Season 4, Episode 4
Date of release: July 19, 2019 (Hulu)
The third season of VERONICA MARS must be the best to take characters from, because this episode took three characters out of there for guest appearances here. It’s almost like the writers decided to make the viewers remember the third season, which in retrospect is the least liked season of the show, just so they can tell those viewers that they worked hard on that season. And judging by this episode, it definitely created some noteworthy characters, even if villains like Mercer and Tim are quite forgettable. Even more so when both have incredibly aged between the third season and now, making it quite difficult for me to even recognize Tim. Because I didn’t, and I only recognized who he was when Veronica mentioned his name. On the other hand, I immediately recognized Mercer and I really have no idea why. I also cringed when he mentioned “the guy at Stanford” who got six months jail time for rape. Look at how far Brock Turner has come in his effort to make the “20 minutes of action” forgotten with the world. Also, look at this conveniency here: The main villains of the first and second season have been killed off, but the main villains of season three all made it to prison alive, just for a future guest appearance like this one. If Aaron and Beaver would still be alive, would they have made it into this season as well?
This was a great episode, as the story is finally swinging to wonderful heights, which I would have appreciated during the first two episodes. The bombing case might be sort of in the background, considering the way the writers have been treating this story with Veronica and Keith investigating it, but then the FBI had to show up ad then the council meeting had to happen by the end of the episode, turning things around and making the situation a little more complicated for the Mars investigators. In the meantime, Veronica had a look at Clifton Collins Jr.’s character, who still seems to be nameless, while his mission in Neptune, California gets a bit complicated as well. The twist ending was quite the shocker, although when I think about it just a little bit, what are the chances that the cartel members “fake executed” the hillbillies, just to have a crapton of leverage over the Congressman? They already do with the executions themselves, as well as the video clip, but would the situation for Malouf be more complicated and dangerous if the hillbillies were still alive, knowing that the Congressman sent hitmen after them? Because I can’t really believe that two professional hitmen from a Mexican cartel are unable to execute at least one of the hillbillies. Two shots in the stomach — you think that is going to kill someone? Aren’t they usually doing headshots to make sure people stay dead?
The return of Leo and Max were solid, although the appearance of the latter kind of felt like fan service, just to remind us all that the third season was indeed a thing (side note: I would not have recognized Max if it hadn’t been for Veronica mentioning his name, so thanks for that). Leo had more purpose in the story though, as he is part of the police force investigating the bombings now, which means the guy might stick around for a little longer and not just disappear into the back story like most of the Neptune regulars from the three seasons. Besides that, I loved the repertoire between Leo and Veronica/Logan. It’s almost like the FBI agent could become a best friend of the Mars family and even Logan, who apparently had fun swimming in Veronica’s back story and meet one of her former lovers. Suddenly I am interested in what will happen when Piz also shows up (his name already having been mentioned in this episode) and Veronica is eyeing her three most interesting boyfriends of her high school and college years.
In the meantime, Penn of murderheads fame (I finally remember his name for once) is about to screw up the Mars investigators’ investigation, and it was a twist that didn’t come out of nowhere. Even I had a few question marks above my head when he showed up at the offices to deliver his pitch of joining forces with Mars Investigations. It was a scene that looked fishy to me, and as it turns out it was a fishy scene, as Penn has revealed himself to be a bit of an idiot villain himself — one who might get killed at one point, considering how aggressive he is going against the Congressman. Malouf might not know yet that one of his hillbilly people he wanted to see dead has returned alive, and before he does, who knows what he would do to shut Penn the hell up? I would almost wish for the surviving hillbilly to take a while until he returns to Neptune, just so Malouf can create himself some more problems by putting a hitman on Penn. And here I was a few episodes ago, not expecting that the hillbillies would be so majorly involved in the story now. I’m getting the feeling this season is going to end with a dead Arab-American Congressman, no matter how bad it will look for the show to have killed a minority character.
Then there is Vinnie Van Lowe, who also made it back into the show, which isn’t really much of a surprise, judging by how lovingly loathed his character is by the fans of the show. I would almost hope for him to get inside the crosshairs of some truly evil villains this season, because the guy may have deserved his impending death. But it needs to be a celebratory death, and I don’t think there will ever be a death more celebratory than the roofie club guy whose head got blown off like this episode was just another sequel of the SAW horror franchise.