2.11 "Donut Run"

Aired Jan 25, 2006

Roundtable Reviews

misskiwi: I don't know whether I'm going to be the minority or majority here, but I really, really liked this episode. It was well worth the wait and the frustration of finding out my UPN affiliate had pre-empted it for basketball. (Up yours, UPN! All hail the Internets!)

By default, I love any episode that can take me by surprise. Unlike many people, I didn't manage to catch on that the breakup between Veronica and Duncan was staged as part of their plot; Veronica had me convinced that Duncan's flight had taken her by surprise. And sneaking Duncan into Mexico in the trunk of Lamb's car is arguably one of the most deviously brilliant things Veronica has ever done.

marks of love: Or, you know, one of the most facepalm-worthy plot manipulations this show has ever done. I hate fakeouts, I hate infallibly brilliant!Veronica, I hate the glossing over of all of the problems with Veronica/Duncan, I hate the absurd premise on which this plot is built, and I also hate that elsewhere fan reaction has been so vitriolic that my own special vitriol will be so easy to ignore, but, uh, yeah, THUMBS DOWN for this episode. There were things I liked, and it's not my least favourite ever, but overall I'm really disappointed. (Though I think I would have caught that the breakup was fake if I hadn't missed the beginning, which I did — on rewatch, it's clear that Veronica is not as good an actress as Kristen Bell.)

Inigo: I did twig that the breakup was staged, but having Lamb carry Duncan across the border was sweeeeet, as was having Astrid "impersonate" Veronica. You are in the majority so far, misskiwi. I liked it too. This was a densely packed episode with a lot of depth and some interesting dynamics at play. It was, I thought, a good springboard to the second half of the season.

alliterator: I got that the breakup was planned, too, but so much other stuff went over my head, it was scary. It wasn't until Polter-Cow pointed it out that I realized Duncan had sneaked into Mexico via Lamb's trunk. Of course, that could be due to my stupid dorm and the stupid meeting they had to have in the middle of the episode.

chris1010: I loved this episode; I was fooled by the breakup and the trunk twist. Great dialog, great acting by both Kristen (big surprise there) and Teddy. I think it was a satisfying end to the baby storyline and a good exit for Duncan. It did have some gaping plot holes, which stops it from being truly great.

grim squeaker: I enjoyed quite a lot about this episode. I'm not very interested in the romantic aspects of Veronica's life, so the whole breakup business left me rather cold, but things started to get more interesting when Duncan actually ran away. Veronica's behavior did seem a little off and at some point I did suspect that she was involved somehow, but I am still surprised to what extent the two of them staged the whole situation. They must have planned this for weeks — probably since Meg died. I do agree with chris about the plot holes, but also about this being a good and kind send-off for Duncan. And hey, it had Lucy Lawless — that's always a plus in my book.

wilecoyote: I liked it too, for both subjective and "objective" (if that word can be applied when talking about criticism) reasons. Subjective: we finally get some insight into Duncan's head! And he is not evil! I was quite upset (actually, more like in denial) when the whole Kendall-and-Duncan-did-they-or-didn't-they suspicions started to play out, and I'm glad to see it resolved without assassinating Duncan as a character. And I love stories with plot twists, when they are well done. (I didn't figure anything out in advance; maybe it's because I didn't see the previews?)

Polter-Cow: I think it's a very good episode, for the most part. One thing that struck me, even the first time, is how well paced it is. It's so well paced, in fact, that even though I love Wallace, his scenes seem to slow things down, and they feel out of place. So I began thinking about the purpose of his storyline, and something rather amusing occurred to me: Wallace is running away from his problem. Duncan, on the other hand, is running away with his problem.

Inigo: Where did you think the idea for the horse racing analogy in the summary came from?

marks of love: Cow, it's so well paced that it's...badly paced? Wha?

Polter-Cow: Yes. Exactly.

misskiwi: In hindsight, I'm actually disappointed that Veronica and Duncan's breakup was a ruse. It was such a breath of fresh air to have them finally unleash their emotions on each other and talk about something, rather than bottling it up and pretending everything is hunky-dory. Too bad it was all an act.

grim squeaker: I agree. It was nice to see them letting off steam, even if they probably rehearsed it.

topanga: But their real breakup at the end of the episode was even more heartbreaking. This wasn't just a relationship of convenience. Duncan and Veronica loved each other as strongly as they did before their initial breakup. But they weren't the same people as before, so things could never be exactly the same between them. So sad, so sad.

