3.01 "Welcome Wagon"

Aired Oct 03, 2006

Roundtable Reviews

misskiwi: Honestly, I felt like this episode — much like season two as a whole — tried to do too much. The MotW, the rape arc, Dick's plotline, the complicated nonsense with Keith, Cormac, and Kendall, introducing us to all the new characters and Hearst...it just felt kind of mashed together instead of being a coherent whole.

fickledame: I loved the episode. It was fun and witty. I felt Keith's plot was a bit complicated, but it was my fault because I missed the name of who he was with, so it lost me pretty quickly. Overall, great episode. I think Rob Thomas said they were trying to give it a Gilmore Girls-like vibe for drawing new viewers in for the first episode. I think they succeeded and trumped Gilmore Girls.

alliterator: I actually felt this episode tried to do too little, misskiwi. Most of the stuff focused on Hearst and the new college setting.

topanga: I agree, alliterator. The pace was a little slow, but I liked the episode overall. I missed the high-drama and noir that make this show so great. I'm don't mean car-chasing, bar-fight action, which Veronica Mars also does well, but the tension and suspense that keepd me on the edge of my seat. Carefully woven plotlines can do this.

misskiwi: But think about the best episodes of season one: at most, they had three plots going: the Lilly murder, the MotW, and maybe a side plot like Lynn's suicide. And if there was a side plot, they tended to lighten up on the Lilly case. This episode? Had four. Last year's season premiere had three, if I remember correctly. I also smell the same problem with the lack of a single guiding creative mind — the writers couldn't even follow what they set up less than five episodes earlier with writing Dick out of a way into college. They played it for the joke ("See you in summer school, Dick!") and never thought ahead about the consequences. I have no problem with them wanting to bring Dick to Hearst, I suppose, but they can't even play by the rules they're making up. That does not bode well for season-long (or arc-long) coherence and pieces falling into place.

Inigo: But...but...why is that the writers not following their own history. Dick had to go to summer school, Dick went to summer school, got physics. One isn't stopped from going to university because they had to retake something, are they? And summer school doesn't literally take all summer. He'd still have time to spend in the Caymans.

alliterator: I thought they gave an adequate (albeit exposition-filled) explanation for Dick being there. But as for the too many plotlines thing, I see only two main plotlines for this episode: Piz's stuff gets stolen and Keith and Cormac's adventures in noir. The rape angle is on the sidelines until the very end and the Dick storyline only gets at most three scenes (one of which intersects with the rape storyline). On the one hand, I think that taking these storylines slow is a good thing, because it means new viewers have time to catch up, but on the other hand, the show doesn't have the same pace as it used to have.

topanga: I agree, alliterator. I liked it overall, but the pacing was a little slow. I missed the high drama and noir that make this show so great. I'm not talking about shoot 'em up, car-exploding action, but the tension, suspense, and emotional drama that this show does so well and keep me on the edge of my seat. Skillfully woven plots can do this.

fickledame: The mystery was a great introduction to Piz, and something light and easy to start the season off — which looks set to be a dark one.

fulfilled: Plus, I love the fact that the mystery gave us a Duncan reference. They haven't forgotten about him!

misskiwi: The viewing of the bust from lawn chairs and the victorious raising and clinking of the bottles has easily made it into my top five of Veronica's moments of triumph. (Other notable entries include "Veronica Mars is smarter than me" and "TA DA!".)

alliterator: Heh. Were they drinking wine coolers? It seems like they wouldn't want to drink alcohol in front of Deputy Sacks.

topanga: I doubt Veronica will ever be a heavy drinker. She's learned well from her mother. But she did have fun drinking the Irish coffees when she went out with Mac. Hmm. Foreshadowing?

fickledame: Veronica and Piz were actually drinking water. Which is one of many water references in the episode. A clue, perhaps?

Polter-Cow: Perhaps a reference to the watered-down remix of "We Used to Be Friends"?

misskiwi: Why do you hate me, Rob? WHHYYY? I know my bomping along every week to "We Used to be Friends" was dorky, but it was fun! It was the VM Credits dance! And now I just have to...sit there and be sad that there's no dancing.

fickledame: Okay, I'm being Positive Polly, but I LOVE the new credits! The slower song fits the show so well, and I love the noir themes of the photos. I love the choices, particularly Logan and Veronica and then Keith and Veronica at the end. I'll miss the dancing too, but there are always re-runs for that!

alliterator: I miss pumping up my fists when the credits played (the song's too...mellow to do a fist-pump now), but that's a fair trade for how AWESOME the new credits look. Seriously. Totally noirish.

misskiwi: I'll concede that the graphics kick ass, but...yeah. I'll just sit here and dance alone to the real version of "We Used to be Friends." Come on now, sugah! Bring it on, bring it on now...

