Veronica Mars (“Keep Calm and Party On”)

Season 4, Episode 3
Date of release: July 19, 2019 (Hulu)

Patton Oswalt’s murderheads were still stuck in 2004 apparently, or they wouldn’t have been talking so heavily about the Lilly Kane murder, which is already solved and partially forgotten by the folks of Neptune, California. I could accept that back drop as part of establishing Veronica’s back story to new viewers of the show and to maybe try and figure out what else has happened in Veronica’s life, before they discover that three seasons and a movie exist of VERONICA MARS. Like Matty, who didn’t know anything about the Lilly Kane murder that happened fifteen years ago in her hometown, I can imagine that a sizable portion of the Hulu audience watching this season do not know that there are already 64 episodes and a movie of this show in existence, and they will discover it during the run of this season or after. Wouldn’t that be funny… Matty discovers the Lilly Kane murder and how Veronica was transformed by it, and some of the viewers discover that this season is a revival show and not at all a premiere season.

It was a pretty solid episode, although my eyes were twitching when Veronica made the Chino connection between some of the characters and how she believed that her mugger was most likely working for someone with a background in Chino. I would consider that a very convenient way of developing the story and creating a connection between some of the criminal characters in this show and the ongoing criminal storyline of the season. And with Veronica establishing the Chino connection, it became pretty obvious that something sinister is at play here, since it can never just be about the murder of a specific person. Not even the Killy Kane murder was about that, since it also involved a cover-up and some major secrets that came before Aaron Echolls decided to smash Lilly’s head in. I also found it convenient that Keith wasn’t really ready to think ahead in this case and maybe consider a conspiracy here – I mean, the man has already gone through so much, so for him it should be extremely easy to smell the fish in the sea and go for cracking the conspiracy. Then again, I would also say that Keith isn’t that great in being a private dick any longer. He is getting old, he apparently doesn’t have a girlfriend somewhere, his health seems to be declining… If he hears that one of his cases is bigger than he expected, would he want to find a quick way out of it, just so he doesn’t have to deal with the potential danger of the expanded case?

There’s a new private eye in town, and she has some anger to give out.

Matty needs more screentime in this show, as she is slowly becoming something of a fan of Veronica and her work. I loved the reveal that Wallace is her physics teacher and that he was partly responsible for Matty showing up at Mars Investigations, and I liked that Matty and Veronica were on a stakeout, although I would have appreciated a much longer story here. The time was right for Veronica and Matty to strike up a special bond (which still happened, because of their shared losses), but the writers decided to keep it short and move on from it, because apparently Dick needed more screentime as the “King of Spring Break,” who may or may not be stuck in his high school slash college years, and so did Weevil, whose return I accept, but was kind of thrown into this episode because he is Weevil, and not because the narrative needed it. Although with Weevil and Clifton Collins Jr.’s character, who really needs a name at this point, making acquaintances in this episode could easily bring the Mexican angle of the story front and center. Especially since the writers still have to explain whether the two cartel members looking for a killer are either supervillains or could be unwilling allies to Veronica and Keith’s investigation. The fact that Clifton Collins Jr.’s character is totally into Claudia means he likes showcasing his humanity, right? That and the decision not to kill the Congressman.

What the season could do without at this point is Patton Oswalt’s character though. Three episodes in and he happens to be the most ridiculous figure on the chessboard, and now that his murderheads have been introduced, the story turned from ridiculous to laughable, as they have all the supposed intelligent members of each side of the criminal justice system, who could definitely say something about the bombing. So, that nail in your back comes from a certain place that has a connection with a suspect? Yeah, let those murderheads figure it out and not the Mars investigators or maybe even the police. I could maybe see that the murderheads are something of a satirical look at how viewers of crime dramas solve the murder cases in their heads while watching an episode of crime procedural television, but the murderheads haven’t even gotten a proper place within the narrative. Which is disappointing, considering who is leading that group.

Dick has his sixpack ready for consumption.

And finally, a few words about Logan and Veronica going out to party and waking up with headaches the next morning. Those scenes are proof that streaming television can get away with extended episodes of television, thanks to the fact that they aren’t bound by specific time issues. In broadcast television, the party scene would have easily been cut and maybe included as a special feature on the DVD collection, but on Hulu, this scene made the cut and is now officially part of the narrative. Mostly, those kind of scenes really are useless as they barely add anything to the stories or the character arcs, and VERONICA MARS isn’t really different in that regard. It was fun to see Veronica have a little fun now that she is in her early to mid 30s, but the episode would not have been hurt if that scene had landed on the cutting room floor.

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