I feel as if I really shouldn’t have enjoyed ‘Poughkeepsie, Tramps and Thieves’ as much as I should have. There are definitely issues with it that one could use to criticise it heavily – and yet, it resistance proves to be futile sometimes and it manages to stay the right side of excellent.
This is definitely an episode where the case of the week is the one firing on all cylinders rather than the story arc – not that there’s anything particularly wrong with that either – but it’s definitely clear that the case of the week is where the real interest lies in Diane Ruggiero’s script.
That’s another thing: It’s a Ruggiero script, so you know that this is going to be a good episode. Because it’s Diane Ruggiero. Just seeing her name under the “written by” credit is enough to know we’re in good hands.
The Dean O’Dell murder may not, in the end, be the most engrossing story arc the series will ever do but at the very least it’s not going to leave one somewhat turned off by its problematic feeling.
There is a potential for the case of the week to be problematic given that it deals with what is essentially prostitution, but Ruggiero keeps the story on the right side of tasteful and even leaves space aside for some lovely character moments that cannot help but leave a small lump in the throat.
With ‘Show Me the Monkey‘ last week and now this week’s episode, one can’t help but feel that Veronica Mars may finally have found a tone and manner with which to deal with college-set stand along mysteries that it had difficulties with during the first third of the season. The stories feel as if they’re making genuine use of their college setting and might be finding ways to not fall into the pit of dramatic ineptitude that many other teen shows inevitably do.
There is a return appearance from Max from earlier in the season, meaning there’s also a return from the wonderful Adam Rose in the role, making it one of those smaller roles in a television series that turns into something just a little bit more substantial in later episodes.
Hiring Veronica to find a girl he spends one magical evening with, the story feels as if it’s going to be one thing with a certain type of romantic tone before giving way to another, more realistic one when the girl in question, Wendy (Brianne Davis), turns out to be a prostitute.
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There are several more twists and turns before the episode gets to it denouement when it feels as if it’s going to give us a happy ending involving Max and Wendy, but as if one needs a reminder, this is Veronica Mars, and happy endings are in short supply in Neptune.
The same goes for Veronica who has been for the most part in a relationship with Logan that has lasted nearly beyond a couple of episodes, but even this gives way to jealousy throughout the episode that is portrayed superbly by Kristen Bell, not to mention a return appearance from Madison who cannot help but leave you wanting to punch the television when she tells Veronica about sleeping with Logan when they were separated.
It all makes up for an episode that is unafraid to portray and love and romance in genuinely bitter ways and as such help make the episode a genuinely excellent one that while it may not top a poll to find the greatest ever episode of the show, is one that makes it worthy when watching either for the first time, or for the hundredth.