Polter-Cow: The new credits really grew on me. They're like this weird hybrid of dance-noir. Hey, speaking of hybrids...

misskiwi: Okay, okay, I give up: product-placing a new car for Veronica was totally worth the payoff of the "A Saturn for a Mars" line. Whoever had the idea of approaching them deserves a raise.

fickledame: I agree with misskiwi that the line was brilliant, but I'm sad to see the LeBaron go. The Saturn doesn't fit her so well.

alliterator: I disagree; that line may have been good, but I miss the LeBaron. Why hast thou forsaken me, Rob?

topanga: You're so dramatic, 'lit. I'm not loving the new characters yet. I liked Piz, Wallace's roommate, but Parker, Mac's roommate, is very annoying. It's obvious who the established characters are — there's chemistry among the actors that will take a while for the newbies to develop.

misskiwi: First off, I think Parker is supposed to be annoying, although it certainly doesn't help pull us into feeling for her as a victim. And I'll second your liking of Piz. What I like most about him, I think, is his somewhat-dorky crush on Veronica. I loved the way Piz was always...not checking her out, but slyly glancing over to see what she was doing or if she happened to be looking at him. First off because, seriously, girl has it going on and should have guys falling at her feet every once in a while. And secondly because it's one of those interesting layers I like in a TV show that's very true to life and doesn't feel like the same-old, same-old TV formula. It's not an anvilicious setup for a love triangle (at least it had better not be, ROB), it's just...how it goes, sometimes.

topanga: Unfortunately, there are subtle hints of a triangle already. Veronica got slightly frustrated that Logan hasn't been going to class and seems willing to squander his life. She has doubts about whether a high-school-to-college romance can last. And when Piz asks her if "that guy from last night" is her boyfriend, there was a dramatic pause. I don't think she ever answered him. Was she ashamed? Was she pitying Piz? Is she feeling Piz a little?

fickledame: I 100% think the pause was because she just realised Piz liked her, nothing to do with doubting Logan. It was like someone slapping her over the head saying — duh!

misskiwi: That's how I read it, too. I suspect her inner VMVO was whispering "Awkward!"

topanga: Oh. Makes sense. Veronica is probably oblivious to any guy's attention except Logan.

fulfilled: I really liked the familiarity and comfortable intimacy between them that was established as having developed over the summer — I think that one of my favorite moments between them was the tazer scene, with the "Your bag..." comment from Logan. For some reason, that really resonated, and I loved that they're comfortable enough that he could go into her purse, and that she knew that it was something that he needed to do. I didn't take it as a "damsel in distress" type of thing at all; to me, it was that Logan had to be the one to step in and help Dick, and she was, in this case, the support making it happen, but it wasn't her moment and it didn't need to be.

misskiwi: Yeah, I liked that moment too. The only problem I had with that scene had to do with why the guy was beating the shit out of Dick when it wasn't obvious that he was within earshot — which, hopefully, he would have to have been in order to have that kind of forceful reaction.

fickledame: I loved the bag scene too, and particularly her being stumped for words when he gives her the key. It was like the "I love you" scene in "Normal is the Watchword" — no reply, but shiny happiness.

topanga: I loved Kristen Bell's delivery of "A bow? You got me a bow?" She sounded very sincere when she said it, and since the sincerity was supposed to be fake, her enthusiasm made the line that much funnier. KB rocks.

Inigo: I'm with the minority here. I think Veronica is questioning her relationship with Logan, big time. And it fits in the sense that she's never really every known or understood why she's with Logan. 'Cept for the sex. The two incidents in the episode, on high school romances and her response to Piz's question, seem beyond coincidence to have two different explanations.

topanga: Okay, so I'm not crazy. Thanks, Inigo.

alliterator: Heh. Oh yeah, the hacky sack scene was cool. Especially when Veronica says "You're pathetic," and Wallace says that hacky sack is a white man's sport (which is a nice throw-back to the first season when he called hacky sack the last sport that white men dominated). And how Wallace kicked it back to Piz, who totally missed it.

misskiwi: Boys are dumb. And this may just be because my alma mater is in a climate where no part of the school year is warm enough for it, but did anyone else's campus actually have an entire section devoted to sunbathing in bikinis?

