Veronica Mars Season 1, Episode 14 – Mars vs. Mars

This was a very interesting episode – Veronica and her dad’s relationship is a cornerstone to the series, so having them at odds for an entire episode was strange, at best. But it was also an interesting take on assault, bullying, and victim blaming (some of which really didn’t age well).

Highlights

  • While playing a quiz game in history class, Ben Wyatt (okay, so it’s Adam Scott, who played Ben Wyatt in Parks and Rec, and I don’t really care much about his one-off character in VMars, so he’s Ben Wyatt for the remainder of this recap) calls on the only student not paying attention – Neptune High gossip queen Carrie Bishop (played by QUEEN LEIGHTON MEESTER, btw). And Carrie answers by saying she’s not pregnant, so he can quit avoiding her calls, which obviously interrupts the classroom dynamic they had going on.
  • Veronica stays after class and tells Ben Wyatt that she doesn’t believe Carrie and she’ll help him clear his name. Ben Wyatt doesn’t accept her help, but states how thankful he is that she believes that he never touched Carrie Bishop.
  • Back at Mars Investigations, Mr. Mars comes in and asks if V knows a Mr. Ben Wyatt. She says that he’s her favorite teacher, and Mr. Mars says to stay away from him, that Carrie’s family is suing and they’re trying to get him fired. V is FURIOUS and tells her dad that Carrie is a gossip and she doesn’t believe her. Mr. Mars says that they have evidence in the form of a diary and it matches his credit card receipts, and that the Bishop family is a paying customer. V gives him the silent treatment.
  • V starts doing some investigating and digs up some stuff about Ben Wyatt’s past. He has an explanation for everything, and she believes him. Plus, he has a very cute daughter that he shares custody of on the weekends. So V is convinced, and she goes so far as to bring Carrie down in front of people in school.
  • There is a hearing, where Ben Wyatt represents himself. Carrie tries to prove that he sent sexy texts to her, and his phone rings when the number sending the texts is called. The texts were addressed to “SK,” which Carrie says stands for Sweet Knees? Eww. V proves that texts can be manufactured pretty easily. Carrie loses the hearing, and then she tells V some very crucial information – that he has black silk bedsheets and that his mood music is the B-side of a specific Rolling Stones record. Which, okay. But then!
  • V goes to Ben Wyatt’s house… I can’t remember for what, but she asks to use the restroom. He invites her in, offers her something to drink, and then she heads to the bathroom. Where she sees a rumpled bed with black silk sheets. And then he starts playing the Rolling Stones. BIG YIKES. So V ditches.
  • Then V does the digging that she should have done earlier. The dates don’t line up with Carrie at all – they line up with her best friend, Susan Knight. SK. So V shows up at Susan’s home and finds her pregnant. And she said she can’t come forward, although she doesn’t give a good reason. So really, V wasn’t wrong. Carrie was lying after all. Just… not for the reason she first thought.
  • Ben Wyatt gets fired. Carrie and V have a moment.
  • Oh, also, V visits Abel Koontz in prison to tell him that she knows he’s taking the fall for someone else. Because he’s dying. And she knows this because of her trip to the doctor’s office! You know, the doctor recommendation she got from Duncan? That’s not weird at all. And when she runs into Deputy Leo at the Sheriff’s Department, she explains why she was a dick to him – because she’s trying to solve her best friend’s murder.
  • Oh, and in that doctor visit, she snoops in HIPAA PROTECTED FILES to find out both what’s going on with Abel Koontz (the dying thing) and also what medication Duncan is on?? She’s a little off her rocker here, but she finds out that Duncan is… well, based on the symptoms she finds, possibly epileptic. But we don’t really know yet.
  • In the background of all of this, V is also trying to help Logan figure out where his mom is. One witness is definitely in it for the money, and Logan goes off on her. A second witness is a fanatic who didn’t really see anything, just really loves Lynn. And the third. The third is the most heartbreaking.
  • Weevil hears a rumor about a young kid who might have footage of what happened to Logan’s mom. Weevil asks V if she’d like to speak to the kid, and she says “of course.” V and Logan watch the kid’s video footage, where you can see a body jumping off the bridge at a time stamp that would make sense for it to be Logan’s mom. Weevil threatens the kid to silence, and Logan runs out.
  • That’s when V gets an alert that Logan’s mom’s credit card was just used. Aaaaaand end scene.

Episode Mystery

So, the big episode mystery is whether or not Ben Wyatt knocked up Carrie Bishop, thereby committing statutory rape. Repeatedly. Ick. And it was a long and winding road, and the answer was ultimately yes and no. He DID commit statutory rape, but not with Carrie. With Susan Knight.

Do we know why those two have chess piece names? Knight and Bishop? Does that mean something?


Overall Mystery

  • Who killed Lilly Kane?

After this episode, this is what we know. Abel Koontz did not kill Lilly Kane, but he’s serving the sentence for it, gladly. It is likely (but not confirmed) that he’s being paid off by the Kane family. What we don’t know is why.

  • Who raped Veronica?

No progress made in this episode.

  • Where is Lianne Mars?

No progress made in this episode.

  • Who is Veronica’s father?

So right now, V has completely put this behind her. Mr. Mars is her father. So while this is still a mystery for the audience, it’s not for her, so this won’t come back for a little bit yet.

  • Is Lynn Echolls dead?

After a short investigation, it’s looking like yes, Lynn Echolls is dead. However, there’s still one thread that Veronica and Logan are going to pull at before this comes to a conclusion.


What Aged Like a Dairy Product

Okay, so… oof. I am going to write a whole other post about this, so I don’t want to get into it too much here. But the victim blaming in this episode really shows the difference between culture in 2004 and culture today. Or… does it? That’s what I’m going to talk about in my upcoming post. It’s all a big yikes, it didn’t age well, and victims should be believed until proven otherwise. What did Carrie have to lose here? Everything. And she came forward anyway. That’s what I’m saying.


What Aged Like a Fine Wine

Honestly? This episode felt pretty stuck in the past. So I had to scrape the bottom of the barrel for this one. Mr. Mars’ parenting is spot on, as always, even when V is truly acting like a petulant child. And Carrie’s loyalty to her best friend Susan was nice to see too. But the rest of the episode was pretty much trash.


Rating

A reminder of the rating system:

  • Red = I couldn’t even get through this episode because it was so bad
  • Orange = Pushed through, hated everything
  • Yellow = Opposite of enjoyable, but had some bright spots
  • Green = This was mediocre!
  • Blue = A solid episode!
  • Purple = Television at it’s finest, 12/10, must watch repeatedly.

I didn’t get into it a lot, but I’m hoping you can tell by my sparse words that I had I S S U E S with this episode. And like I said, I have an interlude planned for next week to discuss it in more details. But I’m going to tell you – this was hard for me to get through. Especially when you also consider Ben Wyatt’s hair in this episode, ugh. I didn’t even mention that in the aging section, but it’s pretty bad. In any case, this is a tough episode to rate. I’m giving Season 1, Episode 14 a YELLOW rating. And the bright spots were honestly few and far between.


I understand that sometimes things don’t age well when shows go off the air. But this episode was BAD. And I sometimes wish that the people involved would come forward and say something to address these works of art that didn’t stand the test of time. But alas. No one does that. Wishful thinking!

Be a (better) Marshmallow this week, my friends!

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