‘Velma’ Season 1, Episode 3 Review

by Frank Martin

When fans think of Scooby-Doo they immediately think of mystery. When the new Velma show first started, the opening scene talked about mystery and how important it was to the foundation of the title character. Three episodes in, however, the mystery side of things has been pushed to the back burner. It is still there as Velma’s (Mindy Kaling) hallucinations are triggered by mystery solving, but even that is just a temporary measure. The hallucinations have no real consequence. Instead, the show focuses primarily on character development.

This episode picked up were the previous one left off as Velma and Daphne (Constance Wu) were kissing. The bulk of the plot dealt with them trying to reconcile their confusing feelings for one another while also physically fighting in a self-defense class. Meanwhile, Norville (Sam Richardson) tried to pick up his father’s profession by being a therapist to the imprisoned Fred (Glenn Howerton). Ultimately, the only real developments of the mystery came in the episode’s closing moments as Norville learned his father was hiding a secret about his biological mother.

It’s perfectly fine to make an animated comedy show about a budding lesbian relationship. But that’s not really what this show was billed as. The mystery nature has largely fallen away in favor of the character relationships. Scooby fans wouldn’t necessarily be interested in that development, and it’s hard to think of the right demographic being drawn into the show. It would be one thing if Velma and Daphne’s relationship was developed during the course of an investigation. Instead, the plot of the episode focuses on a women’s self-defense class. It’s a shame given that the jokes and writing were largely on point; they were poignant and quite funny. But since the show’s overall plot appears to be slacking, it’s hard to get drawn in to the profound character arcs they are trying to depict.

Velma streams Thursdays on HBO Max.

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