Veronica Mars: Season 4 discussion
July 21, 2019 9:48 AM - Season 4 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Veronica is back, investigating a bomber in Neptune murdering spring breakers. The season follows the film and keeps up with current events.
posted by numaner (35 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
When did Rob Thomas attend the Joss Whedon School of Killing Everything You Love In An Attempt To Be Deep About Women?

Fucking asshole.

At least we never gave Whedon five million fan dollars.
posted by at 10:32 AM on July 21, 2019 [9 favorites]

So first of all, I hated the movie; the only bits I enjoyed were the fanservice-ey stuff. Looking back, how naive I was expecting Season 4 to be good?

It took me a few episodes to get me somewhat hooked the first place. The writing is just sloppy. The whole thing is sloppy. They dangle the dementia storyline for the entirety of the season just to make it go away with a couple of lines. Weevil is perpetually deemed to be doomed, it seems. Wallace is a glorified prop. Characters come and go. Matty is arguably the only good thing about all of this but in the end, her arc feels half-assed.

They go back and forth about how toxic Logan's and Veronica's relationship but even that is half-assed and confusing with way more than necessary will they/won't they bits. If it's toxic then why keep them together? I feel like they don't make a good enough case that it's not toxic, tbh, as much as I stan for LoVe.

But in the end, I was like, whatever, it was a sloppy, mediocre-at-best season but at least we get a happy ending.

And then in the last 15 minutes, Rob Thomas gives a giant fuck you to the audience.

A random Google search accidentally gave me a vaguely spoilery headline along the lines of "Will we see this popular character again in Veronica Mars?" so I was expecting someone to leave, or die through the entire season and then the second Logan says "I'll go move the car" I started shouting "fuck you" at the screen because I knew exactly what was coming (frankly I probably didn't need that Google headline to figure it out).

In conclusion, fuck you too, Rob Thomas.
posted by KTamas at 11:09 AM on July 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

I liked the whole season until those last ten minutes. I’m too upset to really process it right now. My brain feels similar to the day after the election.

WHY!!? Why did they do that! And I know they didn’t show the body and no one actually said he’s dead so technically he could be in a coma or something but that sort of cheap nonsense is even worse. Ugh.
posted by something something at 4:00 PM on July 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

The writing is just sloppy

This really cannot be overemphasized enough. Bloated, sloppy, and just...yeah. You need really tight pacing to get away with the snarky dialogue heavy style, and you also need to really like spending time with the characters — and their relationships — if you’re going to have them say all those words, at length, as though it’s a stage play. And even then, the things they say need to advance the story while also being interesting things to say. It’s hard.

If you fuck up any of those things it’s just...people talking forever. They fucked up all three. And not just with the regulars. That intro Veronica detecting scene, with the woman who’s being cyberstalked and gas lighted by her ex? That scene should have been cut to ribbons. It plods along making the same point over and over again, so that the woman has barely anything to say (she just follows Veronica around making vague confirmation noises), and serves clear story purpose at the time. It is a garbage scene. It would be used as an example of a garbage scene in a basic screenwriting class.

The writing in just that first episode is really, really bad.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:45 PM on July 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

Ok, just finished binging. This
NY Times review kind of sums up how I feel - while I really love Veronica Mars, the 1st season is the only part I can recommend whole heartedly as excellent television. I will watch the characters do just about anything, and there's always some fun dialogue, but the plotting has been weak since season 2. I didn't rewatch before this season, but probably will now, because I really did enjoy this season. I may check back in after rewatch to revise my opinion, but right now I'd say this was better than season 3, at a minimum.

The ending was easier for me to take than for some of you. I feel like Veronica's love interests have always been the weak point of the show. Don't get me wrong, Bell and Doring have great chemistry, but I have never been able to care that much about any of Veronica's relationships. (Ditto the romantic pairings on iZombie, for that matter, I just don't think romance is a Rob Thomas strong suit.) I would have been way more upset if they'd killed off Keith. And I think the misdirection of his possible dementia and health issues kind of worked - the very noir opening of the season told us something terrible was going to happen to someone close to Veronica - the only real candidates were Keith and Logan, maybe Matty as a long shot.

Did anyone relax at the apparent happy ending? For me, that pile of "we're getting married! Keith is fine! we got the reward money!" was so nerve wrecking, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I will pop back later with more thoughts, but I'm just registering my fairly positive reaction to this season. It wasn't brilliant, but I enjoyed it.
posted by the primroses were over at 5:14 PM on July 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

Eh, I binged it and thought it was okay. I'm in the group who loved the first season but thought the show had a lot of problems after that. I felt bad for Veronica, but sort of enjoyed Logan being blown up. Mac and Weevil were maybe my favorite characters on the show other than Veronica and Keith, so this season was a big disappointment in that respect. I think I just don't like Jason Dohring. The whole thing with the Chief of Police always felt forced to me.

