Okay. There were so many different issues raised with the episode that I'm not sure I know where to begin, and I probably won't manage to hit them all. Before I start, though, this is all just my opinion, and if it differs from yours, we can just agree to disagree. Believe me, I'm putting some thought into this. (This is my long-winded way of saying those few words that are so dear to our staff: Don't email me.) First off, some more general thoughts. A lot of people thought the misdirection was cheap and a slap in the face to the viewers. On a macro level, I totally disagree with this. The misdirection worked generally, for me, because Veronica and Duncan needed to keep their secret from everyone. The misdirection of the audience was incidental and served the story. The micro level is where the problems lie, but I'll save that for the upcoming chronological analysis. (Yeah, I'm doing another recap from the standpoint of knowing everything that's going on. Feel free to jump ship at any point.)
Another general complaint is that this payoff was unearned, because Duncan and Veronica haven't come across on screen as being in anything approaching true love. As anyone knows who's been keeping up with the recaps, I totally didn't get their relationship at all this season, so I agree with the sentiment partially. I don't think it's really relevant in that I believe Veronica would go to the mat for Duncan regardless, as long as she thought it was justified. And although I wondered on a number of occasions, and loudly, why Veronica put up with a lot of Duncan's weirdness, I never thought she didn't love him. I didn't think she should, but I accepted the idea that she did. But although I did find some moments in the episode moving, especially the end, I would have cared a lot more if their relationship hadn't come across so much differently on screen than Rob apparently wanted. I mean, why did Duncan lie about the Latin studying? Why did he go quite that creepy when Veronica asked him about Meg? Why did he keep so many secrets, and more importantly, why were those the moments we were shown, when most of the supposed good moments we were only told about? To me, it's not even so much the lack of overt love or affection -- it's that taking this felonious step together, this "us against the world" mentality, implies a level of trust between them that is completely inconsistent with all the secrets we saw Duncan keep. But I think those are more a failure of past episodes than the current one. The real questions for me here are (1) whether what we saw on screen jibed with what we learned later, and (2) whether it made any sense for Duncan and Veronica to embark upon this plan. To do that, I've got to run through the backstory and action one more time. I hope that's okay with the six of you left.