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Corn Nuts, Strippers, and Papa's Cabin: Veronica Solves the Perfect Murder on "Veronica Mars"

Sigh. Can you believe that the latest pod of Veronica Mars episodes is already at a close? It seems like the beloved series only just returned from a way-too-long hiatus in the first place and now the CW have snatched the show right off the air again to bring us (ick) a reality series about the Pussycat Dolls.

To cut to the chase: No new Veronica Mars episodes until May 1st.

I'm heartbroken.

While I am sure you'll hear me whining over the next two months about how I miss my weekly glimpse into Neptune, I did want to talk about the resolution to the Dean O'Dell murder mystery, which wrapped up neatly last night in the latest installment of Veronica Mars ("Papa's Cabin").

And, yes, just as I suspected way back when, it was creepy TA Tim Foyle. But like most good murder mysteries, writer John Enbom left us guessing until the final moments as he and the show's writers/producers did such a fantastic job at including enough red herrings, incriminating leads, and probable suspects to draw attention away from Timmy and onto the dynamic duo of Mindy O'Dell and Professor (or is it Dr?) Hank Landry. Or was it Mindy and violent ex-husband (and Sheriff Lamb killer) Steve Botando? My point exactly.

It definitely did look like Mindy was guilty of something, even though it was her involvement in her husband's murder case that got the verdict changed from suicide to murder. But why would Mindy do that if she were in the clear? Well, for the massive insurance payout, which wouldn't have happened if Cyrus had offed himself; besides, O'Dell was going to divorce her and leave her with nothing. Meanwhile, he was going to destroy Landry's reputation, kick him out of the university, and tarnish his name. So both of them did have motive for killing poor, misunderstood Cyrus O'Dell. Which is exactly what Tim was banking on.

I thought it was hilarious to see former nemeses Veronica and Tim team up to free Professor Landry and unmask the real killer. These two have been at each other's throats the entire season and it was fantastic to get to see Tim in a sympathetic light. (Hell, I even felt bad for the guy when he heard his idol Landry--a "great man"--give him a poor reference for a teaching gig at Pepperdine University.) And it was a great way to show what a wonderful detective Veronica is, both in and out of the field. Especially compared to Tim.

But Tim was quite the devious evil genius, masterminding a plan that saw the death of the Dean, the imprisonment of Professor Landry (apparently shooting down one's employment opportunities is not cool in the academic set either), and the death of Mindy O'Dell. For the latter, Tim merely had to set up some mildly incriminating evidence and turn Hank and Mindy against one another and sit back and watch the whole house of cards topple over. And it did look bad for Mindy: she cashes in the insurance claim, buys a boat (after shipping her kids off to England), and disappears. Hank thought Mindy was going to make him take the fall (he even helped to clear her by switching O'Dell's computer keyboard with Botando's, hence the prints), confronts her, and they fight. Mindy really did think she was fighting for her life (she now thought he was the killer) and she goes overboard. Death by accidental drowning. Landry confesses (it was an accident) and is charged with manslaughter when Mindy's body washes up on the beach near Papa's Cabin.

Tim plants the incriminating shirt and gloves (taken from Landry's house) in the incinerator and waits for it to come to ground. He forces the stripper/eyewitness to say that she saw Landry the night of the murder outside a convenience store... and then leads Veronica right to her, where they discover that the alibi is fake as "Landry" had threatened to take her kid into foster care if she didn't comply. The call that traces them back to her was made on a disposable phone that Tim "happens" to find at Landry's house.

But the real clincher was the fact that Tim, newly elevated to the post of professor after Landry's arrest, arrogantly recounts the clues in the case against Landry and accidentally reveals that he knew that Mindy had shipped her kids to England. There's no way Tim could have known this... unless he had tapped Veronica's phone. Bingo. Veronica unspools the entire sad affair in front of their class (sorry you lost that plum TA gig, V) and confronts Tim.

So there. No one trumps Veronica, especially not on her own show. Thanks to Veronica, the real killer is finally unmasked, and she goes home and makes some "meat and potatoes" for Papa Keith, now acting sheriff (until the election).

