Given its subject matter and the fact that its premiere on The CW also had a PSA attached to it, one might be worried that we’re in for something preachy with ‘I Know What You’ll Do Next Summer’. The subject matter of child soldiers in Uganda is a serious one and Veronica Mars really should be commended for attempting to deal with it, and even more so for actually managing to craft an enjoyable story out of it.
Going into this episode one might be a tad worried that it might be biting off a bit more than it can actually chew, but the catchily titled ‘I Know What You’ll Do Next Summer’ (a play on the 90’s Kevin Williamson-scripted slasher) actually does very well with its central theme and main guest character, and manages to be incredibly engaging and even emotional in all the right places.
The last third of its – at the time – final season is an interesting one for sure. The first time I watched it I felt as if I hadn’t enjoyed it, but in rewatching it I always find myself finding more to like and admire in the season’s swing into stand-alone storytelling. And while dipping into more political waters here could come off wrong or go askew despite the intentions, Jonathan Moskin and David Mulei’s teleplay does what Veronica Mars does so well: putting emphasis on story and character.
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After the fun and lightheartedness of Paul Rudd’s appearance in ‘Debasement Tapes‘, this is a much more serious concoction, but it gets to the heart of what frequently makes Veronica Mars so enjoyable week in and week out, especially when its on form, and this tale of a former Ugandan child soldier and the return of a man who may or may not be his father, plays out incredibly well.
Fathers and son is a big theme running throughout here, given that one of the main subplots involves Dick having to stand up to this own father in a relationship that ends up being the complete opposite of the one that is set to develop between Apollo (Nelsan Ellis) and his own father who he has been reunited with.
There is one red herring when it seems that Apollo might actually be lying that, in the end, doesn’t really go anywhere other than to just add an element of mystery so that it feels like a classic Veronica Mars episode, but thankfully it doesn’t destabilise the story too much and there is a gentle relief when it doesn’t go down the route of having Apollo be a liar.
The interactions of the characters and subplots like that of Veronica having to take her private investigator exam, and the ongoing antics of Vinnie and the Sherrif election, make this another solidly entertaining episode. Yes, we are still a long way away from Lilly’s murder and the bus crash, but at least the series is still on a footing that is seeing it delivering entertaining episodes, a factor made somewhat bittersweet by the fact that the initial end of the series is not too far away.