A Christmas episode! And in a couple weeks, I’m going to have a Christmas book review too! Christmas (and other holidays, for those who aren’t Christian, obviously) is only two short months away! I’m happy to get started with a little Veronica Mars Christmas joy.
A note on this episode recap—there are a lot of flashbacks within scenes in this episode, and I’m not going to label them with my F L A S H B A C K format. Because most of them are the guys remembering the same poker game, and they’re narrating the flashbacks, I’m just going to describe them as memories. Just this time! I was trying to do it the normal way and was having a hard time figuring out how to write them!
- Lilly died a year ago!
- Jake Kane was accused by Mr. Mars of her murder!
- Veronica used to date Duncan!
- Logan’s dad is a movie star and Logan is a jerk!
- V’s mom left because of surveillance photos!
- Clarence Weidman was following V!
- Jake Kane scared Lianne away!
This “Previously On…” section keeps getting longer and longer, doesn’t it?
The Play by Play
Veronica is helping her dad decorate the Christmas tree and comments on all the handmade ornaments are hers. Mr. Mars is only concerned about the Padres’ ornaments. V asks her dad what he wants for Christmas and he tells her to save her money.
The rich guys are having a poker game… plus Weevil. Duncan is singing and Logan is smoking a Cuban cigar. Two other rich kids are in attendance—Guy Who Can’t Drive, or GWCD, and Actor Guy, or AG. Names seem irrelevant to me, because they’re not regular characters, you know? Anyway. Duncan is winning, the other rich kids are being stupid, and Logan goes all in. Then Weevil goes all in. They’re tied and it’s all about the next card flipped. Weevil ends up winning with a pair of 2s. Logan goes to pay Weevil and the money is all gone. Looks like we have ourselves a mystery! All the guys have to strip down into their boxers as Weevil looks for the money. Duncan and Logan’s boxers match! Weevil steals an expensive egg from Logan’s house and leaves with a threat to collect. GWCD says it’s the worst game of strip poker he’s ever played. Lol.
The theme song plays.
At school, Wallace and V are talking about a Padres training camp that she wants to get her dad. Duncan comes storming through asking Weevil for his laptop back. Weevil says that someone stole his money and he’s going to collect. V asks Duncan about it, and Duncan explains the poker game. V says she doesn’t care, but then he reveals that he kept a journal on the laptop, and V was quite the feature in it for a while. He says he was prolific. Oof.
V walks into a classroom where Weevil and his gang are playing a dice game, and she tells him that he could stop stealing 09er stuff and let her help him with the poker game stuff. He and his gang laugh at her. Weevil says that he doesn’t need her help, but baits her. So she asks why he was there. Weevil says he heard about the game and approached Logan to get in on it. They banter about who will look worse if they’re seen together, and Logan eventually relents and says that Weevil can play if he has the buy in money. V asks who Weevil thinks did it, and Weevil pretty much tells her he’s pretty sure Logan hid it in his house. He said he had opportunity and everything. At the poker game, the guys were all talking smack, making fun of GWCD for not being able to drive and AG for going to the bathroom a million times… and then Logan’s mom hits the pool in her bikini. That makes all the guys go to the window to gawk at her… except Logan, obviously. Duncan literally has his nose pressed to the window, lol. Logan is skulking, and that’s when Weevil said he could have hidden the money.
Meanwhile, at Mars Investigations, Logan’s mom shows up to talk to Mr. Mars. Lynn Echolls shows Mr. Mars a threatening letter she found inside their house. Mrs. Echolls asks Mr. Mars to find whoever is writing them and keep them away from the Echolls residence. Mr. Mars says he’d like to see any other threatening letters, and she says Mr. Mars can come by later. She asks for discretion, and they discuss their children. They seem friendly, which is sort of nice to see.
At school, V approached Duncan to tell him that she thinks she’ll be able to get his laptop back without much issue. She accuses him of being lazy by not handwriting his journal like a normal person. Duncan laughs, and then she asks him about the poker night. He has a slightly different story. Duncan says that he was surprised that Weevil was even there. He recalls Logan telling him that there was no way he was going to let Weevil walk out of there with their money. And then the money got put in the box. Duncan doesn’t think Logan invited Weevil to steal Weevil’s money, but then he trails off and doesn’t finish his thought.
At lunch, there’s a crowd around Logan and GWCD; they’re discussing the Faberge egg that Weevil stole from the Echolls house. GWCD asks what Weevil expected to do with it, and Logan says “huevos rancheros.” Come on, Logan. That’s not a good look. Duncan was sitting there in silence and storms off. Logan follows him, and Duncan asks if he took the money. Logan doesn’t answer and Duncan storms off again. Logan says Duncan was so drunk he wouldn’t have known if Chris Kringle had stolen the money, and Duncan asks when Logan started acting this way, that he’s turned into a jackass. Yikes. Logan asks if they’re breaking up, and Duncan doesn’t answer.
