Lives Ruined, Bloodshed, Epic: A Spoilery Discussion of Veronica and Logan in Veronica Mars S4

Confession: when I was a teen, I was a huge Veronica/Logan fan. So imagine my surprise when I watched the revival of Veronica Mars on Hulu, saw a grown up Veronica and Logan getting engaged, and found myself wanting them to break up instead.

In interviews since the release of season 4, creator Rob Thomas has repeatedly said that although Logan had a place in Veronica’s story when it was a just a vague “happily ever after” at the end of the movie, he didn’t feel like Logan fit into Veronica’s story if he continued to tell it. And I’m surprised to admit that he might be right. Logan didn’t feel right in Veronica’s story this season, as it was written — or, perhaps, it’s that she didn’t feel right in his.

There’s occasionally something uncomfortable about revisiting ships that we loved as teens (or there is if you shipped like I did). The couple I saw as OTP age 17 is unbearably toxic and destructive age 27. It happened to me about Rory and Jess in Gilmore Girls, and one reason I haven’t rewatched old Veronica Mars yet is that I was worried it would happen with Veronica and Logan too. That eagerness for heightened drama has settled somewhat into wanting to see characters who are, you know, actually happy together and good for each other, which Veronica and Logan were not, no matter how much I adored their every interaction and wanted them to live happily ever after.

Season 4 of Veronica Mars felt like it tackled that change in much of its audience, and in its characters, head on. At the very least, it tackled the way we might feel nostalgic for teen Veronica and Logan, and the ways that their dynamic might fit into a teen drama, but doesn’t fit into any concept of mature, well-adjusted adults.

I first started thinking about writing this post when I saw episode two, when Veronica needles Logan about not being LOGAN enough any more. He isn’t angry enough, jealous enough, destructive enough. She finds Logan’s dangerous element, his lack of control, irresistible, just as she always did. She LIKED the dangerous elements of being with teen!Logan — the kissing your supposed enemy after he saves you from kidnapping, the secret relationship, the swings between love and hate, kissing and accusations of murder. I wonder, if I rewatched Season One now, if it would be apparent that Veronica liked the general violence and thrill and risk of being with Logan, even as she insisted that she couldn’t handle how self-destructive he was. But now Logan is far healthier, and he isn’t the same. He isn’t as thrilling or forbidden.

Who would have thought that Logan would end up being the well-adjusted one, going to therapy and finding healthy outlets for his feelings, while Veronica is still stuck in the self-destructive tendencies of her teen days?

Because now Veronica is the sole destructive one. She is still the one with major trust issues, but she refuses to work with Logan or to change or grow at all. It is as though her heart is still hardened from the events of her sophomore year of high school, and she cannot allow herself to be vulnerable, even now. So we see her apparently bored and discontent in domesticity. We see her flirting with the idea of making out with someone else. And we see how that clashes with a Logan who has mostly moved on. Logan does not want to be damaged any more, but Veronica cannot let go.

And so, despite my mega lifelong Veronica/Logan shipper status, I found myself wanting them to break up. I wanted them to acknowledge that things weren’t working, that being in love would not mend the strain between them. I wanted Logan to have a chance to be happy, and it seemed obvious that Veronica was holding him back from that.

While I was watching the show, I felt like I was meant to have that reaction. I thought it was bold to have Veronica cling onto her most unlikeable and self-destructive characteristics and not play into fans’ hopes for the revival. So I was more than a little surprised when Veronica and Logan made up and decided to get married after all. At that point, I couldn’t entirely believe it. Their relationship had been breaking down, and suddenly they were jumping to the happily ever after, without addressing any of the problems that had come up.

And then, of course, Logan died, and the about-face was revealed as a reframing to make this all the more tragic.

In part, I understand why Rob Thomas decided things needed to be quite this final. Veronica’s story needed to move on, but Veronica wouldn’t. The show’s fans certainly wouldn’t. If Veronica and Logan broke up, the Logan question would hover over the show forever. Fans would never accept that that was the end. I can understand Rob Thomas wanting to sever that permanently, to set Veronica onto a path of finally, truly growing and moving on.

I don’t like it. If they can’t have a healthy relationship, I’d at least like the show to leave Logan alive, so he can finally enjoy life after all the trauma he’s experienced. But I understand the impulse.

Yet if that was the intention, I still don’t understand the path the season took, the self-destructiveness followed by sudden happiness followed by tragedy completely out of their control. Rob Thomas didn’t think the Veronica/Logan dynamic fit into his vision for the future of the series, and I have to admit that Logan’s sudden death is about as old-school Veronica Mars as it gets. It’s almost the old path that Veronica was wishing for, the story spanning years and continents, lives ruined and bloodshed, epic. Once, that was what Logan wanted. Now it’s what Veronica wanted. Old school Veronica/Logan. But I don’t understand why the show spent several episodes addressing the very believable problems in a grown up Veronica/Logan relationship, convincing us of the fact that maybe Veronica did need to be a lone wolf adventuring detective for a while, and then threw it away.

Veronica and Logan didn’t have to end season 4 living happily ever after, with no room for further stories or growth. But I very much wish we could have got an alternate universe where Veronica dealt with her issues and Logan got to live.

What do you think?

%d bloggers like this: