“I thought our story was epic, you know, you and me… Spanning years and continents. Lives ruined, blood shed. Epic.” – Logan
After the terrible ending of season four of Veronica Mars, I started rewatching the show to remember why I loved it. The problem is that it makes me even angrier that they killed Logan, in part because of the implication for Veronica as a character if they decide to continue the show.
From season one, the character growth Veronica went through was always through interactions with Logan. Everyone else lets her take advantage of them, or let’s her in some way remain in control of the relationship. Perhaps Keith is an exception, but he still does not cause Veronica to evolve as a person. This is okay, because that is part of Veronica’s character, and part of why we watch the show, to see whether Veronica will do the “right” thing or the easy or more satisfying thing. Part of her personality, at least after Lily’s death, is that she almost always goes for the easy or more satisfying thing. It’s great that we had a show that presented a female character like that, instead of always making the female character the scion of morality. There aren’t many shows that present fully developed female characters with flaws, but even to do that successfully, the writers have to show the audience the struggle, and the growth or regression of the character. And the same way Rob Thomas doesn’t want to write teen drama for characters in their 30’s, the audience can watch regression sometimes, but needs to see growth overall.
Veronica Mars was a smart, tough, cynical detective that started out completely closed off emotionally and perpetually suspicious of everyone around her. She trusts no one, not even her father. Before the end of season four, she had finally begun to open up a little, and we leave it there, the catalyst for that change gone.
As a character, Veronica is always questioning everyone’s motives and investigating the what, where, and why of it all. For some reason, though, when it comes to Logan, she stops at suspecting him of things and always jumps straight to assuming the worst. There are all kinds of reasons that may be behind this, from her being afraid that looking into it further would prove her right and she would get hurt, her being afraid to let someone be close to her in general, guilt because Logan was Lily’s boyfriend, the fact that as a teenager, to call Logan troubled would be an understatement, etc. However, in the end, something always proves her wrong in her suspicions, or, for smaller infractions that he actually did, Logan apologizes and she forgives him. This happens throughout the arc of their relationship, which also happens to follow the arc of Veronica going back and forth from being a closed off person to being more open and vulnerable. Essentially, the character arc that Veronica does have is demonstrated through her relationship with Logan. That’s okay because the characters on every show need another character around them to challenge them, a foil, or the show would be boring and the stories would have no movement.
Veronica starts out in a very hostile relationship with Logan, putting a bong in his locker and he, in return, smashes the lights on her car. This remains until the Lily Kane Memorial Fountain in “The Wrath of Con”, where the first non-hostile interaction occurs between Veronica and Logan when she walks in on Logan creating the tribute video, and she offers him some video she has that more reflects Lily. This is the first crack in the ice.
The next milestone happens in “An Echolls Family Christmas” which is likely the first time Veronica and Logan have spent any amount of time together since Lily was murdered. This is where Logan sees how capable Veronica is, illustrated in her solving the crime and in the last scene, where the audience sees that Veronica tricked them all into thinking she couldn’t play cards.
That brings us to “Mars vs. Mars”, the beginning of the full Veronica/Logan relationship, when Logan shows up at Veronica’s door to ask for help finding his mom. Since they are no longer friends, and we know Veronica moved after her father was removed from the Sheriff’s office, Logan would never have been to Veronica’s apartment, so he had to put in at least a little effort to find out where she lived, even though he could have just approached her at school like everyone else. Veronica also agrees to help on the spot, which is unusual because she normally tells students who approach her outside of school hours to find her at school.
“Ruskie Business” and THAT SCENE. No one, not even untrusting, closed off Veronica could help but have their heart break for Logan when he realizes his mother really is dead.
Then, in “Kane and Abel’s” when Logan brings Veronica a check for helping him look for his mother, Veronica tears up the check. If there is any other case Veronica does that with, it doesn’t come to mind.
In “Weapons of Class Destruction” Logan calls Veronica to give her a heads up about Duncan learning about her investigation. This is the first non-business related or hostile interaction we have seen them have. While he’s a little late, the fact that he made the gesture at all shows he has warmed up to Veronica quite a bit. This is obviously further demonstrated by the first kiss at the Camelot Motel, because where else would they have their first kiss.