At the Echolls house, Mrs. Echolls is leading the staff in decorating for Christmas while Mr. Mars looks over all of the other threatening letters that Aaron Echolls has received. He thinks the stalker has sent 6 previous letters. Mrs. Echolls sounds exasperated… even though she was the one asking for Mr. Mars’ help in the first place? She’s having 200 people in their home for a Christmas party the following night, and Mr. Mars recommends cancelling the party. She says she’s hired plenty of security. Mr. Mars asks about the help, and she says not to worry about them. Aaron arrives, surprised to see Mr. Mars about the letter, and then starts to throw Mr. Mars out. Outside the front door is a pumpkin carved to look like Aaron with a knife in his forehead. Mr. Mars asks is this is as normal as the threatening letters, and Aaron doesn’t answer.
At Mars Investigations, Mr. Mars is calling around to see who does pumpkin carving, and is hitting brick walls, since it’s Christmas time. He asks V to run by the Echolls house to have Mrs. Echolls sign some papers. V shows up at Logan’s and walks in while he’s playing video games. He quips about having suggested attack dogs, and that his mother wanted an alpaca instead. She says her dad needed his mom to sign some papers, and he asks if she just decided to stop in and say hi. She asks him about the poker game, and he asks if her sleuth kit came with a decoder ring, etc. Oh Logan. You don’t really think she’s annoying, stop pretending. As V is walking away, Logan suggests she talks to AG, which she finds ridiculous, because what would he need the money for. Logan inhales obnoxiously through one nostril, stating that we all have our problems. Cocaine, V. He’s talking about cocaine. She asks Logan if AG is doing another movie with his dad, and Logan barely keeps from rolling his eyes. He says that AG has it out for him, but the flashback scene paints a very different story. Logan is racist—that’s what AG was pointing out in the flashback where Logan was describing how AG “has it out for him.” Cool cool cool, Logan. NOT A GOOD LOOK. Anyway, AG told this story about a actress who thought that Logan was a girl when he was younger, and how embarrassed Logan was about it. So… Logan is maybe racist, AG is likely a huge misogynist, and Weevil is getting a kick out of all of it. Cool cool cool. Logan finishes the story by stating that unless AG’s Pavlovian response to his phone ringing was a need to use the bathroom, he was up to something. V says that she’d love to question him on his movie set, but it’s probably not an easy place to get to. So Logan makes a call, and for the first time in the show, Logan refers to V as his friend. Oh, my fangirl heart. As she’s leaving to talk to AG, Logan says one of my favorite lines EVER.
Annoy, tiny blond one. Annoy like the wind.
I love when they interact. There’s so much going on below the surface. These actors are super great, because they’ve said they didn’t even really know there was anything going on at all. They just played off each other that well. ❤
V shows up on the movie set where AG is working, and voiceovers about how amazing his abs look. R E L A T A B L E. He asks her if his abs are too shiny, lol, and she can hardly string a sentence together. But then she starts talking about the poker game and loosens up a bit. AG says he doesn’t know who took the money and that he felt bad for the kid who won, because he was pretty cool. “Real, you know?” Yeah, bruh, we know. She sits down in one of those actor chairs next to him, and they go over things a little more. AG tells the story of how the pizza delivery guy came and left with cash, how Duncan was so drunk he couldn’t get his wallet out, but that he knew that Logan only tipped around 4%. He says that Weevil chipped in for the tip, stating that it’s Christmas, even for delivery guys. And how GWCD never left his seat, didn’t chip in for beer, and didn’t pay for pizza. He said there were lots of other breaks in the game too, that it wouldn’t have been all that difficult for someone to hide cash away. He makes some tea and throws a tea bag toward the trash can on set, completely missing, then takes a call from his agent. V calls Wallace as she’s leaving, asking him for GWCD’s home address, because she “wants to send him a Christmas card.” Lollllll. Sarcasm game, strong.
Aaron Echolls is playing… tennis? Sort of? He paid someone to hit tennis balls at his racquet so that it can appear that he’s practicing, it looks like. Anyway, Mr. Mars shows up to have a private conversation with Aaron, which Aaron doesn’t take seriously until Mr. Mars starts asking about whether he had been with anyone else on Halloween, anyone who might have then sent an “Aaron-o-lantern,” as Mr. Mars says. Aaron denies this, saying he’s faithful, stating that he was with his wife at the Casablancas’ Halloween party last Halloween. He then very rudely dismisses MM. *coughLIARcough*
V shows up at GWCD’s house, where his dad answers the door and says he’s not allowed to “receive visitors at home?” Come again? Then he shuts the door in her face? How strange.
