2.02 "Driver Ed"

Aired Oct 05, 2005

Roundtable Reviews

misskiwi: Two words I never thought I'd scream at the television while watching Veronica Mars: COP. OUT. I actually yelled a big, long "NOOOOO!" when Veronica said Meg was alive. Before Polter-Cow kills me (and I can't believe his delusional ramblings that she was alive came true), let me just disclaim that I like Meg. A lot. But having the only character we knew on the bus being the only survivor when they'd led us to believe that everyone was dead, when they'd had the cojones to kill off an established character, when you had the awesome guilt factor of Meg's role in Veronica being saved and in her own demise, when you threw the bus of a freaking cliff...for shame, Rob. For shame.

Polter-Cow: I'm not going to kill you, misskiwi. Because I agree with you. As much as I'm glad to get more Meg in the future, I think this lessens the impact of the bus crash. Veronica didn't actually lose anyone she cared about.

Is it a cop-out? How else do you describe a scenario in which everyone dies but the one character the audience cares about? How interesting would it have been for one of the nondescript students to survive? This show is usually so good about turning clichés on their head. I hope Rob and Co. have something good planned for her to make this worth it. I think I'll get over this, because it's Meg, you know, but really. Like you said, they said everyone was dead. It would have been much, much ballsier to stick with that. Rob should take a cue from Battlestar Galactica, which truly makes you fear for the lives of its characters because you know the show's not afraid to kill them.

I feel like we've lost the trust, you know? Next time someone's in mortal peril, we'll just go, "Oh, they're not going to die. Rob doesn't kill people, unless they're Lisa Rinna." It's possible he's doing this just to fuck with our heads, so we won't believe him when he actually knocks someone off (please, let it be Jackie).

wyk: I have to chime in to say that I disagree with both of you. The show is all about grey and having Meg stuck in a coma could potentially be a much more emotionally charged storyline than just having her die.

Last season we watched Veronica deal with the death of her best friend. If Meg would have died, then it would simply be repeating that storyline. Veronica's best girlfriend is killed. There's a cover-up. Veronica investigates to find the truth. Veronica finds the answers, gets some closure, and has a happy, bikini-clad dream afterwards.

With Meg being alive, this gives the writers the chance to explore a whole new emotional minefield. It's not just about black vs. white, life vs. death, one 09er being the rapist. It's about that grey area where there are no easy answers and no closure. If Meg would have died, that would have let her family and Veronica have some sense of finality. They know they have no other choice but to move on. With Meg being stuck in the middle ground, somewhere between life and death, they will not be able to move on. Will Meg ever wake up? If so, when? Tomorrow? Next week? Next month? During sweeps? Will she be okay? What if she's not okay? How long will they have to keep hoping? When will they finally give up?

If life's a bitch until you die, then what is life if you don't get to die?

alliterator: I agree with misskiwi out the cop-out-edness of Meg being alive. Without Meg dead, nobody the audience knows (or cares about) is dead, and it seems the only point of putting Meg into a coma is to bring her out of it later on in the season.

Or perhaps not. Rob does have a way of turning clichés on their head — Meg may never come out of the coma or something else might happen.

misskiwi: I can see the storyline potential of Meg in a coma, but I think it's a gyp because of the emotional impact of the last scene of the premiere. The horror you feel when you realize they're all dead is diminished. If they wanted to go that way, they should have left at least a little room for speculation that somebody could have survived the crash.

On the plus side, now we can wait and see how un-soap opera-y Veronica Mars can make a coma storyline.

grim squeaker: Like wyk, I do not mind Meg still being alive. It is certainly symbolic of the imbalance in Neptune: all the non-09ers on the bus die; the one 09er who is on it survives. The same, on a smaller scale, happens for characters we know: Felix, the have-not, is killed, while Meg survives, albeit possibly damaged beyond recovery. I find it ironic that last year Veronica described Meg's character by stating that "cartoon birds" had "braided [her] hair," like they do in the Disney version of Snow White. Now, after her accident, she is like Snow White again, after the bad stepmother poisoned her: sleeping in a deathlike state. The question is, will a handsome prince wake her up? I kind of doubt it.

