3.03 "Wichita Linebacker"

Aired Oct 17, 2006

Roundtable Reviews

Polter-Cow: Give Klembom a raise, because they just gave us the best episode of the season so far. Which isn't saying much three episodes in, but STILL. Interwoven plotlines + one-liners = crazy delicious.

misskiwi: Meh. I was mostly bored.

topanga: It was pretty good, but most of the episode didn't wow me. The characters and the performances were good, but the plots have become a little predictable.

Inigo: I'm with the Cow. I thought this was the best episode of the season so far. It was on the light side, but there was a lot of darkness running underneath. Like a rippled ice cream.

Polter-Cow: I like the MOTW because Trish was pretty. And Kurt had integrity. And I liked all the twists. I mean, the playbook was stolen twice. How awesome is that??

alliterator: You think Trish is pretty? OMG she's doooomed!

misskiwi: Nooooo!

alliterator: Wait, if she played a reaper on Supernatural and she died on Veronica Mars, would that mean that she would reap herself? Now that would be a twist. But you're right about the awesome mystery of the week — it was almost like the twists turned on themselves, so that the person she first suspected actually was one of the people who did it. Which almost never happens.

misskiwi: Yeah, I liked that they took us from suspecting Larry to mostly clearing him, only to have him be a second thief on top of the real culprit.

Inigo: And for him not to be the final culprit, for the real damage was done by Alan in giving the book to the rival team. I really thought that this was one of those MOTWs that people really couldn't, hand on heart, say they got within the first five minutes. It was, like, everybody did it. The VM version of Murder on the Orient Express. (Whoops. Is it too late to say "Spoiler alert for Agatha Christie"?)

misskiwi: *sighs in annoyance, tosses the book in the trash can*

alliterator: At least she didn't spoil you for The Murder of Roger Akroyd. Now, a VM episode like that book would be cool. Although Wallace would be the culprit then, so I take it back.

fickledame: I really, really liked the parallels the relationship between Trish and Kurt gave to Logan and Veronica. I wasn't wowed by the actual mystery, although I enjoyed the twists.

Polter-Cow: I may be crazy, but when the credits came, I could SWEAR the theme song was different. The vocals seemed much more prominent, and it somehow seemed even LESS dance-able than before. Now, others reported that it felt MORE dance-able, but perhaps my dance-ability meter is off. Then I listened to it several more times along with the credits from "Welcome Wagon," and I thought they sounded exactly the same. So maybe I'm crazy. (Cervando changed the theme song!)

misskiwi: You're definitely crazy. Sounds the same to me. I don't mind the back half of the song once they get past to Percy or thereabouts, when the beat starts to pick up, but the first part is just toooooo sssssllllooooooowwww.

BethGee: To paraphrase David Byrne, I think last night's theme was the same as it ever was, same as it never was. That is; status quo season 3. The graphics are decent, though Dohring looks a little silly and they speed through the rest of 'em too quickly HOWEVER, I want to cry everytimes I hear the Dandys done dirge style. "We Used to Be Friends" is such a FABULOUS tune in its original form — why eff with it?

misskiwi: Because they are CRAZY. Much like Polter-Cow.

alliterator: Crazy like a FOX. Or like FOX Network.

topanga: I understand that every cast member can't be on every episode for budgetary reasons, but the absence should be plausible. Wallace's disappearing act this week was never explained. Wouldn't he be around to support his roommate Piz when Piz tried to break into radio? At least we had an explanation why Parker and Mac weren't around. And call me crazy, but I miss Duncan.

Inigo: Wallace is no doubt earning his scholarship by playing basketball.

misskiwi: And I'll take Piz any day over Duncan or even (dare I say it?) Wallace. And now, if anyone needs me, I'll be en route to Mexico to avoid the wrath of topanga.

topanga: Oooh. You're so lucky you're in Canada, misskiwi. I do like Piz, but not more than BFF Wallace.

fulfilled: And he sends out eight email reminders about his new show! What? I've never done that.

topanga: He's feeling Veronica, big time. It's very cute. Uh...that means he has a crush on her.

misskiwi: I really, really like him. He's quirky, he's funny, and he makes Jon Stewart jokes. (Call me, Piz!)

alliterator: Wait, where was the Jon Stewart joke? I missed a Daily Show reference? Dammit!

misskiwi: When he was pitching the show to Trish, he described it as "like Jon Stewart meets Crossfire...if Jon Stewart didn't hate Crossfire." I laughed pretty hard, because that's just awesome.

