Veronica Mars Season 1, Episode 5 – You Think You Know Somebody

I’m back on your computer screens after my week off/book review obligations that I consider fun. Let’s dive right back into Neptune, where dating in high school is somehow even worse than I remember.

Previously On…

  • It’s been a year since Lilly was murdered
  • Veronica is dating Troy, who met her father in the last episode
  • A reminder that her dad is very friendly with V’s guidance counselor!
  • And ah yes, V’s mom left them

A quick note on what makes these particular scenes/hints at the episode to come interesting – it’s the first time Duncan isn’t mentioned. And? He’s not in this episode either. All right, let’s get into it!

The Play by Play

The episode starts in Tijuana with a kid we don’t recognize pulling a piñata out of a dumpster. We learn this kid’s name later in the episode, but I’m going to call him Piñata Kid for the remainder of this recap. He returns to a waiting car, where Logan is in the passenger seat and Troy is driving. Piñata Kid gets in the backseat, Logan dry heaves, and they set out to return to California. And listen, they’re all pretty casual with Border Patrol except Piñata Kid, who is awkward AF, which is probably why they made him sit in the backseat, honestly. Once they’re on the California side of the border, they eat greasy food at a diner and head out. Only to find! Troy’s car got stolen. Which is actually Troy’s dad’s car. Troy keeps saying how his ass is on the line, but Piñata Kid seems even more nervous, although he won’t let on to the other guys why. The Veronica pulls up to pick them all up in her car, and she drives them home.

Theme song! And a quick note – this is only the fifth episode in the first season of a show staring a female high school detective. It’s relative bold (I’m saying this with years of hindsight) to start an episode out with characters we don’t have a lot of attachment to yet and not see our protagonist for the whole first 5 minutes. I had the ability to binge these episodes, so I knew Logan and Troy. But if you’re watching week to week? As with much that happens on this show, it’s just a bit bold, that’s all!

Veronica drops the guys off at Troy’s house, where Logan’s yellow Xterra is parked. Logan brings Piñata Kid home with him, and V offers to look for Troy’s dad’s car. Because Troy wasn’t supposed to use the car, they can’t report it missing, so it’s going to be a lot of detective work with little help from the outside. Troy agrees to let her try.

V explains the sitch to Wallace back at the Mars Investigations office, showcasing their private eye website with all the info on it. V quickly looks Wallace up and finds that he got his license suspended and still subscribes to Mad Magazine. This, I believe, is supposed to show us the capabilities of the website, as a foreshadow for later in the episode/show.

At home, V plays the messages on the answering machine and hears one from the Guidance Counselor, henceforth GC. The message says that she and Mr. Mars are having dinner that night, right after Mr. Mars tells V he’s getting takeout. V does a nice voiceover about how she hates change and somehow never sees it coming.

Meanwhile, at a gym (I guess?), Piñata Kid is being forced to hold up a heavy bench press bar with weights while some Creepy Ponytail Guy (CPG) threatens him about losing his “package.” Lolol, sorry, the joke is implied, right? But nah, this is clearly something drug related, and CPG gives Piñata Kid until 9 am the next day to deliver.

The next morning, V walks in on Mr. Mars packing her mom’s stuff away in boxes. She tries to act like she doesn’t care, but she can’t seem to help herself – she asks about GC. Mr. Mars admits that he likes her, V makes some jokes, and Mr. Mars leaves for the day. V then peeks into the box of memories and voiceovers about why Lianne left. And then she finds a mysterious key to a safe deposit box.

At school, V is casually making a fake death certificate for her mom when Piñata Kid approaches and asks if she’s helping find Troy’s car. She says she is, and he asks about the piñata… which was full of steroids! Cool, bud! He first claims that Troy and Logan knew nothing about it and then admits that Logan knew. She says she’ll only help if he gives back the money and doesn’t deliver the drugs, and he hesitantly agrees.

She then goes to the bank with the fake death certificate and opens the safe deposit box. Inside, she finds surveillance photos of herself… YIKES.

GC shows up at Mars Investigations later, as V is thinking to herself that her dad had def never seen these photos. Mr. Mars thought that GC and V should talk outside of school… and V disagrees. Lol.