I'm glad that Enbom stuck that wrap-up scene between the two of them at home, especially since Keith and Veronica are perhaps somewhat on opposite sides of the law now. With Keith wearing that tin star, he's got to represent law and order and Veronica? Well, Veronica takes certain liberties with the law (like, say, breaking and entering) that don't really go over too well with the new sheriff. So, while I was a little concerned with the tensions this new dimension to their relationship, would place on the funny between them, I'm glad to see that, at home at least, things are peachy keen between father and daughter.

Things also seem to be okay between Veronica and Logan, even as he and Parker inch closer to beginning a relationship with one another. I'm glad to see that Parker values her friendship with Veronica and, even though she's clearly attracted to Logan, tries to put her friendship first. Logan, meanwhile, tries to be mature and asks Veronica if it's okay if he asks Parker out; she actually agrees. Could it be that things, for now anyway, are truly over between them?

Looks like we'll have to wait until May to find out.

Next on Veronica Mars: it's a two-month wait for new episodes, but when we return from what will surely be a painful hiatus, Veronica sets up shop as a detective, takes up paintball, and maybe (just maybe) spends some much-needed time with Mac. See you in May!

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Jericho (CBS); Friday Night Lights (NBC); America's Next Top Model (CW; 8-10 pm); George Lopez/Knights of Prosperity (ABC); American Idol (FOX; 8-9:30 pm); Wicked Wicked Games (MyNet)

9 pm: Criminal Minds (CBS); Deal or No Deal (ABC); According to Jim/In Case of Emergency (ABC); Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (FOX; 9:30-10 pm); Watch Over Me (MyNet)

10 pm: CSI: New York (CBS); Medium (NBC); Lost (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8-10 pm: America's Next Top Model.

It's the return of America's Next Top Model with a two-hour season premiere. On tonight's episode ("The Girl Who Won't Stop Talking"), 32 wannabe models are sent to a grueling boot camp, with the final 13 girls moving into a posh Hollywood Hills mansion. Meanwhile, that first photo shoot turns controversial. Dayhm, Tyra told me that.

8-10 pm: American Idol.

Tonight, it's the ladies' turn to perform as the top 10 female contestants take the stage.

10 pm: Lost.

I can't tell you how happy I am that Lost is back on the air again. On tonight's episode ("Tricia Tanaka Is Dead"): the gang discovers a Dharma-branded car on the island along with a mysterious key (courtesy of Vincent!), Hurley embarks on a mission, Kate and Sawyer are finally reunited with the Losties, and Kate pleads with the group to launch a rescue mission to free Jack.


Jon88 said…
I wonder how quickly the special election for sheriff will be held. And whether Keith will run, or decide after having been back on the job for a bit that he was happier in the private sector.
The CineManiac said…
How bittersweet. What a fantastic episode but did they have to remind me the show was off the air until May 1?!?!? I already knew this of course, but I didn't need to be reminded.
But over at Ask Ausiello ( Rob Thomas said that the odds looked 60/40 in favor of a 4th season! Better than 50/50 and that they were filming a "Season Finale, not a Series Finale" and that they were going to make it hard for them to not bring them back.
Personally I could watch this show for another 5 years the way it's going.
Anonymous said…
Oh no! No "Veronica" until May and I also heard that "The Office" is doing repeats until April. Two of my favorite shows! Argh. It's going to be a rough spring.
Great episode last night. I really like how they set Mindy up as the femme fatale (sunglasses and everything). I had a gut feeling that Tim did it but the writers did a great job keeping you guessing.
Anonymous said…
May 1. Waaaaaaaaaahhhh!!!!!!
Anonymous said…
I love Veronica Mars as much as anybody, but I felt last night's episode was awful. It's been obvious since the beginning of this "mystery" that whoever killed the Dean had to have specific knowledge of Veronica's "Perfect Murder" paper -- remember "Goodbye Cruel World"?

That left exactly 2 suspects ( assuming Veronica didn't do it :P ), Landry or Tim. It wasn't hard to figure that the Landry twist in the episode was a red herring. I was never convinced otherwise.

Another disappointment was that Veronica was never in danger. In all the prior long format mysteries Veronica was in a life threatening situation with the perpetrator. Tuesday's resolution was totally anti-climatic for me.

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