When Gilmore Girls ended its run last week, it was supposed to be an unsatisfying end to a series that had been stagnating for the previous year. It was supposed to be an unplanned, thrown together finale that failed to address the show’s main issues. And, somehow, it managed to be just about as good as it could have been considering the circumstances. It is therefore unfortunate that I can’t say the same for Veronica Mars’ solution to a similar circumstance. While these two episodes combined represent perhaps the best the show has managed all season, the conflict and issues presented were not that of resolution but of upheaval. We left our heroine walking through the rain to the melancholy tones of “It Never Rains in Southern California.” In her there is sadness, frustration, guilt…but there is no happiness. There is no finale. I said earlier today that I was all set to say goodbye to Veronica Mars…but I take it all back. I’m not ready at all.
The first half of the finale dealt with a reasonably interesting standalone case: Weevil finds himself framed for fraud, and he hires Veronica (Now able to brandish her P.I. badge) to help exonerate him. In the process, Veronica discovers that there are strange things afoot with the fake student I.D.’s, and that there is a considerably large group of students using it to get ahead. Veronica, of course, takes their names and kicks their collective asses into giving themselves up, and the result is satisfying: even thought Weevil is clearly up to no good in other ways, it’s nice to see a mystery of the week centre around characters we know and care about. It was incredibly satisfying.
The first half also saw a lot of setup for the second one. First, Wallace found himself being stalked, and then realizes that he’s being recruited into The Castle, a secret Skull ‘n Bones society on campus. Second, Piz and Veronica appear to “get it on” in his room, although we see no consummation or post-coital evidence to prove such a thing; foreplay only for us viewers. Thirdly, Veronica and Piz have a confrontation with Logan at the beach where the latter is none too pleased about the current state of affairs. The episode moved at a brisk pace, and it felt jam-packed: there was some Wallace/Veronica, some Mac/Veronica, some Mac/Dick, some Dick/Logan, some Keith/Vinnie altercations…it felt right. The episode was very solid.
Of course, then the second episode came along and changed everything. The story’s main plot device picks up the thread from the previous episode…the Veronica/Piz gettin’ naked one, to be exact. As Veronica and Piz’s naked funtime gets plastered all over the internet thanks to Dick, Chip Diller (Frat Brother from earlier this season/season two), and some other shady individuals (Dominic, one of them, finds himself serenaded with Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” by Veronica after she cancels his credit card, has Weevil put his cars on blocks, and then cuts off his lights). It ends on an individual who himself is a member of The Castle (There’s another story thread picked up on). And, in staking out their drop-off point for information, Veronica comes across something very interesting: Wallace. Picking up his instructions.
Oh, almost forgot: Logan punched the crap out of Piz at one point there after thinking he was the one who taped Veronica (It was instead The Castle, who had placed the camera in Wallace’s room to watch him). Bloodied, he then gets a series of bad news: Parker breaks up with him for clearly still being in love with Veronica, and Veronica says he’s out of her life after kicking her boyfriend’s ass (Or ribs, more specifically). And yet, as eventful as that is, totally not on topic right now.
Anyways, Veronica talks to Wallace about the Castle stuff, and he agrees to smuggle in a camera…but no dice as they find it quite easily and they force Wallace to tell his darkest secret (His murder thing in Chicago, which kind of got dropped a while back). There’s all sorts of skull and bones stuff, but the gist is that they kick Wallace out for the pen. Wallace, however, picks up a clue which leads Veronica to a house in an upscale neighbourhood where she makes her way through the doggie door to find…
A giant portrait of Lilly Kane.
I think I literally yelled an expletive at the sight of it. Suddenly, I KNEW I had recognize Kyle Secor’s name in the credits, and sure enough it is Jake Kane who is behind The Castle. And Veronica watches as he copies the new pledge information onto a hard drive. And then steals it, but not before spotting a giant picture of Duncan to go with that of his sister. Jake immediately calls in Keith, who chats with Clarence Weidman and discovers a stray fibre in the doggie door. He tracks it to the neighbour’s yard, whose camera clearly shows a young blonde girl climbing over the fence. Keith? Unhappy.
And that’s why the episode rocks…okay, I’ll finish. Anyways, Veronica and Mac use a supercomputer to get the info out after Mac geeks out on Star Trek, and then Veronica uses that information to try to blackmail Jake to keep her father out of it. This isn’t about the softcore porn anymore, is it? No. Veronica is taken aback to learn, however, that her father won’t be involved.
Why? Because, as Veronica learns the next day, Keith is being charged by the chief prosecutor for destroying evidence. He took the DVR, fried it with a subwoofer, and tried to ensure that his daughter wouldn’t get caught. Veronica is distraught, and goes to the polls and casts her vote. As “It Never Rains in Southern California” plays, one has to wonder where she goes from here. Man I can’t wait until next…oh shit.
It’s really over, isn’t it? We have to leave on a note of bringing back old characters, toying with our emotions with Veronica and Keith’s future, a really eerie photo of Duncan, Logan kicking the Castle guy’s ass at the end of the episode to retain Veronica’s honour, the clear indication that Keith is losing his sheriff race, the uncertain future of pretty well the entire cast…I thought I was ready for this, Veronica Mars. I thought, for sure, that I was ready to say goodbye.
But these episodes reminded me of why I got hooked on the show in the first place: it is a complicated narrative with a complicated girl at its centre. These two episodes fed well into each other, created complex scenarios, and said a lot about the titular heroine. Veronica, in these episodes, was guilty of a lot of things. Weevil noted that he being framed was her fault for parading his record in front of her criminology class. She became the social outcast again, shunned by the people around her. And, it did bring back the bitch we all love in Veronica: the one who pulls out her tazer twice an episode, and the one who has a vengeance. It was a return to the character we loved…which I guess is a decent way to say goodbye, but not like this.
This wasn’t the right conclusion. We need to know where Veronica goes from here. We need to know how she gets through this, how she moves on, how her father’s sacrifice for her own safety pays off in the end. Would she live with that guilt even as she waltzes into the FBI? Would her relationship with her father be forever strained? There are so many unanswered questions. Gilmore Girls had those, but there was a certain happy sense to them…here, we’re left with sad. We’re left with cloud. We’re left with it raining in Southern California.
I want to see the sun again. Unfortunately, the stormy skies have settled in for, well, forever. And all we can do is say goodbye. And thanks for the memories.