Scene One: Taking the Fry
Although a seemingly innocuous scene, what we saw here was practically a metaphor for Logan and Veronica's relationship ... and not a very positive one. Veronica is in control; Veronica takes. Logan is perpetually the powerless one; Logan gives. And then accepts Veronica's acknowledgment of his sacrifice without batting an eyelash. Does this seem like a bit much to take from a forty-second scene of cutesy-cute couple-y stuff? Perhaps. The thing is that when I first began this write-up, I was quite willing to offer up a different opinion from those who had expressed dissatisfaction with this scene for variations on the reasons described above. In fact, I even inserted the phrase (quoting our own Veronica Mars to one Logan Echolls): Sometimes a cigar store ... is just a cigar store. However, a few paragraphs later, I wrote this:
Quote:And as I tried to continue in this vein, I realized that, no, the issues didn't really come to light until the final scene between Max and Wendy and then the presumption of most viewers on what will be Veronica's reaction to the information she found out in the cliffhanger. So, in other words, everything up until that point in the episode between Logan and Veronica had in fact been a head-on collision course to that parallel ... including this first scene.
Could I be wrong? Absolutely. But the comfort level between Logan and Veronica was better than we've ever seen throughout the rest of the episode. While there were indeed parallels to be seen between their issues and those of the Mystery of the Week couple, I don't think this was supposed to be evident in the first scene. I think that parallel was supposed to hit home once the sexual discussion came forth.
Perhaps it is taking it too far to claim that Veronica was -- just the slightest bit -- emasculating Logan, but in our society, isn't the one in control seen as the more dominant party and isn't the stereotype often enough that the dominant one is the masculine? Yes, indeed. (And we've certainly been told enough times that Veronica is the 'man' in their relationship.) So take a scene later on between Wendy and Max where Max inexplicably is getting his toenails painted by his girl. This, in a way, could be seen as another, more obvious form of emasculation. Just like Veronica taking control in the first scene ... and then offering acknowledgment for unspoken gratitude from Logan with regards to his giving up the fry. So, the question becomes, were viewers supposed to read a subtext of discomfort and inequality in their relationship based upon the taking of the fry? Or was it merely a case of writer Diane Ruggiero trying too hard to make the scene funny -- as sadly, many of the VM writing staff have been doing all season long? Again, perhaps. Or instead was it the intention of Ruggerio to show the audience that Logan and Veronica were trying too hard?
Taking the scene at face value, it is cute. The two were sharing a meal and Veronica was playing a little game with him because she ate all her fries, he had some left and she wanted one of his. Cute. How he indulged her. Cute. How he held out the fry to feed her. Cute. How she stopped him because the proffering didn't quite live up to her standards, was in fact, a disappointment, without the ketchup. Cute. How he obeyed, dipped the fry and then fed her. Cute how she accepted it graciously and then -- cute -- how she established gratitude from him whether it was intended or not. Cute. How he smiled and stood up, kissing her goodbye. It was all cute. Very, very cute. Logan giving. Not just of the fry, but of the paper with information on a mystery that he knew would interest her, even though he isn't comfortable with her sleuthing as it puts her in danger. But Veronica is in control; and she can't change who she is and Logan knows this. And accepts it.
Yeah, when broken down ... not so cute.
So, the answer to the above query -- were the writers trying too hard to be cute, or Veronica and Logan trying too hard to be cute? -- comes to an almost easy conclusion. I want to believe that it's the former, but no matter how hard I try to read the scene as just a surface play on the two enjoying a meal together, I am unable to do so. Taking in the bare bones, laid out above, it's clear. And that's not even taking into account the fact that there is an obvious parallel running between Logan and Veronica and Max and Wendy throughout the episode. So, yes, I'm inclined to surmise that it is, indeed, the latter. Or rather a combination of the couple trying too hard paired with Veronica's controlling nature asserting itself ... in even a seemingly innocuous scene.
Scene Two: Munchies and Hooker Talk
Now due to my less than rosy view of the scene above, I'm sure it's easy to predict that I'll have the same Negative Nellie reaction to the rest of the show. That's not the case. In fact, there was very little negative I found in every other scene (but for the final one, of course). Here, I didn't read Veronica asking him about hookers as anything other than curiosity. They were just sitting around eating, waiting for a hooker and the thought popped into her mind and she asked. And I think this is a GOOD thing! Why? Because it showed a nice comfort level between them.
