The episode opens with Troy, Logan, and their friend Luke Haldeman, coming back from a wild and crazy weekend in Tijuana. They made it through Border Control in one piece and stop at a diner to refuel. When they come out, the car is gone.
Only it's not Troy's car - it's his father's, and his dear ol' dad is due home in five days. If the car isn't back in the garage by then, Troy's dad is going to send him off to Catholic boarding school in New Mexico, which means no more snuggles for him and Veronica. Well, Veronica can't have that - so it looks like she's on the case.
Troy's not the only one who desperately needs to find that car - as it turns out, Luke used the trip to Mexico to bring steroids over the border for his dealer, and he left his stash (smuggled in a piñata) in the backseat. If he doesn't return the goods to his dealer - a musclebound gorilla named Ziggy - he's in for a world of horrific but karmically-appropriate pain.
With Weevil's help, Veronica tracks the car to a chop shop to find the car's already been fenced - but the piñata was taken by one of the chop employees for his niece's birthday party. Veronica crashes the party only to discover the piñata's full of nothing but delicious candy - whoever stole the car made off with the drugs as well. Looks like Luke will just have to pay off his dealer the old-fashioned way.
Along with all this, Veronica also has to grapple with a pretty big personal bombshell: upon finding the key to a safety deposit box in her mother's things, she discovers someone mailed her mom several pictures of Veronica in the crosshairs of a gunsight. After eight months of believing her mother walked out on them due to the loss of status, the idea that her mother might have fled to protect her throws Veronica for a loop. Especially now that her dad's back in the dating game - with her school counsellor, no less.
Veronica doesn't know how to react but neither does she want her dad worrying about those threatening pictures, so instead, she digs up dirt on the counsellor in an attempt to break them up. Keith confronts her and they get into a loud, anguished argument - it's an extremely heartbreaking scene, because it reveals that, for all Veronica's no-nonsense bluffing, she's still not ready to move on from the tragedy that split her family. Keith, being the World's Best Dad, realizes this and breaks it off with the guidance counsellor anyway.
He also goes and performs a background check on Troy, giving the results to Veronica in an envelope, leaving the choice to look at them up to her.
Whodunnit: Troy arranged to have his own car stolen and made off with Luke's drugs as well. As Veronica discovers, he's got a record for drug possession and trafficking a mile long - and a sexy partner in crime named Shawna to boot. After his dad puts him in a cab to take him to Catholic school, he simply pays the driver to take him back to that same diner from the beginning of the episode. There, he recovers the drugs and the car he'd hidden and makes his great escape.
However - while he may have escaped Catholic school, he didn't escape the wrath of Veronica Mars scorned. When he opens his stash, he discovers only cheap Mexican candy. Meanwhile, when Luke's dealer Ziggy tries to run another shipment of drugs, he discovers Veronica faxed his picture and description to the American border authorities.
- Leanne Mars isn't a deadbeat mum after all! At least, not completely. She even reaches out to Veronica with an untraceable cell phone and leaves a heartwarming message - as well as a plea to not try and find her.
- Keith Mars is still the World's Best Dad. He lets the guidance counsellor down gently, because he recognizes that Veronica's not ready for their band of two to admit another person.
- We (and Weevil!) learn that Veronica speaks fluent Spanish.
- Yes, Troy turned out to be a turd, leaving Veronica single again. I've been reading a lot of discussion on this topic lately and this theory stood out: in his first episode, Troy acted like he didn't believe the rumours about Veronica - but maybe he sought her out in the first place because the rumours told him that Veronica was a trashy slutty bad girl, just his type. Which is still kind of depressing.
The Lilly Kane Case Files
- In a flashback, Veronica's mother acts appalled when Veronica reveals she's dating Duncan Kane. What does Leanne Mars have against the Kane family?