This one starts with Veronica and Leo making out on her doorstep. Leo’s pretty brazen about wanting to come in for some hot sex, but Veronica puts him off by saying her dad’s home. I’m assuming she hasn’t told Leo about being drugged and raped last year. When she goes in, Keith is waiting up for her (while pretending not to, as fathers do). He’s acting a little weird and Veronica wonders if he’s got a problem with her and Leo, but it turns out Keith has been seeing someone too and wants to clue Veronica in, since he’s started to have real feelings for this woman. Who has Keith been dating on the sly? Only Alicia, Wallace’s mom.
Things are a little awkward between her and Wallace the next day at school. Apparently Wallace isn’t exactly thrilled with the idea of their parents dating either. After Wallace leaves, Veronica notices “killemall.net” scratched into the table where she’s sitting. In journalism class, the students want to do something hard-hitting for the school paper, but their new teacher (Geena Stafford, played very perkily by Joey Lauren Adams) urges them to keep it safe by interviewing the French teacher or the janitors. (There’s a throwaway line about the old teacher, Ms. Dent, leaving because she had a baby.) A fire alarm sounds and everyone complains about the numerous fire drills they’ve had lately. On the way out, Geena suggests Veronica do a story on the frequent fire drills, which doesn’t exactly sound like Pulitzer material to Veronica.
She talks to the principal and he claims the school is just following district guidelines on fire drills. That seems weird to Veronica, since the school used to have a couple drills per year and they’ve had three in the last week alone. She calls the assistant superintendent (Mrs. Rauch, who has the gravelly voice of a three-pack-a-day gal) to find out what official policy is, and is surprised when she’s told the district only requires one fire drill per semester. While heading back to class, she runs into a stoner kid who invites her to White Castle, which confuses her since there’s no White Castle in Neptune. As they’re talking, some cops come in with dogs and the stoner gets paranoid. He shoves his weed down his pants, but runs into a couple more dog handling cops. But the dogs walk right past without even a bark, which makes Veronica suspicious enough to take some photos.
Veronica calls the principal, pretending to be Mrs. Rauch, and he admits that the “fire drills” are cover for some bomb threats the school has had lately. Veronica writes the story for the school paper, which makes Geena a bit nervous. Veronica and Duncan convince her that newspapers are supposed to report the truth and let people know what’s really going on, so Geena says to go ahead and publish it. The story gets everyone riled up and Veronica and Geena get hauled into the principal’s office. Veronica lets him know she was “Mrs. Rauch”, meaning her anonymous source was him. He admits the story is accurate, but says his responsibility to the students trumps their right to a free press. He tells them to lay off the bomb threat story and makes Geena feel shitty because she used to be the pep squad adviser.
In English class, Veronica notices a new student, Ben (played by teen heart-throb Jonathan Taylor Thomas) who’s all angsty and nihilistic. He talks about death being inevitable and hangs out with a dude named Norris who wears a lot of camo. Looks like a Columbine reference to me. At home that night, Keith and Alicia are cuddled up watching a movie, which kinda grosses out Veronica and Wallace. Veronica says it won’t matter soon, because her mom’s in rehab and when she’s clean she’ll be coming back. Wallace gets pissed off, thinking his mom will get hurt if that happens, and even if he’s not thrilled about the situation, at least Keith is a decent guy who treats her well. He’s ready to warn her about what might happen, but Veronica begs him not to, since Keith doesn’t know Liane is in rehab. On the way home, Wallace does try to tell her the truth, but Alicia won’t let him. She says she’s finally happy and actually feels at home in Neptune for the first time, so he needs to just let her have this.
At school, Veronica asks Mac to look at her computer and a guy named Pete (who was arguing with Mac about Ubuntu) tells Veronica he saw Norris and Ben throwing tennis balls at a cat in an empty lot … exploding tennis balls. Veronica makes up with Wallace and asks him to get Ben’s file from the office. Wallace suggests she keep an eye on Norris, who got shit for wearing a shirt that said “Kill Em All, Let God Sort Em Out”. Veronica checks out killemall.net (which she probably should’ve done earlier) and finds an ominous countdown clock with about 46 hours left on it. Outside, Meg and Duncan stop to talk to Veronica; actually, Meg talks to her, Duncan’s really standoffish and won’t even look at her. After he leaves, Meg says he’s been acting weird all day.
After Meg leaves, Veronica wonders if Ben and Norris might be planning to blow up the school. Ben’s new, but she’s known Norris for a while; apparently, he was quite the bullying asshole in junior high, but she remembers a time when another asshole was bothering her and Norris made him back off. She decides to feel Ben and Norris out, so she asks them a banal question for the paper about who they’d want in their bomb shelter if WW III happened tomorrow. Ben sticks with the nihilism and says he’d probably be a casualty of war. Norris says he’d want Bruce Lee, Joe Strummer, and Sam Kinison (that’d be a hell of a party) and he just laughs when Veronica points out they’re all dead.
