This one starts exactly where last episode left off, with Veronica crying in her car in the prison parking lot after being told by Abel Koontz that Jake Kane is her biological father. She pulls herself together and starts thinking about it on the way home. She wonders if Keith knows (or suspects) and that’s why he went after Jake so hard. She stops to throw up when she realizes Duncan might be her half-brother; I didn’t think they’d ever had sex, but I guess second or third base with your brother is still pretty freaky. She also wonders if the photos her mom had (of Veronica with cross-hairs drawn around her head) came from Jake Kane. If so, Veronica’s ready to take Jake down. I have to say, I’m surprised Veronica’s taking Koontz at his word; he’s obviously an asshole and a liar … she already suspects him of lying about killing Lilly, so why does she automatically assume he’s telling the truth about this?
When she gets home, Veronica examines the photos, narrowing down possible places and times when they could’ve been taken. She finds the place the photographer must’ve used—a balcony at a cafe—and asks a waitress if she can look through their receipts from last February. She shows the waitress the photos and says she’s being stalked, so the waitress shows her the receipts. Her photog turns out to be a guy named Clarence Wiedman, who Veronica follows to work … at Kane Software. Turns out Wiedman is Kane’s head of security. Veronica now knows Wiedman is the one who sent the doctored photos that scared her mom into leaving town, and if he did under orders from Jake Kane, Veronica wants to make him pay. After all, if she is really Jake’s daughter, that could be worth millions.
At home, Veronica finds out Keith has got her a waterbed, which she’s wanted since she was a kid. Of course, he got it for ten bucks at a yard sale, but it’s the sentiment that counts. The next day, Keith meets some parents (the Gants) whose son Casey has joined some kind of cult called the Moon Calf Collective. Casey even sold his Porsche and gave the money to the Collective, so the Gants want Keith to check things out, since Casey is 18 and can’t just be dragged home. After the Gants leave, Veronica tricks Keith into giving her a blood sample by saying it’s for a health project at school. She sends the blood away to a DNA lab to see if Keith is really her father or not.
Keith asks her about Casey and she says he’s a typical rich asshole kid. She’s surprised to hear Casey joined a cult and Keith says the Gants are offering a $5000 bonus if they can prove the Collective has committed some kind of crime. Keith tells Veronica to ask around at school (apparently Casey is still going to school), but forbids her to go anywhere near the Collective’s compound, which is out in the woods because where else would it be. At school, Veronica watches Casey Gant play hackey-sack with some other hippie-types and remembers what a prick he used to be. She talks to Casey’s ex, who says she has no clue why Casey suddenly turned strange. She mentions that he’s been spending a lot of time with the hipster poetry teacher, Holly Mills, and figures they’re probably banging. Veronica decides to write some angst-ridden poetry to get Holly’s attention.
At home, the hot water is out (again) and Keith tells Veronica they can maybe look for a better place to live if they get the $5000 bonus from the Gants. At school, Veronica’s emo poetry pays off and Holly invites her to come out to the Moon Calf Collective compound. Veronica figures Holly must be the recruiter, luring angsty teens out to the cult headquarters. Even though her dad told her not to, Veronica agrees to go out to the compound after school. Holly introduces Veronica to her man, Josh, but adds he kinda belongs to all of them. Veronica assumes that means it’s one of those polygamy cults, where Josh gets to enjoy the company of all the women. She’s not reassured when Josh gives her a lingering hug (“I knew I should’ve included some lesbian overtones in that poem”) and Holly tells her to wander freely—but stay out of the barn.
Casey greets her and says he’s not surprised she ended up there, which Veronica isn’t sure how to take. Holly introduces her to a girl named Rain, who’s serving food; these hippies grow all their own produce, of course, but it sounds like they might have another, very special harvest coming in soon. Veronica offers to pitch in and Rain shows her how to milk a cow. Veronica subtly interrogates her about the Collective and learns they’re growing the ultimate cash crop … something that will blow her mind. Later everyone sits around the fire and discusses their feelings, while Veronica waits for them to start popping ’shrooms and dancing around a bloody goat’s head. The funny thing is, everyone at the Collective seems to like her and they treat her like a friend, the exact opposite of what she gets at school. Holly mentions Veronica’s poetic side and she pretends to be overwhelmed and close to a breakdown, thinking that’ll make her more appealing to Josh when he makes his move.
