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To Cheat or Not to Cheat: The Gang Learns the Value of Veracity on "Veronica Mars"

Okay, you've got to hand it to the producers of Veronica Mars and the CW promo department. Between last night's title of "Hi, Infidelity" and some well-edited moments showing a jealous Veronica, a seemingly red-handed Logan, and a perky blonde who was not our intrepid sleuth, it definitely seemed as though this episode was going to focus on the shattering of Veronica and Logan's relationship.

But it didn't turn out that way at all. (Whew.) Talk about some rather canny editing though: by playing up that 15 second scene at the hotel which was apropos of nothing, the network created the indication in my mind that it was the focal point of the episode. Not so. In fact, the infidelity in question was of a more adult nature: that between Keith and the still-married Harmony... and between Professor Landry and Dean O'Dell's wife (more on those in a sec).

First up, I need to say just how much I loved last night's episode ("Hi, Infidelity") and how it pushed last week's rather weak episode out of my mind altogether. Written by uber-scribe John Enbom, it was a return to the snappy patter, noir stylings, and complex mysteries we know and adore. I was completely sucked in from the teaser and sped through the episode on a televisionary high. The one misstep: the comment about Mac "working on a project" as the excuse du jour about why Mac wasn't around and why Parker was on her lonesome. We get it! Tina Majorino is working on Big Love, she's not around, etc. But to keep coming up with these lame excuses week after week is well, lame. I'd rather the writers just not mention Mac at all than come up with such flimsy cover stories (at the gym, great-aunt in Bakersfield died, working on a project) or at least cleverly throw in the words "big" and "love" in the excuse somewhere. A little meta wouldn't hurt. (My other complaint about the episode is directed at director Michael Fields; way too much red gel-lighting at the beginning of the episode, which threatened to take my attention away from the plot as everything was so rose-colored.)

Anywho, I thought that Enbom really handled this week's mystery well and that it dovetailed nicely with the ongoing Hearst rapist storyline as well. Turns out that Claire lied about the rape in order to place suspicion on the frat brothers, which is down and out crazy because as much as they'd like to see the fratties booted off campus, they're actually not the guys behind the serial rapes. But Veronica was able, at the end of last week's episode, to disprove Claire's claims and unmask Mystery Asian Guy as Claire's boyfriend. So it all adds up now. However, in the process, Veronica's made an enemy out of the now ex-Editor of the school paper. Word to the wise, missy, you do not want Veronica Mars for an enemy.

Raise your hand if you think Piz is adorably awkward (and completely realistic). I find it hilarious that Veronica can catch criminals, solve crimes, and is attuned to human behavior, but is completely oblivious to the fact that Piz has a crush on her. (Ah, Veronica.) I loved the fact that he tried to ask her out to go bowling with "the gang," only to be the only one to show up, plus Parker, who has now fallen for poor Piz. They're both going to be in for a world of heartache, but it's great to have a fun love triangle already established this early into the new season. Though I could definitely see Piz ending up with Mac more than Parker, a development I am sure which would not go down well with the still-recovering Parker.

The Wallace storyline was handled so much better this week and was actually a compelling storyline. Would he have to give up his (sudden) dreams of mechanical engineering or his love of basketball? It became clear that one or the other would have to go and I'm glad that Wallace, who was never a good student, ended up choosing his engineering class rather than basketball. He can always go back later in the season but it's nice to see that Wallace thought long-term over short-term and went with his heart.

Loving Keith and Harmony (Laura San Giacomo) together. Papa Keith needs some love in his life already and there's an obvious spark there. (I also love that the powers that be have reunited Just Shoot Me cast members and on-screen lovers San Giacomo and Enrico Colantoni.) I was SHOCKED by the car accident and then strangely thought that something awful was about to happen (i.e., the guy driving the other car draws a gun and shoots Keith), because the scene was just so odd. But I was thrilled that it was an excuse to get Keith back to the Neptune Grand and into the arms of Harmony. Keith is far too much of a gentleman just to sleep with a married woman, but after a near-death experience like the car accident, he did regret not going upstairs with her. But Harm, you've got to leave your husband. You found out he wasn't cheating on you and now you're cheating on him? Not right. But she does have good taste in films: The Maltese Falcon AND The Big Sleep? I like this woman.

I'm glad to see that my prediction last week about Veronica using Weevil's keys has already come to fruition this week, with Veronica attempting to use the keys to break into the Dean's office in search of the perp who framed her for plagiarism. Did I mention I loved the mystery this week, which set up V. as the wrongfully accused for once? Maybe next time she'll be more willing to listen to Weevil's side of the story. There were a number of interesting twists and turns along the way, with the usual number of red herrings (like Jeff Ratner, the classmate/hotel employee who ratted Veronica out in the first place) and an interesting resolution. I'm glad it was TA Tim (played incidentally by the same actor who played Lucky last season) who was behind the whole plot, not to get Veronica booted from Landry's criminology class, but to show Veronica that Landry isn't exactly who he claims to be... and is currently sleeping with Dean O'Dell's wife Mindy. (I did NOT see that one coming at all.)