topanga: My college campus was on the shores of Lake Michigan. We wore wool bikinis.

alliterator: It is appropriately warm in Riverside for sunbathing, but if there was a place where the girls only wore bikinis...well, let's just say it would be crowded.

fulfilled: Speaking of bikinis... I just have to say, Ryan Hansen was amazing. Regardless of where Dick as a character goes, I'm hoping that they give Ryan more meaty material like that to work with. But, come to think of it, what would actually make Dick feel remorse? I think I've just realized part of why that scene is so jarring for me. Nothing Dick does is wrong in his own eyes, so for him to admit responsibility for something (even more than the fact that he broke down) is significant.

fickledame: I hate the character of Dick, so much. It will take such a vast amount to redeem him, to me. I did feel a glimmer of...something, in the last scene, but then what he said to Mac comes slamming back, and I hate him again.

misskiwi: Just put that scene of him being kneed in the balls on a loop and it's all good, fickledame.

fickledame: Oh, I have! It does soothe the burning rage a little. ;)

topanga: Wow. I never knew Ryan Hansen had such a nice body. And his smooth dancing? Maybe it's from all of the practice with his fictitious boy-band on That's So Raven.

Polter-Cow: Well, now that we've talked about the parts of the episode that made sense...

misskiwi: Okay, what's up with the briefcase? I mean...how? But...huh? I'm so totally confused. Did Cormac use Keith to get Kendall's whereabouts? Why did Vinnie need to bug Keith if Cormac was the actual bad guy? Why didn't Cormac shoot Kendall and Keith while Keith was, you know...in the room, and not halfway out the door to "safety"? I thought when Keith discovered the pen that Liam had hired Vinnie to track Keith and Cormac to Kendall, and that Liam had gotten his hands on Keith's gun, but...yeah, I give up.

fickledame: I don't think Liam and Cormac were working together. I assume Vinnie and Liam were working together, and Cormac was using Keith to get to Kendall, kill them both and take the money. As for waiting until Keith was out the door, I assume so he could have a clear shot? Or...for dramatic effect, so we as viewers could see the gun was missing.

misskiwi: Okay, so Cormac was using Keith to get to Kendall and waited for Keith to leave the room before revealing himself because he has the I.Q. of a turnip. So how do the pen, Vinnie, and Liam come into it? Why did that tip Keith off that something was wrong? Or did he just assume that Liam was on his way thanks to Vinnie (which is what I thought when I saw the pen) or that Liam was already there (which is what I thought when I saw the gun was gone), but that it actually turned out Cormac was turning on Kendall? Were Liam/Vinnie on the way, but didn't get there before Cormac double-crossed Kendall and Keith? Maybe Rob just gets his kicks out of using spy pens and then leaving us hanging.

fickledame: Pretty much. Well, I'm not sure if it's all been revealed yet, but I assumed Vinnie and Liam were working together seperately? I think Keith thought Liam was indeed on his way, but when he saw the gun, it clicked that Cormac was the one he should be worrying about. The more I think about it, the more I think all the Liam and Vinnie stuff will be explained next episode, and we aren't supposed to understand it all yet.

fickledame: A great start to the first mystery arc! The ending was jarring and chilling, even if I had seen it coming.

misskiwi: From so, so far away. (Hey, I've seen the mystery itself coming — along with anyone with half a brain, probably — since "The Rapes of Graff".)

fickledame: Veronica walking in on the rape was particularly hard for me, as I feel so awful for her. I just know she's going to blame herself, and probably, Parker will blame her too for it. I thought it was a great set-up.

misskiwi: Ooh, I'd like to see that. We won't, but I'd love to see Parker resenting the fact that Veronica and Mac were actually there and could have stopped the rape (not that they had any reason to suspect what was going on) and them feeling guilty about it. I'd also really like to see Veronica dealing with some dredged-up emotion with respect to her rape — particularly since *shudder* they had to go and rehash the resolution of that. Time will tell.

fickledame: Oh, me too, misskiwi. Emotion from Veronica would be really great to see. I really wouldn't be surprised if Veronica was blamed, because even though logically, like you said, she had no reason to suspect, I think if Veronica had known someone had been in the room at Shelly's party — she would have thought, how could you not have known, and Veronica's guilt will go that way as well.

misskiwi: I always get my hopes up about seeing that sort of thing. I have yet to actually get it.

topanga: Keep hope alive, misskiwi. Keep hope alive.

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