Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ten Statements About....VERONICA MARS SEASON TWO, EPISODE FIVE 'Blast From The Past' (2005)

Admittedly, a chicken outfit is not involved in any of
the fantasies I have about Kristen Bell.
"I'll need an orchid wristlet, preferably in the fushia family, a Rolls Royce limo, and some Kane Software stationary."
"Seriously? Stationary? What for?"
"You're here for your looks. Why don't you leave the heavy thinking to me, sugarpants?"

1) We start a couple of minutes after last episode ended, with Wallace confronting his mother about Nathan. This storyline is coming to a head pretty rapidly, and will result in Wallace disappearing for a stretch only to return in a diminshed role, and Alicia disappearing altogether. However...

2) this is the first 'let's get Veronica and Jackie to bond' episode...and if you've been following my journey through the show, you'll know how much I'm down on that. To be fair, there is another one of these episodes that's a little more effective down the line, and the neat little inversion (Jackie wants to hire Veronica to prove her friend Cora didn't do it in spite of all the evidence, but this outing just doesn't quite rid us of Jackie-stank to work.

This episode is a showcase for Percy Daggs...just in time for
him to be sent away for a while...
3) Boy, Percy Daggs got some pipes on him...and he chooses to rebuke his dad with Motown!

4) You know what I find really, really strange? It's established very early on that this is all taking place during the days leading up to Homecoming--and yet the Bus Crash Overarc is not mentioned at all. It does get brought up elsewhere (as we'll get to in Point 5), but the fact that it doesn't come up during this rather important part of the school year is odd; especially since it could've been solved with a single line of dialogue claiming the Dance is in memory of the Bus Crash dead, or that some students are questioning holding it. A strange misstep for a script crew that's usually spot on.

5) The moment where Veronica listens in to a phone message left by one of The Bus Crash Dead is truly horrifying...and Kristen Bell sells it, and sells it well..

6) I like how director Harry Winer handles Veronica's bugging of Lamb...when she fast forwards through the recording, we cut to the squadroom in fast motion...until, of course, we're hit with the revelation of Terence Cook's secret shame.

7) And here's why this episode does not succeed in getting us more on Jackie's side...by having her get some digs at Veronica through the psychic, she comes off as even more petty and nasty than we've been assuming up to this point...especially given how Veronica has spent quite some time helping her out. Being played by Tessa Thompson doesn't help endear her much, either...

"...and then our growing closer will be stunted by my doing
something petty against you...it's to laugh, right?"
8) Now here's why I am so going to miss Percy Daggs when he is demoted to secondary sidekick soon...there is a scene here where he confronts Veronica and basically gets her dead to rights. It's a brilliantly written scene, all the more so because Wallace is correct in his assessment about the situation. But it would not have worked if Daggs wasn't able to give it the emotional heft it needed. Hell, the contrasting of how he speaks to Veronica, with passion and anger, to the way he speaks to Jackie in the next scene, drives home how close these two characters are.

9) We get another example of Enrico Colantoni's physical acting--the anguish on his face after hearing the phone message speaks volumes about how conflicted he is about telling Veronica he won't use the Bus Crash as leverage to win the election.

10) If you thought wasting time with a Dandy Warhol was a good idea, keep an eye out for the band at Homecoming. That's The Faders, an all-girl group who had the first in a series of...let me check...one hit, getting a rather generous chunk of air time.

Overall...this episode could have been a disaster, but it is salvaged by the reintroduction of the Overarc in the back end. There's some truly choice elements in here, so try to ignore the screechy performance by Erica Gimpel, the hamhanded handling of the Nathan Cook storyline and other missteps and enjoy the diamonds in this pile of chiffon.

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