Veronica Mars (“Years, Continents, Bloodshed”)

Season 4, Episode 8
Date of release: July 19, 2019 (Hulu)

How long will it take for news to come that involves the continuation of the VERONICA MARS franchise, whether it’s with another Kickstarter-funded film, a fifth season on Hulu, or maybe even a few more novels that are canon with the show’s events (that reminds me, maybe I should read the film’s two follow-up novels, I faintly remember the first one but I have never read the second one)? Now that Rob Thomas ended the fourth season with the first death of a central character who was not a villain (except for the first few episodes of the show, when Logan was a dick teenager), he will have to get another season just to depict the emotional minefield the characters (mostly Veronica) will be walking in after that twist ending, and I really want to see that. I want to see Keith solving a case with Matty as his assistant who is being groomed to become the next great private investigator. I want to see Veronica in the world, solving random cases like it’s a 1980s television drama about a traveling nomad helping people in all the rural areas of America. And I would really hate it for VERONICA MARS to end with a shocker like Logan’s death. There needs to be more of a happy end for the characters. It was a great choice to end the episode with a one-year-long time jump though, and not have viewers wonder whether Logan may have survived or not. Putting a stamp on his fate was needed, as a cliffhanger ending would have really been idiotic. If you want to end the season with a downer, you can do that as log as you don’t leave questions unanswered. The practice of season cliffhangers is something every TV writer should immediately get out of their treasure box and trash it into outer space. Bring those cliffhangers when you know you have more stories to tell and are able to do so, but fuck off with those when you haven’t even gotten a renewal yet. So, hats off to Rob Thomas for at least not putting a cliffhanger ending into this episode.

Big Dick can say goodbye to his little head.

Okay, Penn was the mad bomber after all. I theorized that schizophrenia could have been involved if he really was the bomber, since he was too weird a character to be a mass murderer. Turns out that you only need to be crazy to be a mad bomber, and I guess Penn was genius enough to have contingencies planned, just so he can either get out of the whole mess as a free man by pinning the crimes on another person, or have a backup handy, just in case the Mars investigators were indeed smarter for just a few seconds. Now I have to rewatch the season, just to check if the narrative fits with Penn being the bomber, but at least the story partially worked with him being the mad bomber, including a back story that came pretty close to being the revenge story I would have thought about if a woman had been the bomber and all she wanted was to kill sexual assaulters (Carol being the bomber still would have made sense, maybe even with Penn’s help, making her an accomplice). Besides that, with the back story of the three college frat boys almost drowning Penn three years ago, this could have easily turned into a Neptune, California version of I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER (or in this season’s case: “I Know What You Did Three Spring Breaks Ago”). I would have loved to see that, too. Having someone like Patton Oswalt play a killer with a hook for a hand? That’s kind of a great premise for a horror film — have a prominent and well-liked comedian be the killer of a horror film.

Of course, the writers couldn’t help themselves throwing a few seeds into the season that functioned as red herrings, beginning with Veronica’s voiceovers from the season premiere about Matty and how her involvement was the kicker that led her to be emotionally distraught during said voiceovers. In retrospect, those don’t make a lot of sense anymore, but at least it’s a sign that the writers went into the season, knowing that someone is going to die at the end of it and it will shake Veronica to her core. That Logan happened to be the victim… Well, that weirdly makes sense. Their relationship has kind of played itself down over the run of this season. They were so madly in love with each other that a separation was pretty much out of the question, so the only story that would have kept that romance busy was whether or not Veronica is going to wear that ring and get married. And when that question was answered and Veronica and Logan were all happy, it was pretty obvious that something is going to happen to break them apart again. Which begs the question, did Parker return for that one scene just to tease how Logan would have followed his ex-girlfriend like Veronica would have almost led Leo into her bed in the previous episode, which means both Logan and Veronica are very much alike? If Logan had cancelled the wedding because of Parker or his insecurities, I would have probably rolled some eye, and if they would have gotten married and no one died, it would have been the perfect happy-end series finale. But here we are now, and Veronica is never allowed to be happy. She gets raped, her bestie Lilly Kane gets murdered, her mom disappears, reappears, gets drunk and disappears again with a $50k cheque, Duncan escapes to Australia with his daughter, ending that happy relationship, she almost gets raped again, she brings her father into a predicament after he destroyed evidence to protect her, her father almost gets killed… No happy end for you, Veronica Mars!