And lastly, the witness who is constrained from stating what she saw — thus normally holding the key to solving the crime — is of course a common staple of mysteries. Which leads me to wonder what exactly Meg could have seen that was so important.

alliterator: In the main storyline, I found myself thinking how similar it was to last season's story, only with Jessie in the Veronica role — father wrongfully accused (this time of suicide), daughter becomes outcast and hated. Jessie is a sort of mirror image of Veronica (which is interesting, considering we first see Jessie in the bathroom mirror), which I think is one of the reasons Veronica takes her case. She sees Jessie punch one of the bitchy girls out and realizes that's what she would have done as well.

wyk: I wonder if the writers will ever reveal how Logan and Kendall got together. Who made the first move: Logan or Kendall? Will the writers explore the emotional baggage that those two characters have that would cause them to hook up? Or the storyline just a plot gimmick to get Charisma some naked screen time?

alliterator: I don't really know what I think about Logan's story. Kendall certainly is hot, but there is a weird ick factor to their relationship. Perhaps it has something to do with Lilly sleeping with an older man and now Logan's doing the same thing (well, woman) that makes me think that it just won't end well. Oh, and the fact that Big Dick owns a gun. And, as always, Beaver is my favorite Casablancas.

grim squeaker: I agree with alliterator, in that the relationship with Kendall is very icky, but it also seems logical for him to fall for her, given that Kendall is basically the bitchy version of what Lynn must have been like when Aaron married her. I'm guessing that on some weird level he sees something of his mother in her, which is unwise not the least because Kendall does not seem to have any sympathetic traits whatsoever.

I also agree that the thought of Big Dick with a gun is unsettling, as were his remarks to Logan in the shooting range. Does he possibly know of the affair, or does he at the very least suspect something?

wyk: Can we talk about Jackie for a minute? Sometimes the audience falls in love with character/actor after just one appearance. Beaver is a perfect example of this. Unfortunately, Jackie is not one of those characters. Other than being available and cute, I'm not sure what Wallace or the audience is supposed to like about this character.

Jackie reminds me of the Lilly character: a spoiled, rich, flirty brat who intentionally pushes her parents buttons. Amanda/Lilly did a wonderful job last year of creating this vibrant, defiant, yet ultimately likable brat. Jackie has the defiant and brat part down, but she kind of missed the boat on the vibrant and likable part. Instead of Jackie and Terrence, I would have loved to see a similar type scene with Lilly and Jake. With Amanda/Lilly, that father-daughter battle would have been fun. As it stands, that scene puts Jackie squarely in the "another slice off the loaf of shallow vapid pain-in-the-ass 09erdom" column.

grim squeaker: So far, I'm actually feeling kind of neutral about Jackie. She seems a little too obviously like a lite version of Lilly, and her placement as Wallace's possible love interest was far too anvilicious. On the other hand, I actually liked her scene with her father, and think that this relationship has some potential. So far, we've mostly seen the perfect father-daughter dynamic between Keith and Veronica; it could be nice to have this contrasted with two people who, while parent and child, apparently don't know each other all that much yet and have to work out their relationship.

Polter-Cow: Jackie's relationship with her father is the only thing I remotely like about her. Okay, wait, I do like some of her comebacks to Wallace. But mostly, I hate her. She's overly bitchy, and the giant arrow pointing to her labelled LOVE INTEREST actually leapt off the screen and poked me in the eye. It's not only anvilicious, but, as others have pointed out, borderline racist. There's a new girl? And she's black? Wallace must automatically like her, despite encountering dozens of attractive women of other races (including his best friend) on a daily basis! Is Jackie Cook the only black girl in the entire school? What did happen to Georgia? Keith and Alicia are allowed to date interracial-style, why not Wallace?

