Friday, February 2, 2007

TV: Veronica Mars (3.11) - 'Poughkeepsie, Tramps & Thieves'

vm 3-11

(Air date: 1/30/07)
The theme of this week’s episode was trust -- when to give it and who to give it to. Apparently, according to Veronica Mars, you can kinda trust hookers looking to evade their pimps. Unfortunately, you can’t trust a semi-reformed bad boy like Logan Echolls.

The teaser and first act of this ep were hilarious and very, very intriguing. There was no sign of Piz, Mac or Wallace, but we did get a whole lot of face time with Max (a.k.a. the Louis Skolnick-looking dude who sells phony term papers on campus). I couldn’t keep up with how many clever Battlestar Galactica references were dropped in the opening scene alone (I lost count at 400 billion). If more Max means more Galactica references, then I say give the guy some credit sequence billing.

Besides giving Veronica a reason to say "frak," Max provided her with the mystery of the week: Track down the hot hooker hired by my friends to seduce me.

I was right there with Veronica in doubting the sudden spark between Max and Chelsea/Wendy/ Fiona (she’s the hooker with a thousand names, and yes, she has a heart of gold). Veronica’s a little more jaded than most -- coming of age while tailing unfaithful spouses for money will do that to you -- but it wasn’t a stretch to think that, maybe, this hooker was playing our Starbuck-loving friend for a fool. He’s desperate and he’s got wads of cash. He’s the perfect mark for a cute hooker-con woman.

But this is Veronica Mars. Things are much more complicated than that. Unfortunately, as the ep went on and the plot continued to coil, things came to a drowsy crawl before the last act hit. It wasn’t hard to keep up with the twists, but after I while I just stopped caring. I’m guessing that most viewers felt the same.

The Galactica references were very funny, and brave, and the plot wasn’t exactly humdrum, but I was a little disturbed by this ep. With the news that VM will ditch season-long arcs in an effort to gain new viewers, one thought kept running through my brain: Name-dropping another low-rated cult TV series and throwing the viewer a million curveballs in one ep probably won’t help raise the ratings. It doesn’t make sense that the powers that be behind VM would want to sacrifice the arcs, which the fans love and have proven to up ratings, but keep all the obscure references and super-dense plots, which undoubtedly alienate new viewers.

Speaking of arcs, we got a great interrogation scene with Keith. Decked out in too-tight fake police duds, he hammered the sanctimonious Lilith House chicks about the night Dean O’Dell died. Yeah, they egged his van and his office, but head Lilith Nish says she egged the Dean’s Volvo alone. Too bad for her then that O’Dell wasn’t driving the Volvo the night he died. Also, Nish’s mouth almost hit the floor when she learned that Keith was investigating O'Dell's death as a murder. I guess that makes her suspect number three, right behind Prof. Landry and Cheaty O’Dell.

I liked the quiet moments between Veronica and Logan, especially the intimate Q&A session at the end (scored by Leonard Cohen). Veronica was pleased and surprised to find out that Logan had never slept with a hooker. He smartly copped to fooling around with that surfer skank in the last ep, but Veronica was cool with it. However, she wasn't cool with Madison (where'd she come from anyway) saying she had a fling with Logan in Aspen. My guess? It might have happened, but Madison is a liar and she likes to push Veronica's buttons. It wouldn't be the first time she tried to screw with Veronica.

Random thought: Why is it that everyone Logan hangs out with or screws, save Veronica, is a shallow jerk (Dick, Mercer, Chip, surfer skank and now Madison)? Logan's come a long way. Shouldn't his friends reflect that journey?

The CW is now streaming this ep online. Also, watch a preview of next Tuesday's ep and consider the question: Is Veronica preggers?

Memorable quote: (Besides all the great Galactica references)
Veronica: (Examining the escort search engine) It's like a Zagat guide for hookers!

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