2.14 "Versatile Toppings"

Aired Mar 15, 2006

Roundtable Reviews

Inigo: Overall, I wasn't very fond of this episode although I am hard pressed to say why. I can articulate all the things that it ain't. It ain't for a complicated or convoluted plot to the mystery of the week. I like complicated and convoluted, although I thought it was actually fairly straightforword, once you straightened out the twists.

misskiwi: Me neither, Inigo, though I can't put my finger on why. The MotW completely lost me — the first time I've been unable to actually figure out the twists and turns by just taking five minutes to think it out. I think there were just too many twists, turns, and red herrings.

topanga: I have to disagree with you, Inigo and misskiwi. I really liked this episode. It wasn't as exciting as "Ahoy, Mateys!" or as heartwrenching as "Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner" or "Donut Run", but it was a fun, plot-moving piece of entertainment. I wasn't as emotionally involved with the many subplots as I usually am, and that may have been because of mediocre writing and stunt-casting (sorry, Phil Klemmer). The pizza-mugging and gay-student storylines just didn't move me. They seemed too contrived, and their resolutions weren't satisfying. Actually, I'm fine with the pizza-mugging scenario: a dumb kid wanted to be a PCHer. But I felt none of the torment and internal struggles of the gay students that I did in "Ahoy, Mateys!" Even Ryan seemed flatter in this episode, and I loved his first appearance. The actress who played Kylie didn't blow my mind, especially in her scenes with Kristen Bell. KB is so great that she either makes other actors look better or inadvertently magnifies their lack of talent.

alliterator: I have to agree with topanga, the guest star was just lame compared to most of the great actors on this show. I wonder why UPN doesn't have some guest start from Everybody Hates Chris.

topanga: Yeah. How about the actor who likes to say, "Hey, it's Little Man"?

alliterator: As for the convoluted plot, I wasn't bothered by it, but I could see why some people had a hard time understanding what had happened. It looked like rich boy Kelly was the blackmailer...and then he wasn't. Looked like the Pizza Mugger was the blackmailer...then he wasn't. Too many red herrings. I had to explain everything to my sister, which rarely happens.

wyk: I liked the plot twist. It's a pattern that has been repeated numerous times on the show. Instead of having one bad guy responsible for all the badness, we have everyone guilty of smaller crimes. It goes to the true nature of the show where everyone is corrupt.

chris1010: It was an OK episode, nothing spectacular. I had no trouble following the MotW, but I don't know if it was the less than stellar stuntcasting, but when the MotW was resolved I just didn't care.

grim squeaker: Wow, that was...dull. I mean, not bad (except for Kristin Whatshername — loved her character on paper but hated the interpretation), but extraordinarily uninteresting.

topanga: Still gets a thumbs up from me. Best part: all of Logan's scenes (and I'm not a 'shipper). And the worst part...do I even have to say it? It makes it that much more heartwrenching to hear his name mentioned and to see his ex-girlfriend (future ex-girlfriend?) and his BFF talk about him like they really watched him play basketball. Oh, guys. The pain.

misskiwi: Like I said, this is the first MotW in the history of Veronica Mars that left me completely confused. Usually, at worst, I understand the basics and get clever little pieces on every rewatch. This time? Veronica's logic completely failed me. Inigo?

Inigo: Arturo starts his campaign to prove he is a badass so he can join the PCH bike gang by mugging pizza delivery boys. He lures them with orders citing the addresses of the local coconuts — Latinos too white for his taste in a marvellous look at how reverse racism is as strong in Neptune as the usual kind — which could lead to the added bonus of blacklisting coconuts from their pizza supplier. A juvenile deliquent with layers of nastiness. Nice. Ryan gets mugged and (in the only piece of reasonable assumption one has to make) tells his fellow posters on the Pirate's Student Homosexual Internet Posting board that the list of their names was stolen. Kylie Marker sees an opportunity to extort money to fund an upgrade of her college prospects from her fellow closeted gays with the added bonus of forcing her girlfriend to acknowledge their relationship. The mugger will be blamed. Another juvenile deliquent with layers of nastiness. Nice albeit poorly played by someone I have thankfully never had the displeasure of observing before. Kylie, forced to go along with the group's decision to "hire" Veronica, forestalls suspicion by approaching Veronica herself. It's a sham and one she puts to a quick end by coming out publicly, something she was always fixed on doing. One of Kylie's victims is Kelly, a baseball jock last seen displaying the usual kind of racism in thinking all brown-skinned bikers sell coke, who stages his own mugging to collect the insurance money on his ever-popular rims to pay the blackmail. Kylie was able to collect by having the money sent to false addresses, leading the packages to the lost letter section of the post office where her mother worked and which she could thereby access. Simple. With quite a nice symmetry. An added little parallel is that Marlena is shown to have a terrible taste in partners, lusting for Madison and being with Kylie, in the same episode where Carmen makes a reappearance — the girl who choose asshat Tad Wilson before she saw sense (although she still hasn't called Weevil). She also is someone who has faced the fear of exposure and lived with the consequences of it, something that faces the other characters in this episode. It's more than a nice bit of continuity. It's inspired.

topanga: I actually suspected Kylie from the beginning. And I'm not one who usually figures out mysteries early. That didn't make me enjoy it less. But it was a less intriguing MotW than usual.

chris1010: I also guessed Kylie from the beginning, and I was a little displeased with her being behind it all, the reason she did it however surprised me.

chris1010: And can we please have Tina Majorino as a regular! The "I'm curious" scene with Veronica was my favorite part of the episode; Mac's stare during the entire scene was priceless.

wyk: The great thing about the Mac-and-Veronica friendship is that it is based on sneaky deception.

chris1010: While I love watching Logan con Hannah and Dr. Griffin, I also fear for my perception of the Logan character. He's almost sociopathic; I'm not sure I can thrust the character again. Then again Veronica has also done a lot of similar things, and I still thrust her.

wyk: You want to thrust both Logan and Veronica? Maybe you should join the Pirate's SHIP.

misskiwi: The Logan/Hannah/Dr. Griffith stuff was good, and now I'm confused as to whether Logan is actually falling for Hannah or just making her believe that along with his pack of "I didn't know who your dad was, I swear!" lies.

topanga: I agree, misskiwi-fruit. I'm confused, too. On the one hand, Logan is playing Hannah big-time when he bemoans his dead girlfriend and almost-shot girlfriend but fails to mention that he hasn't gone without female attention even for a minute. But then he seems to really like her. I hate being totally out of the loop when it comes to a character's true feelings.

