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“Our story was epic, you know?”

Rob Thomas’s new Veronica Mars novel: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line – coming March 25!

The first book in an original mystery series featuring twenty-eight-year-old Veronica Mars, back in action after the events of Veronica Mars: The Movie. With the help of old friends—Logan Echolls, Mac Mackenzie, Wallace Fennel, and even Dick Casablancas—Veronica is ready to take on Neptune’s darkest cases with her trademark sass and smarts. Read an excerpt here: http://bit.ly/1gxkTb1 

Favorite Scene from Each Episode of Veronica Mars - 1.15

Pick your favorite scene from the episode and tell us why it’s your favorite. Remember to tag your post #vm episodes.

Today- RUSKIE BUSINESS

Okay, I really need to step up my game here ngsezdeputyleoisacreep is already into season 2 and I’m… well… I’m not. Can I plead “fan fiction” for my slowness?  That’s a legitimate defense, right? RIGHT?

Anyway, if you’re following my favorite scene posts (or just following me- in a non-stalkerish kind of way) then you know how I feel about LoVe so it’s probably pretty easy to guess my favorite scenes:

The -“She’s a keeper!” scene where we get to watch Logan and Veronica role play. I love how quickly Logan falls in line. His ex-friend-cum-enemy-cum-investigator hurries across the lobby calling him honey and kissing him on the cheek and he goes with it. I wish there had been more scenes in the series of Logan and Veronica investigating together and role playing under covers… uh, I mean undercover.

And can I mention Veronica’s wedding planning album? Actually, I could probably write an entire post about that album (so here goes). This album does not look like a hastily thrown together prop, it looks like an actual book “pre-series Veronica” put together while dreaming about her wedding day. Part of why I think the book is real is the wonderful contrast of “before” -hearts and flowers, wears a lot of pink- Veronica and the cynical, jaded girl we meet in the original opening of the Pilot “I’m never getting married. You want an absolute? Well, there it is. Veronica Mars,spinster.” I don’t know if this was intentional on the part of Rob Thomas, but I think it was and it’s BRILLIANT.

The other reason I believe the book is real and there to show us the difference between before and after Veronica has to do with this scene:

Duncan is wondering if his best friend has just asked Veronica to the dance and this exchange takes place:

VERONICA: [in her best breathless girlie speak] No, no one’s asked. But I’m pining away by the phone waiting for that special boy to call.

DUNCAN: Hm. [playfully] You never know.

I’ll come back to the “you never know” in a minute, but Veronica is looking at Duncan and she starts to come to the realization that what they once had was not in fact real love- it was only the fantasy of the same girl who made that wedding planner:

VERONICA VOICEOVER: I mean, sure, once upon a time that special boy did call and the spring dance was the crowning moment of my fairy tale-esque teen girl life. But now I know better. It felt like love but maybe it was just- 

NOT love. And if we need further proof that what Veronica and Duncan had was not real, Rob Thomas gives it to us with the mystery-of-the-week. Caterina Lenova is ostensibly looking for the love of her life. She tells Veronica that she made a mistake letting him go because he’s her soulmate. This mystery is meant to parallel Veronica’s relationship with Duncan, which is why Veronica seems a little melancholy throughout the episode -perhaps wishing things had been different with Duncan. But then we learn it was a con and -just like the Donut fairytale- it was all fake. 

It’s a masterful piece of storytelling. What on the surface seems real -Veronica wanting Duncan and being sad that he’s moving on with Meg- is in actuality what is fake. While what appeared to be fake -Logan and Veronica pretending to be a married couple- turns out to be real. This episode is what helps us (the audience) let go of any idea of Duncan and Veronica while at the same time helping us embrace the future of Logan and Veronica.

Remember the: “waiting for that special boy” and the “you never know” - we actually DO know because this heartbreaking scene is filled with true, honest emotions. It is a moment of bonding that can never be replicated and it plants the seed for a connection between Logan and Veronica that can span years and continents and can turn nine-years-of-radio-silence into bygones.

Favorite Scene from Each Episode of Veronica Mars - Day Six

An episode a day- you pick your favorite scene and explain why it’s your fave. Remember to tag #vm episodes in your post.

Today- RETURN OF THE KANE

This was tough- not picking the scene, but the scene itself. 

One minute of screen time changes everything. Sure Logan Echolls is still the guy who has been a jackass to Veronica for the past year, the same guy who busted her headlights and arranged bumfights BUT he is also the kid who has to pick out a belt for his beating at the hands of his father. 

It was interesting to me that the beating takes place in a room that is essentially Aaron’s shrine to himself- his ego on display; and that the reason for this particular punishment is because Logan had the audacity to do something that hurt Aaron’s image and affected the public’s perception of THE Aaron Echolls. Aaron didn’t care about the bumfights in and of themselves, but that they made HIM look bad. 

