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.