Polter-Cow: When you see the episode again, you can see the pieces in motion. You can see all the kids in the background when Veronica and Duncan "break up," and there's this one extra who pulls a Beaveresque exaggerated "Whoa." And you just know he's going to go tell all his friends about the wicked scene he saw. Then you get to Lamb's line, "Ugly breakup, from what I've heard" (emphasis mine). The first time Veronica sets up things with Duncan on her cell phone, I thought, "You idiot! They've got to have your phone tapped!" Even with Xena's explanation at the end, I didn't catch the fact that that was the conversation with the tape recorder. Veronica hands Vinnie a private note knowing he'll open it, and now we know it probably said something like, "Hey, how would you like to make $30,000?" Some pieces of the puzzle I'm still not entirely clear on, though. What exactly did Kendall "buy," and who exactly was that scene supposed to fool? Was it solely for Logan's benefit? Was the money from Celeste's earrings used to pay Vinnie? Did Celeste know anything? Why was Astrid involved at all? Why would you want a ringer for Veronica if the point of faking the breakup was to cast suspicion away from her? Thing is, I think the answers are all probably in there somewhere if you look hard enough. And squint.

wyk: I think "Kendall bought it" refers to the fact that Kendall bought the I'm-gonna-kill-my-boyfriend act that Veronica was putting on. Kendall wants Duncan to be her next sugar daddy, so breaking up Veronica and Duncan is probably on her boys-to-do list.

I don't think Celeste knew anything about the kidnapping plot. The reason Duncan had to resort to kidnapping the baby is because his parents didn't want him to adopt her.

As for Astrid, I have no idea why she would be involved. Celeste has been rude to her, but I don't think that's reason enough for her to risk her neck for Duncan.

alliterator: I think Astrid was the only weak part of the plan — we've only seen her once before and have no reason to suspect that she would betray Celeste.

topanga: I didn't call that the breakup was fake, but I remember thinking that Veronica's reaction — the sad music, staring at Duncan's pictures, not showering — was very uncharacteristic of her. This is a girl who does not brood. I only thought, "Wow, she really loved Duncan. In the lovesick, desperate way that only teenagers do." But I was right about that part. The ending confirmed it. Overall, this was a solid episode, and I really liked it.

misskiwi: I like that Wallace commented on her uncharacteristic behavior, too. Dammit, how did I miss all these clues?

chris1010: It took me a while to figure out why she was playing loud music all night. It was, of course, to cover up the baby's crying.

funky-donut: Oh, holy shit! Chris, you are a genius!

misskiwi: Wow. That popping sound you just heard was my mind being blown. Another thing I caught: when Keith comes into Veronica's room to see if she's okay and tells her he's there for whatever she needs...BAM. There's about three seconds where you can see by the look on Veronica's face the impact of what she's about to do to Keith. It's fantastic work by Kristen Bell. I wish Percy Daggs could have done something as subtle when Veronica ribbed him about coming back to Neptune to play ball, but no such luck: he's all smiles.

topanga: As much as I hate to agree with you, misskiwi, I must. Kristen, Jason, and Rico are the best actors on the show. They rule when it comes to subtlety. Everyone else pales in comparison.

alliterator: Kristen Bell rules!

wyk: Kristen's facial expressions are so awesome. She can express so much emotion in just a few seconds without saying a word. No wonder Rob loves her so much. The awesomeness that is her acting allows Rob to follow through with his "Do feel, but don't say. Let's dance baby, let's dance around our emotions" mantra. Veronica might say something or behave in a certain way, but it is during these few seconds of raw emotion that we really get to see what's ticking inside that blond tilting head.

misskiwi: The other interesting thing I noticed when rewatching the episode — and which should have been a clue that there was something afoot — is the complete and utter lack of Veronica Voiceovers. We had one when she realized Wallace had lied to her, but that's it. I think this is the first time that Veronica has perpetuated such an elaborate fraud that the audience wasn't let in on, so of course we can't be allowed into her head or the jig is up.

topanga: Aha. That's why I had no idea what was going through Veronica's head.

misskiwi: It's really obvious when you rewatch the episode with that in mind. But still subtle, because this show is awesome.

wilecoyote: Wow, I didn't even think of that! Good one, misskiwi!

chris1010: I didn't realize that until I read the episode thread.

alliterator: I didn't notice the lack of voiceovers until after the episode was over, either.

funky-donut I just noticed something — Rob totally plays off our preconceived notions of these characters. In the scene in Lamb's office with Celeste and Lamb and Vinnie, we are preconditioned to expect all those characters to be wrong. We hate Celeste, Lamb is always wrong, and Vinnie is a tool. But they're all right. Celeste is convinced that Veronica knows where her son is — she does. Vinnie asks where Veronica has Duncan stashed — she does have him stashed. Lamb makes a long speech to Celeste about how private investigators make things harder for law enforcement — Ha!

misskiwi: Nice catch. It's similar to the setup to another of my favorite episodes, "Mars vs. Mars," where we're misled by our belief in Veronica's infallibility.

