Season 2, Episode 11
Date of airing: January 25, 2006 (UPN)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.62 million viewers, 1.3/2 in Households, 0.7/2 with Adults 18-49
And with this episode, Duncan is the father of a baby girl on the run from the FBI – if that doesn’t make him a high-level criminal in future episodes, then I don’t know what kind of plan he and Veronica hatched out together, just to guarantee that baby Manning will live a happy and carefree life, although a question can be asked if baby Lilly will always live a carefree life, considering Duncan still has to take pills to stop his violent outbursts from happening. But besides all that, I loved this episode for the predictable move of Veronica being the accomplice to Duncan’s great plan, and their story ending in something of a happy end. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler when I say that this episode was essentially Duncan’s finale, which thankfully it is, since his relationship with Veronica hasn’t developed to a new level and was sort of stagnating over the past few episodes. And after Meg’s pregnancy and her death, the chances seemed high that Duncan and Veronica would break up and hate each other forever because of Duncan’s secrecy. But it turns out the two loved each other. They supported each other and they realized that their great scheme will not only break them apart for good, but also overcomplicate relationships with other people. Duncan will never talk to his parents again, let alone his friends, and Veronica has fractured her special bond with Keith, all while the two schemers were playing the Neptune police department and the FBI. Duncan and Veronica’s story came to a unique end here, but at least they said goodbye to each other, they loved one another, and they knew that what they were doing was the right thing to do. Not all teenage relationships end like that, so maybe we should all applaud that this particular one ended the way it did.
That Veronica was an accomplice to Duncan’s kidnapping was pretty much a given from the beginning — their break-up was already weird, but as soon as the FBI was dealing with Veronica and she wasn’t losing sleep over it, it became super obvious that there will be a scene in which Veronica is revealed as Duncan’s right-hand woman, and that there might be a scene in which the two will have to deal with the law. That the episode ended with Duncan’s trip to Mexico and Veronica pretty much scot-free was still a surprise though, but I guess she still had to pay for playing her father, so I’m hoping that from here on her relationship with Keith will in fact be troubled. Trust is a tricky thing, and once lost it’s difficult to find again. And because VERONICA MARS has been a show always taking care of continuity within its narrative, there better be a fractured relationship between father and daughter, otherwise Rob Thomas would have to explain why his most beloved cult television drama suddenly decided to jump the mini shark with this episode, which he both wrote and directed.
I am also glad this episode didn’t turn out to be a flashback episode. After Duncan went missing and I started to realize Veronica was involved in everything (especially after the fake break-up scene at school), I thought that some of the questions raised would be explained by flashing back and telling the audience how Duncan and Veronica came up with the plan and what needed to be done next. Turns out Rob Thomas had trust in his viewers, and maybe he hated those kind of explanatory flashback scenes, which definitely would have pulled the rug from under the episode’s story. Explanations weren’t needed for this hour — all you needed to know is that Veronica helped Duncan take his daughter out of the country, even if it risked her relationship with her father. How they came up with the idea is irrelevant, all you got to see was how the idea got executed, and how well the idea turned out to be in hindsight. Veronica and Duncan were not only playing Sheriff Don Lamb and the FBI, but Veronica was essentially putting an explosive into her relationship with her father, which she obviously accepted to be an outcome of her plan, because Veronica saw that getting Duncan and baby Lilly out of the country was more important than cultivating her relationship with her father. Talk about a complex plan with an emotional fallout.
The rest of the episode was solid, too. Okay, it only involved Logan and Weevil teaming up to find out who is in business with the Fitzpatricks, but I kind of dug seeing them hang out together and solve a murder on their own. I have no idea if they asked Veronica to help out (maybe they did, maybe she said she doesn’t have time right now), but the murder of Felix happened to be a great plot device to bring two under-utilized characters together and have them deal with their own problem instead of asking the titular character for help. And then there was Wallace, whose return to Neptune was explained by his cowardly to face the law after a hit-and-run in Chicago. That might be the beginning of a character arc for him, or it might just be the excuse the writers brought to have Wallace come back after being absent for four episodes and most of a fifth one.
Best part of the episode: The FBI agents definitely knew what kind of person Veronica was. They were smiling when she smack-talked Lamb right in front of them — they were loving it. All these efforts for Lamb to look as hardcore as possible in front of the two federal agents, but then he got fooled by a blonde teenager like a little bitch. Oh, how I would have loved to see more of that.
Worst part of the episode: The diapers in Veronica’s room were a convenient plot device to put a grenade in the Veronica/Keith relationship. It was an unnecessary mistake of Veronica’s, which is even more weird, considering she wasn’t doing any other mistakes all throughout the episode.
Weirdest part of the episode: Veronica and Duncan put on a big show at school, and it wasn’t gossiping straight after? Yeah, I don’t believe that. Also, consider me weirded out that Backup was licking Veronica’s face, all while Kristen Bell was most likely make-upped to the max. Or did she put some peanut butter on her cheek?
Player of the episode: Congratulations to Sheriff Donald Lamb for being fooled by a high school cheerleader. Thank the heavens that he won the election, otherwise Veronica might not have been able to pull off her plan with her father in that office. Sometimes it pays out to have a fool and an idiot be a politician.