Veronica Mars (“Normal is the Watchword”)

Season 2, Episode 1
Date of airing: September 28, 2005 (UPN)
Nielsen ratings information: 3.29 million viewers, 2.1/3 in Households, 1.3/3 with Adults 18-49

Veronica said it at the end, nothing ever happens accidentally in Neptune, California. And with Veronica almost having kissed the afterlife herself, if it hadn’t been for the ghostly vision of Lilly Kane to guide her to Weevil for a little talk that made her miss the bus, you can be guaranteed that she is going to find out who almost killed her, as well as those who did die in the bus crash, and let’s be certain that all its survivors are preliminary suspects. Great, Duncan again will be getting his very own folder on Veronica’s laptop as she is investigating the crash. It’s also probably a good thing that this episode started off the season not only with one case for Veronica to investigate over a few more episodes, but with two. While the bus crash could coincidentally be a simple accident, at least Veronica still has a murderer to catch, and with Felix’s death she even has to investigate in circles she doesn’t really want to find herself in, especially after Logan was set free during the summer, and Neptune, California went a bit crazy over that one 09er kid who won’t be smelling a prison cell from the inside, because money and fame happened to keep him out of there, although for the rest of the world he has killed Felix.

Californian stepmoms are always attractive.

So, the second season starts off in an interesting fashion. Two major cases, one major boyfriend reveal, one kid having an affair with the mother of two boys, and Veronica is very much in the middle of it all. Okay, maybe not in that sexual relationship between Kendall and Logan, but Veronica has been in the center of attention during this episode, and from all sides that is. The 09ers were eyeing her to become their latest new member in the team, and the PCH gang was eyeing her, because the feeling of a betrayal runs down their spines, even though there isn’t even a reason for the PCH gang to dislike Veronica, considering the only member having had a solid relationship with her has always been Weevil. Which could make things interesting for the next few episodes though, when Weevil really is getting pushed out from whoever killed Felix, and Veronica is pretty much the only one able or ready to help her. But does Veronica even have interest in helping Weevil here? She might go with camaraderie, and because Veronica has never been a bad person, but there isn’t really an incentive for her to even go after Felix’s killer. After all, Logan was cleared, Veronica has nothing to do with the murder, and Weevil doesn’t believe that the murder is the beginning of his push out of the club — yet. Something else needs to happen for Veronica to tackle Felix’s murder, and considering how dark and screwed up Neptune sometimes is, whatever happens will happen very soon, and Veronica really has been pulled back in.

The new dating couple of Neptune, California.

The narrative of the episode was working well. In the flashbacks she is dating Logan, in the present time she is dating Duncan, and both relationships have been separated good enough to make both a surprise. I wasn’t expecting for Logan to be her boyfriend, even after what happened after Aaron’s arrest and Logan’s almost death at the hands of the PCHers. But there they were, having a wonderful relationship — at least up until a certain point. And when Duncan was revealed to be her current boyfriend, I was surprised once more, because I didn’t think that Veronica and Duncan would go there after what happened between the two. It’s a sign though that the rape back story has been dropped entirely by the writers – Veronica succeeded in forgetting that she was raped, and that it was consensual sex at Shelly Pomeroy’s party (her family name is now being spelled without the “e”?), and none of the worry or fear she developed after the end-of-the-year party has now vanished for the sake of never having to think about rape again in this show. Still, the writers managed to fire up the season with a two-tiered storytelling, with both the present time and the flashbacks telling two different stories. Which was entertaining for this episode, but I can only hope this is not going to be a regular thing for the remainder of the season.

Veronica’s case of the week seemed like it was filler in hindsight. Something to fill airtime with and to remind the audience that she also likes to solve a few cases here and there, when time allows it and she doesn’t have too much homework to do (does she ever do homework, or study for exams, or prepare an actual project with some of her classmates?). The premise of the failed drug tests seemed a bit dumb though, but I would have said the same if the story of Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman paying to get their kids into respective positions at their colleges had been a fictional story, but that shit was real life. It turns out that this premise has always been part of fictional worlds with rich white people and their kids. Your kid didn’t get a starting position at their athletic team? Well, better pay up and someone will guarantee a starting position within days. The college admissions scandal did show that the real world doesn’t have someone like Veronica Mars who solves those cases in the off time, which is a shame.

The look at the next scene of the crime comes with a huge bling on Weevil’s earlobe.

Best part of the episode: There was this impressive shot of Beaver jumping into the pool. The camera showed it from a bird’s eye view, but Beaver’s shadow and actual body were still separated when he hit the body of water. That looked cool, and if I ever get to direct something, I’m gonna remember this shot and try to repeat it.
Worst part of the episode: Women always have to carry a grudge. But it’s even worse when it’s for the sake of the plot. Meg leaving Veronica behind might have saved the latter’s life, but damn, was that grudge a huge plot device here.
Weirdest part of the episode: Wallace got the master key for Clemmons’ office. For one, that’s kind of weird that no one noticed, and number two, I am expecting for Clemmons to suddenly have the locks changed, similar to how Keith changed the combination to his safe, giving Veronica a nice surprise when she once wanted to open it to read some more from the Lilly Kane murder investigation. By the way, Wallace goes all in as Veronica’s right-hand man, now that he got the master key and some passwords for her — he was never that forthcoming with her before.
Player of the episode: Charisma Carpenter wins easily, because at the end I am just a single young man with certain interests in attractive women.

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