Scene One: A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes
Ironically enough, the beginning of Veronica's dream -- while lying in bed with Logan, is one of the sweetest, most intimate scenes we've had of the two in the entire series' run. The way their hands were connected as she lay so closely in his arms, the music playing over them, the warmth of the lighting enveloping the two. Their smiles were of happiness, peace and contentment, matched by the tone and sentiment of their voices. And then of course, like a preview of their relationship itself in this arc, it all went cold and then ghastly with the sound of Madison's laughter, the sight of another woman in Veronica's place.
Ah, but for those few moments in the beginning, it was beautiful and it actually promised that this storyline -- as abhorrent as it appeared on paper -- would be told with beauty ... a heartbreaking one, but one of beauty none-the-less.
Too bad, those few moments were all that we got.
Scene Two: Veronica, Don't Ever Change ... Not.
And that lack began to peer through when Veronica woke up with the ringing of her phone. The sweet softness was completely gone from her, although we did witness a Logan on the other end of the line as happy and as content as he'd been in her dream. Complimentary, affectionately teasing and then telling her the one thing that is on the face of it so sweet, so wonderful but below the surface is so, so the one thing that Veronica Mars desperately needs to do. He told her not to change.
Sigh. Oh Logan.
Veronica's expression and subsequent voice-over then appeared to clue us in as to what we had to expect for the rest of the episode. Heartbreak, but one in which we saw both sides clearly and fully. Logan had done nothing wrong in theory, but the actuality of it so haunted Veronica and she hurt so deeply that she couldn't be rational about it. She couldn't ignore it; couldn't make it go away.
Sigh. "Appeared" is the key word. Double sigh.
Scene Three: Tears of Red, When They Should Be Blue.
I'm not going to discuss the absurdity of some of Veronica's claims and just add the lament that many feel over the break-up and to question, as so many have, the why of it. If the show felt it necessary to have the two broken up and apart, why didn't the last break-up just stick longer? They were apart and miserable, we could have spent this second arc with both trying to move on, even Veronica dating someone else in an attempt to do so, Logan doing the same. We could have had UST and lingering looks and moments that both did their best to ignore, seen the two as 'friends' in that attempt to move on and then spent the last five episodes bringing them to the realization that they can't be without one another and that both have to change and compromise.
But alas, that is not the route that was chosen. Why not? I can come up with no rationalization for it. I really can not. I have tried to look at all angles and the only one that makes any amount of sense doesn't even make much sense in terms of a potential character arc for Veronica or for the Logan/Veronica relationship and that is that the show found it necessary to once more restore Veronica to the position of power. I bring this up a bit more in the analysis of the next scene, so I want to move onto the break-up itself, beginning with Logan's part in this play.
Why did he apologize? Did he really know all of the horrible things that Madison had done? Why did he say he lied? Are we supposed to believe that he wasn't talking about Madison last week when he said he'd been with someone? First of all, I'm going to fanwank and say that the answer to the final question presented here is no. He was talking about Madison and therefore he did not lie to Veronica. So why say he lied? Well, fanwanking 101 says that the apology and the admittance of a lie that did not happen were done to merely assuage Veronica. As someone else pointed out, when Veronica is like this, she doesn't stop to listen to reason and often enough, she doesn't make much reason herself (Madison is responsible!?), so trying to calmly explain that he had told her, but just hadn't given specifics would have done him no good. None whatsoever. And it's likely that he figured that once she calmed down, he could explain it to her. I don't think he thought that she was going to break up with him then and there based upon their interaction after getting back together.
Sadly, I think he truly believed that she was trying to make them work this time and that she just would need some time. And once she had that time, he could explain the situation more fully. He could explain that he didn't know that Veronica hated Madison that much, and that it was a stupid one-night stand. The only reason that he didn't give her the specifics is because of her reaction to Madison earlier that day and so he decided to save her some unnecessary pain. Which brings us to another of the questions I asked above: Was it just that run-in with Madison earlier that clued him in or did he really know all of the horrible things that Madison had done? Again, I'm going with a no, but this time I have more than fanwanking to back me up.
First of all, why have that earlier run-in with the question expressly designed to bring forth Veronica's feelings about Madison? Viewers knew this, Max and Wendy are both peripheral characters that their knowledge was completely unnecessary, which left ... Logan. I think that was our clue -- given last week -- that Veronica's declaration that Logan knew how much she hated Madison was just Veronica, well, talking out of her ass.
