Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ten Statements About....VERONICA MARS SEASON ONE, EPISODE SIXTEEN 'Betty And Veronica' (2005)

Don't misconstrue this moment--this plot thread
reminds you that we're in a film noir world...

"Why are you following me?"
"You say following, I say taking a walk with a friend."

1) We pick up where we left off--and there's an interesting reversal of dynamics here. Whereas the relationship between Veronica and her father is equal-but-separate, with the father keeping the upper hand, the relationship between her and Corrine Bohrer's Lianne is much different. Here, Veronica is the paternal one, having to comfort and manage this mess that is her mom.

2) Even though Duane Daniels' Vice Principal Clemmons has been sliding around the edges of the series, he begins to take a new level of prominence here, acting as the catalyst (and client) for this episode's A plot. Daniels is a very low-key actor and, as he starts gaining more screen time (and a promotion), his dry, deadpan delivery becomes more and more of an asset.

Bizzaro Neptune calls for Bizzaro Veronica....
3) And speaking of that A Plot--as you might be able to tell from the title, this is a light hearted break before we enter Act Three of this Season and a wide swath of Dark Times Ahead.

4) Yep...nothing is as iconic a Veronica Mars moment as watching Kristen Bell making dinner while listening to the interrogation tapes from the Lily Kane investigation on her Walkman....

5) ...and there's nothing that speaks volumes more about the Veronica/Wallace dynamic than his discovery that she's making the Spirit Boxes his finds in his locker...because, as she puts it 'he doesn't' find school pride corny.

6) You know, as much as I like Kyle Secor's Jake Kane at this point, Lisa Thornhill never rises above Soap Opera Villian with Celeste. Her scenes, both in flashback and in the present, always ring broadly false, and disrupts the flow of the episodes she's in.

Veronica Mars...Now with Snickerdoodles!
7) I gotta give Alona Tal a lot of props here. She infuses Meg with a genuine desire to keep her relationship with Veronica even as Veronica tries to will it to wither--and it's Tal's brightness and natural likability that makes the moment where she is able to repair that rift between then work. She's a lot of fun, and I wish they kept her around past the middle of Season Two.

8) You know...I rather like the whole 'Bizzaro Neptune' aspect of Veronica's brief foray into rival school Pan--and the fact that she has this great respect for what could be considered Wallace's opposite number, Kyle Searles' Richie, to the point where she tells him how special he is, is one of the tiny touches that makes this whole comedic A Plot more than incidental.

9) The final scene has two phases...in the first phase, we learn how Veronica has put Lianne into rehab, sacrificing her college fund to do so, which sounds like a hopeful resolution until we realize that this is a hardboiled detective series at its core, and things tend to end badly. In the second phase, we learn something about Abel Koontz that will propel us into Act Three.

10) Speaking of which--this is officially the end of the Second Act of Season One. You'll find that more and more of the shows eschew the A Plot structure to focus on the Lily Kane...and when the A Plot does show up again, they tend to be...pretty stinky. You've been warned.

Overall...a pretty cool mix of lighthearted goofy A Plot and some pretty dour overarc stuff. There's a lot of fun stuff, both plotwise and performance wise, and it's a fitting close to the second act of this season.

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