The villain has been caught and the hero is slightly annoyed.

A few more points to close out the season with: Mars Investigations must be rich now. Mr. Linden put out a $250k bounty for his son’s killer (the club roofier who lost his head at the beach), which Keith sacked in, and they also got the reward for catching Penn in the previous episode, and I forgot what that number was. Considering that their P.I. firm has gotten a little famous now, chances are they have been getting solid cases which pay very well. Then there is Veronica who will most likely travel the country a little bit, just to solve cases and make more money. Mars Investigations is set for at least another decade, which almost promises another season during the next ten years.

Also, let’s not forget that Matty was the witness to a cartel murder. She might feel indifferent about it, because Big Dick killed her father, and her father was the only thing worth living for in her life, but she witnessed a pretty gruesome execution, which maybe should haunt her for a little bit, let alone she should be watching over her shoulder, just in case Alonzo and his partner noticed her in the house, or remembered that Big Dick was talking about a hard drive (which the Mexicans could have found, in addition to the surveillance system set up at the house, which may have been recording Matty in the house, being a witness to a cartel execution). The whole thing does make her something of a very dangerous character, if the writers decide to have her stick around: When she doesn’t give a damn about her father’s killer losing his head like that, is there a chance she will be a little more cold and a lot more sarcastic than Veronica has been?

And last, but not least: Neptune is now the destination for rich people. No more rent control, high-end businesses on the boardwalk run by most likely criminal enterprises, a high school named after Jake freaking Kane of all people (it’s the end of Neptune High, isn’t it?)… The whole town might be like the 09er district now, which bodes well for corruption and more criminal activity. That means people like the Mars family are needed more than ever. Hulu, the ball is in your court now: Renew this show!

Veronica Mars (“Gods of War”)

Season 4, Episode 7
Date of release: July 19, 2019 (Hulu)

The plot starts to thicken and people are about to be in danger again. Penn has finally been thrusted into the story, and now it looks like one of his murder heads is actually the bomber, although I would love to get a motive out of that suspect if he or she will be revealed. Considering how some of the evidence was found in Penn’s apartment, one might think that Carol is the suspect waiting to be revealed, since she could have easily gotten into a relationship with Penn to make him the suspect and then the bomber. VERONICA MARS never had a woman villain before, so making Carol the bomber would be a nice way to showcase that Neptune, California also has women who are evil. That Penn would not be the bomber was a little predictable though, even after Veronica and Mars figured that he is indeed the bomber — the character is too weird and way into criminal investigations to also be guilty of murdering people. If Penn had been the bomber, there would have been schizophrenia involved in that story, because the Penn we have gotten to see over these seven episodes is too awkward to hatch out a plan that would bring down the Spring Break culture in Neptune. And with Carol being a potential suspect, the sexual violence back story could still come to fruition, because who knows, maybe Carol was once sexually assaulted by a spring breaker, and this is her revenge. Maybe it was also her revenge three spring breaks ago.

The high school girl is being gifted a new car, as long as she sells her property.

