2.05 "Blast from the Past"
Aired Oct 26, 2005
alliterator: This episode totally and completely rocked. This is VM at its best — continuity (Corny! And Mandy! And BACKUP! YAY FOR BACKUP!). Important clues to the overall mystery (the MESSAGE FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE [phrase from last weeks promo — the one I wanted to quote because it was awesome]). Important stuff happens to MAIN characters (Wallace leaves! NO, WALLACE, DON'T GO! Jackie, you can go, you pill-popper. Although I see Logan isn't the discerning type).
Inigo: Jackie and Logan could be an interesting pair. If Logan wasn't too pissed, he's likely to have picked up on the effect that seeing him with Jackie had on Veronica, and I wouldn't put it past him to exploit that. That could be fun.
misskiwi: I can't say I had my socks blown off by this episode, but let's be honest: this show has the bar set higher than just about anything else in existence, and while they may not have raised that bar this week, they certainly cleared it with room to spare. After the season premiere I was in Hurley mode for about a week, walking around going "Duuuuuude!" every thirty seconds. I didn't have that this week, but the episode was completely solid because I couldn't find a single thing not to like, and everything to love.
Polter-Cow: I loved the hell out of this episode, but I understand the complaint about there being no direction this season. Because there are so many plotlines going on at the same time, we keep shifting from one to the other (what happened to the Casablancases? we have no idea, and it doesn't take a full-fledged appearance to at least keep us apprised of the situation). The bus crash mystery is being addressed in every episode, but the Felix murder? No one cares, apparently. The Neptune civil war finally got some lip service in this episode after being such a major theme of the premiere. We've also now got the Terrence Cook blackmail plot. So I can see why people would be a little frustrated with all the writers have on their plate. I do trust them to resolve everything properly, but it might feel really weirdly paced, and you never know if they'll run out of room for all they have planned, you know? And I think this is something that feels amplified by the weekly break between episodes: if you were watching this on DVD, you probably wouldn't be as hyperaware of the shifting attention paid to various plotlines.
Inigo: I don't get this, Polter-Cow. We had characters and plotlines who were not mentioned between relevant episodes last season; for example Veronica finds the gun sight pictures in "You Think You Know Somebody" but doesn't look for the photographer until "Drinking the Kool-Aid." Last year, we had no development on mysteries, important mysteries, for many episodes, like who raped Veronica. Unlike that mystery, I've been able to add clues to "Who Killed Felix?" every week so far, so I don't understand how it could be said that "No one cares, apparently." Why is it that that which was categorised as being great pacing last year, is directionless this year? And why would anybody get their knickers in a twist after episode five in a twenty-two-episode run that the writers will run out of room to tell the story they want to tell? To me it smacks more of fan impatience to see favoured characters and preference for nicely compartmentalised and packaged clarity on the mysteries than of any inherent weakness in the storytelling. Having said that, I'll be the first to bitch if any storyline is dropped, but I just don't see that happening.
misskiwi: I agree with Inigo. I think the "problems" in season two are imaginary since it's no different from season one — just coming at it from a different angle. You have the main mystery (Lilly's murder/the bus crash), but also a bunch of different, possibly related mysteries that pop in and out of the season as it goes along. Maybe Felix's murder is this year's rape mystery, where we won't get a payoff until much later. If they dealt with every mystery every week, we'd all be bitching because they wouldn't be giving each plot its due attention. And remember, many of us watched at least part of season one in one big swoop (up to 1.10 or 1.11 for me) so we don't notice the gaps between subplots as much. I would have liked to find out how the Casablancas thing turned out, but, hey — maybe a throwaway mention isn't enough to deal with it, you know? I'd rather wait and get some focus there instead of a half-assed flyby that just leaves us unsatisfied. I say, sit back and enjoy the ride.
Also, remember: Rob has a tight budget and contracts. He probably only has Dick and Beaver in for so many episodes and is waiting to use them when they'll be most effective to the plot.
wyk: Why would anyone care about Felix being dead? He's just a PCHer. The lower-middle-class kids wouldn't be crying over his death because they are afraid of the PCHers. The 09ers certainly wouldn't care about another gang-banger being killed.
