Warning: this post contains spoilers from the Veronica Mars movie, but you really should have seen it by now.
There are some characters that we relate to in a way that their struggles, heartbreak, and accomplishments feel real to us, like we’re watching and supporting a friend. Veronica Mars is one of those characters to me. It probably has something to do with her being a girl in high school (initially), and the age I was when I first watched it. I often feel this way about Buffy too.
The film is entirely based in going back, for the fans to this story we left years ago, for Veronica, returning to Neptune, the place that turned her life upside down, and like she said in her interview with Jamie Lee Curtis’s Gayle Buckley, getting in too deep cost her big time.
This is why, despite the upbeat music, quick witted jokes, dance scenes, and James Franco rhyming, this was essentially, a real bummer. Not that Veronica Mars was ever especially optimistic – but I feel as though the resolution with Veronica back in Neptune, and back with Logan was meant to land differently.
As the camera circles around Veronica dancing at the after party with her old high school buds Mac and Wallace, and her beau Piz, we only have a moment to feel the flurry of happy reminiscing. Watching Veronica and her buds dance like the wonderful nerds they are, catching up after way too long, was one of the many highlights of the movie. But that’s never really been Veronica. Soon her voice-over interrupts and we’re back in her head. She’s always working a case when she’s in Neptune.
All the references throughout the movie to addiction and recovery were not for nothing. Veronica had recovered from the dark pull of Neptune and built a life for herself outside. With one taste of a case back in that town she tanked it all. I’m not so sure we were supposed to feel satisfaction, or closure, watching Veronica comfortably kicking her feet up onto the desk at Mars Investigations at the close of the film. I would have been happier to see her leave.
I want the characters I love to grow, move on, I wanted Veronica to thrive and not get stuck in the mud. I wanted to see Weevil, who until this point had been crime free for 5 years, with his daughter, not getting back on his bike and ride away with his gang. (That the Weevil story wasn’t paid off was also a huge bummer).
To be clear, this isn’t as much about Veronica choosing Logan over Piz, boiling this down into the man she chose, or didn’t choose (though it’s a factor) would be a disservice to the character. It’s about watching our leading lady have successfully extracted herself from the poisonous well of Neptune, building a life for herself and jumping onto that addition metaphor the movie laid on real thick – we watched our girl relapse back into the muck.
There’s no denying the appeal of bad boy, we totally understand the Logan-appeal. Maybe it’s that I’ve grown up, and that Veronica has grown up. There’s the part of me that wants her to have the hot, steamy bad boy love interest situation, and then there’s the part of me that feels like we get to know this character like a friend and want her to be with someone nice, who will treat her well.
Because everything always comes back to Buffy, it’s like how I used to be all about the forbidden, epic love between Buffy and Spike, or Buffy and Angel, until it hit me. If she was a real girl, a friend – I would want Buffy to have Riley. He was kind, smart, loved her (not to mention age appropriate and a pulse was a plus).
This is why when she hooked up with Logan I wasn’t really into it the way, as a good fan girl, I should have been. Sure, I wanted Veronica to help Logan, and yes the corruption in Neptune needs to be stopped. That being said, it killed me to see her throw away all her hard work at law school (and a chance at paying off student debt!) to end up at the place she needed to get away from. I get that this feels right for her, the town has a pull on her, and she see’s that she can make a difference, but when even our main gal is comparing this situation to alcoholism- even she knows this isn’t good for her.
Truthfully, I’m torn. I love seeing Veronica kicking ass and taking names, her work in Neptune has only just begun – made particularly poignant by the fact that the Weevil case has been left unresolved, and he too has ended up back in the life he had left behind. At Wired, Laura Hudson makes an awesome case for Veronica being the Batman of Neptune – something I’m completely down with – but being Batman also comes with loneliness and unhappiness and Veronica almost got out!
Now that she’s been dragged back in, perhaps there’s room for more Mars delving further into some of the juiciest stuff of the series, the class and race divide in Neptune (that Alyssa Rosenberg discusses with her usual [word]) discusses that were touched on didn’t really get the deep focus in this go-around.
How did you feel about Veronica heading back, and staying in Neptune? Where would you like to see her go next?