Veronica Mars 2:1

VERONICA MARS, Episode 2:1

Previously, everything happened.

Veronica is hostess at a coffee shop. Okay, why does a coffee shop need a hostess? I mean, she’s showing the nubile teens to nearby couches. I’ve never seen such a thing. Veronica Voiceover is telling us she’s been working on having a normal life. Uh huh. That’s gonna happen.

A yutz comes up to tell her he failed the drug test and he’s off sports, but he’s been clean 10 months. Veronica says she’s retired from the snooping business. Yutz snips at her that she’s back with the ‘09ers. She glares, and he slinks off.

A slinky brunette tells Veronica her father is on TV. He’s written a book about Lily’s murder with a New York Times reporter. Brunette says, “Your dad’s hot,” and Veronica gives her an Oedipal stink-eye.

Flashback to the big night. Veronica opens the door, and says her line: “I was hoping it would be you.” But Logan (I knew it) is standing facing away from her, and he’s in shadow. Her face changes when he turns around, and it’s left unclear whether a) Veronica was happy it was Logan and is distraught about his injuries or b) she thought he was Duncan. Logan has been beaten within an inch of his life. Instead of taking him to the hospital, she lies him down on the couch in an oddly-composed shot that makes either Logan look huge or Veronica look tiny, as she cleans off his face.

Flashback within a flashback! Logan on the bridge, egging on Weevil. Logan knocked out Weevil with one kick (uh huh), and the others all jump him and beat the fuck out of him. When Logan wakes up, he has a knife in his hand and Felix, one of Weevil’s flunkies,is dead. There’s a witness. Because Logan has no knowledge whatsoever of the best way to avoid misunderstandings in prosecution… oh wait, he does! So instead of explaining his obvious self-defense to the police, he chucks the knife in the river – in full view of the witness, apparently – and takes off. Brilliant. No one ever accused Logan of being Mensa material, but this is dumb even for him. Also, the witness is just standing there, saying, “Duh, buddy, I’m right the fuck here.” Something smells.

Flashforward to the flashback, and Veronica doesn’t have to tell Logan about Aaron Echolls and Lily – he knows, and kudos to the actor for a heartbreaking face. Deputy Mumbles shows up and arrests Logan.

Flashforward to present day. Wallace! We’ve missed you. He tells Veronica he failed his drug test. Miss Mars is on the case, with a GODFATHER PART III reference that makes me smile.

Credits. There’s a new girl in them.

Lunchtimee. Ha! Wallace didn’t sign up for another year of office aide, because he is no longer Veronica’s lap dog! Except he did swipe a master key and passwords. Onward with the mystery of the week: who made the starters on all the teams flunk their drug tests, including Meg the only decent ‘09er?

Flashback to this summer. Veronica talks to Duncan, who’s living all alone at a hotel to finish his senior year because his parents have fled to get away from the publicity, and also to run for president. What, like I’m not supposed to notice that Kyle Secor is now on COMMANDER IN CHIEF? Okay. Whatever. Logan shows up, and Veronica shows the first lack of class I’ve seen from her by kissing Logan in front of Duncan. Rude. You say hi, you squeeze a hand, but you save the PDA for when you’re out of sight of your ex-boyfriend.

Flashforward to the present, and Veronica’s Voiceover tells us that Logan and Duncan don’t speak anymore. Because a woman is property and can be stolen. Meh. It’s a guy thing, I know.

Veronica asks Yutz who might hate him. He names a geek he pantsed in gym. Veronica interviews and photographs the victims, including Meg who acts bitchier than I’ve ever seen her. So the ownership of others extends to women – Meg is pissed at Veronica for stealing Duncan! Sigh. But it’s high school. I guess that sort of thing did happen. I don’t know – the only time I dated a friend’s ex, the friend SET US UP, so I guess my experience isn’t typical.

Flashback, and Logan got off on Felix’s murder because the witness left before the cops showed up. The town went crazy.

