Cable for One – Veronica Mars – 3-15

So it turns out that Tim was the one who murdered Dean O’Dell. How would ever have guessed? Oh, I Know! I would have. When the Dean was found dead at the end of “Spit and Eggs”, I went with Tim as my suspect of choice. I didn’t have any particularly strong reason to suspect Tim at the time, but he seemed the most likely of the non-obvious choices (as, of course, the obvious suspects are very rarely guilty in the land of fiction). To the writers’ credit, by the time we had gotten to the end of last week’s show, I didn’t really have any confidence in guessing the identity of the murderer. However, the way that “Papa’s Cabin” was laid out, there was no way Tim wasn’t the murderer.

The problem with this episode is that when you factor in that the obvious people are rarely guilty and combine that with the dramatic need to have the guilty party feature in a semi-prominent role throughout the episode, we were left with only one option, i.e. Tim. I actually thought Tim and Veronica made an effective crime-solving duo and I didn’t really want Tim to be the murderer, but right from the start of this episode, I was pretty sure he was guilty. The way Tim kept turning up all kinds of evidence (finding the right DVD amongst hundreds, finding the cellphone while off-screen, etc) certainly didn’t help.

The end of episode ‘swerve’ was anti-climatic at best. Even if you weren’t suspecting Tim already, the scene with Tim filling in for Landry’s class (esp with a good ten minutes or so left in the episode) had no logical or compelling direction to go in other than ‘Tim’s the real murderer’. So, when Tim started to trip up, there was no real ‘a-ha!’ moment, it played out just as expected.

It was kind of surprising just how many people came to a bad end during this episode. Mindy’s dead, ‘accidentally’ killed by Landry (who is probably looking at some jail time as a result), Veronica’s probably out of a TA job, Tim’s charged with murder and his girlfriend, Bonnie can’t be having a very good year either (though in retrospect she’s probably less bitter about her friend aborting her pregnancy now that the person who was going to marry her is likely to be spending a very long time locked away, so that’s a bit of positive anyway). Keith seems to have been about the only person to come out ahead for the arc.

There were a couple developments that were iffy, I won’t call them outright plot holes, but they could have used a bit of additional explanation. Mindy’s choice to skip town as soon as she had her money, for example, could have benefited from a reason. It may be that she felt guilty about testifying against Landry, and simply didn’t want to do that, or perhaps she feared Landry would seek revenge (which would explain her reaction when he showed up on her boat) and didn’t trust the police to keep her safe. We just don’t know so it almost seems like the only reason she fled was to try and make the audience think she was the real murderer.

I’m also curious about why Landry ordered Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang while Mindy was gone. He was worried about what Mindy and/or the Dean might do, so it doesn’t really seem like he’d be in the mood to watch a movie. Plus he left before Mindy got back which means he didn’t actually have time to watch the movie. So other than to give Kieth and Veronica something to question, there doesn’t seem to be much of a reason for Landry’s PPV movie order.

A much smaller question occurred when Veronica and Tim were listening to the recordings from Landry’s cell phone. The call Veronica noticed was from “the same day” as the murder, but as the murder actually occurred after midnight, if the call really did take place on the same day as the murder, it would have happened after the murder. Seeing as Tim’s motivation was based on what Landry said during the phone call, it certainly shouldn’t have happened after the murder. It’s entirely possible that Tim was taking in to account that people generally consider it to be the same day from the time they wake up until they go to bed, even if it is split up over two actual days (this is even more likely when you consider that he had already heard it and knew it came from the figurative ‘same day’ as the murder). Also, it seems odd that Landry had so few calls on his cell phone that having one within the same 24 hours as the murder caught Veronica’s attention.

This episode was pretty much entirely focused on the Dean O’Dell arc, rightfully so. Therefore, we didn’t get a whole lot of other things happening in this episode, but we did get a bit more with Logan and Parker. It looks like things are proceeding on the Parker and Logan front. It was good that Parker was unwilling to get involved with Logan without Veronica’s blessing, though I don’t think that will do much to spare her from hate on the message boards of the internet. It seems that whenever you have two ‘meant to be together’ characters, people really loathe anyone who stands in between. The other day I was poking around an The Office related board, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of hatred lumped on Karen simply because she’s dating Jim. I fear Parker will be receiving a similar treatment on the VM boards.

The ending of “Papa’s Cabin” was unusual for Veronica Mars. For the first time I can recall in the history of the show, there’s no pressing mystery as an episode comes to a close. Even in the past season finales, something was introduced to keep people wondering; in season one, it was “Who’s at the door?” and then season two was “What’s in the briefcase?”, but at the end of this week’s episode, there was nothing like that. While it is almost certainly due to the fact the remainder of the season is going to be primarily standalone episodes, I thought it was a nice change of pace. So very many Veronica Mars episodes end with a sudden revelation/cliffhanger, that it is nice to have an episode that just ends.

Unfortunately, that ending will have to tide us over for the next eight weeks as CW airs Pussycat Dolls: The Search for the Next Doll (doesn’t the title alone scream ‘winner’?). My guess is the worse Dolls does, the better the chances of CW picking up Veronica Mars for a fourth season, so here’s hoping it crashes and burns.

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