I did love how the characters were positioned into danger. While I wasn’t expecting for the Mexicans to attack the Mars investigators until the season finale, the shootout between them was thrilling and all kinds of tense, thanks to the decision not to include a soundtrack to that scene (action scenes like that deserve to not be distracted by pompous action music, because the sound of the shootout itself is good enough to raise the tension of the scene). Besides that, I truly believed that either Veronica or Keith, and maybe even Penn, would succumb during the gunfight, or at least get a bullet in their body. Side note: Carol was completely absent from that scene, making me believe even more that she is the final boss of the season and that the finale hinges on her decisions to either bomb some more places or go at it in a more personal fashion. Anyway, VERONICA MARS just delivered its first great shootout scene of the show’s run, and I would almost hope it’s the only one, simply because not every detective story needs a thrilling shootout scene. But when Mexican cartel members are involved, I guess there will always be a shootout. Remember the BREAKING BAD episode “One Minute?”

I still believe that the Mexicans are still gonna be interested in taking out Veronica and Keith, and that even Weevil might be in danger after pulling out the two assassins from doing their thing. Weevil essentially ran against the boyfriend of his sister in that story, which shouldn’t sit well for Alonzo, which means that Weevil’s days might be numbered (and considering how useless the character has been since his arrest during high school graduation, his death has always been coming since then). I addition, Alonzo won’t even have a reason to get rid of Veronica and Keith, since the two Mexicans aren’t at all in the eyes of the police when it comes to the investigation of the bombings. Sure, Mars Investigations might have their names, but it’s not like they have been picked up by police or something, let alone are they persons of interest. If they get Big Dick, they have no reason to stay in Neptune any longer, and I don’t even believe they will stay longer just for vacation, and with vacation I mean “cutting off loose ends in the form of Mars Investigations.”

Matty is also back in danger after she kept herself very much low over the course of the past few episodes. But now that the Mexicans are out to kill Big Dick, they are probably on their way to his place, which is currently being ransacked by Matty, and that would make her collateral damage — which is a horrible way to get killed off in a television show, besides being a lazy way to get killed off in a television show. First of all, I don’t want Matty to get killed off, because that spin-off idea of mine is a solid one and I want to have the chance to see it one day. Secondly, killing off Matty in an accidental and random fashion would probably not sit well with me in general, because I am starting to dislike how women characters are treated on TV shows these days, especially when it comes to scenes of violence and sex. Also, Veronica’s voiceover from the last seconds of the season premiere would turn Matty’s potential death into a plot device for Veronica’s very own emotions, and that simply means Matty was never anything more than a foil for Veronica’s own emotional well-being, making Matty essentially a plot device as a whole.

The decision to quit a job is made easier in front of a variety of snack offerings.

At least it almost looks like Keith is about to survive the season, considering his decision to hang up the private eye business and retire within the police force of a retirement neighborhood (so… Florida?). Writing out a central character of the show like this is the better idea in any face-off the writers could have thought about in the writers room, and if VERONICA MARS gets to see a fifth season (I really wouldn’t mind), it would be interesting to see how Veronica is doing business without being backed by her father. It would be something new in the narrative of the show, as she always had the backing of her father (maybe not in the 2014 movie, since he was cut out of it with a car crash halfway through), but would have to work all on her own now. The story would also work if Keith gets murdered in the next episode, but who really needs Veronica’s distraught mind in a potential fifth season, working on a big case while also grieving over her dead father?

And finally, I was surprised that Logan already returned. I was expecting him to be absent from this episode and the next, but I guess the Logan/Veronica shippers needed one more thing to smile about. Besides that, with his return, the writers brought in yet another regular character who might die in the season finale. Because really, someone close to Veronica has to die in the next episode, right? It’s the fourth season, it’s on a streaming network, and the writers finally got the opportunity to get all sexy and violent on the viewers, so why not using that opportunity to also get dark with a main character’s death? It’s almost extremely obvious at this point and I would be surprised if no one dies.

