For a character to grow stronger and be intrinsically human, it means putting them through challenges and seeing them evolve somehow. Whether it be good or bad, the character internalizes the problem and eventually learns a lesson. It’s not a whole hero’s journey, but the intention should be for them to evolve and become a better person.
But are some so damaged beyond repair to the point they are incapable of change?
In the long-awaited fourth season of Veronica Mars, it seems to be. It’s a hard season to get through due to her inability to become empathetic and her stubbornness. Veronica is known for being an untrusting skeptic, but she’s just straight-up mean at some points. For absolutely no reason at all. For instance, she gets mad at Logan for trying to better himself and how he’s not the angry guy from their younger years. He becomes enraged and punches a cabinet. For a strange reason, it turns Veronica on and leads to some whoopie.
It makes no sense for her. She still carries this angst and discernable traits from her teenage and college years. It’s the basis of her entire character, but it’s too much at times and completely weighs her down. What used to make Veronica great and such a kick-ass protagonist is her abrasive wit, disregard for nonsense, and her drive to find the truth. She’s now a thirty-something-year-old woman. Her snide comments and immature behavior are out of place. So, why after fifteen years keep her that way?
The fan-funded film was great! There was so much potential for her to grow and she was on track. Veronica matured and grew from Neptune and being a private investigator. Returning to Neptune and leaving her New York City life behind traps her and prevents her from progressing. Coming back home and working with her father again reverts to her old behaviors.
When the character whom the entire show is based around becomes a complete pain in the ass, and one character is beloved more than they are. It means there is a real problem with the show and more time should have been put in the writing. Especially when a character who has grown exponentially is killed off and we are left distraught.
The shift in Veronica’s behavior is abhorrent. Her overwrought sarcasm and cynicism begin to take effect on her loved ones. Specifically, the supposed love of her life Logan Echolls. She continues to struggle with her fear of intimacy. Even by rejecting his marriage proposal in the first episode. Do you love him or not? It took a sex dream of her ex from the first season, a relationship that practically lasted two seconds for her to realize her true desire is Logan. Logan is strung along by Veronica constantly. He knows how she is and puts up with because he loves her and until it too much for him too bare. The “will they or won’t they” scenario turns into an absolute no with the loss of his pivotal character. It’s a tiring and vicious cycle that the writers likely could not handle anymore, so killing him after their wedding seemed like a reasonable plan, right? You know, to make Veronica stronger and move on without the presence of a good man in her life. Because in Rob Thomas’ mind that fits the strong feminine archetype.
In an interview with the AV Club, Rob Thomas tries to plead his case,
“ I thought there was a reasonable chance that the movie would be the last time we ever saw Veronica or Logan, and believing it was the last time we might ever see them, I was happy to put them together and give that “happily ever after.” Now, the fact that we’re going to get to do, we think, more Veronica Mars, we want to position ourselves as a mystery show. If we were born as a hybrid teen soap/mystery show, we think we can only move forward as a mystery show. If we be the high-school soap that we were when we began, it’s going to feel like nostalgia, it’d get to a point of diminishing returns. It’s really in betting on the idea that there will be more Veronica Mars that I felt like Logan can’t be around for them.”
Logan Echolls is far from perfect. He is the best thing about the show though. As much as I love the whodunit factor of each case, the evolution of Logan is endearing and something the viewers hold on to. We root for him and we hope the same for Veronica. It is apparent that Logan is set up to be a gateway for Veronica to finally take care of herself and attend therapy. Throughout season four, Logan told her multiple occasions to go, but she is reluctant due to stubborn nature. That’s the problem. Veronica never takes responsibility for her actions or how they will possibly affect the people around her. Logan even confronts her by saying that she puts herself in complicated circumstances, and she feels she is damned to be unlucky or unhappy.
Veronica creates a hell of her own design in a loop of her toxic behaviors. Also, she only has the motivation to grow when there have been huge bouts of trauma in her life. Not by her own will.
Veronica at times believes she is better off on her own, but she needs someone to help her along the way. Logan was that for her. Logan and Veronica have both experienced a series amount of loss and difficulty in their lives. It would’ve been great if they wrote them to bring a balance to each other. If the problem is not knowing how to incorporate Logan in Veronica’s life given their history, then not enough time was spent trying to put them together properly. He should have never been involved in the first place. They can still be individuals in their own right, but hitting the kill switch makes for an easy out a waste of a character and lazy writing.
It is okay to let things end. Especially when you don’t know where something should go. Thomas did not want to bring Logan and Veronica together permanently because that would mean endgame for the show in his mind. Reanalyzing the ending of the season finale, she finally drives away from Neptune, and while listening to a recording from Logan he had left for his therapist before their wedding. She sheds a tear and drives off along the coast. Without Logan, she has a fresh start. If there is going to be a fifth season, hopefully, she can start her journey on becoming a better human by slowly putting her broken pieces together again. If Veronica does not work, then the show doesn’t. The nostalgia of Veronica Mars must fade and we might have to move on.