Flashforward. Wallace admits he and all the others were laughing at the geek’s pantsing, and suddenly I have to call bullshit. Wasn’t Wallace the kid who was tied to the flagpole in the pilot? Doesn’t it stand to reason that he would be more likely to take the side of the abused than the abusers? Would a kid stripped bare and and tied to a flagpole really find a kid humiliated in gym class fun-ny? I don’t buy it. It doesn’t gibe with what we know of Wallace. It’s the first continuity error I can find in this show, and it disturbs me greatly. If this is signaling a major personality change for Wallace, I hope it goes somewhere important.

Daddy Mars shows up. He amuses me with smartassery that also reveals he and Wallace’s mum are still together. Yay! I loved them as a couple.

MARS: So, senior year. How was the first day?
VERONICA: Great. I beat up a freshman, stole his lunch money and then skipped out after lunch.
MARS: What, no premarital sex?
VERONICA: Yes, but don’t worry, Dad. I swear you’re going to like these guys.
MARS: That’s my girl.

And that’s the father-daughter relationship that makes sense and rings of truth and love. This is the first TV show I can remember that gets it right. I forgive them the brief mangling of Wallace’s character.

School. Veronica goes to see the geek, who has a hell of a lot of attitude. She accuses him, and he reveals that his dad is the vice principal.

Commercials.

Nighttime, and Veronica and Wallace are breaking into school. Which has metal detectors but no alarm system? Okay. Veronica breaks into the files while revealing that Principal Junior must have screwed with the file. But there’s no sign of alteration. Wallace reveals that someone gave them boxes of cookies on the first day of school, and he ate six. Somehow that must have screwed with his test.

There’s a slightly clumsy bit where Veronica asks Wallace to meet her at her house, and he says he’ll follow her because she shouldn’t go out alone, because that’s our segue into another flashback…

This time Logan and Veronica are making out in Logan’s bright-yellow SUV. She whispers to Logan that her dad is probably watching them through a telescope – mounted on a rifle. Hee. He would, too. Aw, Logan tells her he loves her. She smiles and says, “Aw, the things guys’ll say to get past second base.” Which is cute, and neatly skirts saying it back. Hmmm. They keep kissing, and someone shoots the car. No, really. As soon as they get horizontal, bam. It was Keith! He really was watching them through a rifle! No, we’re supposed to believe it’s one of Felix’s buddies, still pissed that Logan isn’t in prison. But my money’s on Keith.

Flashforward to Wallace’s home drug test. Veronica knocks on the bathroom door, and poor Wallace tells her to leave him alone already! Daddy Mars shows up, and Veronica lies to him for the first time this season by saying it’s a science project. He makes a crack that I won’t repeat but makes me giggle helplessly and totally squicks out Veronica and Wallace. These folks are going to make a hell of a family someday. Though Veronica’s mom will probably crash the wedding.

Wallace’s drug test is clean, and he says everyone on the out list is a starter. Just gonna say it once – Wallace is Veronica’s height and skinny, and he’s playing football. As what, the goalpost? There’s dozens of sports that don’t require the athlete to be large and overly muscular, and they chose the one sport least suited to the actor’s physical type. Nitpick over.

They bring Daddy Mars in on the plot. He steps over to the Plot Device Computer, and it turns out all the parents of the replacement starters are the stockholders of a company and I really don’t care because we’re all about the real mystery coming up fast.

Commercials.

Aha, journalism class. Scarcrest is right – this is the Defense Against the Dark Arts position. Never to be filled for long. Afterward, Veronica passes Weevil and gets the evil eye.

Which sends us into a flashback. Again. Logan says Trina, a.k.a. Willow, is trying to negotiate to play herself in a TV movie about Lily’s death. The Casablancas are here. I was hoping they’d vanish, but I saw them in the credits and it looks like we’re stuck with them for the whole damn season. Seems Logan and the Casablancas were going to kill grass in their rival school’s field in the shape of an insult. But surprise! They contaminated the community pool, which was shut down for the rest of the year. No big deal for the rich kids – they have pools. Good job there, boys.

