Veronica Mars‘ third season is a very curious season of the series for sure. It is by far the weakest season of the series to date (which is a lovely sentence to actually write now that season four is officially in the works!), standing out for many reasons, not least of which is the structure.
Of the many things that can give one pause for thought when it comes to the third season, one of the biggest is without a doubt, Logan. It goes without saying – and I have written about it in several reviews before – that I do ship Veronica and Logan, (or LoVe as the shipper name goes – which as shipper names go is pretty damn great), but it’s clear at several points in the third season that the writers have struggled a little with the character of Logan this season.
Jason Dohring has forever remained a brilliant presence on the series, and there is no doubt that both he and Kristen Bell have retained that magic that the series came across pretty much by accident during the first season. But the script has continually written them into a corner for the past few episodes, and with them apart now due to Logan sleeping with Madison, amazingly a plot twist that is simultaneously well executed but which has come out of nowhere as well, ‘Postgame Mortem’ now goes and partners him in his scenes for this episode with a child, Heather (Juliette Goglia) that he happens to be babysitting for one of Dick’s latest girlfriends.
It’s interesting to note that, allegedly, Dohring went to creator Rob Thomas to question him on Logan’s continuously heartbroken nature; to which Thomas replied it was being set up for this episode’s plotline, which reaches a peak of sorts when Logan encounters Veronica while looking after Heather. It’s hard to decipher whether or not it’s genuinely great character development or a loss of the character’s direction, that we’ve reached a point where Logan is so different to how he was when we first encountered him as the school psychopath in the Pilot.
Character development is wonderful and some series, like the output of Joss Whedon and the characters on Buffy and Angel, do such a great job in changing and developing its core cast, but with Logan it’s hard to tell if the series has genuinely done right by changing him from a headlight-smashing thug in the first episode to a brooding, heartbroken, sensitive male in need of emotional education from a wise-beyond-her-years child.
As cliched as that notion is, it’s not handled terribly here, that’s for sure, and it’s hard not to be taken along with it. But most of what helps make it work is down to Dohring and Goglia, who share a nice rapport in many of their scenes, and it’s the charm of their performances that help sell it. Unfortunately, it is something of a rod that many have used to criticise the episode. It ends up being one of the things that end up dominating a lot of the discussion of the episode, but it’s indicative of how well the series is at focusing on character on top of its mysteries.
As for the latter plot points, ‘Postgame Mortem’ gives us a mystery of the week that will actually continue into the next episode. This is a rarity for this series, although in actuality the murder of the Hearst College football coach was intended to run into the last third of the season before being brought to a conclusion in the next episode before eventually developing into a series of stand-alone tales for the remainder of the season – another reason why season three feels something of a structural mess in comparison to the first two seasons, but in the end that’s a story for when we get there.
Overall, it is an entertaining episode, and while we are still a long way away from the dizzying heights of the first two seasons, the series is still retaining a lot of entertainment factor even if the season is structurally a bit of a mess.