Veronica was thinking before she spoke and the fact that she felt comfortable enough with Logan to just ask showed us a Veronica less on edge, more going with the flow than we often see her with Logan. See? Good! There was almost a friendly vibe between the two of them and I just did not read any level of interrogation or suspicion in how she broached the subject. And that would be because she didn't broach the subject; it just slipped out due to the circumstances. Veronica was simply curious.
Did she assume the worst of Logan in regards to the hooker question? Yes, but I don't think it was in the vein of Veronica assuming the worst of Logan, but rather just about any person assuming that when one doesn't want to answer a potentially embarrassing question because their answer is in the positive, they avoid answering. It wasn't Veronica-specific. So disregarding the history of her lack of trust, this was actually a pretty cute scene (unlike the earlier one that was strained and symptomatic of the issues in their relationship). The way that she handed him the food, how they settled across from one another and munched on their burgers, well, it felt so real and natural. The back and forth banter was also wonderfully reminiscent of their interaction towards the end of season one and is much, much closer to how many felt the two romantically would play out. It would have been really nice to have seen more of this in the first arc, but whaddya gonna do?
Another aspect of the scene that we saw play throughout the episode was their differing views on romantic notions vs. warts and all. Of course, Veronica is a warts and all girl, because she can't stand not knowing every secret. And I can't blame her. The secrets that were held and then all came tumbling out in that span of time when her life fell apart were devastating enough to make the girl never want to be kept in the dark again ... about anything.
Logan, on the other hand, bless his heart, is truly a Hollywood baby. He knows about the dark side, has lived it ... hell, he's been it and he knows that like moviemaking, the trappings and rosy exterior can often hide the mundane and the darkness beneath. However, he has also learned that just because something isn't pretty, just because things aren't always what they appear, that doesn't mean that the fundamentals of a thing aren't true and important. For Logan, it doesn't matter what Veronica has done ... what matters is who she is and who she is is the girl that he loves, warts and all. And because he knows that so thoroughly, he doesn't need proof that the warts exist. He's aware of them and simply doesn't care because she's Veronica and he loves Veronica.
Oy vey, these two getting back together without any discussion of issues was so a recipe for disaster. Sigh.
Scene Three: Two Hookers and a Reunion
Not much here in terms of analysis. It was nice seeing the two sitting together, Logan's arm casually thrown on the couch behind Veronica. And of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the threesome-hooker exchange. Hee! Veronica's "honey!" -- the "honey" in and of itself marvelous because it was such a casual, natural endearment -- was hysterical. But even more hilarious was Logan's complete and utter lack of repentence with his continued lament that "this is just wasteful." Double hee!
Oh, why oh why couldn't we have gotten banter and interaction like this the first six episodes when they were together? These scenes were so much fun!
Scene Four: Awkward ... and then there's Madison
The progression in this scene of Logan and Veronica's reactions to Wendy and Max were sweet and possibly telling. Both started out clearly bored and a tad comfortable with the other's couple show, but once the two told their story, it was obvious that both Logan and Veronica were warming up to their love story. I suppose it's possible that one can take from Wendy's comment about different choices that it was applicable to Logan and Veronica and their situation. But I don't see it. Perhaps were Logan and Veronica not in possibly the best place we've ever seen them together emotionally, I could buy that, but they are and so I don't.
Sigh. And then along came Madison. In retrospect, I'm was at first surprised she didn't spill the beans then and there, but I actually don't think the only reason for that lack was so that we could get a cliffhanger of an ending. However, upon more thought, I found it in character for Madison. Sure, in front of Veronica alone she's going to play the bitch and rub it in her face, but when there's someone else there -- whom she wants to keep in her good graces -- she'll play it cool. And that's exactly what she did.
Personally, I would have liked to see a little more discomfort from Logan considering the later reveal, but from an emotional point of view, the complete disinterest was almost better. And of course, Madison didn't pick up on it at all. Of course. When will these skanks learn that Logan really doesn't give two shits about them and is just using them for sex? It's not as if he isn't obvious when his heart is engaged. Honestly. Ah well, Madison's never struck me as one able to either (a) read a room or (b) use her brains for anything other than snide commentary.