And is Hannah really that naive, or is she just pretending to be as innocent as clueless as she comes across? It's eerie how much she looks like Veronica sometimes, especially when she wears a hat. But somebody give that girl a sandwich! She's small-boned, so I don't think she's anorexic, but she needs Ensure or a protein shake STAT to put some muscle on her body.

grim squeaker: *takes Hannah by the hand and proceeds to feed her some sandwiches*

wilecoyote: You know what? I think what's going on is that JD is such a good actor that we believe him even when he is "acting" within the show: in this case, acting like he really has feelings for Hannah. Thus the confusion about what his real motivations are. Otherwise...sorry, I just can't see Logan "I banged Ms. Casablancas" Echolls falling for the innocent high school girl type.

I was kinda disappointed that they made the characters confront each other so quickly, BTW. I'd have preferred it more if they had kept Hannah in the dark for a bit longer, while Logan kept taunting the doctor with lines like "the complete play-by-play?" and such. Much creepier.

topanga: Maybe they're setting them up for something creepier-er.

Inigo: My meh-ness also ain't any fundamental problem with the progress on the season-long mysteries. I'm actually pretty excited about Peter Ferrer (I'm going with the Hollywood Mel "I was married to Audrey Hepburn" Ferrer spelling here). He's our fourth student bus crash victim, and he had the dirt on somebody. He was posting about the "outing of all outings in Neptune" — Neptune, mind, not the high school — and was silenced in the bus crash. Hmmmm.

wyk: Plus, Peter is the second gay kid to die in the crash. Two out of the five students who died that day were gay. We know class warfare is a big deal in Neptune. What about homophobia?

Inigo: Anybody else wondering if Terrence and Woody have got a 'thang goin' on? Or Lambikins and Sacks. We never hear of them with a girl unless it's for charity, right? And Terrence, against whom so much evidence was piled last week, was exonerated in respect of a phone call that may or may not have detonated a bomb and then put right back in the pooh with the explosives. His place for storage for cars that cried out for a mechanic named Curly in Woody's hanger, oh joy. As for Logan, well, no complaints here. He's a bastard on a mission and whether that includes planting cocaine in Dr. Tom's bathroom to persuade Hannah of her father's evil or not, he's continuing to play her. Dr. Tom was interesting too. He has already been shown to be two men. One is a kind and conscientious surgeon. The other is connected to the local crime lords and lies about being on the bridge. It was the first man who pleaded with Logan not to hurt his daughter, not to drag her into whatever was going on between them. It was the first man who hadn't told his daughter that he had stepped forward as a witness in a murder case, something of which he apparently has taken little pleasure or credit, until he had to, to protect her. These are the actions of a decent man and yet, how can he be? All stuff that intrigues me and continues to percolate.

topanga: Yes, the season-long mystery arcs are unfolding nicely. I especially like Terrence and Keith's storyline regarding Terrence's alleged involvement with the bus crash. The two characters have great chemistry. Maybe they do heart each other. And Jason Dohring is always good. His scenes with Dr. Griffith regarding Felix's murder were some of my favorite parts of the episode. Jason's acting, while remaining over-the-top (in a good way), is developing even more of the subtlety that makes him such a joy to watch week after week.

I suppose I'm not as emotionally invested in this season's mysteries because Veronica isn't. There would be no way to duplicate the impact that the rape or Lilly's murder had on Veronica's life without repeating the same themes. You'd have to kill Keith or Wallace (SHUT UP!), or Veronica would have to lose a limb or be impregnated during another date rape. And besides being soap opera-ish, it would have a "been there, done that" feel that would alientate viewers. Rob Thomas is way too smart and too protective of this show to let that happen.

Inigo: There was some great character stuff here too. Veronica and Keith are just too adorable when they talk about Jackie. Keith knows his girl so well and they share the same puckish expressions. Veronica and Jackie too are starting to gel nicely and Veronica's little misunderstanding with Mac on exactly why she wanted to access the Pirate's S.H.I.P. was wonderfully played by them both.

topanga: I think Rico Colantoni is really Kristen Bell's father. He had an illicit affair with Kristen's mother for years, and Mr. Bell was none the wiser. Rico is waiting for the right opportunity to spill the beans. That's why he likes to say, "Who's your Daddy?"

Inigo: I've seen complaints that Veronica doesn't know who died on the bus. Where does that come from? She didn't know who MIZZ P was. Ryan told her his real name in the same sentence as telling her that he died in the crash. How does this translate into Veronica not knowing the names of the bus crash victims?

Why didn't I like this episode more? I'm tempted to say the directing was off, but Sarah Pia Anderson did a lovely job with "Return of the Kane," that episode having one of my most favourite shots in the series. And she produces another one here — Hannah walking down the stairs with Logan at the door.

topanga: And I wasn't crazy about "Return of the Kane." I guess we're different like that. Fortunately, Veronica Mars has something for everyone.

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