Basically we saw almost every actor from the Rob Thomas / Kristen Bell universe. It was sort of weird.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:59 PM on July 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

A great season, and... I liked the ending. I never liked Logan as a romantic partner for Veronica and I feel like he got the pointless death he deserved.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 9:43 PM on July 21, 2019 [8 favorites]

Look, I enjoyed it but it has problems.

Here’s my main beef. What was with the rednecks? What was the point of them? Aside from being heinous classist caricatures in a show about classism, why were they there?

Why didn’t the sitting congressmen have them arrested when they attacked in in his hotel room in front of witnesses, and presumably after having been seen on camera entering the hotel?

How did redneck no 2 survive two gunshots to the chest by two professional hitmen? Why did they not bury the bodies?

What was the point of him coming back if there were zero consequences for the congressman?

I just don’t see what narrative purpose they served. The congressman tainted himself by having them murdered, but so what?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:16 AM on July 22, 2019 [7 favorites]

I haven't heard anything about a another season, but they sure wrote this as if they wanted stuff to work with. That's how I read the dangling politician plotline. And something else I can't recall. Well, Matty, of course.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:30 AM on July 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Aside from being heinous classist caricatures in a show about classism, why were they there?

I kinda liked the contrast between that pair and the Mexican gang assassins, who aside from being cold-blooded killers were like the most engaging guys in the entire show.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 7:14 AM on July 22, 2019 [5 favorites]

I loved it. Even the ending.
posted by Pendragon at 1:40 PM on July 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

The more I consider the ending, particularly in light of this TV guide tweet featuring a very sad Jason Dohring explicitly saying “Well I died.” I think there’s a non-zero chance they’re setting up some sort of reversal on this. It’s just too weird, going for something so controversial and not even showing it, or having any sort of closure to it. It’s a very bad way to handle a very well loved show, and I’m skeptical that Rob Thomas really thought he needed to rip the bandaid off that badly. I’m completely prepared to be wrong, but it just seems weird.
posted by bluloo at 4:11 PM on July 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Alan Sepinwall interviewed Rob Thomas about the season (as he often does with show runners), and Thomas is direct and explicit: He doesn't want to tell stories about a Veronica Mars with a happy home and romantic life. So he could split LoVe up, or he could put them together and then kill Logan. He chose door #2.

I'm not a big LoVe guy, I watch for the snark and the mystery. I got plenty of that this season, easily the best of both since season 1. But Logan's death overshadows everything else, and I was pretty angry as the episode ended, for sure. It seems cruel to both the character Veronica and to the many MANY fans who are deeply invested in LoVe. I think it's fair to say those are the folks who funded the movie (I sure didn't!), and I'm sure lots of them are feeling like Willa Paska at Slate and will choose to be done with the show.
posted by Frayed Knot at 5:56 PM on July 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Three laps around the sun is three years. Not three days. I know because I make this stupid joke on people's birthdays every lap around the sun.
posted by srboisvert at 6:13 PM on July 22, 2019 [7 favorites]

Yeah, I think forgoing fan-service and moving away from the romance is the right decision and I respect Thomas for it. I'm probably not an invested shipper of TV shows, generally, but I thought that was the least-interesting and most distracting part of VM. It's core was Veronica and Keith's relationship, and noir translated into the milieu of a very snarky teen girl.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:36 PM on July 22, 2019 [6 favorites]

I noted the “lap around the sun” was a year, and a friend I watched it with noted that three years ago was the tent fire at the beach, so that may have been an extra reference or misdirection somehow.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:46 PM on July 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

I really enjoyed how Big Dick had a Peloton in the middle of his empty giant living room in front of a lovely view. And JK Simmons was doing a very Breaking Bad character -- I had to pause to laugh at the Cinnabon comment.

