At last, an episode from the third season of Veronica Mars that is actually really good. Apologies for that, but you take the smooth amongst the rough when you can get it, and so far with the third season of Veronica Mars, the efforts have been just a touch more rough than most.
As a fan of the series, I almost feel bad for being as judgmental on the season as I have been, but with ‘Hi, Infidelity’, things have improved remarkably in that the episode is not only rather good but excellent.
There are still issues here to deal with: the idea that one of the feminists on campus has decided to fake her rape story still plays into one of the biggest issues that the season has going against it, mainly in how it betrays the behaviour of its characters with feminist beliefs and how they use militant, borderline fascistic behaviour in an attempt to get over on the fraternity houses on campus. It can’t help but continually leave a sour taste in the mouth.
Despite that, and the episode opening with a scene dealing with that plot line, ‘Hi, Infidelity’ gets itself into the way of giving the audience a really good case of the week, probably the best case of the week of the season thus far, along with some eventual twists and turns involving the campus rapist that actually makes it the most engaging it has been all season.
Seeing James Jordan, who played Lucky, the school janitor, last season, and is now playing teacher’s assistant Tim Foyle – a foil of sorts against Veronica in her criminology class – was a little disconcerting at the start of the season, but as it has gone on, his antagonism and rivalry with Veronica has been one of the more enjoyable elements, and here it’s given a primary focus within the events of the episode.
Being accused of plagiarism for her highly marked paper and then investigating the accusation and the subsequent twists and turns that come with it, this is the first case of the week since the end of season two where Veronica Mars has actually felt genuinely like Veronica Mars. The plagiarism angle would almost be enough to sustain an entire episode, but it ends up just being the launching pad for another set of twists and turns entirely, with the character of Veronica’s criminology professor, Hank (Patrick Fabian) coming under the microscope.
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There are threads for Veronica to follow, and reveals that lead to other reveals, making it all incredibly enjoyable in a way that it has not felt so far this season. Maybe it’s ending up making one feel more favourably towards the episode than one really should, but given the mixed quality that has been the main issue of season three so far, it’s refreshing to see a case of the week that feels as good and even fresh as this is.
The whole fake rape storyline aside, this is also the most emotionally grounded and well-handled episode of the season that has dealt with the campus rapist. There is a touch of subtlety here, as well as setting up for some genuine mystery and storytelling avenues.
The moment when Parker catches a whiff of Mercer’s (Ryan Devlin) cologne is a great moment, and just when it seems as if we may be one the cusp of finding out who it is, the episode ends with a cliffhanger involving a mysterious alibi from Logan, who was with Mercer but won’t reveal for what reason.
It’s a great hook to get one to come back for the next episode for sure. Let’s just hope, with everything crossed, that the season can actually keep sustaining a touch of this excellence.