Veronica Mars Reviews: Season 1, Episode 1

Veronica Mars S01 titleEpisode 1: Pilot

Welcome to my first Veronica Mars review. I’ve heard a lot about this show but never got around to watching it, so these episodes will be new to me. It sounds like a cool show (and Kristen Bell is always worth watching), so I think I’ll probably like it. I’m not completely clueless about the show, having read a few things about it, one of which is that it gets pretty heavy into the rape stuff as a plot point, so if that’s something that bothers you, you might want to stop reading now. The episode starts with Veronica doing a voice over (yup, she’s a private eye) explaining her hometown (Neptune, California) and Neptune High School, where she’s a junior. Basically in Neptune there’s no middle class; you either have money or you work for somebody who has money. Veronica is one of the working class, but her job is more interesting than most … she’s a private detective who investigates cheating spouses and spuriouscutting Wallace down insurance claims. As Veronica shows up to school, she finds a crowd of students gathered around a guy stripped to his underwear and duct-taped to a flagpole. Apparently the guy ratted out the local biker gang, so nobody has the guts to cut him down … except Veronica. In English class, Veronica is half asleep but still manages to answer a question on Alexander Pope. She’s called out for a random locker search and it seems like she must know someone at the police department, since she knows ahead of time which lockers will be searched (and she knows the police dog by name). Her locker is completely empty, except for a photo of the vice-principal in a heart-shaped frame. He’s not amused.

At lunch, Veronica reminisces about how she used to hang with the rich kids, partly because her father used to be Neptune’s sheriff, but mostly because she was dating Duncan Kane, whose dad Jake is a software billionaire. Things were great until Duncan dumped her for no reason. She Weevil gets in Veronica's facealso muses about Duncan’s friend, Logan Echolls, whose dad is a famous Hollywood actor. She describes Logan as the school’s obligatory psychotic jackass. The dude she cut down from the flagpole (Wallace Fennel) joins her and thanks her for helping him. The bikers come by and their leader (Eli Navarro aka Weevil) starts giving Wallace shit until Veronica tells him to stop. Weevil starts talking shit and bragging about his dick, so Veronica tells him to whip it out. He’s reluctant (overcompensating maybe?) and before one of the other bikers can take her up on her offer, the vice-principal breaks things up.

Veronica asks Wallace what he did to piss the bikers off and he says they stole some booze from the convenience store where he works, so he hit the alarm to call the sheriff’s department. When the sheriff (Don Lamb) showedflashback to Wallace and Sheriff Lamb up and asked Wallace to confirm the bikers stole the beer, Wallace got scared (understandable, since the entire biker gang was sitting right there watching him) and tried to recant. But Lamb got the video tape from the store and said it would be enough to put the bikers away. He hauled them off and told Wallace to visit the Wizard and ask for some guts. Veronica congratulates him for managing to piss off both the sheriff and the bikers in his short time in Neptune.

Veronica goes home and we get a couple of flashbacks, one about Duncan and one about her mom, who’s apparently not around anymore. She takes her dog down to the beach to get some exercise and sees Wallace flying a model plane. Later, she heads to her P.I. job, Turns out she works for her Celeste Kanedad (Keith) at Mars Investigations. She sees that Duncan’s mom (Celeste) is in with her dad and wonders why. Celeste hates Veronica for some reason and isn’t all that fond of Keith either. While she’s waiting to talk to her dad, a skeezy lawyer comes in and tells her about a potential case. It sounds like Veronica works “unofficially” for her father, doing the minor cases while he spends most of his time tracking down bail jumpers. The lawyer tells her he has a client who’s in trouble for vandalism and wants to make a deal; she works at a strip club called the Seventh Veil and claims they have an interesting way of keeping their liquor license, despite serving minors regularly.

When Celeste leaves, she gives Veronica a look of hate and we learn that Keith once accused Celeste’s husband of murder. I guess that explains why she doesn’t like him much. Veronica grills her dad (played by Enrico Colantoni) about Celeste’s visit, figuring out she suspects her husband of cheating. Keith admits it, but before they can discuss it he gets a call about one of his bail jumpers and has to leave right away. He warns Veronica notVeronica and her dad to do anything on the Jake Kane case, since the family already hates them. But he knows she’ll go ahead anyway, so he tells her to take back-up. Veronica soon gets on Jake Kane’s tail and we learn some background on him. His company basically invented streaming video, so when they went public he became a billionaire, but everyone who worked at the company instantly became millionaires. So half the people in Neptune owe their fortunes to Jake Kane, making him one of the most beloved people in town. Veronica’s personal history with the Kanes is more involved; not only was Duncan her first—and only—boyfriend, Duncan’s sister Lilly was Veronica’s best friend.

We get some flashback scenes of Lilly (played by Amanda Seyfried) telling Veronica she had a big secret, but not what the secret was. Later that night, Veronica’s dad (who was still sheriff then) got called to the Kane estate. He flashback of Lilly's bodytold Veronica to stay in the car, but of course she didn’t. She found Duncan completely distraught and soon found out why … Lilly had been murdered. The case made national headlines, and so did Veronica’s dad when he pointed the finger at Jake Kane for killing his own daughter. That turned out to be wrong, which is why Keith stopped being sheriff and went private. Veronica figures her dad may have been wrong about Jake back then, but apparently Celeste is right about him being a cheater, since he ends up at a sleazy motel called the Camelot.

