May 9, 2006

Finale Report: Veronica Mars - "Not Pictured"

Veronica Mars is one of the best shows that you're not watching. It has just completed its sophomore season, and what a season it was. I just wish that I paid more attention to it. This is a show that is full of details, big and small. I watched, but I didn't retain much. Does that revoke my fan card?

This season started off with a bang, kicking off a season long arc revolving around a bus crash that killed eight students. The crash was long thought to have been targeting Veronica, who, by a twist of fate, had gotten off the bus prior to the accident. Throughout the season more details were brought to light.

The season finale, entitled "Not Pictured," sees everything coming together as the culprits are brought to light. It also serves to wrap up some other details. Storylines such as Aaron Echolls' acquittal of Lily Kane's murder, the main arc from last season, the drama surrounding Wallace and Jackie, and the culmination of their high school career.

The episode starts with Echolls enjoying his newfound freedom, and Keith Mars wanting to track down Woody, the corrupt pedophile mayor, who has fled town. The father/daughter duo do what they do best, and are able to track down a likely location of the missing official. The only catch is that Keith will not make a move until after graduation.

Graduation morning leads us into Veronica's dream, which is a day that could have been, had Lily never been murdered. Her parents are still together, she is dating Logan, with no murder rap, and she never met Wallace. It may be happy times, but they are short lived as she awakens to reality. Graduation goes well, except for the brief interruption where the police arrest Weevil for the murder of Thumper, a former member of his motorcycle gang. Weevil is that bad guy with the heart of gold, he may not always be on the side of good, but he isn't evil.

After graduation, Keith heads off to a remote hunting lodge, where Woody is holed up. He is captured without much trouble. Woody was facing his pedophilia, and used Keith in a blackmail plot to get him out of town. The scene shifts back to Neptune, and Veronica's discovery.

Veronica is still trying to find out who was behind the bus crash, it turns out not to be Woody. While checking into the victims of his crimes -- all of whom were on a little league team -- there is one player found to not be pictured. It is the name of the person responsible, Cassidy Casablancas. He is a nerdy fella, who happens to be dating one of Veronica's friends. Frantically, Veronica sends her a text message, which is inadvertently intercepted by Cassidy, aka Beaver.

Beaver sends a response asking Veronica to meet him, rather her, on the roof. On her way up, Veronica bumps into Aaron in the elevator, he can't help but gloat over his win, admitting his guilt in the process. Up on the roof, Cassidy greets Veronica with the business end of a gun. She confronts him with her knowledge of his transgressions, just as more information comes to light. He used her to cover his tracks, acting as a fall girl. It also shines a light on a remaining mystery from the first season. It is revealed that it was Cassidy who raped her. That was a something I did not see coming at all!

Cassidy has his own plans for tying up loose ends. First up is to try and convince Veronica to commit suicide, so he doesn't get his clothes messy. To that end, he has planted another bomb, aboard Woody's private plane, which Keith is currently on, returning with Woody in custody. He then goes ahead and dials the trigger. An explosion lights the sky behind them. Veronica loses it, she can barely focus as she types out a text message to Logan while at gunpoint.

Veronica is about to be shot when Logan shows up. A fight ensues between Logan and Cassidy, with Veronica gaining control of the gun. At this point, Veronica is a mess and ready to bring Cassidy's life to an end. Logan is able to talk her down, but Cassidy realizes the increasing futility of his own situation, and takes his own life by leaping from the building.

Meanwhile downstairs in the hotel, a man creeps up behind Aaron Echolls and deposits a pair of silenced slugs in the back of his head. That is followed by the man calling Duncan (Lily's brother) in Australia, he fled with his daughter earlier in the season. They have a simple exchange, one that may be a potential signal to the impending demise of UPN and rise of The CW? Duncan answers the phone "CW?" and the response comes "It's a done deal." Hmmm, sounds like a little signal towards the possibility of a third season? Please?

Logan is able to get Veronica home. She is a wreck, her father is dead, she knows the identity of her rapist, and how can anyone deal with that? Anyway, she has a dream of when she was younger, and wakes up to find Logan making breakfast. Then in walks her father. It turns out he wasn't on the plane. The family reunion is joyous.

The two are about to head off on a vacation, when Kendall Casablancas comes in seeking immediate help from Keith. He tries to defer, but she shows him the contents of a briefcase, not revealed to the camera. Whatever is in it changes his mind. The finale ends with Veronica, alone, at the airport.

Seeing how great this show is makes me wish I paid more attention all season. I will have the DVD's to look forward to.

The cast is great. Kristen Bell does a wonderful job giving Veronica depth. She plays this character that has had so much happen to her, she has built up this facade of being better than everyone, sometimes the wall comes down and she is revealed to be damaged and vulnerable. In the supporting cast there is the reliable Enrico Colantoni as her father, Keith, and Percy Digs III as Wallace. The whole cast is fantastic. All adding to a show that has a great Nancy Drew/Buffy the Vampire Slayer vibe. Definitely catch this series in reruns and on DVD.


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