With one of the many cliffhangers at the end of last season involving Lianne absconding with the reward money that looked as if was going to be a new lifeline for Veronica and Keith, it’s been something of a surprise that this season hasn’t found too much time to devote in any way to Lianne, let alone mention her. It has been an incredibly busy season after all so that’s understandable. Nine episodes in, we get our first considerable mention of Veronica’s mum, but in a tale pretty much about the past, giving our heroine a chance to explore her own mum and place within Neptune High.
I may sound like a broken record here, but it’s another wonderful episode of the season that once again throws in a lot of plot and character, but once again never feels overburdened. It even throws in a humdinger of a cliffhanger setting up the next few episodes, making the episode even better.
A running joke, of sorts, throughout the series, is the level of access Veronica has to Principal Clemmons’ office and filing cabinet, a joke that effectively sets up the plot for “My Mother, The Fiend” when Veronica finds herself in detention for how she utilizes her access to the permanent files in the school and which sets her on a course to learning about her mother’s time at the school and the type of person she was.
We get some lovely examples of compare and contrast as we learn of who Lianne was at the same stage of her life as we see Veronica in right now, a story that leads to some surprising revelations, as well as dominant themes of parentage and parenthood, made all the more ironic given where the series is set to go the next few weeks in light of this episode’s final scene.
It makes for another winning episode in a season that has seen the series firing on all cylinders, the icing on the cake this week is the double whammy of having both Charisma Carpenter and Alyson Hannigan appear, and given that Carpenter as Kendall is doubling down on the mean girl stakes and Hannigan is subverting her own Willow character, there’s a real ironic charm and level of fun to be had in watching Carpenter play a Cordelia-esque character and Hannigan playing the same and watching the two fire off each other in a completely different way to how we watched them on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Sadly this will be the last we’ll see of Hannigan as Trina Echolls, her schedule at this point about to be swallowed up by filming the long-running sitcom How I Met Your Mother, but there’s a lovely sense of emotional closure that may have been unintentional here but which works wonderfully well given the revelations that await here concerning her own parentage that gives the character a chance to be humble in a way that we have seldom ever been allowed to see, although not humble enough as her last scene in the series is a lovely piece of payback for the character and her birth mother.
The revelation of Trina’s mother, as well as Lianne’s role in proceedings back when she was younger, allows for some lovely subversion of our sympathies and expectations. Just when we’re expecting to learn that Lianne was more of Madison Sinclair, we find out that Veronica is very much cut from the same cloth after all and has not been turned on to a course that is different from Lianne. If anything, she has just gone further with it by being a better person than nearly everyone else in that school.
It almost feels as if we’ve built ourselves up to something resembling a happy ending, even if Principal Clemmon’s motivations in getting Veronica on to the case weren’t so pure or even honest (then again, how often is he able to get one over on her, so there is some fun to be had there), but then the episode goes and throws that final scene on us and the wait for the next episode becomes something unbearable.
The revelation that Meg is pregnant, most likely with Duncan’s child, hits home like a sledgehammer. Given that “My Mother, the Fiend” is pretty much a tale of kids, children, and parents, it stands to reason that we’d get a revelation like this at the end of it. Where we go from here is going to lead to one of Veronica Mars‘ best ever episodes (although that’s still two weeks from now), but it throws another spanner into the works of a season that has thrown a lot of spanners.
At this rate one could be forgiven for thinking the wheels are about to come off and the season is going to lose control of itself. Don’t count on it. The best is yet to come.
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