The only people who would care about Felix being dead are members of his gang. Since Weevil is the only PCHer that we really know, and since his role has been reduced this season, it makes perfect sense that we haven't seen an outpouring of concern for Felix. (Sorry, Brad.)
funky-donut: I have no complaints about the pacing of this season, and even though I miss "my little BeavCassidy," I know it'll be even nicer to see him when he's back. Sure, I wish they'd throw a bone and mention what's going on with the Casablancases in, since that would be natural and organic — I mean, they're Logan's best friends. There should have been gossip floating around. (I would have preferred it last week, actually, but I guess we all thought we'd find out about it this week.)
wyk: I loved all the recurring minor characters in this episode. Mr. Wu, Ms. Murphy, Ashley, Mandy, and Corny. It's like the minor-character version of "A Trip to the Dentist."
topanga: I'm still loving season 2. It's true that there are so many mysteries happening in Neptune that they can't all be addressed in every episode. Maybe BeavCassidy and Dick are staying with out-of-town relatives. Maybe they're being held for questioning.
Please remember that this is TV, where pets and little brothers are conveniently forgotten whenever the episode doesn't need them.
grim squeaker: It seems that tiredness keeps me from really saying much today, but let me emphasize how much I enjoyed Wallace in this episode. Percy Daggs just adds so much to this role, and he really shines in all his scenes. I am happy that his background is getting fleshed out, even if it is not all that nice for Wallace.
funky-donut: Wow, Percy rocked the house in this episode. I know topanga will have more to say about this, but I have to bring it up. I was so, so impressed with him. He was right on with every emotion. And his singing was awesome, too!
topanga: Poor Wallace. And yay, Percy! I'm a complete mess right now. On one hand, Percy gave the most compelling performance I've ever seen from him. It was believable and heart-wrenching. On the other hand, it breaks my heart to see Wallace so angry, sad, and alone.
misskiwi: I love the continually evolving relationships on this show. Nothing is static; there is no status quo. It was nice to see Wallace get a (bigger) spine where Veronica is concerned, and good continuity with Veronica's struggle with her revenge obsession. Playing that recording at the homecoming dance would have been a low blow — and I don't think it was her conscience that made her change her mind, but her guilt and attachment to Wallace. Girl obviously hasn't gotten away from her M.A.D. inclinations. I'm confused, though: what, exactly, did Wallace get mad about at the dance? What did he think Veronica was doing to Jackie?
topanga: Maybe he thought Veronica was confronting Jackie about the prank she set up with the psychic, even though he'd specifically asked her not to do anything.
Polter-Cow: Veronica. Wallace. OMG. So beautiful. So wonderful. So awful. So true to life. They got me in the beginning, with Veronica getting Wallace a homecoming king nom. I love it when Veronica actually, you know, does something for him. And then we get the huge blowup from Wallace that was just inevitable, and it's both completely justified and not justified. Because Veronica's telling Wallace to let it go for his own good. She's been there with Lianne, and it did not end well. She doesn't want to see him get hurt. Problem is, that's not what Wallace needs right now. He needs the treatment he gave her in "A Trip to the Dentist." But he has no one to turn to. His mom's a liar, and his girlfriend and his best friend are at each other's throats. He doesn't need sage wisdom here, Veronica: HE NEEDS A FUCKING HUG.
topanga: I agree with Polter-Cow that Veronica tried to give Wallace some of her hard-fought knowledge about missing parents. I also agree that good advice is not what he sought from Veronica. Wallace needed a sympathetic ear and a shoulder to cry on. He should have been able to say, "You don't have to say anything. That's kind of the good part," the way she did in "A Trip to the Dentist." But even at the beginning of his ordeal, when he left his angry girlfriend to seek comfort from his BFF, Veronica was very cavalier and almost unsympathetic. And I couldn't believe she stood idly by after he stormed out of the dance. I expected a lot more from her. She ran after Logan last season when he came to a dance drunk, and they weren't even friends. Veronica deserved nothing but Wallace's anger.
