This is my favorite Logan-Veronica moment in Veronica Mars and possibly my favorite Logan moment in general.
This was the episode, the moment, where I realized that I no longer saw Logan as just the “obligatory psychotic jackass” of the show. Seeing him break down like this and get emotional, all because he just wanted his mother, got to me. I realized that he was a complex character person, full of emotion, screwed over by the people in his life, in need of actual care. I think Veronica began to realize that, too.
Logan dreamed not of his mother, but Veronica. She was suspended above him, like stars, her hair tickling his face. She kissed him and talked, soft and sure, with sugar sticky lips. He fingered the thin leather choker at her neck, watched the way her pulse jumped under her skin. More than lust, though there was that, there was calm, belonging. He wanted to stay somewhere in-between the two for as long as possible. Without the Kanes or the past year. No lost mothers. Or rumors of naked cell phone photos or the salty tang of clavicle and lime. No anger. No dead. Only her and him. Safe.
Favorite Scene From Every Episode of Veronica Mars: Ruskie Business or Ch-ch-changes
At some point in my life I will have to come to terms with the fact that at nearly 20 years old the fact I can’t spell business right on the first try is probably embarrassing. But that point is not today. Anyway my fragile grasp on the English language aside let’s talk about Veronica. Honestly I’m surprised no one else picked this scene to talk about, so hopefully I’ll do it justice. So let’s get right down to it.
Logan waits for his mother in the hotel lobby for hours only to discover that his sister had stolen Lynn’s identity. Trina in style manages to poke at every wound between Logan and Veronica in about 3 sentences. ngsezdeputyleoisacreep discusses Trina’s unfortunate callousness excellent in her post. But then she does something I’m willing to count as useful she reveals to Veronica Aaron’s abuse of Logan.
At this point (and most points) in the show we don’t know who all knows about the abuse. Aaron and Lynn obviously and Trina while she didn’t believe it. But as for Duncan, Lily and others we don’t know. From this scene though we can safely gather that Veronica never knew. Just look at her face.
Just like learning that Logan is abused was a turning point for us its a turning point for Veronica too. People point out that Veronica can never quite figure out Logan, he’s a puzzle she can’t solve. But she’s always getting pieces. Like I discussed in my post about Return of the Kane these facts make Logan more sympathetic and more understandable. For us and for Veronica.
After a few more quips Veronica manages to convince Logan to leave Trina alone.
This whole thing is clearly awkward and upsetting for Veronica. It’s not hard to imagine, in fact we can safely assume, that she was rooting for Logan in all this. Either because it hurts her to see him in so much pain or because she wants someone to get a happy ending for in their tragic mother stories. Or both.
Then Logan completely breaks down.
Veronica soothes him, or tries too. It’s the opposite of how Veronica deals with her emotions. You’d never see her crying in public. She instead turns her grief into anger and desire for the truth and only cries when she’s alone. Others have pointed out that it’s likely this that in part draws Veronica to Logan. His emotions so raw and near the surface contrast her cold anger and refusal to express emotions.
Of course this whole case is a turning point for Veronica and Logan. From his asking for her help, to this breakdown and finally to Veronica ripping up his check. And as for Logan this is the first time he admits to himself that his mother is really gone.
Duncan Kane is a …complicated issue. Duncan is potentially a pretty noir character, but comes off as underwritten rather than mysterious. On one hand, he might be another good guy on the surface but dark underneath. On the other hand, his sendoff in the second season never really ends with him being considered (at least not at all obviously) as “bad” by Veronica. I myself flop between “they thought he was actually coming off as good,” “he was just underwritten,” and “maybe it was all just brilliantly subtle.” And we have have not yet touched on Teddy Dunn’s own contributions.
These issues are covered by others, and while I certainly have my own thoughts about these problems, maybe there is a way that even those of us who are not exactly in the Duncan Kane Fan Club can still enjoy him: as comedy. Not just as “wow, that is laughably bad acting,” although that is legitimate. I tend to avoid that approach since I am not a terribly good judge of acting. Whatever the intention or cause, Duncan often just strikes me as hilarious. There is much to discuss in “Ruskie Business,” but I hope susanmichelin will forgive me for taking a lighter approach to my favorite scenes in this episode and celebrate the Kane of (Unintentional?) Comedy (and Creepiness).
