Welcome back! Before I get into today’s episode, I want to say – on my own time, I’ve started watching the new season of Veronica Mars, and… I’m having some trouble. I know that these opinions are prevailing over the internet, and I’m going to keep going, but going back and watching this season one episode again was like a breath of fresh air. It’s the Veronica I remember. So even though I read spoilers and I know what the season four ending is going to be like and my heart is breaking entirely, I’m going to keep going with these recaps. Because this – the high school Veronica – this is why I love the show. So anyway. I wanted to say that I’m going to persevere, even though I now know what’s coming. So… onward!
This episode was kind of a treat, because you know who I sometimes forget about? Meg Manning. And this episode is her grand introduction into the Marshmallow-verse. Along with one of my personal favorites – Mac!
- Abel Koontz fired his lawyers!
- Weevil has heard rumors about Veronica!
- Duncan used to be Veronica’s boyfriend!
- Duncan’s dad and Veronica’s mom used to date!
- The Lilly Kane evidence doesn’t add up!
What an interesting set of scenes to showcase in this recap, huh?
The Play by Play
We open the episode with Veronica looking at the photos of Lilly’s shoes that don’t add up that we discussed back in episode 6, Return of the Kane. She’s sitting at the receptionist desk at her dad’s office, and Cliff the public defender walks in. Veronica immediately starts trying to get him to let her talk to Abel Koontz on death row, and Cliff basically laughs in her face. He reiterates that Koontz doesn’t want to see anyone, so V shows Cliff the pictures that don’t add up. Cliff basically rolls his eyes, realizes that it was V who paged him, not her dad, and tells her to write Koontz a letter just like everyone else has to.
At school, V is showering after gym class – which, OKAY, but in my experience, girls never did this. But I also went to a small-town high school that didn’t have money to provide towels even, so. Anyway. She leaves the shower and realizes someone got into her gym locker and stole her clothes. And no one will fess up to doing it. She eventually finds them sitting in a toilet. High school is rough.
As V is staring at her clothes in the toilet, a blond girl comes up behind her and asks if she was able to find her clothes yet. Hello, Meg Manning! Meg’s only spare clothes are her cheerleader’s uniform, which she lends to V so she can get home to change. She invites V to have lunch with her and the other ’09ers, and V declines, but thanks Meg profusely.
So Meg goes to sit with her boyfriend, whose name I don’t care about, so I’m going to call him Skeezeball, and the other ’09ers for lunch. They’re all commenting on how gross V is and calling her a skank, and Meg tries to defend her, but they’re not hearing it. Dick is taking the purity test that is going around the school, which they all explain to Meg as Duncan walks up to join. He joins in on the explanation, saying something super normal, and then this Bitchy Brunette laughs obnoxiously. Okay, so BB has a crush on Duncan. Noted. Meg doesn’t care about the purity test and tells Skeezeball that she thinks it’s sexy that they decided to wait. He plays it off while she’s there, but as soon as she leaves, he starts lamenting to the group that he’s never even seen second base. I want to point out that Duncan is one of the people making fun of him here. This will be relevant about ten episodes from now.
V is at Wallace’s about to watch boxing on pay-per-view?? This confuses me, but it’s a fairly minor detail that is never brought up again. Wallace asks her if she took the purity test, and she basically stares at him until he’s like “oh right.” He admits that he got a 70, and she teases him about still being pretty pure. V shows Wallace her sports bra as a joke to help him lower his score, and his mom happens to walk in at that very moment. MOM, SHE WAS WEARING A SPORTS BRA. CALM DOWN. But alas, Mrs. Fennel was not having it.
She calls Wallace into the kitchen, where she scolds him for having V as a friend, basically. She says she’s only heard bad things about the Mars family, and she doesn’t want Wallace hanging out with her so often. A fun fact! Mrs. Fennel works for Kane Software. -__-
What V learns while Wallace is in the kitchen with his mom is that anyone can pay $10 to purchase anyone else’s purity test. She says that she can’t wait to see how that plays out at school tomorrow.
Let’s just say it’s pretty reminiscent of the release of the Burn Book in Mean Girls. (Credit to Giphy for the gif from Mean Girls.)
Skeezeball is at Meg’s locker, where she’s desperately trying to clean the number 48 off the door. He’s grilling her about a spring break trip she took to Spain, where she met a hot tour guide or something very flimsy that a skeezeball would say to his girlfriend in public after purchasing her purity test. Hate him. Turns out that number 48 was Meg’s supposed score, except she didn’t actually take the test. After Skeezeball walks away, V walks over and offers to find the person who posted Meg’s test.
And the theme song plays. Long intro this week!
