. Remember him? He was that smooth talkin’ pretty boy who turned out to be a fuckin’ liar and a drug dealer and a cheater. Was his re-introduction just a “one-off” or was it setting up something for Season 3? Will we have to put up with him as well? I can’t even remember his storyline, but it had to do with a date-rape on campus or something, right, with Mae-Bee from Arrested Development? I don’t think that even got solved.
  • What was the significance of Lucky the janitor wearing a catcher’s mask and putting bleach on his feet? Did I miss something there?
  • Was Duncan ever actually having sex with Mrs. Casablancas? He sure was taking long showers, regardless. Somehow, I need to know this. I need to know if they were having full sex. Does this make me a perv? We know Mrs. Casablancas snatched some of his pubes to frame Duncan for Lilly’s murder. And speaking of that, what was going on between Mrs. Casablancas and Keith Mars at the end of Season 2? (I’m assuming this will all be made clear at the beginning of Season 3)

So bring on season 3!

Here are some hopes:

  • That we have another round of revisionism on the night of “A Trip to the Dentist” and it turns out that Logan was the rapist, (I guess along with Beave and Duncan in the same night? Jeez, this is turning into the “Toucha toucha toucha touch me” scene from the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”) but this time Logan is convicted and is chemically castrated. Sure, keep him on the show, but as a harmless eunich and as a cautionary tale.
  • That Keith Mars somehow gets back at Sheriff Lamb in some awesome way and reclaims his rightful title (Sheriff) and kicks some serious ass. I even have the episode title for you, “I shot the Sheriff”. Or maybe “Don’t try the Lamb”. You’re welcome, Mr. Thomas.
  • That Mr. Casablancas returns in the same awesome way that he left the show (by freaking helicopter!) and snatches his fortune back from Mrs. Casablancas and Dick and Dick will have to go out and get a real job like working at “Java the Hut”.
  • That Mac finally finds love with someone who is not a rapist and/or murderer.
  • That Leo returns and wins VM’s affections and at the end of the season the two of them finally leave Neptune and start a life somewhere far, far away.

Will any of this transpire? I guess we’ll have to check back here when we’re all done.

“A long time ago, we used to be friends…”

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1 Comment

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One response to “Fast Times at Neptune High (Part 2)

  1. Joanna

    You’ve been Guttenberged. Classic.

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