Cable for One – Veronica Mars – 3-19/20

And so, after three years of struggling to stay on the air, Veronica Mars has been canceled. The cancellation was only announced a few days before the airing of the finale, so there was no true ‘series finale’ to be had here. Hell, CW was too lazy and/or cheap to have the announcer guy redub the between episode promos; even during the last episode the announcer was still referring to it as the “season finale.” Fortunately we at least get a couple of strong episodes to bring the series to a close.

“Weevils Wobble But They Don’t Go Down” was a pretty solid episode. Oddly enough it felt like exactly the sort of mystery Veronica would tackle in a filler episode while the plot took a break, but it worked pretty well. Plus it was nice to see a Weevil centered episode given how scarce he’s been ever since the show came back from hiatus.

It was pretty amusing to watch the Ski Club trying to bribe Veronica. Even if they had made the offer for someone without Veronica’s integrity, it was a pretty weak offer. Of course, their entire scam seemed to be on the weak side. It doesn’t really seem like its worth getting in to serious trouble over the ability to have all the on-campus food you can eat for free.

Come to think of it, the Ski Clubbers were an odd bunch. They went to all the trouble of coming up with a fall guy to blame in case they were found out; they even went to the trouble of getting Weevil’s fingerprints in case they needed to frame him for the crime. And yet, for all the work they put into their scam, they used incredibly obvious aliases. The only reason for them to use such horrible aliases was that if they hadn’t, there wouldn’t have been an episode.

While it was useful for setting up “The Bitch is Back,” I thought the whole bit with ‘The Castle’ contacting Wallace in “Weevils Wobble But They Don’t Go Down” ended up eliminating any suspense as to who had planted the camera in Wallace and Piz’s room. As soon as Dick showed Logan the video of Piz and Veronica, it was obvious that someone connected to ‘The Castle’ was responsible.

Even though we already knew there was no way Piz was the one who had planted that camera, I must say I still did get some enjoyment from watching Logan wail on the guy. Ever since he started dating Veronica, Piz has been way too emo (for that matter, so has Logan). Thus, I had no problem watching Piz get his face pounded in.

While I had no problem with Logan’s reaction, the initial reaction from the general public to Veronica’s leaked video was a bit overdone. From the brief excerpt we were shown, the video quality wasn’t very good, and the camera was about as far from Piz’s bed as it could have been. And Hearst is a pretty big campus; it’s not like everyone already knew Veronica before the video was released. Only the most diligent viewers would actually have been able to recognize Veronica when she entered a room. Veronica may well have felt like everyone was watching her and whispering to their friends, but few, if any, would actually be doing so.

At least Veronica herself had a very appropriate, in character, response to the incident as she dedicated herself to tracking down the person who had leaked her video on to the Internet and sought revenge.

I’ve never really been a fan of Nish, but it was a nice touch to have her be the person who had written an expose on The Castle the previous year. It did a good job of (very loosely) tying the finale to the season as a whole.

The return of Jake Kane, Clarence Wiedman and even the paintings of Lily and Duncan also helped tie the episode into previously established events. It didn’t work quite as well for me though. While it seemed only natural that Nish would have been compelled to try and uncover The Castle, Jake’s return felt a little too convenient. I think if he had just been revealed as belonging to The Castle it would have been fine, but having Jake as a very prominent member of The Castle (as evidenced by his hosting the induction of new members and having access to all The Castle’s secrets) was just a little too much.

On the sheriff election front, the whole Vinnie is conspiring with the Fitzpatricks storyline was completely dropped for the finale. Normally I would assume the writers were just planning on focusing on Vinnie’s deal with the Fitzpatricks in the early part of the next season. But given the probability that we would have been getting a massively retooled, several years in the future version of the show next season if the show had been renewed, that story almost certainly would have been dropped anyway.

While a couple lines about Vinnie being in league with the Fitzpatricks would have been nice, I really liked that Keith lost the election because of Veronica, and not just some elaborate plot. Making the situation more tragic is that if Veronica had just told him why she broke into Jake Kane’s house or what was really on the hard drive (or had even just answered her cellphone), Keith wouldn’t have felt compelled to protect her.

On most shows, Kieth would have been bitter and/or demanded to know why Veronica did what she did after he had erased the evidence. It was great to see Keith didn’t do that. While he didn’t trust Veronica not to end up in jail (or at the very least ruin her internship shot), he trusted that she had a good reason for what she did, even if he was unaware of it.

As a season finale, these two episodes worked really well. We had a strong Weevil episode, some relationship angst for those who get off on such things, Veronica learning to appreciate Logan’s more violent skills (when he jumped the guy who had distributed the tape) and some great Veronica and Keith interactions, culminating in Keith’s losing the election unnecessarily (well, we don’t see him actually lose, but the charges should ensure his defeat) in order to protect Veronica’s future. Keith’s impending defeat was the perfect way to end the season and the year.

Unfortunately these episodes don’t serve nearly as well as a series finale. The ending of “The Bitch is Back” works perfectly for the show’s usual style of jumping to the fall for the start of the season. But when the story never picks up again, it leaves far too many loose threads. I guess that’s what happens when networks wait until after filming for a season has concluded to decide if they’re going to renew a show or not.