Veronica Mars (“Entering a World of Pain”)

Season 4, Episode 6
Date of release: July 19, 2019 (Hulu)

Did we really need Clarence Wiedman to return, who was one of Veronica’s part-time nemeses over the course of the series? We really did not, but it was still good to see him, because he has sort of been a good guy to you, as long as you don’t stab him in the back. Jake Kane certainly trusted Wiedman enough to have him employed for a long time, and even Duncan trusted the guy enough to also function as an assassin at one point. But then again, Wiedman is also a shady guy, which makes me wonder how Logan came into contact with him (probably never lost contact, since Logan may have known Wiedman since his high school years, as he was probably going around Kane Software every once in a while, being Duncan’s buddy and all). But whatever, the writers brought back another character and now we can pretty much guess with one of the once recurring or regular characters of VERONICA MARS may die this season, because it has to happen here, right? So far, the show has always made its main characters, who are also not villains, survive the seasons, and only had the villains die (okay, Beaver was the only villain of the show who was also considered a regular character), which means the show is already past the time of necessity for having one of its regulars die. If not the regulars, then maybe one of the recurring characters.

Mars vs. Navarro.

The episode was okay. The only thing I was interested at was that Veronica recognized Alonzo (he has finally gotten a name I can remember, which is a good thing), connecting the story of the Mexican cartel with the Mars Investigations investigation into the bombings. Consider me even more intrigued that Claudia told Alonzo and Weevil about Veronica’s presence at the hotel, which could tick off both Alonzo and Weevil in different ways. Alonzo probably found another obstacle course to kill, so he can continue his mission for his cartel leader, but Weevil also knows why Veronica does the things she does, which means he might realize that Veronica has a real reason for snooping around Alonzo’s hotel room, and that could lead to Weevil smelling danger for himself and his family, and if he warns Veronica about Alonzo, there may even be a shot at redemption for the two. Or the writers could go the complete opposite direction and have it be the story that turns Weevil into a bona fide villain in VERONICA MARS. Will he be on Alonzo’s side and actually make a move to get rid of Veronica to protect his own criminal interest? The show was never able to even think about asking that question, since Veronica was still a teenager and Weevil wasn’t a complete villain just yet (thanks to the fact that he lost the leadership position of the PCHers to Thumper and then was on probation for a while — if that hadn’t happened during the second season, Weevil might be a cartel leader himself right about now), but fifteen years later and the gauntlet has been thrown.

The bombing case didn’t really develop at all in this episode. Keith only had a few questions for Big Dick and Clyde, and while this episode managed to tell the viewers that the two were indeed involved in the first bombing, it doesn’t mean they are also responsible of the other bombings. I mean, they knew that Perry Walsh was known as the bomber of the motel by the police, which is why the guy got killed, but a second bomb still blew and I cannot imagine that Big Dick and Clyde were responsible for it — they wouldn’t be this stupid and continue their bombing spree, knowing that the police already “captured” the first bomber? Besides that, when the roofie kid got his head blown off at the beach, it felt more like a personal vendetta, which is close to impossible to pin on Big Dick. That pretty much means there are multiple suspects and multiple crimes happening in Neptune, California and it makes me question if the characters even realized it at this point. Have the writers?

The surprise, when you realize that your bodyguard understood all of your Arabic.

Logan disappearing into active duty was a nice move to get rid of the character for the remainder of the series, if he in fact does not show up for the final two episodes of the series. It’s a great way to disconnect Veronica from the elements that give her safe space in Neptune and have her be alone before she faces the ultimate evil of the season. With Logan gone for now and Keith in a medical predicament, there is certainly something to lose for Veronica, even if it’s just her sanity, because she has no one to offer a shoulder for her to cry on if something bad is happening and she needs to talk about it (Wallace is sort of the distant 09er friend with a real life now, Mac is out of the country, who knows where Piz is, and I don’t think she sees Leo as someone she can trust with her emotions). It would in fact make fora great character arc if that actually happens for Veronica – her hardcore nut is being cracked by a villain for once and she has no one in town to fall back on for help and safety, like she has when Keith saved her from Aaron, or when Logan showed up with a gun while Liam was strangling her, or when Logan showed up when Beaver was threatening her on the roof of the Neptune Grand, or when Logan showed up right before Veronica was taken to get raped – I see a pattern here.