He’s also pissed that Logan didn’t follow the script at the homeless shelter -serve some food, make a public apology, and restore Aaron’s “good guy, family man, action-hero” image. Instead Logan makes him pay for it, literally, because he knows that Aaron has to make the donation or risk further damage to his image. Logan knows how much that public persona means to his father and now we do too. Of course, Logan also knows this is going to cost him and he does it anyway. Was it only to antagonize Aaron or is he also trying to atone for his actions? Is he making an apology for the bumfight? First, with the donation at the shelter and now, with his flesh? Either way, it’s a powerful scene and it makes us rethink everything we thought we knew about the obligatory psychotic jackass.

It also gives new depth and meaning to certain scenes from the previous episodes; like in the Pilot right before he smashes Veronica’s headlights, he asks: “Do you know what your little joke cost me?” Or, in The Wrath of Con during the flashback scene of them in limo when Duncan sprays Logan with champagne and Logan says: “Dude, this is my dad’s tux.” 

As Logan lifts his shirt and that door closes, I think oh man he probably got a beating for both of those incidents too. And I start to wonder just how bad things are in the Echolls house and then we pan to: 

Lynn drinking and listening to her son being whipped and I’m floored. She’s just going to stand by and let this happen? How often does it happen that she doesn’t seem shocked or surprised? Is she afraid? Has she tried to intervene before and gotten hit? Or does she just hide away in her booze and let her husband do this to her child? Wow.

I also have to say that the sleight-of-hand at work in this scene is amazing. A violent person who beats his son and has a temper exists here in the “Who Killed Lilly Kane” world of Neptune and yet, because this feels so extraneous to that case, I never once think of Aaron Echolls as a suspect. It’s a well-planted clue to both the murder mystery AND what becomes of Lynn Echolls. And it all happens in a minute of screen time without any dialogue! Kudos, Rob Thomas.

Favorite Scene From Each Episode of Veronica Mars: Day 17: Kanes and Abel’s, or, Forgiveness Check

Part of me wants to write something fun about Caz Truman in “Kanes and Abel’s” for susanmichelin’s Favorite Scene thing because somehow I love the guy even though he’s played by a Home Improvement has-been and looks so old that even the Fitzpatricks think he should just graduate already. Caz is just such a moron and a jock tool (he was awesome in “Ruskie Business,” too) that he makes me laugh. In retrospect, Caz would not have been such a bad choice, huh Meg?

My “fun” posts seem to turn out better (I didn’t say “good”) than my attempts to be serious and whatnot. Despite that, I am going to try to write something interesting about Veronica and Logan’s “check scene.”

The scene in which Veronica tears up the check (or “cheque,” for those of us living in those parts of the Anglosphere hanging on to the remnants of British Imperial glory) is clearly a significant landmark in the re-establishment of Veronica and Logan’s friendship, particularly given its proximity to “Weapons of Class Destruction.” (What happens in that episode? I can’t remember. Nothing big, I assume.)  

Veronica tearing up the check is an obvious callback to the scene in Mars vs. Mars in which Logan told Veronica, contrary to what she believed (and clearly hoped) that it was just a job, that they were not friends. Tearing up the check clearly signals that they are now friends again, no matter what Logan thinks. On a superficial level, I simply like Veronica’s bossiness here: “Too bad, we’re friends, deal with it.” However, I can never leave well enough alone.

The theme of forgiveness runs throughout Veronica Mars, most obviously in Veronica and Logan’s relationship. (Note: I do not pretend to be an expert on the psychological or intellectual notion of forgiveness, so please do not take this to be a technical treatise, as if anyone could mistake these disjointed rambles for such.)  Veronica sees herself as hard and unforgiving, and she often is. On the other hand, in the Mars vs. Mars “friendship bracelet” scene, it is clear that she wants the friendship with Logan back without dealing with the difficulties of forgiveness. Pretty early on in the series, we see that on some level they both want the friendship back. In “Wrath of Con,” Veronica lingers in his presence while he is trying to make the video, even after he is rude to her. Logan shifts between hostility and helpfulness during their one-on-one scene in An Echolls Family Christmas.

I have written before about the Veronica and Logan’s two-track path (back) to each other. One track is Logan’s developing crush in relation to Veronica 2.0’s attitude, smarts, and deviousness, and Veronica’s (much-repressed) attraction to his charm and dangerousness. The other track, one that connects more closely to their former friendship and the need for forgiveness, is “deeper” and more emotional. Veronica is often the lone witness to Logan’s vulnerability, especially as she begins to see, much more clearly than she did in earlier days, who he really is, culminating in his collapse in “Ruskie Business.”