V meets up with Troy and fills him in on her lack of progress. They comment on the song that’s playing on the radio, which is “Such Great Heights” by the Postal Service. Thank you, season one/two of Grey’s Anatomy, for making sure I knew that. Omg, that was probably the same year! I hadn’t thought of that before. Huh. Anyway, V tries to get some more details about the trip out of Troy and he’s hesitant to share anything with her, leading to a bit of an argument. *cups hands around mouth* THIS IS FORESHADOWING, V!

V tries to sweet talk the security company into running a diagnostic to find the location of the car with no luck. The guy she was flirting with was into it, but some grumpy lady doesn’t bite.

Logan is dropping Piñata Kid off at his house… seems like PK doesn’t have wheels. Anyway! CPG is waiting for him, and Piñata Kid takes off, using those baseball skills, I guess, to run away. CPG shakes his fist at him when he can’t catch him. It’s pretty simple, CPG! Stop using steroids and you might be able to run faster!

V approaches Logan at his locker, hoping to get more information about the Tijuana trip and the drug pickup. Logan refuses to cooperate, obviously. Like he’d ever help V. Troy then shows up at Logan’s locker and Logan leaves. The way that Troy and V walk down the hall next is very… I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s slow mo and like V is looking back and reflecting, almost. It’s like she knows this whole thing is the beginning of the end.

V goes home and finds GC in her kitchen, chatting away with Backup. GC says she’s cooking for them tonight, Italian with V’s favorite dessert of waffles and ice cream. And then…


Lianne and V are in their old kitchen, and Lianne is asking V about when she gets to cook for the new boy. V jokes that how can she know there’s a new boy, and her mom tells her to not even try that excuse. Lianne tries guessing who the boy is, and when V finally says it’s Duncan Kane, Lianne burns the waffle. /flashback

GC drops a plate and shatters it, breaking V from her flashback. Mr. Mars comes home and V says she has to help her friend with a school project and won’t be home for dinner after all. Mr. Mars is clearly upset, but he lets her go.

Weevil (hey Weevil!) brings V on over to his uncle’s chop shop. In Spanish, his uncle tells him that the Beemer came through a couple days earlier, they spiffed it up, but all the paperwork was clean. Mario, some other guy, took the piñata for his kid’s birthday. V (who understood all the Spanish, I love her) and Weevil search for the birthday party, which V interrupts, thinking the kids are about to find a bunch of steroids. But nope – the piñata is full of candy now, and Piñata Kid is out of luck.

Which is exactly what V tells him in the bathroom the next day.


Lianne is trying to spring V from school, but V is like “I have a history test and a Spanish project, I can’t just go to Palm Springs.” In her memory, she says that she thought it was just another symptom of her mother’s increasingly erratic behavior, but now that she’s seen the surveillance pictures, she thinks her mom may have been genuinely scared. And 3 days later, Lianne was gone. /flashback

V is in her room addressing envelopes to Lianne’s closest friends and family with disposable cell phones, hoping her mom will feel safe enough to call her. Her dad strolls in as the sun is coming up, and she makes a walk of shame joke before asking for his help with Troy’s car situation. Mr. Mars says he’ll be nice to her boyfriend if she’s nice to his girlfriend, and she agrees. The next morning, Mr. Mars threatens the grumpy lady at the security company with a lawsuit if she doesn’t turn on the security system for the Beemer as a drill.

Piñata Kid is stressing while trying to sell autographed baseballs on eBay. Aww, he’s got a Barry Bonds ball! This must be pre-steroid scandal… or if it’s not, THE IRONY OF THIS WHOLE PLOT.

V asks Troy why he’s being so cavalier about everything. Troy says that he’d rather live it up than try to find a miracle cure, and V says she’s trying to do the opposite. Wallace butts in and asks why Troy is getting sent away. Why not a good old fashioned grounding? It’s V’s first hint that something might be missing in her history of Troy, and the music playing in the background agrees.

In journalism class, the exercise is to interview someone. An uptight girl tries to get snarky with V and she claps back, almost causing the girl to cry. Sure, it wasn’t nice, but the whole dang school is nasty to V all the time, what is she supposed to do? But then her journalism teacher has a gem of a quote:

Sometimes the lies we let ourselves believe are for our own good.