V goes to the computer lab to ask the teacher how someone could get another person’s/everyone’s password(s). The computer teacher grimaces and says he’s actually a gym teacher, and V needs to find Mac. “Look for the blue hair,” he says. So V goes out to the parking lot and finds a girl with streaks of blue in her hair fighting with her truck because she locked the keys in. V uses some metal from her binder (??) to help her unlock the door, and they banter for the first time. Oh Mac, you’re just the best. They then talk passwords, and Mac points V toward the IT guy, who is the only other person who knows people’s passwords. But then she says that she can probably help V if the IT guy can’t.
At Wallace’s after school, V has him take a picture of her in front of a white sheet. Seems weird, but we’ll get to it later. Out the window, she hears Mrs. Fennel arguing with their tenant about paying the rent, and he is a complete dick about it.
At school the next day, Meg is one of the two news anchors hosting the school news. Her co-anchor goes off script, which surprises her enough for her to start fumbling for words. It turns out that high schoolers are being terrible and are bullying her about the purity test results. She says no one else knows her password except maybe her little sister. Her sister – who is also her polar opposite – says she didn’t do it, but is clearly resentful of Meg.
V meets up with the hot IT guy and pretends to be dumb to see if he’ll give her a password. He declines. He also has an accent! That’s fun!
At auditions for the musical Caberet, Meg is made fun of mercilessly during her audition, and she runs out. V chases after her, where they stop in front of V’s locker… where her score has been painted. A 14! So low it’s clearly fake, but high school was a weird time.
At home, V writes a letter to Abel Koontz pretending to be a graduate student in criminology from his hometown in Virginia. She uses the picture of herself in front of the white sheet to superimpose over a sign from that town.
V goes back to the IT guy the next day to change her own password, because someone hacked hers. Except she didn’t have an easy password to get ahold of, so she knows in the back of her mind that this guy probably helped whoever did it.
Wallace’s family gets home from grocery shopping, and the terrible tenant is inside their apartment cooking on their stove. He and Mrs. Fennel have words, and he raises the frying pan like he’s going to hit them with it. Wallace starts going to fight the guy, but his mom holds him back. She says the guy can keep cooking, that it’s fine. Ugh.
Wallace goes to V’s and updates her on what’s going on with the tenant before they start studying. V suggests that her dad help the Fennel’s out, and Wallace doesn’t want him to because of how his mom views the family. But he eventually agrees.
In class the next day, V is updating Meg on the purity test and where it came from, and the teacher calls on her and asks her position on something. Dick Casablancas says “all fours,” which is both juvenile and crude, and gets scolded by the teacher.
Mr. Mars shows up at Wallace’s house offering to help Mrs. Fennel, and she shuts the door in his face. As he’s leaving, he notes the name of the tenant on the mailbox.
V gets a call stating that she can visit Abel Koontz on Friday!
At lunch, V overhears Duncan and Dick talking to Skeezeball – now Skeezeball is saying that they were being nasty on the down low the whole time. But the most egregious thing he does is a bad Bill Clinton impression, ugh. Meg’s sister overhears and stands up to him and makes fun of him in front of his friends. And then she says the most relatable thing I’ve ever heard, as someone with a sister. When he says “you don’t even like her,” she responds, “yeah, but I love her.” ❤ Sister then confirms to V that Meg didn’t come to school that day.
V goes to visit Meg at home, where she’s in bed crying. Her parents found out about the purity test, tossed her room, and found letters from that TOUR GUIDE IN SPAIN that were all sexy. I guess Skeezeball wasn’t entirely off his rocker. Meg says that she doesn’t understand how V can do this everyday, and V says it doesn’t bother her. “You get tough and you get even,” V says.
Meanwhile, at Wallace’s, the tenant turned all of the gas on in their stove but didn’t light any of the burners, so the house filled with gas. Wallace has to run in and turn them all off. They call the sheriff and talk to Deputy Sacks, who says there’s nothing they can do except the formal eviction process.
Wallace shows up at V’s to spend the night on her couch while his house is looked at. He admits that his mom thinks he’s at some other person’s house, a person he made up. He goes on to say that his mom has heard rumors about the Mars family at Kane Software. V takes it in stride, but the voiceover confirms that it does, in fact, sometimes get to her that people are talking. But she said it depends who’s listening, which is heartbreaking because Wallace is the best and clearly knows her goodness.
Mr. Mars heads to his office to research the tenant, and then sits in the Fennel kitchen and waits for him to let himself in. When he does, Mr. Mars tells him to be moved out by 6 am. The guy scoffs, but at 6 am, Mr. Mars is in his apartment, in his face, intimidating him into moving out for taking advantage of a single mom with young kids. The guy moves out that morning while Mr. Mars drinks coffee and watches.
