Veronica Mars Should Always Take Backup

Misty and I have been grooving on Veronica Mars since right after the first season. The combination of a noir outlook and a spunky-yet-troubled teenage heroine has proven irresistible. Each of the first two seasons started with a mystery that was solved by the end of the season. This year, since they weren’t picked up for a full season to begin with, they did a shorter mystery arc that ended last night.

And what an ending! I am about to spoil like milk left out overnight, so avert your eyes if you have yet to see the most recent episode.

Right, here we go. I wanted to point out a few things that you might have overlooked. Did you catch why Moe the R.A. was involved, and how it tied to the seemingly-random B plot from an earlier episode? Students taking psychology at Hearst take part in a repeat of the Zimbardo experiment, also known as the Stanford prison experiment — and let’s just glide past how that would never, ever, ever be allowed at a college. Moe overhears Wallace talking about the experiments and says that it changed his life. And indeed, as shown in the picture on Moe’s wall, Moe was the prisoner to Mercer’s janitor. And during the episode, Mercer several times calls Moe “prisoner” to underscore the point.

Got that? Now think back to the episode prior to this one. In a bit of stunt-casting, Patty Hearst played the flaky rich trustee of Hearst College. I thought the Hearst/Hearst bit was the joke, but it wasn’t — it’s that Patty Hearst is the most famous example of Stockholm Syndrome. Trust this show to use extra-textual information about a guest star to reinforce the theme of the mystery’s solution.

One thing I missed until this morning: Tim the T.A. had a “current member” headshot sheet for the Pi Sigs up on his bulletin board of mystery and had circled several of the pictures. I belatedly realized that they were the Pi Sigs his girlfriend had slept with.

Finally, how awesome will it be when it turns out Dean O’Dell’s killer followed the directions given in Veronica’s paper on how to commit a perfect murder?

I now turn the discussion over to you. Talk amongst yourselves.

11 thoughts on “Veronica Mars Should Always Take Backup

  1. I’m very frustrated with myself that I didn’t put Moe and Mercer together until Veronica went into Moe’s room after knocking Mercer out. I must not have been paying full attention to Mercer at all, calling Moe “prisoner”. I felt like an idiot. [Okay, so I was monaural watching the episode.] I think I’m frustrated because I strongly suspected both of them over the course of the arc and never put them together. I even thought of Moe helping someone out in the role he used—well, not that he’d roofie people, but that he’d know who was blotto—but never put it all together. Damn.

    I didn’t catch that about the Pi Sigs, though.

    And … holy hell, that episode was awesome. I think about it about once an hour today—difficult with how crappy I feel—and just go all Keanu Reeves.

  2. At this point I don’t even try to figure out the mystery, though it’s fun to speculate while the season is going on. I twigged about the time Veronica was drinking Moe’s tea.

    Man, that episode is still making me happy two days later.

  3. I noticed that Tim had circled the Pi Sigs his girlfriend had slept with, and when he said that he’d slept with a girl each time she’d cheated on him, I thought, “Three guys, three genuine rapes!” He was my number-one suspect, but I would have been shocked if I’d actually gotten it right.

    I loved the Patty Hearst clue (that I of course missed at the time) and I, too, think the “perfect murder” papers have something to do with Dean O’Dell.

  4. Yikes, Kari, that red herring sailed right past me. In retrospect the implication is blindingly obvious, but at the time I was too busy laughing at the idea that the guy who played Tim, who also played Lucky last season, was doomed to playing crazy guy roles on the show.

    Now I’m waiting for the Veronica Mars/L&O:SVU crossover, where Chris Meloni gets to glare at everyone.

  5. I am sad to report that Rob Thomas and the CW are contemplating the elimination of the big “mysteries” on VM. Thomas said they were getting complaints about the show being too hard to follow, so after the mystery of the murder of the Dean, the format may change.
    I am just glad the rapist wasn’t Piz. That character is really growing on me!

  6. Wow! Going to single show mysteries is a great idea. (Me rolling eyes in sarcasm.) Just what we need, another procedure show that thinks the audience is stupid.

    I have shows like that that I do enjoy but VM is a totally different animal for me and I like it like that.

  7. Amen, sister. This just turns it into CSI: Noir with a Pocket-Sized Hottie.

    Not that I, uh, crush on Kristen Bell or anything. Nope.

    [She loves hockey! She knows my weakness!]

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