Title: Veronica Mars S1.E05 “You Think You Know Somebody”
Veronica Mars S1.E06 “Return of the Kane”
Veronica Mars S1.E07 “The Girl Next Door”
Released: 2004
Series:  Veronica Mars

Trips to the Dentist: 21
Most Marshmallow’s Valuable Players: Keith, Duncan by Default?, and Logan and Weevil

Previously, on Veronica Mars

So I’ve noticed that the earlier episodes didn’t have nearly enough Logan supporting characters or progress on the murder investigation. Although I may just be grumpy about it because we’ve been getting Lianne’s disappearance instead, and UGH things were so much simpler when I watched without knowing what would happen.

Anyhoo! This week’s rewatch slate delivers exactly what I was looking for — while also getting rid of the shining beacon of light in Troy Vandegraff; Rob Thomas giveth and he taketh away.

The Official FYA Veronica Mars Season 1 Drinking Game

Take a drink every time:

  • Someone says “Veronica Mars”, even when they know full well who she is and there’s no other Veronica in all of Neptune
  • Veronica uses her camera
  • Mars family members hug (Backup counts!)
  • Backup appears
  • Someone mentions the 90909 zip code or ’09ers
  • Someone uses a disguise/alias/fake voice
  • A character, initially introduced as good, turns out to be a baddie (or vice versa)
  • Fisticuffs occur
  • Veronica has a meeting in a bathroom
  • Logan’s voicemail greeting is heard
  • A Taser is used
  • Veronica mentions ponies or unicorns
  • Lilly appears in a flashback
    • Pour one out when it’s her corpse

Onto the episodes!

MARS INVESTIGATIONS, CASE 1.5 “You Think You Know Somebody”

Troy, Logan, and baseball-playing random Luke have just returned from a trip to Tijuana (made even more random by Logan’s apprehension towards Troy the last few eps, though that could just be jealousy of having to share their mutual boyfriend, Duncan). A quick diner stop later, they discover that Troy’s dad’s car is not so much there.

Since Troy can’t report the car stolen, it’s up to Veronica to find the car before his parents get back into town in five days. (Troy muses, “How do you make VIN sound so hot?” He’s a bit too beefcakey for my liking, but maybe Veronica trades tips with this guy.) Along with the looming arrival of the elder Vandegraffs is their inevitable punishment for Troy, in the form of boarding school in Albuquerque — which Wallace points out is way harsh, given the infraction (… OR IS IT?!). And maybe also futile, with how things unfold and who else lives in the ABQ.

Also missing with the car is Baseball Luke’s piñata. Which is full of steroids. (Which is kind of funny, given who Baseball Luke’s idol is.) He’s in trubs with gym owner Hank Zigman, who looks like Dog the Bounty Hunter — or what I think Dog the Bounty Hunter looks like, which is basically the same thing — so Baseball Luke gets Veronica to help him recover the ‘roids, on the condition that Luke returns the drugs and pays Dog the Gym Owner back in money instead.

With Weevil’s help, Veronica gets a lead on the piñata. She totally crashes a child’s birthday party so that the kids don’t get their grabby little hands on… candy. After some finagling by Keith, the car’s tracking device has been activated… only to be found on the collar of some dog. Clearly, this is going well.

Troy gets sent off to Albuquerque by his dad, who’s clearly being voiced by a different person than the onscreen actor. But then Troy takes a detour back to the diner near the border. He hits the road in his dad’s car, brown paper bag of contrabands in tow. (Oh, Troy.) He makes a call to the Bonnie to his Clyde (or more like Mary Jane, if you know what I mean), who keeps getting these phone calls from some girl. Sure enough, Veronica got to the steroids first, and Troy’s got nothing but a bag of candy.

And in the interest of wrapping up loose ends: Baseball Luke pays back the money fronted to him by Dog the Gym Owner, but Dog is still hellbent on getting revenge on Luke. So when Dog goes on a drug run himself, he gets stopped by border patrol… thanks to a tip from our favourite detective.

