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Veronica Mars “Credit Where Credit’s Due”/ “Meet John Smith” Review (1×02/1×03)

17 Aug

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EPISODE 2: “Credit Where Credit’s Due”

Ha ha ha, Paris Hilton, you waste of space. You make that one Neptune High extra in the background look like Amy Adams.

Anyway, the episode in general is certainly a step down from the pilot, as most second episodes are. However, it’s an episode that begins to delve into the class structure in Neptune: you have 09ers like Troy, Weevil’s guys, and ‘undesirables’, and the show seems intent on playing with your expectations as it explores these characters. We continue with Weevil, for example, in the way the pilot handled him: he fits a stereotype when you look at him from the outside–which is what most people in that society do when they slap the label on him–but when you know him as Veronica does, you see that he values honor and respect.

Understandably, Weevil’s still a bit uncertain of Veronica’s interest in clearing his name because he believes that she’s still “one of them” (‘them’ being the 09ers). It’s another case of initial perception vs. reality, and the reality of the matter is that while Veronica’s been there before, she doesn’t want to go back. It makes her a great observer, as we already know, and it ties in nicely with her father’s adamance about Jake Kane; this stubbornness–or determination, whichever way you’d like to look at it–makes them great detectives, but can also alienate them from certain groups of people.

GRADE: B-

EPISODE 3: “Meet John Smith”

Here’s where the family aspect of the show that I mentioned in my pilot review starts to really shine through. On one side, you have the Kanes and the palpable distance between them and their son, and on the other, you have this: “Ninety miles is the distance your dad travels every week to see you for a few seconds”.

Veronica clearly feels a personal connection to the John Smith case; her mother, after all, is literally at a distance from her (whereas the Kanes are just emotionally distant, but whatever the case, not exactly good parenting going on here). The point is driven home by the Veronica-Keith scenes, one of which consists of them renting movies in a parallel to Julia Smith at the video store to see her son. Justin Smith, at the end of the day, has someone who loves him, and he can try to make things work with Julia Smith, even if he was searching for John Smith at first.

GRADE: B

OTHER THOUGHTS:

– “Flat?” “Just as God made me.”

-Veronica and her dad make a great team, especially when they’re teaming up as a pregnant daughter and pissed off father to dupe the concierge into giving them info. That’s easily the best part of the case of the week–which is fairly average–in episode 2.

-Caitlin Ford’s fate at the end of episode 2 is reminiscent of what happened to Veronica.

-It looks like clues will start unfolding over the course of the season, starting with Lilly Kane’s traffic camera photo two hours after her supposed death and Duncan’s hallucination of Lilly. This is the kind of show that would do well by a re-watch; I’m sure they’ve set up bits and pieces here and there that you only notice if you know the resolution.

-Song lyrics oftentimes seem to have significance in this show. For example: “What Are You Afraid Of?” applies to Veronica and Troy.

-Melissa Leo is great, as expected.

-I am fed up with the “See your ex kissing someone else, then jump off the school bleachers” trope! Damn it, show me something I haven’t seen before!

Photo credit: Veronica Mars, UPN/The CW

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