We have been given absolutely no indication that Veronica EVER would have told Logan the specifics of that night beyond what he already knew. I simply and totally refuse to believe that Logan Echolls -- a guy who worships Veronica and was willing to throw away his status and all of his friends when they'd only been dating a few weeks -- would ever remain friends, let alone best friends, with a guy who was pretty much the main instigator in Veronica's rape. I just refuse to believe it. Period. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever in any way, shape or form that Logan would remain friends with Dick if he knew the specifics of that night. And there is no way that he would know about Madison's part if he did not know the role that Dick had played. So, Veronica was rambling about what she knew and in her anger, throwing all of that rage and disgust with Madison (albeit some of it very, very much displaced -- Madison responsible for the roofieing?) into her invection of Logan ... because she was so hurt and so angry and simply not thinking rationally.
Is it all fucked up? Absolutely. Did she have to break up with him? I don't think so. Take a break? Absolutely. But end things permanently and have this -- of all things! -- be the one thing that she can't forgive, can't get past? Uh, no. Absolutely not. But what do I know? I'm just a viewer.
And aside from all of this cerebral analysis of the fight, we come to my biggest frustration with it all. The emotional aspect. And this one I blame on the performances. That's right: Plural, performances. I honestly got the sense watching Logan throughout the scene that Jason Dohring had no earthly clue why the show was going this direction and therefore just did not know how to play it. Logan did nothing wrong, so why was he apologizing? Why was he the bad guy? Why was Veronica spouting information that was (based on all we'd seen) new to him? How do you play a scene when just about every particular of it makes no sense? And that confusion? frustration? whatever with the scene I read all over Dohring's performance and it wasn't good. It wasn't bad, I don't know that Dohring is capable at this point in his career in delivering a bad performance ... but it was not up to par with what he normally delivers.
Moving onto Kristen Bell ... why was there no outward display or even subtext from Bell that this was breaking Veronica's heart? There was simply none to be seen. Even the tears weren't of the heartbreak variety. It was all anger and rage or stifling disappointment. I didn't get the sense that this was killing Veronica; that she wanted so desperately to get past this because she loved him so much. I got anger and humiliation, disillusion and a bit of disgust. The closest we got to pain was her "make it not true," but even that held absolutely no hope because it was something that was categorically impossible to do. I get that Veronica would be hurt, devastated by it because of her irrational hatred of Madison. But the rage? Against Logan?! Who did nothing wrong. He and Veronica had been broken up, there was no reunion in sight and -- as stated above -- I can not believe that he knew she hated Madison that much. He couldn't have based on everything that we have seen on the show and everything we know about the character of Logan Echolls.
It just did not compute and therefore the sympathy -- frustrated though it might have been -- for Veronica was missing. Why should I be sympathetic for her when she's showing signs of vindictive anger as opposed to heartbreaking despair? And where exactly did that vindictiveness come from? Because she'd convinced herself that the entire encounter with Madison was all about her? What an enormous ego this nineteen year-old girl has to believe so completely that the entire world revolves around her.
Everything has to be about her. Even when it so clearly is not ... it's still all about her. And if that self-importance allows her to castigate the only person on this planet who sees her as she truly is -- warts and all -- and still loves her unconditionally, it's her loss. But of course, Veronica doesn't see it that way. Logan done did her wrong and she's mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore. Never mind, that she has no reason to be angry; miserable, yes, she has every reason to be miserable, but not angry. Yet here, we weren't witness to her misery. No, instead there was anger, lots of anger. I didn't get much misery, and the little I did, was wrapped in layers of -- you guessed it! -- anger.
And that leaves one more question that encapsulates this whole mess -- and try as I might, I can find no reasonable answer to: Just why?
Scene Four: In Control Once More
What I find most interesting -- and I don't know that it's necessarily good -- is that when Logan broke up with Veronica, upon telling Keith she denied that she was upset about it, instead murmured a constant refrain of "I'm okay." Now that she did the breaking off, when Keith asked her how she was, this time she admitted that she wasn't okay. Why was she unable to admit it when Logan was responsible for the end of their relationship, but all too able to when she cut the ties?
I think it goes back to Veronica and her control issues. When Logan ended things, he had the control. He made the play and he walked away, leaving Veronica feeling lost and out of control. She had no say in the matter; the decision -- the control -- was taken out of her hands. The only thing she had left was her reaction to the break-up and if she acknowledged that she was hurt by it, then that meant that she had lost complete control because not only was something taken from her (her decision in the matter), but also that it was something that was of importance to her. By denying the true effect of his decision, Veronica tried to made a choice that was of not her choosing unimportant, thus negating any true power that someone else -- in this case, Logan -- might have in relation to her.
This time, she graciously admitted that the break-up was painful because she had made the decision, she had made the call. All the cards were in her hands and she had made the final play. And because it was her decision, by acknowledging that she is not okay, that -- to her mind -- showed an even greater strength and control on her part. It was a difficult decision, but she had the control and the strength of conviction to do what must be done despite the pain.
