DO NOT READ if you haven’t finished the fourth season of Veronica Mars.
“Maybe he’s not dead. They never come out and say it. We didn’t see his body. There was no funeral.”
That was me five minutes after the closing moments Veronica Mars Season Four. Tears were streaming down my face. I was in shock. My husband gave me a look that was somewhere between “my poor wife is way deep into denial” and “is my wife having some sort of break with reality?” He knows my love for Logan (Jason Dohring) and he gently explained that when Veronica was at the therapist office, Logan was referred to in the past tense.
But I simply didn’t want to accept the fact that Veronica Mars, a series I have been steadfastly loyal to, had killed off my beloved Logan. I know the series doesn’t traffic in fantastical flights of fancy. They are not one to fake kill off a character only to bring him or her back. But still I clung to the idea that somehow he had survived the bombing.
I’m not someone who re-watches series. I can barely keep up with all the new TV to cover. I’ve never found the time to go back to the beginning of Veronica Mars. So my memories of the Veronica (Kristen Bell) and Logan romance are more memories of the feelings that I felt when I first watched them than crisp memories of every scene they shared. How captivated I was when I realized there was a spark between these two characters, the way my heart fluttered when they first kissed and how much I enjoyed witnessing Logan’s transformation from a bad boy to bad boy-with-a-heart-of-gold. Logan is a complex character (all the good TV bad boys are) and Season Four showed a full evolved Logan: one who was in therapy to learn how to process and manage his anger, one who was ready to full commit to the woman he loves and one who looks damn fine coming out of the water in a bathing suit.
But he was, as Veronica so aptly put it, “Logan minus the Logan.” From a storytelling standpoint, I understand the decision to kill off Logan. His character’s arc was complete in many ways. If you get yourself together in life that’s awesome and hopefully there are many happy years in your future. But on a TV series, happiness and well-adjusted characters are boring. No matter how much I loved the season, it also lays bare the inherent problem with revivals. Once you bring a show back, the option to let everyone ride off into the sunset is over.
Logan’s death propels Veronica into Andy Sipowicz territory. She has suffered greatly and a grieving Veronica, trying to rebuild her life, is rich fodder for Season Five. It also makes me realize why we saw so much of Leo (the always charming Max Greenfield); Leo was cuter and more enticing than ever. I can certainly see him coming back for a Season Five. But I also think Veronica may need to sign up for OkCupid (or whatever the kids are using these days) because she needs to expand her dating circle—as in, men she didn’t know when she was in high school.
Although it was so romantic when Logan appeared at the courthouse ready to get married after sending a pre-apology text, what does it say about the status of their relationship that Veronica, her dad (Enrico Colantoni) and her best friend Wallace (Percy Daggs III) ALL thought Logan wasn’t showing up? I mean if I take a step back from my swooning, I realize that if you think the man you are about to marry is going to bail on you, like if that’s the first thought you have over “he got stuck in traffic” or “his car broke down,” maybe you shouldn’t be marrying him after all. The fourth season truly showed how fractured their relationship was. They have grown up, and Logan has certainly faced the pain of his past but Veronica still has hers buried deep inside. And even if she’s happy with Logan, she has not forgotten who he was.
I’ve been trying to figure out why the death of a fictional character has affected me so much. Certainly, I know Jason Dohring is alive and well. I talked to him before the show premiered. And now I see how clever his answer was when I asked him about a fifth season for the show. He told me, “I think Rob definitely has intentions and I think Kristen does as well.” I took it as well obviously another season of the show can’t happen without those two involved. Only in retrospect do I realize how sharp his answer is—he never talked about whether or not he would be involved. And the idea of Logan dying was so far from my mind, I never asked him specifically if he would do another season. I thought it was implied. I was so naïve!
What’s also tough is the way Logan died. It was so foreshadowed—Penn’s last riddle referred to a “hero”—but it wasn’t until he went out to the car that I realized what was happening and started screaming at my TV. I know it had been a long day and she was about to get married, how would Keith and Veronica forget that Penn (Patton Oswalt) had put his backpack in her car?
Killing off Logan doesn’t make me hate the season. As stated, I get it from a creative and storytelling standpoint. And it tracks for a show that we all already know isn’t happy, happy, joy, joy. It’s not like the time How I Met Your Mother spent an entire season having Robin and Barney get married only to break them up a few minutes into the series finale. But it does make me sad. I slept so fitfully after watching the finale. Fictional or not, Logan Echolls has been a part of my life for 15 years.
So if the trade-off for a great season of one of my all-time favorite shows is the death of one of my all-time favorite characters, I’m not sure that’s a deal I wanted to make, marshmallows.
Amy Amatangelo, the TV Gal®, is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and the Assistant TV Editor for Paste. She wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child and now her parents have to live with this as her career. You can follow her on Twitter (@AmyTVGal).