Well, I'm sensing that this is going to be my last rant of the season. And before I get into it, I want to say that I think this episode was brilliant in its conception. Using the crash victims to represent Veronica's unconscious is a visceral way to simultaneously connect with Veronica's emotions and get to know the players involved, as was using Lilly in the same way in the first season. And here, Veronica's got survivor's guilt, fear for her life and her dad's, and an overwhelming sense that this mystery is too big for her to deal with. Or she should have had those feelings. But the timing of this arc has been rather severely mishandled, in my opinion, and it all boils down again to the question I and many other people have been asking for a while: why hasn't Veronica been investigating the crash with any sort of vigor up to this point? What has she wanted that's gotten in the way?
As I mentioned a couple of recaps ago, the only thing she's really seemed to want is to get out of Neptune, and pursuant to that goal, to secure the Kane Scholarship. So it would have been at least believable, if not overly compelling, for her to spurn investigative work in favor of studying. She does that for a while, the conflict builds, and you throw this episode in late in the first half of the season. If Veronica had to sacrifice one goal to pursue another, that would have yielded character-driven dramatic tension. But she's been able to work two jobs, have a boyfriend and a social life, and still come in first in her class -- which, okay, but then again, why not dump cases like crazy Julie or Jane's asshole sister in favor of investigating the crash, especially if she thinks it was meant for her? I mean, she did ten times the work on the case in this episode than she did in the entire rest of the season! And so much plot was left to the last five episodes that we didn't even get to see Veronica deal with the emotions attendant to sneaking onto the bus on which she could have died, like, WHAT? Veronica's passivity with respect to the crash is just a glaring, gaping flaw in a season that I absolutely think could have been as stunning as the first one. I would have totally adored this episode if it had come in considerably earlier in the season, both because Veronica would have been way more invested for a lot longer, and also because it would have given us some time to digest the season arc at a reasonable pace, rather than having a huge percentage of the developments shoved down our throats in the last few episodes. I mean, I know there's been a lot of layering, and I've enjoyed that. I do want to find out about Phoenix Land Trust and Haaron's schemes and The Woodman's creepiness -- all of it. I'm totally looking forward to the last four episodes, and I expect to be blown away. But I could have been blown away better, and it's because of Veronica. She's the most important character on this show, and if she doesn't care, it makes it a hell of a lot harder for the rest of us to.