I do think the ending was a bit too noir even for the show. (Telling Dr Laura Roslin that her father is dating someone is not good.) I get that Rob Thomas finds a settled relationship boring, so there weren't many options given that constraint -- but I think it's a fake constraint, especially given Logan's convenient job that has him disappear a lot.
posted by jeather at 8:15 AM on July 23, 2019

I couldn't help but remember Rita's death on Dexter after watching this (and I liked Logan but not Rita, very much) and how it came after everything was supposed to be neatly settled, Trinity/bomber taken care of, etc. Unfortunately that comparison made the ending feel like I'd seen it before and that spoiled some of the impact. Also, the Cinnabon comment made me snort laughter, in part because the Mexican hitmen had been annoying me by reminding me of Breaking Bad hitmen but they were goofy instead of scary, and that comment confirmed that Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul did most likely influence this show. As for the on-again off-again let's get married plot, that wasn't my favorite and I wish the writing hadn't focused on it with such absorption. I liked Matty and wish we had seen more of her.
posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 11:12 AM on July 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

I really missed the old structure of "mystery of the week" with an overarching plot. It just felt like such a different show. Obviously, not being able to do high school noir is the biggest difference but this season is also structured differently. Though having only 8 episodes compared to 22 would necessitate a different storytelling structure. And boy, Wallace sure got short shrift.
posted by acidnova at 12:34 PM on July 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

> And JK Simmons was doing a very Breaking Bad character

Wait, am I the only one who thought he was cosplaying as Heisenberg? The hat!
posted by Pronoiac at 1:23 PM on July 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

I really liked the season in terms of characters and plotting, I didn't find the story and the mystery to be weak.

I was ambivalent about the ending. I wasn't a fan of Logan, but I also wanted Veronica to have her happy ending because she's just been through so much shit.

I don't know if I like that the show is moving away from Neptune. When the movie started with her in New York I thought it was going to be so weird. But I understand that shows have to evolve, I'm actually supportive of shows that shift its settings to breathe new life into its characters. However, Keith and Veronica is the show, and splitting them up feels like a bad idea.

I was also disappointed that Wallace barely had anything to do and Weevil didn't get his happy ending either. I mean, I was so sad for him that he didn't get to walk at graduation, and the 3rd season gave him so much hope, then the movie was very positive, only to have him go back to his old ways in this season. I know he represents an aspect of the class struggles, but I would've appreciated a different character taking on that role, perhaps Hector, and have that conflict of "I told you so" be between Hector and Weevil, who's reformed and maybe helping Veronica.

But the balance of that are Matty and Nicole, who are both great characters that I was glad to get to know. I know Matty is definitely coming back (that is if Izabela Vidovic doesn't get too tied up playing teenage Kara Danvers on Supergirl), but I feel like Nicole could too. She's left town so she can possibly pop up in Veronica's travels.

I'll probably keep watching since I like the season enough, but I do hope for more next season.
posted by numaner at 9:33 PM on July 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

A considered take from Anne T. Donahue at Vulture:

And therein lies the truth behind Veronica’s character in season four: She is older, and that is it. But the lack of evolution between her teen and 30-something selves doesn’t take away from this latest installment of
Veronica Mars. In fact, it makes it better. Because while I’d love to have watched her championing therapy, communication, and shutting up when Weevil explained this lack of choices, I love even more that we’ve been set up for a complicated, “What the fuck, Veronica?!”–type of relationship traditionally set aside for male leads of prestige TV shows. Especially since, while rooting for Veronica, we’ve never been shielded from her at-times problematic nature nor her mistakes. She’s not an antihero, but we’ve been given a front-row seat into the realities of a person whose coping mechanisms aren’t effective or helpful anymore. In fact, they’ve tethered her to a life she isn’t happy with at all. And, because she’s never learned to communicate, she lashes out and clings to old habits despite how damaging both things can be.
posted by cgc373 at 1:35 PM on July 26, 2019 [6 favorites]

It just feels so low-effort to just say (paraphrasing) "we need her to not have a husband for the story to work." Why can't she just have a complicated, couples-therapy type of relationship with big chunks of time apart? Why can't the stress of struggling with intimacy and trust and avoidance -- especially given both of them have separately trained to be virtuous but utilitarian sociopaths their whole adult lives and now need to start unlearning that behavior, at least with each other -- why can't that be an added story element instead of an impediment to the plot? It makes me feel like the writers don't really understand what could be compelling about a human relationship beyond "will they or won't they."
posted by en forme de poire at 5:55 PM on July 27, 2019 [8 favorites]

My partner and I spent the last three episodes debating whether the writers were going to kill Keith, Logan, or both. To be honest, I’m happy to have kept Keith. I’ll miss Logan, but the show clearly didn’t know what to do with his character anymore.

As it is... not my favorite season of Veronica Mars but overall fine. I thought the storyline with the Congressman was too drawn out and not well thought out, and Penn was unconvincing as a villain. But on the other hand, Matty was a good addition, and I would watch the Keith and Clyde show all day long.

