2.16 "The Rapes of Graff"

Aired Mar 29, 2006

Roundtable Reviews

marks of love: "The Wrath of Con" + "The Girl Next Door" + "Mars vs. Mars" + "Weapons of Class Destruction" + Arrested Development = "The Rapes of Graff." GLEE!

topanga: Another good episode. I was excited to see Troy, and I didn't like him all that much last season. I was spoiled for the episode title, but I had no idea what it implied. I couldn't remember Troy's last name, so the "Graff" meant nothing to me. I was all, "Steffie Graf is going to guest star in this episode? They spelled her name wrong."

misskiwi: I got spoiled when I was scrolling along IMDb and saw "Aaron Ashmore...Troy" listed for 2.16. I had a few moments of ASKJSHFDKJSHJDFSA!??!, a few moments of &#*(@!, and then realized that they would have to show him in the previouslies and the second they did, I would be spoiled regardless. So I wasn't so mad.

That being said, knowing that Troy was coming back and that the episode title was "The Rapes of Graff," I immediately pegged the MotW as "Troy gets accused of rape, Veronica reluctantly clears him." So that blew.

alliterator: I was spoiled for Troy through IMDb as well, but I had no clue what "Graff" was until a day before the episode aired and then I did a facepalm and was like, "Duh!" Me stupid. But yeah, if you didn't know Troy would appear, you certainly would when the previouslies were shown. So I'm glad that he appeared in the teaser so he wasn't a totally big surprise.

grim squeaker: Please cover your ears, ladies and gentlemen...OMG TROY!!! EEEEEEEEE!!!!

Well, that was basically my reaction when I was spoiled for his appearance several weeks (?) ago, and the anticipation surely didn't grow any smaller. I liked Troy a lot in the first season and to me, he is everything Logan seems to be for so many other VM fans — the charming bad boy who basically can do no wrong. (Well, him being a rapist would have been a dealbreaker, admittedly.) I guess it helps a lot that I actually think Aaron Ashmore a rather handsome guy; he certainly turned up the hot quota for this episode by several inches. And dare I hope that he might be back next season at Hearst?

misskiwi: No offence to Troy or Aaron, but I'd rather have Michael Cera or Alia Shawkat any day of the week, particularly with Arrested Development having undergone about its fourth hopeful resurrection followed by merciless kicking in the junk.

marks of love: Dude, they were both so awesome — Michael especially. "I also shot a man in Reno, but it was not to watch him die; it was for other issues."

grim squeaker: Now there's a difficult decision...how about letting all three of them return now and then.

Polter-Cow: You know, they didn't mention the bus crash until the last five minutes, and Troy didn't really serve any purpose beyond kicking off the A plot, and it was all really just a way to ease the transition into season three, which makes this really more of a weird filler episode...but it was still great.

Inigo: They may not have mentioned the bus crash, but since clues don't usually come with a tag saying "this relates to..." I don't see it as a fault. In fact, the introduction of Shark Field being demolished by explosives came in the first few minutes. Also, the theft of Cliff's briefcase may well have significance. So I think there is movement on all the mysteries, it's not just tacked on IMHO.

marks of love: This episode felt like old times. Not just because I was enjoying it and it had such Old Skool nostalgia-bringers as Troy Vandegraff, Veronica and Wallace going to college, rape (oh rape! *REMINISCES*), and Logan being hot, but also because of the way it was shot. I have mentioned briefly in the past that I very much miss Victor Hammer's cinematography, and I haven't really harped on it nearly to the extent I grump about it constantly throughout every episode of S2, but basically there was a cold quality of light in S1 which is now missing; the light is much warmer-toned in S2 and it pisses me off because it looks far too UPN-y. Between that and the overabundant use of stained glass and weird random set lights which I think betray the floundering attempt on Alfred Sole's part to maintain the look of the show without really adapting to Hammer's style (or maybe it would have looked fine WITH the old style, but as much as I love "colourful" in concept, I think S2 uses colour and light all wrong), the change in presentation in S2 has had a serious and negative impact on my enjoyment of the show.
ANYWAY. The point is, this did not bother me today. Is the photography actually any better or different? I don't know, although the scene by Maeby's Stacy's door in particular feels nice and cool-coloured. What I suspect is the real difference is that the show itself made up for it. This isn't the first time — I adored "Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner" and that had crazy-ass colours, but it's been a while. GO TEAM VM.

topanga: Forgive me for beating the same tired drum. But one thing I would have liked to see is more meaningful interaction between Wallace and Veronica. I wanted to hear Veronica say, "What about Jane?" when he's scamming on the other prospy and checking out women at the frat party. I wanted to hear Wallace say, "I can't believe you're helping this guy" when she tells him she's trying to clear Troy. They seemed more like two people who happened to go to the same high school than BFF. In season one's "The Wrath of Con," during their college foray, there were more of the subtle looks and inside jokes that friends share. We'll see how the rest of the season goes...

misskiwi: I think the MotW was fairly strong, so I'll get my two major objections out of the way posthaste. First of all, I had hoped to see a little more emotional involvement/identification with Veronica in a case of date rape. The scene with Stacy where she said that it'll "suck, then it'll suck less" was great, but what I was really hoping for (somewhat unrealistically) was for her to rip Lamb a new one with a comment like "Isn't mocking a rape victim standard procedure around here?"

