There is a wonderful sense of momentum to ‘Plan B’ that makes it incredibly enjoyable. The final scene itself would more than likely make the episode one to remember, even if it wasn’t that good an episode, but everything about Dayna Lynne North’s teleplay helps make it one of the most memorable of the season.
Better yet, there isn’t really a mystery of the week for Veronica to solve; instead, ‘Plan B’ devotes itself nearly entirely to the season’s ongoing story arcs that make it a lovely ratchet for tension to come over the next few episodes. One storyline in particular is sowing the seeds for some truly dark twists to come in the finale, but more on that when we get to it.
Essentially the case of the week pretty much involves the murder of Felix from the end of season one, a story that has been running around the periphery of the bus crash investigation. By the end of ‘Plan B’ Thumper is dead and gone in what is without a doubt one of the series’ best ever death scenes, simply for how over the top and preposterous it is, but it can’t help but chill you to the bone while also making you snigger a little at the wealth of unknowing poetic justice that is involved.
As all this is going on we get some wonderful teen drama involving Mac and Beaver, as well as Wallace and Jackie, that reminds the audience that we are indeed still within the realm of a teen drama sometimes, but one not above chaining a character inside a building about to be demolished.
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After a few weeks of some hit and miss episodes, ‘Plan B’, along with ‘The Rapes of Graff’ last week, has seen some fire return to what has otherwise been a fantastic season television. Interesting cases of the week – as in last week’s – may be the bread and butter of a series like Veronica Mars, but in devoting its time to story arcs and characters, it also shows that it can spend time on spreading its story arc wings just that little bit further without having to resolve its plots in forty-five minutes.
‘Plan B’ is awash with appearances from Goody (Steve Guttenberg doing his best nice guy act, which hides a darkness that you just know is going to show up sooner or later), Beaver, and a wonderfully angsty plot line with Mac that feels like a lovely little piece of gender subversion from every other teen drama you’ve ever see. Meanwhile, the Felix/Thumper stuff really comes to a head in dramatic fashion, even if for some aspects of the audience it feels as if it was really there as filler, which it kind of was, but let’s be honest, it was very entertaining filler.
With the Thumper storyline now done and – literally – dusted, it gives the season the feel of concentration solely on the bus crash in terms of the story arc, plus any other mysteries of the week for our titular heroine to solve. Better yet, without giving too much away, in retrospect, given other events going on here, one can see the series magnificently beginning to set in motion key revelations and plot points that are going to come into play in a big way when we get to the finale.
Looking back on it now, it is kind of obvious, but to not know when watching it for the first time, it’s a brilliant piece of hiding in plain sight by Rob Thomas and the writing staff. Hold on to your seats Marshmallows, this is going to get darkly memorable.