A 'Veronica Mars' newbie watches the Season 1 finale, and life will never be the same

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In anticipation of the "Veronica Mars" movie -- which hits theaters March 14 -- a "Veronica Mars" newbie began binge-watching the series from the beginning for the first time, nearly 10 years after it premiered on UPN.

Ho. Ly. Hell. Logan's dad killed Lilly?!?

When I first queued up the series premiere of "Veronica Mars," I had no idea what I was in for aside from watching a sarcastic and smart teen private investigator (Kristen Bell) navigate high school. I deliberately avoided any and all spoilers about the series, refused to watch the movie trailer or read any articles about "Veronica Mars," because I wanted to be as surprised as I could be -- 10 years after the series premiered. A daunting, seemingly impossible task, I know. 

But astonishingly, I did it. The only spoiler I came across before starting my binge-watch was that Logan (Jason Dohring) and Veronica would end up together at some point in the series due to promotional photos released for the movie, but I didn't know when it would happen. Certainly not in the first season, right? These two absolutely despised each other.

That goes to show just how incredible this series is, because even though I knew LoVe was coming, when and how it happened still came as a complete shock. I was literally talking to co-workers about how I was curious to see how Logan and Veronica could even progress from being mortal enemies to friends before even thinking about starting a relationship, even as episode 18 was next in my binge-watch. Lo and behold, Logan and Veronica's epic kiss outside the Camelot Motel threw me for a loop and had me texting all my friends a screenshot of the hookup just a few hours later with all caps, "OMG! LOGAN AND VERONICA! I DIDN'T KNOW IT WOULD HAPPEN SO SOON!" Kudos to my colleagues for being able to keep their poker faces during that conversation.

And I was on board with LoVe from then on. He's got to be the one outside Veronica's door at the end of the Season 1 finale, right? If it's Duncan, I will murder someone.

Seriously, how much does Duncan suck? He's such a dud. I don't know what Veronica ever saw in him. I'm actually kind of bummed that it turns out they're not related, because while that would have added a certain ick factor to their past relationship, it also keeps the door open for them to get together in the future. Which would be awful. #TeamLogan

I also thought for the majority of Season 1 that Duncan was the one who murdered Lilly, due to his inability to remember the afternoon where he discovered her body. His parents did all they could to cover up details of the murder since they also believed Duncan killed her. I thought that since Lilly knew that Duncan and Veronica could be related, maybe she pushed him too far, teasing him for dating and being in love with Veronica, his maybe-sister. But oh boy, was I wrong.

Logan's dad killed Lilly! Whaaaaat. That twist came out of nowhere, and was absolutely brilliant. It was believable -- Aaron Echolls was a well-known adulterer at this point, and Lilly was a wild teen, mad at Logan for cheating on her at a party. But that didn't make the reveal any less shocking, as Veronica and viewers watched Aaron appear onscreen as the man in the sex tape with Lilly. Thankfully, that cleared Logan of any doubt (and put him in the clear in regards to the hidden camera in the guest house, because gross), and instantly made Aaron a sinister villain.

And here's where "Veronica Mars" truly shines. The Season 1 finale transformed from a murder mystery and became a pure, sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat, glued-to-the-screen thriller, with Aaron hiding in Veronica's back seat and trying to kill her and her father to keep his secret safe. Terrified for her life, Veronica regressed from her usual take-no-prisoners attitude to a scared young girl in the situation, which is how anyone would have reacted in real life. I felt her panic, and I was literally staring at the screen, wide-eyed, wondering how Veronica would make it through that night alive.

Thanks to her dad winning a knock-down, drag-out fight against the movie star, Veronica was safe, and Aaron was arrested for the murder (and statutory rape) of Lilly Kane and the attempted murder of Veronica and Keith. Veronica and Duncan were relieved to find out that they weren't related after all, and Veronica could finally rest easy after finding out that she wasn't raped a year ago. She was accidentally drugged, but the guy she had slept with was Duncan, who was unaware that she wouldn't remember the encounter -- which is still so messed up, but less awful than if one of her classmates had actually raped her with malicious intent.

The penultimate episode, "A Trip to the Dentist," also deserves some comment. The hour was a roller coaster of emotions as Veronica went around the high school grapevine to figure out once and for all what happened the night of her rape. Thanks to her classmates finally telling her their sides of the hazy story, she was able to piece together what actually happened, but before she arrived at the truth (she slept with Duncan while drugged), she assumed quite a few more traumatizing versions. Watching Veronica, Logan, Duncan, and other students react as each new piece of info was revealed was exhausting and in the end, liberating. I think I held my breath the entire episode.

With Lilly's murder finally solved and the right man behind bars, let's talk about that cliffhanger, because one of the greatest aspects of this show is its ability to grip the audience with its compelling characters even after the big season-long arc has been solved. Veronica answers her door in the middle of the night and smiles when she sees who it is, although we have no idea who's there. It's got to be Logan, right? The last we saw of him, he was drunkenly fighting the PCH-ers who were under the impression that he was the one who killed Lilly, and they were all unaware that Aaron had been arrested. 

Did Logan somehow get away from the fight and make his way to Veronica's? She wouldn't be that happy to see Duncan or the deputy she briefly dated, right? And with her dad recovering in the hospital, who else could it be? Wallace, maybe? That wouldn't be as satisfying, so I'm holding out hope that it's Logan.

On to Season 2 ...

"Veronica Mars" hits theaters March 14.

Photo/Video credit: UPN