Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ten Statements About....VERONICA MARS SEASON ONE, EPISODE FIVE 'You Think You Know Somebody' (2004)

Though there is a mystery in this episode, this is one of two
relationships that really drive the story...
"The best way to dull the pain of your best friend's murder is to have your mother abandon you as soon as possible. It's like hitting your thumb with a hammer, then when it's throbbing so badly you don't think you'll survive...you cut the damn thing off."
1) This is one of those episodes where the mini-mystery is designed to close out a number of plotlines--mainly Veronica's relationship with Troy, but writer Dayna North manages to use this further darkening of Troy to cast a little reflection on Veronica learning of her father's relationship with Rebecca...and even puts down further hints as to Logan's growing respect for our heroine. It's this sort of multitasking that the show does well.

2) Perhaps the strangest element of this episode is director Nick Gomez. Gomez was something of a hot talent back in 1992, when his microbudgeted, Brooklyn set crime drama The Laws of Gravity generated a lot of critical buzz. Then he followed it up with the ludicrous New Jersey Drive (with my neighborhood of Ridgewood recognizably filling in for New Jersey and--outside of a few more stabs at featuredom--retreated into serialized television. For someone who once had a very distinct, rubbed-raw style, Gomez' directing is very vanilla here save for one or two moments.

3) It's a pity Paula Marshall has this rep as a series-killer. She's hella sexy in a girl-next-door kinda way and has a definite charisma that leaves a lasting impression even in her very brief scenes in this episode.

Sparks fly between these two like an electric chair.....
4) I don't think we've mentioned Jason Dohring for a while--but he continues to prove that he was the absolute right person for this. Even though Thomas' plan is to do a slooooow burn towards the ultimate relationship between Logan and Veronica, Dohring is able to keep planting seeds (the playfulness with which they interact in the first act) while still retaining that vicious hardboiled edge in other moments. Watching these two interact, throwing barbs at each other as if they're sword blows, is one of the joys of these early episodes.

5) We get another revelation about Veronica's mother in what is arguably the few moments where the Gomez of 1992 shines through. And it's a pretty damn scary revelation that will lead to the introduction of another key satellite character whose presence is felt throughout the series' three season run.

6) I didn't realize that Luke, the hapless victim/client of this episode, is played by Sam Huntington, who will go on to play the slightly creepy Jimmy Olsen of Superman Returns and the sidekick to the titular character in Dylan Dog: Dead of Night. I guess that speaks pretty highly of his abilities, huh?

7) Boy, that scene where Luke laments about how the value of his Barry Bonds signed baseball will skyrocket once Bonds retires sure sounds hilarious in retrospective, doesn't it?

8) You wanna see proof that Kristen Bell and Enrico Colantoni are perfect playing a family, even though they don't look at all alike? Check out the scene at roughly the half hour mark. These two actors play it rough, play it raw, play each line as if they've been dragged through broken glass...and never once do you lose sight of the fact that these two people care deeply about each other even though they're out to wound emotionally.

9) Give Aaron Ashmore credit--even though it becomes rather obvious that he's Up To No Good (as opposed to Rebecca, who genuinely made Bad Choices In Her Past but is honestly a good person) very early on, he manages to keep the viewer in doubt as to whether he's a True Bounder or Not...and his ultimate fate is very satisfying. And speaking of satisfying...

Corinne Bohrer proves the old adage about leaving the
public wanting more....
10) Unlike previous episodes, this one's stinger does work. The scene of Corinne Bohrer recording a message for Veronica at a neon-drenched racetrack as The Postal Service's "From Great Hieghts" (a song that Gomez uses as a music cue throughout the episode) swells on the sountrack works perfectly to leave little hooks of curiosity in our brains as to what is going on with Lianne Mars that will build throughout Season One's first half.

Overall...this is another episode that works more for what is going on in the individual storylines than for the main mystery--but the excellent acting from Colantoni, Ashmore and others really elevate it into a great little piece of work.

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