OH, HOLY CRAP! It just hit me: remember Veronica's seemingly random comment in "One Angry Veronica" about "Miss Moan-a Lisa" and her boyfriend next door were moving out? Hence why there's a conveniently empty apartment next door for stashing of fugitive ex-boyfriends and their illegitimate love children. Nice.

funky-donut: Wow. Man, there are so many layers to this episode. Continuity-licious!

chris1010: Great build-up. But while the "Miss Moan-a Lisa" comment was nicely put into the last episode, the "Super Huge Deputy" scene, which was only there to allow Veronica access to Club Thin, was somewhat clumsily forced in.

alliterator: In some ways, that scene with the cop/bouncer is similar to the Hearst U. scene in the last episode — necessary to provide plot points for future episodes, but you wish they could find a way to put it in a little more subtly.

chris1010: Yep, it seemed forced. The Hearst U. scene was more tolerable because it was direly necessary to set up the next season.

funky-donut: My major problem with the episode was that we were just as in the dark as Keith. Now, personally I knew something was up when Duncan broke up with Veronica so harshly in public. But because we were not privy to the behind-the-scenes plotting, there are a lot of unanswered questions. Obviously we shouldn't be omniscient because then it wouldn't be a mystery show, but usually we the audience at least know what Veronica knows. We see things from her perspective, for the most part. So to suddenly have an episode where all kinds of motives and methods were kept secret is frustrating. And these things probably won't be revisited, so we won't know, for example, how Astrid got involved, how long they were planning this, etc.

Because I had figured it out long before the reveal, it obviously wasn't too shocking. But I could totally understand Keith's feeling hurt and betrayed — part of her cover story was specifically aimed at duping him: when she was moping all night and playing sad songs and taking pictures apart, he was the only audience. Some of that may have been genuine because she knew Duncan was leaving for good, that doesn't negate the fact that she overplayed it for his benefit, which would have hurt the hell out of my feelings, were I him.

wilecoyote: Although I did like this episode, I hear you there, funky-donut. After reading some of the negative reactions to the episode, I thought about Abandon, a movie directed by Stephen Gaghan and with Katie Holmes in the main role that was released a few years ago. I don't know if you guys have seen it, but that was a movie that was built completely on a plot twist at the end, and the problem was that, in order to protect that twist, it had to tell the entire story in a very elliptical way, withholding information and leaving all kinds of plot holes. The result? By the time the twist came, you had just stopped caring.

This hasn't happened to me with this episode, but I can understand where some people come from when they feel frustrated about the lack of explanations on certain points. Specifically: Veronica was shocked and angry at the discover of Meg's pregnancy, then she had her head busy during several days with the whole jury thing, and then...what? She just accepted that the love of her life had had a baby with another girl, just like that? Also, although I'm far from a Duncan hater, I can understand how the whole Kendall fakeout could have alienated viewers (especially those who didn't like Duncan too much to begin with) so much that, by the time of this episode, they just couldn't be invested anymore.

misskiwi: I really like that about this episode. It's a different way at coming at things. Usually we're so in Veronica's head that, for once, coming at it from an objective point of view and having her pull the wool over our eyes is surprising. And like I said, any episode that can surprise me is a wonderful gift from a world of sadly predictable television.

wilecoyote: I agree there were some flaws. For one thing: what's up with Wallace's return? He left town because he wanted to live with his father, and now that he is back...there isn't a single word about what daily life with his dad was like? Did that influence his decision in any way, in one sense or another?

Polter-Cow: That bugged me too, wile. Plus, apparently Wallace had determined to stay in Chicago for good, and he wouldn't have come back to Neptune if I Didn't Know What You Did Last Winter. The best friend, mother, and little brother he left behind had nothing to do with it? In any case, it's really nice this season to see Wallace getting his own storylines.

chris1010: That's the problem when you almost have to let the cast contracts dictate the storylines; they can't have him in all episodes. So they have to come up with a valid reason for him to leave and come back. I'm, however, looking forward to the Wallace storyline.

grim squeaker: I might be the odd one out in this, but I actually like the possibilities the Chicago-hit-and-run storyline opens up for Wallace, and I especially love the fact that he didn't return to Neptune for Veronica, or at least not only for Veronica — seeing that he is not at all angry at her anymore tells me he did in fact miss her quite a lot — but for some shady reasons of his own. I think it adds a new dimension to his character and I can't wait to hear more about his story.

topanga: I think, once again, Rob isn't quite sure what to do with Wallace's character. Giving him his own storylines seems to be taking him away from Veronica, and that's not good. Some of the best scenes on the show are their BFF moments. I want to see their make-up scene. Not their makeout scene, though that would be pretty interesting. And I hope we eventually find out about Wallace's Chicago days. And will Keith and Alicia get back together? They have to! I love them as a couple.

misskiwi: I trust we'll hear more about the Fennel family dynamic in episodes to come. How did Alicia deal with Wallace enrolling in school in Chicago and staying with his formerly-druggie-and-psycho dad? How did Wallace and his dad get along? Is he still furious with his mother? So many questions, so few answers.

funky-donut: I think the line from Wallace about "it's just something my mom says," was intended to address their relationship, since he said it with a very warm smile. I think we were supposed to take from that that they're fine. However, I'm with you guys — I want to know more details. What was his dad really like? Will we see him again?

