Veronica Mars Season 1, Episode 4 – The Wrath of Con

The middle episodes of seasons can be kind of a drag, you know? You know the characters, the main plot arcs are set up for the season, and now you just have to make a little progress each episode. I felt this a little in this one. Not a lot was accomplished, but it’s one of my favorite Wallace episodes, and I’ll always take more Wallace. So let’s dive on in!

Previously On…

  • Duncan was V’s boyfriend!
  • Lilly was murdered, but the evidence doesn’t add up!
  • Veronica and Troy are a thing!

The Play by Play

The episode opens with Troy and Veronica making out in front of V’s front door. This is not only a bold move, but something she does with all of her boyfriends… strange thing to make a pattern, but hey. I’m not one to judge. As he’s leaving, Troy asks V to homecoming… sort of. He doesn’t really ask. He says something along the lines of “if we were that type of people, this is where I’d ask you to homecoming.” Idk, he asked, that’s what I’m taking from that, especially considering he waited around for V to ask him out last episode.

V goes inside the apartment, and her dad is waiting up for her. There are two very excellent quotes from this scene. First, V says this:

Did you run his license plates, or did you do fingerprints?

After Mr. Mars states he has no idea what she’s talking about, he says:

If he’s going to be kissing my daughter for eight and a half minutes, I need to meet him.

It’s all very classic Keith and Veronica.

The scene goes on with Mr. Mars complaining that he hardly gets to see V anymore, and she denies that, but says that he can meet Troy soon. She then goes to her room and flops on her bed and looks really genuinely happy. Then we get our first flashback of the episode.

F L A S H B A C K

Before last year’s homecoming, Lilly is at her house saying not super complimentary things about V’s purchased dress. She says that it doesn’t reflect V’s personality, that she’s not a pink dress person, she’s strapless red satin! That the world is ready for the real Veronica Mars! Lilly then says that they’re not even going to the dance anyway – the dance is just “an excuse for a new dress and a limo party.” Spoken like a true rich kid, honestly. V says she’ll get in trouble if they don’t go to the dance, but Lilly doesn’t care. /flashback

Back in the present day, at school, Wallace is alphabetizing files with a girl we’ve never seen before. She knocks over one of his piles of files (lol), and she’s apologizing over and over while he continues to say he doesn’t mind. Ooooh, he’s into her. The beginning of a glorious Wallace episode. I love when he helps. It turns out the girl’s name is Georgia, and Georgia got conned. So Wallace brings her to V. V is a good friend, so she pretends to be Amber and calls the number associated with the email that conned Georgia. This is also a great V-in-disguise episode, and Amber is character one.

The theme song plays, and we’re off to the races.

An announcement is made that homecoming is going to be kicked off with the dedication of the Lilly Kane Memorial Fountain. So there’s that to look forward to.

In the hallway, Troy suggests they go mini-golfing on Thursday, and V says that her dad wants to meet him. Troy insists that he’s good with parents, but oh buddy, you haven’t met Mr. Mars yet. When he confirms her homecoming invitation, she’s weirdly hesitant. But then it all makes sense.

F L A S H B A C K

V, Lilly, Duncan, and Logan are taking pictures before homecoming the year before at the Kane house. Lilly is looking h o t in her gold glittery dress and updo, and V looks young and demure in her baby pink ballgown. This is one of the first scenes we see the tension between Lilly and Celeste Kane, too. /flashback

At school, Wallace thanks V for taking Georgia’s case, saying he’s talked to her more that day than in the past four months. I call slight bullshit on this, because how long have you lived in Neptune now, Wallace? I don’t think it’s been four months. But time is a flat circle on TV, so what do I know? While Wallace and V are chatting, the guy calls Amber back, and they agree to meet.

Logan approaches Duncan’s locker and asks what he’s doing. Duncan says that his parents want him to make a tribute video for Lilly, and he doesn’t seem excited about it at all. Enter Logan, who volunteers to make it. Duncan agrees and hands over the home movies.

After school, Amber waits for the trust fund kid who called her to show up and do his thing. V is done up ridiculously to play Amber, her hair big and curled, wearing like, a pink sweater set or something. I think there are pearls involved. In any case, the kid shows up, and while he’s walking toward V/Amber, Wallace puts a GPS tracker on his car. Amber and the Trust Fund Kid chat, Amber plays dumb about forgetting cash, and she buys herself a day to follow Trust Fund Kid.

