This episode starts with Veronica walking with the new guy, Troy, that she has been talking to. I find Troy absolutely boring. He has a generic rich white kid look like all the guys in the show and he’s talking about taking Veronica out on his rich dad’s boat and driving his rich kid car. He even has a generic rich kid name. Bo-ring. Veronica is impressed. She’ll pretend like she’s not wooed by money, but the poorest guy she ever dates in this show is probably Troy. I’m just saying.
Cut to Veronica and Papa Mars sitting at the dinner table and Veronica letting Keith know that Jake Kane and Mrs. Mars were at a hotel together two weeks ago. That’s right, do we even know why Veronica’s mom left? I don’t think we do. Veronica’s not happy about it, but she’s not all that broken up, either. I suspect she’s masking her feelings.
Juxtapose two scenes where Duncan and Veronica are both leaving their houses and then we see them making out in a car. What??? Then Veronica wakes up…it was all just a dream! Well the making out part, the rest has been real.
Anyway, now we get to the meat of this week’s episode. First off we’re really getting the sense that Veronica is not at all over Duncan. To compensate, she decides that she would like to go on a date with boring Troy-Tron. Remember how I told you to pay attention to patterns? Veronica has shitty taste in boyfriends. Troy-Tron is lame decision number one in this series. Duncan obviously isn’t over Veronica either, as we can see when Logan is talking a bunch of trash about her to Duncan and Duncan keeps getting upset.
So now to the mystery. A geeky kid who Veronica knows from the local video store (remember those?) asks for help finding his dad. He says he and his mom are broke so he wants his dad to help out. We learn that dad peaced out when geeky kid was 6, he has no pictures, DOB, or any other information than that the dad’s name is John Smith. This is how we are going to learn that there is no case that Veronica can’t crack. Because come on, you really think they are going to let her third case go unsolved? Veronica decides she is going to call all these potential John Smiths pretending to be a university offering scholarships and they have to call back to get the money or something. This seems like a ridiculous scheme, but it’s so crazy it just might work! She’s roped Wallace into stuffing envelopes and even Keith asks poor Wallace what’s in it for him. Wallace says that Veronica promised to be his friend and Keith says Wallace should have held out for a better offer. Truer words were never spoken, because ever resourceful and willing to use her friends, Veronica swiftly dispatches Wallace to do her even more favors by getting her permanent record and that of Justin, the geeky kid looking for his dad.
Veronica’s on her date with Troy-Tron now. Snooze. He goes in to kiss her at the end and she totally recoils. Maybe she has better taste than I thought? Oh nope, she just said he has “devilish charm.” Incorrect. Cut to her wondering what she’s waiting for and Duncan making out with a Veronica lookalike who he accidentally calls Veronica. Oops. This episode of Veronica Mars has been brought to you by the letters E for Ex and R for Regret.
OK, so Wallace snagged Justin’s permanent record. What’s this? His father’s dead? Was this a ploy to get close to her? Now that I think about it, he was talking about how hot she was at the beginning of the episode. But then, conveniently, an administrator type comes up to Justin to hand him a letter. From one of the John Smiths writing about the scholarship! Didn’t she make those calls like yesterday? Maybe two days ago? Mail is speedy in Neptune. So, Justin’s first thought is that this must be his father. My first thought is they just tried to scam a scammer and now a fake baby daddy is trying to cash in. Maybe I’m just a cynic. Or just wrong because it turns out that Justin’s dad is NOT dead and this could be him. So now we’re back to where we started, looking for John Smith.
Veronica Mars likes to have a tie-in, so this episode’s tie-in is comparing Justin’s deadbeat dad to Veronica’s mom. Keith says he doesn’t want Veronica’s mom to seem like a villain, but Veronica says the villain is the one who splits. Anyway, she has already figured out that her mom is in Arizona, so it looks like she’s going to do her own reconnaissance.
Veronica has gone down to San Diego to track down the three potential John Smiths. When she brings back pictures, Justin nixes two and says that one is a possibility. In the meantime, Duncan is at the doctor after being a dumbass and jumping off some bleachers with asshole Logan and Keith has asked the guidance counselor to talk to Veronica about her feelings. Justin and Veronica head back down to San Diego to go spy on the possible John Smith. Justin recklessly goes up to the guy but looks at him and decides it’s not him. However, John Smith conveniently drives a convertible and has a pad of paper on the dash which Veronica Mars Handwriting Expert identifies as being the same handwriting on the letter Justin got at school. They continue to trail.
Back at Neptune, Duncan is hallucinating Lilly. All episode we’ve seen his mom pushing antidepressants on him and he’s been throwing them down the sink. The doctor told him that he could experience hallucinations. Beware because they are going to set up Duncan’s depression as evidence that he’s unstable, which will annoy me later. Lilly is telling him to pay attention because all the pieces of her murder don’t add up. Is Duncan going to be able to help solve Lilly’s murder?? (Spoiler: No. He’s pretty dense.)
So, Veronica and Justin are in San Diego and Veronica breaks into John Smith’s house and gets caught. She tells John Smith that his son just wants to see him and John Smith says he doesn’t have a son. He then says he’s a parole officer so we’re like, what has Justin’s dad been up to!! Well, turns out, he’s been up to changing genders and is now living as a woman! Twist ending! The guy they were tailing is Justin’s second mom’s boyfriend or husband. Justin is understandably surprised and he’s pissed at both his parents. Veronica is jealous that Justin’s second mom travels 90 miles each way every week to see him at the video store. Oh, yeah, we’ve seen this woman a couple times this episode when we’ve seen Veronica over at the video store.
Can I just say that I kind of like the way they handled Justin’s dad being transgendered. He’s angry and confused, which makes sense. But then he works through it and tries to develop a relationship with his second mom. It’s very nice, and they don’t make a big show out of Justin having a trans parent. Veronica was jealous that Justin now gets to have a relationship with both his parents and she wants that too, so she drives to Arizona to track her down. Where is the parental supervision?? She is feeling upset so she decides to go over to Troy-Tron’s (huge, gated) house to get a hug. Boo. Where’s Weevil?
Veronica Mars is a really interesting and badass character. She’s witty, she’s not afraid to put herself out there, she’s smart, she’s cute, she’s tough, etc. But she isn’t without flaws, and one of her major flaws is that she’s a user. We’re really starting to see that in this episode. We don’t see Wallace the whole episode except for when she needs his help doing something. And Troy-Tron’s only purpose is to fill the void left by Duncan and her mom. Get with it, V, you need someone with way more personality than that to fill those gaps.
Next week: Where is Veronica’s mom? Is Duncan “crazy”? Will Veronica dump Troy-Tron? Will Weevil get unfairly accused of a crime due to his ethnicity and social status? Find out!