grim squeaker: To fulfill our obligatory shallowness quota for the RTR, I'd like to comment on the fact that there was so much great hair this week! Wallace's hair has grown! Sean's hair has grown! Vinnie's was longer, too. I loved Veronica's ponytail, which was very reminiscent of her Season One style, and also Lucy Lawless' little Veronica Lake wave. Duncan's wig was awesome as well. Last but not least: Cliff's hair for some reason opened up new dimensions of hotness for our favorite lawyer. I'm impressed.

topanga: Yeah, Wallace's hair was adorable. As were his eyes.

funky-donut: Dude, I haaaaated Sean last season, as we were supposed to. What did he have to do to win me over? That's right: put on some sexy jeans, tower over Capra, and, oh yeah, grow his hair out! Rrowr!

alliterator: For some reason, I thought he had a mullet in this episode. Mullet Sean!

marks of love: Oh man, I LOVE Sean in this episode. "Crank? Maybe some blow?" DRUG DEALING SHOULD NOT BE SO SEXY OMG STOP IT JUST SAY NOOOOOO.

wyk: Was Sean that tall last season? He seemed awfully tall in this episode when he practically towers over Weevil.

And speaking of height, when Veronica is in the police line up, it looks like she is around the 5'4" mark. Really?

Inigo: Heels.

Polter-Cow: For a first-time director, Rob didn't go all crazy and self-indulgent, and there are only a few pieces of directorial flair. There's a nice Hitchcockian wide angle shot of Lamb's office. There's that kind of clunky zoom-in on Veronica right before the reveal. There's my favorite bit, the tracking shot down the border traffic leading to Lamb's car (the music is especially good there too). There're the jump cuts as Lamb leaves the restaurant/bar place. Rob's main signature is the fact that he blew most of his budget on songs. And he clearly likes the Old 97's.

marks of love: I thought so too, Cow, and I liked those bits. I wish he'd put a little more thought into the weirdness of playing the FBI plot for comedy than his camera angles and rockin' montages, though.

chris1010: I loved the "Lamb jump cuts" scene; for some reason I got a Tarantino vibe from it, probably just the music.

alliterator: I always love when they do that — it was one of my favorite parts of the end of "You Think You Know Somebody," when Troy is leaving with the bag of candied drugs.

wilecoyote I'd like to note how this is an episode about a fugitive on the run and yet, about 75% of it takes place in only 3 or 4 sets: Veronica's house, the sheriff's department, the school... And yet, you hardly notice it except in very specific scenes, like the one where they find the boat. Rob has managed to stay within the budget limitations without compromising quality (for the most part).

funky-donut: Wow, good point, wile. I didn't notice that, although the play-by-play over the radio was really obvious and stuck out at me. The only other thing that really stuck out at me what when Veronica begins playing her sad sad music, and there's a reaaaaaally long shot of the CD being put in the player and the music starting and I was like, "OMGG, let's go, Rob!" But other than that, I thought it was a really solid episode.

Polter-Cow: I'm not sure what to think of the whole Veronica/Duncan thing. After the last episode, Veronica seemed pretty upset at Duncan, and to have them all lovey-dovey in this episode was rather strange.

Inigo: Although Veronica's initial upset was already sufficiently alleviated for her to help Duncan get into the hospital to see Meg. As she said, she is "amazing." So I didn't have a strong sense that she was still highly upset.

Polter-Cow: And I was certain the writers were dropping hints that Duncan had a stronger relationship with Meg than he had or has with Veronica, so his "I love you, I've always loved you" rang false to me. But Duncan needs to believe he loves Veronica. Those crazy kids are so deluded. But their relationship was an important part of both their lives. I wish we'd seen more of it in flashback, though. More of the good times that were just them, boyfriend and girlfriend.

wyk: I have to disagree with you, Polter-Cow, I think Duncan has always been in love with Veronica, ever since freshman year. In ATttD Duncan says, "I loved you! I tried not to, I tried not to, but it won't go away!" Even when he thought they were related, he still couldn't stop loving her. After he finds out that Veronica isn't his sister, he dumps Meg. During the summer when Logan and Veronica are dating, Duncan visits the coffee shop every day. Duncan, that poor boy has it bad. He loved her when he shouldn't; he loved her when he couldn't; he loved her when he wasn't even sure if she loved him back.

misskiwi: There seem to be a lot of people who feel that Duncan has done too many terrible things to Veronica for her to forgive him as she does, and many of the same people feel that Logan could be easily redeemed. What's interesting, and what supports Veronica's continued acceptance of Duncan, is that Logan's sins against her have always been active, while Duncan's worst flaws have always been passive. As Veronica pointed out to him last season, he stands idly by.

Let's take Logan's trespasses first. During Veronica's social alienation, he actively taunted her, encouraged people to take tequila shots off her when she was unconscious, he smashed her headlights, and brought up her mother's alcoholism and absence. Logan lashes out; it's what he does. The final straw in their relationship, from what we've seen, was his torching of the community pool. And he still seems to take great pleasure in causing her pain and making her uncomfortable: making pointed remarks about her and Duncan's sex life, tricking her into lying on top of him, rubbing salt in the wound of Duncan and Meg's relationship. I'm not saying Logan can't be redeemed, because I certainly think he can, but he's certainly not doing himself any favors with Veronica.

