Before I even get my engines revved, if you haven’t watched the eight episode Veronica Mars reboot, now streaming on Hulu, turn back now. This is a no holds barred review and I don’t want to spoil the series for anyone.
If you had asked me a few months ago what I thought about the fact that we were getting a Veronica Mars reboot, I would have told you that I was on cloud-fucking-nine and that it was a dream come true! I, like so many others, was so ecstatic knowing that we were getting more of the feisty blonde P.I. and the amazing cast that made up this noir show that we’ve loved for 15 years. After a film and two books, getting to see these characters brought to life yet again was everything a Marshmallow could hope for. As the promos dropped and we found out more about this eight episode season, it was clear that the rules that contained VMars on UPN were definitely out the window with Hulu and we all knew that would be a good thing. Not to mention all of the Logan and Veronica photos and scenes we received.
Yes, past me was excited and nothing else mattered.
Flash forward to July 19th and I’m now singing a different tune. Gone is the excitement and hope for the return of a show I’ve loved for so long; in its place, anger, gut-wrenching sadness and utter shock. I have been in a haze since Friday and I don’t see a clearing any time soon. People say “it’s just a TV show” but Veronica Mars was more than that. It was a family. It was a way of life. It was a story, a #LoVe story and it was all ripped away in 10 minutes that should have never happened.
OVERALL IMPRESSION OF THE SEASON
“…she’s the toughest human being I’ve ever met. Blows that would destroy most people…she always picks herself back up.”
– Logan Echolls
That quote is a beautiful sentiment when you think of the context it came from, but at the end of the day, it was used to try and prove the misguided notion that this season was all about: You can’t ever truly overcome the pain in your life and happiness isn’t something that’s meant for everyone. Agree with me or don’t, but season four not only highlighted the harden exterior that Veronica has always had, it seemed to take it to new heights. As a whole, the season was actually pretty decent, minus the ending of course. The reboot sported the snarky Veronica that we fell in love with all those years ago and stayed true to course when it came to her P.I. duties and relationship with her adorable Papa Mars. But what Veronica also still had was that need for conflict with people, especially Logan.
As we saw in the film and read in the books, Logan came a long way from the obligatory psychotic jackass we used to know to a centered man trying to find peace and control in his life. I never truly fathomed how deep his pain truly was until Mr. Kiss and Tell when he admitted that he had been seconds away from ending his life until the Navy saved it. Flash-forward to the reboot and we see Veronica wanting those old Echolls ways to come to the surface which really rubbed me the wrong way. Throughout the original series, she had always tried to fix Logan and push him to be this perfect person she thought he should be (all the while destroying relationships and friendships of her own) and now here he was, the picture of stability and structure and it still wasn’t enough. The reboot forced Veronica to look within herself and realize that you can’t fix or change others if you aren’t willing to change and grow yourself.
By the end of the season it seemed as though she had finally found peace with herself and Logan and it all seemed to be falling in place for her…until it didn’t.
Logan Mothercussing Echolls: Undoubtedly my favorite character of the series, Logan Echolls has had the greatest growth and character development I have ever witnessed. He suffered years of abuse at Aaron’s hand and lost more than anyone should ever have to, especially at such a young age. All he’s ever wanted was to be loved and protected. When the movie was released, the discovery that he had joined the military had made me so proud and was so believable. Here was a boy who had no direction in his life except spiraling and he found his way with U.S. Navy.
As a service member myself, I get that the military way of life can be hard to understand. We have a loyalty to something that not everyone gets or even agrees with but it’s what makes the military great. I’ve known so many people in my 17 year career that have said they wouldn’t be alive if they had not joined the service. This was the case for Logan and I felt it deep in my soul. With the military comes deployments and with deployments comes trauma that no one will ever truly understand. Mix those events with Logan’s past and the fact that he is still standing and thriving shows the true depths of strength this man possesses. Logan (and Jason) found their way into my heart and soul and all I want to do is protect them forever.
LoVe: I was going to put this first but figured I’d restrain myself and keep them second. As a fan of this duo since season one, seeing them living together and being a full blown couple was every shippers dream. We got to see them as high school teenagers waging love and war with one another and then as rekindled lovers in their late 20s finding their way back to one another. But seeing them so domestic and in love was something that truly touched my soul. Here were two people that had been so broken by the trauma they had both experienced finding love and solace in one another. Of course there were fights and those same traumas still lingering from time to time but what made this so different was their willingness to communicate (100% by Logan, Veronica with some pushing ha-ha). Logan had always been the one to express his feelings a little better than V but with this reboot, we saw her working to do the same for Logan. Plus, they got fucking married! Talk about growth! *insert sobbing emoji here*
Cameos Galore: Much like the film, the reboot brought back tons of familiar faces and I was so there for it! From Vinnie and Cliff to Max and Parker, it was great to see where everyone had landed in the five year time jump. I do wish we could have gotten to see Mac and more of Wallace but what we did get, I loved; especially seeing Wallace as a family man!!
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
Cleary the finale but I will touch on that shortly.
Veronica’s Regression: As a woman in her mid-30s, you would think that Veronica would have shed the negative qualities that she struggled with in high school but they only seemed to be stronger and more prevalent, especially when it came to Logan. I’ve always loved Veronica, don’t get me wrong, but she always had this heir about that made it seem that she was the only one that was allowed to hurt and have flaws. This was especially the case in season three. It was as if all the mistakes she made could be blamed on her past traumas but when Logan would do the same, it wasn’t okay and he was “better than that”. The levels of hypocrisy sky rocketed and it left a slightly sour taste in my mouth.