Polter-Cow: It didn't even occur to me that they would make a reference to Veronica's rape in this episode. Because...they never do. But man, that was a wonderful subtle callback. So Veronica: "It'll suck...and then it'll suck less." And it's a testament to Kristen's performance that I actually caught the subtext there. Like I said, her rape wasn't even on my mind, and the way she delivered that line just thwapped me. There was even a little shift in the music.

misskiwi: Really? I was waiting — nay, begging for it. The delivery was awesome, but...I'm still left wanting. It was traumatic, and I want some more emotional fallout, dammit! I want Keith to find out. I want Lamb to find out. I suppose it'll be hard to have any real consequences since the rapist was, essentially, the entire 09er culture, and Veronica can't exactly go "I was raped...except, not, since it was sort of just my-ex-who-thought-he-was-my-half-brother, so...never mind." But still.

Inigo: I'm conscious of courting controversy here but I do think that Veronica did have emotional fallout from thinking she was raped. It was part of what fuelled her transformation of sweet, conforming Veronica 1.0 into hard-shelled, chopped-haired Veronica 2.0. Veronica doesn't wallow, she never did. She internalizes and acts. People react differently in different situations. Veronica isn't required to act in some set wisdom way that says this is how all rape victims will feel. And she's taken the view, rightly or wrongly, it doesn't matter, that she was not raped. So the resonance was with how she felt when she thought she had been, not to how she feels now. Although, granted, I thought a snipe at Lamb would have been well in order.

misskiwi: That's true about her transformation. I just loved that storyline so much I want to keep seeing the repurcussions ripple outward from Veronica. Anyway, my second problem with the MotW — and I suppose it's not so much a problem as a too-high standard on my part — was that I love the mysteries where they challenge the audience's preconceptions and/or use Keith's and Veronica's prejudices against them. My favorite MotW still remains "Mars vs. Mars" with "Clash of the Tritons" close behind: both were episodes where our perceptions of the good guys and the bad guys were backwards and where rewatching the episode reveals subtle clues to the truth. In this episode, speaking for myself at least, I completely expected Troy to be innocent. I suppose they were trying to play on our preconceptions of Troy as a cheating, lying, drug-dealing scumbag, but stealing steroids is on a completely different level than rape, and one I don't believe Troy's capable of.

Polter-Cow: So, Troy is the new Logan, basically. He's come back with a moral makeover somehow, and he has to deal with Veronica, the Queen of Jumping to Conclusions and Clinging to Past Conceptions. Of course she's not going to believe he's changed. For Veronica, people do not change. Duncan was a perfect boyfriend back in the day, so he is a perfect boyfriend now. Logan was an obligatory psychotic jackass, and he remains an obligatory psychotic jackass.

Inigo: Well, to be fair...

Polter-Cow: Troy was a lying scumbag, and he is still a lying scumbag. It helps keep her world less complicated than it already is. "You know me," she says. "Same old, same old." Even she stays the same, in her own mind. All of these people, including her, have actually changed, and she can't see it or won't acknowledge it.

misskiwi: See, I think if Troy had been a worse person to start with, it might have been a more interesting mystery. If they'd been able to play off the audience's assumption that of course Troy was guilty, DUH!, then they could have done a whole turnaround. But, really, while Troy was a bit of a scumbag, he was a hot scumbag real charmer not a bad guy at the core. Ooo, stealing your rich daddy's car. I'm so scared! Anyways, I think the audience was always built up to like Troy, and since they already used the "Surprise! He's a baddie!" twist in "You Think You Know Somebody" I think it made it hard to go the other way. Don't get me wrong: it was a good, solid mystery, but I like to have my mind blown.

alliterator: I think the MotW was stronger this week because it had stronger actors. Last week had actors that were "meh" and the week before had Kristin Cavilleri, who was just bad. However, this week had George Michael and Maeby!! Michael Cera and Alia Shawkat, from the late, great Arrested Development. Definitely two of VM's best guest stars.

misskiwi: We should start collecting donations now to bribe someone to have them on as recurring characters when Veronica inevitably ends up at Hearst next season.