Especially when Wallace deserves so much better than bitchy old Jackie. Look at him with his mad detective skillz! Talking up suspects, finding clues.

alliterator: Wallace is coming out on his own, playing the Holmes instead of Watson. I dislike Jackie already, but Wallace's storyline made him more independent from Veronica, which is always a good thing.

misskiwi: Wallace's storyline was great. The new girl felt a little shoehorned in, but probably because I was expecting her and as soon as she walked in the coffee shop I knew she would end up being important. Wallace picking up Veronica's skillz is awesome, though.

grim squeaker: Wallace's detective work rocked. "Fennel & Mars, Private Investigators" anyone?

alliterator: I actually want Wallace to get together with Jane, that girl who has a crush on him. Because I think she's cute.

But yeah, Jackie's involvement in the show screamed Love Interest. Let's hope that in the upcoming episodes, her character is fleshed out. We don't even know why Wallace likes her, other than she's hot. Of course, that could be the only reason (see: Georgia, Nadine, cross reference: hoochie).

misskiwi: The other major problem I had is a big character thing I was hoping they'd deal with but instead they appear to have ignored, at least for now. As far as we know, Duncan doesn't really know what went on the night of Shelly's party: Veronica never told him she was drugged, or that Logan had spiked his drink too. I was hoping that when she finally got to the point where she was ready to sleep with him, they'd be forced to have that conversation since, in his mind, they've already had sex. I think it'd be a really interesting dynamic to explore — he'd probably feel guilty for unwittingly raping her, not to mention feeling violated himself — but instead they just went ahead and pretended like they've never had sex before. Even VMVO seems to forget it, although at least that's a little more in character with her.

Polter-Cow: Yeah, what the fuck is up with Veronica and Duncan having sober, consensual sex (now with added memory!) for the very first time and never mentioning the night of Shelly Pomroy's party? Diane, you wrote "A Trip to the Dentist"; I know you didn't forget about it. To think that neither one would make any sort of awkward, uncomfortable reference to what they were doing and had done is just...what the hell?! Clearly, from Veronica's interactions with Dick, I'm getting that she's trying to move on from the trauma, and I wouldn't say anything if she'd had sex with Logan or anyone else in the entire world. But this is the same person to whom she lost her technical virginity, and I think it'd be a LITTLE WEIRD, you know? KIND OF NICE, BUT ALSO WEIRD.

alliterator: I'll take counterpoint to P-C's V/D argument: there was no need to mention Shelly's party. They've been dating since the summer; presumably she's already told him that both of them were drugged when it happened and so they don't consider it "real."

Actually, I was quite surprised and delighted when they had sex (not that I'm a V/D fan or anything), because usually having sex leads to bad things. Angel losing his soul. Stuff like that. But it's interesting that Rob or Dianne put the sex in the very second episode, rather than hold it off, and made it very tender. I applaud them for going against the grain.

misskiwi: A couple other things bothered me too. First, the show was more predictable than usual. Thinking back on great S1 episodes, this one seemed relatively predictable in comparison. I called Logan coming out of the hotel room as soon as she heard the doorknob click, and Keith deciding to run for office as soon as Jesse approached Lamb.

So overall...still miles ahead of most of the crap on TV, but I feel like the writers are losing a bit of their season one edge, the awesome twists that could take you by surprise and the guts they had to tackle the hard stuff.

grim squeaker: I found it a bit heavy-handed (I just have all these conflicting emotions OMG), but liked it that the structure was divided mostly between Veronica, Wallace, and Logan, and their respective storylines.

Polter-Cow: So my show is back. Kind of. It's not exactly the same show I knew and loved, but I think the elements are there. I am...cautiously optimistic? I want an episode to blow me away, and soon.

alliterator: I don't think any of us mentioned the ending yet. So I will: wow. This show redefines the words "Dun dun dun!" If there's one thing that is still top notch about this season, it's the surprise endings.

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