BethGee: Weevil in a tie!! A tie on a plaid shirt! LOVE. IT.

misskiwi: Ha, Weevil got fat in the joint. Must have been all those...not tossed salads.

fickledame: Francis has been ill.

topanga: Yeah, I heard he was on steroids, possibly for asthma. That medication does make you gain weight, especially in your face. Before I knew that fact about him, I saw Weevil and thought, "Man, he's got a fat head." The rest of him isn't especially round. Who knew?

misskiwi: Oh. Well, now I feel like a jackass.

fulfilled: I love the fact that Weevil found that he had an aptitude for solving crimes, and it broke my heart when Veronica had to fire him and he told her that he thought he could have been good at it.

Inigo: Foreshadowing, maybe? Actually, at this point, it's all about placement, isn't it? To stay on the show, Weevil — no longer the head of the PCH, not a high school graduate — needs to be close to Veronica, and to have picked up the detecting bug. If he'd gone straight into Hearst, it may have been more difficult to give him the motivation to jeporadise the job that's keeping him out of jail to help her in the future. Her getting him the job in the first place could only go so far. I did think Keith gave in a little too easily to Veronica's puppy dog stare, although the comic value in his look of determination to resist followed by Weevil picking up the phone at Mars Investigations was great, if obvious.

topanga: But Weevil still would have gotten his diploma even though he didn't march at graduation. And he's already done detective-y things for Veronica, especially in the first season. He wasn't just her muscle. He found the freshman who had the tape of Lynn Echolls jumping off the bridge in "Mars vs. Mars" for example.

Inigo: He did, but that was because he's a decent human being and had seen the pain in Logan's eyes at the coffee shop. He usually did favours for V because he felt he owed her — for getting Hector and Pheong off the hook and for getting him out of jail, twice. Now he's working, and can't afford to lose the job, there's less incentive. And he did stuff for her, but he never found the actual detecting interesting in its own right before, did he?

misskiwi: I agree; this gives Weevil both an incentive to help Veronica for essentially keeping him out of jail, while at the same time the threat of going back to jail will make him reluctant to go too far in helping her. I'd like to see some conflict there, but it'll probably be the same old story. Boy meets girl. Girl asks boy for illegal/unethical favor. Boy resists. Girl reminds boy of debt he owes girl. Boy does illegal/unethical favor for girl.

Also: a janitor with access to, presumably, all sorts of off-limits places on campus? I can practically see Veronica doing her Mr. Burns impression already.

On to on of the other subplots: while I thought that both Veronica and Logan acted pretty much in character, the situations felt a little contrived to me. Suddenly Veronica's into seeing art house movies and going to poetry readings, and Logan's all about going to parties, Mexico, and gambling? I mean, sure, Logan's been into all of those things in the past, but it seemed to me like they were just shoehorning in a bunch of artificial scenarios that were designed purely to make Logan's behavior sketchy and fuel the fire of Veronica's suspicious nature. I liked a lot of things about the plotline — Veronica tracking Logan was very her, and I liked that she realized that's not a positive trait — but it just felt like they decided to have a subplot where Veronica starts being suspicious of Logan, blah blah blah, without letting it just grow organically from their arcs. Which I'm sure they could have done, and then had it stretch out over a few episodes.

topanga: I totally buy Veronica's new intellectual side. In high school, she was consistently near the top of her class without much effort. Veronica has always been smart, but Neptune High bored her to death. She had many opportunities in college to explore new interests.

Inigo: I agree, T. She said it herself, it's what you are supposed to do in college. Veronica still has that streak of wanting "the normal" in her and she's been dreaming about college for a long time. She's sacrificed the part about getting out of Neptune, but she's not written off the rest.

misskiwi: Okay, I'll concede that wasn't so far off the radar. I still say the conflict felt like it was shoehorned in because the writers wanted some conflict.

fulfilled: I was glad to see some normal conflict between Logan and Veronica. One of the things that made me very wary about their relationship in the first two seasons was that they only seemed to get together in times of extreme crisis, when everything was falling apart around them, and when life got back to "normal," they couldn't sustain it. I really appreciated the fact that the conflict between them came out of just living life together and learning to have a long-term, serious, sustainable relationship, not some variation of "Your dad tried to kill me!" I do like them together; I've just always had reservations, and this helped to alleviate some of those for me, although I do agree with misskiwi that it could have been spread out over a few episodes.