In comparison, look at Duncan and his treatment of Veronica, both now and in the past. When they broke up, he ignored her but still defended her. As far as we know, he never actually lashed out at her or was cruel. And now, his sins have all been ones of omission: he didn't tell his parents that he and Veronica were dating, he didn't tell her Kendall had propositioned him, and, worst of all, he didn't tell her Meg was pregnant. But, to me at least, a lie of omission, while still a lie, is more forgiveable than the kind of behavior Logan has demonstrated, so I can understand Veronica seeing them in different lights.

marks of love: Why is it that every time fans defend Veronica/Duncan, the main argument seems to rest on how mean Logan was to Veronica? There are lots of V/L shippers who bash Duncan just because he's not Logan, and that's highly annoying (and embarrassing for the rest of us), but shipping D/V just because...again, he's not Logan!...seems just as flawed an argument. Sorry, misskiwi — I don't mean to pick on you, but let's look at the Veronica/Duncan relationship on its own merits, not in comparison to Veronica/Logan.

I don't think he's to be congratulated for his (nearly) two years of passive aggression towards Veronica, but that's in the past. When Veronica/Duncan version 2.0 began at the start of S2, I quite enjoyed it for what (I thought) it was — a mutual desire for comfort and safety. It seemed clear that Veronica was trying to return to her easy life with a successful father, a rich boyfriend, and an exciting best friend. But the best friend was gone, and as we learned in Veronica's dream in 1.22 "Leave It to Beaver", that life is gone. Forever. What was interesting about D/V this season was watching the fallout from their year apart, seeing the cracks grow in the fortress they both wanted so badly. Others have complained that their S2 relationship was portrayed as perfect, not playing out the consequences of S1. I didn't think that at all; I thought the show was telling me the story of a slowly imploding relationship, and I thought it was doing it well. In 2.02 "Driver Ed" Duncan is so out of synch with Veronica that she has to give him a clunky "I feel" speech in order to clue him in to her distress about the bus crash (which seemed like it should have been obvious). In 2.03 "Cheatty Cheatty Bang Bang" he was mesmerized by Jackie's act, and Veronica's annoyance was visible. In 2.04 "Green-Eyed Monster" she felt alienated by Duncan, discovered how hung up he still was on Meg, and, oh yeah, felt he was treating her like a hooker. And then there's the lovely 2.08 "Ahoy, Mateys!", a.k.a. The One Where Duncan's Mental Image of Veronica Is Frighteningly Inaccurate and Also He's Still Obsessed with Meg. I don't even have to go into the whole "Your secret illegitimate child gestating in the womb of your comatose ex-girlfriend affects neither you nor me" thing in 2.10 "One Angry Veronica", do I?

Like I said. Imploding.

What was the point of all that if none of it was ever going to be addressed? Where is the emotional continuity? I don't want their relationship to fall apart to get my Duncan-hating jollies — I want to see the punchline from ten episodes of buildup. I'm sure their fake breakup was very cathartic, but I want a real breakup based on their real problems! Hell, I'd be happy with a VMVO on the subject. Even in this episode, the storytelling seemed confused as to whether it wanted the viewer to root for their NEVERENDING LOVE STORY NEVER MIND ALL PREVIOUS CONFLICT!!!1!, or to go, "You bastard, you don't love Veronica for who she is at all!" when his password is revealed to be "Meg Kane" backwards. Okay, sure, that was part of the plan. The fucking plan! Okay, I'm getting angry again. Must stop.

I thought it was lame, true love is not based on three-year-old memories and compartmentalization, passive aggression does not equal purity, the end.

Inigo: Where does the purity come from? They don't have a perfect understanding of each other. Who does? Why does this mean the relationship has to fall apart? In your example of Jackie mesmerising him, marks, it's true that Duncan didn't pick up that Veronica was bristling at Jackie's manner and presence. But does that mean that he wasn't allowed to enjoy the girl's company or that he failed in some way fatal to their future happiness by not understanding Veronica's reaction? We shouldn't forget that Veronica is hardly the font of all open and honest communication with those she loves, and yet Duncan is seen as the devil. I didn't get it then and I don't get it now.

I think this is why the comparison with the response to Logan is so tempting. Duncan seems to be being judged by a very different yardstick by some. On the other hand, yes, I do understand the argument on dramatic grounds. I just don't agree that it was inevitably leading to a breakup. It could just as easily have been leading to them maturing and learning more about how to communicate and share. But all that was interrupted by the events of this episode. That's why it isn't a cop out for me for it to end as it did, with Veronica and Duncan still believing that they are in love.

marks of love: Now, please don't twist my words, Inigo. I didn't say or even kind of a little bit subtly imply that Duncan is the devil.