In “Hot Dogs”, Logan asks Veronica’s help in finding out about his sister Trina’s abusive boyfriend, and the episode ends with them sort of starting a relationship, even though they plan to keep it secret.
Veronica and Logan seem to be trying to have a normal relationship in “M.A.D.” when Veronica finds out that Logan is responsible for the drugs at the party where she was raped, and her reaction is to stand him up with no explanation and then yell at him when he shows up at her apartment only to apologize later when she learns she got it wrong.
Prior to that, through a conversation with Veronica and Aaron Echolls, we learn that Logan also changed a lot after Lily died, and that being around Veronica is bringing out the best in him. There is also a scene in the beginning of the episode where Veronica gives Logan a fake late pass so he doesn’t get in trouble for being late to physics. The last scene of the Veronica Mars Movie flips this dynamic around, with Veronica offering to get Logan out of a court marshal if he stays there instead of reporting for duty, but he declines it, saying it’s only six months. This is demonstrative of the growth Logan has made in becoming an adult, and the lack of emotional growth Veronica has made in becoming an adult. And again, that’s okay, because the push and pull of Veronica’s maturity is what makes the show interesting.
“A Trip to the Dentist” gives Veronica an explanation, or at the very least, the knowledge that Logan had nothing to do with drugging her personally, for whatever difference that makes. She forgives him for his part, but that doesn’t even survive the episode before she finds the camera in the pool house. She immediately goes to the worst-case scenario, assuming Logan killed Lily without examining it further or asking him about it. As we then see in “Normal is the Watchword”, Logan doesn’t even really hold a grudge. Veronica’s decision to end things with him has nothing to do with her inability to trust, as we see Logan start to lose it and become violent by lashing out with all the pressure he’s faced. Logan’s return to being somewhat hostile towards Veronica in season two is because he’s hurt because she broke his heart.
Skipping ahead, when Logan is accused of murdering Felix, he goes to Veronica for help, and she helps him. When the prom is canceled, Logan invites Veronica and she goes, and we get the infamous line: “I thought we were epic. Spanning years and continents. Lives ruined and blood shed. Epic.” A misunderstanding the next morning where Veronica once again assumes the worst without asking questions prevents her and Logan from getting back together.
At the end of the season, when she is in danger, she calls (texts) Logan for help, and after they both survive, they get back together and have an on-again-off again period that we can just move past, because the next part is important. In the Veronica Mars Movie, Logan shows up to greet Veronica at the airport in his Navy uniform. He’s a grown man now, and Veronica tells him he should only ever wear that, a uniform that represents honor, loyalty, maturity, and all the things that a teenage Logan was not. Later, when Veronica puts on what I guess is her season three detective costume?, Logan repeats her line back to her, that she should only ever wear that. This is in part nostalgia, but also a return to who Veronica is, a woman who has never recovered from the pain of loss she suffered as a teenager. As the movie ends, with them back together, Veronica is still the one that’s lacking maturity, as we saw with the line about the court marshal.
This continues through season four, with Logan dragging Veronica, kicking and screaming, to grow up. At the end of the season it seems like she may finally do that, when Logan is murdered. The Veronica Mars we know would not react in a healthy, adult way to that tragedy, but would revert to high school era Veronica emotionally – distrustful, closed off, and cynical. And now that Logan is gone, there is no one to pull her along to grow up, and isn’t that kind of what we watched the show for? To follow Veronica’s story as she grows up and goes from the traumatized high school student playing adult detective to being an actual adult? What we are left with is an inverse, an adult Veronica playing teenage detective.
Also, for anyone who cannot stand to hear Rob Thomas say the word “noir” one more time, the genre does not require a terrible ending where the characters will go off tortured and unhappy. There are many examples where noir films end on a much more upbeat note, including They Drive By Night, Spellbound, Notorious, All the President’s Men, L.A Confidential, The Dark Knight Rises, The Nice Guys, etc. For those sticking to the letter of the definition, which it seems like Rob Thomas thinks he is doing, actual noir refers to films made in the 40s and 50s. Films in the same style made after that time are called neo-noir. Again, they don’t require the story to end in pain and misery.
Veronica Mars: A Tough Lesson to Learn
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