Interesting if the next season will be out of Neptune. I’ll watch it, but not sure I believe Veronica can carry a show without all the world-building of the town and the supporting cast.
posted by a device for making your enemy change his mind at 8:44 PM on July 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

This ending means that she can't grow or change. She really tried to and then was punished. There's literally a shot, right after the bombing of her face rehardening. So when Rob Thomas et al say in interviews that they want Veronica in the fight, that isn't fair to Veronica, who has ALWAYS been in the fight. We want to see our girl win, and get something. I mean, if i wanted to watch a dark crime show, I would watch True Detective. But I don't. This death just keeps Veronica as she was, for the sake of more storytelling, a narrow storytelling (we don't need MORE solely crime tv) and that's ridiculous.

There were SO many interesting stories that could have been told as Veronica matures. We saw it some in season 4, but it doesn't go away all at once. She would struggle with being married, not recognizing herself, not having certain freedoms, etc. I don't think she's the type to want kids, but what if she had them anyway? How would veronica, with her dark impulses, her isolationism, for everyone but her dad, make her feel? That is amazing and compelling. Its something that viewers, many of us who have grown up with Veronica would love to see as we navigate our own lives. But that's not the show Rob Thomas wants to make, and that's thoroughly disappointing. I really don't think i would watch any more of the show, were one to appear in another 5 years, because it wouldn't be the same show.
posted by CPAGirl at 1:39 PM on August 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

This ending means that she can't grow or change. She really tried to and then was punished.

It's noir. You don't get to have a happy ending in noir. Period. So yeah, I'm not happy about Logan's death but it was clearly gonna be him or Keith because it's noir. You can't have Veronica soft and happy, only Wallace is allowed to have that.

Other than that...I thought it was pretty good. I liked Maddie and Clyde. The Mexican hit men (or at least Alonzo) were surprisingly engaging and I normally hate Mexican hit men. The bad guy won very, very much. Patton Oswalt is always good. I'm sad about ... I forget her name, Nicole, but I figured she was probably a crime figure and was surprised she didn't end up as one in the end (because noir).

I missed Mac. Wallace doesn't really fit in Veronica's world any more now that he's happy. I'm sorry Weevil's come out as he has (again, though, it's noir, so not a shock) but I did cheer when he still came to save Veronica at the end.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:35 PM on August 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

I guess the thing that I liked about VM is that it played with the cliches of noir by throwing them in a blender with the cliches of high school coming of age stories. It made it less predictable. That's why I wish this season would have done something similar with 30-something-appropriate tropes like marriage counseling, as opposed to just becoming a regular noir pastiche.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:16 PM on August 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

It was strange that the show never explicitly says that Logan is dead, but the people around the show are saying he is.

I thought the season was good, and pinged a lot of what I love about VM, particularly Keith, and his dynamic with Veronica. And while Logan seemed defanged at the beginning, Thomas did a good job of demonstrating that he had just, you know, grown up. He had recognized his issues and worked on them.

But Weevil is exactly right. She is wasting her own and everyone else's time in Neptune. I'm ambivalent about the choice to kill off Logan, but the flaw in Thomas's argument is that her marriage to Logan was the one movable feast in her life. Nothing about his life required him to be in Neptune (except his surfing?). She could go to a new place, make full use of her talents and training, and he would happily come along for the ride.
posted by dry white toast at 10:06 PM on August 9, 2019

There were things I liked and things I didn't. The intro credits to this season really scream "Prestige TV like True Detective or Those Scandinoirs," but that doesn't make it so, nor would I want it to be. Largely, it was okay; pretty good Veronica Mars product with all that entails. As everyone has noted it's largely about the father daughter banter and that was pretty good.

Boy, the Maloof plot sure was complicated and then vanished strangely.

Keith's dementia disappearing completely was obnoxious. I feel like it should have ended with his problems being mitigated, but he's seen the writing on the wall and he's going to retire anyway... but he'd still hang out around the office and (guardedly) help out anyway -- so, status quo altered but largely intact. It's not clear to me why they wanted to give him that ending unless it was just make me go :-/ at the thought that I'd probably rather watch the Keith and Matty spinoff now: Veronica Mars without Veronica Mars.

Except I didn't really like Matty. Not just because the Mars Investigations office opsec had me tearing my hair out, but because she's pretty bland.

