Don't you love the characters on VM? Don't you love blogs? Don't you wish the characters on VM had blogs? Then head over to vm_blog and help the fandom recruit new viewers by combining the power of blogs with the voices of our favorite characters. But spadada has already given me Mr. Wu, so step off, whores.
Don't you love VM? Don't you love podcasts? Don't you wish VM had a podcast? Then check out Neptune Pirate Radio and help the fandom recruit new viewers by combining the power of podcasts with the voices of...some enterprising fans with technological know-how. They're already big in Brazil, folks. Seriously, the first episode is very enjoyable, and I think it will get even better in the future.
That was one cracktastic episode.
Let me make the obligatory, obvious complaint first, however: episode 18 is way too fucking late to be learning about the goddamn bus crash victims. It's way too fucking late for Veronica to suddenly begin being "haunted" by their deaths. This should have been, like, episode 3. I was more of a fan of the first half of the season than some fans, but now that I see the things they've been keeping in their pockets, I'm wishing they'd done a lot of things differently. The audience was supposed to care about the bus crash because Meg was in a coma, but that whole idea was mishandled, and we got a few names here and there, which was cool for a while, but these are the victims, here. These are the kids whose deaths we're supposed to be interested in, the people someone was apparently trying to kill. We should have met them before now. I am sure there are people (like, for instance, Rob) who could make a compelling case for doing it this way, but I think the decision to keep this from us for so long was made before the first half of the season didn't engage the fans as much as Rob thought it would, so there's not much he can do about it now.
That being said, damn. I'm not even sure what to make of all we learned in this episode.
Ms. James! How the hell had we not heard she was coming back? Nice shout-out in the last episode, then, to remind us that she's theoretically still alive. Some people don't buy that Veronica would be so forthcoming to her about the dreams, and...yeah, that's probably true, but Veronica's tone suggests she's not as personally torn up as she was about Lilly, which, duh, we've seen that. The guilt she feels about these dead kids seems like more of a bother than anything else, so she's happy to spill to someone. This episode is about Veronica working out the bus crash mystery in her head, and that's what counselors are there for: they allow you a sounding board so that you can solve your own problems in such a way that you think you actually had some help. Also, a place to make hilarious, finger-snapping "These are the jokes" jokes.
But hold up, hold up. Let's save the important bus crash stuff for the end, as usual. B and C plots, coming right up.
The long-awaited Wallace/Logan subplot is here! Not just one scene, but four or five! And Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath is back! Except I don't understand why it's playing the same cutscene we saw before, though there was another one right before it. Is there some sort of Oddworld animated series I don't know about? And did the episode come in short or something? Why spend an entire minute on the same part of the Tinseltown Diaries we've already seen? Was that just for Wallace to feel sympathy for Logan? Oh, poor Logan, he does a bunch of ass-y things and gets burned for it. I was amused, though, that Wallace and Logan have apparently never interacted since the pilot.
Also: "Have you met my fluffer?" Honestly, Standards and Practices just doesn't care anymore. The writers barely have to try.
Okay, one thing I like about this episode that's making it hard to write about is that all the plots were interconnected more strongly than they've been in a while. Characters keep crossing plotlines. I think that's a Diane thing.
And speaking of Diane, how funny is that her last outing was an insanely complicated MOTW, and this week she gives us a very straightforward lack-of-mystery Keith plot? It's like she used up all her twists and turns and needed a break. But it was a fun little diversion and so worth it for the moment he discovers Veronica in the closet and CAN NEVER TRUST HER AGA—oh, whatever. At least Angie got her comeuppance. And the Crime and Punishment test is a shout-out to me because I love that book. (I'm kidding, by the way.)
Blue flashbacks! The interruption of the Logan/Veronica makeout was great. It's cool that they're actually acknowledging that they, you know, used to date. And are we to assume that Lucky helped set the community pool on fire? I'm now forgetting why he was brought up at all. Oh, right, Meg's e-mails.
