Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ten Statements About....VERONICA MARS SEASON ONE, EPISODE NINETEEN 'Hot Dogs' (2006)

"Hi...this dog is responsible for this actress'
inability to be act...have you seen it?
"Congratulations. You've been named the world's biggest cockroach. This award is given in recognition of your unparallell lack of decency and humanity. Bravo. You're gonna die friendless and alone."
"Hey everyone knows you're the biggest--"
"Shut up! If I want you to speak, I'll wave a snausage over your nose. If you use Mandy again to try to convince yourself you're not a loser, I will ruin your life, got it?"

1) This episode is a loose adaptation/take-off of the classic Ed McBain 87th Precient novel King's Ransom--that in turn served as the inspiration for one of my favorite Kurasawa films. High And Low. I mention that as a matter of establishing the historical position of the episode, and also to avoid talking about it much, because it's not very good at all.

2) So skillful is the way Thomas and his writers--in this episode's case Dayna Lynna North--have set up all their pins for this final act that an innocent scene between Weevil and Veronica ends up fraught with possible menace. Yes, Weevil inquires about who could have killed Lily out of a desire to know who murdered someone he cared about...but because we saw all of Veronica's re-enactment, the questions end up sounding sinister.

3) You'll notice that a lot is spent with the B plot focusing on the Ecchols family. Now on first viewing you'll prolly assume this is because Logan just took a big giant step into being Someone Important in the series...but Thomas has an ulterior motive, and it's to his credit, and the credit of Harry Hamlin, Jason Dohring and Alysson Hannigan that we simply don't notice what these scenes are really giving us until after the fact.

4) Boy...Dayna Lynne North hands Lisa Thornhill a scene that could serve to rehabilitate Celeste Kane's character, give us some insight and maybe some sympathy for her...and she cocks even that up. Why she was cast, I will never know.

Hell, after you act your ass off beating your daughter's
boyfriend, you'd want to take a rest as well...
5) Back to the B Plot again...once we get to the halfway mark, starting with the scene between Trina and Aaron, I have to marvel at the acting assayed by both Hannigan and Hamlin. The trick is you know one of these people is lying--you don't know that both of them are until this plot pays out. And in the long run, Thomas uses this scene to give us another clue-in-plain-sight to the resolution of the Lily Kane case. I think Hamlin knew this was a role worth giving a damn about and gave it his all to the benefit of everyone.

6) Okay...Jason Dohring. The amazing thing about what he does in this and the remaining episodes of this season is take a plot development that was absolutely necessary for the mystery to resolve (Veronica never gets vital clues to close the case if she doesn't enter into a relationship with Logan), and sells it totally, all the while giving Logan added depth and smoothing the prickly edges over enough for us to accept him as Veronica's new beau. Granted, in future seasons this relationship becomes an albatross to the show as if becomes something of a shipper's playground but right now, it's the best thing that could have happened.

Heh...a little something for the 'shippers...
7) And sadly, because we need to have Veronica and Logan together right now, we have to say goodbye to Max Greenfield's Leo, who gets dumped (and, to Greenfield's credit, behaves pretty realistically hurt about it) and provides some back-up for the resolution of the A Plot. Pity, because I liked his character, and had problems with how his storyline resolves when he's brought back next season.

8) And speaking of that A Plot...once again, you'll notice I spent very little time talking about it. And the big problem with the A Plot is that Claire Titelman, who plays Mandy, plays the awkward, withdrawn loner so earnestly--and the way her withdrawn-ness is broken is set up so obviously--that it's painful to watch her on screen. I have this horrible feeling that Thomas may have wanted her to be a semi-recurring character like Corny and the Casablancas kids (she does show up in 'Blast From The Past' later on in the series), but thankfully she faded from the series' rear view fairly rapidly.

9) It also doesn't help that, once again, the villains prove to be clots that it should never have taken Veronica that long to find them.

10) I love how this script seemingly exonerates Weevil as a suspect...only to have him thrown back into the active suspect's pool with the final scene of the episode. Granted, it's all one big red herring to keep us distracted while Thomas continues to put the final touches on the final act.

Overall...thankfully the last really bad A Plot episode that's still absolutely essential viewing to get some of the biggest clues to who killed Lily Kane. At least you'll get some great acting from the B Plot cast....

No comments:

Post a Comment