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Hurt People Hurt People in Veronica Mars the Movie

Hulu hates me. I know it’s true and I know it’s personal. It’s the only possible explanation for the fact that I have been trying to watch Veronica Mars for a month now and it does not play easily, if at all. At first I blamed this on my poor internet connection, I am both poor and live in the mountains, so my internet is my Verizon phone hotspot. Sometimes Hulu can be difficult. In the last week, however, I have noticed that it is not my internet, it is not Hulu, it is specifically Veronica Mars. If I want to watch anything else, it works with only the usual slow-buffering issue. Not Veronica, though, I’ve been trying to watch the second episode of season 4 for THREE DAYS.

I’ve watched Veronica Mars before, so it’s not like I’m dying from cliff hangers over here, but during a second watch I usually can’t remember what’s coming until right before it happens. This is a show I want to be able to quote at will, and that means this second watch is not my last, if I can resolve this personal discrimination that Hulu is throwing at me.

Sometimes I take poor buffering as a sign. Last night, for instance, I couldn’t watch V Mars so I threw on two movies, both of which ended up being bangers (that coincidentally had some real zingers in there for aspiring writers such as myself). Other times, I can’t be talked into anything else. Today is one of those days.

My solution? I spent two hours contemplating whether or not I could justify the expenditure, but in the end decided that I could spring open my wallet and hand $2.99 over to YouTube in order to watch the Veronica Mars movie, which I have still not seen. I set up everything, my snacks are in reach, I have comfortable pants on, and I have emptied my bladder.

I find myself in luck, because this movie is everything I could ever dream of in a ten year reunion movie featuring a high school misfit. It was ninety perfect minutes of satisfaction and validation rivaled only by the first time I watched Buffy blow up her high school at graduation. Veronica literally gets to punch her high school bully in the face.

The movie opens and Veronica has clearly achieved what she always dreamed of – getting the f*ck out of Neptune. She’s in New York, dating Piz (not “still”, but “again” as Piz explains in the most painfully awkward recap to none other than Ira Glass). Piz works for This American Life, and Veronica has landed a job as Jamie Curtis’s lawyer. She hasn’t been in Neptune for almost a decade, and nine years of silence has grown between her and Logan Echols.

Watching through the series the first time, and skipping the movie, I saw a progressive story and I missed the middle. The movie where Veronica had worked hard and was right on the cusp of the life that she had always wanted for herself. I could list all of the things that she had going for her, but outside of the materialistic achievements, her biggest accomplishment in my eyes was that she seemed to have moved past a lot of destructive patterns and coping mechanisms.

But then Logan calls, and she drops everything. The job, the boyfriend, her entire life. I love that the fact that she comes running after nine silent years (not to mention that after nine years of not talking, nine years in which cell phone technology greatly changed, she still has not only his number saved under his name, but a picture that goes with the contact) is mentioned by Wallace in a classic line – “When Logan said ‘jump’ did you actually ask ‘how high’ or was there just an understanding that you would achieve max velocity?”

My second watch of any series is always a more critical one than the first because I am not merely being entertained – I am studying. In the first season Logan is upset at Veronica and he and a bunch of athletic guy friends find her outside of school and bust her headlights with a tire iron. When I watched this the second time I stood up and screamed before grabbing my phone and texting my friend Monica, who is the only person I know that loves Veronica Mars as much as I do. “This is abusive behavior!” I scream-texted.

Veronica clearly has an attachment to Logan, she talks a lot in the movie about being an addict but I am not clear on whether or not she’s addicted to being a detective or to Logan himself – the two are so clearly intertwined in her mind. That attachment is easy to understand when you consider what the two of them went through together in their formative years. Her best friend/Logan’s girlfriends was murdered, and Veronica’s investigation into the murder reveals that Logan’s father, Aaron Echols, is incredibly abusive. Logan endures physical abuse and emotional trauma, not the least of which is the discovery that Aaron was sleeping with Logan’s teenage girlfriend and murdered her to keep his secret.

I find it slightly easier to forgive Logan for busting Veronica’s headlights after I have that information. Hurt people hurt people, I know that to be true, and that gives me empathy towards a child who is being hurt and does not know what to do with all of his pain. I don’t excuse his behavior, but I understand it. Though I can’t help but wonder, where is the line between helping an abuse victim and enabling an abuser?

Logan was on a path of destruction, up until his girlfriend, Carrie Bishop, was murdered in the Veronica Mars Movie. It seems that the second murdered girlfriend was the wake up call that he needed. He joins the military and puts his life together, he finds reasons to wake up every morning that have nothing to do with debauchery. In Season Four, he talks about going to therapy and addressing his traumas. Logan heals.

Veronica suffers from her own traumas, her alcoholic mother left unique scars that Veronica visibly struggles with. In Season Four she is clearly grappling with a lot of her issues, and doesn’t seem to be invested in addressing and healing them. I’m positive that if anyone suggested that she “heal her past trauma” she would scoff and possibly threaten them with her taser. It seems to be a point of contention between her and Logan that he is healing and she is not. The part that frustrates me is that she may have been able to if he hadn’t called her back all those years ago.

A great fallacy in young, feminist shows from the turn of the millenia, is that they impress upon young women that they should listen to their “heart” over everything else. While embracing our emotions is a valuable lesson, the “heart” that these shows are always referring to is our impulsive, ego-driven feelings. Even the healthiest of breakups is devastating to the “heart”, because in those moments you are still, partially, in love with them. If you only listened to what your “heart” was telling you in the moment you would never leave them, choosing instead to live in a tiny lust bubble that comes from knowing you’re about to part ways. You would deprive each other of the life you need to live, one without your lover.

I heard recently that a sacrifice is only a pure when it comes from within ourselves, and that if anyone else is asking for the sacrifice, it is a manipulation. What I’m not sure of, yet, is which one Veronica makes. In the movie, everything points her to her life in New York except for her proverbial “heart” – and I can’t help but wonder if that’s what she really wanted. Only more views will tell.

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