How many Trips to the Dentist did I take? (drink count) 8

A Long Time Ago, We Used to Be Friends

It’s all about Mama Mars! This episode harkens back to happier but poorly coiffed days, of Lianne trying to guess who Veronica’s dating. Guessing games are terrible; not only are they exercises in futility, but the incorrect guesses make the answerer wonder, “THAT’S what you think of me?!” Anyway, Lianne is visibly disturbed that the mystery boy is Duncan. Well, I would be too, but I know bet Lianne’s concerns aren’t about how boring Duncan is.

Some time later, Lianne tries to take Veronica out of school to visit a relative — in Palm Springs. Veronica had thought it was just drinky-drink behaviour, but Lianne split three days later.

File Under Lilly Kane’s Murder

Nothing again! Sheesh, Veronica — do you even want to solve this case?

Life on Mars

Oof, these Martians and their love lives, amirite? Keith and guidance counsellor Rebecca are getting more serious, and Veronica’s totally acting like she’s OK with that. Obvi she’s not, because she’s skipping out on all of Rebecca’s bonding attempts and, y’know, running a background check on the lady like any well-adjusted person would. “This is what we do,” Veronica tells Keith. “This is how we survive. I was trying to protect you!” Ooh, girl — I know life hasn’t been easy for you lately. But if I hadn’t known you were messed up, I certainly know it now.

Keith, in turn, runs his own background check on Troy. And omg you two, please stop fighting! I don’t think I cared as much when I first watched this, but I’m def. overly invested now.

Because she wouldn’t be her persistent and inquisitive self if she didn’t, Veronica goes through Troy’s file. She calls him out on not disclosing his drug possession and trafficking past, and he points out that she didn’t give him a chance to do so in his own time. Which: fair point, but unfair in that there’s absolutely no way of knowing whether he would have if she hadn’t found out first. And also the fact that this leads to Veronica cracking the case, and ugh, Troy, WHYYYYY.

And also on the topic of WHY, TROY, WHYYYY: if the grand plan was always to run away with Shauna, then why the hell did he get into a relationship with Veronica for a month? (Other than 1. horniness and 2. she looks like Kristen Bell, I mean. And it’s not like they were doing much beyond kissing anyway!) If he wanted to make a clean getaway, Veronica is like the last person on earth he should have gotten close to. (“Duh, he’s STUPID!” you may say. But I need more of a reason, OK?! I am evidently still not over his departure.) Troy’s 180-degree long con reveal just would have involved far too much mustache-twirly forethought (like, did he plan on getting out of Neptune from the very beginning? Did he just leap at the first chance he got? And seriously, why get involved with Veronica?) and I wish there was better groundwork leading up to his betrayal. It also makes me wonder if Troy was initially supposed to stick around for longer but there was a change of plans. Google was not helpful with my hypothesis, although it did give me this Ashmore photo gallery.

ANYWAY. Veronica also confronts Keith on why he hasn’t tried looking for Lianne, to which he counters with not caring to find her at all. And unbeknownst to Keith, Veronica accesses Lianne’s safety deposit box (by faking her mom’s death, of course) to find surveillance photos with cheesy target crosshairs photoshopped around Veronica’s head. To give her mom a way to safely contact her, Veronica mails out burner phones to all of Lianne’s known associates. Lianne ends up leaving a voicemail, discouraging Veronica from finding her, but promising to be in touch soon.

MVP (Most Marshmallow’s Valuable Player): Keith

So there were a few things that could have been handled better, but Keith wins at everything for putting his daughter’s happiness before his own by breaking up with Rebecca (and presumably eating Veronica’s lopsided birthday cake).

While Keith may have won this round, Logan is quickly ascending the ranks! His relationship with V. is still highly antagonistic (and he’s super unhelpful in her investigations because she keeps accusing him of everything), but the snarking has become less hostile and more playful.

