This one starts in Tijuana, where Logan, Troy, and a guy named Luke are finishing up a night of debauchery. Luke has a stupid pinata souvenir and it looks like he’s putting something in it, but I can’t tell what exactly. They head back to the States and get through the border check with no problem. While they’re eating at a diner just over the border, someone steals the car. Troy freaks out, since it’s his dad’s car and he didn’t exactly ask permission to borrow it. Of course, Luke is freaking out for a different reason, since the pinata was in the back seat. Troy calls Veronica to pick them up and she greets him with, “Dude, where’s your car?” which he doesn’t find funny, since his dad is going to be pissed off. Veronica says she doesn’t mind dating a guy who rides a bike, but Troy asks how she feels about dating a guy who’s in Catholic boarding school in New Mexico.
Veronica drops Logan and Luke off and offers to use her detective skills to track down the car for Troy. He’s skeptical; since his dad thinks the car is still in the garage they can’t activate the anti-theft trackers. Veronica says there are other ways of making things happen. At her dad’s office, she checks a P.I. database with info on the stolen car. Wallace isn’t sure how much she can learn online, so she looks him up and finds out he had a suspended license and still has a subscription to MAD Magazine (RIP). Wallace compares Veronica to Velma from Scooby-Doo, but she thinks of herself more as Daphne. She asks Wallace what she should do for her dad’s birthday. Meanwhile, her dad says he’s heading out of a case and won’t be home for dinner. When she gets home, Veronica finds a voice-mail from her school counselor (Rebecca), who is apparently meeting Keith for dinner.
Meanwhile, Luke is at a gym almost being crushed under the weight of a huge barbell. His trainer (Hank Zigman) tells him he better retrieve the package or he might end up squashed like a bug. Luke says the package is in a friend’s car and promises to get it tomorrow. Seeing as how Hank is a muscle-bound asshole, I think I can guess what Luke hid in the pinata. The next morning, Keith is getting ready to put the rest of Veronica’s mom’s stuff in storage and asks if she wants to look through it first. Veronica mentions his date with Rebecca and Keith apologizes for not telling her, but says he didn’t want to make a big thing out of it. Veronica pretends to be cool with it, but it’s obvious she’s not. Keith doesn’t notice; I guess he likes Rebecca too much to look for potential deal-breakers.
While going through her mom’s stuff, Veronica finds a key to a safety deposit box. At school, she prints out a death certificate and Luke comes to see her, begging her to find the stolen car as soon as possible. He admits the pinata is full of steroids that he was bringing back for Hank. (Luke is trying out for the baseball team and Hank promised to help him get jacked up.) Luke says Logan knew about the steroids but isn’t in on the deal, and Troy had no idea. Veronica’s not keen to help a dealer get his stash back, but when Luke says Hank threatened him, she agrees to help … as long as Luke returns the steroids and gives Hank the money instead of the drugs. Luke agrees and Veronica says she’ll do what she can.
She goes to the bank with the death certificate and gets into the safety deposit box. Her mom had a bunch of photos of Veronica with crosshairs drawn around her head, so Veronica wonders if someone was threatening her and that’s why her mom took off so suddenly. At the office, Rebecca comes by and things get a little awkward, but Veronica still insists she’s fine Rebecca and Keith dating. Later, Veronica tells Troy she hasn’t found any leads on the car yet and wonders if Logan might have something to do with it, since he knew about the steroids. Troy admits going to Tijuana was Logan’s idea, but doesn’t think he’s behind the theft. Veronica asks about the junket and Troy gets weird, not wanting to go into detail. They go to the security company for the car and Veronica sweet talks a guy into activating the GPS tracker. Unfortunately, the guy’s (female) supervisor is immune to Veronica’s charms and cuts things short before she can get any real info.
As Luke arrives home that afternoon, Hank is waiting for him. Luke does a Ferris Bueller parkour run through several yards and gets away because Hank is too bulked up to follow. At school, Veronica asks Logan about the steroids, but he’s an asshole, as usual. When she gets home, Veronica finds Rebecca making dinner. She has a flashback to when her mom was still home: she told her mom she was dating Duncan Kane and her mom reacted strangely. Veronica makes an excuse to get out of dinner and leaves Rebecca and her father to eat together. She goes to a scrapyard with Weevil to talk to his uncle, who says Troy’s car has already passed through and been “processed”. He says one of the workers took the pinata for his daughter’s birthday party. Weevil and Veronica go to the party, but the pinata turns out to be full of candy, not steroids.