alliterator: Of course, I thought there would have been some kind of twist where Dean — George Michael all grown up — would be involved in the rape or perhaps there was no rape at all and it was all faked by him and Stacy, but he stayed hilariously George Michael-like. In fact, it wasn't until the episode was over that I realized Veronica hadn't solved the case at all, just cleared Troy of doing it. Which made me wonder if there's going to be some sort of follow up in Season 3. I wouldn't mind if Dean and Stacy became recurring characters at all.

misskiwi: I'm calling it right now: the serial rapist is the/a season three mystery. Rob did say somewhere that they've already come up with it, and my money says that would have been right around the time they were breaking and writing this episode. And correct me if I'm wrong, but this is the first MotW that ended up unresolved. Coincidence? I think not.

alliterator: This is Neptune. Nothing happens by accident. Except when Backup goes number two on the floor.

marks of love: The SAT score issue is an obvious error. The SAT (about which one should never get me started) changed its scoring system recently to a 2400-point scale. When the writers and I and most everybody took it, the highest possible score was 1600, and over 1300 was generally considered pretty good. (Witness the shock and awe Buffy received for scoring 1430, back in the day.) But for Wallace to have scored 1180 means that he is either horrendous at standardized tests (notice I don't say dumb, because omg SAT rage), which seems unlikely given that Hearst's average is 1280 and they're supposed to be a good school, or that the writers forgot about the change. It is technically possible that Wallace took the test before they were implemented in March of '05, but that seems pretty unlikely given that most students take the SAT in the spring of their junior year and then often again in the fall of their senior year, so if he had scored as low as 1180 in a test he was taking rather early he almost certainly would have taken it again after the new system went into effect. It can be fanwanked that since the system is so new Hearst still uses the old scores on its brochures and then people like Wallace have to calculate the equivalent of their scores, but...yeah. No.

misskiwi: If you guys need me, I'll be up north here, enjoying my SAT-less country.

Cliff handcuffed to a bed? Hilarious. Keith's note to Veronica that he was "Gone on puzzling errand"? Even more hilarious. And Lamb and Madison, 18 — It's Legal? EVEN EVEN MORE HILARIOUS. Oh man, how I laughed.

marks of love: Keith and Cliff are JOY. So much JOY. Did I mention the JOY? 18 is legal campaign posters! Also: "Gone on puzzling errand" ahshahdhajha. But my favourite Keith moment would have to be how, when Veronica comes home at a clearly early hour, he tries to get her to go to bed before his hooker shows up. "Why don't you lie in your..." Ahahahahaha! Team Mars will never not win.

alliterator: Cliff was absolutely hilarious, especially his response to Keith's question about using the cell phone while in handcuffs. And Lamb. Oh, Lamb. Lamb, Lamb, Lamb. Will you never learn? When you do something slightly illegal (or, in this case, amoral) the Marses always catch you on tape. Don't you remember blackmailing Terrence Cook? From now on, Lamb, check for cameras. And bugs. But then, of course, we wouldn't have gotten the hilarious scene where Lamb says that Madison is 18 and so legal and Keith and Cliff, totally having anticipated this argument, pull out a poster that says "18 — It's Legal! Vote for Lamb!" on it. Comedy gold!

Polter-Cow: The Emmy scene? First of all, heeeee, "Emmy nomination." Second of all, HAAAAA. I swear, that is going down as one of the funniest scenes in the series. The over-the-top music combined with Veronica's over-the-top (but not too over-the-top) performance all leading up to the classic punchline: "Sorry, this girl was Hawaiian." In the future, Veronica, the recovery line is: "She's adopted."

alliterator: Or she could have said, "Would you believe half-sisters? Second cousins once removed?"

misskiwi: I thought it was hilarious that it was essentially Veronica's ego that got her: if she'd just stop short of trying to tug at the wig lady's hearstrings with "She's my sister!", she would have been home free and preparing a spot on the mantle.

Inigo: And I'm sorry because I know it made some cross, but I laughed out loud at Veronica's P&P line. I always thought it was a little over the top to declare a character irredeemable or unlikeable because they didn't like Jane Austen, as some appeared to do after "Cheatty Cheatty Bang Bang." And I don't have any problem with the writers being amused by that reaction and using it.

marks of love: The P&P shoutout was frankly ridiculous and as funny as Rob probably thought it was, I found it annoying and nearing on insulting. That was YOUR bad, Mr. T. Suck it up, and also remember this nice thing we call a fourth wall that makes fans feel like they are being entertained and not on the receiving end of an artiste's snitfit.

misskiwi: I found it hilarious and it didn't really bother me that it was sort of a beyond-the-fourth-wall inside joke. They weren't correcting a mistake of theirs, they were mocking the people who had epileptic fits at the blasphemy, and rightly so. Of course, that being said: WOMAN. You do NOT diss Pride and Prejudice unless it's the movie adaptation with Keira Knightley.