Inigo: Perhaps one of the sacrifices of shorter arcs is to not have that luxury. Plus, dragging it out over a number of episodes would have risked the plunge into romantic soap opera, which they, rightly in my opinion, do try to avoid.

fickledame: I thought it was handled really well. I'd get a little fed up if they dragged it out. I really liked that Veronica opened herself up to him, and he didn't go to Mexico for her. It's a massive, massive step in the right direction of finally being in a real relationship and acting like a real couple. They fought, they did some stupid things, they both did something for the other and moved forward. And had (alluded to) hot make-up sex in the library. It doesn't get better than that.

BethGee: I thought the rape revelation at the end was very odd — nose ring gal gets the news text-messaged with no explanation (what?) so matter-of-factly. At which point the gals react in a very stiff and wooden fashion, expressing anger at the Lampoon boys well above concern for her assaulted friend. Totally poorly played, IMO. And I couldn't discern what, exactly, was being broadcast on the air and what wasn't.

fulfilled: It took me a second viewing to really catch what went on with what was on the air. I could hear a commercial being played in the background, though, after the girls started yelling at the guys, when Piz turned off their mics and switched it. That's what Veronica heard when she pulled out the headphones — I'm pretty sure it was an ad or PSA for blood donation.

misskiwi: Yeah, Piz interrupted and switched to commercial. I'm very intrigued by this new development, because it marks a departure from the rapist's M.O. to date. Managing to roofie partying girls at frat parties is one thing; managing to (presumably) drug and rape a feminist who should be smart enough to not be getting tanked at a party and drinking strange things is quite another. The first is mostly taking advantage of a situation; the latter implies careful planning and execution. Now, if I were one of the VM writers, I would throw in a copycat rapist to muddy the waters, both for Veronica and the viewers, and I wonder if this is it. It just doesn't seem to fit with what we know so far.

grim squeaker: This idea is kind of nasty, but what if the feminist group decided to "stage" a rape in order to definitely connect what they perceive as misogynist practices — in this case the satire magazine's article — to the serial rapist? It's a bit like what Carlos Oliveres did with the toy bus and the phone number last season — they think that for the rapist to get caught, the people they see as responsible need to be punished/silenced, and because they think the college administration isn't doing enough on it's own, they decide to lead the investigation into what they perceive to be the right direction.

It would explain why Fern and Nish received the text message while they were on the radio — the perfect moment to draw attention.

Polter-Cow: But why would they receive the message at all, if they knew about it?

alliterator: That's why I don't think the other feminists were involved, but the text message could have just been for the audience's convenience.

Polter-Cow: I used to think the feminist group would be the underdog suspect, but now it looks like we're all pointing fingers at them, which...maybe means they're more obvious than I thought, which means it's not them. Although I really think it would be cool and evil and perfect and noir.

grim squeaker: They didn't necessarily have to know about it. Maybe it was a few of the others (they are a group, aren't they, I got that correctly?).

Inigo: They are a group. In the newspaper article in the Hearst Free Press, the caption under the picture describes Lilith House as a feminist rights organisation.

grim squeaker: They decide to use Nish and Fern as the ones who make it public, because they are known as aggressive and passionate for their cause, so they are a perfect cover. No one would think they'd fake it, and it works so well because they don't — they were only fed wrong information.

And I agree, it would be very noir.

alliterator: Yeah, I think the feminists getting a text message sorta implies that they know about the rape first, which is unlikely unless Claire sent the message herself. My theory is that Claire, having seen that humor magazine, decided to fake her own rape and shave her head so that the Dean would either a) shut down the humor magazine or b) shut down the fraternities. I don't think the other feminists were involved in it, but they might have been.

misskiwi: I don't think the text message or the rape of Claire was faked. If they were going to do that, they wouldn't have set up the text message for during the radio show. What's the point in that if they're in on it? They could have brought forward the information during the show, if they wanted to, or — to remove suspicion from themselves, if it was a setup — let the information come out from a different source.

Plus, faking the rape of Claire gets them nowhere. They don't think that the guys from the humor mag are responsible for the rapes — they just think that they're mysogynistic pigs who need to shut the hell up. Claire being raped doesn't get them anything they want — I mean, it might lead to the mag getting shut down, theoretically, but it doesn't make sense as a ploy.