funky-donut: I hope this is the wake-up call that gets Veronica's head out of her ass as far as being Miss Schmoopyhead with Duncan is concerned. Not that I hate Duncan or want them to break up, but Ye Olde Veronica would NOT have let Wallace leave like that, just because Donut said, "he'll be all right." She stood idly by.
wyk: But isn't the fact that Veronica reacted completely differently than Wallace one of the great things about the show? Because of who they are, Wallace is a much better friend to Veronica than she is to him. She's not doing this out of spite or malice; it's just the way she is. As Keith once said, "I'm afraid that in this case that I am not equipped to be that person."
And dude, when has Veronica ever been a big ol' huggy bear?
topanga: I hear you, wyk, but does that make it right? Lopsided friendships usually don't last, or they remain very superficial. It's going to take a lot for Wallace to trust Veronica again with something that's near and dear to his heart. And in the future, he might not be as willing to do favors for her.
misskiwi: Two things struck me about the Homecoming Dance subplot. First, I thought they might go the Buffy "The Prom" route with Veronica, though I'm sort of glad they didn't and it's probably more realistic this way. Shame on you, though, Rob, for not at least throwing out some sort of snarky Class Protector shoutout from Veronica! And when Joss said such nice things about you and your show. Secondly, I'm a little curious about who did win Prom King and Queen. We didn't know any of the Queens, and from the discussion when Duncan picked Veronica up it sounds like he's a lock. I'm glad we didn't waste time on it, but I'm still curious. A little bit, anyways.
wyk: I loved the fact that Veronica wasn't nominated for homecoming queen. On any other TV show or movie, they would have used that homecoming dance as the [insert-Diane-Warren-ballad-here] climax of the underdog-overcomes-all-odds storyarc. On this show, however, the heroine doesn't get that moment of glory. In fact she didn't even finish in the top five.
Polter-Cow: Be careful how much you ask Rob to crib from Joss, misskiwi! He's already taking a page out of his book, what with introducing conflict between the only functional couple in Neptune. Don't fight, Keith and Alicia! I was kind of surprised by Keith's huge chaos yell at her, but his expression afterwards was great, like, "Oh, well, shit, that was very dumb of me, huh." But hey: Alicia was kind of asking for it, with that low blow about Keith's parenting.
misskiwi: Mmmm, fallout from plot continuity: delightful and delicious. Wallace calling out his mom, Alicia calling out Keith, Jackie taking on Veronica, Wallace calling Veronica on the one-way street that has been their friendship. Damn. I repeat, damn.
Polter-Cow: The most beautiful thing of all, the most intense bit of BFFosity in the entire episode: directly after yelling at Veronica for being a crappy friend, he bitches out Jackie for punking Veronica. That is true friendship, guys. No matter what you feel about them at a particular time, you fucking stick up for them.
Inigo: I've been thinking about the full extent of the psychic's involvement in Jackie's scheme. She could be "innocent" in the sense that Jackie just fed her the Mamma-Max story (the Roger stuff came from the Rhinestone cowgirl) and Jackie could be "innocent" of telling her about Lilly. Not that I want to believe for a moment that Madame Sophie channelled Lilly — something I would have happily rejected out of hand were it not for that damned ghost Lilly moment in the S2 premiere — but I like the symmetry of the two con women acting independently to unsettle Veronica. Madame Sophie, with her TV show, will have a well-oiled machine behind the scenes, researching the audience members and I doubt any in that audience would have had more Planet Zowie hits than Veronica Mars. Lilly would have been a gift to a (phoney, if one insists that there is any other kind) psychic.
