Season 1, Episode 22
Date of airing: May 10, 2005 (UPN)
Nielsen ratings information: 2.99 million viewers, 2.2/3 in Households, 1.2/3 with Adults 18-49
And for the season finale, the writers and producers unpacked an action-packed hour, in which the characters for once had to fight for their lives. It was an entertaining, thrilling and satisfying season finale, and it pulled all the stops it needed to not only conclude the Lilly Kane murder investigation, but to also lead the show towards the summer hiatus and let its fans ponder over what is going to happen with some of the characters, now that they have been put on crossroads during this episode. Like Logan, who has to face the PCH biker gang now, not knowing that he has been exonerated of Lilly’s murder again. Like Lianne, whose hope to live a family life again has been destroyed by her own daughter. Like Duncan, whose life has been sort of fixed with the revelations that neither did he sleep with his sister nor did he kill his other sister.
For the first fifteen-or-so episodes, everybody could have been Lilly Kane’s killer, but ever since Logan and Veronica started dating, the breadcrumbs were laid to turn Aaron Echolls into the killer, which made me think that Logan was turned into Veronica’s boyfriend partially as a plot device to move Aaron into position as a character. This made me assume that the writers figured out the conclusion to the Lilly Kane murder plot about five or six episodes ago, and one might be allowed to ask whether it’s a good or a bad thing that writers figure out a conclusion to their series a handful of episodes in advance. Then again, maybe Aaron was always supposed to be the killer, and the writers just waited until the absolute last second to plant the clues, because who knows when you get a much better idea that could swing the show into a much darker direction if you wanted to. In hindsight though, it was a great decision to make Aaron the killer. For the second season, the writers could create a story in which a Hollywood A-lister has turned into a murderer, turning it into something of a satirical and critical look at how the pressurized Hollywood business might make some men evil (either they kill or they rape up-and-coming actresses). The writers could definitely create a story in which Logan completely loses himself, now that he lost both his parents, probably the trust of Veronica, and might even be in a bit of a pickle with Weevil’s gang. There is the black hole I always saw for Logan, and he was about to jump in it. And then there is Duncan. After all that has happened, there is a way for the writers to bring the two together. But only if it was him at Veronica’s door step at the end of the episode. But if it were up to me, it would have been Meg or Mac or Wallace, simply just to make sure that season finale cliffhangers like Veronica opening the door and smiling at the welcomed visitor will always be meaningless.
The way Veronica found out about who really murdered Lilly was a bit convenient though. Logan tells the story of a letter he wrote, and all Veronica thinks now is that the letter was in Lilly’s secret vent. But it wasn’t there and instead all she found was video tapes, which happened to have the incriminating evidence on it, although up to this point it wasn’t even fully clear that Aaron killed Lilly, only that he had a sexual relationship with her (which for some reason Lilly pushed herself — holy cow, Aaron is one hell of a creep, how could she find the guy sexy?). And even after that, Aaron made sure he incriminated herself — attempting to kill Veronica and then battling Keith in a scoreless scene that had all the tension it needed to almost be a brutal, R-rated scene on broadcast television. It was quite courageous to not accompany that fight scene with any music, which is something you don’t see that often. Usually, editors always try to hide the fake punching noises with the score, but in the case of VERONICA MARS, they embraced the noises of a true struggle between a hero and a villain, while the other hero is currently trapped in a burning fridge. By the way, that is kind of a dark image to get the show into a summer hiatus.
The rest of the episode was good enough. As already established, some scenes were setup for the next season, and other scenes were here to conclude stories and send the characters involved packing (like Lianne). Some characters didn’t get a lot of screentime (Wallace), and others could have deserved more, just to showcase that they were as deeply involved in the Lilly Kane murder case than the main characters of the show (Weevil). But this episode knew what it wanted to do, and it delivered all of the things it wanted to show the viewers. By all means and accounts, this was a perfect season finale.
Best part of the episode: Two scenes deserve credit here. The first is when Keith revealed to Veronica that he is without a doubt her biological father. The happiness that ensured even got to me, and for a second or two in my life I was happy as well. The second scene was the moment right after Veronica extinguished Keith from all the fire, and she proclaimed that she loves her father, and knew that he would come and save her. Two scenes defining a father/daughter relationship, which could not be any better in any other television show. I wished I had at least an ounce of that relationship with my parents, but that was never the case, so I was forgotten by them, I got depressed thanks to them, and now I haven’t talked to them in more than seven years.
Worst part of the episode: Weevil and the PCH gang going after Logan was a bit of convenient storytelling. It wasn’t even clear that Logan was the killer (his alibi just stank), yet Weevil went straight to revenge mode. This story was clearly here to set up an arc for the second season, and that was anything but necessary.
Weirdest part of the episode: All this effort Veronica put into finding and helping her mother, and one sip from the water bottle that was an undercover alcohol bottle, and she was done with Lianne. It was another one of those convenient ways to finish a story, but at least it was part of Veronica’s character development in this episode.
Player of the episode: Keith really became the action hero in this episode. And Veronica turned out to be just a seventeen-year-old girl after all. One who might be loudmouthed to anyone who annoys her, and who can solve cases like no other, but when she has a killer behind her, she is as scared as anyone else would be in her age and position, giving the spotlight to her father, finally coming along to save his little girl. And the Father of the Year award goes to…