Is 'Veronica Mars' Season 2 better than Season 1? Newbie binge-watch continues
In anticipation of the "Veronica Mars" movie -- which hits theaters March 14 -- a "Veronica Mars" newbie began binge-watching the series from the beginning for the first time 10 years after it premiered on UPN. Check out her reaction to the game-changing Season 1 finale here.
Once again, "Veronica Mars" blew my mind with an emotional and action-packed season finale. Based on what friends and co-workers told me before I started watching, I wasn't expecting Season 2 to be better than Season 1, and for most of the mid-season episodes, I agreed with everyone that Season 1 was better. The big, season-long arcs -- the bus crash, Woody, the PCH-er murder, the Irish crime family, the dead guy with Veronica's name on his hand, Kendall Casablancas -- didn't seem connected, and each new piece of info just made everything more confusing. I had no idea what was going on big-picture, and so I focused on the case-of-the-week stories instead, since they made sense and had satisfying conclusions in each episode.
And then the Season 2 finale tied everything together all at once, with the showdown between Veronica (Kristen Bell) and Cassidy "Beaver" Casablancas (Kyle Gallner) on the rooftop of the Neptune Grand after graduation. All of a sudden, everything clicked together, and everything took on a much darker, sinister tone. Veronica found out that Beaver was one of the little boys Woody molested all those years ago, and he set up the bus crash to kill his fellow classmates to take care of two other boys who wanted to come forward and accuse Woody publicly. That's why he couldn't "perform" with Mac in the bedroom -- he had deep, underlying issues stemming from his sexual abuse as a child.
And in one of the most shocking reveals, it turns out that Beaver was the one who raped Veronica at Shelly Pomeroy's party. She and Duncan did sleep together, but Beaver had already raped her when he was alone with her while she was passed out. That's how she got chlamydia -- because Woody gave it to Beaver when he was just a kid, and he passed it on to her. Whoa.
Instantly, the dark circles under Beaver's eyes transformed from social anxiety to insanity. The shy, awkward little brother of Dick became a cold villain, a rapist and a mass murderer. He ruthlessly made Veronica watch her father die in an explosion above the city, smiling the whole time. He was proud of himself for "taking care" of his classmates that would have exposed his abuse by causing a school bus to crash off the side of a cliff. He was proud of himself for killing Woody in the plane explosion. He was proud of himself for "being a man" and raping an unconscious Veronica, and proud of himself for keeping it a secret from his caveman brother. He smiled as he held Veronica at gunpoint, after she crumpled to the ground in tears thinking her father just died.
But Logan rushed to the rooftop to save the day, even after he spent the majority of Season 2 regressing back to his jerk ways. He came through in the end for Veronica, proving he loves her (and it wasn't just a drunken confession to try and get into her pants like at the alterna-prom). I have to admit, I was pissed off when it was revealed at the end of the Season 2 premiere that Veronica was back with Duncan (who I pretty much hate at this point). Disappointing bait-and-switch. It took forever for LoVe to reunite, but it felt satisfying and right when they finally did. Logan's kiss in the hallway outside of Mars Investigations was rushed and full of passion because it had taken so long to get back to that point.
I'm excited to see Logan and Veronica actually in a real relationship next season. I haven't seen enough of them together yet. They had a secret relationship near the end of Season 1, and their public relationship ended quickly in the Season 2 premiere, so I hope we get a real LoVe relationship in Season 3.
And Duncan was finally gone for good with his baby. Hallelujah. And at least he did one thing right after high-tailing it out of town -- he ordered Clarence Wiedman to assassinate Aaron Echolls after the movie star was cleared of all charges and released from prison. Now that was a messed-up conclusion to Season 1's big arc. After Logan destroyed the sex tape that would have clinched Aaron's guilty verdict because he didn't want it plastered online, sullying Lilly's memory, Aaron became a new problem in Veronica's life. He was giddy with the fact that he was a free man, and while that would have been an interesting story line to explore in Season 3, I'm happy he's gone for good. That would have been traumatizing for both Veronica and Logan, and you know Aaron would have made their lives difficult with extreme malice. That conversation between Aaron and Veronica in the hotel elevator? Chills.
It's not like Logan will be too upset about his father's murder, since at this point it was like his father was dead to him anyways. Aaron is better dead than alive for Logan's well-being. And Logan was finally cleared of any suspicion of murdering the PCH-er on the bridge, since it turned out that Thumper killed him and framed Logan. I'm disappointed in Weevil for taking matters into his own hands and setting up Thumper to get killed by the Fighting Fitzpatricks, since it prevented Weevil from walking across the stage at graduation and fulfilling his grandma's dying wish. I was so proud of him for working hard at school and staying out of the gang life, and he was so close to achieving his goals, but his arrest just solidified everyone's opinions of him.
On the flip side of that, watching Weevil and Logan form an unlikely partnership to work together to find out who killed the PCH-er was a joy. These two smart-mouthed, witty guys could have been friends in another life, but due to their socio-economic backgrounds, they were natural born enemies instead. That's a perfect example of how well "Veronica Mars" attacks deeper issues like racism and class prejudice, all while disguised as a high school drama.
And in one of the most emotional moments of the finale, after spending the night crying with Logan over her father's death, Veronica wakes up from dreaming about her dad to the smell of bacon cooking. For one glorious moment, she thinks she dreamed the whole past 24 hours and her father is cooking her breakfast the morning of graduation, but her and our bubble of manic hope is shattered when she sees it's actually Logan at the stove. And one moment later that bubble is re-inflated when Keith sticks his head out of his room, having come back in the middle of the night. Turns out the sheriff wanted to get the credit of bringing in Woody in handcuffs so he ordered Keith to take a different flight back to Neptune, and as a result saved his life since Beaver blew up the airplane that Woody was on. It was a bait-and-switch fake-out! Oh man, this whole exchange just about fried my nerves going from elation to devastation back to elation in such rapid succession.
By the end of the Season 2 finale, I had changed my mind. Though the middle of Season 2 left a few things to be desired, and I was confused for the majority of it, the incredible finale made it all worth it. I think Season 2 is better than Season 1, though I'm sure many fans will disagree since Season 1 was stronger with its consistency (and had way more LoVe).
Now about that cliffhanger ... what is Kendall Casablancas up to? What could she possibly show to Keith that would make him stand up his own daughter for their trip to New York together? So far, Kendall has been an extremely unlikeable character, a legitimate gold-digger who sleeps with her stepsons' friends and has no moral compass or loyalties whatsoever. I'll be interested to see if she somehow becomes one of the good guys next season.
On to Season 3 ...
"Veronica Mars" hits theaters March 14.