Veronica muses over how video of Lilly’s body was leaked to the internet, how Logan blamed her father (and her) for ruining the Kane’s lives, and how her dad lost his sheriff job to Don Lamb. Keith was sure he was right about Jake Kane, but Veronica’s mom didn’t like the loss of status (or income) and took off. Keith refused to be run out of town and Veronica stuckVeronica zaps a biker with him, even after Lamb caught the real killer, a disgruntled ex-employee of Jake’s. As Veronica waits outside the Camelot, the PCH biker gang shows up. Luckily she took her dad’s advice and brought Back-up … which is the name of her dog. While he deals with one of the bikers, Veronica gives another one a taste of her stun-gun. Weevil calls them off and Veronica proposes a deal: if the bikers lay off Wallace for one week, she’ll get the two off who got arrested for stealing from the convenience store . Weevil agrees, but says after a week she and Wallace are both screwed.

Before leaving, Weevil makes a remark about Veronica loving the dick; apparently, she has a rep for being kinda slutty. She reflects on that and we learn that someone roofied her at a party and she passed out. When she flashback to Veronica realizing she was rapedwoke up, she realized she’d been raped. She never told her father, but ended up with a reputation for being easy. At the Camelot, Veronica takes several photos of Jake Kane, but can’t get one of the woman in the motel room. The next day at school, Logan starts ragging on Veronica, implying she’s a slut and a drunk like her mother. Duncan finally tells him to lay off, but we learn that Veronica hasn’t seen her mother since she took off eight months ago. Apparently her mom just took off one night, leaving a unicorn music box and a note saying she’d be back someday.

Wallace tells Veronica he’s heard the rumours about her, but doesn’t care; he’d rather hang out with the person who helped him than the assholes who laughed and took pictures when he was taped to the flagpole. Veronica saysprinting out the license photo she has a plan to get the bikers off Wallace’s back and they go see a friend of hers who’s good at sculpture. Later, Veronica downloads and prints a photo of the license plate on the car at the Camelot Motel. When her dad gets home that night, she shows him the photo. He obviously recognizes the license number but won’t say who it belongs to. He tells her to stay away from Jake Kane and that he’s going to call Celeste and drop the case.

Veronica goes to the Seventh Veil with a video camera to work on the case the lawyer brought her. But the strip club video is all part of her master plan. The next day, she plants a bong in Logan’s locker right before it’s firefighters at the police stationsearched, getting Logan in shit. Logan is arrested and the bong is confiscated by the cops. Later, Veronica and Wallace go to the police station parking lot, where Wallace uses his model plane remote to activate a smoke bomb hidden inside the bong. The cops clear out and the fire department shows up. Then she goes to seethe fire chief (an old friend of her dad’s) who switched the video tape of the bikers in the convenience store with a video Veronica gave him.

Later, Veronica imitates Inga, the German clerk at the police station, to fool the cops into running the mystery license plates. (From the sound of it, this isn’t her first Inga imitation.) She’s shocked to find out the car is registered to her missing mother, Lianne Mars. Veronica goes to see the real Inga, to find out where the bikers’ trial is taking place. We find out Veronica did report her rape to Sheriff Lamb, but he was a total prick about it and refusedbikers getting off because of the switched tape to do anything, even telling her to go see the Wizard and ask for a backbone when she started crying. At the bikers’ trial, Lamb testifies that he caught the bikers with the stolen booze stuffed down their pants, and says that even though Wallace recanted and said they paid, the video will prove they’re guilty. But when the tape is played, it turns out to be video Veronica took of a deputy getting a blowjob from a stripper outside the Seventh Veil. So, the stripper case and the biker case are both blown away … pun intended.

Later, Veronica meets Wallace at the beach and gives him the original videotape. Wallace thanks her and she tries to downplay it, but he knows she’s really a softie at heart. His warm feelings aren’t shared by Logan, who shows up with a gaggle of his rich buddies and tells Veronica his dad took Logan gets smashyhis car away because of the bong she planted. He busts out the headlights on her car, but before he can do any more damage, the bikers show up. Weevil pounds one of the rich guys’ cars and tells Logan he should apologize to Veronica. Logan refuses, so Weevil pounds him a bit. Logan’s a stubborn bastard and still refuses to apologize, but lucky for him Veronica’s not a fan of violence and calls Weevil off. Logan and his pals leave and Veronica makes weevil apologize to Wallace for taping him to the flagpole. Weevil does, but when he asks for the video, Wallace is smart enough not to give it to him.

That night, Veronica goes by the office and checks her father’s safe, finding out that he’s still investigating Lilly Kane’s murder. She finds her surveillance photo from the Camelot in the Lilly Kane file and wonders why it’s there, why Jake Kane was meeting her mother at the Camelot, and why her father is lying to her. She heads over to the Camelot to see if it’s really her mother in the room, but there’s no answer. She vows to find out whatVeronica looking for her mom at the Camelot happened to tear her family apart, and to put it back together again. This was a pretty good first episode, although it suffers the flaws that most pilots do, trying to introduce all the characters and the main plot threads. I assume subsequent episodes will be less expository; this one had almost too much inf to process, what with all the characters, their back stories, and their connections to each other. But we were introduced to the overarching mysteries that will dominate the first season: who killed Lilly Kane and who raped Veronica? (And I guess, what happened to Veronica’s mom, but I’m guessing that ties in with the Lilly Kane stuff.) So, we’ll see where things go in the next episode. I hope you’ll join me for my review.

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