Even though the last five episodes of Veronica Mars were supposed to be free of any overarching mystery, the show was never really going to break out of its continuity. Veronica Mars was always about twisty, tricky plotting, but its central theme was that your actions have consequences, and that those consequences will rarely be good for you. Those consequences need more than 44 minutes to gestate, and even without a unifying arc to tie them together, it was always clear that the actions of Veronica, Keith, Logan, and the rest of the cast were going to come back and bite them in the butt sooner or later.

I should be bitter about the show’s cancellation and the way it’s been handled, but I’m mostly just surprised that it ever managed to survive this long. A show that more or less guaranteed unhappy endings from its pilot onward was always going to have a hard time finding an audience, and if Veronica Mars couldn’t gain viewers after its exquisite first season, it wasn’t going to find them after a third one hampered by dicey formal experiments and all-too-conventional romantic entanglements. It’s a sad truth that when your show gets ratings that even cable networks turn their noses up at, it’s time to let go.

Speaking of not letting go, the season/series finale showed Veronica in her finest form, which is actually her worst form, which for viewers really is her finest form. If anyone was ever the poster child for the noir tragedy, ever paid all the costs for doing the right thing, it was Veronica in that last episode. Full of righteous anger and a take-no-prisoners attitude, she had her one-liners set to kill and scorched the earth beneath all of her closest relationships in her pursuit of justice. We may never know if she’ll manage to put them back together, but we can be pretty sure that she won’t let them go without a fight.