Veronica Mars Reviews: Season 1, Episode 16

Veronica Mars S01 titleEpisode 16: Betty and Veronica

At the end of last episode, Veronica tracked her mother to a diner in Barstow but got a shock when she spotted Clarence Wiedman (whose threats were the reason Lianne left her family in the first place) in the diner too. We’ll have to wait to see the immediate consequences of that scene, as the story jumps ahead in time a bit. Veronica is back home and tearing her room apart looking for a bug. She figures Wiedman must’ve been listening in on her when she booked her flight and she finally finds the bug in a panda pencil sharpener she receivedVeronica reunites with her mom as a “free gift” from a wildlife charity she never actually donated to. We get the first of a series of flashbacks showing Veronica and Lianne at the diner. Wiedman spotted them and left right away and Lianne freaked out, thinking Veronica will be in danger now that they’ve been in contact. Lianne was also hammered out of her mind, so Veronica ordered coffee to sober her up a bit. In the present, Veronica contemplates destroying the bug, but decides to keep it in case she wants to pass on some disinformation.

At school, she watches Wallace practice basketball with a teammate (Jack) and Wallace is pretty damn good. As they walk through the halls, Wallace is greeted by numerous students (including a hottie named Nadine) and he Nadine says hi to Wallacesays maybe Neptune High isn’t as bad as Veronica thinks. She sees Duncan and Meg canoodling and then gets hauled to the principal’s office, so she figures she was right all along … Neptune sucks. But for once, the principal isn’t giving her shit for some specious reason, he actually wants her help. The school mascot (Polly the parrot) has been stolen and he wants Veronica to find it. My school never had a mascot (we were so small, we barely had teams) but apparently schools that have them take their mascots VERY seriously … which seems a little ridiculous to me. It’s not like they couldn’t just go out and get another parrot.

Anyway, the principal figures it’s their big rivals (Pan High) who stole Polly and asks Veronica to look into it and she negotiates a new locker, a (self-written) letter of recommendation, and two excused absences from gymWallace's spirit box class as compensation. The principal asks her to keep it quiet, but it isn’t long before news gets out. Jack tells Wallace while he and Veronica are hanging out (her new locker is right beside his). Wallace shows her a Spirit Box full of snickerdoodles someone made and left in his locker along with a motivational note, and says this isn’t the first batch of cookies he’s gotten. They run into Duncan and Meg and Meg notices Veronica’s discomfort with their public display of affection. Wallace invites her to eat with him and the jocks, but Veronica says she has other plans.

After dressing up in her best High School Barbie outfit, she goes to Pan High to snoop around. She ends up at the jock table there, where a guy named Betty infiltrates Pan HighRichie immediately takes an interest. He introduces her around and she says her name is Betty and her last school was Riverdale, a reference nobody seems to catch. (She also says she was Horny at her old school, but before they get too excited she explains that was the name of the mascot, since the team was the Rhinos.) Richie and the others discuss the theft of Polly, but none of them seems to know anything about it. Another student comes to tell them Neptune stole their mascot, the imaginatively-named Billy the goat.

In another flashback, Veronica asks her mom about Jake Kane and Lianne admits she was with Jake in a hotel room at the time Lilly was killed, so she knows he’s innocent. In the present, Veronica goes to the police station to ask Leo for a favour, since Sheriff Lamb is away on his annual fishing vacation. She asks Leo to get her the interrogation tapes from Lilly’s murderLianne tells Veronica about Jake investigation. At the office, Keith mentions a call from the bank about Veronica’s savings account being overdrawn. She passes it off as nothing, but it’s obvious she knows exactly what’s going on. We get another flashback of Lianne explaining that she heard a message on Veronica’s answering machine from Celeste Kane about Lianne and Jake. Lianne knew Celeste was trying to break Veronica and Duncan up, so she met Jake at the hotel to tell him to control his woman.

In the present, Veronica goes back undercover as Betty at Pan High, where she learns someone is taking bets on the big game with Neptune, with Neptune the heavy favourites. Richie gets pissed off at one of his friends betting big on Neptune, but the guy says Neptune are such heavy favourites he’d be stupid not to bet on them. The amateur bookie hangs out at a rest Veronica puts the moves on Wilsonstop halfway between Neptune and Pan where kids hang out and deal in illicit stuff. Veronica notices another Pan student (Wilson) being congratulated by everyone and someone says he’s the guy who stole Neptune’s parrot … he’s been showing everyone a pic on his phone. The cafeteria receives a package from Neptune containing burgers and steaks and everyone assumes Neptune butchered the goat mascot. Veronica goes to talk to Wilson and acts all coquettish, pretending she’s impressed that he stole Polly. (He tells her he just walked right into Neptune pretending to be a student and she says, “Wow, I can’t believe that worked.”) After spying on his locker combination, she asks if he’ll go to the rest stop with her and he agrees, although he looks like he’s about to shit a brick. As soon as he leaves, she opens his locker and uses his phone to call someone and send them the pic of Wilson and Polly.

Out at the rest stop, kids are making out, hotboxing, and selling stereos out of trunks while listening to the Donnas. Wilson is obviously out of his element and it gets worse when Weevil collars him to ask about Polly. Wilson admits he didn’t actually steal Polly, he just took a pic of himselfWeevil scares Wilson with an identical parrot in a pet store (which Weevil says is “this close to taking a hot cousin to the prom”). After Wilson leaves, Veronica finds out Weevil is the one taking all the bets on Neptune. We get another flashback and see that Lianne is apparently a booze-hound, since she needs a drink to settle her nerves. Veronica asks how Lianne got Jake to cooperate and Lianne admits she threatened to have a paternity test doe and take him for millions. Lianne says she has no idea who Veronica’s father actually is.