funky-donut: Inigo, I agree that the psychic could have come up with that on her own. I mean, Veronica hasn't exactly been low-profile over the last year, and she was publicly dating Logan, who was publicly known as Lilly's boyfriend. Not too hard to come up with that scenario. It strikes me as odd that so many people are considering that it could really be a message from Lilly and what she could mean by it. This show isn't supernatural. Unless you bring up that damn ghost, and I choose to fanwank that as just being a slight premonition from Veronica's own brain, stopping her from going on the bus. That's less supernatural — and less annoyingly deus ex machina — to me.
misskiwi: Well, first, I don't for a second believe that they would go the route of Lilly actually being channelled by the psychic. Second, even if the psychic wasn't full of crap, Lilly loved guys, remember? She'd probably high-five Veronica for macking with Logan. And third, Logan wasn't even Lilly's boyfriend when she died. Hey, wait a minute...maybe "Lilly" meant Aaron, which is an even more interesting proposition. Maybe the psychic makes prison visits?
I'm definitely intrigued as to who gave Madame Sophie the info. Food for thought: if you pause when Duncan and Logan hear the bit about "you should have stayed away from her boyfriend," the first thing Duncan does is quickly glance sideways at Logan. Logan, meanwhile, merely looks gobsmacked. Hmmmm. Suspicious.
topanga: I still don't like Jackie, but she's earning my respect. She seems very into Wallace, though I still don't trust her completely. And she had the smarts to get one over on Veronica. But I still have no clue how the credit-card scam worked. Was Madame Sophie in on it? Were the charges she showed Veronica real? How did she set up the psychic appearance? Will someone explain, please?
funky-donut: topanga, here is my theory. 1. Jackie's credit card was declined after her normal reading. At the time, we didn't realize that they had a pre-existing relationship, so we all went "oooh, not good," since probably a large majority of us have had a credit card declined in our lives. Which set us up for believing the next scene, when Jackie tells Veronica that someone stole her card.
2. After her card was declined, Jackie cooked up the scheme with Madame Rosmerta. She told Madame Whosits (I just can't remember her friggin' name, ever) that she was going to send Veronica Mars onto her show, and that she'd give her some dirt later.
3. I'm assuming at this point that Jackie just paid Professor Trelawney with a different card, since she's filthy rich.
4. Jackie used daddie's money to pay off the charges that had maxed her card out, which included the jacket, the candles, and a previous payment to Madame SOPHIA for a reading, which was how Veronica found her shop. Jackie planted the candles at Sophia's shop for Veronica to find later, printed out the charges from her card (that had never been stolen, and had just been maxed out by Our Girl Jackie.)
5. Jackie sets Veronica on Cora's scent, for some unknown reason, probably figuring that Veronica will find Madame Sophia on her own. Along the way, Jackie makes sure to bond with her a little, so that she can find out some deep dark secret of V's.
6. Veronica falls for it hook, line, and sinker. Jackie tells Sophia about the KleavageKreme, Veronica goes on the show and gets humiliated. It is my personal theory that Sophia already knew about Lilly and Logan in relationship to Veronica and threw that stuff in herself, but some people think that Jackie actually did tell her.
Did I miss anything?
Polter-Cow: Yes. Her name is Madame Sophie.
*howls in frustration*
(I swear. I kept looking at her name, and I kept reading it as Sophia. Fuck.)
alliterator: No, no, her name is Mrs. Huber! Or perhaps she has a twin sister named Mrs. Huber. Who died. And that's why her sister is a psychic!
topanga: Thanks for the explanation, funky-donut, but that seems like an overly complicated scheme for a simple prank. The writers have pushed my suspension of disbelief into expulsion, I'm afraid. There were too many situations that had to unfold a certain way. Veronica had to agree to help Jackie, and she had to agree to go on Miss Sophie's show. How did Jackie know that Veronica would share something personal and embarassing with her anyway? What if she'd shared that she didn't know who her father was for almost a year? Would Jackie have set her up with that? The plan was so complex, it was unbelievable.
Jackie's friend Cora was cute and sweet. She reminded me of a young Gabrielle Union. Why couldn't Wallace have hooked up with her?