Inigo: It helps them prove a point in the "cutting off your nose to spite your face" sort of way. They believe wholeheartedly that they are right, that things like the Lampoon article was irresponsible and was "hate speech," encouraging the rapist or anyone to rape Claire. They lost that argument with the dean, so they decided to give "proof" to it. The point of them getting the call during the broadcast was to have maximum emotional impact of them responding to the news on air. Piz cut off the broadcast as soon as Fern said "bastards," but that doesn't mean that the campus won't be buzzing about what that was all about. I can see it as a misguided stategy to achieve their aims. The feminist group is so one-note at the moment that it's difficult to judge whether they'd go to those lengths.

misskiwi: I can buy that line of reasoning as a potential motive, I guess, but I still don't think Claire's rape was a feminist setup.

alliterator: I think the feminists/Claire were only responsible for Claire's "rape," not for any of the other rapes on campus. Remember, we have six more episodes left on this story arc!

misskiwi: At this point — assuming that Claire's rape is connected to the rest, which I'm very skeptical about — I think I'm ready to discount both the feminists and Moe. Going after "the blonde in the middle" to me implies an evil mind the likes of which...well, I want to say "the likes of which we have yet to meet" but I suspect that's probably untrue. Although...we didn't really meet Aaron right off the bat, did we?

alliterator: Yeah, but that mystery was 22 episodes and we met him in episode 6. This mystery is 9 episodes, so it seems we would meet the guilty party in episode 2 or 3.

misskiwi: Yeah, I'm inclined to agree, I just don't see that many suspects. Although I had forgotten about Timothy Foyle and how creepy I found him initially.

funky-donut: I still think it's Dick. But maybe I'm just inclined to hate him.

misskiwi: I considered Dick, but here's the thing: they obviously knew as far back as "The Rapes of Graff" that they were going to do this mystery arc. Presumably, when they broke that episode they knew the basic whodunit. If Dick were the culprit [ep] well, first of all, I think it's a bit unlikely and unrealistic that someone who wasn't a Hearst student last year would be the rapist, because while Stacy's rape occured when there were high school students around, the Hawaiian girl's rape did not. It's not entirely out of the question, but I think it's a bit unlikely.

Inigo: Although they did go to the trouble in "Welcome Wagon" of establishing that high school students, in that case Rat Boy, Ferret Boy, and the nameless one were free to wander at will on campus. Plus, Dick was called a legacy in "My Big Fat Greek Rush Week." Doesn't that indicate a prior association between the Pi Sigs and the Casablancas family? That could involve him having early contact.

misskiwi: Secondly, if Dick were the culprit, why would they have had him fail Physics in "I Am God" and made several references to him not graduating and not going to college? If he were the culprit, they would have planned all along to send him to Hearst, I think, rather than retconning him in during the season premiere. So it's either a clue that he was a late addition to season three, or really sloppy writing. Oh, and I think we would (or should) have seen Dick in "The Rapes of Graff" if he were responsible.

Inigo: I'm starting to wonder about the football team. It was a couple of things in this episode. They are the Rough Riders and their logo is the fedora'd head of a creepy looking guy. Actually, that image is college-wide and seems strange anyway. Then there's the fact that Coach Fry had a file called "Special Teams" on his computer. Then there's Pop's comment, in relation to copying Kurt's assignment, "Yeah, I was behind and I thought it's not like either of us would get caught, so...." That could just mean that he thought Kurt would never turn him in, but I got vibes of it meaning that even if the Sociology Department picked up on the plagiarism, nothing would happen because the football team were cushioned from the consequences of bad behaviour, like cheating. Finally, there was Trish's reference to Kurt being treated like a "a piece of meat" (reflecting the view of the feminists on how the Lampoon was treating the women on campus). She talks about them making Kurt's life hell. What did she mean? How were they making his life hell? From the opening scene, he's running steps because he missed a meeting for a lecture, a punishment which seems proportionate to the "crime." She's overstating unless there's a lot more to it, and given what she did, there must be. I think having an evil football team that forces its players into some sort of rape/shave hazing ritual is too outlandish, and I don't think that's it, but there's just...something.

topanga: "Special Teams" is a special group of defensive football players who run back punts and kick-offs and defend the other team when they run back balls. Thanks to my husband "Cedric" for his 30-second football tutorial. But I knew that already. Kinda.

Inigo: I fail at football. No wonder I hate it.

misskiwi: Plus, you're probably actually thinking of soccer, Brit. Nothing from the football subplot pinged on my radar. Like topanga said, "Special Teams" is perfectly innocent. I think Pop's reference to the Sociology assignment wasn't anything of consequence because he was just saying that they wouldn't get caught. And, even if he was implying that the university would never do anything to them, perhaps that's because he's an essential part of their football team and the college would be reluctant to kick him out and lose a star player.

tallow: I think it's — oh, wait. I'll post it in a couple weeks.

But it's an awesome theory! Trust me!

grim squeaker: It's Swamp Thing, I tell you.

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