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"Veronica Mars" Rolls Out the Welcome Wagon

Can I just say how very much I heart Veronica Mars? It needs to be said, especially coming on the heels of a dismally dull Gilmore Girls outing written by now co-exec producer Rebecca Rand Kirshner. (Why is it you can instantly tell it's one of her episodes from the way all the air is let out of each and every scene?) But enough of that sidenote, back to the issue at hand. Namely, the fact that while some shows lose their footing in moving the cast from high school to college, Veronica Mars has made the leap from Neptune High to Hearst College with full sparkage intact. No mean feat, in this age of network jerry-rigging and focus grouping and, well, netlet mergers.

Last night's third season premiere episode ("Welcome Wagon") picked up a few months after the end of last season, solving a few mysteries that were lingering. Did Keith (Enrico Colantoni) stand up Veronica (Kristen Bell) at the airport, as she waited to board a plane for their post-graduation trip to New York? Yep, but he met her in Manhattan three days later. Was Kendall's briefcase filled with cash as I surmised back in May... or with a body part as others conjectured? Nope, it was cold, hard cash, though last night's episode appears to be the last time we'll see catty Kendall Casablancas (Charisma Carpenter). Are Veronica and Logan (Jason Dohring) still an item? Very much so, in fact.

And what was the fallout from Beaver (Kyle Gallner) attempting to kill Veronica and then taking a dive off the roof of the Neptune Grand? Well, super ex-girlfriend Mac (the always phenomenal Tina Majorino) is still heartbroken and not the funky, spunky gal we knew. Gone is the brightly colored hair and positive outlook and instead she's a somewhat somber shell of herself. But no worries, all it takes is a few days hanging with Veronica to put the twinkle back in her eyes. (I'm absolutely loving that they're hanging out together.) Though I imagine it will be quite some time before Mac totally comes to grips with what Beaver did to her and the kids he killed... Same goes for Beaver's skanky bro Dick Casablancas (Ryan Hansen) who seems to be hitting the very bottom of a shame spiral. (I did previously report from Comic Con about Ryan Hansen dancing around in Speedos and Rob Thomas kept true to his word last night; there certainly was a lot of, um, Dick on display.)

Picking up on the season finale's surprise visit from Kendall, poor Papa Keith thinks he's helping Kendall out by picking up her boyfriend, one of the Fitzpatricks, from prison and taking him right to her doorstop, but--wouldn't you know it--turns out he's just as crooked as brother Liam and shoots Kendall right in front of Keith. And then (rude!) shoots Keith too and leaves him stranded in the desert. Will fellow PI Vinnie Van Lowe (Ken Marino) track Keith using the pen tracker Keith found in the car? Something tells me, yes, Vinnie will come to his rescue. Which is fine by me, as one can't have too much Ken Marino.

On another note, I'm v. happy to see that Veronica and Keith aren't enemies after the whole misunderstanding about New York and they have kept their snappy banter and the best father-daughter relationship on TV alive and kicking. Same goes for Veronica and Logan. While I love seeing them apart, I also just love seeing them together. Are there any two other actors that share such amazing chemistry? I wasn't sure how I'd feel about Logan on the Hearst College campus, but I'm glad that Rob Thomas and Co. made sure he kept his suite at the Neptune Grand and only occasionally showed up for class.

Speaking of class, how much did you enjoy the opening scene in which our beloved Veronica shows up a psych professor (Patrick Fabian), his arrogant TA, and an entire class by solving their "mystery" in under six minutes? She's a minx, that Veronica. Also loved the fact that the episode's central mystery--locating the missing belongings of Wallace's new roommate Piz (new cast member Chris Lowell)--involved making another choice between a man and a woman she'd send away to prison for the rest of their natural life. (Okay, not that theft sentences are that heavy, but you get the drift.) I think that Chris Lowell's Piz, already developing a healthy crush on our Veronica, is a fantastic addition to the cast. And kudos to Rob Thomas for making Piz hail from Portland suburb Beaverton, coincidentally my girlfriend's hometown. I already adore Piz and think he's a natural (and naive) fit for Veronica's diverse group of pals.