Best Reminder That It’s 2004 (That Hasn’t Been Replaced by Something a Smartphone Can Do)

SO MANY REFERENCES. There’s one that was even dated back then (Veronica: “Dude. Where’s your car?”). But I’ll eschew politics (Troy mentioning deleting records of Black voters in Florida) and athletics (Luke selling his Barry Bonds ball) in favour of pop culture, with Logan’s line about señoritas working their milkshakes.

And the Snark Award Goes To…: Veronica

Girlfriend is just hoarding these things, isn’t she? On Keith dating her guidance counsellor:

Veronica: “It’s cool. Just next time, could you shoot for an actual teacher? Because this has no potential benefit to my grade point average.”

Neptune Cameo

No one new! But let us (or at least a very small subset of us) gather to mourn the departure of Troy, in Aaron Ashmore’s last appearance as Troy Vandegraff (… OR IS IT?!).

Song for a Spy’s Soundtrack: “The New Kid” by Old 97’s

That Postal Service song that you know from commercials made a compelling case, but I’m very partial to Old 97’s.

MARS INVESTIGATIONS, CASE 1.6 “Return of the Kane”

It’s school election week at Neptune High! (But it’s at least two months into school already; is this normal? Mine were held in the spring of the previous school year. And everyone running for president was a senior.) Punkish sophomore Wanda Varner is running for school prez, promising to abolish the Pirate Points rewards program that favours ’09er kids. Her main — and unwitting — competition is none other than Duncan.

Veronica’s covering the election for the school paper, which is shaping up to be a close race against a backdrop of some real class warfare shizz. And the winner is… Duncan in a landslide? The recounts of the Scantron ballots confirm this, but Veronica notices a discrepancy with some of the results. Because obvs it’s ridiculous to think that Duncan is that charismatic.

Turns out, there were two sets of ballot instructions: the real voting order, for classes with more ’09ers; and an altered list to ensure Wanda’s votes go to Duncan, for the rest. The mastermind behind this scheme is the punchworthy Madison Sinclair, who only gets more punchworthy with every appearance, so I’m glad that V. will finally get to do so in the movie.

How many Trips to the Dentist did I take? (drink count) 7

How did an episode all about the haves and the have-nots only have ONE mention of ’09ers?!

A Long Time Ago, We Used to Be Friends

It was Veronica’s handiwork on those shoes of Lilly’s that helped solve (or “solve”) the case. Although V. drew a heart around Duncan’s name on Lilly’s shoes, which everyone agrees is super creepy. Well, mostly everyone (notice who was absent from that scene?).

In a completely unrelated incident, some kid wandered his way to the popular table. Dick is, well, a dick, but Duncan insists that the kid stay and that Dick be the one to find another spot.

File Under Lilly Kane’s Murder:

Thank you, Lilly’s ghost, for reminding Veronica to get back to murder-solvin’ already! I mean, the season’s almost a third over the convicted killer Abel Koontz is scheduled to die in a few months, after having fired his legal counsel and forfeited further appeals.

When it becomes clear that both sides know about the other’s investigation, Veronica and Keith finally talk openly about the case. In particular, Veronica has spotted Lilly’s shoes (with the incest heart) in a crime scene photo on the night of the murder. The very same shoes that were found on Abel Koontz’s houseboat. Dun dun dunnnnnn!

Life on Mars

Not much is going on with Veronica’s personal life, other than complete amnesia about Troy. Keith’s been a bit too keen about hanging out with Veronica, but she realizes that he means well. So they have ice cream sundaes for dinner and discuss the murder case they’re both obsessed with — y’know, typical father-daughter activities.

Veronica does rekindle a friendship with fellow former pep squad member Wanda, though. The two of them start hanging out more (and Wanda brings up a rumour she heard about Lilly and Weevil — whaaaat?), but then Veronica starts to suspect that Wanda might be a narc. Some classic Mars trickery verifies this hunch, and won’t someone pleeeeease give Veronica a girl friend? (Oh hello, next week’s episodes!)

MVP (Most Marshmallow’s Valuable Player): Duncan by Default?