Inigo: No twisting intended, just responding to both your contention that the relationship was on an inevitable crash course and coupling it with some views I read about evil Duncan. Two birds, one stone.

marks of love: I don't think anybody can reasonably defend Veronica as an angel or even very emotionally healthy. What I said, and have been saying all season, is that they are fundamentally mismatched, and that as a couple they were not in love with each other — they were in love with their memories/fantasies of each other. You're right that whatever the conclusion of this was cut off by Duncan's abrupt departure, but I call bad storytelling if half a season of slow build is simply never addressed at all, especially since the writers knew they were dealing with a truncated season for Teddy Dunn. Maybe this will be addressed later on in Veronica's solitude. Or maybe she will have experienced two separate relationships with Duncan, never achieved closure, and still hold her time up with him as perfection, which, let's face it, it wasn't. In which case, I will grump (for examples, see above).

Inigo: But the other way of looking at it is this. They weren't fundamentally mismatched, any more than any two individuals are, and they were in love with each other, not just the memory of what they had. Or, more relevantly, they each fervantly believed that to be the case and, ergo, it was. But because of all the crap they lived through during the time they were apart, they had to get to know and to understand who they were now, and how things were different. There were also practical consequences of the time apart. What went on between them in episodes one to ten of this second season could just as well be seen as them taking that journey. That may have led to them parting. I just don't see that a parting was inevitable. So I don't have the same disappointment in the telling of the story, nor the same sense of waste as you do.

Veronica's time with Duncan wasn't perfection, I agree. However, it is not at all unusual for someone in such circumstances to think so — first love or forbidden love is often viewed through the rosiest of glasses. I can see her doing it and won't think less of her (or the writers) if we see it. Then again, I don't want you to be grumpy, so I guess I'd best hope that we don't.

topanga: I just thought of something else really sweet.

Duncan tells Astrid that Baby Lilly thinks she's Veronica. That means Veronica held and interacted with the baby enough that Lilly knows her hair and her face. Awwwww. Who said Veronica has no maternal instincts? Oh, that was me.

funky-donut: Awww, you're right, topanga, that was sweet. And Baby Lilly was really adorable.

grim squeaker *seconds the "Awww"* I agree, funky, that was one cute baby they had playing Tiny Lilly. (More likely two cute babies, but anyway.) And naming her "Lilly" was such a great touch.

alliterator: Thirds the awww! And I love how the super religious Mannings named her Faith, but Duncan named her Lilly. Usually, I hate it when they name babies after characters which have died, but that just seemed so appropriate.

wyk: Back to P-C's point about the parallel between Duncan's and Wallace's storylines. The Chicago cop asks Wallace, "What kind of man are you?" Throughout the entire run of the show, the fans have been wondering what kind of man Duncan is. In this episode Rob gives his final answer to the question.

Rob once wrote in the "Meat Market" episode of Cupid: "Seeing you, taking care of that child...It's like I stumbled onto the most basic way to judge a man." When I was watching this episode, that was the first thought that popped into my head. Rob has always said that he thought of Duncan as a good guy. I loved how Rob uses this fundamental measurement of a person's character to show us what type of man Duncan really is. Despite whatever stand-idly-by-ness Duncan has shown in the past, he is the kind of guy who would sacrifice all his wealth, all his privileges, and his future in order to protect his child. Giving up everything to protect his baby might not have been the most prudent decision, but it is a choice that Duncan freely and willingly undertakes. And it is a choice that I doubt any of the other members of the shallow, vapid, pain-in-the-ass 09erdom would chose.

And naming his baby Lilly...awww. It's the nicest tribute that Duncan could have paid to his big sis.

marks of love: It is sweet that Duncan remembered Lilly, but you know what makes me sad? The complete lack of Logan/Duncan resolution. (Not in a slashy way.) (Well, okay, in a slashy way if that's what you prefer.) Veronica and Wallace are, of course, my ultimate OTBFF, but Logan and Duncan's volatile yet enduring "best friend charm" has been one of my favourite things about the show since forever. I still get choked up thinking about their confrontation in 2.03 "Cheatty Cheatty Bang Bang", and seeing them reconcile warmed my withered black heart. So it really bums me out that in the course of sending Duncan out with a bang, this, one of his most important relationships, was completely given the shaft. If Logan doesn't do some serious pining later, I'm gonna be pissed. And also sad. Soooo saaaaaaad. *bites lip*

chris1010: The fact that Veronica now is under investigation by the FBI and therefore presumably has her phone tapped is quite a burden for the series, if they choose to follow through with it. Veronica can never again mention something even slightly illegal over the phone, which kind of puts a strain on the whole P.I. element of the series. I don't expect them to follow through with this, and that bugs me. Oh, and the "father of the baby" not getting custody is just nonsense, even with Duncan's epilepsy.

misskiwi: Really? You think a court would give custody to an teenage boy whose parents won't support the adoption rather than the dead mother's parents who, as far as appearances go, are respected members of the community who can offer the child a loving family? I think if Duncan's parents had been able to hire a real cut-throat attorney and gone after the evidence of child abuse they would have had a shot, but the court battles could take a long time and Faith/Lilly would be in the clutches of the Mannings until the verdict was decided. Not a good scenario.

topanga: I agree with chris. A judge would have to find indisputable evidence that Duncan is an unfit father before he or she would grant custody to Lilly's grandparents. That would be a long legal battle. Duncan is eighteen and financially stable. Even without a high-powered attorney, Duncan could get Dr. Levine to argue on his behalf.

wyk: Duncan is financially stable only because his parents are supporting him. Without his parents' money, who's he going to hire for a lawyer? Cilff? Meg already told him that her parents are digging up dirt on him in order to deny him custody. How in the world is Cliffy going to battle the high-priced legal team that the Mannings are bound to hire?

