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"Rob Thomas is a Whore" and Other Things I'll Miss About "Veronica Mars"

I really can't believe it's over. While last night's episode of Veronica Mars was touted by the CW as a "season finale," it's clear that the series has come to the end of the road and I, for one, am completely gutted.

It's one thing when a show peters out over several seasons and by Season Seven or so you become indifferent to one of your favorite series, but Veronica Mars still had a hell of a lot of potential--despite the awkward, sometimes off-putting single episode mysteries--and managed to restart itself in the two-hour finale.

One of the funniest moments in last night's Veronica Mars finale ("Weevils Wobble But They Don't Fall Over"/"The Bitch is Back") was a hilariously tongue-firmly-in-cheek scathing indictment of CW-style product placement as the gang name drop Venus razors ("Veronica Mars uses a Venus razor?"), People magazine, Saturn hybrid cars, and Matchbox 20, allowing Piz to take a swipe at Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas, who just happens to share a name with the lead singer of the aforementioned band: "Rob Thomas is a whore." It's a fantastic meta moment which at once invalidates gratuitous product placement whilst probably serving to fulfill those very same product placement deals the CW forced upon the show all in the space of two scenes. I was a little skeptical when I saw Veronica shaving her legs in the sink of Mac's dorm room but those two scenes have quickly become series favorites as they skewer those awful, stilted Top Model Venus ads and similarly awkward product integration. It's the noir teen equivalent of the Snapple scene from 30 Rock.

All joking aside, I'm torn about whether last night's episode works as a series finale or just a season ender. On the one hand, there was no real resolution to any of the storylines (save the mystery of who filmed Veronica and Piz fooling around and posted it on the Internet) but on the other hand, writers Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero managed to reset the clock on Veronica Mars, returning us to several situations and storylines that defined the series in its freshman season: the feud between the Mars and Kane clans, Veronica being a social pariah, Keith losing the position of sheriff all over again thanks to Jake Kane (Kyle Secor, in a welcome return to the series), another idiot takes over as sheriff, etc. Hell, even Lily and Duncan Kane showed up, even if it was only as gigantic paintings in Jake Kane's palatial mansion.

There was definitely a cyclical feeling to the ending of "The Bitch is Back," as Keith sacrifices everything--the election campaign, his job, his sterling reputation--in order to save his beloved Veronica, though his intervention was ultimately unnecessary, which made his downfall all the more tragic. At the heart of this series has always been a compelling and extraordinary relationship between a father and daughter: because of her shame and embarrassment at the non-sex sex tape, Veronica is unable to tell Keith why she broke into Jake Kane's house and stole the hard drive; because of his love for his daughter, Keith does everything--including break the law--to save her. Has a television parent-child relationship ever been this rich and complex?

The ending, in which Veronica sees that Keith is being charged with tampering with evidence and then goes and votes for her dad in the voting booth (even though he's doomed to fail), was a beautiful crystallization about everything Veronica Mars has stood for: hope in the face of adversity, despite all proof that truth and justice don't necessarily exist in a noir-styled town as corrupt as Neptune. No matter how much good Keith and Veronica do in their roles as private investigators (or in Keith's case as sheriff), they'll never truly fit in in Neptune society; they're rebels, outcasts, forever removed from the '09-ers and tainted by the fact that they don't live in that posh zip code. If that's not the perfect ending to a series about class warfare, I don't know what is; it was poignant and full of promise for a fourth season at the same time. Pity then that we won't get to see (whether that's Veronica as an FBI agent or a college student) what would have come next.

It's clear that Logan is still deeply in love with Veronica. He savagely attacked poor Piz (wrongfully, I might add) and then, despite Veronica telling him that she wanted him out of her life forever, he still beat up that Castle member even after V. told Logan that he had serious mob connections. If that's not love, I don't know what is, though I do think Logan overstepped his bounds by upholding Veronica's honor; if that was anyone's right it was Piz's and, from the scathing gaze he offered Logan, it seemed like he was none too pleased by Logan's berserker rage. Poor Parker never even had a chance with Logan, did she? He didn't even blink when she split up with him. But I do have to admit that I liked Veronica and Piz together; they were really quite cute, especially in the scene where he told her how cute she was when she surveilled. (Aw.)

It was also gratifying to see the entire gang in on the action last night as Wallace and Mac (yay, Mac!) did what they do best and lent a hand to Veronica's investigation: Wallace went undercover at the Castle (but got caught in the process), Mac helped Veronica decrypt Jake Kane's hard drive and get the names (and confessions) of every single Castle member since 1939, Weevil bent the law to help V., and Logan provided some (misguided at times) muscle. It was just like old times again and made me more than a little nostalgic.

Best line of the night: "This new wetsuit is like a cheap hotel: no ballroom." I'm not sure what Dick hoped to gain by making amends for his past behavior towards everyone in his life (and his suddenly reemerging guilt over Cassidy's death), but he still managed to do so with his gutter humor intact. So maybe there is hope in Neptune even for the hopeless, after all.

