I Can See By The Way That She Danced For Me That If I Give Her Ten Dollars I Could Get Anything That I Want: Heartbreak And Destiny In "Veronica Mars"

[Permanent disclosure, again, for those who need the help: Spoilers follow.]• I almost didn't think it was possible, but Tuesday's episode of "Veronica Mars," titled "Poughkeepsie, Tramps & Thieves,"1 explored even new realms of disillusionment, angst, and general all-out pain for the show. It was also the confluence of several of the show's developing storylines and in-jokes, as well as a continuation of things written here very recently, so much so that for one brief moment the universe unlocked and I was at its center. • Specifically, only a few days after I wrote about the subject, the series dealt with its own brand of love going to the highest bidder. The episode revolved around Max (Adam Rose), who enlists Veronica to track down a girl he met at Comic-Con. He says they fell in love talking about "Battlestar Galactica" and Chuck Klosterman, and aside from being just one giant screaming wish-fulfillment of a plot setup, it also introduces a guaranteed pain into the episode. As I wrote before — and as this episode bears out — it never, ever works out to fall in love with a girl who makes a living selling herself. Never. Ever. Max is going to learn this the hard way, and his heartbreak is so predestined that you know he'll be broken by the time the credits roll. It's a given. • Speaking of the "Battlestar" thing: It's a weird running in-joke on "Veronica Mars," going all the way back to Veronica's R.A.-turned-rapist, who liked a little "BSG" with his abduction. Soon enough, Veronica was saying "Frak," and now there's an entire episode built around the fact that these two characters met while talking about "Battlestar" at that holiest of geek meccas, Comic-Con. This isn't the first geek crossover for "Veronica," either: Joss Whedon, Alyson Hannigan and Charisma Carpenter2 have all been on the show, ranging from guest spots to major story arcs. So what is it about the show that makes it so appealing for geek references? I don't know. All I know is that there are people out there way more devoted3 to the crossovers than you'd think. • Anyway: Veronica eventually tracks down the girl, who turns out to be a hooker hired by Max's dickish buddies to help him lose his virginity. But when Max finds out she's a hooker, he refuses to believe his time with her was an act. He's textbook romantic martyr: He believes that yeah, she's pretended to enjoy being with men before, but she meant it with him. What's more, he even arranges with her madam to buy her out of prostitution. It's pretty much exactly the plot of the "Battlestar" episode where Lee falls in love with Shevon.4 • And oh, the pain comes on big time when Max finally gets the girl. At first it appears rosy and sun-flecked and full of all the happy things a relationship with a former call girl should never be, but then the crap inevitably gets funnelled through the fan and splattered all over Max's mopey existence. His roommates try and hire his new girlfriend to strip at a bachelor party; Max can't get past what she used to do for a living; etc.; etc. He finally confronts her about the night they met, when she claimed to have a left a card with all her info on it back at the hotel, which was subsequently removed by housekeeping. Max asks her if it's true, and the look on her face as she slowly shakes her head is just devastating. "Veronica Mars" is no stranger to pain, but this is one of the most uncomfortable scenes simply because the destruction was so inevitable. Not inevitable in the typical way of most TV narratives, e.g., let's break up the leads again and keep stringing out the main story. No, this was inevitable because it was bound to fail from the start; there was, literally, no other option. And that's a whole other kind of pain than watching Veronica and Logan go round after round (which is good, though somehow always disconcerting considering how much she pined for Duncan the first year or so), because that relationship has something Max and Random Whore will never have: hope. • So she leaves him, and winds up slowly paying him back in installments for buying her out in the first place. The first payment is a sweaty wad of singles she earned stripping. Ah, fate. • Seriously, though, the "Battlestar" and Klosterman references are enough to make me very, very uneasy. Someone else might be flattered or pleased that their favorite show managed to reference their other favorite show and one of their favorite authors; I prefer to sink into a morass of self-doubt. It's like the show knows way too well who it's aiming for. That might not be bad, but it's definitely eerie. 1. Come on, you laughed. A little. 2. If I have to explain those names, you might be at the wrong blog. 3. I still watched it half a dozen times. 4. Only Max doesn't shoot anyone in the gut, though that would've been an interesting wrinkle.