A Velma in the Woods
Velma Season 1 Episode 8 utilizes flashbacks to explain how Velma, Daphne, Norville, and Gigi became stuck in a ravine–and whose fault it is that they ended up there.
We cut to two days prior. Fred’s mother asks Velma to help her find Fred after Fog Fest, but she refuses. When she gets a ride home with Daphne, her moms reference “The Incident” regarding Daphne’s proficiency in hacking phones. The mention upsets Daphne, who avoids Velma’s questions about it.
After his run-in with the serial killer, Fred wakes up in a small, underground room–but he’s not alone. The brains of Krista, Brenda, and Lola are there. They tell him the serial killer plans to put their brains in different bodies.
Daphne admits to Velma she once lost her mind over someone she liked and hacked their phone. On the bright side, this means she’s able to get into the serial killer’s phone, but the killer only left one thing on it: a photo from Mount Crystal. So, they decide to go there tomorrow.
But when Velma comes to pick up Daphne, she’s made other plans with Olive. Velma starts to suspect that Olive is “The Incident,” so she fakes a hallucination to get Daphne to ditch her.
Meanwhile, Norville and Gigi go up to Gigi’s family’s cabin at Mount Crystal. Gigi thinks it’s for a romantic getaway, but Norville invited Daphne and Velma there so they could look for the serial killer.
Daphne storms out of the cabin when she finds out Velma lied about her hallucinations, and Gigi goes with her. It’s then that Norville reveals to Velma that Gigi is the person Daphne was once obsessed with.
Velma goes after them, worried she drove them into each other’s arms. She and Norville find them on the cliffside, and when they approach them, the rock underneath them crumbles. They all fall and become trapped in the ravine.
Eventually, Daphne admits this outcome was her fault. She says she’s always loved Velma’s jealous nature when it came to their relationship. It felt good to see her get possessive last night, but she didn’t expect her to lie about hallucinations.
They then fall further into the ravine into an extension of the Crystal Mines. Gigi and Norville climb out, but Velma and Daphne stay to look around. They wonder aloud if they are both too messed up to be friends. Velma suggests they try being girlfriends, but Fred’s voice cuts them off.
They free Fred, who starts yelling and causes the cave to start collapsing. Velma grabs the brains, but a crack causes her to fall into the ravine. Suddenly, her mother Diya appears. She pulls her daughter out and leads them out of the ravine in a van.
The episode ends with paramedics preparing to bring Diya to the hospital. Diya first tries to tell Velma who captured her… but she can’t remember.
The Episode Review
Again (and to no surprise), Velma writers betray their belief that just by breaking the fourth wall and acknowledging a common trope through a fictional character (alternating flashbacks, in this case), audiences will applaud their cleverness. I’ve said it many times, but I’ll say it again: Meta writing is not inherently funny.
It’s too bad, because if Velma eschewed its self-referential “comedy” writing and focused more thoroughly on its character arcs and mystery plot, it could be genuinely good. Velma’s leads are resonant, albeit often unlikable (yes, both can be true), characters on interesting paths, and I think they’re worth following.
As for the mystery plot, it will be hard to tell whether the show’s doing a good job on that front until we get to the finale. I suppose I’ll see then if we’ve been led on a wild goose chase or if everything will come together in a satisfying way. For now, the plot thickens as the show ushers in the return of Diya Dinkley!
You can read our full season review for Velma here!