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Thursday, December 01, 2005
TV Round-Up
Veronica Mars: My Mother, The Fiend
It's official--Veronica Mars is favorite show airing new episodes at the moment. Last night it overtook Lost and it's gonna be quite a race between it and Battlestar Galactica for the best show of 2005 in my book.

For weeks, we'd been teased about the merits of this episode. It was supposed to be huge, colossal, pivotal and full of revelations. And I've got to say--you know, it delivered on just about all counts. I could go nitpicky here and say that I saw through the central misunderstanding of signing the word friend/fiend. But other than that, it was all good. Maybe I'm just way too in love with this show, but as I watched I never guessed that the lunch lady was the mother or that Trina was the bathroom baby. Of course, when you look back on the story, it's the best conclusion and the most obvious one--but the thing I love is how Veronica Mars throws out the obvious clues of how the central mystery of the week will be resolved but still has you feeling surprised and satisfied when it turns out that way. Such a good case of distraction, worth of Joss "I am the man" Whedon.

You do have to wonder if anyone in Neptune gains political power without having to destroy someone else in the process. Are there any people in the town, outside of Keith, who don't see that the ends always justify the means? Case in point this week--Vice Principal and now Principal Clemmons. Clemmons sets up Veronica, taking advantage of her natural curiosity and the drive to fill in gaps about her mother and her past to maneuver himself into the position of prinicipal of Neptune High. The scene where he pulls out the new name plate was a great one as it hits you just how exactly Clemmons manipulating everything and everyone to get to this point. And he gets to shut down Veronica's access to vital information in his office as well...it's win/win for him. Or so it seems. Or is there something more going on here? Does he know something about the bus crash and is this political manuvering being done to cut off Veronica from finding out something more and covering his own rear? Oh, the possiblities are just endless to consider....

I found it interesting to see how doggedly Veronica was pursuing this new information about her mother. I loved how Keith pointed out Veronica may not want to uncover the truth. Instead he advises her to remember that she loved her mom and her mom loved her. And, agian, he points out that without mom in his life, there is no Veronica. I really liked that moment, especially when Veronica hears the speech and then promptly continues doggedly down the path of investigation. We know that Veronica and Keith can both be single-minded in their pursuit of the truth and damn the consequences. But here we find out that maybe Veronica got some of her grit and her fighting for and loyalty to her friends and the underdog from her mother. We find out that Veronica's mom took the fall for a freind rather than confirm a rumor and destroy the friends' reputation. We've certainly seen Veronica sit on the actual truth in the past (intereting to see that Abel Koontz comes up here since Veronica did the same thing to him a few weeks ago on his death bed) and I wonder if this will lead to her doing this again in the future.

Meanwhile, there was the ending...I am not sure but I think I called a week or so ago that perhaps Meg was pregnant. So not a huge revelation here for in the final few minutes. What is interesting is that there was an alternative ending for this story that was not Meg waking up. You can see it over on AOL, though I'll warn you, you have to watch the last few minutes of the story to get to it...unless there are some detail changes I missed in the course of the story. If there were any, they weren't quite as shattering as the big changes to the final two or so minutes that we see here. You can also vote for the ending you liked best at AOL and I wonder--should the alternate ending win, would they pursue this plotline and angle? Or was the plotline abandonded for other reasons or because the season was headed in a different direction? I'd love to hear Rob Thomas, the creator of the show, come out and talk about that or address that somewhere. I'm fascinating by the way that a television season can change and evolve as the writers decide which angles and storylines they need to pursue or which ones are the most compelling.

Make no mistake though--either way they'd gone, the show is compelling, interesting and a treat. Yep, it's my new favorite show...at least until Battlestar Galactica comes back. And then, who knows? I think the real winner in these two slugging it out for my affection is me...cause this is damn good TV.

Lost: What Kate Did

It's not that Lost was necessarily bad last night, it's just that it paled in comparison to Veronica Mars. Maybe ABC should consider moving it so it won't compete with a show that knows how to take expectations, meet them, defy them and confound the audience so.

It wasn't that Lost didn't have any huge revelations--it was just that some of them were so blindingly obvious. OK, I did not see that Eko would have the missing piece of the film, so that took me by surprise. But as soon as the guy mentioned that they should not use the computer to communicate with the outside world, I knew that was exactly what would happen. And then we cut to Michael, looking at the computer equipment--which I'm not sure why he was looking at it since if I recall from his backstory he was not a computer savy person--and an IM comes in. And Michael sits down and starts typing. See, now this is where we know Lost is a fictional show because the unknown IM comes in one of the first two lines isn't A/S/L?

But all joking aside....

Michael starts to communicate and on the other end of the computer is....Walt! Surprise, surprise. Again, not that this wasn't a nice shock but after seeing how expertly Veronica Mars shocks with solutions that can be the only ones possible despite the red herrings, this one was a bit too obvious. It's an intersting place to leave off for 2005 (as I assume since the preview didn't tout a new episode in two weeks that we're done until January), but it wasn't a hugely pivotal place to be. It's not like last year's winter cliffhanger where we were left wondering about the fate of Claire, who Ethan was and what he wanted with the baby.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the island, the wacky love triangle gets a bit more complicated. Jack hears Sawyer profess his love for Kate and then promptly doesn't reveal this to her. Kate thinks Sawyer in possessed by the spirit of her assumed step-father but turns to out to be her actual father and runs off into the jungle where she keeps coming across a large black horse. Turns out the horse was there at another time when she escaped from the marshall and went to find the man she thought was her father but wasn't. Yeah, I'm not quite sure about how that one worked myself....But anyway, back to my original train of though. Kate goes into the jungle, kisses Jack and then heads back to nurse Sawyer back to health. Then Jack gets frustrated by the whole triangle and heads down the beach to have a drink with Ana Lucia. So now the love triangle is a quadralateral, I guess. Whatever has happened, the waters are muddied even more than before....esp. Jack's line about hoping Ana Lucia proves to him that not all women are crazy. Yeah, Jack, you might want to rethink that one....

Sayid and the castaways bury Shanon in a nice, lump in your throat scene. Sayid's speech on how they'd never have been friends much less lovers were it not for the island was intriguing. And to see how the grave played such a role in the character arc of the island dwellers this week was interesting and well done.

And, at long, last we find out just exactly what the crime was that sent Kate spiralling out of crime. Kate kills what we, at first, think is her step-father, taking out a huge insurance policy on the house and giving it to mom. Mom then rats Kate out and she's arrested. She escapes from the marshall once (which this explains why he's so wary of her when we first meet him) and goes to find the man we assume is her daddy. But wait--turns out that redneck guy she killed was her daddy and Kate killed him because she was ashamed of being anything like him. Guess in the nature vs nurture debate, Kate has decided it's nature all the way. Kate doesn't want to be like him and she refuses to allow anyone like that into her life, hence why she's torn about her feelings for Sawyer. She's ashamed of falling for him and becoming like her mother was. Of course, this assumes that Sawyer is anything like her father was, which from what we've seen, he has a lot more depth to him than daddy. Of course, we only saw daddy in one scene, so what can we really know about him? We've had a good deal more time to get to know Sawyer here, though I still wonder if he and Kate will work out long term or not.

Of course, that's assuming any romance happens. I mean, I hate to say it but for the most part romances on the island seem to be an instant red-shirt. And I've said it before and I'll say it again--should they decide that killing Kate off is a good idea, I will riot in the streets.

And I may be dense, but what was the symbolism or meaning behind Kate's repeated visions of the black horse? Am I missing some obvious allusion to literature that might help explain all this to me?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 12/01/2005 08:19:00 AM | |
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