Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Veronica Mars 1x21: "A Trip To the Dentist"

The Mystery: Who drugged and raped Veronica on the night of Shelley Pomroy's party?

This episode really oughtta come with a trigger warning. One of the darkest episodes in the entire season, Veronica finally tackles the awful mystery of who drugged and raped her a year and a half ago.  In the last episode, Veronica found out Tad Wilson dosed his girlfriend Carmen at the same party, and that he got his GHB from Logan.

She confronts Logan about it - Logan's horrified, but Veronica's unwilling to listen to his excuses. Whether he's guilty or innocent, Veronica will find out who raped her and make him pay.

The rest of the episode sort of plays out as a bit of a season-long recap. Many of the suspects and witnesses are characters Veronica helped out/picked on in previous episodes - Luke from "You Think You Know Somebody," Casey from "Drinking the Kool-Aid," Sean from "An Echolls Family Christmas," Madison from "Silence of the Lamb" and Carrie from "Mars vs. Mars."

This episode is already a fascinating, Rashomon-esque look into how different people will see the same incident differently. However, as a person who's now lived through the scandal of Steubenville (among others), this episode takes on an even more horrifying cast to me. Veronica was drugged and helpless at a party attended by hundreds of teenagers, and only two people (Duncan and Meg) even thought of intervening in what was being done to her. And far too many characters thought Veronica brought it on herself for being such a drunk slut.

The one good thing to come out of this episode - Veronica finally lets Wallace in and tells him the truth about her life. The whole truth - her experience at Shelley's party, her time as an outcast, her Lilly Kane Case Files, everything. She's spent the whole season taking favours from Wallace, favours Wallace was more than willing to give because he cared about her, and watching Veronica start to give (and care) back was a huge step forward for her character.

In less-excellent news, Keith tracks Duncan and his Stupid Face to Cuba and returns him to the bosom of his family. Unfortunately, Celeste is The Worst Person and refuses to pay him the $50,000 reward - claiming she'd already paid the Marses by dropping the charges against Weevil back in "Hot Dogs." But Keith's been a busy little balding bee - he's also tracked down the call girl who was with Abel Koontz when Lilly was actually murdered, and now he's got proof the Kanes fabricated Abel's guilt. Take that, Celeste!

Whodunnit: Nobody - and everybody. The fascinating thing about this episode is that no single person was responsible for Veronica's awful, unremembered night. Dick put GHB in Madison's drink. An unknowing Madison spat in it and gave it to Veronica. Dick and Sean poured liquor down a helpless Veronica's throat and had people do body shots off her. Dick carried Veronica to the guest room, and his brother Beaver abandoned her there alone. Logan laced Duncan's drink with GHB, and then Duncan and Veronica had mutually-inebriated sex with each other.

And that's not even counting the dozens of classmates who saw what was happening to Veronica and did nothing.

Veronica makes her peace with the incident, and reconciles with Logan. They traipse off to his mansion for some Angsty Make-Out Sessions, but they're caught by Aaron Echolls, who invited half the student body of Neptune High for a "Sorry I'm a Shitty Father" Unbirthday party for Logan (I'm not even kidding). Logan and Veronica are royally busted, but Logan takes it like a champ - he finally tells off Dick for being, well, himself, and warns the rest of Neptune High to think twice about messin' with his girlfriend. Everyone takes the news fairly well - except for Duncan and His Stupid Face, who has a rage-seizure and attacks his SUV with a shovel. Because Duncan.

Veronica and Logan sneak off for more private snuggles in Logan's pool house - until Veronica discovers the pool house is riddled with spy cameras and recording equipment. A horrified Veronica flees back to her house - only to discover her mother, Leanne, has returned from rehab. Surprise!

Awesome Things:
  • Mama Mars is home!
  • That momentary, brilliant expression of surprise and relief on Veronica's face when she discovers Logan's innocent. Kristen Bell is such a phenomenal actor.
  • Veronica finally confides in Wallace, and their friendship is saved! 
  • Weevil is a total chivalrous badass in this episode - including showing up on a hog to rescue Veronica at a moment's notice. 
Less-Awesome Things:
  • Celeste refusing to pay Keith the $50,000 reward because she's a Horrid Cheap Bitch. 
  • Dick Casablancas. He's the only one in the dentist scenario who set out to rape a person (his girlfriend Madison), as well the one who forcefed Veronica shots in order to "prepare" her for his younger, bullied brother Beaver. While he never actually raped anyone, he seems to be the primary contributor to Veronica's suffering.
  • Duncan and his Stupid Face - with with bonus Stupid Beard. Am I supposed to find it romantic he slept with Veronica and then fled without telling her because he knew she was his sister and slept with her anyway? Really, Duncan? 
  • Aaron Echolls doesn't even know his own son's birthday
  • Logan's "You're On Candid Camera" love nest. 
Lilly Kane Case Files:
  • According to Weevil, Logan may have "laid a hand" on Lilly during their relationship. True story or biased conjecture?
  • Lilly had a habit of hiding contraband in her bedroom's air vent. 
  • Abel Koontz was actually with a call girl named Cheyenne at the time of Lilly's murder.

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