Jason Dohring, left, and Kristen Bell participate in the world premiere and Q&A of "Veronica Mars" panel on day two of Comic-Con International on Friday, July 19, 2019, in San Diego. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Jason Dohring, left, and Kristen Bell participate in the world premiere and Q&A of "Veronica Mars" panel on day two of Comic-Con International on Friday, July 19, 2019, in San Diego. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

'Veronica Mars' season 4 finale - An essay about the Logan Echolls twist

By Theolin Tembo Time of article published Nov 29, 2019

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I think it’s fair to say, that for "Veronica Mars" fans the Season 4 finale was a whopper.

It gave audiences the neo-noir drama they love, with its classic twist, great quips and enthralling – yet divisive – resolution.

If you haven't seen the finale yet, then it will be best to stop reading because ahead are spoilers.

Logan Echolls is dead, and died hours after getting married to Veronica.

While we weren’t shown his body - and not shown a funeral for one of the show’s most important characters –  the character is dead as show creator Rob Thomas and actor Jason Dohring confirmed his character's demise.

Fans were not thrilled, with many feeling frustrated or disappointed.

In an interview with TVLine, Thomas spoke about the decision to kill off the character and the reaction:

Q: Fans have been very vocal about the ending, and some of them have been quite unhappy. Has any of that made you reconsider the ending?

Thomas: No. Not even a little bit. I know what the show needs to be moving forward. There are not many shows about kickass detectives and their boyfriend at home. It was tough getting Logan wrapped into the story this season. Season 1 of Veronica Mars, the series regulars were all characters who I knew were part of that season’s mystery… It becomes very Murder, She Wrote if you have to start keeping the same six people wrapped up in each mystery. There’s a reason shows end when the couple gets together. I’m not going to start doing The Thin Man. It’s not going to be Veronica and Logan solving mysteries, so what is Logan doing in the show?

In an interview with ETOnline, he tackled the criticism that Logan's death conveys that successful women of Veronica's stature can't have it all and said it wasn't his intention:

I've been real upfront about my intention. It's that the hero of your television show, Veronica Mars, needs to be single if the show is going to keep surviving. If they had told me, "You never get to make another episode of Veronica Mars," Logan would have survived the end of the show. I'm certainly not trying to make a statement that women can't have it all.

In another interview, Thomas spoke about how the decision to kill off the character was like cutting off a limb to save the body.

While everyone watched the show because they loved the titular hero, part of what made the show so special was the community and world that Veronica had built around her: Wallace and Mac (whose diminished importance in the revival was a misstep), the father-daughter relationship, Weevil and Veronica's bond, the mystery of the season and Logan Echolls.

The Logan Echolls of it All

Pop Sugar writer, Mekishana Pierre encapsulated what I was feeling:

It's a tragic ending for a couple that has been through so much and only managed to secure a few minutes of wedded bliss together. Especially since there's no reason for it! Veronica can be married and still be a strong, kickass private investigator who has to figure out the complexities of her life. Logan's death seems more like a punishment for him, when he's matured so much from the prototypical bad boy with severe daddy issues and a toxic temper. Even though Veronica referred to him as a "pod person" once (which was one in a long list of things said by her that deserve a side eye), it was obvious that Logan was changed for the better and seemingly had to die for it.

If nothing else, fans can take comfort in the fact that Logan's fateful words from season two (which are cruelly used for the title of the season four finale) have more than come true. "I thought our story was epic, you know? You and me," a drunk, young Logan said to his future wife. "Spanning years and continents. Lives ruined and blood shed. Epic."

Fittingly, the season four finale was titled "Years, Continents, Bloodshed".

T here is no denying that yes, the love they shared had indeed been epic. 

It had to have been epic enough to keep the fan love for the show going through - the cancellation, the Kickstarter, the movie, the novels, and now the Hulu revival.

That being said, Pierre raised a very valid point.

Why kill off a character that has had one of the best character arcs on the show? Evolving from entitled schoolboy with anger issues into a man with who chose to serve his country, seek out therapy for said issues, and became someone with a level head.

Logan’s relationship with Veronica started out as one of the most toxic pairings on the show but instead grew into a relationship where not only did he grow but he also challenged Veronica without belittling her, and showing her up.

I fully agree when Pierre said, “Veronica can be married and still be a strong, kickass private investigator who has to figure out the complexities of her life” and while Thomas said that he was “not trying to make a statement that women can't have it all”, it came across like that.

Thomas’s remarks have raised the point that if a character is no longer needed for the central story, and have run its course, what next?

He said that one of the reasons the character died is because he didn’t want the show to be "Murder, She Wrote", with the  move intended to strip back the show of its “high school soap opera roots” and instead have it be more about Veronica being a detective.

Now, while one can’t begrudge the show creator for the bold move, it does raise the question of why can’t show work with Veronica being happily married?

I can see where Thomas is coming from in wanting to create a story around Veronica and the noir mystery that the show is about. 

Also, in his point that it can be challenging weaving all the characters, people love into the mystery of the show, but is that then a lack of creativity and imagination in crafting a story?

In regards to Logan – there was certainly a way for Thomas to have his cake, while also giving the fans what they want. The difficulty in creating TV shows and having them go on for years is that while the studios and creators own the show, the viewers have a stake in the story too.

The gatekeepers of the fictional show then operate like store owners and the viewers their customers. 

Do you always have to give the fans what they want? No, you can instead give them something different or better that they might like instead. 

However, the moment you stop catering to what they actually come to you for then you’ve made a miscalculation.

The decision to kill off Logan feels like a miscalculation.

Veronica could still continue to solve mysteries and there was a way to include Logan when necessary.

There was an opportunity to make a mystery involving Logan’s military life. There was an opportunity to have Logan continue his military duty and only use him when necessary. There is a precedent set in this fact given that military spouses in America live this reality.

There is a way for Logan and Veronica to be happy without compromising who Veronica Mars is, and without her relationship being a constant source of drama in her life - showing that characters and relationships do evolve and can be complex.

There is a way to keep Logan on the show and illustrate that good storytelling doesn’t only require broken characters, who constantly have to have bad things happen to them.

Another  well-thought-out by IndieWire's  Libby Hill also touched on the fact that because Logan dared to change, he had to die for it.

Show creator Rob Thomas has always been very outspoken as viewing the series through the lens of the traditional – but gender-flipped – film noir. So that dynamite dynamic was built in to the show, with Veronica serving as the hard-bitten private investigator and Logan the homme fatale.

But in Season 4, Logan is no longer fatale. Logan is fully reformed. So Logan Echolls had to die.

You don’t have to like it. Hell, I don’t like it. But Logan was a television character, and TV has no patience for characters who exhibit the ability to grow and change.

The move has certainly been divisive. Whether it hurts of helps the show is yet to be decided but time will tell... 

We can only hope that Logan’s death was worth it.

* Theolin Tembo, content producer.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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