Veronica Mars: Scott Humbert
Tanner Stransky
November 01, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST

”Veronica Mars”: The campus casino caper

Five episodes in, this show is finally getting twisty — at least in the last few minutes. In an episode that I thought was going to stray from the rape mystery and men vs. women vibe of the season, the little bit we found out about the central whodunit left us hanging in the style of that big mystery show Lost. (For those of you who may not be watching Lost this season, the show has famously been revealing only snippets of information each episode. It’s tràes frustrating!)

Here’s what happened: The suspect from the ATM photo that Veronica obtained, whom the latest rape victim, Claire, couldn’t ID at all, is supposedly her boyfriend, according to the guy’s roommate (or brother or whatever). ‘Scuse me? You seriously only gave us that? I need more deets! And now I can’t wait for next week’s episode!

Besides the few minutes dedicated to that ongoing mystery at the beginning (who loved Veronica’s fake Southern accent when she called Camp Waterloo?) and end of the episode, Veronica spent her time cracking another case. At the ”Venetian” — the nickname of the dorm-room casino (which, by the way, is the biggest dorm room I’ve ever seen) — two guys masked as Carter and Nixon held up the room, taking everyone’s wallets and watches. The two thieves also snatched the treasured necklace Veronica got from Lilly Kane, whereupon our sleuth told them, ”You’re going to regret that,” with her usual steely conviction. And they did regret it, but first, Veronica had to go down the wrong path for a bit.

(Before I continue, I’m compelled to comment on the Halloween costumes worn by Veronica and Logan. Last week, I postulated that Veronica was possibly Veronica from the Archie comics, but upon closer inspection, the only thing I am sure of is that it was strange, bad black-wig night for LoVe. When Logan waltzed in wearing his shaggy black wig, I seriously thought he might have hamming it up as Clay Aiken for a second. Who the heck were they supposed to be?)

Initially, Veronica pointed her finger at poor ol’ Weevil, who had actually been kind enough to help her with a school project and can’t seem to catch a break. As much as I like Weevil, I’ve got to say Francis Capra looked bad again this week. In her VM TV Watch two weeks ago, Michelle Kung noted his bloated look, and I’ll second that. This poor guy said he’s getting more ”play” than ever? I doubt it. He needs to start working out at the college gym.

Thankfully for his slowly improving reputation — and his astronomical police record (Lamb suggested they say his Miranda rights in unison, ha!) — Weevil wasn’t the guilty party. He was merely framed by the campus rent-a-cop who orchestrated the holdup. Veronica smartly made her kill with the real cops behind her and poised to swoop in. It was such sweet justice when she snatched the necklace from the corrupt cop’s nasty, obnoxious, gum-chewing daughter. I’ll even say that Veronica should have give her a light slap, but that’s not her style. She’s classier than that.

Back over at Mars Investigations, Keith was working on a case for Hearst’s Dean O’Dell and his wife, tracking down her ex-husband. The couple wanted bone marrow for their dying son (the Dean’s stepson), and the boy’s deadbeat dad (Richard Grieco!) was a match. This drab plot resolved itself too tidily. (And what kind of guy — whether it’s for his own child or even a stranger — refuses to give bone marrow to a dying kid?) Basically, Keith needs something juicier to work with — a love interest, a multi-episode mystery, or someone else to interact with on a more regular basis

Sadly, Mac is still MIA (that’s one loooong funeral), and not so sadly, Piz is too. Wallace had more of a presence this week, but his was another what’s-the-point story line that had nothing to do with Veronica. Wallace wants to be a mechanical engineer, but he’s failing his mechanical engineering class. So what does a gullible freshman whose time can easily be swallowed up by movies and cute girls do? Cave in and cheat, obviously. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Veronica and Wallace need to share story lines. That’s part of what made the first two seasons so great.

”Busted,” by Johnny Cash, was especially fitting under the story-line-closing sequences. Wallace was summoned for cheating (or so it seemed from what we saw); the sketchy rent-a-cop and his daughter got what they deserved; Weevil was released from jail; and Dean O’Dell’s stepson was presumably being pumped with fresh bone marrow. Besides the rape mystery, the Mars duo had righted everything in Neptune — and the ”busted” had been put in their place.

What do you think? Which of Veronica’s old friends would you like to see more? Why would Claire claim she didn’t know her own boyfriend? And judging from the preview for next week, how excited are you to get some answers about what’s really going on in the LoVe relationship?

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