Mr. Mars keeps sleuthing, trying to figure out what’s going on with the pumpkin. He talks to the lady who always caters the Casablancas’ Halloween party, who says she can’t talk about the events they do. He specifically asks about her firing someone that night, and the caterer says that servers know they’re supposed to stay on the first floor, but this server was found on the second floor, looking for a bathroom. Apparently, Aaron Echolls insisted she be fired… because she found him with someone else’s wife on top of him. NIIIIIIIIICE. Ugh.
Sidebar here for a second. Mr. Mars specifically tells the caterer that Sadie Casablancas was the one he spoke to who told him about the catering company. This is interesting to me, because there is no Sadie Casablancas in this show. The Casablancas family—Dick, Cassidy, and Big Dick—aren’t talked about much in the first season, but they become big players in season two. And Big Dick’s new wife’s name is Kendall, not Sadie. So unless Sadie is Dick and Cassidy’s birth mom, and the divorce and remarriage happened within a year, this is a mistake on the part of the show! I love finding shit like this, so pardon me, hahaha. Okay, onward.
At school, V watches GWCD get out of his towncar at school. She approaches him, and he immediately tells her that his rolex was stolen out of his gym bag the day before. He says he thinks Weevil stole the money before he thought he was going to win. V says she heard that GWCD hadn’t been doing very well either, and he said the difference was that he didn’t need the money, and Weevil OBVIOUSLY did. Hmm.
At Mars Investigations, Mr. Mars reveals to Aaron that he found out from the caterer that he was caught “in flagrante” at the party. He sighs and asks Mr. Mars not to tell his wife that he cheated, Mr. Mars says that wasn’t what he was hired to do, so he wouldn’t be telling Mrs. Echolls anything. Mr. Mars asks Aaron to circle the name on the guest list of who he slept with… and he circles several names before Mr. Mars clarifies that he only cares about who Aaron slept with the night of the party. Aaron says it was the night he had the hard cider? Kay. What does that mean? Aaron repeats the story of the night to Mr. Mars, and insists that the lady he was with isn’t a stalker. In fact, none of the women he slept with are stalkers, and even though they’re all invited to the Christmas party, Aaron isn’t worried! They’re just needy. *hugest eye roll of all time*
Mr. Mars talks to the lady Aaron was with at the Halloween party, and she basically says that he’s hot and she regrets nothing. In fact, she says he’s “psycho bait.” Mmkay. I hate all of this. Ugh. The lady’s husband, who is Aaron’s agent, comes home, and he doesn’t indicate that he cares at all if Aaron has a stalker.
V is back at school worrying about Duncan’s diary getting loose to the masses. She tries to reason with herself, saying she’s been good and doesn’t deserve that, basically. Good luck with that logic, V. Wallace shows up, asking how the case is going, and V says “I think I finally found a way to send my dad to camp.”
Duncan and GWCD are eating pizza for lunch at school, and Logan shows up to have a slice. Duncan gets up to leave, and GWCD asks him and Logan to kiss and make up already. V approaches and says that the good news is that she knows who stole the money… and the bad news is that she knows who stole the money. She wants Logan to host another game that night, she’ll tell them who stole the money and Logan will buy her in; she’ll take the place of the person who stole the money. Logan says it’s not going to happen because it’s his mom’s Christmas party that night, and she says “oh, I thought you all wanted your stuff back.” They all make eyes at each other, and Logan says “do you even know how to play poker?” V says, “no… but it must be really hard if you all play.” BUUUUURN.
There’s a big crowd at the Echolls house that night for the Christmas party, and the high schoolers meet for a poker game in the guest house. V walks in and starts chugging from Duncan’s Jack Daniels bottle… revealing that it’s iced tea and he wasn’t drunk at all the night they were playing poker. V says that Duncan can’t remember the alphabet when he’s drunk; there’s no way he’d be able to calculate a pizza delivery guy’s tip. AG wasn’t doing coke in the bathroom; his tea is a diuretic, so he legit needed the bathroom that often. Logan didn’t do it; when V showed up to talk to him, he’d torn the room apart looking for it to no avail, so that cleared him. Two left—Weevil and GWCD. V reveals that it was GWCD. He put the money in the bottle of weird beer he had been drinking and fished it out of the recycling the next day. Logan is baffled as to why GWCD would need the money, so V explains that his family doesn’t actually own the home he lives in—they’re the help. He gets a ride to school because his dad is the butler. Apparently, GWCD has a bit of a shoplifting problem… in that he’s a bad shoplifter. Also, a liar, since the whole school thinks he’s loaded when he’s def not. Weevil takes him outside to discuss payment, and V joins the poker game, dealing first and impressing the guys.