What is most frustrating about this is that this IS a great angle to take for her character considering the events of pre-season and season one. And that is where the frustration comes in ... season one. Had this story happened in season two, it would have been a brilliant move, giving the show time to show Veronica gaining strength in a situation that had helped to lead to her need for control. And it would have been perfect with regards to her dating Duncan again, because not only would it have been her taking control of the situation, but it would have been a reversal of the effect that Duncan's pre-series silent dumping had on her. This would have not only brought closure to that period of her life, but it would have also brought the character full circle, allowing her to move on in a more healthy fashion. Instead, coming off of the heels of season two, it makes no sense that she's STILL so untrusting, STILL so unable to let go of control when she's been nothing BUT the master of every relationship we've seen her in all three seasons.
Scene Five: The Voicemail
The one thing that keeps hitting me about this (well, other than the fact that the bottom half of Logan's shirt is unbuttoned and when he leans back, ooh ... ahem) is a particular line slap-dab in the middle of the message:
- So where are you, Veronica? Out digging through someone's trash, maybe? Interrogating one of your friends? Beating out a confession? You know, if you dig deep enough, you're gonna find that everyone's a sinner. Judge not, Veronica. Et cetera, et cetera. Ugh. Alright, stay on message, Logan. Okay, honestly, it's encouraging that someone still has such high expectations of me. Veronica, I would give anything if I could take back that night in Aspen. I'm sorry I caused you so much pain, I'm sorry it happened. And I really love you, Veronica.
- Okay, honestly, it's encouraging that someone still has such high expectations of me.
- Y'know, I don't think I quite measure up to the person you want me to be; I just can't take feeling like a disappointment any more.
Just like she broke his heart. Again.
Sigh. Okay, show, we get it, Logan is pathetically in love with Veronica to the point that after weeks of misery without her, the brief spot of sunshine he shared with her had obliterated all self-worth that he seemed to gain in the first arc. We got that in the break-up scene ... and the Dick scene. We get it. So, really, what was the point of this voicemail? Here we have Logan telling Veronica everything that she needs to hear and when I say hear, I mean HEAR!, listen, connect with her heart and mind, and not just let it pass in and out like air. And the sad, sad thing is that we all know that even if she had listened to the damn message, she wouldn't have heard it ... it would have been as meaningful to her as everyone of her damned epiphanies in relation to Logan. Merely a wisp of the wind, having no substance, length of time or tangibility whatsoever attached to them.
I don't understand how the show can put the words into Logan's mouth over and over again regarding all of Veronica's issues, all of the things that she needs to work on and get over, if they have absolutely no intention of dealing with any of them. I do not understand. Why did we get what so appeared an arc for Veronica of personal growth throughout the first nine episodes that now, in retrospect, amounted to absolutely nothing. Veronica can't change. Is that what the writers want us to see? That the problem isn't Veronica, but Logan's inability to accept Veronica as she is? Have we been that off-base in analysis of what we've been seeing or are they that off-base in seeing their own character?
Forget who killed Dean O'Dell, this is the real mystery.
Scene Six: To Judge or Not To Judge
Honestly, this scene hurt the most. It was so mean and so final. I didn't see even a glimmer of pain on Veronica's face when she realized the message was from Logan, while she listened to it and when she blithely deleted it ... after calling it "old crap." And that last bit there? Was just horribly painful. That's what Logan is to her? She supposedly loves him, cares for him, wants to be an understanding girlfriend to him and she calls him/them "old crap" a mere few days after breaking his heart (AGAIN!)?
I do not know what the writers were thinking and I certainly have no clue as to what Bell was thinking in her delivery. Could this moment have been any colder? Well, I suppose she could have deleted it before listening to even one more. Or laughed evilly as she did so, perhaps supply that self-satisfied smirk that she wore at the end of episode when she decided to forgive Madison! (Yeah, Madison ... not Logan.) Sigh.
I have to ask: Why the hell did the writers bother showing the scene above with the voicemail if there was absolutely no point to it? Why? Every single word that Logan said the viewers were well aware of; we were already quite clued in to Veronica's judgmental ways. The only person involved in the equation who is completely clueless as to this streak in her nature is the girl in play herself: Veronica Mars. So why show the entire message if Veronica wasn't even going to listen to it? What was the point? To show how pathetic Logan is while alternately showing how "strong" Veronica is for saying firm in her desertion of him?
Lord, if I know. Hey ya'll remember that stack of hay that we meticulously built last season that seemed to be growing taller and taller this one? This scene, this episode seemed very much to be the four winds coming to scatter every last straw away ... once and for all. So much for that foundation that was built last week, huh? Clearly, it was just a stack of straw in a hayfield with no permanence.