On ''Veronica Mars,'' our heroine discovers the campus rapist is someone whose alibi she had believed; plus, Dean O'Dell is killed

By Tanner Stransky
Updated November 29, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST

Veronica Mars

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”Veronica Mars”: The real rapist is revealed

Last week, I was a little trigger-happy. I wanted the rape mystery to be buttoned up so much that I said it was, despite evidence to the contrary, and I apologize for jumping ahead. Nonetheless, I’m eager to jump ahead again to the show’s next big mystery arc — which, with its noir-ish murder, looks to be more appropriate for the show. But before I go there, let’s talk about the no-holds-barred end to the first big mystery of the season.

This episode was the best of the season, hands down, for a few reasons.

A. It wrapped up the lingering and too-dark-even-for-Veronica rape mystery. Yeah, yeah — there’s been a similar mystery on the show before (remember sicko Beaver?), but I was glad to see this particular whodunit end. It just didn’t fit with the vibe of the show, did it?

B. Like last season’s finale, this episode revealed so much — the huge payoff was sweet. For instance, we understood the importance of the prisoner-guard class project that Logan and Wallace were involved in early this season. We got a few more answers about Tim, the creepy teaching assistant. Dean O’Dell (God rest his soul — but, again, I’ll get to that in a bit) learned the identity of his wife’s lover. And most important, we all discovered that there’s a coaster that tests drinks for date-rape drugs! (Are those things for real?)

C. The trusty gang was working together again. Piz, Wallace, Mac, and Logan — even after he broke it off with Veronica — helped our little Nancy Drew execute her mystery-solving plan at the Pi Sigs’ party. They’re all integral to the show, so it was wonderful to see them actually be used as such. I died laughing when Mac (so glad she’s back) wondered whether the Pi Sigs would let her in even though her tube top had lost much of its glitter. Hilarious.

One interesting thing about the solution to the rape mystery was that Veronica had already gone down the Mercer road and had been reluctant to even try to clear his name. She couldn’t have known that Moe, the RA, was stuck in that twisted prisoner-guard relationship with Mercer and was helping him commit the rapes. But it’s curious that when Piz pointed out that Mercer’s radio show was a live call-in show, she immediately accepted that as an alibi. And she believed that the date-rape drugs in his dorm room were planted there. In so many other cases, she double- and even triple-checks details, but she let these things slide. Why? Maybe because it was Logan who was urging her to clear Mercer’s name.

Some of the final scenes were awesome. Veronica leaped out to zap Mercer with her Taser and then very fittingly stabbed him with one of the unicorns lying around the room. Later, Keith kicked open the door to the room where Moe was pulling the unicorn horn out of Mercer’s leg and, more or less, told them to freeze, dirtbags! And then Logan bashed in the police car to ensure that he would be taken to the jail cell, where he probably did very bad things to a very deserving Mercer.

And for all you out there who thought Piz was the rapist? No dice. Looks like he’ll hang on to his good-guy status and maybe even play more of a role in the coming episodes. As for Tim, Dr. Landry’s teaching assistant? I thought Rob Thomas and Co. might pull out some crazy story for him to be behind the rapes, but I have a feeling there will be more to his story. His rape-mystery bulletin board, if that’s what it really was, pointed fingers (or circles, as Veronica noted) at several not-guilty Pi Sigs. Plus, we were treated to the blowout he had with his girlfriend at the party, where he said he’d been with ”someone new” every time she had been with a frat boy. Hmm, maybe it’s nothing. But maybe it’s somehow connected to the next mystery and Dean O’Dell.

But what of the huge mess with LoVe? From the looks of it, they’ll probably get back together, especially now that the polarizing rape mystery is over. I’m sure all of you huge LoVe fans out there were convulsing with pain when Logan ended his touching break-up speech to Veronica by saying, ”I’m always here, if you need me. But you never need anything.” Then we saw that Veronica is really more vulnerable than ever. (That scene of her crying in the shower? Hello!) Still, I couldn’t help sympathizing with Logan, even though I’m not a huge fan. Now that you’re not being threatened anymore, Veronica, can you give Logan a little lovin’? He really deserves it. Please and thank you.

Now to Dean O’Dell and the next mystery. He’s dead, and that’s sad. What happened when he went to Dr. Landry’s (or Rory Finch’s) room at the Neptune Grand? Did he kill his wife and Dr. Landry and calmly go back to his office? Or did he simply confront them, whereupon one of them came back to his office and killed him? A couple other scenarios come to mind: What if the dean killed his wife and Dr. Landry, then Tim, the teaching assistant, found out and killed the dean out of rage? Some other suspects: the sketchy Hearst alum, Mel, who came back advocating for the Greek system; the board member whose vote was deemed void; Chip Diller, the Pi Sig president; or one of the feminists who had been staging the fake rapes. They had egged his car earlier in the episode, and his office window was being egged just before his death. Or — should I even offer this up? — what about suicide? So many possibilities, and sadly, we’ll have to wait for answers. The show’s on break for a while.

What do you think? Are you satisfied with the way the mystery ended? Do you prefer these shorter story arcs? Do you need to know more about LoVe now? And who do you think offed the Dean?

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