In the present, Leo comes by with the interrogation tapes and Veronica asks him about sports betting, specifically why a bookie would take straight bets Billy destroys the vanall on one team when that team is heavily favoured to win. Leo says a bookie wouldn’t do that, he’d try to spread out his risk. The only way a bookie would take bets on a heavy favourite with no line would be if he knew he could make a killing because he knows something the gamblers don’t. At school, Veronica notices Wallace filling his pockets with food before going to the parking lot and follows him. She finds out he’s feeding Billy, the Pan High mascot, who’s being kept in someone’s van.

Wallace says it was Jack’s idea to kidnap Billy, since Pan High grabbed Polly. Wallace went along with it out of school pride, which Veronica is sorely lacking. Billy has eaten all the upholstery in the van and shit all over theanimal lover gives her opinion place, so Veronica leaves Wallace to deal with it. At the school paper, Veronica gets a possible lead after reading a letter from a concerned hippie student about how Polly shouldn’t have been in captivity in the first place. Duncan says she belongs to a group called Students Against Animal Cruelty, whose hobbies include throwing blood on the homecoming queen for wearing fur.

At home, Veronica listens to the interrogation tapes while baking. Jake claimed he and Celeste were in a hotel room for a couple hours or so at the Veronica bakes cookiestime of Lilly’s death, something they did every now and then for privacy. Keith asked for details on Jake and Celeste’s love-fest and Jake told him a few things, though he didn’t get into a play-by-play. Wallace comes in and notices Veronica is baking snickerdoodles. He realizes she’s been putting the Spirit Boxes in his locker. She admits it, saying even though she thinks the whole “school spirit” thing is overrated, Wallace doesn’t. She asks him to drop off a plant at Kane Software (where Wallace’s mom works) on the desk of Clarence Wiedman’s secretary.

Veronica listens to the tapes of Keith interrogating Celeste and the details of her story are a bit different from Jake’s. Veronica is interrupted when Leo shows up to take her to dinner. At the restaurant, they run into Duncan and Meg, who are out with Jake and Celeste. (Who the hell double dates withLeo and Duncan meet their parents?) Things get a bit awkward, but Veronica refuses to go somewhere else, and keeps giving Celeste suspicious glances. In another flashback, Lianne tells Veronica that Celeste burst in when she and Jake were at the hotel (right around the time Lilly was killed) and started hurling accusations. Lianne left but later saw Celeste storm out about twenty minutes later. In the present, Veronica wonders if Celeste’s getting Wiedman to scare Lianne out of town was less about paternity and more to do with an alibi … or maybe a little of both.

At school, Veronica talks to the hippie animal-lovers, but doesn’t get far. She figures they’re probably innocent when the school’s morning news is interrupted by a dude in a mask showing Polly in a cage in Pan High’s gym threat videoand saying he’ll kill the bird if Wallace plays in the big game. Veronica asks Weevil if he stole the parrot, since he’s been taking stupid bets that now don’t seem so stupid after all, if Wallace pulls out of the game. Weevil says he’s got both sides covered and if he stole the bird, he wouldn’t have helped Veronica expose Wilson’s lie. Wallace isn’t sure what to do; everyone on the team (and the coach) says he should go ahead, but he doesn’t want to risk the mascot being killed. He says Jack’s a good player (and was a starter last year, before Wallace moved to Neptune), so the team can probably win even without him. He decides not to play.

Veronica asks Meg about her interrupted newscast and Meg says mundane announcements are recorded the night before, so someone must’ve cut inMeg and Veronica check the video the threatening video this morning before the tape was played. Meg asks Veronica why they don’t hang out more and Veronica says she can’t pal around with Meg’s friends and pretend to forgive them for treating her like shit for the past year. Meg says that doesn’t preclude the two of them being friends and Veronica agrees. They examine the video and notice the masked dude has the number 13 on his sneaker.

Right before the big game, Veronica (or Betty) shows up with Billy (who she rescued from the van) and Polly. The principal wants to know who had Polly, but Veronica tells him to wait. She talks to Richie, who’s number 13 on Veronica/Betty returns both mascotsVan High’s basketball team, and tells him he’s actually a really nice guy and she wishes all popular kids were like him. She wishes him luck, but says Wallace is on fire lately and Pan High won’t have an easy time of it. She then talks to the Neptune team and lets them know Polly is back and Wallace can play. Jack (who’s Neptune’s number 13) isn’t thrilled and Veronica reveals him as Polly’s kidnapper. (She knew it wasn’t Richie because he believed Wilson stole Polly.) Veronica explains that Jack wanted Wallace out so he’d be a starter and could control the score … like he did last year when he missed two crucial free throws.

Veronica figures Jack bet big against Neptune last year and made a killing, so to do it again he had to get rid of Wallace, hence the parrot-napping. The principal hauls Jack away and Wallace joins the team. Even though Veronica hates all the school spirit crap, she goes in to cheer Wallace on. We get another flashback that shows Veronica spent every cent she’d saved for college (enough for six years) on sending her mom to rehab. Later at home,Jack is busted she asks her dad why someone would confess to a crime he didn’t commit. Keith says money could convince someone, and if that someone was in jail and couldn’t spend the money, maybe it went to someone else, someone close to the guy who confessed. After he leaves, Veronica extends on the conversation, saying she knows why Abel Koontz confessed to killing Lilly. Of course, it’s all a ruse; she has Wiedman’s bugged panda on her desk and listens in on the bug she put in the plant she had Wallace drop off. She hears Wiedman tell his secretary to contact a woman named Amelia DeLongpre … who turns out to be Koontz’s daughter.

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