The various sides of Veronica Mars–comedy, drama, mystery—are on their best displays in this episode, and so are the various looks at what it means to be rich, especially in a society that idolizes those who have a boatload of money. In Neptune’s 09er-land, rich is the norm, but the way certain people react to their statuses highlights the loss of familial connection, the loss of a genuine foundation upon which to live their lives free of unwanted intrusion.
And well, this can happen not only to someone who’s already rich and is attempting to perpetuate the lifestyle through the cameras, but also to someone who isn’t rich and is pretending to be so. The former is Lynn Echolls, who’s preoccupied with image more so than anything else and who’s being cheated on by her husband–multiple times at one party, if I may add–and the latter is Sean Friedrich, introduced in this episode as one of the poker players and later revealed to be a butler’s son. They both have one thing in common: they let the environment they live in dictate who they present themselves to be, therefore corrupting who they really are.
Even Connor Larkin, movie star, doesn’t seem to be putting on the show that Lynn and Sean are (interestingly, the Echolls made it to this position through acting). Logan, as much of a dick as he can be, is still an endearing character because we can see some of that underlying humanity shine through 1) in the scene in which he helps out Veronica, and 2) when he looks away as the others are ogling his mother. At one moment, you want to put him in his place–Duncan and Connor both call him out–and at another, you want to comfort him and tell him it’s all going to be alright.
For the really clear contrasts to the 09er lifestyle, though, we have Veronica, Keith, and Weevil. Veronica and Keith setting up the Christmas tree at the beginning is later taken to a whole new level with Lynn’s organization of the party set-up at the Echolls house, but flashier doesn’t necessarily mean more genuine or more satisfying. That final scene hammers the point home; we see snowmakers creating the illusion of Christmas at the house, but like with many of the people inside, it’s all just a facade.
As for Weevil, he can take shit and dish it out–entertainingly so–but at the end of the day, the aspects of his character that are emphasized are his principles. We know that he’s not going to steal money that he won fair and square just to make more money, and that already elevates him above someone like Sean.
Sean, speaking of, is revealed to have stolen the money. This reveal comes during the best sequence the show’s pulled off thus far: the Christmas party. It’s just so damn entertaining watching Veronica walking around the table, eliminating suspects one by one until she reaches the culprit, and it’s even more entertaining when she sits down and begins to deal cards like a pro. This segues into the party itself, taking us into Jake Kane’s office as Veronica confronts him while Keith watches, and later transitions into the stabbing of Aaron Echolls. Essentially, a confrontation to attempt to find out the truth is followed up by an outpouring of truth right in the middle of a party that’s all about covering up the truth. It’s beautifully handled, and it illustrates the fact that solving the mystery and reaching the end goal of ‘truth’ doesn’t really mean your problems are over. In fact, it might even get worse.
Honestly? Veronica Mars definitely would be the best rich person.
– “What if I run into a pack of you white boys? On some clean, well-lit street? I could be bored to death!”
– “Annoy, tiny blonde one. Annoy like the wind!” This is amazing.
– “You’ve got a bit of a shoplifting problem. You are really bad at it.”
-The poker game is, thankfully, not given half the running time of the episode. It’s fun watching everyone in a room together, but less is more in this case. What we get is fantastic already.
Photo credit: UPN/CW, Veronica Mars