Polter-Cow: Holy shit, topanga, you're right! That's exactly who she looks like!
Inigo: I'm frustrated with some of the more technical aspects of the show, aspects that I suspect have a lot to do with the budget available to them but that nonetheless are affecting my enjoyment. The sets, the lighting, and the editing have all been disappointing and many of those complaints came to the fore during the Homecoming Dance scene. Everything has become so dark (Java the Hut, the Presidential Suite) and pokey. The brightness has gone. I'm peering at the screen, trying to work out what is going on — not something I experienced last year. Veronica's "no freaking way" moment should have been powerful but it was hard to see what she was responding to because they chose such a long shot. It was hard to know if Wallace, who didn't know that Veronica planned vengeance on Jackie for his sake, was reacting in the belief that she had ignored him and gone ahead with it or to the actual words said and if so, how much, because there was no clue as to what he saw and heard. It was unclear if Logan was completely off his head or only marginally so and his line about the after-party, which should have been light relief and funny, was lost in an appalling audio loop. In other words, technical choices made impacted adversely on my understanding and appreciation of that scene.
misskiwi: I have absolutely no quarrels with how the show is being shot this season. I've taken so many screencaps that have been just gorgeous with the framing and the lighting that I've got to say well done. Did you notice the beautiful colored window behind Veronica when she's taking pictures of the debate? I'm not finding the show unreasonably dark, either; Inigo, maybe you need a better
computer .avi file um, television. Have you ever tried watching The West Wing? I don't recommend it because, well, John Wells, but that's a dark show.
Inigo: Don't get me wrong — there are some nice shots and some nice lighting moments, such as you've quoted. But overall, it just has a murkier look. Last year, it wasn't too hard to work out whether it was day or night. This year, a lot more scenes could be either.
grim squeaker: I am one of these people who hardly notices if anything is really off about the visuals, so it actually means something if stuff jumps out to me: a case in point is the scene where Wallace confronts Alicia about the letters, and she tries to wrestle them away from him. Now this is an extremely desperate move, and illustrates that she must be in turmoil, but the impact of this was lessened — at least to me — by choosing to film it from a slightly distant perspective. Why don't we see their faces? I could imagine that this way of filming was supposed to underline Wallace's growing alienation from Alicia, but it felt a little jarring to me.
Polter-Cow: I think the loss of Victor Hammer is apparent. I was very excited when I discovered he'd been working on the show last season because he gave such a unique look to Wonderfalls. Suddenly, the fabulous cinematography and colors made sense. Now the show seems to look like any other show, for the most part.
Oddly enough, I have the exact opposite complaint that Inigo does: I think this season is way too damn bright. This is supposed to be a noir show, dammit! Why is there sun everywhere? I don't care that this is southern California: that's why God invented filters. Well, not God, but some guy I don't want to look up.
I feel like there are fewer striking images in each episode, though misskiwi disagrees. In this episode, my favorite visual bits were the sped-up footage as Veronica forwarded through the bug recording and then the blue-green-tinted flashback for Lamb and Terrence. I especially loved that counterclockwise tilt of the camera when Terrence got up — that technique would normally show that Terrence has the upper hand, making him physically loom over Lamb, but in reality, Lamb's the one with all the cards, all the weight.
Inigo: I also wasn't a big fan of the cutting of the scene with Veronica and Keith when she played him the voice message either. Both Enrico and the editing seemed way too melodramatic. At one point, I wondered if Keith was having heartburn — the medical kind.
misskiwi: I totally disagree: I thought Keith's reaction to the message was far more gut-wrenching than Veronica's. He made me wince; she didn't.
grim squeaker: I agree with Inigo in that the editing seemed a little weird sometimes, and this goes for all Season 2 episodes so far.
wyk: I think it's very consistent that Keith is more emotional than Veronica during that scene. In "Driver Ed" when Veronica and Keith were listening to Duane's broadcast, Keith was visibly shaken; Veronica was not.
funky-donut: I was really impressed with Teddy Dunn in this episode, and with Duncan's characterization. He was likable and charming, in very stark contrast to last week, when I wanted to throttle him. I find the turnabout a mite confusing, but I have faith that it will all be explained in the end.
topanga: I absolutely loved Veronica and Duncan's chemistry. They convinced me that they really are in love. I think it's because Kristen Bell began to take the lead on their scenes. Previously, she allowed Teddy Dunn to play Duncan his own way, not interfering with many of his lines or his actions. I'm sure she was confident that he could carry a scene. But in earlier episodes, their intimate moments ended up being sweet but bland.