At school, Veronica tells Luke the steroids weren’t in the pinata, so he’ll have to pay hank the money back. Luke is sure Hank wants the drugs more than the money, but Veronica says she’ll handle the pay-off as long as Luke gets the dough. Veronica has a memory of her mother pulling her out of school three days before she took off and wanting to go see a relative in Palm Springs. At the time, Veronica thought is was just her drunken mom being weird, but now she figures maybe her mom really was scared about something. She decides to try to reach her mom and sends out a bunch of letters and burner phones to all her mom’s old friends and relatives. The next morning, Keith gets home after spending the night at Rebecca’s place. Veronica asks him to help her track down Troy’s stolen car and Keith says he’ll be nice to her boyfriend if she’s nice to his girlfriend.
That afternoon, Keith goes to the security company and bluffs the supervisor who gave Veronica so much trouble into turning on the stolen car’s tracking device. At school, Veronica wonders why Troy isn’t totally freaking out about being sent off to boarding school. Troy says he prefers to spend his last hours of freedom having fun instead of waiting for a miracle, but Veronica says she’d rather believe in miracles. Wallace wonders why Troy’s dad would send him to a school in New Mexico instead of just grounding him or whatever. Troy doesn’t really have an answer to that. Veronica ignores that red flag, but decides it’s time to run a background check on Rebecca, just to see what kind of person she is.
When she shows her father the results later (Rebecca is still married and she was arrested years ago for passing bad checks), he gets pissed off. Keith says Rebecca makes him feel good about himself, like he hasn’t in a long time. Veronica wonders why he hasn’t found her mom yet, since he can track down anyone, and Keith says maybe he doesn’t want to find her. Even though he’s mad at her, he gives Veronica the tracking info for Troy’s car. She and Troy track the GPS later and find it’s been attached to a dog’s collar. So much for that idea. The next morning, Keith turns the tables, giving Veronica the results of his own background check on Troy.
Keith dumps Rebecca over breakfast, saying Veronica isn’t ready for him to date anyone and he has to put her first. Naturally, that makes Rebecca like him even more, but she knows there’s no chance for them. At school, Veronica confronts Troy about his shady past … seems Troy and a girl named Shauna got kicked out of two schools back East for possession and selling of drugs. Troy says he might’ve told Veronica about it after they’d gotten to know each other a bit better. She’s convinced he knew about Luke’s steroid buy, but Troy denies it and walks away all indignant. Luke shows up with the money (most of which he got from selling an autographed Barry Bonds baseball) and gives it to Veronica.
Veronica takes the cash to Hank’s gym. He’s not in a forgiving mood, but Veronica brought Back-up (her dog) to protect her. She gets a call from Wallace and snaps a photo of Hank while answering. Hank accepts the money but says Luke’s still going to get his ass kicked. Veronica says that’s a mistake. At the office, she prints out the photo of Hank and faxes it to somebody. Meanwhile, Troy’s father packs him off the boarding school in a cab, ignoring Troy’s pleas for one more chance. At home, Veronica gives her dad a lopsided birthday cake and he tells her he broke up with Rebecca. I think Veronica feels bad for screwing up their relationship, but she’s also kinda happy having him all to herself again.
Troy pays off the cab driver to take him to the diner near the border where the car was stolen. He retrieves the steroids from the bathroom and his father’s car from the parking lot. (I get that he stashed the steroids in the bathroom the first time they were there, but I’m not sure where the car’s been all this time.) He heads across country and gets a call from Shauna (maybe she took the car and returned it?) who asks him about this weird girl Veronica who keeps calling her. Troy freaks and opens the package, only to find it’s full of candy. There’s a note from Veronica saying she flushed the steroids and that she hopes he’ll be happy with Shauna. At the Mexican border, Hank gets pulled over and busted for steroid possession by the border control, after they see his face on the flyer Veronica faxed them. That night, Veronica gets a call from her mom on one of the burner dells she sent out. Unfortunately, Veronica’s zoned out listening to music, so she misses the call. Her mom leaves a message telling her things will all make sense soon and that she’ll be in touch … and to wish Keith Happy Birthday for her.