This one starts with Veronica and her dad decorating the Christmas tree. Of course, Christmas in California is always a little weird, since it doesn’t snow there; it’s kinda like summer everywhere else. Keith is one of those people that likes the have the decorations in proper balance around the tree. They’re also watching that old TV special “The Year Without a Santa Claus”. In the fancy part of town, a high stakes card game is underway, with Logan, Duncan, Weevil, and a couple of other guys (Sean Friedrich, a typical rich punk, and Connor Larkin, who’s apparently an actor who’s been in some high profile movies). Duncan is wasted on Jack Daniels, stumbling around singing, but it’s Logan and Weevil who are left facing each other at the end of the game. Logan has the advantage, but when he turns up the “river” card, Weevil wins. He’s ready to collect his money ($5000, with each player putting up a thousand to get into the game), but the money’s not in the cash-box where Logan put it. Naturally Weevil figures the rich kids are trying to rip him off, so he makes them all strip down to prove they don’t have the money on them. None of them has the money, so Weevil takes what looks like a Faberge Egg from Logan’s shelf, saying he’s going to get a thousand bucks from each of, one way or another.
At school, Duncan goes after Weevil, who took his laptop. Weevil says he has to collect his money somehow, but Duncan insists he didn’t take it. Veronica thinks it’s kind of funny, but when Duncan tells her he kept a journal on his laptop and wrote some pretty personal stuff about her in it, she figures she’d better help him get it back. She asks Weevil to give the laptop back and let her figure out who took the money, but Weevil would rather handle things on his own. He says if he gets the money back, the stuff he stole from the rich guys might just re-appear. Veronica asks how he came to be there in the first place and Weevil says he couldn’t miss a poker game with five rich idiots worth $5000.
Veronica asks if Weevil has a gut feeling about who took the money. He knows nobody left with it (since he made them strip) and since it was Logan’s place, he could’ve hidden the money anywhere. Weevil says Logan had the opportunity to stash the money when everyone was staring out the window at his mother in a bikini at the pool. I don’t know if that’s actually Lisa Rinna or a body double, but whoever it is looks pretty good; I can see why all the guys—except Logan—got up to ogle her. Weevil is sure the money was still there somewhere; he would’ve torn the place apart looking for it, but that would’ve given Logan an excuse to call the cops. Speaking of Logan’s mom (Lynn), she goes to see Keith because she’s worried about her husband, Aaron. He’s been getting threatening letters lately, which is something that happens to a lot of celebrities, but these latest ones reference Lynn too, so she’s really worried. Keith says he’ll look into it.
At school, Veronica asks Duncan about the poker game and wonders if Logan might’ve invited Weevil just to steal his money. Duncan says he was surprised to see Weevil there. He also remembers Logan saying there’s no way Weevil would walk out of there with their money, but he doesn’t tell Veronica that. It gets him thinking though and he confronts Logan later, asking if he stole the money. Logan is pissed off, but Duncan points out that he’s been acting like a real prick lately and he’s tired of it. At the Echolls house, Keith says the stalker is responsible for at least six of the letters Aaron has received. He urges Lynn to cancel her Christmas party the next night, but she says there are over 200 guests coming and she can’t just call it off. Aaron shows up and tells Keith Lynn is worrying over nothing, but on the way out they find a pumpkin carved with Aaron’s face on it … with a butcher knife jammed through it and blood dripping from the carving.
Keith starts checking with companies that do pumpkin carving and asks Veronica to drop off some papers at the Echolls house for Lynn. Veronica takes the opportunity to go see Logan, who’s playing video games in his room (which looks like a hurricane hit it). He’s an asshole to her (as usual), but suggests she might want to ask Connor about the stolen money. Veronica wonders why a movie star would have to steal five grand and Logan implies he’s a coke fiend. He says Connor went to the bathroom quite a few times at the poker game, so he figures he might’ve been getting high and that he could’ve already had the money at some point. (Logan doesn’t mention the fact that Connor called him out for his racist jokes toward Weevil and told a story about Rosie Perez mistaking Logan for a girl, which might explain why Logan is pointing Veronica his way.) Logan arranges a day pass for Veronica to visit Connor on his movie set.
Veronica is pretty impressed with Connor’s abs, but he just adds to her list of suspects when he tells her about the poker game. He mentions how Sean was too cheap to chip in for beer and pizza (even though he’s so rich he gets dropped off at school in a limo) and how Logan tried to stiff the pizza delivery guy on the tip. Duncan figured out Logan only gave him about 4%, so he and Weevil made it right. Connor says there were plenty of opportunities—bathroom breaks, beer breaks, the Lynn Echolls break—for anyone to have taken the money. Veronica figures she may as well talk to Sean, since he’s the only one she hasn’t gotten to yet.