Poor Ed Begley, Jr. Or Dean O'Dell anyway. He's clearly oblivious to his wife's infidelity, but then again if he spent more time at home and less time hiding away in his office watching boxing, maybe he'd be a little more... self-aware? (Kudos to Veronica, too, for coming up with a clever cover story of why she was in his office in the first place.) I am loving Ed Begley on this series and hope he sticks around for a while. Veronica needs an oily nemesis and I love that their relationship is already becoming a slippery ground of mutual respect and wariness.

Speaking of oily nemeses, how great was it that Sheriff Lamb actually sat up and listened to Veronica for once? After Parker and Veronica visit Piz at the radio station, Parker catches a whiff of Logan's friend Mercer... and recognizes his cologne, which is permanently etched into her mind. Could Mercer be the rapist? Veronica utilizes Weevil's keys again to break into Mercer's room and discovers a pair of clippers hidden in his drawer. Circumstantial? Totally. Maybe the guy likes to keep his hair neat. And when Veronica brings the matter to Lamb, he's quick to dismiss it as well. Until Veronica says that it was Mercer. Turns out, Lamb's suspicious of Mercer already. Police turned up the missing cashbox from the casino robbery and discovered two vials of GHB.

Could Mercer be the rapist? Or Lamb and Veronica nabbed the wrong guy? Logan seems to think so, as he comes to Veronica for help, saying that Lamb has arrested Mercer for the serial rapes but he knows Mercer is innocent... because he was with him the night of one of the rapes. Curious. Just what were these two up to that night? And if it's not Mercer, who is the rapist?

Next week on Veronica Mars ("Of Vice and Men"), Veronica is disappointed in Keith's relationship with Harmony, but she's got relationship issues of her own as she and Logan have a major fight. Meanwhile, Veronica edges closer to solving the rapist mystery, but ends up drugged and possibly the rapist's next victim.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Jericho (CBS); The Biggest Loser (NBC; 8-10 pm); America's Next Top Model (CW); Dancing with the Stars (ABC); Bones (FOX); Desire (MyNet)

9 pm: Criminal Minds (CBS); One Tree Hill (CW); Lost (ABC); The O.C. (FOX); Fashion House (MyNet)

10 pm: CSI: New York (CBS); Dateline (NBC); The Nine (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: America's Next Top Model.

Okay, I'll admit it: I've gotten hooked on this cycle of ANTM. On tonight's episode ("The Girl Who Wrecks the Car"), Gabrielle Reece instructs our girls in action modeling, leading to a photo shoot at a skydiving training facility.

8 pm: Jamie Oliver's Great Italian Escape on the Travel Channel.

Two back-to-back episodes of the Travel Channel's new series featuring Jamie Oliver, an old camper, and the Italian countryside. This week, he leaves behind Jools and the kids and sets out for Sicily, where he is amazed by the foods served in Sicily's abundant street markets, and the small Italian island of Marettimo, where he's put to work by a fisherman-turned-chef.

9 pm: Lost.

Thank God it's Wednesday! On tonight's episode ("I Do"), it's the fall season finale as ABC tortures us with nearly 13 weeks of Lost withdrawal. Jack comes to a decision about Ben's offer (he'll free him if he successfully operates), Kate and Sawyer finally get it on, Pickett attempts to kill Sawyer, and Locke discovers a secret message that could unlock the island's mysteries. Damon and Carlton promised a doozy of a cliffhanger and this episode looks to be it.

10 pm: Top Chef on Bravo.

It's the second season of Bravo's culinary competition Top Chef. On tonight's episode, the chefs must create an entree, a side dish, and a dessert, but naturally there's a twist; Michael's commitment to the show is again questioned; and suspicions of foul play (read: cheating) come to the fore. Sounds delicious.

Comments

Last night's VM was excellent! I love the Keith/Harmony storyline. And the wild goose chase that Veronica was sent on by the bitter TA. (I didn't realize that was Lucky from last season...good catch.)

Piz is adorable. As is Veronica for being so utterly clueless about that fact that Piz has a crush on her. Ah, young love. Speaking of which...what kind of mischief has Logan been getting into with Mercer? I can't wait to find out!
rockauteur said…
I want to see more of Horshack and the other guy. The reference last night (a la Mac's temporary disappearance to Big Love) was not enough for me. Bring them back for a mystery!

I agree with Jace - I totally thought that driver of the pick up truck was going to pick up a gun and kill (or at least shoot) Keith, as hired by the Irish gang. I kept waiting for that to happen but I'm glad it didn't. Though it could have tied into the whole school advisor storyline and Keith feeling that he will be replaced as the advisor figure in Veronica's life.
Vance said…
I never hated Chris Lowell and liked him on "life as we know it" so I really enjoy Piz. i totally though the crash driver was a Fitzpatrick or something.

i agree, they should bring back Horshack and Boy Meets World dude.
Anonymous said…
Really strong episode!

i had the same thought about Keith re: car accident. I really thought something bad was going to happen. Much like I thought something bad was going to happen to Captain Tightpants when he was sitting in his car in the rain. Guess I was wrong all around.

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