Do you come from a land where the good are good and the bad are bad? Where good intentions lead to prizes and bad vibes are clearly labelled? Where assumptions are valid and trust is well placed?
Welcome to Neptune, bitch.
This was a weird episode, I will start off by saying. I wasn't sure how to feel about it. The Hearst scenes were so damn sunny and bright. And I was expecting some actual Startling Revelation by the end. The episode was purportedly pretty awesome, after all. I was done in by my expectations, though, because the episode was not awesome in the way I thought it would be. What made the episode good wasn't something tangible or overt.
The teaser was very, very strange to watch. Because after reading episode thoughts and posts, I'd been hearing the old "Veronica walked in on the rape, and she will feel guilty about not stopping it because she assumed Parker was a big slut like Mac said she was, and that guilt will make her particularly invested in finding the rapist" over and over. And so actually seeing it onscreen felt like déjà vu. Also, overkill. Since I'd been seeing all those thoughts for a week, I didn't really need Veronica and Mac to spell it all out now, but it did work in the context of the scene.
(The pilot callback was awesome. Completely awful and asstastic of Lamb, but totally appropriate. It's always nice to know the writers haven't forgotten things. Although it makes me wonder that since Lamb said that in front of Mac...does Mac know that Veronica was raped? And, dude, does she know that Beaver raped her?)
Someone needs to tell Josh Kramon, however, that they changed the credits music, and his signature lead-out music doesn't mesh as well because the music rises and then immediately plummets, which is bad. He's got to ease us into it now!
Let me hit the Keith plot first. I was surprised that he was already wandering around the desert. I mean, I guess he didn't have the car keys? There was really nowhere else for him to go? At least he used his smarts and laid a spy pen trap for Cormac. Which leads to...Liam! Stepping on his brother's wound EW OW GROSS. So Liam did hire Vinnie to track them because he suspected Cormac would take all the money for himself, which: money! And the Fitzpatricks. Who love each other so, so much that they will shoot family in the head.
So is someone going to die every episode now?
That was a very surreal, otherworldly shot of Keith looking out over the reddish-haze town. And everyone noticed that Keith ended up in KRETCHMER County, right? Very subtle there, John. Very subtle.
Great scene where Keith and Veronica commiserate over their screw-ups and guilt, which is what this episode is about, as I will note later.
I'm glad that the briefcase wasn't just full of cash like we thought it was. It was very smart of Kendall to turn that cash into an expensive painting that neither Cormac nor Liam would recognize. I have to assume that she had cash left over to pay Keith, though. Poor Kendall. Femme fatale forever! And goddamn guilt! Those millions of dollars! To charity, instead of...BUYING VERONICA A PONY.
Aw, Mac and Parker. Mac has seen the error of her ways.
The Stanford Prison Experiment-Lite, despite its awesome guest stars (Neal Schweiber! Shawn Hunter! Homer Simpson!), felt pretty pointless overall and just gave Logan and Wallace something to do. It had a nice resolution, but actually sitting through fifteen scenes of Shawn being a jerk to Neal got pretty repetitive. And then there was, like, zero payoff. Nothing about what they learned from this purportedly "life-changing" experience. In an episode about guilt, we didn't even get to see whether Shawn felt guilty about how he'd acted during the experiment.
And then there was the MOTW, which served double-duty as part of the ongoing rape investigation. I liked that Zeta Theta Beta wasn't actually evil, though one wonders who these FOUR SOURCES were, then.
Dick's appearance was odd because it seemed completely and utterly disconnected from how we last saw him. Chip's appearance, on the other hand, was amusing and appropriate.
So we know Moe isn't the rapist, since he was Veronica's first suspect. I do wonder if Rob will change his formula since we've gotten wise to it. It would be a nice twist now if the villain wasn't someone Veronica never suspected, ever. If she questions the rapist and writes him off, only to discover later that she had been right.
Something of note, however: the other girl with Parker was named Terri WELLS. As in Stacy WELLS, from TROG. Accident? Or a clue? Is she her sister? In any case, she wasn't drunk, so she should have a better recollection of the night, and Veronica better talk to her at some point.
I really, really hate Fern and her gung-ho GREEKS ARE EVIL MEN ARE EVIL ALCOHOL ARE EVIL MY NOSE RINGS MAKE ME SO HARDCORE schtick.
Okay, so what was really good about this episode is the way it hit one of the major themes of the show, about appearances and false assumptions. But, even stronger were the themes of misplaced trust and the power of guilt. What I love was how fucked over the characters were and that Veronica got pwned hardcore. She was rather Chloe Sullivan in this episode with the investigative journalism. But I love that she got wrapped up in this sort of "crusade" that, to the crusaders, is totally cool and righteous, but Veronica wanted no part in. I love that Keith feels responsible for Kendall's death, even though he thought he was helping her. I love that Veronica feels responsible for Parker's rape because she didn't think about helping her. I love that there's this whole bizarre mix of intent/result ratios that just aren't adding up properly because THE WORLD REALLY SUCKS. This all made more sense when I was explaining it to sincerelysummer a couple hours ago, but now it's late and I'm tired.
The episode was not outwardly awesome like Heroes, however, and that worries me with regard to drawing in new viewers. I think they're making the show very, very college instead of high school, and I think that's really cool, but I don't know that it's enough to break the stigma. I don't know anymore, really. I'm not sure what to expect from future episodes, and I guess that's okay. Things are weird.
By the way, I liked Marjorie, so expect her to die in about three episodes.