I KNOW, y’all. While Logan finally gets more backstory, it’d also be kind of strange to give MVP to someone for being both a perpetuator and a victim of violence in the same 45 minutes. And everyone else is non-factor, so UGHHH FINE. Newly elected school prez Duncan doesn’t eliminate Pirate Points, but he modifies the program to be more inclusive, so that’s cool of him. (Also, is Jake just super tall? Because Duncan always looks so tiny next to him. (To answer my own question: yes, he is.))

Best Reminder That It’s 2004 (That Hasn’t Been Replaced by Something a Smartphone Can Do)

This is a bit meta, but Veronica’s investigation software is an interesting Hollywood interpretation of technology.

And the Snark Award Goes To…: Dream/Ghost Lilly

On her afterlife activities:

Ghost Lilly: “Don’t you watch any horror movies? My soul is doomed to walk the earth until justice has been served.”


Ghost Lilly: “Yeah, that, and, as kind of a side project, I dispense fashion advice.”

Neptune Cameos


  • Jane Lynch as Mrs. Donaldson, the student council advisor. Hey, it’s Jane Lynch! And as a subdued, sweater-tied-around-the-neck character, no less.

  • Harry Hamlin as Aaron Echolls. OH BOY. So we finally meet Logan’s movie star dad Aaron, though it’s a pretty horrific first impression. Logan’s been arranging fights between homeless men (with Dick!*). A video for one of the fights ends up online, and Aaron is pissed. Not so much at the morality or legality, but because Logan has just tarnished Aaron’s image.

    The two of them volunteer for soup kitchen duty to generate some good PR, but Logan goes off-script and donates $500K to the food bank on Aaron’s behalf. Later at home, Aaron gives Logan a belting, because how dare he be coerced into philanthropy?! Congrats, Aaron; you’ve already surpassed — nay, lapped Lianne in the race for WORST PARENT EVER.

*Should Dick sightings be an unofficial drinking game rule for Season 1? Or maybe just when I make terrible phallic innuendos?

  • Lisa Rinna as Lynn Echolls. Meanwhile, as her husband beats their son in the next room, Lynn tries to drown her sorrows with a highball.

(Also, I’m super fascinated by how game real-life spouses Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin were to portray such a dysfunctional couple. Obvs, the show is awesome and they’re just actors acting. But still.)

Song for a Spy’s Soundtrack: “Ventura Highway” by America

This song plays throughout the soup kitchen PR stunt, continuing into the scene of Logan picking out the belt with which his father will beat him. NO BIG DEAL. (Though I love how this show pairs light, upbeat music with some seriously dark shit.)


Veronica’s pregnant upstairs neighbour Sarah has been having trubs with her boyfriend, Andre. She thinks he stole her journal, and he thinks she’s hot for her boss. So when Veronica overhears them arguing and can’t find Sarah the next day, she’s instantly suspicious.

Sarah hasn’t missed a day of work until now, says her boss Nathan, who also knows all about Sarah and Andre’s tumultuous relationship. But Andre’s fairly flippant for a guy whose preggo gf might be missing. Though he does divulge that Sarah freaked out at the thought of her estranged mom coming out to Neptune because of the pregnancy.

Veronica does a little more digging — just some B&E, no big deal. She ends up getting caught by Andre, who tells her to mind her own beeswax, but not before she finds a handgun in his and Sarah’s apartment.

When Sarah’s mother and stepfather show up at the apartment, Veronica directs them to Keith. Turns out that Sarah had become really different, possibly to lash out at her mother for remarrying, and she ran away shortly afterwards. Sarah’s mom is only a few syllables away from slut-shaming her own daughter, so she’s a lovely human.

Even though Keith kicks her off the case (LOL, like that would actually stop her), Veronica discovers that Sarah’s baby wasn’t Andre’s. Sarah’s boss Nathan thinks the father could be the guy who raped her, which is one detail too many for Veronica to buy Nathan’s innocence. After some persuasion from the PCHers**, Nathan gives up the diary he stole from Sarah, which leads Veronica right to her.