I do like this classism divide they’ve got going, and how weird it’s going to be for Veronica and Wallace as poor kids on the outskirts of the ‘09er lifestyle.

Logan hangs out at the pool with Dick and Beaver. He hasn’t come to school yet. Um, is Logan 18? Because with Mom dead and Dad in prison, he should be a ward of the state. But it doesn’t matter, because here comes today’s Whedonverse refugee, Charisma Carpenter! Ha, she’s playing a bitch, Dick and Beav’s new stepmom. In a string bikini, and okayfine, there is no way that woman has had a child. God hates me. Enjoy, gentlemen. Yes, she shall be called Cordelia, in honor of the bitch-queen of Sunnydale High who was unfortunately co-opted into sappiness before her death. Extra amusement that Cordelia “was a Laker girl” – as was Charisma Carpenter, or something similar. Hee.

Coffeehouse. Veronica has lured the bad parents to the coffee shop and bugged the table. The principal is listening to the bug. Fortunately they’re stupid and talk all about fixing the drug tests. Good, all that’s out of the way. I really didn’t care about that whole subplot – there were other things we could have done to draw Veronica back into Nancy Drew mode, like, say, the big thing at the end of the episode. But I get that they were trying to bring in new viewers, and if it keeps this show alive, more power to them.

Brunette tells Veronica her boyfriend’s here, and was I supposed to be surprised that she goes to kiss Duncan? Because she and Logan could not possibly have lasted. I knew it.

Commercials.

Veronica and Duncan are going on a field trip with the journalism class. Logan and Duncan toss a few quips at each other, which amuse me because they’re WEST SIDE STORY references. Heh. Logan is skipping the field trip. Then Logan gives Veronica a Look and says, “I’m gonna miss you.” Which is such a red herring. Oops, am I giving away the ending?

Flashback to the breakup. Veronica is breaking up with Logan because he and the Idiot Squad keep cruising around ratcheting up the tension between the Haves and the Have-Nots in Neptune. A lot of people have said it was hypocritical for Veronica to break up with Logan for his inability to get past the last season’s fun and games, since she spent last season the same way. But Veronica never tried to hurt people, never hatched plots against innocent bystanders, never adopted a scorched-earth policy. She sought the truth for herself and Lily, and once justice was served, she moved on. Logan is being an asshole and refusing to recognize that there’s a problem, and I don’t blame her at all for not being able to handle it.

Logan flips out quite a bit. He breaks a lamp and screams at her. Daddy Mars strides in and in a great bit of continuity uses a classic cop’s move to pin Logan against a wall. “You don’t talk to my daughter that way. You’re leaving now and you’re never coming back,” he says. Good job, writers. Good job, Enrico. And to those who said it was overblown – you’ve never seen a cop flatten a guy who seems about to do violence, and this is his daughter.

Flashforward. I can never remember which Casablancas is which, but I believe Dick is the dick and Beaver is the smart one. So it’s Dick who complains that the bus stinks “like someone died.” Think that’ll be important? Maybe it stinks because someone DID die and is jammed in a compartment? Or because something else is going on? Dick also notices a shy girl we’ve never seen before. Gee, I wonder if she’ll be important.

Logan arrives at the Casablancas’ house and gives Cordelia a line I can’t believe got past the censors: “Can Dick and Beaver come out and play?” Because Cordelia is dropping the robe, and ew ew ew. Logan, you baaaad boy. This signals very bad things for Logan’s character development.

Ballpark. Steve Guttenberg! I’ve missed him. I actually had a crush on him as a young lass. I thought he was the cutest one of the three in THREE MEN AND A BABY. Shaddup. He is running for mayor – don’t suppose that’ll be important or anything – and makes a spectacle of his daughter, the shy awkward girl from the bus. Name of Gia. She goes on this unpleasantly ditzy spiel about her clothes. I hate her already. Dick is macking on her but good. Honey, run away. Gia has transferred to Neptune High because her father is running for office and it’s bad for his daughter to be in private school. Hold the phone. There’s a private school in Neptune, but all these uber-rich kids go to a public school with metal detectors and murders? The hell you say. Also, nice for Mayor Guttenberg to admit he’s sabotaging his daughter’s education as a political stunt. The reporter in me is scribbling down his words. Dumbass.

