"Weapons Of Class Destruction"/"Hot Dogs" S1 / E18-19
- A- Community Grade
“Weapons of Class Destruction” (Season 1, Episode 18, originally aired April 12th, 2005)
In which someone threatens to go all Columbine on Neptune High, but it’s not who you think! And it’s not the other guy, either. And Duncan Kane has a bad day….
“Weapons of Class Destruction” takes a brief step back from the Lilly Kane murder case in a plot sense, but it takes some important steps forward in an emotional sense. The events of the past several weeks have caught up to our characters, and they’re being forced to confront the changes in their lives.
First up, and perhaps the most fun, Keith Mars and Alicia Fennel are dating. Obviously this leads to tension with their kids, which Veronica Mars deals with by using some tremendously entertaining editing to show how Wallace and Veronica have similar horrified reactions. But it’s also used to show how Veronica and Wallace, while they might be fun together as a partnership, have some legitimate potential cracks in their relationship. Her response is sarcastic teasing, while his response is to freak out. The two don’t go well together, nor does Veronica’s apology when it’s immediately followed by a request that Wallace swipe another file from the office.
Veronica’s sarcasm masks a sweet innocence, however: she’s not that concerned because her mom will be out of rehab soon and happy to come back to live with her and Keith as one big happy family again. Wallace can see through this façade, but he’s more concerned with defending his mother than smacking some sense into Veronica…and he still ends up doing whatever she says. It’ll be adorable when she does get to dress him up as a doll.
The second major emotional collision occurs when Logan, who found Veronica’s computer and saw the Kane murder files, tells Duncan that he has a file included. He confronts Veronica, but things don’t go well – she gives him some of the information that she has, and he takes it seriously, ending with him getting angry, realizing he’s flying into a rage, and disappearing, setting up a major plot point heading into the end of the season.
This is one of the most important scenes of the show so far, but I’m not sure it entirely worked. In my notes, I wrote down that it was “too fast” but in retrospect, it wasn’t the speed of the scene that bothered me, I think, it was the directness of it. I know some of you are not fans of Teddy Dunn’s portrayal of Duncan, but I’m not sure that was the issue here. It just seemed…staged. Duncan was too direct. Veronica was too direct. The reactions were in direct proportion to the actions. Logan telling Duncan was a tiny bit contrived. Veronica’s inexplicable description of how to properly flee the country from and earlier scene, with Duncan following that advice, was much more contrived. But still, something felt off. It wasn’t bad, just lacked some of the impact that it should have had.
The opposite may be true for the other emotional change, the relationship between Logan and Veronica. And suddenly it is a Relationship instead of merely a relationship, as they kiss following a tense encounter with an ATF agent. There’s not much explanation here, nor even dialogue. Logan appears to come to Veronica’s rescue, and is willing to keep defending her. So she gives him a smooch…which he turns into a kiss.
Without much explanation, we’re free to wonder why this happened. Maybe it was adrenaline. Maybe it’s sexual tension finally bubbling to the surface. Maybe it is, in the words of SeaLab 2021, “Honey, you should me a woman who isn’t turned on by her man beating the crap out of someone for her, and I’ll show you a lesbian!” Regardless, this combined with rumblings of Keith’s discontent with the Veronica-Leo age difference means it’s likely splitsville for Deputy Puppy-dog and Veronica.
I’m not entirely sold on the relationship, either from a character point of view or a quality point of view. Obviously it’s just a kiss in the heat of the moment, and we’ll likely see more development moving forward. But it doesn’t seem to have much motivation beyond “heat of the moment.” And Logan is the most impressive non-Veronica character on the show. It’s possible that he will continue to do so, but it’s also possible he’ll be Spikeified, and nobody wants that. Except for the ‘shippers who do want that.
There’s also a case-of-the-week here, though its ending is fairly predictable – if you haven’t figured out by now that the random character with too-helpful information is probably also the culprit, well, now I’ve given you a hint. The ATF storyline is interesting in that it demonstrates some more of Veronica’s ethics, which I wrote about last week. Some of you mentioned that she basically behaves as though she’s a cop (which isn’t too different from the “rule utilitarianism” I ascribed to her.). I think there’s some justification for that point of view this week, as Veronica is blinded by the ATF badge which “Ben” shows her and doesn’t see that he’s using her until too late.
On the other hand, the scam she runs on Vice Principal Clemmons, pretending to be someone else in order to get information from him, isn’t so different from the entrapment and frame-job schemes that the ATF pulls that she finds so rightfully offensive. She’s operating in a dangerous grey area, serving the purposes of the law but not necessarily abiding by it. At some point, I presume this is going to bite in the ass in a big way.
