It was always going to be hard to top last week’s episode, which was not only a season highlight but a one for the entire series too, so credit where credit is due, Rashard and Wallace Go to White Castle is a very valiant effort that makes good on following up on the revelation that Wallace’s time away from Neptune did not go very well.
It goes without saying that we have really missed Percy Daggs III and his performance as Wallace. His easy-going charm and lovable personality have always managed to be a series highlight, while also managing to retain credibility as a character that could have been simply someone for Veronica to walk over in her attempts to solve cases.
That has always been the great balancing act at the heart of Veronica’s central friendship with Wallace; he’s basically a version of Watson to her Holmes, or possibly Ken Malansky to Veronica’s Perry Mason in that he goes out and gets permanent records or any such piece of exposition information that our heroine needs, but the series and Daggs’ performance has always been allowed to make Wallace more than just an “assistant” character. He has always been a wonderful three-dimensional creation that has been able to stand on his own and be a worthy addition to the series, while there is something wonderful about how the series has never played the obvious card with them and tried to make their partnership into something romantic.
Some may put this down to a racial reason, but I genuinely like to believe (hopefully not naively) that is more down to a writers room wanting to portray a genuine female/male friendship without any romantic dramas pulling it down into obvious emotional drama.
While his episode has no chance in hell in topping some of the game-changing twists and turns from last week, it admirably doesn’t feel like it’s trying to; John Enbom’s teleplay is just content in allowing the series to rest itself a little and just have a very engaging case of the week that is made even more engrossing by the fact that it affects a character that we’ve really come to care for and missed during his absence from the series.
As always there is a real brisk step to the pacing, as well as some nicely delivered plot twists, not least of which Jackie (Tessa Thompson, who has also sadly been absent for a while) getting a chance to portray a more sympathetic and lovable persona than she has previously, with the episode brilliantly subverting our expectations for the character when we think she is hanging out with Wallace’s accuser willingly, but in fact is playing a part in Veronica and Wallace’s plan to bring Rashard down.
After being pretty much an antagonistic figure for Veronica in the first part of the season, it’s refreshing to see the character actually be more likable and as such a touch more three-dimensional than we’ve seen previously, with both her and Wallace’s relationship being some of the enjoyable sparks of the episode.
Of course, as all this is going on we have arc elements going on to with Keith managing to get a hand on interview tapes held after the bus crash, but the biggest subplot going on around Veronica trying to prove Wallace’s innocence is that of Felix’s murder from the end of season one.
There is a potential problem of the series having way too many subplots going on, but as I’ve said all season in these reviews, the writers have done a brilliant job of managing to balance them all season and so it is here that things are kept going miraculously well because any other show would have fallen apart at this rate.
Weevil and Logan always make for a wonderful buddy cop set up anytime the series throws them together (they’re also great fun when they are hating each other’s guts) and so it is here that we get to spend some time with them, a decision that comes back to Weevil in a bad way when he finds himself thrown out of the PCH-ers in a superb scene at the end of the episode where he is beaten and humiliated by those who used to follow him. There is something strangely sad and tragic at the Thumper’s order to throw Weevil’s bike into the ocean.
For some the whole Felix/Thumper sub-plot may just feel like some sort of season-long filler, but it’s not without merit or fun and as season-long filler goes, it’s pretty damn entertaining, while giving Logan some legitimate stakes away from the complicated relationship drama that is LoVe, while also showing how legitimately wonderful an addition Francis Capra and Weevil are to the series.
Once again it’s evidence of what can happen if you add many dimensions to a character and get actors or actresses as great as Daggs, Thompson, and Capra in to play them. Think back to the Pilot and how antagonistic and hateful Weevil was there and now the show has the ability to almost break you over the destruction of his motorcycle.
Maybe in comparison to the much later and more grittier gang dramas of Sons of Anarchy the stuff with the PCH-ers feels infantile (let’s remember, this was on UPN and would never be able to go as far as the way a cable drama like one on FX could), but it allows Veronica Mars to fall into a realm on a superficial level with Twin Peaks; mystery, suspense, small town, and biker gangs.
What more could you ask for?
Are you a fan of Veronica Mars? What did you make of this episode?