Polter-Cow: Well, they got enough money from Celeste's earrings to buy a freakin' boat and the Vinnie Van Lowe Special. Surely that kind of dough's worth something to the legal eagles.

wyk: Duncan wouldn't have needed to steal the earrings if his parents had supported his decision to fight for custody. Somehow I don't think the courts would look too kindly on a teenage boy who finances his custody case by stealing his mom's jewelry.

chris1010: Also, when Meg died wouldn't Duncan automatically get custody? So how can it be kidnapping?

Inigo: I think what's important to remember is who we are dealing with here. Neither Veronica nor Duncan have any reason to have confidence in the ability of the authorities to get it right. In Duncan's case, he trusted his parents who hid the truth, as they knew it, of Lilly's death for over a year. They used their money and power to corrupt the process, and this included ensuring the removal of one of the few "honest" authoritarians, Keith Mars. For Veronica, she has seen the corruption at first hand and set herself to battle against it. So no matter how many adults chatter about what they should have done or what would probably have happened, these two were relying on their own experiences and felt that it wasn't worth the risk to the child of their depending on the system to get it right. Of course they were wrong, horribly wrong, but there was neither character assassination nor stupidity going on here. Just youthful insistence of knowing the best in the circumstances.

chris1010: And while I'm at it, aren't the Mannings taking a big risk by going to court? They have to know that Duncan will bring up that they kept Grace in a closet, and Duncan could get Lamb, Veronica and Lizzy to testify to that, then add all the evidence that Meg herself collected, and I would think their case would look pretty bad.

marks of love: Yeah, and the freaking Sheriff of Neptune can testify to the Mannings' abuse. This plot made NO SENSE, and even if I hadn't been going "WTF?!?!" over the D/V stuff...and the weird comedy...and the absolute perfection of Veronica's outsmarting-the-FBI planning skills...and her lying to Keith and forcing him to cover for her...it would have ruined the episode for me. (I also don't buy Celeste — a woman who covered up the murder of her own daughter for her son — not accepting her granddaughter, but WHATEVER.)

Also, seriously, the Vinnie Van Lowe plot doesn't make sense even on rewatch.

wyk: Since the Mannings had custody of Faith, it's clear that Lamb did not report what happened that night to child protective services. If he had, the authorities would have put Grace and Faith in foster care. When Veronica asks Lamb point blank if he thinks Faith is better off with the Mannings, he avoids the questions, and instead he talks about how much trouble he is in. Veronica knows she can't trust Lamb to do the right thing.

Celeste is one of those people for whom image is everything. Having her golden boy becoming an unwed, teenage father is not part of her master plan. If it was up to her, the Mannings would have shipped Faith away to some adoption agency, and Duncan would have enrolled in an Ivy League college on his way to becoming the President of the United States.

misskiwi: Well, even supposing that Duncan would be awarded custody, I think it's feasible that since the Mannings currently have custody (custody, in this instance, being defined as "finders, keepers") of the baby, she would either stay with the Mannings or, if Duncan showed evidence of potential abuse, in a foster home until the verdict was rendered. Neither of which would be an acceptable scenario from Duncan and Veronica's perspective. Considering Duncan's financial capability to fight it out in court, I probably would have gone the non-felonious route, but I can certainly understand their motivations to do so.

topanga: Another plot hole: no one cares about the bus crash anymore? Veronica and Keith saying they're searching for the masterminds behind the crash is beginning to sound a lot like O.J. saying he's searching for his wife's real killer.

misskiwi: I don't think that's so much a plothole as a we're-leaving-this-for-the-back-end-of-the-season hole.

topanga: Yes, and that's my only major criticism of this season. Viewers are allowed to forget about the bus crash. In season 1, even if an episode wasn't specifically about Lilly's murder, we always remembered. It colored all of Veronica's thoughts, actions, and emotions. It was her constant motivator.

marks of love: Look, it's the one part of the episode marks loved! Oh, Logan and Weevil. You don't need to buy Ecstasy. You incite it. (Hee.)

funky-donut: The Felix mystery continues to get murkier and more and more confusing. So, Felix got killed by the Fitzpatricks because he was screwing their sister, but Cervando saw it, so they crashed the bus to kill him? But then why was Veronica's name on Curly's hand? What does this have to do with her? It has to get more personal to her at some point. And as much as I like seeing Weevil and Logan team up as the Dynamic Duo, I'm starting to get less and less emotionally involved in those subplots. Even though I did really like Felix.