**I know they’re on V.’s side, but I’m still not cool with messing up someone’s workplace. Even if they’re douchey someones.

Veronica and Keith have differing opinions on Andre being OK with raising a baby that he knows isn’t is: Veronica thinks it’s freakish, while Keith sees it as a testament to how much Andre loves Sarah, to raise someone else’s child. But when Keith finds out that Sarah was raped, the puzzle pieces start fitting together…

Upstairs. Sarah’s mom refuses to believe what her husband has been accused of. Sarah pulls a gun on her rapist, who manages to take the gun away from her. But before he has a chance to do anything, he’s brought down by a bullet from BAMF Keith Mars.

How many Trips to the Dentist did I take? (drink count) 6

A Long Time Ago, We Used to Be Friends

Although Duncan hadn’t officially broken up with Veronica yet, he was certainly acting like it. Lilly, convinced that the two of them were meant for each other, vows to get the scoop from Duncan.

The next day, Lilly doesn’t give Veronica any specifics, but tells her that she should move on. (In light of what the secret turns out to be, I wonder how much Duncan told Lilly. Or if she just has a warped world view. Because she’s acting reaaaaally calm, considering.)

File Under Lilly Kane’s Murder

No new clues, but the last one was pretty big, and the show does need to pace itself.

Life on Mars

Veronica gets volun-told to help the Neptune High Alumni Association put together a photo display for a class reunion — in fact, the same class that Lianne belonged to. Turns out, she and Jake Kane were quite the It Couple back in the day. But that’s news to Veronica, and Duncan says he doesn’t know anything about it, either.

MVP (Most Marshmallow’s Valuable Players): Logan and Weevil

These two get their own storyline! And as much as I love V., I think the show’s better when she doesn’t have to be in every scene. The supporting cast is superb, so it’s great when they get a chance to shine.

Anyway, Logan and Weevil get thrown into detention together, but their idea of passing time (i.e. poker) just gets them in further trouble with the teacher, Mr. Daniels. Even though Weevil finds Logan pretty dang insufferable, he’s not about to brag about having hooked up with Lilly. As in, had-been-dating-Logan Lilly. Awk-ward.

In return for not invoking the school’s harsh policy re: gambling, Daniels has Logan and Weevil doing a lot of menial tasks. Which gives the two of them plenty of time to scheme (and for Logan to utter one of my life mottos).

Daniels’ car goes missing, only to be later found speared by the flagpole. Even though Weevil gets expelled because of the prank, he doesn’t give up Logan’s name. Logan returns the favour by bribing Clemmons for leniency with Aaron Echolls memorabilia. Just when it seems like those two have reached some sort of truce, Logan notices a tattoo on Weevil’s arm. It’s a heart. With the name Lilly written across it. Tempers quickly escalate, but Weevil claims it’s his little sister’s name. (Which, assuming Spanish pronunciation, is a pretty iffy lie.)

Best Reminder That It’s 2004 (That Hasn’t Been Replaced by Something a Smartphone Can Do)

There weren’t really any, unless you’re over Snow Patrol (whose CD Veronica lends to Sarah).

And the Snark Award Goes To…: Logan! And Logan!

Logan was en fuego! His entire hallway exchange with Clemmons is filled with gems. When Clemmons asks for a word:

Logan: “Anthropomorphic. All yours, big guy.”

And when Clemmons is asking about a pair of boots that Aaron offered to donate:

Logan: “Not the ones made for walking. God, I love those boots.”

Neptune Cameos

This episode’s familiar faces have been brought to you by redheads!

  • Jessica Chastain as Sarah.

  • Bonita Friedericy (Chuck) as Evelyn Bugby from the alumni association.

Song for a Spy’s Soundtrack: “The Trial of the Century” by The French Kicks

When Veronica’s chatting with Sarah while doing laundry.

Anddd that’s all for now, Marshmallows! Meet me back here next week, for “Like a Virgin”, “Drinking the Kool-Aid”, and “An Echolls Family Christmas”.

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Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.