And finally, whatever Penn is up to. He is still the useless annoying character, who has been perfectly cast with Patton Oswalt who can do a perfect annoying character, but Penn’s involvement in the story feels like it could have been cut out of the narrative of the season, without anything getting lost. While I appreciate that he is getting annoyed by the asshole that is Don when it comes to his murderheads band of crime solvers, it’s the story that is waiting for something important to happen, yet nothing important happens. I didn’t even bother to care about the story of the dead duck in Penn’s bed (in retrospect, Clyde and Big Dick couldn’t have been better cockblockers, which by itself is freaking hilarious), which means Penn’s story is useless. Maybe he should be a victim next, because maybe then Veronica and Keith would realize that Penn was up to something and needed to be shut up. By the way, my theory of the Congressman wanting to “shut up” Penn went nowhere. Dammit, and I was so happy that it came to mind — it certainly would have brought Penn some attention as a character.

Veronica Mars (“Losing Streak”)

Season 4, Episode 5
Date of release: June 19, 2019 (Hulu)

The previous episode had a pair of cameos by former villains of the show, and I was musing whether the deceased villains, if they had been alive, would also have had the opportunity to guest star in the revival season. It turns out that at least one of them was being mentioned, as Veronica took the name Beaver in her mouth again and was reminiscing about how her rapist once started a real estate firm. It’s kind of nice to know what actually happened with it after he jumped to his death, although I would have assumed that the ownership of Phoenix Land Trust would have gone to Kendall Casablancas, as she was the face of the firm back then, since Beaver was still a minor. I could see that the ownership went from Beaver to Kendall, and when she was killed it went to Big Dick (I assume Kendall and Big Dick were still married after he fled the country due to the embezzlement case against him). Nevertheless, Beaver was mentioned in this episode and the writers continued their trip down the road of memories of three seasons and a movie of VERONICA MARS.

The next generation of high school students gets to help the next generation of teenage private detectives and solve cases.

The episode was solid. I hoped that the end of the previous episode would lead to some plot development in this one, but the Congressman didn’t have screentime at all, the two Mexican cartel members were sort of on vacation in this episode, and the writers figured this episode was the perfect time to create a few more red herrings and suspects for Mars Investigations to go through, with one of them being of particular interest to me, making me think about an event in the third season. Before I get to that one though, there have to be a few words mentioned about the way Veronica treated Weevil as a potential suspect here, especially with Juan Diego still in custody. First of all, I am happy that Weevil’s story from the 2014 film did in fact continue after it and was turned into a back story in this episode. It would have definitely been a plot for part of a season if VERONICA MARS had continued after the 2014 film, but I guess dropping the back story on this one is good enough for the writers, especially since it explained why Veronica and Weevil are on an unfriendly path. I always wondered throughout the show why Weevil, as the leader of the PCHers, would be buddy-buddy with a teenage PI, and I always wanted to see that strained relationship between the two which we got to see here now. Weevil has never been shy of being the boss criminal in Neptune, especially during his stint as a Hearst college janitor, when he essentially prepared himself to get back to the role he performed so well when the PCHers weren’t fractured after Felix’s death during the events of the second season premiere.

