Welcome Back, Veronica Mars!
I’ve been a Marshmallow (for those not hip to the lingo: Veronica Mars fans) from the beginning. Way back to the fall of 2004. Back then, I wore way too much eyeliner, rocked a bob haircut similar to Ms. Mars, and wanted so badly to be a detective. Unfortunately, that was just not my lot in life. But, I digress.
It’s been a long fifteen years for the private investigator. Starting in 2004, Veronica Mars went on to air 3 seasons between UPN and it’s successor, the CW. Through fan support, seven years later Warner Bros. revived the beloved show with a movie. From there, the fandom would continue with a short-lived web series and continuation novels.
Last month, the TV show was revived once again by Hulu. Trailer here. They gave it an eight-episode fourth season. For a lot of people, the season didn’t live up to its hype. While I disagree, I think there is one thing everyone needs to remember: Be careful what you wish for.
Being an avid internet user, especially one with many Google alerts, makes it hard to not pay attention to Veronica Mars. It has been a little impossible for me to escape the recap posts, the review posts, every angry Tumblr and Twitter post. It’s almost shocking the amount of discord that can come from one show. Yes, I’m choosing to ignore Game of Thrones. Of course, I’m being no better using this post to air all my feelings. Again, I digress.
Before I go into my feelings about the fourth season, this will border on the spoiler-y side of things. So, if you haven’t by this time completely digested the 4th season…
Veronica isn’t a teenager anymore. Let me repeat that for the people in the back. VERONICA IS NOT A TEENAGER ANYMORE. While still undeniably plucky, this isn’t high school anymore, folks. 2019 Veronica Mars is a full-fledged, slightly responsible adult with real adult issues now. This is Veronica Mars, crime noir. It’s darker. It’s grittier. This is 2.0 baby. Melancholic new old theme song included with every purchase.
After the events of the Kickstarter funded movie, Veronica had decided to put aside her law degree to move back to Neptune. It’s the little beach town she “hates,” essentially putting a stop to any growth she has made up to this point. For those of us that are hardcore fans, this could be seen as a good thing. Neptune never got the deep dive that it deserved over the three years of the original series. However, this also is a bad thing. Where is Veronica supposed to go from here? Does she take over Mars investigations? Does she become a lawyer? What could possibly be left in Neptune for our dashing heroine?
However, it ends up being for the best that Veronica is home. Neptune finds itself dealing with a serial mystery bomber, Mexican drug cartels, and some tinier mysteries. Each one intricately mixed with the overall plotline. There’s only one person that connect all these dots and red herrings. That’s Veronica Mars. With the help of the world’s best dad, Keith Mars, of course.
On top of everything, Veronica has more on her plate. Her father, still not fully recovered from a car accident injury, isn’t as mobile as he was. On and off love interest with the body of Adonis, Logan has the audacity to propose to her episode one. Wallace is happily married with a kid. Unfortunately, he also has new friends that Veronica just CANNOT relate to. And Mac? Mac is off on her own adventure away from the sunny California beaches. Actress Tina Majorino chose to not participate in the revival. This deserves an entire blog post of its own.
A lot of reviews and recaps have been commenting on how much of an utter a-hole Veronica is this season. But, this blogger implores you to remember that Veronica has never not been an a-hole. Sure, it was cute when she was younger, so we found it endearing. It’s just not so cute as an adult. Veronica is an anti-hero, she always has been. At best, she’s morally flexible in everything she does. She’s true chaotic neutral, folks.
This season was all about growth. Logan shows this specifically. Gone is the angry boy with daddy issues from the original series. In his place is this hunk of a man, an intelligence officer in the military, who takes his therapy session very seriously. Unfortunately for Logan, Veronica doesn’t. They are the perfect foils, psychologically, of each other.
While Logan has made a serious effort to better himself utilizing all the tools at his disposal, Veronica has done the exact opposite. She’s effectively barricaded herself within the walls of her past. If anything, Veronica is the perfect example of a person who has undergone extreme trauma in her life and not sought out the help she needs. And that’s why Logan had to die.
It brings me to tears thinking about the last few minutes of the last episode. But, this wasn’t out of left field (as some Tumblrs would like you to believe). It was HEAVILY foreshadowed the entire season. And even knowing that what the seconds tick down to the moment was heartbreaking for me. Logan has always been a beloved yet flawed character to me. It’s hard for me to picture a world without him in it. However, this was the catalyst that Veronica needed to move on with her life.
A friend of mine and co-host of the amazing podcast “You’re A Podcast Veronica Mars” (please go check them out) recently asked me if I thought that Veronica was an active feminist. Veronica Mars as a television show has always been viewed as a feminist show as a whole, but my answer was still a solid no. This is a gender-bent show with our female protagonist playing the part of the hardened investigator. “Active” feminist she is not.
However, I will argue that Mars is a feminist by proxy. While she’s no SJW, by her actions, being a woman has never stopped her from doing a single thing. Nor has she ever viewed another woman on this show as being less than a man. She’s not so much “girl power”, but she’s always had a soft spot for women who have been through similar trauma. Because she can easily relate to them. That’s her need.
In short, a lot was expected from this fourth season. But, we need to remember that Veronica Mars isn’t some afternoon special and that these characters don’t always need to be the beacon of righteousness and good ideals. If they were, would we find them nearly as entertaining?
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