I loved the visual style of the dreams, the dull colors and scratchy film and general underwater feel. Plus, the world was inside the bus; nothing through the windows looked the least bit real. Then you have the characters wearing awesomely appropriate shirts like "I [heart] Dick Casablancas" and "Baby on Board." Finally, I've always been a fan of the conceit where characters double as another character's subconscious. We see the bus crash victims as Veronica perceives them, and they steer her in directions she wouldn't normally go if she simply thought in her typically linear fashion.
Well, they're also a device to bring the audience up to speed with what Veronica knows. "You already know this because you've read my e-mails." Ouch, did you have to be so obvious about the exposition? I mean, it was in-character with bitchy, pre-crash Meg (MEG!!), but still. Then there was this other message from Rhonda, and how the fuck long has Veronica known about that? I wonder if that whole Betina thing will go anywhere (and Jesus Christ, Dick, you want to fuck someone with the same name as your mom?). There was an act-out on the fact that she wanted to get pregnant, and then...nothing.
Wonder how Wallace knew Rhonda and Natalie? And Natalie looked freakily like Meg at first, but actually she looked like a combination of Meg and Lizzie. I wonder how the finger-in-the-burger plays into it all (and, again, nice job setting up Woody's Burgers in the last episode). The lawsuit seems unconnected to the bus crash.
Did Veronica talk to Marcos at all? I don't recall their having a meaningful interaction, so much, but he was omnipresent due to the Ahoy, Mateys! show, which was a nice touch.
Ah, Peter Ferrer and his yellow fever. Heh. Mr. Wu fucking rocked tonight. His "Many of them are just...Asian" made me laugh myself half-upright. Also, I loved the conversation between Peter and Veronica about how she shouldn't presume to know him from his Internet postings—and did Veronica totally tell Ms. James the goddamn URL for the super-secret gay messageboard? What the hell?—because, well, I know the feeling. And he makes a good point at the end: why was he on the bus at all? Who is "the outing of all outings"? Woody? Terrence? (Props to those who clung to that line as important.)
I'm not sure whether it's lame that the entire episode was just a big shout-out to the Wannabes, but I think it's funny that Amazon doesn't even have the cover. I do have a new suspect for the bus crash now, though: Jennings Crawford.
So, Cervando. I finally get to meet my man Cervando. And it turns out he has THREE FUCKING LAST NAMES.
In "Driver Ed," the article names him Cervando Perez.
Michelle's poster of victims calls him Cervando Esparza.
Veronica in her goddamn dialogue says, "Cervando Luna."
I must say, the real Cervando kind of disappointed me. Bragging about a pair of new jeans? This is not my mysterious murderer of Felix! And...I don't think he is so much, now. They didn't drop any sort of hints, and this would be the opportunity. Unfortunately for me, I think they really did mean for last week to close that case so we could focus on the bus crash.
I liked dream Cervando much better. The one who draws on bus windows and tells Veronica what many people had already figured out: whoever set off the bomb had to be able to see the position of the bus to make sure it would go off the cliff. Because Veronica's always suspicious of Weevil (on even-numbered days; on odd-numbered days, she's suspicious of Logan), Cervando suggests him, but the audience knows better: it's the people in the limo we should be paying attention to. (Speaking of the limo: Big Dick arranged the limo for Dick and Beaver, so the notion that he was planning to kill them for insurance money is ludicrous. Kendall, however...)
That I AM GOD chalkboard freakout was pretty cool, and damn, how much freakier would it have been if Veronica had actually done that in class?
The ending gave me chills for no conceivable reason. It got a visceral reaction by putting the audience in the bus at the time of the crash. A lovely zoom to Rhonda leaving the phone message for Michelle, the message we heard so many episodes ago. The incessant ringing of the cell phone someone called to trigger the bomb. The bus, falling, falling.
And if the fall doesn't kill you, you get to drown.