Polter-Cow: I'm not totally satisfied that Logan seemingly ended up "falling for" Hannah, but I don't think it's as simple as that. It's not like the cliché. I think it's true to Logan and how fucked up he is, emotionally. And the fact that he's trying to be a better person. He wants to be with Hannah when he doesn't have to, not just for her sake, but for his. This is something he has to do for himself because Logan, unlike Veronica, can recognize change. He needs change because his life sucks. Veronica chooses to ignore what sucks; Logan focuses on it. They're motivational opposites.

misskiwi: I agree. I don't think it's so much that Logan fell for Hannah as that he started to really see what he was doing and hate himself for it. If Hannah had been another Madison, Logan wouldn't have had as much of a conscience, but considering how fucked up Logan is, I can get behind the motivation that he doesn't want to do that to someone who hasn't been damaged yet.

Inigo: I think you're both right, but I do think there was an element of his having fallen for her too. It is pretty hard not to in that situation, where she shows such faith in him. Where I do quibble is on the fear of the cliché. For me, it's not about whether something has been done before. It's all been done before. It's about whether what happens is believable and is consistent with the characters and the story. In that respect, I think it worked well. Logan has feelings for Hannah and without her being shipped off to Vermont, they would have developed.

marks of love: Logan falling for her after using her seems like a nice noir touch, but I was not sad to see her go, simply because she's not part of the story in any significant way, and I have no investment in her whatsoever.

misskiwi: Speaking of Hannah and Logan, obviously the Fitzpatricks were after Cliff's briefcase and the details of Logan's case. I completely expected Hannah and Logan's getting it on to be interrupted by news that her dad had turned up dead because Griffith had oh-so-conveniently forgotten to mention to the Fitzies that he was recanting his testimony. I still think it's a strong possibility that our favorite Irish hoodlums set up Cliff to get the files and find out why the case got dismissed, meaning trouble for the good Doctor. It begs the question, though...if the Fitzpatricks only set Logan up as a matter of convenience and to throw suspicion off the real murder(s), why consistently go to so much trouble to ensure his conviction? I mean, you made the effort, he's still the main suspect regardless of whether he's convicted or goes to trial, so...did he sleep with their sister, or what?

Inigo: See. I'm not so convinced of this. Firstly, there were other things in Cliff's briefcase, like details of a fraud case for example, or a indecent assault. Sure, we are meant to assume that the instigator was after Logan's files but I wouldn't bet my life on it. I wouldn't even bet my dog's fleas on it. Then I still have an open mind about whether Tom Griffith was actually in the pay of the Fitzpatricks. But I do most fervently agree that the efforts to get Logan convicted, or at least to maintain his position as the bad boy of Neptune, responsible for heinous crime, is significant. And I'm thinking more in association to the bus crash than the murder of Felix. Or for vengenance. But then wyk tells me I'm a conspiracy nut.

misskiwi: That's because they got to her too!

I have a problem with VMVO's final thoughts, because...DUDE. VERONICA. The Fitzpatricks might be involved in the bus crash? They were your first suspects not named "Ed the Bus Driver committed suicide," you fool! Sure, they were disregarded, but STILL.

alliterator: Okay, let me get this straight: somebody at Logan's Life Short party called Weevil and told him that the Fitzpatricks crashed the bus to kill Cervando. Curly Moran, who was found beaten and with Veronica's name on his hand, worked as a stunt coordinator for Aaron Echolls, however, he was also at a biker bar where Weevil beat him badly. And now the PCH bikers are working for the Fitzpatricks, who might have also orchestrated Felix's death and are trying to pin the blame on Logan? Geez, the Fitzpatricks really multitask.

misskiwi: Oh, hey, I forgot about the phone call. Damn.

Inigo: Hey! I don't write the damn mysteries section for my health you know! Keep up!

misskiwi: Don't blame me for the writers dropping more plotlines than an incompetent juggler.

topanga: The fact that Veronica's name was written on Curly's hand suggests that the bus crash and/or Curly's death are somewhow related to her. Who could have written it? Weevil? A Fitzpatrick? I still think Veronica is the rat, though no one but me and her seem to believe that.

misskiwi: Sorry, T, but the rat makes way more sense as a surefire method of getting the rich kids off the bus of DOOOM than as some metaphorical warning to Veronica that she was unlikely to ever find.

As for Curly, when he initially washed up at the end of "Driver Ed", my first thought — and I stand by it as a possibility — was that Curly had written the name on his hand himself. You know, as people do when they need to remember the name of a certain teen P.I. they might need to whack or frame or...something.

Polter-Cow: Soylent Green is Fitzpatricks!

misskiwi: Wouldn't that be Soylent O'Green? Or maybe Lucky Charms.

alliterator: Lucky Charms is people? Man, Charlton Heston got it wrong. I guess that's why they're always after his Lucky Charms.

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