I haven’t minded the more atomic structure of Veronica Mars season 3. While watching the first and second seasons, I thought that many of the linkages between episodes felt contrived, especially in the second. The plot in season 3, while less integral to each episode, seemed to flow a lot more naturally. Indeed, the weakest episdoes this season have been the most plot heavy. Really, who didn’t realize that a) the evil grad student had murdered the Dean, and b) that he would reveal himself to Veronica through the class discussion? It was telegraphed, and genuinely weak. Then again, I think that every season finale has been weak. I’m reminded of a critique I heard of Ocean’s Twelve. It’s interesting enough to see how the caper was pulled off, but the revelation didn’t proceed organically; we couldn’t figure out that they had already stolen the egg until Soderbergh decided to show us the secret stuff that we couldn’t have known about before. Unlike a good mystery, we couldn’t figure things out on our own. It’s been the same way with VM; the season finale has tied everything together, but twisted the plotting such that the season as a whole doesn’t naturally lead up to the conclusion.
Far more troubling is that the depiction of student groups comes straight out of PCU. I understand that a television show has to have conflict, and that one as complex as Veronica Mars needs to have some intrigue, but I’m pretty sure that the number of campus feminist groups that decide to stage rapes of their members is close to zero. And after the dour, humourless feminists come the almost as dour animal rights activists…
It’s remarkable that, even with all of these flaws, the show remains watchable. Kristen Bell and Enrico Colantoni are so good (and so good with each other) that I’m willing to ignore the problems and just enjoy myself.
… to be sure, I don’t mean to say that I prefer season 3 to either season 1 or season 2; season 3 is weak, but the atomic structure isn’t the real problem. It has more, I think, to do with the clumsiness of the move from high school to college, a move that very few shows have accomplished successfully.