Anyway, off to Nicole being the main suspect for some of the people in the show, as well as watching the show. When Nicole had that gun in her hand and told about all the guys she hated while taking a shot at the bottles, I figured that the writers were preparing her to be the number one suspect or just the number one red herring. During that scene I remembered the Hearst rape series, and Veronica’s efforts to find out who had access to the college dorms of the rape victims. There was an episode that established Moe, the resident adviser, having access to the dorms due to his job, and Veronica did not mention that revelation at all in her voiceovers. The writers didn’t even make it an issue in the narrative, because they knew they wanted Moe involved in the rape series during the third season, but they did not want to tell the audience that, because it would have taken away from that twist in “Spit & Eggs.” I realized then that the writers’ attempt at keeping a twist a secret, while a clue to that twist was revealed nonetheless. I was thinking about that sequence of events again when Nicole was talking about the guys while taking her shots — was it a clue to the twist, but the characters weren’t allowed to know about it, just so the unsuspecting viewer can be surprised by it later? Turns out that it wasn’t a secret clue, because Veronica and Keith were talking about it later, and the end of the episode (the Phoenix Land Trust development) propelled Nicole to the number one spot of either suspect or red herring. If the episode would not have delivered this twist at the end, it would have been more than certain that Nicole was the bomber, and that her motive is simply revenge on all men (she definitely has a reason there). But the writers delivered that twist, which almost certainly means Nicole’s status as a suspect is just a red herring. But who knows, maybe VERONICA MARS still has a surprise or two left.

Money or prison time — that’s the question?

In the meantime, hooray for Matty to turn into the next Veronica during her high school years. They way she wrapped Owen around her finger was pretty awesome, and even I was amused by Wallace’s amusement, when he overheard what Matty had to say to Owen, reminiscing himself about how Veronica wrapped him around her fingers to do her biddings (as a volunteer in the administrator’s office, Wallace always had access to student files which Veronica needed, and she needed those a lot). Then I had the opportunity to listen how Matty figured out where Veronica was living, and that was pretty much the last straw — yes, Matty is one of the smart ones and Neptune, California definitely has a successor for Veronica, just in case Keith successfully makes her quit the detective business and rides into the sunset with her father, before he forgets what sunrises actually look like. I would not mind at all that Rob Thomas is going to create a spin-off centered around Matty, just in case he wants to continue writing a show like VERONICA MARS, but the cast won’t do it any longer. Then again, the season premiere did establish that something was about to happen with Matty, and back then I figured that she might be a future victim, and now with all the talk of Keith wanting to hang up the business, Matty potentially dying because of something Veronica is gonna do might be a way for her to quit as well.

By the way, I loved how Keith’s story has turned into a dramatic telling of how slowly dementia is ruining a person. VERONICA MARS has never really gone down that dramatic route before, which makes the dementia storyline sort of unique for the show. Okay, the show had terrorism, rape, drug-related stories, suicide, murder, the FBI and whatnot as plots, but something as dramatic and potentially emotional as dementia was never really a thing with the show. Hell, the writers even cut short Leanne’s alcoholism, and that could have been the story that broke the back of the Mars family for good if it had been a more expanded storyline. But here we are – Keith is seriously ill, Veronica is seriously worried, and that usually leads to a seriously dramatic or terrifying ending, especially when the writers ave started to develop that story halfway through the season. So, now I am believing that the season finale will either have Nicole as the villain or the red herring, and either Matty dead or Keith in some serious medical danger. I can only hope I’m wrong about all of it and there really are some surprises left.

Veronica Mars (“Heads You Lose”)

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 is a visual aide to the episode’s title.

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.

The criminally inclined private investigator and the criminally inclined Congressman.

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.

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.

Veronica Mars (“Chino and the Man”)

Season 4, Episode 2
Date of release: July 19, 2019 (Hulu)

In which Logan turned out to be an action hero of sorts, smashing up a bunch of hillbillies and getting a job in the process, because there is nothing more awesome than being the head of security for a future Senator. And with it, the writers pretty much paused the character stuff between Logan and Veronica, and started focusing on the premise of the season, which is both a good and a bad thing. It’s a good thing because this episode managed to focus a lot more on the bombing than the season premiere did, and with Logan involved he won’t feel like he was uselessly dropped into the show and only being used as Veronica’s long-term love interest. And it’s bad because the writers won’t be able to focus on Logan and Veronica’s relationship, now that Logan will be a little too busy being the “spy” for Mars Investigations, let alone saving the Congressman’s life every once in a while. Which he will hopefully do, because I loved that brawl in the Neptune Grand hotel suite.