grim squeaker: I don't really have a problem with the way the Felix mystery is developing. We are just getting bits and pieces of the puzzle and I like that the picture is slowly evolving and changing: was Felix killed by Logan in self-defense? Did one of the PCHers try to undermine Weevil's leadership? Did one of the Fitzpatricks dislike him dating Molly, or was it something else entirely? I think it's really fun to watch all this and guessing what it might all be about — and seeing Logan and Weevil tag-teaming doesn't exactly hurt, either. I've already expressed my joy at Weevil finally getting more to do, and I really like seeing Logan doing something besides hanging out with Dick or banging Kendall, or making sarcastic remarks, or destroying evidence. (Come to think of it, he did much more this season then I'd noticed. Huh.) The bus crash mystery on the other hand needs some love, preferably from Team Mars.

misskiwi: I was really happy to see some good movement on Weevil and Logan working together to uncover Felix's murderer and the traitor within the PCHers. I mean, any excuse for those two to have a scene together is great, but this is even better. Thoughts on the suspects and developments to date?

wilecoyote: Uh...I got nothing. I predicted a few episodes ago that Hector would be the mole in the PCHers, and that seemed to come into a dead end...unless that's what Rob wants us to think. Then again, if he knew that we would think that, maybe he threw in the incidents in this episode as a red herring, unless he thought that we'd think of that, in which case...INCONCEIVABLE!

topanga: Rob is a master at turning our thoughts wherever he wants them to go. I'm clueless and must wait like a lap dog for the next morsel of truth.

chris1010: The Felix murder is really the satisfying mystery this season (IMO), it moves nicely along dropping hint and clues. I have no clue who did it, Cervando maybe.

grim squeaker: I think it was Backup Thumper. That guy is way too eager to be the guy whom Weevil trusts most in the gang. He probably just waits for a good moment to stab him in the back and become leader of the PCHers himself.

Inigo: Well, it just so happens that you should go and have a look at the brand spanking new Mystery section on "Who Killed Felix?"

wilecoyote: Here's an idea: Lucy Lawless's character is basically what Veronica could become in about 20 years. Thoughts?

misskiwi: Hell, she can already run circles around Lamb, and she's only eighteen.

funky-donut *imagines Kristen Bell in a Xena costume*
*feels a little faint*

alliterator: I'll be in my bunk.

chris1010 There can't be much doubt to what Veronica's future occupation will be.

grim squeaker: I saw Agent Morris as a rather funny rendition of the typical "arrogant FBI agent visits smalltown, goes head to head with local sheriff" character, but now that you mention it...and hey, Lucy's character on Battlestar Galactica is a reporter, so there is even another similarity. *Imagines Lucy Lawless playing Veronica in a Veronica Mars: Twenty Years Later movie*

funky-donut: Dude, when I was rewatching I noticed that even though she was wearing impeccibly tailored suits, Agent Morris had her hands hooked over her belt buckle like a cowboy a bunch of times. It was cracking me up.

alliterator: Lucy Lawless is great. She can play so many characters, it's awesome. I loved her "Team. Me." pantomime.

marks of love: I am a huge Lucy Lawless fan, but I felt her part was made really ineffective by the comedic angle. Did not jive with the Big Drama of the show. Veronica's ability to easily outsmart terrorist-hunting FBI agents, while probably a purposeful poke at the U.S.'s, ahem, highly successful? war on terrorism, did not jive with reality. Poor Xena. *clings to BSG, because that's not ever going to put her in a plot of utter WTFery...oh, no...erg*

funky-donut: Upon rewatching, I am adoring the scene with Veronica and Keith, where she's taking all the photos of her and Duncan out of the frames. Nice touch that she's not actually destroying them or drawing nasty faces on them as girls in a real breakup would do. But, as misskiwi mentioned, there's that great moment where she steels herself to lie to Keith. But not only that, I love that she's facing away from him the entire time and barely looks him in the eye. The song playing in the background hits me hardest: when Keith says, "Anything you need, honey, I'm here," and then the song lyrics cut in with "All I need is the air that I breathe and to love you" — that moment? Wow. Because ostensibly the song is about her break-up with Duncan, but to me it's about how important her relationship with her father is to her and how badly she's just fucked that up, maybe forever. And the look on her face after he leaves — she knows it.

misskiwi: So, so brilliant.

topanga: That was the best, but also one of the saddest moments in the episode.

chris1010: That scene, and the scene where Keith confronts Veronica are two of my favorite scenes this season. So good, so sad.

marks of love: Speaking of best moments in the episode, I think I have to vote for Logan needling Veronica in the elevator, because I <3 psychotic jackassery (and that was mean). And, yay, Wallace! And, yay, Weevil! And, yay, Cliff! I do spy some marks of love in me, after all.

Inigo: For the best one, well duh. I mean, it's Logan, obviously. It always is.

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