The fun begins right after Veronica and Logan talk in the hallway outside the auditorium (somewhere on tumblr, ghostcat3000 has a really illuminating exchange about that scene, but naturally I can’t find it when I want to link to it). Veronica walks in and overhears President Duncan directing the decorations for the upcoming dance. While I have taken the words from vm-transcripts.com, I have added my own caps and emphases to try and capture the awesomeness of Teddy Dunn’s delivery:
Don’t be stingy with the glitter. Remember. It’s an EIGHTIES dance.
Let me take a moment and just say that I really am not sure whether or not Teddy Dunn is trying to be funny here. If he is not, I apologize because, though he is not a great actor (he is a lawyer now, I believe), I was terrible even by the standards of school plays. Who can blame him for trying acting if that is what he loved? I do not want to be overly mean-spirited toward Dunn, but I realize I probably am, anyway. I am a jerk that way. Sorry. I just want to bask in the comedy.
Back to that comedy. Duncan sees Veronica, and we find out he was actually watching Veronica and Logan in the hallway. Donut is such a charmer, as he smirkingly tells Veronica (no doubt thinking the whole idea is ridiculous):
You know, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear I just saw my best friend… ask you… …to “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”
Veronica jokes back about “waiting for that special boy to call,” but Duncan tops her with his delivery on “You never know.” Outstanding. You really have to watch it to get it.
Veronica then goes into a voice over and flashes back to being with Duncan at a dance. But check out the way she looks at him right before the flashback starts. The screenshots from vm-caps don’t really capture it (the shot with Duncan below is right before she scowls at him), so watch it if you can. She is pissed, and it is an interesting contrast to the way she ended looking at Logan at the end of their prior conversation. Nothing romantic need be read directly into it, it just shows her changing perspectives on the two.
There are other funny elements to the whole Meg plot such as Donut’s text-courting (how is “i think ur kewl” going to woo someone?) and the hippie florist thinking Duncan is non-descript.
But no post on Duncan in this episode can go without talking about the dance and the costumes he chose for himself and Meg. I assume their costumes were coordinated because of instructions he sent with the signal flowers or something, otherwise it would be a crazy bit of serendipity. From there, as so often with Duncan, the comedy descends into creepiness. Or maybe it is so creepy it is comic. Or maybe there is a cycle between the two.
I am far from the first to comment on the following, but it is so incredible that it needs to be said again.
You see, Duncan has asked Meg to dress as Andie Walsh from Pretty in Pink, and he is dressed as Duckie. As Meg walks towards her beloved, the shots echo the shots from the dance in Pretty in Pink: with Meg-as-Andie looking back at Veronica-as-Duckie who gives Meg-as-Andie a nod of assent to go to Duncan-as-Blane-While-Dressed-as-Duckie. Got it?
Just to make make the creepiness clear (I mean the specific creepiness at the dance, not recalling the last episode featuring Meg, when Duncan was being gross about her [falsified] purity test results). Duncan asked Meg to dress up as Andie Walsh, a movie character with the following characteristics (among others): she is from the lower end of the economic spectrum, she lives with her single-parent dad and their dog, her mom abandoned her, and her best friend is a guy. Sound familiar?
Poor Meg. At least she already had long blond hair so Duncan didn’t ask her to wear a Disney Princess Veronica wig (made from Veronica’s former hair since Duncan probably fished it out of the trash after she cut it off). Maybe Meg never actually saw Pretty in Pink because her parents forbade that kind of sinful material in the house. That has to be the explanation for why she doesn’t see right through it, right? It’s just so…
I wonder why Meg was so angry at the beginning of the second season.
Of course Duncan sees himself as Duckie in this situation, as the white knight for Veronica, I mean Meg. Yeah, Meg. Duckie, is, of course, the one who loves Andie and sticks with her through everything, and the one most audiences have felt she should have chosen. But while Duncan is dressed as Duckie, as discussed above, in the scene where Veronica hands off Meg to him, Duncan is actually in the more fitting role of boring rich boy Blane, who ends up “getting the girl” despite basically standing idly by, ignoring Andie, letting his friends tell him what to do, then thinking he can fix everything with a fortune cook–, er, ten-second speech about believing in himself.
Hey, at least Veronica is too smart to ever fall for that kind of thing.
Dontcha love it when a plan comes together?
[Quotes from vm-transcripts.com, screen shots from vm-caps.com, except for the “yuck” .gif, still not sure who made it, but if you tell me I will note it.]