Yummy Moral Ambiguity

23Jan07

Last week, Kat and I started watching Veronica Mars, Season 2 on DVD that she borrowed from Michele months ago. It was so good we started watching 3-4 episodes at a shot, and finished the season last night. It’s witty, exciting, full of twists, with only the occasional shortcut. Kat tells me Season 1 was better, so we’ll likely be watching soon.

There was one thing about the season finale that was really provocative. I’m gonna try to avoid spoiler territory by not using character names, but if you like to preserve all the surprises, you’d best stop reading now.

Right at the end of the season, there’s this big trial of a rich, white scumbag murderer. It’s been built up all season long. Because VM is heavily influenced by the noir genre, it shouldn’t be surprising that the rich guy gets off scott-free. That’s how they start off the final episode, with this guy that we, the audience, hate standing on the courthouse steps, telling the media how great it is to be a free man. We want to see justice done in the worst way.

Then, there’s this other character. He’s from the wrong side of the tracks. He’s a tough guy with a heart of gold. Earlier in the season, we saw him set up his former friend who betrayed him. The set up ended with the betrayer being murdered by the gang that the betrayer had been selling drugs for. Since then, the tough guy has stayed in school because his granma wants nothing in the world but to see him graduate. We like the tough guy. We want to see him walk across the stage and get his diploma. But, the sheriff (who we don’t like) has found out about his involvment in getting the betrayer killed, and arrests the tough guy right there in the gym. Before he gets his diploma. We’re like NOOO!

But why? Wasn’t it just 20 minutes earlier we were begging to see justice done? Isn’t this justice? Do we just want to see justice done to the people we don’t like? These are powerful questions. I rather enjoyed being put in that morally uncomfortable place. And it was done so well. Good stuff.

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