At the Echolls house, Keith asks Aaron if his stalker might be a pissed-off lover (considering the butchered pumpkin, maybe someone he was with the previous Halloween), but Aaron insists he’s completely faithful to his wife. Veronica goes to Sean’s place and meets his father, who tells her Sean isn’t home. Someone calls Sean’s dad, addressing him as Mr. Friedrich, which Veronica finds strange. Keith talks to the caterer who worked the latest Halloween party and finds out one of her servers (who was subsequently fired at Aaron’s insistence) walked in on Aaron banging someone else’s wife. Now Keith knows Aaron was screwing around with someone at the Halloween party, so maybe she’s his pissed off stalker.
At school, Veronica talks to Sean, whose Rolex has gone missing and who says Weevil might have stolen the money himself since he was down to his last couple of chips before Lynn Echolls distracted everyone. Veronica mentions that Sean lost big too, but Sean says unlike Weevil, he doesn’t need the money. Keith talks to Aaron at his office and Aaron admits he was banging someone at the Halloween party. (Actually, he banged three someones … apparently he’d been drinking the “hard cider”.) He doesn’t think any of them are stalkers (“just needy”), but gives Keith their names and points them out in some party photos. All three of the women are coming to Lynn’s Christmas party, but Keith decides to start with the one Aaron got caught banging, Monica Hadwin … who also happens to be married to Aaron’s agent. When he goes to see Monica (who’s played by the always-gorgeous Emmanuelle Vaugier), she doesn’t let on anything about the affair but steers Keith toward a different woman.
At school, Veronica tells the guys she’s solved the case and says Logan should host another poker party that night, where she’ll reveal who the thief is … and take his place in the game. Logan’s not really into that idea, especially since his mom’s big party is tonight, but Weevil says if he gets his money back, they’ll all get their stuff back, and Veronica points out that anyone who doesn’t show up will basically be outing himself as the thief. That night, as the party is in full swing, Veronica shows up to the poker game and immediately starts showing her deductive skills. She grabs Duncan’s bottle of Jack Daniels and starts swilling it down, impressing the shit out of everyone … until she reveals it’s just iced tea.
Veronica knows Duncan gets completely incoherent when he’s drunk, so he’d never be able to calculate a tip percentage accurately. She figured Duncan was faking being drunk … not to steal the money, just to give himself an advantage in the game. She reveals that Connor isn’t a dope fiend, he was spending so much time in the bathroom because he’s been drinking sun-tea to help him lose weight so he can look ripped for his movie. Veronica also clears Logan, mentioning how Weevil hadn’t rifled through the room looking for the money, but when Veronica came by the next day the room was turned upside-down. Obviously Logan wouldn’t have to do that if he’d taken the money.
Veronica finally reveals that Sean took the money by stuffing it into one of his empty soda bottles (Sean didn’t chip in for beer because he brought his own refreshments) and just digging the bottle out of the recycling bin the next day. Logan wonders why Sean would have to steal when he’s rich as hell, but Veronica mentions her visit to Sean’s house where his dad (Mr. Friedrich) opened the door at three in the afternoon wearing a suit. Veronica wishes she could say the butler did it, but in this case it was the butler’s son, Sean. She also mentions a background check that showed Sean has a shoplifting problem. Sean tells Weevil he can get him the money and Weevil drags him outside for a chat; I think Sean will probably pay up pretty soon. Veronica starts the poker game and surprises everyone by cutting and shuffling the cards like a Vegas croupier.
At the party, Aaron is getting seriously paranoid every time one of his former conquests looks at him. Lynn doesn’t seem to notice, since she’s focused on a big surprise she’s planning later. Keith is at his office going over photos from the Halloween party when he notices some intricately-carved pumpkins in the background. He calls the caterer and finds out the server who was fired was a master carver. Veronica is cleaning the guys out at the poker game, so they all take a break and head up to the party to get some food. Logan and Duncan make up and decide to be bros again and Veronica sees Jake Kane and follows him into another room. Keith is outside trying to get in to warn Aaron, but security won’t let him in because he isn’t on the guest list. Meanwhile, the server who got fired because of Aaron is inside, dressed like a waitress.
Keith slips around the side of the house to sneak in and witnesses a scene between Veronica and Jake Kane. Veronica gives Jake shit for having his head of security (Clarence Wiedman) take photos of her and send them to her mom to scare her out of town. Jake says he has no idea what she’s talking about, but Veronica doesn’t believe him. Apparently Jake is telling the truth, because he immediately goes to his wife (Celeste) and asks her what the hell she’s been up to. He drags her out of the house as Veronica and Duncan look on. Lynn’s surprise starts on schedule and everyone goes outside to see it. (It’s some carolers singing under a fake snowfall.) Before Aaron can get outside, he’s confronted by the pissed-off server (who claims he slept with her too, though he doesn’t seem to recognize her at all). Keith tackles her, but it’s too late … she’s already jammed a knife into Aaron’s ribs. Lynn freaks out and Logan calls an ambulance as Veronica reflects on how Christmas in Neptune is simply a facade, hiding the corruption and moral decay underneath.