With the movie, it seemed that Veronica had matured and those traumas and judgments she had hung on to were not so front and centered anymore. She seemed more understanding and open and she was better for it. But they weren’t gone for good because they seemed to reappear in Mr. Kiss and Tell. Comments like “you’re sanded down…Logan without the Logan” blew my mind. When she had that angry, lost teenage boy in high school, he wasn’t enough and now that he was a functioning, healthy grown man, he still wasn’t meeting her expectations. Younger Logan and Veronica struggled and put each other through the ringer and it was expected with everything they had been through and their young age. Chalk it up to teenage angst or finding your way in the world but 15 years later, you would expect to see a change in them. Logan made that change but Veronica, not so much.
Keith’s Health: All season long we watched Keith struggle with his seemingly deteriorating health. We watched him suffer from the guilt he felt in not being the once spry P.I. We felt the pain he felt and we sympathized with him. His health isn’t what didn’t work; it’s the nonchalant way they revealed that he was healthy and fine. He was willing to sacrifice himself with Penn not only because it meant saving V but because he felt he was old and sick anyway so it only made sense. So for the revelation that he wasn’t suffering from dementia should have been a bigger deal to me.
This like so much else, felt so rushed in the season finale. I get you only had eight episodes but that doesn’t mean you sacrifice quality for quantity. These are characters we have loved for 15 years. They are owed that precious time and the love and respect they deserve.
SEASON FINALE IMPRESSION
*Takes a deep breath* What the fuck did I watch?! Why in the world would Rob Thomas think that THIS is what fans could ever have wanted?! Why make a finale that basically shits on and destroys everything you just created in not only the seven episodes leading up to this finale, but the last 15 years of this franchise??? But my number one question…Why would you take Logan Echolls from us? (I can’t even type those words without crying.) Why write one of the most beautiful redemption stories I’ve ever witnessed? Why work so hard to portray the amazing character growth and development Logan had? What was the point?
As I said above, Logan overcame so much pain and was happy and in love and in the blink of an eye, he was gone. And it’s not just the fact that he died; it’s the fact that so little care was given to his death. Guest stars on Law & Order are honored better than Logan was. We didn’t get to see Veronica mourn the loss of her HUSBAND or his funeral or the aftermath of this enormous loss. He was a Navy officer for Christ’s sake and deserved so much more than that. Instead, his death was used to push the misguided message that strong women cannot be strong AND be happy or in love; that strong women can only suffer and must live in their trauma. Its 2019 folks, strong women can be whatever the fuck they want to be!
In those 10-15 minutes, Thomas ruined everything that made this show what it was. He destroyed the entire message of season four and all of the progress his title character had made. He took a series that we would have done anything for and obliterated it for reasons we’ll never understand. It’s a slap in the face to every single fan that ever watched, donated, promoted and loved Veronica Mars.
Logan’s death cuts so deep. He deserved so much better than what he got and so did the fans. I can’t even think about past episodes or the movies without feeling a physical pain in my heart. It wasn’t supposed to end like this. This revival was supposed to bring us joy and closure and all it did was destroy us. If this is the way Thomas wanted his characters to go, it was his right. But it’s also our right as fans to not like it and feel cheated because not only was his death unnecessary and pointless, the way Thomas wrote it was unfair and cruel.
I’ll keep saying it because it’s the cussing truth: Logan Echolls deserved so much more…I just can’t handle this.
NEXT SEASON SPECULATION
Real talk: unless Rob Thomas fixes this massive disservice to fans, there shouldn’t be a season five. And before any one even tries to say that I’m not a “loyal fan” because I feel this way, you can take that shit and go somewhere with it. I have loved Veronica Mars for 15 years and have promoted it in every fashion within my control. I have cried and laughed and grown with this show. I have invested my soul and my heart and the thanks that I and so many other fans got was a shit show of a reboot and a feeling of betrayal that will never go away.
“But TV shows and writers don’t owe fans anything”…this trope might be true for other shows but in a franchise where the fans literally funded their second chance, we deserved better. It’s not about fan service or ships; it’s about showing the respect to your fans and not shitting on something you gave us for no reason other than to create drama. Am I upset because #LoVe was literally obliterated 10 seconds after getting married? Of course but it’s more than that. It’s the fact that we were baited and mislead. It’s the fact that the message we received from this reboot is that living in your trauma is the only way you can be strong and survive. That if you’ve gone through hard times, you’ll never heal from it. You’ll never soften or become a tender person who is vulnerable. That if you lose everything you’ve ever loved, you’ll be better for it.
A long time ago, we used to be friends with this beautiful story but now it’s been ruined by a pointless plot and an unnecessary death and I’m left feeling empty and numb. It wasn’t supposed to be this way…
Veronica Mars is now streaming on Hulu. (Watch at your own risk.)
Thank you for this, Lacy. I agree 100% with everything you have said here. Now, more than two years later, I’m still perplexed by Rob Thomas’s fiasco of a finale. Still trying to understand how he could ruin the show so thoughtlessly. He said it was a gamble, that it might be a “bad bet.” Yes, it was, and we all lost. I admit that there is a tiny spark of hope that maybe he will see the light and realize that I must be revived for Veronica Mars to survive. I am holding on to a hope that I will one day hold Veronica in my arms again. Until that day, I’ll keep waiting. I would like to believe that I will always come back.