V ends up following him to a theater, where she realizes that this guy isn’t real – Trust Fund Kid is just a role he’s playing. So that night, she waits outside the theater when his show gets out and confronts him, where he explains that he auditioned for a part on the show Duped. Okay, so Duped is def the fictional version of that Ashton Kutcher show Punk’d. Remember Punk’d? I hated it because I don’t really like surprises and watching people get surprised like that makes me uncomfortable, but some people were into it. Anyway. V tells fake Trust Fund Kid that it’s all a scam, and he gives her the phone number of the Duped people so she can continue on with the mystery. She traced the call back to a pay phone (remember those??) outside a gaming club.

At school the next day, Wallace explains the gaming club to her and insists that she won’t blend in there, which V clearly takes as a challenge. So she shows up in the most ridiculous “hot girl gamer” outfit, meant mostly to distract rather than blend. And it works – all the guys at the club stare at her when she walks by. She checks out the screen names of the guys playing and guesses which one is her guy based on how one screen name almost exactly matches the email address the email to Georgia was originally sent from. (Yes, people are that stupid – they will send scam emails, etc., from their personal email addresses.) V then enters the game and kills her own teammate so he’ll reveal himself to her (genius), and then leaves the club, taking her ID back, along with her target’s, whose name is Grant. And Grant is a student at San Diego State.

The next night, V dresses Wallace up like a nerd to infiltrate a San Diego State party. Wallace tries to argue that she can’t take the cool out of him, which is very sweet and very Wallace. Wallace then sort of monologues (in an adorable way) about how guys don’t talk about the girls they like – they just like them. Lolllll Wallace. V sees that he CLEARLY wants to talk about Georgia and allows him to do so. Their friendship is #goals. Anyway, Wallace’s character is a perspective freshman who wants to major in math.

As they’re about to leave, V sees a photo of their group from homecoming the previous year and starts reminiscing again.

F L A S H B A C K

The group of four is playing truth or dare in the limo while they’re driving around. Logan admits that he thought V was hot when he first met her – V points out that they were 12 and she was wearing a soccer uniform at the time! Lilly is dared by Logan to kiss someone in the car… so she kisses Veronica. And Duncan sprays champagne all over everyone, including Logan, who is wearing his dad’s tux and gets pissed. He and Duncan tumble out of the limo at the beach. /flashback

Wallace and V are now at the SDSU party. V starts probing for stories about Grant, and it turns out that he and his roommate are known on campus as the “Silicon mafia,” which is QUITE the name for two college students. Although they seem like real assholes, changing people’s GPAs when they don’t like them and nonsense like that. Wallace meets up with them and is quizzed about his math interests by Grant while V gets the master key to the dorms from the RA (by tricking him, I might add). As a side note, V’s hair in this scene looks like Kirsten the American Girl doll or something. It’s braided really tightly and looks super uncomfortable. Are we supposed to believe she did that to herself? I’m not buying it. Anyway. V gets caught in Grant and his roommate’s room when their alarm system goes off. They have their own alarm system installed in a college dorm room somehow? V acts drunk to get out of it, Wallace rescues her, she calls him Papa Bear, and they escape. I laughed so hard during this whole scene. It’s not super realistic.

At school the next day, V points out how bad Wallace has it for Georgia, and he doesn’t disagree with her. Awwwww.

V walks up on Logan going through the video footage of Lilly. He tells her about the memorial video he’s making and how boring it’s going to be, because this vanilla Lilly is def not the Lilly they both remember.

F L A S H B A C K

The group is now playing I’ve Never as they drink champagne and walk down the beach. V says she’s never gone skinny dipping, Duncan admits to masturbating after cheerleading tryouts one year, Lilly says she’s seen their parents having sex, and V and Duncan both admit that they’re virgins. /flashback

V leaves Logan alone at that point, but you can tell that she has an idea.

Back at San Diego State the next day, Mr. Mars puts on a DEA raid jacket and brings Backup to Grant’s room for a pretend drug raid. He plants a bug in their room, and V figures out their alarm code using the bug and the number button tones.

Later that day, V forgets about her mini-golf date with Troy, so Troy shows up at her apartment while she isn’t there. He sits down with Mr. Mars, who is trying to intimidate the crap out of him. Mr. Mars says that V has told him very little about Troy, and Troy is like “is that good or bad?” BAD, TROY. IT’S VERY BAD. Mr. Mars then quizzes Troy about his plans for them for homecoming, and Troy lies… we know this because Mr. Mars ends with “so you won’t mind that I cancelled your hotel reservation at the Four Seasons, then?” By the time V gets home, Troy is terrified.

I want to take a second to side bar here – Troy isn’t V’s first boyfriend. Was Mr. Mars like this with Duncan too, or is this a product of how everything in town blew up after he accused Jake Kane of killing Lilly? We never find this out, by the way. I just find it so interesting that he treats Troy like this, but there are no indications in the flashbacks that he was equally harsh on Duncan. Or maybe it has to do with revelations about Lianne’s relationship with Jake Kane. There’s a lot going on here.

