On ''Veronica Mars,'' our heroine goes undercover as a wannabe sorority girl in order to crack the case of the campus rapist; plus, Wallace and Logan play prison camp

By Tanner Stransky
October 11, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT
Veronica Mars: Scott Humbert
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”Veronica Mars”: Sorority pledge gone wild

Veronica goes to sorority rush. I repeat: Veronica goes to sorority rush.

That’s something I never thought I’d write. Bad-ass Veronica rushing? Wowza, but it’s true. At least — and here’s the kicker — it was all in the name of finding the campus rapist. This episode was so, so good.

Showing off her sleuthing chops to write an undercover story about the Theta Beta house for the school newspaper, our leading lady was at the top of her game this week. Even though she described herself as coming straight out of a ” ’50s vacuum ad” when she was dressed up for rush week — flower-print dress, heels, cinch belt and all — you have to admit she looked good (as always, right?) and the picture of a freshman sorority pledge. Personally, I like the adorable T-shirt-and-jeans Veronica better, but she pulled this off with panache. And her acting drunk at the Theta Beta house party? Classic! Veronica is a master manipulator — right down to faking her shots. There’s something about her — spunky and standing on a chair, feigning a drunken stupor in the name of solving crimes — that’s just endearing.

And her eventual discovery — the sorority house’s pot-loaded secret room — was a decent payoff. But it also raises some questions. I was shocked that Veronica accepted the sorority’s lame-o explanation that the weed was intended to help the den mother cope with chemotherapy. How much ganja can one sick person smoke? Don’t you think something bigger has to be going on with the plants? Is the sorority house selling pot for money? For their brother frat house? For kicks? Please take a closer look at this, Veronica!

What this story line mostly did for Veronica — just like back at Neptune High — was add some big-time members to the we-hate-Veronica camp. She probably won’t have any friends at Theta Beta, and I’d wager that once other students on campus read that front-page story with her name on it, she’ll gain both fans and enemies. I think it’s a shame that she swore journalism off so soon. While her first try had its ugly downside, she’s obviously got the talent to be an investigative journalist. I also liked the editor who assigned Veronica the story. I think Veronica should keep her nearby for help with future mysteries.

As for figuring out who the rapist is, I’m at the point where I want to accuse everyone. The sketchy RA seems like a good candidate, as does Dick, even though he’s totally stupid and probably couldn’t pull it off (but is his stupidity just a ruse?). And although he wasn’t in this episode, what about that freaky criminology teacher’s assistant with the bad hair? But I had another thought, too: Could it be the sisters at Theta Beta themselves who are orchestrating the assaults? Maybe it’s some sort of twisted initiation process. As Veronica pointed out, the Theta Beta girls had access to dorm keys when they took the purses at the door.

On the Keith front, the poor guy returned to Neptune after running for his life in the desert. I was surprised that he and the rural cops didn’t find Kendall’s dead body when they went back to the crime scene. What happened to her? Granted, we never actually saw her get shot, but it was implied. There’s more here than meets the eye. I bet Kendall’s skanky ass will come popping back up — along with the sketchy Fitzpatricks — a few episodes down the line.

And that little bit of blood the cops found at the scene? It could yield some clues, but who cares? I’m just glad Keith got out of that death trap alive. What good could have come from him being mixed up in that anyway? I’m all for characters evolving and growing — branching out to try new things and embracing new people — but it was a relief to see him back in the fold at the end of the hour. It warmed my heart to hear his usual banter with Veronica.

Wallace and Logan’s story line was engaging, although I prefer it when the gang’s subplots intertwine. Will this little tangent factor into the mysteries of the future? I heart double heart the fact that it was about a contemporary issue: the treatment of prisoners. That’s just so Veronica. And it was great to see Wallace step up on his own, tricking the ”prisoners” into revealing the location of the bomb by setting the clock back. So smart, so Veronica, again. Watson has clearly learned some lessons from Sherlock Holmes.

But what do you think of the episode? Who will the rapist turn out to be? How much did you love it when Logan streaked? Should Rider Strong (who played the head ”prison guard”) come back for more episodes? And, speaking of new characters, where was Piz?

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