Scene Five: The Heart and the Mind
What was most interesting about this scene was the different reactions from Logan and Veronica to the situation. Veronica was weighing the story, looking for plotholes, sifting through it like the junior detective she is. On the other hand, Logan was clearly involved with the emotional aspect of the tale unfolding before him, showing concern and sympathy in a truly empathetic way. And isn't that our couple to a tee? Veronica's brain is always working, always on overdrive, looking for the answers. Logan, wearing his heart on his sleeve, is satisfied with what is right in front of him.
Scene Six: An Overstayed Welcome
Hee! The scene before we saw Logan full of sympathy for Max's pain and woe and then boom! once the bugger won't leave so that Logan can be alone with his girl, that compassion just went flying out the door. Hee! I liked seeing a selfish, almost uncaring Logan because that IS a part of who he is and we haven't seen much of that side of him this season. So it's always fun when the jackass pops out. And clearly Veronica didn't have a problem with his attitude. Of course not. She wanted some alone time with her honey too!
Scene Seven: So, Blackmail's the Go-to Crime?
Honestly, I sincerely wonder if Ruggiero even remembered that Veronica had casually blackmailed Logan five episode ago. There was an undercurrent that was totally missing from this scene. Logan's dismay with Veronica's (STUPID!) blackmail scheme came from concern over her safety. There was no underlying subtext from the dialogue at all that Logan's frustration came from a much more personal point of view.
Now, Jason Dohring did supply some subtext that could be applied in that direction. He spent much of the scene looking away from Veronica and showing a deeper level of frustration than a guy who -- let's be honest -- breaks the law more than your average citizen. I didn't buy his unease as him playing the voice of Veronica's conscience; I felt it was Dohring's way of showing Logan's disappointment with Veronica casually using blackmail without remorse which pointed to how easily she may have chosen to do so with Logan. However, it was not relayed in the subtext of the scene or dialogue. A fumble from an otherwise tight, emotionally spot-on script from Ruggiero, in my opinion.
Scene Eight: Presto, Intimacy
To describe the mechanics of this scene to someone who has been watching regularly, it's extremely easy to assume that it played out like another game of Veronica showing a complete lack of trust and treating Logan as some lapdog at her feet who is unworthy of her. In fact, I've read variations on that from those who've heard about it, but not seen it. Surprisingly -- and a wonderful surprise it is indeed -- the actuality of the scene could not be farther from the assumption.
This post-coital scene is possibly THE most open we have ever seen Veronica with Logan. Did she ask him some highly personal and inappropriate questions? Yes. Did she do so in a way that screamed of an untrusting interrogation? Absolutely not. When Veronica said she wanted to open up to Logan, wanted to achieve true intimacy with him ... I believed her. Not just because of the words she used, but because of how Kristen Bell played the scene. I, as well as others, have had issue now and again with how Bell has chosen to play Veronica in regards to her relationship with Logan. It's as if her Veronica has had one foot out the door, looking for an exit sign in case she needs to make a quick getaway. In tonight's episode, and especially in this scene, this was not evident.
Veronica truly seemed to be committed to making the right choices and proving herself to Logan in doing so. And that is exactly how Bell played her. Yes, Veronica asked Logan those questions, but she also offered Logan the opportunity to ask her anything at all himself. She didn't push a condition, she didn't shut herself off -- it wasn't about an interrogation. It was about communication. Still, naturally Logan was leery. After all, as I pointed out countless times in the first arc, he was waiting for the other shoe to fall and was therefore holding himself back just the slightest, expecting her to make that quick getaway.
And you could sense him almost reaching for that here, the way he kept trying to dodge her question because he probably feared she wouldn't believe him. And then dodging because of fear that she would judge him. All completely understandable reactions considering their history. However, like Veronica, he was trying to let go of their past mistakes. So instead of holding back, he told her the truth -- warily, but he did so. And for once (halleluja!) the truth was rewarded. She didn't question him, didn't doubt his word. She took in what he said with full belief and lack of judgment or condemnation. Even when he admitted an unpleasant one-night-stand, she still did not judge and I believe that she was quite proud of herself for not doing so.