Aaron is at the Christmas party, and Mr. Mars is in his office trying to figure out what’s going on with the stalker. The party seems to be going fine, and Mr. Mars calls the catering company to ask about the girl who was fired at the Halloween party. She was a carver, apparently.
V is only winning at the poker game, and they all say they could use a food break to try to realign the cosmos so V doesn’t take all their money. They head to the Christmas party, where the carver girl is working! Gasp! V and Weevil are grabbing food, very underdressed for the party. V sees Jake Kane and starts chasing after him. Logan and Duncan make up. Mr. Mars is outside the party, and security won’t let him in. V finds Jake Kane in the library, and she asks him about his head of security surveilling her. Mr. Mars sneaks into the home. V starts yelling at Jake Kane, asking why the pictures were sent to her mother, why they were taken at all. Jake Kane finally says he has no idea why these things happened, and V says she doesn’t believe him. Mr. Mars sees Jake storming out of the room with V. V follows Jake Kane, who immediately confronts Celeste, asking what she did, telling her not to lie to him. Both V and Duncan witness this encounter. Mrs. Echolls rings a bell and tells everyone to follow the Santas outside for a surprise. Aaron goes to get his jacket, and then is confronted by the carver girl. She says that he told her he loved her after he slept with her, and he plays completely dumb. She stabs Aaron, and is tackled by Mr. Mars. Logan witnesses this whole confrontation, Mrs. Echolls tells someone to call an ambulance, and the carolers outside keep singing.
V waxes poetic about how corrupt Neptune is in a voiceover, and the episode ends.
There are two episode mysteries at play here. The first is with the adults – who sent the threatening letter to Aaron Echolls? Well. It was the carver girl who worked for the caterer who Aaron had fired at the Halloween party. Apparently, he slept with her, said he loved her, and then continuously denied her. D U D E. I’m honestly not sure what the purpose of this episode was, since it doesn’t help move the overall plots along, except maybe to keep laying the groundwork about Aaron Echolls being a truly terrible human. We already started to see this in Return of the Kane, and then I spoke more about it in the Marshmallow Interlude that followed. If that was the point of this episode, it was successful. My dad caught ten random minutes in the middle of this episode while I was rewatching it, and his only question was “do you spell scumbag as one word or two?” (One word is the answer, btw.) So yeah. Aaron Echolls is the worst, and the repercussions of this party are going to start playing out in the back half of the season, which we’ll start getting into SOON.
The second episode mystery was among the kids – who stole the money from the rich kid poker night that Weevil won? The answer was interesting and boring wrapped into one – a guy we’ve never seen before had been pretending to be a rich kid the whole time when he really wasn’t. It would have been more interesting had we met him before this episode, but it still says something about Logan and Duncan, who counted themselves as his friends. In any case, Veronica solved that one without a lot of issue.
- Who killed Lilly Kane?
No progress made in this episode.
- Who raped Veronica?
No progress made in this episode.
- Where is Lianne Mars?
No progress made in this episode.
- Who is Veronica’s father?
No progress made in this episode.
So… apparently this episode was quite the exciting filler. Like I said above, it lays some groundwork for what’s to come, but it doesn’t actually progress the plots we’ve already started working through.
What Aged Like a Dairy Product
Logan’s terrible racism. The whole group of guys thinking men are better and smarter than women. Various hairdos and outfits, but meh. I do find it interesting to see Logan in these early episodes, shitting on Weevil and the like. He probably has the best glow up on this entire show, truly.
What Aged Like a Fine Wine
The plot of this episode was a tale as old as time! Rich dude cheats repeatedly on his wife! He gets caught! He may or may not suffer the consequences! That, along with Veronica continually ignoring Logan’s jabs and staying strong, could make a lot of the dialogue of this episode just as true today as it was in 2004.
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.
Okay, so if you haven’t already figured this out… I hate Aaron Echolls. And I also hate when entire episodes focus on the dynamics of only the 09ers and how “different their lives are from the commoners” or whatever, so this episode is far from my favorite. But scumbag rich dude cheats on wife and gets caught? That’s pretty timeless. So it wasn’t a bad episode, I just hate giving Aaron any screentime at all. So I’m going to give Season 1, Episode 10 a GREEN rating. And I’m so pumped to start reviewing the backhalf episodes for y’all.
Marshmallow it up this week!