I waited. I wanted to watch all the episodes at once, and without getting spoiled so I was incredibly flattered that there were people who wanted to hear my thoughts, and I thought I’d need to organize my ideas into categories and things.
But it turns out there’s only one real question at the end of Veronica Mars …
Was that necessary?
(That’s the last oblique sentence I’m going to type, by the way. From here on in, SPOILERS ABOUND.)
Did they really have to…
...kill Logan Echolls?
Sometimes when I’m writing about TV, I worry that I’ve gotten too insider. That I’m writing only from the perspective of someone who works in the business, instead of someone who also consumes it. Like, toilet-paper purveyors can tell us about why they think we want all these features, but what matters is how we receive it, right?
So I try to stay off the internet when I’m going to write about something, but obviously, as soon as I saw those last few minutes – Logan killed literally hours after their wedding – I knew there would be opinions on opinions, and I wasn’t wrong.
And it’s too bad, really, because it means people aren’t talking about most of the rest of the season … except the whole season was pointing us towards this decision, whether you agree with it or not.
Here’s the thing. All through the fourth season the question was asked and not really answered: “Why is Veronica still in Neptune?” None of the financial concerns that were around in the first three seasons still apply, and there’s been plenty of time since the movie for her to have made some moves.
“Why is she such a bitch now?” Well – arguably because she keeps living in this place where her life and her father’s are in constant danger. She keeps coming back to the place where people constantly disappoint her, and making her life there, and feeling out of control but angry about it. Sure, there can and will be crime anywhere, but I think it’s different when you’re living and working among the people who are the problem, year in and year out. Season 4 showed us that Veronica is just going through the motions. She hates Wallace’s friends (which… she has a point), she doesn’t want to move forward with Logan, she makes a new friend in Nicole only to hurt her…
Veronica is the problem. Her own problem.
And unless she changes something about her life, she’ll just grow angrier and more bitter and more resentful of all the things she didn’t do, because she convinced herself she ‘had’ to stay, or that this was her destiny, or that she was too broken to be anywhere else.
Or with anyone else.
This is the most deftly handled part of the series, as far as I’m concerned. When Logan and Veronica were young, she was the straight-arrow in two of them. Sure, she had some honesty issues, but nothing like Logan’s. Some anger problems, but again – have you met the Echolls family?
But now he’s cleaned up his life, and his rage and his direction (and yeah, sadly, some of his quips have gone with it), and Veronica is the damaged one, as she said a million times this season. Maybe she thought nobody else would want her – nobody else who didn’t know her before she became cranky and cynical (okay, permanently cranky and cynical) and kind of an asshole all the time, instead of just some of the time.
They tested that theory with Nicole, and I thought it was exactly right. I wanted it to work, because Nicole was awesome (and Kirby Howell-Baptiste is on fire lately) but no right-thinking adult is going to allow another adult to bug them and then be like, “Hey, it’s okay, we’re cool”
So unless something drastic changes for Veronica, the prognosis is more misery, and not in the fun way … so something changed.
“But why did they have to kill him? Why not just have him go away?”
You know why. Because ‘Years, Contintents, Bloodshed’. If he was alive, they’d find their way back to one another, and not only would Veronica be still dating her high school boyfriend well into her 30s, but – she wouldn’t be Veronica anymore.
Here’s what I mean. Rob Thomas is getting a ton of flack for saying (in various interviews, not just the one linked here) that the show would be easier “if Veronica didn’t have a husband or boyfriend at home.” I agree that this is not the best phrasing, and that it implies nobody who’s married or partnered can have a career, or at least one in private investigation.
But I understand what he’s saying here – and I’m ducking while I say it, because I think a lot of you will be mad at me…
I don’t think Veronica can be Veronica with a partner at home, because, as was the case with Logan, that person would try to make her better. Not in a ‘Fix You’ kind of way but, like, think about Eric and Tami Taylor. Whenever they were thinking of doing something less than upstanding, the other made sure they were thinking about the best thing to do. Sure, they’re the model TV marriage, but would you want to see Veronica in something average? No. You’d want it to be perfect…
…but if it were perfect, Veronica couldn’t be underhanded. She couldn’t be mean, or calculating to serve her own purposes, or do the things we love her to do that make her not totally moral, but understandable. We want her to do those things and she couldn’t if there was Logan. Not now. Not today.
That is, to me, the biggest failure of the mystery as a whole. It was fine and reasonably interesting, if not needlessly complicated – but it didn’t compromise Veronica. Even stealing the reports from Leo’s desk was sanctioned five minutes later. Veronica is at her best when she’s desperate, when she has to do the terrible, terrible thing because she can’t not but she’s crying from how terrible it is. This mystery didn’t demand that, and she’s long since stopped crying over the indignities of crime in Neptune. She’s hollowed… and that was even true when Logan was there and loving her. It would have been good if she’d done something so morally compromised that he was upset about it, but then we might not have gotten to that shocker right at the end.
So I humbly think we need to let Veronica be Veronica. Not try to fix her or make her happy… but let her grow, which Neptune stopped allowing a while ago. If there’s going to be a fifth season, great. If there isn’t, I still am happy to know that Logan died for the cause of breaking Veronica out of the rut of her own making that she denied until after he was gone.
You know where to send the angry letters. And also emails just saying CLARENCE WIEDMAN, because that’s what I screamed at 1 AM Saturday morning.
Here's Kristen Bell in LA the other day.