‘Veronica Mars’: 10 Episodes That Prove Why Seasons 2 and 3 Were Unforgettable

The classic UPN/CW series is worth revisiting, especially now that it has a new streaming home.
No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover UsageMandatory Credit: Photo by Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock (2210145bn)Kristen BellVeronica Mars: Series 2. - 2005
Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the “Veronica Mars” finale, which we previously celebrated with a list of the 10 most amazing episodes from the show’s first season.

READ MORE: ‘Veronica Mars’: 10 Episodes That Prove Why Kristen Bell and Season 1 Were Perfect

While the first season of “Veronica Mars” was a pretty much perfect season of television, the following two seasons weren’t quite as consistent. However, there was still plenty to enjoy, including more mysteries, a Paul Rudd guest appearance, cameos by Kevin Smith and Joss Whedon, young Tessa Thompson and Krysten Ritter, and some truly dark twists and turns. You can experience it all now on go90.com, the show’s new streaming home, but for a quick taste of the best episodes from Seasons 2 and 3, check out the curated list below.

“Normal is the Watchword” (Season 2, Episode 1)

Written by: Rob Thomas
Directed by: John Kretchmer

After the cliffhanger that ended Season 1, fans were clamoring to know what happened next… and the answer they got wasn’t quite what they expected. But what’s impressive about the Season 2 premiere is the way it zigs when you think it’ll zag — and the way it sets up the major mystery of the season in the final minutes packs a major punch.

“Driver Ed” (Season 2, Episode 2)

Written by: Diane Ruggiero
Directed by: Nick Marck

Continuing where “Normal is the Watchword” left off, there’s also some real toughness to the case of the week, which has a deep connection to the tragedy that will be the focus of the season. On the lighter side of things, Kevin Smith, who was a “Mars” superfan, offers up a pretty fun cameo. (Another “Mars” superfan, Joss Whedon, appears in Episode 6, “Rat Saw God,” but we had to make some tough calls.)

“Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner” (Season 2, Episode 7)

Written by: Diane Ruggiero
Directed by: Nick Marck

The episode title, invoking a moment of triumph from a great rom-com, becomes downright disturbing in the context of this episode. It gets dark, y’all, but features some incredible twists that set up a lot of the season action to come.

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover UsageMandatory Credit: Photo by Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock (2210145n)Kristen Bell Teddy DunnVeronica Mars: Series 2. - 2005

“One Angry Veronica” (Season 2, Episode 10)

Written by: Russell Smith
Directed by: John Kretchmer

A “12 Angry Men” homage never goes amiss, and the darkness of this episode, including its incredibly bleak ending, continues the “Mars” tradition of celebrating the holidays with a cynical exploration of human nature. (Okay, it’s not entirely bleak, but definitely does pack a punch.)

“Donut Run” (Season 2, Episode 11)

Written by: Rob Thomas
Directed by: Rob Thomas 

This episode title is actually kind of mean — “Donut” was a not-so-kind nickname for Duncan Kane (Teddy Dunn) created by the online fandom obsessively following the show during its original airing. But it’s a great installment, narratively essential and also a real edge-of-your-seat thriller. Guest star Lucy Lawless!

“Happy Go Lucky” (Season 2, Episode 21)

Written by: Diane Ruggiero
Directed by: Steve Gomer

The lead-up to graduation has major consequences for everyone involved, as the most horrifying secret of “Veronica Mars” gets uncovered. Even more horrifying: that’s not the end of the story.

“Not Pictured” (Season 2, Episode 22)

Written by: Rob Thomas (story), Rob Thomas & John Enbom (teleplay)
Directed by: John Kretchmer

Season 2 of “Veronica Mars” doesn’t hold together quite as well as Season 1, but this finale still has its brutality, which remains resonate years later. Poor Beaver. Poor everyone else.

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage Mandatory Credit: Photo by Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock (2210145j) Kristen Bell Tessa Thompson Veronica Mars: Series 2. - 2005

“Welcome Wagon” (Season 3, Episode 1)

Written by: Rob Thomas
Directed by: John Kretchmer

Digging into the new world order that is “Veronica Mars” Season 3, “Welcome Wagon” faces an unenviable task, but still creates some interesting drama — following in “Mars” tradition.

“Debasement Tapes” (Season 3, Episode 17)

Written by: John Enbom
Directed by: Dan Etheridge

Paul Rudd playing a surly aging rock star is pretty much perfection. Maybe the best casting of Season 3 — and thus an essential episode.

“The Bitch Is Back” (Season 3, Episode 20)

Written by: Rob Thomas & Diane Ruggiero
Directed by: Michael Fields

Embracing the sadness of the Season 3 finale is a tough choice for everyone involved, but the ambiguity set up by the final minutes keeps it memorable. It’s deliberately vague, which may have helped the show’s post-cancellation legacy. Not only is the 2014 feature film a crowdpleaser, but since then, the story of Veronica Mars has continued in a series of novels. All these years later, there’s life on “Mars.”

“Veronica Mars” is streaming now on go90.com.

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