Perhaps most fascinating in relation to this second track is Logan’s side. Yes, he is attracted to Veronica’s smarts, no-longer-Disney-Princess looks, and general badassery. On the surface, he goes to her at the end of Lord of the Bling (or the beginning of “Mars vs. Mars”) because she is an investigator and he knows she can help him out. But on a deeper level, one that he may not even be aware of, Logan is also looking for an emotional connection. Whatever one makes of his relationship with Lynn, she is gone, Aaron is clearly out, and as “Ruskie Business” makes clear, Trina was not going to be much help. Moreover, one need not be a Duncan hater to see that Donut is not really there for Logan, either: his general zombie-esque behavior (and Duncan’s narcissism), his immediate suspicion of Logan in “An Echolls Family Christmas,” Duncan’s not-much-more-than-obligatory response to Logan’s behavior at Lynn’s funeral, and his merely puzzled response to finding out Logan was camped out in a hotel lobby in Los Angeles.

Logan’s world is so devoid of real people that the only person he can imagine helping him or even caring about him is the girl whose life he had spent the last year making a living hell, yet he goes to her anyway. Having seen his vulnerability (mostly without him knowing), Veronica agrees to help. Logan is seeking emotional warmth in the arms of a self-styled ice queen. That dynamic, I think, is one of key elements that make Veronica and Logan so compelling throughout the series.

Veronica’s eagerness to be doing a friendly favor for Logan and her disappointment in finding out that Logan saw it as just a job stands in stark contrast to her statement to Meg in Betty and Veronica:

I’m not programmed to forgive and forget. I can’t just start chumming around with people who’ve ignored and mocked me for a year.

But is Veronica really that eager to forgive? Veronica clearly wants the friendship with Logan back. What Veronica so often seems to miss, as in the scene from “Mars vs. Mars,” is that forgiving and forgetting are two different things. Veronica seems to simply want to forget the past year and go back to “normal” without dealing with actual forgiveness. The word “normal” is used deliberately. With Duncan in the second season, she simply tries to forget the reasons she should be angry with him, and she goes back to him pretending everything is fine, yet they never connect, too much water is under the bridge. Veronica may have thought she had forgotten, but she could not. She needed to forgive, but she pretended there was nothing for her for which to forgive Duncan. True to form, Duncan certainly did not act as if he believed he even needed forgiveness from her.

Contrast this with Logan in “Mars vs. Mars” and “Kanes and Abel’s.” In the earlier episode, he rejects the notion that he and Veronica are suddenly friends. Part of it is that, yes, he is probably still holding on to his anger at her, however weakly. I believe Logan is also, on some level, thinking that they cannot be going back to friends because of the things he has done to Veronica. Whatever image he may project outwardly, Logan does not hold an exalted opinion of himself. Logan believes Veronica should not want to just forget and be friends. Whatever the roots of it, Logan instinctively seems  to possess a better sense of the dynamics of forgiveness than Veronica. The past year cannot just be brushed under the rug, no matter what Veronica tries to do, and Logan knows that.

By the time we get to “Kanes and Abel’s,” Veronica has held Logan during his collapse in Los Angeles and helped him out during his drunk antics at “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” She might think that after all that, they were friends. It was not easy but there they were. Logan still tries to pay her. It is, of course, the proper thing for him to offer. Nevertheless, Veronica looks surprised. Once again, Logan somehow has a better sense for how forgiveness works – it is up to Veronica, the victim (which he surely recognizes by now), to decide whether or not to forgive. He cannot demand it. Logan, literally and symbolically, puts it in her hands. It is up to her. And she tears the check up.

As the rest of the series makes clear, Veronica and Logan had a long way to go for forgiveness and trust to truly take hold (and they do not fully do so until the movie). That is to be expected with such deep wounds. Veronica is still someone who would rather just forget than forgive those things she would rather simply see as “not real,” and this repeatedly causes problems between them. Still, they have to begin somewhere .

Despite Logan’s apparent grasp of forgiveness (and Veronica’s lack thereof), when Veronica tears up the check, she exhibits an understanding of a significant aspect of forgiveness that Logan does not. Logan believes she can never forgive him because he can never make things up to her. For Logan, the check is just a check. Logan has to pay her because they are not friends, and thus not worthy of doing things for each other just because they are friends. Logan thinks he has to earn forgiveness, but since there is no way he can do so, he can never be forgiven, and they can never again be friends.

Veronica’s actions show that she gets at least one aspect of forgiveness: forgiveness cannot, in the end, be completely deserved or earned. While the transgressor is not simply a passive recipient of forgiveness, true forgiveness always involves an element of excess grace on the part of the one bestowing it. When Veronica tears up the check, she defies Logan’s attempt to reject her forgiveness, and she does so via an act of grace. It is an act of grace that Logan, whose sees himself as worthless and unworthy, cannot comprehend (thus his wordless exit), yet one that ultimately changes both of his and Veronica’s lives.

[Previous installment: Favorite Scene From Each Episode of Veronica Mars: Day 16: Betty and Veronica, or, A Snickerdoodle Too Far]

[Quotes are from vmtranscripts.com, pictures are from vm-caps.com]