On her way out of the compound, Veronica decides to check the barn, but instead of a spaceship she finds a freaked-out horse. Josh tells her the neighbouring farm was going to put the horse down because it was injured, but they’ve been nursing it back to health. At home, Veronica wonders again if she could be an heir to Jake Kane’s billions and swears she’ll never take another cold shower if she is. At school, she apologizes to Casey for being so weird the night before and he invites her to the compound again after school. Everyone is glad to see her, including Josh, who asks her to go for a walk. Veronica figures he’s going to put the moves on her, so she has a recorder in her purse—along with a Taser.
But Josh just seems worried about her, telling her she puts up so many walls around herself that she’s starving her soul. He shows her the big cash crop they’re growing, which turns out to be a greenhouse full of poinsettias. Josh says Casey’s money enabled them to get the greenhouse finished and Veronica says she wishes she could contribute too. But Josh isn’t interested in her money, which really has her confused. (“Okay, so you don’t want my money, you don’t want my body, you don’t want me to work your ganja fields, you just want me to be happy. Strange.”) She hangs out with the rest of the Collective and finds herself actually enjoying it. At least, until her father shows up disguised as a Water Company employee and sees her there.
Later at his office, Keith gives Veronica shit for disobeying him. She says the Collective seem harmless and ask him if the bugs he planted have given him anything suspicious. He admits they haven’t, nor did the background checks on Holly and Josh. Keith says the Collective probably just a bunch of neo-hippies who scam rich kids into paying the bills. Before she can say I told you so, the Gants come in with another guy and say they have some new information. Casey’s grandma just had a stroke and is basically comatose; she probably won’t last long, but they just found out she’s leaving her $80 million fortune to Casey. They’re afraid he’ll give all the money to the cult, although it’s obvious they’re pissed off the old lady didn’t leave them the money. Keith says he hasn’t found anything that’ll get the Collective raided, but the guy with the Gants is a deprogrammer, and he says there are other ways to deal with the situation.
At school, Veronica tells Wallace she doesn’t think the Collective is all that bad and Wallace wonders if she’s been drinking the Kool-Aid. Casey invites her to go with him after school to visit his grandma and Veronica accepts. Casey tells Veronica all his parents’ money comes from his grandma’s publishing company, but as soon as she started having strokes a while back, they stopped paying attention to her. When they found out she was leaving all her money to Casey, they started treating him a lot better. Casey says they’ve known he was his grandma’s heir for over a year, which isn’t what the Gants told Keith. Veronica drops Casey at the compound and wishes she could go in with him, but she doesn’t want her dad even more mad at her.
At home, Veronica notices a photo of rain on a milk carton. (They used to put pictures of missing or runaway kids on milk cartons with a phone number to call if you’d seen them; I’m not sure if they still do that or not.) Veronica shows her father, who figures this is he break they need. She’s not sure he should inform the Gants, since the Collective seems harmless. Keith says they don’t answer to the Collective; the Gants are paying them a lot of money to find something useful, so they have to be true to the client whether it sits well with their conscience or not. At school, Veronica is about to warn Holly about what she and her dad have been doing, but Casey comes in and tells them his grandma just died.
At the funeral, Veronica warns Josh and Holly about Rain and Josh is cool about it. Casey thanks her for being such a good friend, which she finds laughable since she’s been lying to him all along. Casey says he doesn’t believe she was faking being a nice person. Veronica is ready to leave when she sees a couple of thugs push Casey into a limo with his parents and the deprogrammer and drive off. She goes to tell her father Casey has been kidnapped, but Keith says the cops will never investigate a kid riding in a limo with his parents after his grandma’s funeral. Keith admits he didn’t turn over the info about Rain to the Gants, which is probably why they took such a drastic step. Keith checked Rain out and found she was in the foster care system, where she was badly abused. He figures she’s better off with the hippies. At school, Veronica notices Casey driving a brand new Porsche, so I guess the deprogrammer turned him back into a money-grubbing asshole. Veronica gets the DNA results, but decides to shred them without reading them. She figures eve if Jake Kane is her (incredibly rich) father, she can’t turn her back on the man who raised her and has always been there for her.