You know that feeling when you rewatch a television series you absolutely adore and there are certain episodes that you cannot wait to get to again? Marshmallows, we have reached one of those episodes.
It’s interesting that Donut Run is so damn good. It is the best episode of season two so far, which is really saying something because if we forget some of the rushed scripting decisions of last week, season two has been a superlative run of episodes, while also bringing to an end Teddy Dunn’s tenure on the series, as well as the Veronica and Duncan relationship.
The latter was clearly not winning over audiences in the way LoVe (shipper name for the Veronica and Logan relationship for those who don’t know) was doing and so, halfway through its second season, Duncan is gone, leaving town for good.
While the relationship may not have been that popular, Rob Thomas, making his directorial debut here, goes and makes his exit into one of the show’s all-time greatest episodes, piling on plot twist, subterfuge and a high level of suspense, while nearly utilising every character to perfection and paving the way for Kristen Bell to give us another brilliant performance.
Dealing with the aftermath of Meg’s death and the birth of her and Duncan’s child from last week, Donut Run takes one of the most problematic elements from last week and turns it into solid gold. Beginning with Duncan breaking up with Veronica which causes our heroine to spiral to the point that it causes her to listen to The Virgin Suicides soundtrack, in particular Al Green’s How Can You Mend a Broken Heart and The Hollies’ The Air that I Breathe, like all great con artist or heist movies, Donut Run presents something to the audience that we take as fact before it turns out we’ve been duped and that everything we have seen has not been the case.
Like Keith, there is a part of us that is so angry (more of which shortly because it does result in the episode’s only flaw) because for what feels like the first time, we’ve been kept at arms reach from Veronica. Yes, our avenging angel usually has some trick up her sleeve that at some point in every episode gets revealed in an “a-ha” fashion but here Thomas keeps us away from what is really going until that reveal in the apartment next door to Veronica.
What starts off as a standard breaking up and being angry episode reveals itself to be an Academy Award-worthy performances from Veronica and Duncan as the whole thing turns out to be a ruse to help Duncan get his child and out of the country. It’s a fantastic twist and it is handled brilliantly, a wonderful gotcha moment that under any other hands could have destabilized the episode and made the audience angry at being duped, but which just makes it all that much better and considerably ups the stakes for the climax.
Not only do we have the usual antagonistic shape of Sheriff Lamb to contend with this week, but the FBI who comes to town in the shape of Lucy Lawless. I swear she is the coolest in everything she does, maybe it’s that laid-back dialogue delivery or something. There is so much going on here that it almost feels like the season in a microcosm; packed with so much plot it threatens to fall apart but never does.
If there is a minor complaint to be had, amazingly in a rare case here, it’s with Keith. Enrico Colantoni is brilliant as always, but the scene where after he finds out he has been duped =by Veronica’s action rings false because of the intensity of the dialogue. He claims he’ll never be able to trust Veronica again, but the next scene and the rest of that episode never deal with his feelings, and in fact, it never comes up again in the rest of the series. What felt to me like a set up for a new dynamic in the father and daughter relationship at the heart of the series never becomes so and it’s simply there for the sake of the drama.
It’s a shame because the scene between Bell and Colantoni is superbly played by both, with Colantoni making the dialogue all the more convincing with his choked up, angry delivery. It’s such a convincingly played scene that it almost seems a shame that it’s the only part of the episode that feels hollow and false given that it goes absolutely nowhere in the long run.
There are other plot lines going on this week; we find out that Wallace is back under dark circumstances and Logan and Weevil investigate Felix’s murder, but that really isn’t as much fun as everything else which, Keith’s emotional outburst aside, sees the series not only returning to form after last week’s little falter but doing so in a fantastic and brilliant way.
It once again reminds one just how good this season is, not to mention different, to last year. While Teddy Dunn may have been ready to leave the series, and acting altogether, and the relationship between Duncan and Veronica was not the most popular thing the series did, there is something sweet in giving the character a happy ending, escaping to Mexico where he can hopefully be the type of parent his own never where.
It’s a surprising piece of hope in the Southern-California Noir drenched world of Neptune.
Are you a fan of Veronica Mars? Let us know what you made of this episode.