Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ten Statements About....VERONICA MARS SEASON ONE, EPISODE TWO 'Credit Where Credit's Due' (2004)

Yes, even with the dorky hat, I think Kristen Bell is hot...
and apparently, I'm not the only one.
"Oh, I know her. She's a thrillseeker. Doing you was like doing the dew...and that's all it was."

1) You'll notice with this episode something that became something of a hallmark--very, very long teasers that ran on average seven to ten minutes. It manages to get you deep in the story, and into the series' world, pretty quickly.

2) This is the episode that features Paris Hilton as the guest star/girlfriend of Logan. She's not the worst of these celebrity castings in the series history--that honor goes to Joss Whedon in Season Two--but she doesn't have the chops at this time (she actually got better as an actress in recent years) to pull of the character written for her.

3) This is also the first episode to features Sydney Tamiia Portier, who is given featured character billing...but only appears in four episodes. Her character of Mallory gets kind of, sort of replaced by another character played by Joey Lauren Adams for one episode--at which point the newspaper office gets massively reduced in importance on the show.

4) It needs to be said--man, is Michael Munhey's Sherrif Lamb a total dick. The way he verbally tortured Keith Mars is wince-worthy in the best of all possible ways.

5) On the other hand, this episode goes a loooooong way towards fleshing out Francis Capra's Weevil, giving him some added dimension, a home life and a code of honor until he serves as a teen Hawk to Veronica's Spencer.

6) This is the episode that introduces Aaron Ashmore's Troy...a character who will insinuate himself into Veronica's life for a while, and pop up again in season two. Think of him as a perfectly coiffed male version of the femme fatale...a sort of 'homme fatale,' if you will.

Believe it or not, this guy becomes one of the more
important supporting characters in the series.
7) Another introduction--blink and you miss Ryan Hansen's debut as Dick Casablancas. Dick is one of those characters that was apparently not meant to be a major supporting character, but the performance of Hansen so enthralled Thomas and the others that they kept adding him into more and more scenes. Hansen provides some particularly rude comic relief throughout the series--and the Casablancas family becomes one of the major linchpins of Season Two.

8) Credit is due to Thomas and his writing staff in making Neptune into a real place. There are throwaway lines that solidify major landmarks, caste lines and the political landscape. Granted, this sort of gets disjointed in Season Two where, among other things, this minor city suddenly has a major sports franchise. But for this initial season, Neptune feels like a real small market city and not a stand-in for San Diego.

This episode solidifies the strange friendship between the teen
detective and the juvie motorcycle gang leader...a friendship
that works.
9) There is a subtlety to Bell's acting even here...the wistful, sad smile when she sees Caitlin's ultimate fate speaks volumes of what's going on behind her eyes.

10) Thomas continues to be able to set up everything for his overarcing Season Plot while telling what, to our eyes, is a stand-alone story about credit fraud.

Overall...nowhere near as great as the pilot, this suffers from a substandard performance from Paris Hilton as Caitlin. However, so much is established in regards to the supporting cast and the city itself that it is essential viewing for anyone interested in the series.

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