Don’t let this town drag you down like it does everyone else.
Sure, Keith was talking about himself here, but it wouldn’t be out of place to bring up three girls who stayed in Neptune - each of them brought down before she turned thirty. Susan Knight, Carrie Bishop, Gia Goodman. Individually, each of them were broken long before they were killed.
Once again, Carrie’s story was really about Susan, but once again, Susan herself barely featured. It was about things that had happened to her, not anything she herself had done. It’s difficult to know much about a character with so little screen time, but to me, Susan Knight is what Veronica would have been if she’d never found her inner strength. And I’m not just talking about the long blonde hair.
Susan was clearly the follower to Carrie’s leader. She was naive enough to fall for Mr. Rooks, and passive enough to hope the whole thing would go away even as her pregnancy progressed. (Incidentally, a rook is stronger than a bishop or a knight, but the two combined control a larger portion of the board and should be able to force a checkmate. Random awesomeness.)
When things went bad she could hold together for someone else - she stood to the school board and Mr. Rooks to help Carrie - but she didn’t have the courage to stand up for herself. How often had Susan ‘bottomed out’ before she overdosed? How often had she ended the night crying? Passed out? And how often was that something her friends rolled their eyes at? Carrie was the only person in Susan’s corner, but it wasn’t enough when Susan couldn’t be on her own side.
A side note, the name Susan means Lily - which is a nice bit of accidental symmetry, since her death was the key to the whole piece.
Carrie’s death hurt. She was always my favorite 09er, and I may or may not have wanted to go around Southern California scrawling “Carrie Bishop lives” on every available surface post movie. I know she was named for the Rooks-Bishop-Knight chess match of it all, but Carrie’s moniker always seemed incredibly apropo, which made her decision to change her name after Susan’s death all the more striking. A bishop moves in straight lines but always on a diagonal - and I’m not sure I could come up with a better way to describe Carrie’s lying truth in pursuit of the greater good.
That she went from Bishop to DeVille? Not to go all Ruby Jetson levels of conspiracy theory, but yes, unless Carrie suddenly had a hankering for dogskin coats, that was deliberate, and spoke to the self-loathing Logan mentioned. (As did the decision to hook up with Sean. Because… ew.)
Veronica thought Carrie was a liar and a gossip, but in fact, the story she told about Duncan was a) probably true and b) apparently never common knowledge since Logan had never heard it when he was recounting a similar fit to Veronica. Telling her best friend is not the same thing as telling the school. Not to mention that she never told anyone that she saw Duncan and Veronica together the night of Shelly’s party. (Shelly Pomroy - the one 09er girl to make it through unscathed? And she only needed to be played by four different actresses to do it.)
If Susan was Veronica pre-Lilly, then Carrie was closer to Veronica post-Lilly, and the nod of respect the two give each other at the end of Mars vs. Mars spoke to that, even though they would never be friends.
Carrie was a fighter, but she too lost everything. She went in with her eyes open, sacrificed herself because she thought it was the right thing to do, but she’d seen her friends turn on people before. Veronica, Yolanda, Caitlin. Did any guys ever suffer from 09er 'justice’? Yes, they took down Mr. Rooks. But she was still the girl who destroyed the popular teacher which would not have done her any favors socially. The fact that he genuinely was a sleazebag would not have gentled her classmates reactions.
And then she lost Susan. The girl she threw it all away for, and she was too scared or high to make the call that might have saved her life.
How much must she have hated herself? And her friends? And Neptune in general. And that’s not even taking into account the blackmail.
However much he tried - and he would have tried - Logan couldn’t have begun to hold the pieces together.
How fantastic was Krysten Ritter in the movie? Gia never quite sat right for me in season 2. The nonstop chatter was more reminiscent of Gilmore Girls (where Ritter went next) than Neptune, and it was difficult to tell whether her vapidity was merely supposed to be funny or whether there was more going on. Given that her younger brother was right in Woody Goodman’s target age range, and that pedophiles frequently go after family members, I’m guessing that yes, there was more going on, but it took us a while to get there.
The name Goodman, will, for me, forever be associated with the Nathanial Hawthorne short story, Young Goodman Brown. I’m sure the name was originally chosen for Woody’s sake, not Gia’s, but considering that the story deals with loss of faith - in society, in ones loved ones, and in oneself- thanks to one night, and the temptations of that night, it suited Gia all too well.
When Veronica says she has pictures, the artifice Gia has been projecting for most of her life disappears, and she deflates, but there’s a sense of relief there, too. That whatever is coming, it will finally be over.
Her father was already dead - and under circumstances both horrific and shaming, shaming in ways that would have torn apart her family for years to come. No wonder she sought out the 'good’ drugs.
And then YEARS of blackmail and rape. Years of having to put on a sunny smile for her rapist. Of binding herself on the one hand to a guy who could never love her romantically, and on the other to one who only wanted to control her, whose idea of love was manipulation and abuse. Years of being worn away until little remained but a shell.
This was one of the better 'this is how it went down’ reveals. I rather wish Beaver Casablancas’s story had come out a bit more like this. Gia finally came into her own in this. You saw shades of the old Gia, but it was a mask, covering the darker reality. Sad that she finally fit in Neptune once Neptune had broken her.
As much as I relish Veronica’s return to herself, as much as Neptune needs her, you can’t help but see Keith’s point. Neptune burns people alive. How’s he to understand that Veronica’s a pheonix?