Warning: MAJOR spoilers for Veronica Mars season 4 are ahead.
Well fellow Marshmallows, if you are reading this that means you have finished watching the 8-episode season 4 of Veronica Mars and probably shed a few tears. Veronica's beloved reformed bad boy, played by the incomparable Jason Dohring, does not get the complete happy ending he deserved. The creator and star have explained why Veronica Mars killed Logan off, but now that the dust has settled, do we agree with their reasoning?
On one hand, we should have seen this coming from episode 1. The rejected proposal in the first episode of the season foreshadowed Logan’s upcoming doom, a hint that his relationship with Veronica (Kristen Bell) would not make it through the season. Creator Rob Thomas almost had me fooled with the multiple fake-outs (too many for my liking) in the final episode that made me briefly question if this season would end on an uplifting note. But I knew better when I saw there were 15 minutes remaining after Veronica and Keith (Enrico Colantoni) solved the mystery. My skepticism was confirmed when moments after Logan and Veronica’s intensely anticipated wedding, Logan became the final casualty of a bomb planted by the Neptune bomber, intended for Veronica. Bell, Thomas, and Dohring have all commented on Logan being killed off the show. Although they have explained how the series will have a new direction for potential future Veronica Mars seasons, I've got to be honest: Logan’s death still seems like an unnecessary plot device that will actually limit where the show can go, rather than opening it up.
In season 4, following Logan’s death, Veronica Mars jumps ahead a year, skipping Veronica’s grieving process. With her high school sweetheart truly gone, she decides to leave crime-filled Neptune and continues on, in search of her next case. Dohring spoke to Entertainment Weekly about learning that Logan, who he has played since Veronica Mars premiered on UPN in 2004, would be killed off this season. “I was crushed for like three days,” he admitted. Speaking about how Logan’s death impacts the next chapter in Veronica’s story, he told E! News, “It gives her a chance to move on, and I think we told that aspect, that they love each other and there's nobody better,” Dohring said. “So, from there, there's only death.”
This idea that his death was the only reasonable option for the conclusion of Veronica and Logan’s story stemmed from Thomas who also shared his perspective with E! News “Here's the thing: It is certainly placing a big bet,” Thomas said. “And I love Jason Dohring, the person, I love Logan the character. But we really want to be able to do more Veronica Mars in the future and playing a detective series where your kickass detective has a boyfriend or husband back home is not undoable, but not the best version of the show.”
Thomas continued, “I think there's a reason why on a television series when your two leads get together, the show is over. It just gets inherently less interesting, particularly if you want to do a badass, noir mystery, it felt like cutting off an arm to save the body a bit.”
As someone who lists Veronica Mars as one of their top five TV series of all time, I simply can't agree with Thomas’s mindset, and I can’t envision how another season of this show would capture the same magic that continues to set it apart from other mystery-driven shows.
To start, Thomas comparing Veronica Mars to other television series seems odd. Nothing about the concept of the show or Veronica and Logan’s relationship is conventional, so Veronica Mars wouldn’t be expected to follow patterns set by other series. This isn’t a show about Veronica’s relationships with Logan and her other Neptune crew members, but rather, among many themes, how these relationships impact Veronica’s view of her suspects and her intense connections to her cases.
To remove a key relationship takes away not only Logan’s sarcastic but sweet dynamic with Veronica (which will be deeply missed), but it also eliminates his necessary role as someone who pushes Veronica to confront her trust issues and encourages her personal growth. Of course the obvious response to Thomas’ is: Why would it be less interesting to show a happier version of Veronica who also has to work on her marriage when she isn’t solving cases? Giving Veronica a more stable relationship shouldn’t make her less interesting because she would still be the fast-talking, quick-witted PI fans love. And to suggest as much is, honestly, kind of insulting.
When speaking about Logan’s death to EW, Bell confirmed that Thomas had pitched the idea to her before the series was picked up by Hulu. Bell said Thomas told her:
“I know this seems crazy or harsh but Veronica is at her best when she’s an underdog and I don’t know that there’s much to root for if she’s now got a perfect relationship. I need to keep her fighting and I need to keep her a little bit uncomfortable in order to have a show. There’s nothing funny or interesting about perfection.”
First of all, Veronica and the word "perfect" should never be in the same sentence together. As much as the audience knows about Veronica, there is nothing that happened in the fourth season or the entire series that would suggest anything in Veronica’s life, especially her relationship with Logan, is anywhere close to perfect.
Why is the only way a woman can maintain her status as an underdog, a badass, or someone audiences root for is if she constantly has positive aspects of her life stripped away from her? Besides, Veronica has had multiple traumatic events happen to her, including being sexually assaulted, having her best friend die, and losing her mother (and that all happened in just the first season!), that give her a permanent status as an underdog.
This idea of Veronica and Logan having a “perfect relationship” is also troubling. Veronica doesn’t even let Logan finish his proposal in the first episode of season 4, and she tries to make it seem like his wish to marry her came from an ill-intentioned place. Later, she basically tells him she misses the rageful Logan, a dangerous side of him that he is working hard to keep under control. He tells multiple people the news of their engagement, but she waits to tell her father, the other most important person in her life, until the day of her wedding. Moments before they wed, she immediately assumes he has abandoned her after he sends a single cryptic text.
Veronica and Logan, like any married couple, would have always had issues they needed to sort out. A sweet, romantic wedding doesn't fix those. Unfortunately, now we will never have the chance to see how their relationship was impacted by married life or how Veronica’s ever present doubts continued to affect her.
It seems like the main reason for Logan’s death was the desire to change the basis of the series. “The show started as a combo teen soap/noir mystery show,” Thomas told E News! “And moving forward, my opinion is that we're going to have to survive as a mystery show. The next one, expect something closer to a straight up mystery, that we're going to lean heavily into that element of the show.” Based on how season 4 ends, with Veronica leaving Neptune in her rear view, it’s not a stretch to suggest that future seasons of Veronica Mars would not include major roles for Keith, Wallace (Percy Daggs III) or Weevil (Francis Capra). Weevil and Wallace already had very limited screen time this season.
I'm not sure Veronica Mars is as great a show without these supporting members. Veronica’s interactions with her father, friends, and frenemies provide a breather for her and the audience in between multiple suspects that sometimes become red herrings and, worse, deaths. One of the reasons season 1 hooked audiences and is debatably the strongest season of the series is because of Veronica’s personal connection to the case and how emotionally invested she was in solving the crime. Without these relationships and characters fans have loved since 2004, it is possible the show, if it continues, won't look any different from other adult mysteries (of which there are so, so many).
So will Thomas’s bet pay off? The general social media consensus so far unsurprisingly confirms that Marshmallows do not approve of Logan’s death. But, this fanbase is extremely devoted, and the reason Veronica Mars has returned twice since its “final” season in 2007. So, time will tell if they want to stay for a strictly noir mystery series with none of the usual suspects. The thought of not seeing Logan (and potentially Keith, Wallace, and Weevil!) alongside Veronica in the future might just be too much to bear.