Scarily enough, I did miss former Veronica nemesis Jackie (Tessa Thompson), but something tells me she might just pop up on Veronica Mars soon... and you can catch Tessa popping up on the CW's mid-season drama Hidden Palms. I'm glad to see that the other new cast addition, Parker (Julie Gonzalo), isn't a Jackie clone. Parker is wildly upbeat, a bit of an exhibitionist, and, um, free with her sexuality. I had an inkling that she might be the next victim of the Hearst College serial rapist (a storyline carried over from last season) when Veronica sneaked back into Parker and Mac's room to grab their movie tickets and heard (but not saw) Parker and some guy going at it. And, sure enough, Parker wakes up the next morning, her head shaved, the calling card of the mysterious rapist.

I'm completely intrigued by this street-level mystery (no conspiracies or bus crashes, here) and just hope that the culprit isn't Michael Cera's character (remember him?) or some blind-but-not-really-blind fiddle player that suddenly materializes. This isn't Murder on the Riverboat Queen, after all.

Regardless of the mystery's resolution (though, please, let it not be Michael Cera's character), I'm as pleased as pie that Veronica's back in town and the next week can't go by quickly enough until the planets align and I'm reunited with the gang in Neptune again.

Next week on Veronica Mars ("My Big Fat Greek Rush Week"): Veronica is hired by the college paper and goes undercover at a sorority in order to find a potential link with Parker's rapist; meanwhile Papa Keith tries to stay alive after receiving a gunshot wound from one of the Fitzpatrick Boys last episode. Ouch. Watch out for that rattlesnake, Keith.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Jericho (CBS); Friday Night Lights (NBC); America's Next Top Model (CW); Dancing with the Stars (ABC); Bones (FOX); Desire (MyNet)

9 pm: Criminal Minds (CBS); The Biggest Loser (NBC); One Tree Hill (CW); Lost (ABC); House (FOX); Fashion House (MyNet)

10 pm: CSI: New York (CBS); Kidnapped (NBC); The Nine (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

9 pm: Lost.

I've been counting down the days until the third season premiere of Lost. On tonight's episode ("A Tale of Two Cities"), Jack, Kate, and Sawyer learn to adapt to their new situation as prisoners. Seriously, folks, it can't be any worse than living in that cave from Season One.

10 pm: Kidnapped.

It's the third episode of Kidnapped (which, hello, far superior to FOX's Vanished). On tonight's episode ("Sorry, Wrong Number"), the Cains host an annual charity ball in an attempt to pretend that everything's just peachy keen and their son hasn't been kidnapped. Stiff upper lips, people.

10 pm: Project Runway on Bravo.

On tonight's special reunion episode, Runway-obsessive folks (like yours truly) will get to see Jeffrey accusing Angela's mom of deliberately deceiving him about hating her outfit, Keith attempting to defend his actions, and Vincent explaining why he gets turned on by his own designs! It's the reunion show that's got it all!


RUDY said…
I heart VM, too. And I'm along side you with the briefcase prediction...I also predicted that it had to be about Liam. After all, it was Kendall and the last time we saw Liam was when he was with Kendall at her house. But as for Charismas end...she is gone, but not so much from the show yet. From what I can tell, she'll be in flashbacks. And to jump to LoVe. Did you get the feeling that V wasn't into L as much as L was into V? I didn't. But people all over the boards and such were singing that note.
Anonymous said…
The season three premiere was fantastic. I only wish it would have done better in the ratings. I will be devestated if the show gets cancelled as it really is one of the smartest, funniest show on the air.
nick said…
and how frackin' good was the battlestar gallactica reference!
Anonymous said…
I never thought there was money in the briefcase - glad I was right! Though I did suspect body part and not a piece of art. :)
Anonymous said…
also, opening scene of the premiere was kickass.

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