Veronica Mars, “Meet John Smith”

10 Aug

Here come the curveballs? Well, sort of.

  • The most important takeaway from this episode is how well it handles a twist in a single episode’s A-plot. The reveal that Justin’s frequent video store client (Melissa Leo, who should always work more) is actually his dad is something I could see coming, because, well, why would she otherwise get the screen time necessary to establish a relationship with Justin? But that didn’t diminish its impact to the episode’s arc (kudos to current boy-bander Bobby Edner for being convincingly shattered) or its importance in Veronica’s development.
  • Related, sort of: Kristen Bell has played nearly everything I’ve seen so far with subtlety, opting for restraint rather than big moments, her tight-lipped, clenched-jaw Veronica fits the dark, noirish tone of the series much better than overacting would, and allows the one-liners and defensive, defeated reactions to setbacks (nearly finding her mom, Duncan’s post-Prozac cold shoulder) to have as much punch as a crying jag would. I do wonder if she’ll be able to turn up the intensity if a jag’s needed, but she’s riveting as is.
  • Wallace gets pushed around by Veronica. Like, a lot. I think the favor count is four performed, none returned. And even getting answer keys wouldn’t balance the ledger. I suppose friendship is something, but Veronica and Wallace seem more like partners than friends.
  • I like the idea of Sheriff Mars (Keith, for future reference) being with Veronica’s guidance counselor because they’re both tough nuts dealing with other tough nuts. But how many guidance counselors have you ever seen with Navy pennants on the walls?
  • Hotter dream: Veronica’s or Duncan’s? And I will forever have a soft spot for virtuous daughters sassing their dads about sex, like Veronica does post-date or as Larisa Oleynik does in Ten Things I Hate About You.
  • Amanda Seyfried destroys every scene that she’s in. She’s a hurricane. And it’s even more stunning that before Mean Girls and Veronica Mars, both debuting in 2004, she had been on two soaps and in an episode of SVU. She got called up to the bigs, took some heavy swings, and connected.
  • Awesome music alert: Supreme Beings of Leisure’s “Rock and A Hard Place” shows up late in the episode, sounds like a cross between “Clubbed to Death” and the song from the capoeira scene in Ocean’s Twelve, and generally does an excellent job of setting a mood.

Thoughts and concerns and whatever go in the comments.

Watch “Meet John Smith” | “Meet John Smith” on Wikipedia | “Meet John Smith” recap at TWOP

2 Responses to “Veronica Mars, “Meet John Smith””

  1. lsucaligrl August 10, 2010 at 6:02 PM #

    The wallace/veronica thing will start to grate. As will her tight lipped stoicism. At one point even I was like, “Lighten the fuck up! Even *I’M* not that cynical!” I like that you bring attention to the music, because it’s something I just pay so little attention to.

    • Andy Hutchins August 10, 2010 at 7:25 PM #

      I’m just sensitive to kids named Wallace getting jerked around, I guess.

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