Second season! We start off with an “I’m going to be totally normal this year” version of Veronica that fortunately doesn’t last too long and makes sense after the events of last season. She desperately wants to create an atmosphere of safety around herself for her own sake and for her father’s piece of mind. What pulls her back in are loyalty to her friends and father and a tragedy that rocks the town.
S02E01 “Normal Is the Watchword”
This episode is an exposition fest. It’s mostly a What I Did Last Summer essay with a case to remind us that the class system in Neptune is a bit skewed from reality with the bus accident at the end to set up the season-long arc. The Veronica’s dating Logan, no wait, she’s dating Duncan fake-out worked out fine for the most part but saying that her boyfriend is “visiting his dad” didn’t quite work. It’s not nearly as weird for Duncan to be visiting his dad as it would be for Logan and he would almost certainly be visiting both of his parents, not just his dad.
Veronica’s normal job comes with a pretty ugly vest. Julie Chen interviews Keith about his book on the Lilly Kane case in a big corporate synergy move. UPN, the network that aired seasons 1 and 2 of Veronica Mars, was owned by CBS and not only does Julie Chen work for CBS, she’s married to its president. Johnny Damon being Veronica’s favorite baseball player totally dates this episode. I miss his hair.
S02E02 “Driver Ed”
This whole episode is rather dour. The appearance of Kevin Smith didn’t exactly brighten up the place but it is nice to remember some of the celebrity support that this cult show got back in the day. The writers are getting clever with the names again. The bus driver is clearly only named Ed so that they could have this episode title. The appearance of Ari Graynor is great even if you don’t quite get to see everything that’s awesome about her in this episode. You definitely feel for her as a frustrated teen who wants justice. In a better world, her dad would have been able to build a new life with the neighbor lady, Jessie, and her brother. It does seem like the pay phone call was a bit of a plot device but this is just old enough where you could believe that a school bus driver wouldn’t have a cell phone.
We meet Jackie Cook in this episode and Tessa Thompson’s acting may actually be more wooden than Teddy Dunn’s. It’s not the greatest introduction for her. It’s pretty well telegraphed that Veronica didn’t sleep with Logan over the summer but somehow facing the life altering bus crash convinces her to sleep with Duncan. Eww. Fortunately, we get to end the episode with a dead man on a beach with Veronica’s name on his hands and the Pixies playing in the background. Much better.
S02E03 “Cheatty Cheatty Bang Bang”
The personal relationships were much more interesting to me in this episode than the main storyline. At least we now know where Logan was getting the Pirate Points from that he was so concerned about losing last year. Apparently FBLA was totally Pirate Point-worthy. It was clever of the writers to turn the “obviously the trophy wife is cheating on her husband” story into “she’s also helping her husband commit real estate fraud”. Plus, we got a jaunty Spoon song to entertain us while Veronica was following Kendall around.
I always smile when Keith calls Alicia his special lady friend. It’s adorable. Even if I had liked Jackie Cook to begin with, she was dead to me the moment she insulted *Pride and Prejudice”. Wallace saying, “Hot damn, Colin Firth is in it!” was totally winning, though. The Courtney that sings “Love Hurts” at karaoke was Courtney Taylor-Taylor of the Dandy Warhols, the theme song band.
S02E04 “Green-Eyed Monster”
This is a silly episode. It’s a little too Grey’s Anatomy for me where the main case of the week teaches Veronica something about her own life. Way too on the nose. We do get some progress on the Keith Mars for Sheriff campaign, including an excuse for Veronica to start spending more time in the Mars Investigaions offices again. Everything not related to Julie’s case feels more like setup for longer arcs than things that were directly important to this episode. Veronica’s conversation with Weevil brings up the Fitzpatricks, an Irish criminal family. Also, I think there was a dig at Francis Capra. He was in Shazam, the Shaq-as-genie movie from the 90s, and his new hoop earrings lead to a genie reference.
S02E05 “Blast From the Past”
This was a pretty great showcase for Percy Daggs III. Of course, the whole thing seems to be a reason to write him off of the show for a few episodes because they didn’t have him contracted for all 22 this season but at least they gave him a great episode to go out on. In the end, it made sense for him to go off with his dad for awhile. His mom wouldn’t tell him the truth, his best friend couldn’t get along with his girlfriend, and his girlfriend didn’t understand his loyalty to his female best friend. Veronica tried to convince him that his mom was in the right to hide his real father from him all of these years. I appreciate Alicia’s reasoning but Wallace is 17 or 18 years-old. He deserves to get a chance to know his father. I also appreciate Veronica’s loyalty to Mrs. Fennel but Wallace’s estranged parent situation wasn’t much like Veronica’s estranged parent stituation.
S02E06 “Rat Saw God”
“Blast From the Past” would have been a good title for this episode, too. Everything ties back to the Lilly Kane case except for the very end where we get progress on this season’s mystery. Veronica is looking to track down Abel Koontz’s daughter, Amelia DeLongpre. The murder that Logan is accused of committing occurred on the night that his father was arrested for killing Lilly.
We get to spend a lot of time with Cliff in this episode which is great. I’m so glad that Daran Norris is going to be in the movie. We also get a Joss Whedon cameo which is way better than the Kevin Smith cameo from the season premiere. Joss Whedon!
S02E07 “Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner”
Veronica doesn’t exactly seem to be over Logan. If her outburst over his relationship with Kendall had seemed more like that of a concerned friend it would have been a different thing but she came off more like a jealous ex. Veronica does spend a lot of time with Duncan in this episode but their relationship seems to be at the weakest point it’s been at all season. She’s interested in the case because it involves Meg and an abused child, not because of Duncan’s involvement with it. When they’re at FBLA and Mr. Pope mentions that Duncan isn’t there, Veronica’s face looks more like she’s noticing for the first time.