“Hot Dogs” (Season 1, Episode 19, originally aired April 19th, 2005)
In which Veronica finds a dog but loses a puppy, while Weevil re-adds his name to the suspect list in a big way….
Let’s just get this out of the way: “Congratulations, you’ve been named the world’s biggest cockroach. This award is given in recognition of your unparalleled lack of decency and humanity. Bravo! You’re gonna die friendless and alone.”
It’s not just that it’s a great quote - though it certainly is – it’s that it and its followup, where Veronica tells the girl she’s helping that if she wants respect, she has to take it, define the episode. Not so much in terms of respect, but it terms of justifiably righteous anger.
There are three plots weaving through this episode, all of which culminate, to at least some extent, in justifiable rage. The case-of-the-week, which takes the bulk of the episode’s time, involves Mandy and her chase for her beloved dog. Mandy is overdone here – she is the embodiment of patheticness, with her dog her best and only friend. It gets kidnapped, and Veronica, marshmallow that she is, takes the case. At first it appears that the dog got away and was run over on the highway, but, well, this is Veronica Mars and “at first it appears….” is not a good clue for anything.
Veronica, Deputy Puppy, Wallace, and Mandy all bust into the pound which has been stealing ‘09er purebred dogs and unleash hell. Deputy Leo has a good time abusing his power, and Mandy takes Veronica’s advice to heart and tases the hell out of one of the dognappers…which works, as he reveals where her dog ended up.
Still, her five seconds of rage have nothing on events going down at the Echolls household, where Trina is having issues with her boyfriend, which quickly manifest as a black eye and a limp. Logan plans to beat the guy up, but Aaron, saying he’s doing a favor for his daughter, agrees to meet him and read his script. Aaron is smarter than Logan, as his invitation is a trap which is far more successful than Logan’s recruitment of Veronica, and Aaron beats the hell out of the boyfriend.
Now, Aaron may be a total asshole in general, and he possibly goes too far here, but it’s really hard not to sympathize with him. It helps/hurts that the boyfriend, Dylan, is the Platonic form of the Hollywood asshole. He is Jean-Ralphio without a soul, or a castoff from Entourage deemed “too cliché.” He is the person for whom the term “douchebag” as an insult to a human being was coined. But that just makes it weirder when Logan and Veronica, after observing the tail end of this beating, are apparently turned on enough to continue their makeout session. Regardless of your feelings about domestic abusers (I’m opposed to them), that was more than a little creepy.
And in the third storyline, which connects most directly to the main plot, Weevil gets arrested for breaking into the Kane household immediately after Veronica tells him she’s about to crack the case. His storyline doesn’t directly involve a righteous beatdown, verbal or physical, but it does connect to the overarching plot. Celeste Kane comes to Veronica to find out where Duncan is, and Veronica unloads with several weeks worth of plot developments that make Celeste look like a bad person. This makes the third of the Kanes whom Veronica has confronted, and she’s held her own nicely…though still doesn’t have a suspect to pin Lilly’s murder on.
“Hot Dogs” was a busy, busy episode, and generally worked for it. The three main plots I mentioned don’t even include two more emotional ones. Deputy Leo has quickly become superfluous thanks to happy happy Logan makeout time, and Veronica does, to her credit, dump him. To her lack of credit…she immediately follows that by asking for a favor. And Keith, after overhearing Celeste trying to defend herself against Veronica, decides it’s time for a DNA test…so we’ll get our answers to that question after all.
- “A loving tribute, to a sadistic crone.”
- Nice misdirect (or is it!) on the class reading The Brothers Karamozov
- “Gotta say, Veronica, I’m getting tired of doing you favors.” Will that last, Wallace?
- “Carlita, Biff, Rocco, make some room.”
- “Me? That’s the only way I’d ask someone out.”
- This is probably the best use of the journalism class for Veronica Mars’ storytelling purposes. Naturally it’s well after Sydney Poitier has left. Oops. Still, nice work by guest star Joey Lauren Adams.
- “No smartening up the local criminal element….”
- “You’re Veronica Mars, right?” “Sometimes.”
- “Doomed.” Yes, Leo, yes you are.
- “Would you look at that? A string attached to my poptart.”
- “I know you think I hate you, but I don’t. I just can’t stand to look at you.” Oh. Well, that’s better, Celeste. Thanks for clearing that up.
- “And it’s time for the international language of….”
- “You play a hitman. A junkie hitman.” Oh dear.
- “Oh, hey, son. How was school?”
- Veronica and Logan’s romantic conversation was not a good sign. Less like that, please.