I didn't hate that they killed Logan. I knew it was coming if they got married. Just like James Bond, there's no spouse for you, Veronica. I would have preferred if Logan had just realized he couldn't be with Veronica, probably over something specific like having a kid, and maybe they're too old to just go into marriage with snarky bravado in the face of all the red flags.

It was weird to have two scenes where JK Simmons shows up with a drink to congratulate Keith. Seemed like a narrative Don't.

I'm a little annoyed at how Keith and Veronica failed so much. When they investigate the pizza receipts, it's because Penn yells at them to ignore it, which they think is an indication of where to look because he's the bomber. They magically find evidence that exonerates Penn and points to the real bomber -- forgetting about Penn's weird "don't look there!" signal to look there in the first place. Okay, they were investigating the frat boys already, so it's forgivable. Less forgivable is when they forget about the suspicious backpack the crazy bomber leaves in Veronica's car, that they noted earlier. I guess it's just another part of a kind of unsatisfying resolution to the season.
posted by fleacircus at 9:38 AM on August 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

I had some pretty weird feels about Patton Oswalt playing a character that was obviously an homage to his real-life late wife... and then that character turning out to be the main bad guy, and a remorseless one at that. Obviously he agreed to do it and I don't know his life and who knows maybe this would have delighted her or this is otherwise a useful coping mechanism and have no place to judge, but it definitely sat a little weird with me.

But also, I've spent the past couple weeks immersed in Rob Thomas-land, between rewatching the first 3 seasons of Veronica Mars, finishing the last several episodes of iZombie, and watching the new season of Veronica Mars. You watch a bunch of stuff from the same creator like that, you see patterns. So, so much casual misogyny and apologism and problematic race issues. I don't know how I overlooked VM season 3's awful false rape report storyline the first couple times. I think I am definitely done for good now.
posted by rhiannonstone at 1:09 AM on August 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

So if you'd told me going in that Logan (whom I have always hated) would be an even Loganier Logan (complete with his own subplot arc that manages to be dumb and pointless), but would die right at the end (not even die heroically saving Veronica, but just die randomly and stupidly), I would probably have been pretty happy about that, all in all. And yet, it was so randomly and stupidly that I couldn't even appreciate it. I get that it's all supposed to be noir, but this was just nihilism in the service of an essentially post-credits pathos scene.

Blah, I say, and blah once more.
posted by Etrigan at 1:23 PM on August 19, 2019

Keith's dementia disappearing completely was obnoxious. I feel like it should have ended with his problems being mitigated, but he's seen the writing on the wall and he's going to retire anyway... but he'd still hang out around the office and (guardedly) help out anyway -- so, status quo altered but largely intact. It's not clear to me why they wanted to give him that ending unless it was just make me go :-/

It's a red flag to make you think that Keith will die rather than Logan.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:24 PM on August 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

I recently finished up the pretty lackluster series finale of iZombie and now this, maybe Rob Thomas should just do season 1 of his shows and then let someone else take over.

I didn't hate it but it was only mildly enjoyable. I figured Logan would die somewhere closer to the midpoint to give this mystery the personal stakes for Veronica that it was lacking. I think that would have been better than the very clumsy plot maneuvering required to get Logan but not Veronica into the car at the precise moment required.

Losing the mystery of the week rhythm really hurts the show. I think it needs that contrast between heavy and light plotting to help complement the characterization/dialogue, the banter just feels weird and forced when Veronica is focused only one one big, super serious case. And since we're really just here for the fun banter between Veronica and her foils, getting something that's just another 8-10 hour mystery makes the whole tone and feel of the whole show off-kilter. Though I felt that way about season 3 as well, and probably would feel that way about the movie if I could remember anything from it.

The only thing that I really liked was the theme they sorta developed that Logan, who was a genuine shithead and incapable of a healthy relationship for seasons 1-3, apparently worked hard to mature into the stable, supportive boyfriend that Veronica deserves but cannot get excited about anymore. They should have just drifted apart in the five years after the events of the movie even if they were able to keep things on good terms.
posted by skewed at 12:39 PM on September 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

I would feel bad saying something this shallow about an actress (which maybe means I should feel bad now, though this feels like punching across rather than down) but did Francis Capra (Weevil) spend the last five to ten years eating unhealthy food and making poor health choices? I remember him as being a handsome lad and he looks used up and awful now.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:48 PM on October 9, 2019

Why Mac gotta be in Istambul? I mean, if Mac’s in Istambul maybe we should go there too, right?
posted by chrchr at 10:26 PM on October 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

« Older Podcast: Against the Rules wit...   |  Book: The Happiness Project, T... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments