by Vicki Vass
She’s back. It’s been fifteen years since America’s second favorite teen detective (Nancy Drew remains number 1) burst on the scene to audience acclaim. Hulu has brought back the girl, now woman, detective with a slightly older but no less witty Veronica, still played by Kristen Bell and series creator Rob Thomas for season 4.
This revival finds Veronica back in sunny Neptune working side by side with her PI dad, Keith, at Mars Investigations. Keith is losing his memory and hides it from Veronica. Their banter remains as playful and clever as ever as does their ability to see clues in places that elude the inept local police force.
Veronica is living with her high school boyfriend, Logan Echolls, originally introduced as the “obligatory psychotic jackass” of Neptune High, now a Navy secret intelligence officer. Working on his anger issues, Logan appears subdued and less jealous than in previous seasons. When Logan proposes, their relationship hits a sour note. The cynical Veronica is not ready for a long-term commitment.
The focus on their relationship is put on hold when a bomb explodes in the Sun Sprite Motel during spring break. A senator’s brother is wounded, and the senator hires Mars Investigations to find the culprit. There’s no shortage of suspects. Is it someone after the senator’s family? Is it the community faction that wants to clean Neptune? Or is it the gang of PCHers?
While the mystery may be new, this season of Veronica Mars still resembles homecoming. Populated with characters from the previous seasons including Wallace (Percy Daggs III), Weevil (Francis Capra), and Leo (Max Greenfield), it feels as if we or they never left Neptune. Even ambulance chasing lawyer Cliff McCormack (Daran Norris) is back to exchange quick-witted repartee with Veronica. This gives the series a sense of familiarity to the fans who demanded its return.
Although older, Veronica remains snarky, sarcastic, and suspicious of everyone including the mysterious Clyde (J.K. Simmons), a former convict, who arrives in Neptune at the request of “Big” Dick Casablancas (David Starzyk), one of Neptune’s slimier characters.
In the season finale, the mystery is wrapped up. Through most of the eight episodes, the series remains true to form and retains the spirit of its original three seasons. At the end there is a plot twist that will leave long-time fans shaking their heads.
For me this was a welcome revisit to Neptune. Hanging with Veronica is like hanging with that friend you haven’t seen in a while; your friendship picks up where you left off. This version makes it evident though that Veronica Mars has moved from teen detective to full-fledged hard-boiled adult detective. Word is still out whether there will be a fifth season.
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