In this week's episode, Kristen was like Michael Jordan in the final minutes of a close Chicago Bulls game — she took over. Veronica's reactions to Duncan's statements were so animated that they forced Teddy to be more expressive and interactive. Even with their body language: Veronica is the one who interlocked their fingers and made their conversation about Howard Hughes both playful and flirtatious. She's the one who wrapped her arms around Duncan and pulled him on top of her on the couch. No disrespect to Teddy Dunn, but Kristen Bell is the engine that drives Veronica Mars and takes it to the places we know and love. No one else could play Veronica the way she does, and the show would be nothing without her.
misskiwi: Duncan and Logan prove themselves to be stereotypical men by reconciling over a display of machismo in video game incarnation. Nice to see them trying to patch up that friendship, though, and I think it's realistic to the characters that Duncan would be the one to reach out, much like he did at the end of "An Echolls Family Christmas."
Polter-Cow: And in the same episode that Duncan and Logan start to patch things up, we have Keith and Lamb...totally not patching things up.
misskiwi: DING DING DING! In this corner, The Exterminator! In the other corner, The...Guy Who Doesn't Have To Make Up Macho Names For Himself. Let the election bitchslapping begin! Or rather, let it continue, please, because Michael and Enrico completely rock every scene they're in. I hope we see this continuing game of Sheriff vs. Sheriff continue right up until the bittersweet end, whatever that may be. And kudos on Keith for trying to do the right thing and get Lamb to investigate this new evidence instead of using it as a political weapon. Silly, naïve Keith, but good on you nonetheless.
Polter-Cow: I am really loving the new sides we're seeing of Lamb this season. He's not just the bumbling sheriff anymore; he's clearly a force to be reckoned with. This is the first time we've seen him do something patently illegal, but I wasn't surprised. I've always felt he was corrupt — the label just seemed to fit him — even though we hadn't seen any hard evidence until now. I've really begun to wonder how he got that way, though, and what his real beef with Keith is. It couldn't possibly stem completely from the Lilly Kane murder case, could it? I feel like he must almost envy Keith's morals, as if he just knows Keith's the better man and he can never measure up.
topanga: Good point, Polter-Cow. Lamb does seem to have a beef with Keith, but we don't know why. Keith would never share that information with Veronica — he's too morally righteous for that.
I racked my brain for days, trying to figure out why I didn't love this episode as much as I probably should have. Then it hit me. This was the first time in 27 episodes that I didn't like Veronica. Yes, some of her behavior last season crossed ethical lines or was downright illegal. But I always understood why she did what she did, and that made it okay. In this episode, Veronica was very self-absorbed and self-serving. Besides not being the friend that Wallace needed, she couldn't recognize or care less about Jackie's (somewhat justifiable) jealousy. And she almost brought down a good man (Terrence) — and a not-so good man (Lamb) — in the name of vengeance. I think it's a deliberate choice by the writers, and I'm curious to see where they're going with it. I need a resolution, quick. I can't stand not liking Veronica.
wyk: Huh? As far as Veronica knew, not only did Jackie expose her Mamma-Max secret, Jackie also told Madame Sophie about Lilly. Jackie might have meant it as prank, but Veronica saw it as a cruel sick joke that was intended to hurt her.