We may not have gotten the resolution we wanted (no appearance by Big Dick Casablancas or Kendall) but we did get a plaintive ending to a series which has provided me no end of theorizing and ruminating. I do wish that Rob Thomas and Company would have had the chance to tell the story that they wanted and been able to end the series on their terms, rather than the network's. Despite its premature death at the hands of CW execs, Veronica Mars will forever remain in my memory as one of television's most multi-layered dramas, populated by complex characters in a noir-tinged underworld set against a fabulous, beach-scented backdrop. Neptune might not be an ideal place to live, but it's been the perfect weekly getaway over the last three seasons.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: NCIS (CBS); Saturday Night Live in the '90s: Pop Culture Nation (NBC; 8-10 pm); One Tree Hill (CW); Lost (ABC); American Idol (FOX; 8-10 pm)

9 pm: Criminal Minds (CBS); One Tree Hill (CW); Lost (ABC; 9-11 pm)

10 pm: CSI: New York (CBS); Dateline (NBC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Lost.

If you missed Thursday's Lost special ("The Answers"), here's your chance to kick back with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse as they recap some of the plot twists and turns of this past season.

9-11 pm: Lost.

On the two-hour season finale of Lost ("Through the Looking Glass"), Jack and the castaways head to the radio tower, Charlie meets some new female friends in the Looking Glass, Desmond faces off against Patchy, and Ben enacts his plot to kidnap the female survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. I cannot wait!

Comments

Anonymous said…
I only wish that Rob Thomas could have ended the series on his terms. As great as last night's episode was, I couldn't help but wonder if the Castle mystery would have been more satisfying as a longer arc, like the Dean O'Dell murder. It just makes me angry that the CW kept tampering with the show only to cancel it in the end.

Still, I loved that things came full circle for Veronica and the gang and that the final episode concentrated on the characters we love doing what they do best including Mac hacking into a computer. Wallace being the ultimate sidekick and friend. Weevil being a bad boy. Logan defending Veronica. Dick being a...well, Dick. And Keith risking everything for his daughter. These relationships are what kept us coming back and, even though this season didn't have a "Who Killed Lily Kane?" or a "Beaver Has Issues" story arc, it was still one of the best shows on television and it will be sorely, sorely missed.

Thank you to Rob Thomas (not the one from Matchbox 20), Kristen Bell, and all of the cast and crew for Veronica Mars.
Anonymous said…
Here is hoping CW at least gives it a small order, like six episodes, to come back next year and end on their own terms. That would be a fitting farewell.
Vance said…
I sort of accepted the Everwood finale, and I was ready for the Arrested Development finale. Gilmore's came just in time, but this one. I'm still not ready for and not ready for it to be over.
Unknown said…
Yet another series thrown on the ash-heap by cynical network execs. Veronica Mars had promise, no doubt, but it broke that promise once and for all with last night's ultimately unsatisfying series finale. I really enjoyed Weevils Wobble but The Bitch is Back left a bad taste in my mouth with the beatings, crimes (fraud and car-stripping for revenge), and Keith's useless sacrifice.

There was never any spark between VM and Piz. The constant product placement was distracting. Logan's moping was ridiculous. Wallace goofed up yet again. Feh.

I should thank CW becasue it's so much easier to say goodbye to a show I used to love when it ends with Veronica's dad looking at jail time (he is guilty, folks), VM leaving town, and a nice rain shower to top it all off.

This finale is the last straw for me. I don't trust networks at all to do the right thing anymore. I've changed my plans for upcoming programs and cut half a dozen shows from my list (Goodbye Traveler and Damages) and am hoping to cut more. If they sound good and the network lets them run to conclusion, I'll catch them on DVD.
Anonymous said…
There's still hope that Rob will get to finish the story...

http://community.tvguide.com/blog-entry/TVGuide-Editors-Blog/Ausiello-Report/Exclusive-Veronica-Mars/800015752?rssDate=12345678
Anonymous said…
My friend called me this morning, and when I picked up the phone, she said, "I am unsatisfied."

I couldn't agree more.

It was a completely unsatisfying series finale. Ok, not completely - the VM/Keith stuff was good. That's all.

It was a good season finale, but we all know there will be no next season. When it ended, I just shook my head in disbelief. I'm sorry, but they HAD to know there was a good chance they weren't coming back. This, for me, was not a good episode for loyal fans. Bringing Weevil back is not enough.

To compare, GG knew they might not be coming back and they gave loyal viewers a completely satisfying series end. Completely.

I have absolutely no closure.
Rob Bergin said…
I am suprised you missed this one.

Mark Piznarski directed the Pilot episode of Veronica Mars - hence the character name Piz.

http://imdb.com/name/nm0686184/

Slater

Rob
The CineManiac said…
I personally loved the episode, and have to disagree with it being unsatisfying. Sure it didn't wrap everything up but you have to think about when this was filmed, and since it was filmed awhile back you might recall Thomas saying that the chances of renewal were looking better. It wasn't until recently that we could see the end coming, so Thomas just wrote the episode hoping for a 4th season.
I'm just hoping he pulls a Firefly like he recently mentioned and brings it back for a movie to wrap things up.

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