Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ten Statements About....VERONICA MARS SEASON ONE, EPISODE SEVENTEEN 'Kanes and Abel's' (2006)

"Remember this overarc is about my
 "What do you think Lily would make of you investigating all the people who loved her?"
"I loved Lily. Maybe if I didn't, I'd be able to drop this."

1) We're now into Act Three of Season One, and this episode is all about setting up the elements Thomas and his writers need for their big climax. It's also about starting to discard the red herrings left in the road, but we'll get to that on a case by case basis. A lot more is going to be going on in each episode, and they're sometimes going to be difficult to keep up with.

2) That's not to say there isn't an A plot--it's just that the whole storyline involving Veronica being hired by a student to stop the harassment of her during midterms is pretty much the B plot this episode. It's treated as an impediment to what the story is mostly about, namely Veronica sequestering Abel Koontz' daughter Amelia, played by Erin Chambers, while she develops the case to clear Abel of Lily's murder.

We get even closer to the Logan/Veronica relationship...
thanks to a little snooping.
3) There's some advancement of the plot thread involving Logan and Veronica's changing relationship--which is vital for the Lily Kane storyline to shake out...and Bell and Dohring more than prove up to the task. There's a simple exchange--quoted above--that explains why Logan isn't a suspect while drawing them closer together. The chemistry at this point is a physical presence here.

4) You know, Veronica in this episode comes close to being a real jerk when it comes to her interactions with Amelia. She consistently lies to the woman and is overall deceptive just so she can get what she wants.

5) And, of course, this is the episode that introduces Vinnie Van Lowe, played expertly by Ken Marino. Right now he's seen primarily as a comedy character, but come the next two seasons Marino will start slowly getting darker in his performance until he becomes something of a threat to the Mars family.

6) The whole sequence revolving around the Scholarship Dinner is significant primarily for setting up the motif of Veronica replaying the murder of Lily with each of the final suspects (which means more of Amanda Seyfried being fabulous, but that's besides the point)...but one of the other things I like is it once again gives us a glimpse of the very nuanced portrayal of Jake Kane by Kyle Secor...okay, and the wretched scenery chewing of Lisa Thornhill as Celeste. Seeing their reaction to Veronica showing up side by side shows why Secor knows what he's doing, and Thornhill doesn't..

7) ...and speaking of Lily, we get another little bit of magic realism, with Veronica having a discussion with her ghost that leads into a wonderful moment with her and Duncan admitting in a circuitous way how much they miss her. I've said it before, but these are the moments that elevate the show into something unique.

8) There's another strong Veronica/Keith scene that leads directly from the first real exposure we have to Christopher Duncan's Clarence Weidman. The scene with Keith and Clarence basically playing chicken with each other is pretty choice--and the one that follows, with Keith finally giving his consent to Veronica's investigation is extremely powerful...all the more so because of the absolute believability these two have as father and daughter.

Say hello to a red herring...
9) If you want proof of how this show, at least for the first two seasons, planned for the long term...the ultimate resolution of the Amelia plotline that is for all extents the A plot of this episode ends with a comment about her running off to Belize. I have no idea if Thomas had intended this, but it's a foreshadowing of what ultimately happens to Amelia when the series decides to revisit the Abel Koontz subplot in Season Two.

10) And give this episode credit for ending on a real shocker of a hook, as we reach Veronica's mental recreation of how the murder of Lily would go if Duncan was the culprit. Short, nasty, too the point, and leading to a silent outro.

Overall....a pretty disjointed episode that is given a lift by some strong character bits and some genuine movement of the overarc. It's a great forty-some-odd minutes before we hit what has to be the two worst episode of the first season...so you've been warned.

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