This episode was quite solid, making me wonder why the season premiere wasn’t able to do some of the stuff this episode did. Matty was given a lot more attention in this hour and suddenly I understood what Veronica meant during her voiceover comments at the end of the previous episode, let alone give Matty the necessary amount of depth to make her look like Veronica when she started off the show. And now that Matty and Veronica have something of a connection, a beautiful friendship can blossom out of it, or maybe Matty will turn into her own private investigator, wanting to find the killer of her father and getting into some serious trouble doing so. Or maybe Matty will actually prove she has the same amount of wit as Veronica did in 2004, proving herself as a potential successor to Veronica Mars, as she can’t be the heroine of her hometown all the time. Besides that, Matty’s search for the one who most likely planted the bomb in the snack machine led to Liam Fitzpatrick, who made a glorious return to Neptune – and this after I mentioned his ass in the previous episode review. So, Liam Fitzpatrick was able to return to Neptune, but Mac is nowhere to be found?

Mexicans don’t like sexy American sports like beach volleyball.

I also started understanding what Clifton Collins Jr.’s character, whose name I cannot recall or has never been mentioned, is up to, and it really looks like he is just a villain who happens to be working on the same case as Veronica and Keith are. At one point these characters have to cross or merge their efforts and I am already excited to know what will happen when it happens. Will the cartel members continue to be villains, doing their own thing, hacking off a few more heads and therefore creating a sense of danger in Neptune, which increases police presence left and right? Or will they reluctantly work with the Mars investigators, just so the guys can use the private dicks to get to the real killer, and for once in their lifetimes, Veronica and Keith are actually being deceived, and successfully so. Oe can only hope the cartel members and the Mars investigators won’t take long for their paths to cross — this shouldn’t be a season of STRANGER THINGS in which the team-ups take three quarters of the season to join forces against the monster.

The episode also did well in making sure that the town of Neptune, California is still rich with characters in this shortened season. Dick is back to bring us all the joy of his asshole attitude, and with him his father comes back (I love the nickname this season has given him: Big Dick), which means he must not have spent more than ten years in jail for the embezzlement he was blown up for by his youngest son back in the day. Both didn’t feel like they were going to be important characters and were only in this episode to introduce us to Clyde who may or may not be a villain in this show (VERONICA MARS is known for revealing the villain, who has been a recurring character all along, at the end of a story arc). I might not have cared about the way he got introduced, but consider me intrigued that Veronica blew him off and decided not to take him on as a client, because the woman in his life has pretty much told him with no words at all that he shall not be involved in her life. That scene not only showed Veronica’s directness, but that she also has a sense of respect and realism for life in Neptune – she isn’t just gonna take clients to get paid at the end, she realizes the decision people have made and she honors them. Does that make her the least corrupt person in Neptune and a potential candidate for Sheriff? By the way, what happened with the Sheriff department in Balboa County? Are we only focusing on the police department this time around?

For this season, Veronica is armed and wittingly dangerous.

And finally, that scene that made all the Logan/Veronica shippers crazy again: There was another sex scene, albeit a brief one, and this time around the two love birds kept their clothes on. You can make all the sense you want of Veronica being more attracted to “green guy” Logan than “Bruce Banner” Logan, and while that potentially toxic relationship could either make or break them, it kind of feels out of place for this show. Then again, hardcore relationships between two people isn’t really something television does often and maybe there is a good idea behind the depiction of a more violent relationship, in which the violence is key for the functionality of said relationship. Veronica obviously does not have interest in calm and sound Logan, while storming all over him after he punched a hole into the cabinet, which could either mean Veronica likes it rough in the sheets, or she was just defined as a character by all the darkness and corruption and violence in Neptune, as well as her life. She was raped by Beaver, the police didn’t care about said rape, she almost got killed by Aaron, then she almost got suffocated by Liam, then she almost got killed by Beaver, then she almost got raped again. That should give her one of the hardest cores to crack in town, which begs the question if someone actually manages to do it this season.