At this point in the episode, V is planning her sting operation for Grant and his roommate. She has her dad call Grant, posing as admissions, to help recruit a student (Wallace). “Admissions” offers a free early screening of the new Matrix online video game as a perk for trying to get Wallace to attend SDSU.

At school, V asks Logan how the video is going, and he says it’s super boring. V then hands him her homecoming (and other) footage of Lilly, in case Logan wants to use it. He brushes her off and says he’s busy, and she leaves.

While Wallace, Grant, and the nameless roommate are headed to the fake screening of the new game, V sneaks into their dorm room again, this time disarming the alarm. She pulls all the hard drives out of their computers and reveals their scheme to us as an audience – they developed a game and used these swindles for their startup capital. Once released, they would make millions with no initial investors. On her way out, she grabs her dad’s bug and realizes there’s a safe full of backup drives.

Once Grant and roommate realize they were DUPED (lol, Wallace actually uses the word), they get a text about the security system linked to the backup drives. They’re just completely baffled how someone got into their room. Honestly, they’re baffled by all of it, they really don’t seem very bright. V couldn’t get into the safe with the backup drives, so she poured their energy drinks into it instead. NICE.

They meet V, Wallace, and Georgia in the park to pay Georgia back, with interest. V put the hard drives in the trash, so they have to dig for them. Georgia says that she feels bad about all the other people they’ve duped, and V says she also turned them into the FBI. Georgia then kisses Wallace. It’s very sweet.

V pulls the memorial fountain dedication flyer out of her purse and starts reminiscing again.

F L A S H B A C K

They’re getting home from the dance at around sunrise, and all of their parents are outside the Kane house… except Logan’s. They’re all in trouble, but Lilly is the only one getting yelled at, even when Duncan takes the blame. It’s a good slice of what Lilly’s life must have been like in the Kane house, and she was clearly a rebellious one. She kisses Logan one last time in front of her parents, and the Kanes get dragged inside. V goes home with her dad (who is mad, but calm), and… how did Logan get home? Did he take the limo? Especially considering what we learn about Logan later this season, I have a lot of questions about how that goes. Anyway. /flashback

At the memorial fountain dedication, Celeste gives a bullshit speech about Lilly’s school spirit and all that nonsense that was so far from the truth of Lilly it’s easy to see, even in episode 4 of the first season. Lilly never met Celeste’s expectations, and I wonder how Celeste feels about everything now. Ugh, I hate her. Anyway. Duncan gets the fountain going, and Logan plays the tribute video he made. It starts with all the family footage, but then moves into V’s stuff, the fun stuff about Lilly. Duncan actually smiles at that real footage of Lilly, and Jake Kane starts to cry as he sees images of the spunky daughter he remembers was real.

And you know who else cried? WEEVIL. DUN DUN DUN!

In the limo on the way to this year’s homecoming, V asks the limo to stop at the beach. She tells Troy and Wallace they have to wait in the car. She’s wearing strapless red satin for Lilly and she goes skinny dipping in the ocean. It’s a perfect ending to this episode.


The Episode Mystery

The mystery this episode was Grant and Duped, and V and Wallace successfully get Georgia’s money back. This is the first time Wallace brought a customer to V, but it won’t be the last! I absolutely loved how Wallace helped her solve it in this episode. Their friendship is the best.


The Overall Mystery

Progress last week, and nothing this week. No updates on who killed Lilly, who raped Veronica, or where V’s mom is.


What Aged Like a Dairy Product

Comparatively, this episode was a lot more timeless. Aside from the computers and cell phones used, the outfits were more normal, and nothing cultural stood out as much as say, last week. This week was about teenagers being teenagers, and about grief-stricken kids missing their murdered friend. It’s relatable in a way that some other episodes aren’t.


What Aged Like a Fine Wine

The emotions of high school, the way that people are trying to live on through their grief, the new relationships sprouting, all of that stuff is timeless. This was a good episode for that.


Rating

A reminder of the rating system:

  • Red = I couldn’t even get through this episode because it was so bad
  • Orange = Pushed through, hated everything
  • Yellow = Opposite of enjoyable, but had some bright spots
  • Green = This was mediocre!
  • Blue = A solid episode!
  • Purple = Television at it’s finest, 12/10, must watch repeatedly.

This was a great episode for character development and progress there, but not for the overall mysteries. Having seen this episode before I rewatched for the recap, I remembered it being boring. After the rewatch, it’s not at all. It’s nuanced. It’s relatable. I actually really love this episode. I’m giving Season 1, Episode 4 a BLUE rating.

Marshmallows forever. ❤

 

 

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