Wallace is digging around for his keys just as Mr. Mars gets home with bagels. He tosses the keys to Wallace, and the teens are confused, and it’s pretty glorious.
Mac and V are in the computer lab, trying to get to the bottom of V’s password hack. It turns out that someone is logged in as V right then! In the journalism room! So they run over there as the bell rings and don’t catch the person, but they realize that they stayed logged in. There’s an email in V’s outbox to Duncan saying that she had VD while they were dating! Cruel. Mac admits that V and Duncan were all people used to talk about, and V rolls her eyes. Then a chat pops up from Froggy, which is weird since the bell rang. Unless the person isn’t at school! And V knows what happened. She asks Froggy for a password and he says “another one?” Ding ding ding! She leaves the journalism room with Mac trailing behind her, confused.
That night, V follows Froggy to the local lover’s lane and takes pictures inside the car! Eee!
It turns out, the person in the car with Froggy – the IT guy – was Kimmy, the “single white female,” as V states, who always felt inferior to Meg. But Kimmy only posted Meg’s test, not V’s. She says that BB posted V’s because Duncan is still hung up on V. Aaaaand V got the whole conversation on tape. Cool cool cool.
Meg is anchoring the news again, and Kimmy’s confession tape plays before the recap of the lacrosse game. BB yells at Kimmy in front of everyone, and Kimmy runs out. The thing is… everyone liked Kimmy, and they like Meg even more, so it’s not a good look for BB. Also, they show Duncan watching the tape in class, and his reaction to Kimmy stating that he’s still hung up on V.
In the parking lot after school, we see Mac driving by in a brand new VW Beetle. Aha! So she posted the test and pocketed the $10 that each student coughed up to read everyone else’s test. GENIUS. Meg then comes up and thanks V. She also tells V that everyone is afraid of her, and that she understands getting tough but doesn’t think that V always has to get even.
Then there’s this really awkward (but accurately so) conversation between Duncan and V about how V doesn’t have VD and Duncan isn’t still hung up on her. Duncan ends with a joke, and they part ways.
Mrs. Fennel shows up at Mars Investigations to thank Mr. Mars for expelling their terrible tenant. He makes jokes, as usual, and they laugh together.
V goes to the prison to visit Abel Koontz. He plays along at first about who she is, but once she shows him the pictures of the shoes, he reveals that he knows she’s Veronica Mars. He bashes her mom along the way, saying that he used to see her show up at lunchtimes to be with Jake Kane. And then he plants the idea in V’s head that she might actually be Jake Kane’s daughter, not Keith Mars’. V leaves and cries in her car.
And the episode ends on that!
So there were a couple of things going on this episode. We had 1) who posted the purity test? 2) who was stealing people’s passwords to post fake purity tests? And 3) how are the Fennel’s going to get rid of their terrible tenant? All were solved, and solved satisfactorily, in my opinion. I liked that we got to see Wallace’s family more, and that there was the arc where Mrs. Fennel didn’t like the Marses but then realized that everyone in Neptune is the worst.
This is where things were stalled, but also complicated.
- Who killed Lilly Kane?
Okay, so no progress, but it’s pretty clear that Abel Koontz is the fall guy for someone or for some reason. *plot thickening*
- Who raped Veronica?
Still nothing here, although it’s pretty clear that rumors have been spreading about her for a long time. Hence… the purity test and the VD stuff.
- Where is Lianne Mars?
Yeah, idk. BUT. It def sounds like she was having a long-term, ongoing affair with Jake Kane, doesn’t it?
What Aged Like a Dairy Product
I wasn’t paying much attention to clothes or anything this episode. However, I think the underlying misogyny that something like this purity test plotline shows hasn’t aged well at all. Does it still happen? Of course. But if Veronica Mars (the high school years) was set in the present day, there were be more girls standing up for themselves and owning their sexuality than what we saw in this episode. Oh, 2004, how I really don’t miss you.
What Aged Like a Fine Wine
Veronica’s toughness. I wish I had had it when I was in high school. I wish I had it now.
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 good episode. There was a lot of action, a lot of stupid high school bullshit, and it was V at her finest, when she’s not being vindictive and she’s out here just trying to help out the good people in the world. (I miss this V.) I’m going to give Season 1, Episode 8 a BLUE rating. V solid!
I’m cooking up another interlude that might take me a couple of weeks to write, but this episode is part of it. Stay tuned.
And, stay strong, fellow Marshmallows. I know y’all are burnt, and I’m getting that way too. But these early episodes are such gold. And I’ll be eviscerating the later episodes, so there’s always that too.