Wallace tells her Ben has no file in the office (too new maybe?) but he gives her Norris’s file. It’s the usual bullying stuff a few years ago, but nothing lately. Wallace wonders if Norris is keeping under the radar because he’s planning something big. Veronica runs into Duncan in the journalism room and figures out why he’s acting weird; Logan told him about Veronica investigating Lilly’s death and how she has files on everyone. Duncan wonders how she could know about his epilepsy that makes him go nuts sometimes and how she could think he might’ve killed his own sister. Veronica mentions Abel Koontz being paid to confess and Duncan realizes she thinks his family paid Koontz to cover for the real killer … which might be him. She asks if he remembers what happened that day and he freaks out, but as soon as he realizes how mad he is, he takes off.
Outside, Veronica notices Ben and Norris arguing about something and follows Ben to the Camelot, a crappy motel. She follows him some more, taking photos of him buying a bunch of fertilizer, and even gets a shot of an automatic rifle he pulls out of his car. Logan calls to tell her he mentioned her investigation to Duncan and while she’s distracted, Ben climbs in her car with a gun. She drops the (still active) phone and drives Ben to the Camelot, talking to him the whole way so Logan can overhear. When they get there, Ben says he has something to show her and that a lot of people might die because of her interference. Before they get to the room, Logan jumps Ben and starts wailing on him, but Veronica notices Ben’s ID that he dropped … turns out he’s undercover with the Feds.
Ben admits the ATF monitored some troubling chatter on a website Norris had, so they sent him in to get close to Norris. Ben says he’s got more arrests than any other agent his age, so he doesn’t want to fuck this one up. But they don’t have any solid proof, which means they can’t arrest Norris. Ben admits he pushed Norris too hard and spooked him, so he needs Veronica to get close to him. Apparently Norris has a thing for her (which explains why he stood up for her in the past), so she shouldn’t have too much trouble getting access to his bedroom or garage … especially if she breaks the ice by asking about his ancient weapon collection.
Outside, she thanks Logan for helping her and gives him a kiss on the cheek. He grabs her and lays a big smooch on her, which she’s totally into. She soon comes to her senses and takes off; both of them are obviously freaked out by it. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a new thing, or if there was always a latent attraction between them. Logan’s been treating her like shit lately, so I’m not sure why she’d be attracted to him. Veronica goes by Norris’s place to get his help with a case her dad’s supposedly working on, finding some stolen sword or something. Norris shows her his bedroom, which looks like a blade lover’s paradise.
While Norris does some research on his computer (his father works at Kane Software, so they’re one of the first houses in the country to have Wi-Fi), he mentions a kris that was on a shelf but must’ve fallen, so Veronica volunteers to look for it. She snoops under the bed, hoping to find a pipe bomb, but only comes up with a porno mag called Taut Blonde. She wonders if all his bomb stuff is in the garage and is trying to figure out how to get in there as she idly plays with a shaken throwing star. Norris says he has a target in the garage and offers to let her throw a few. Her aim isn’t great (and they’re just using rubber practice stars), but it’s a waste of time anyway, since she can’t find anything incriminating. Norris says his father’s letting him go to Japan this summer if he keeps his grades up, and then he asks Veronica to a Kurosawa retrospective over the weekend.
Outside, Veronica tries to hack into Norris’s Wi-Fi and calls Mac for help. She wonders why someone who’s planning to start the Apocalypse tomorrow would ask her on a date for the weekend. As she’s musing on that, she notices Pete coming home … right next door to Norris. After going over Norris’s school records again, Veronica calls Norris a bunch of times that night to warn him, but he doesn’t pick up. She sees him the next day at school and tries to tell him about Ben, but Ben and a bunch of feds pop up and arrest Norris. When they open his trunk, all the fertilizer Ben bought earlier is in there, along with the rifle Veronica saw in Ben’s car. She knows Ben set Norris up, so she takes some more photos as they’re dragging him off.
Later, Veronica calls Pete to tell him she knows he’s the one who set Norris up, running the fake traffic and website through Norris’s Wi-Fi. She mentions that Norris bullied Pete a lot in junior high and Pete admits that Norris fucked with him a lot and the one time he stood up to him, Norris beat the shit out of him. Meg shows up at the journalism room looking for Duncan, but Veronica says he never showed up. Meg tells her Duncan is missing; he took out $10,000 and disappeared. Veronica shows Geena the photo evidence that Ben set Norris up. Veronica wonders if they should publish the story anonymously on the net or even hand it off to the city newspapers, but Gena says that’d be no fun. They publish the story, which gets the principal riled up, but does get Norris released. Unfortunately, Geena is seen as a shit-disturber and gets fired, leaving Veronica to rally the other journalism students.