Inigo: Also, I think it might be a little early to call Terrence a good man, topanga. On the face of it, he isn't, albeit that he is an extortion victim. Hmm, two men, a baseball hero and a sheriff, superficially good, yet...not. Food for thought. But on your point, whilst I didn't dislike Veronica in this episode, I found her judgement be seriously warped. There was no justice in punishing Terrence for Jackie's "crime." She was prepared to ruin a man's career, reputation and life, without any attempt to determine the truth or otherwise of what was being said, over the revelation that she, a teenager, had once bought a breast enhancement cream. It beggars belief that she could ever have been able to justify this action had she not been gripped by such a blind rage. Now, this speaks of an interesting future, as well as reinforcing the hints we've already had of her being off her game. Also, did you notice that she is doing what Logan did over the summer, the sort of actions over which she ended their relationship? She even told Wallace he had to chose a side, just as Logan told her he had had to do.
grim squeaker: I've noticed an interesting trend in fathers on the show this year: From those who played a larger role over the last five episodes, at least three — Ed Doyle, Nathan Woods, and Terrence Cook — have a problem with something that might cause addiction, be that meds, drugs, or gambling.
wyk: Dear Rob,
Must you plagiarize yourself each season?
Last year he recycled the Snoops pilot for "Mars vs. Mars." This season he recycled the "parent A hides letters that substance-abusing parent B wrote their kid" original pilot storyline for Alicia.
topanga: Okay, so maybe it wasn't an "innocent little prank" that Veronica sought to avenge, but I was desparate for another example of V being unlikeable in this episode. Which is hard to do since Veronica is all that. But she hurt Wallace, man. And for that, she must pay.
wyk: Alicia hurt Wallace by lying for 17 or 18 years. Why aren't you mad at her? Shouldn't she pay too?
Just because Veronica isn't a perfect BFF, that doesn't mean she isn't a good BFF. She decided not to play the Terrence CD because Wallace asked her to let things go. She was willing to declaw herself because she cares about Wallace. However, when she saw Jackie all over Logan, her claws came out. Jackie was going to break Wallace's heart, and Veronica went immediately into attack mode.
topanga: Yes, wyk, Alicia was wrong, but her actions were done out of love (and a fair amount of self-protection). Veronica's actions, or lack of action, seemed motivated only by her selfishness and obliviousness. I don't want to condemn her — she did nominate Wallace for Homecoming King, and she did agree to help another one of his "special ladyfriends." But Veronica let Wallace down, and I think she realized it by the end of the episode.
Inigo: Yes, although seen another way, even then she was being selfish. "I can't lose another friend" is a variation of it being Veronica's world, and Wallace exists in if for what he can do for her.
wyk: If you asked Nathan to characterize Alicia's action, I'm sure he would say she was being selfish and oblivious. What right did she have to keep Nathan and Wallace apart? She said was a crooked cop, but she lied about other things, so Wallace doesn't know what to believe.
topanga: I especially liked Wallace's scenes with Alicia. Percy and Erica Gimpel have great chemistry. And Percy did an excellent job showing Wallace's conflicted emotions. He loves his mother and knows she places her children's happiness above almost everything else in her life. But he's also extremely angry that Alicia hid his father's identity for all these years and lied to him when he demanded to know the truth about Carl. Couldn't she simply have said, "Honey, I just wasn't feelin' the name 'Wallace Woods.'"
funky-donut: I'm of the opinion that since this is the Mars-verse, the truth about Nathan will lie somewhere in between their two versions of the tale. I don't doubt Alicia when she says that he went off the deep end and too far into the world of drugs and guns. I also don't think she's lying to Wallace about giving Nathan a choice, although my guess would be that somehow Nathan actually didn't get to make the choice: he was too high to understand her, or she left him a note and he didn't get it. I think the shades of grey come in what has happened to Nathan in the 18 years since she last saw him: my guess is that he really has cleaned up his act and changed his life, but she's unwilling to hear it. Wallace is going to see that Nathan's not lying about that, so he's going to think his mom is lying about everything.
Of course, Rob is smarter than me, so there will probably be a million more twists and turns and it'll end up being even more complex and twisted.