During the food portion, Veronica is hanging on Duncan’s arm. It bothers me. It’s not Veronica. But then we didn’t get to see normal, happy Veronica last season – maybe she’s always that clingy. It’s common in high school. Not that I remember or anything.

They see a star baseball player named Terrence Cook. This is the tough part about a season premiere – what’s going to be important? Terrence Cook looks unhappy to be there and argues with Steve Guttenberg, but is gracious enough to the kids.

Dick offers a limo ride back to Duncan and Veronica. Meg declines the limo, and Veronica says she’s going to ride the bus and try to talk to Meg one more time. Duncan rightly points out that Veronica owes Meg nothing. I agree, but maybe DUNCAN owes her something? I wonder how he broke up with her. Knowing Duncan, it likely wasn’t gentle and kind.

Veronica then turns to Terrence Cook and tells him he’s Daddy Mars’ favorite baseball player. But Veronica likes another one who is cute. Hey, it’s really hard to tell what’s going to be important later on, okay?

Bus. Veronica tries to talk to Meg, who continues being a bitch. It sends us into another flashback, which is a musical montage of Duncan stalking – er, hanging out with Veronica at the coffeeshop. He had broken up with Meg, and she was faithful to Logan. Then after the breakup, Duncan left her a fortune cookie. We don’t get to see what it says, of course, because the people who write this are evil. But it makes her run to kiss Duncan.

How big is Neptune? Does the bus really need a gas stop on the way back to the school? Well, apparently it does, and the teacher lacks all common sense by allowing the kids a pit stop. Coming out of the convenience store, Veronica sees the Ghost of Lily run around a corner.

Hold the phone again. I thought the Ghost of Lily was a representation of Veronica’s own thoughts. Why is she seeing it now? I sure hope we’re not going the PASSIONS route here. A little ghost goes a long way. It doesn’t make any sense for the ghost to be, y’know, a real ghost. Otherwise, she was being awfully vague all last season while poor Veronica was tracking down Aaron Echolls.

Veronica follows the Ghost of Lily to see the other person who hates her: Weevil. Just as sexy as ever. Mmm, Weevil.

On the bus, the DADA teacher asks if everyone’s here. Meg sees Veronica talking to Weevil and lies that they’re all on board. Bad Meg.

Weevil throws meanness at Veronica: she’s back with the ‘09ers, she’s giving it up to the richest boys in school. He thinks Logan killed Felix and got away with it because he’s rich and white. Poor Weevil. His face when Veronica tells him about the shotgun blast that nearly killed her and Logan tells me he’s not king of the block anymore. Ouch. Knocked out by a rich white boy, losing control of his gang AND the girl he loved is dead. I hope they give Weevil something more to do than be Veronica’s conduit to the dark side of Neptune.

The bus leaves her behind. Weevil starts to drive off, and I start cursing the writers, but then he comes back and gives her a ride. That’s my Weevil. He’s my lust object. Even if he’s clearly there to be a red herring in the Big Mystery. What? He is NOT the killer. Not my Weevil. Rowr.

And here we are. The limo is pulled over to the side. The bus went over the side into the ocean. Survivors include the Asshole Brothers (unfortunately), Gia the Twitterbug (unfortunately), Duncan (yay!) and of course Veronica. Duncan comes running over, clearly happy to see Veronica wasn’t on the bus, though a second of seeing his reaction to the thought that she was on the bus might have given the actor the chance to set all those fears about his woodeness to rest. As it is, he might have been happier to see her alive. Hmmm.

Next week: We meet the bus driver’s daughter, there’s shootings and more naked Cordelia. It’s off to the races, folks.

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