Season 2, Episode 22
Date of airing: May 9, 2006 (UPN)
Nielsen ratings information: 2.42 million viewers, 1.5/2 in Households, 1.1 rating with Adults 18-49
You could almost feel that there were way too many story threats in the finale to give each and every single one of them the attention they needed. Mayor Woody gets captured quickly, and then he gets blown up on a plane, making me wonder how much time Beaver really had to place the explosives everywhere (I assume he also planned on bombing Woody’s home). The graduation happens, seemingly in the gym of the school and Weevil gets arrested, which is essentially the final scene we see of him in the episode. Mac had a traumatic experience with her first real boyfriend and she didn’t even realize at first that she was attempting to make love with a killer. And then the writers had to explain how Beaver came to be the bomber of the school bus, why he needed to crash it and how he came to manipulate the bus crash and a murder case, before they even became part of the case. I can’t even believe that Beaver was smart enough to even develop the plan of bombing the bus and then using “Curly” Moran to put the blame on Aaron Echolls, all while he started using Veronica to get his father out of the country (that would mean Beaver knew about the real estate fraud). So, let me get this straight: Beaver did not want to be revealed as a victim of Woody’s sexual abuse, so he killed the only two witnesses. At the same time he wanted his idiot father out of the country (I remember that scare scene from the second episode of the season, in which Richard Casablancas did to his son and Beaver dropped all the popcorn), probably because Beaver needed a way to make a little money, all while in the background people were investigating the bus crash and the murder of “Curly” Moran, which the PCHers were framed for. Damn, Beaver really must have been the mastermind. I’m surprised he didn’t kill anyone after the second episode of the season.
In hindsight, a little too much stuff was happening for real and there was barely focus on some deep character moments. Rob Thomas did use the opportunity to put a mirror between this episode and the first season finale though, as there have been quite a few moments which copied each other. First of all, it’s the threat of Veronica getting killed while facing the mastermind of this season’s ongoing murder mystery. Veronica was worried that she might lose her life, so she became this girl again who had to do her best to not just start screaming for help and crying at the same time. She worried about her father again — a season ago when she was able to hear the scuffle from inside the fridge she was trapped in, and in this episode when Beaver blew up the plane. Veronica had a gun in her hand again, and this time she actually used it, albeit only to fire off a warning shot. And later, when Veronica realized that her father was still alive, like she did in the first season finale, she cried of happiness and told him that she loved him. Those similarities were no accident and I do love the episode for the throwbacks to a year ago, although it didn’t really help to bring over that suspenseful narrative. The only time things really got tense was when Logan and Beaver fought it off. Things could have been even more tense if the writers had waited until the third season premiere to tell the viewers that Keith was still alive (thank the heavens it was revealed four minutes before the episode’s closing credits).
Even Aaron’s send-off felt a little too rushed at times. While I appreciate that the kill scene not only came out of nowhere, but was also executed professionally, no one the wiser about what happened and who killed Aaron, it seemed a little weird that Kendall Casablancas was in the room as well, yet she turned up at Keith’s office at the end and convinced him to give up his trip to New York with Veronica for whatever Kendall had in the suitcase (was it money?). The fact that Kendall didn’t even seem bothered by the notion that a bullet was put in Aaron’s skull mere meters away from her makes me think that she might have known what was coming, but why would that be? Or maybe the writers just forgot that Kendall was taking a shower when Aaron was blasted into the afterlife. Or maybe she didn’t care, after she realized she got money out of Beaver’s real estate business. Or something else entirely that may be part of the season-three narrative…
The minor stories of the episode, albeit tiny, were good though. I liked Jackie’s send-off and her real back story and I am almost happy that she and Wallace weren’t given that one big romantic scene in which the two embrace and then say goodbye to each other like Duncan and Veronica did. It wasn’t needed for the story — all it needed was for Jackie to meet Wallace at JFK and tell him the truth and that is all. In the meantime, I almost felt bad for Weevil, but stuff like that happens when you live the life of a criminal. Naturally, Sheriff Don Lamb had to be a dick to decide to arrest Weevil during the graduation ceremony, because there is no better way to humiliate a criminal and potential murderer by arresting him in front of the largest crowd Neptune had to offer that day.
Best part of the episode: Wait, am I feeling a bit sorry for Beaver when he was about to jump off the roof? Logan still called him by his ugly nickname, no one was ever giving him any attention, he was molested by the now-dead mayor, and there was nothing to live for anymore. Beaver crashed and burned and snapped way before this climactic scene on the roof, but the moment of his suicide made it more real. Also, the song choice during that scene was great.
Worst part of the episode: Too. Many. Stories. Maybe this episode could have lived without Weevil’s arrest or Jackie and Wallace’s meet-up at JFK.
Weirdest part of the episode: Like I said, it’s Kendall’s screentime after Aaron’s murder. I have no idea what was happening with her and I have no idea if the writers knew what was happening with her
Player of the episode: Kristen Bell gets this internet point for her portrayal during the roof scene, especially after Beaver declared he put a bomb on Woody’s plane. VERONICA MARS is rarely this emotionally dramatic, but when it is, even I almost cry.