That’s deep, and makes V realize she has to do something. So she stays behind in class to do some research… into GC. After school, she gives the dossier to her dad, who is furious. She says she’s trying to protect him, and he shouts at her that he’s an adult! She starts to cry and asks him why he’s not looking for her mom, since he can pretty literally find anyone. And he responds by saying “have you ever thought that I don’t want to find her?” It’s the last straw for V, who starts sobbing at the front desk after her dad gives her the code to the Beemer’s security system.

V and Troy follow the GPS locator… and find it attached to a dog collar! Hahahaha.

The next morning, Mr. Mars gives V an envelope containing a dossier on Troy, to read if she wants to. Then he goes and breaks up with GC because V isn’t ready to see him dating.

V confronts Troy about the dossier – he was kicked out of two schools for drug possession and trafficking, it turns out. Makes it pretty hard to believe he doesn’t know about the steroids, doesn’t it. He maintains his innocence and walks away from V. Then Piñata Kid comes around the corner with all the money he was fronted by CPG, and V angrily takes it to finish this part of her job.

V and Backup bring the money to CPG at his gym. Her phone rings, and while she’s going to answer it, she snaps a picture of him. When he says that he and Piñata Kid might be square, but that doesn’t mean Piñata Kid isn’t still going to pay, V says he’ll remember this moment and leaves. In the Mars Investigations office, she puts the picture on a poster with Mars Investigations letterhead and faxes it out somewhere.

Troy’s dad yells at Troy about using up all his chances and puts him in a cab.

V makes a lopsided birthday cake for Mr. Mars, and he tells her that he broke up with GC.

Troy gets out of the cab at the border, paying off the driver and saying “let’s keep this between us.” He goes in the bathroom and retrieves the package he stashed in the ceiling vent, then hops in the souped up Beemer and hits the road. He gets a call from Shauna and says he’s going to see her soon, but then she asks about the girl who keeps calling her… someone named Veronica. He asks if she told V she’d be seeing him soon, and she’s like “she caught me off guard!” Troy hangs up on her and rips open the package, dumping out a bunch of candy and a letter from V. There’s just candy in the package and a message from V about spoiling his plan. And that’s the last we see of Troy! OR IS IT??

CPG is doing his own drug run and trying to cross the border, but gets stopped when Border Patrol holds up the flier V sent out! Busted, bud!

Finally, we end the episode with V listening to the Postal Service again in her bed with her eyes closed. Her phone is ringing, but she doesn’t notice. It’s her mom, leaving a message that says she loves her, she doesn’t want V to go looking for her, and that she wants to wish Mr. Mars a happy birthday. The plan with the burner phones worked!

The end.

The Episode Mystery

We’ve got an intertwined, two-fold mystery this week – the missing Beemer of Troy’s, and the missing steroid’s of Piñata Kid’s. Both are independently solved, and the big deal here is that Troy is now out of the picture again. We hardly knew ye, Troy. But he seemed too good to be true, right? It’s also a mystery that Logan had a small hand in, which we’re going to find is quite a pattern in this show…

The Overall Mystery

A progress report!

  • Who killed Lilly Kane?

No progress is made in this episode.

  • Who raped Veronica?

No progress is made in this episode.

  • Where is Lianne Mars?

All right! So what we know now is that Lianne is with either a friend or family member, although she wouldn’t say which one. And that she left under slightly different circumstances than V realized, after finding the surveillance pictures. This feels like it’s going to crack open soon, right?

What Aged Like a Dairy Product

You know, I didn’t really notice much about this episode – it was more timeless than the rest. Except for Piñata Kid’s outfits! He was always wearing these weird matching track suits. We get it, you’re an athlete! Weirdo.

What Aged Like a Fine Wine

This whole episode was one for the ages. The boyfriend betrayal! Although it’s more elaborate than anything I saw in high school. The constant battles between V and Logan! The tension between V and her dad when he starts dating again! It’s a good one, y’all.


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.

I really liked this episode, because it shows that V is never going to stop searching for and finding the truth, even if it hurts her in the end. Just like her dad. And that’s an important takeaway of this show as a whole – it’s something that continues into all the future seasons. Because of this and everything else, I’m giving Season 1, Episode 5 a BLUE rating! Very solid!

Marshmallow it up, y’all!

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