Take in the expression on her face and then the way the smile blossomed after Logan asked her if she still loved him. As well, listen to the tone of her voice when she said "yes." She was upset when he first told her; she was disappointed, but when he asked her, she took that moment to think -- and harking back to the warts and all discussion before -- and realized that yeah, warts and all, she still loved him. This? For one Veronica Mars? Is a breakthrough. A pretty amazing one. And the look on Logan's face made it perfectly clear that he thought so as well and judging by the beautiful intensity of that kiss, was cherishing it.
Will this breakthrough stick? Considering her reaction to the information of who he slept with, odds are not of a favorable outcome. However, I do believe that this is a matter of timing and that the basis of the breakthrough will last. Once they get over this hump -- and I do think it is just because it was Madison Sinclair, and not because of the one-night-stand -- they'll be the stronger for it. And damnit, they better get over this hump before season's end.
Scene Nine: An Ocean of Smitten
I have to say that this scene, or more accurately one line in this scene, confused me more than just about anything else this season. Veronica actually says to Wendy:
Quote:Seriously? I mean, SERIOUSLY!?!?! Logan is possibly THE most smitten guy in the world right now. And it's not as if he hides his affection for her. No, no, no, no, no ... rather he all but walks around with a neon sign plastered to his front and back declaring his love for her. How!? What!? Why would she ... could she even ask this question?! Max's smittenness for Wendy? A mere drop in the bucket to the ocean of smitten that Logan feels for you, Veronica!
So, what is the secret to making a guy fall for you like that?
I suppose the point (other than the plot contrivance of getting Veronica to the lingerie shop) was to show that Veronica is still not 100% sure about Logan (how could she not be, though?!). If that is the case, then it is yet another sign that Veronica, although wanting to be with Logan, isn't ready yet. If she has yet to fully embrace and accept just how very much he loves her then one can theorize that perhaps she's still unable to do so because to accept that he loves her completely would mean that any failure in the relationship can more likely be lain at her doorstep due to her inability to love him so thoroughly back.
And that leads us right back to the first scene which showed Veronica as the one in control. It's likely that Veronica feels -- even subconsciously -- that to open herself completely to Logan would be giving up control because she has yet to realize that the two are not mutually exclusive. Logan has shown -- in every relationship we've seen him in that was even a little more than sex (ie, all but Kendall) -- that he is not the one in charge and he's fine with that. Logan is comfortable enough in his own skin that he's more than willing to let his partner drive. He just wants to be in the front seat ... right next to her.
Sigh. And of course, this line led to Wendy's retort about lingerie which led to ...
Scene Ten: The Lingerie Shop
Oh, Veronica. Does it make sense that Veronica hates Madison oh so much more than Dick or any of the others who have caused her heartache? No. But hate isn't rational. I've always gotten the impression that Veronica didn't like Madison even before the 09ers turned against her and vice versa. As well, Madison is a girl. That seems like an obvious statement, but it's true. There's a pathology that alternately states that those of the same gender should stick together, but also that when it comes to contention between females, there is a viciousness that is generally not found in male/male combatants. And consistently, Madison has remained the one person throughout the entire series that Veronica has never not shown an incredible amount of loathing for. Ever. Again, does it make sense? No. But again, hate is irrational. So finding out that Logan's regrettable hook-up was with the one person who -- for whatever irrational reason -- has become the very symbol of all that she loathes in the universe, well, the look on her face says it all. Disbelief, a kick in the gut, it's the end of the world as we know it.
Personally, I hate the contrivance because nothing will convince me that Logan sleeping with Madison while he and Veronica were split up is, after all, anything but a contrivance. However, since Rob Thomas has decided to go there (grr), I'll give him this ... he did pick the one person I can believe Veronica being this thrown by Logan have been with. I mean, again, look at her face. That right there? Devastation. Oh, and sigh, the afore-mentioned breakthrough is pretty much on hold.
Sadly, as each scene played out in chronological order throughout this episode, it became clearer and clearer that the differences between Logan and Veronica and their approach to love are deep, indeed. And there really is only one way for them to work ... Veronica needs to open up and stay open. She needs to learn to just accept the happiness that is sitting RIGHT THERE in front of her and not question it, not fixate on the problems that are problems only because she allows them to be so. Only then, will these two crazy kids finally make it work.