Saturday, July 13, 2013

Veronica Mars 1x10: "An Echolls Family Christmas"

The Mystery: 1) Who stole the money from Logan's poker game? And 2) Who's sending threatening letters to Aaron Echolls?

It's the holidays, a time for family, cheer, and high-stakes gambling. Logan's hosting a Yuletide poker game with his pal Duncan, his actor friend Connor Larkin, the new Rich Kid on the Block Sean Friedrich, and, in a Christmas miracle - Weevil. To Logan's consternation, Weevil wins with a pair of twos, but when Logan reluctantly opens the money box to give Weevil his $5,000 in winnings - the money is gone.

Weevil, thinking Logan's conned him, does not take this well. The next day, several of the poker players discover their valuables have been stolen - including Duncan's laptop. Weevil hints that these items might miraculously reappear once he gets his rightfully-owed winnings, and Veronica becomes involved when Duncan admits that he kept a diary on his laptop with explicit details of their relationship.

Five thousand dollars, five suspects, and money that shouldn't have left the Echolls house. How will Veronica solve it?

Meanwhile, Logan's mother Lynn Echolls approaches Keith Mars because she's afraid her husband Aaron might have a serious stalker - he's always receiving threatening or creepy letters but one of them was left in the breakfast room of their own house. Her famous Christmas party is in a few days, which will flood their house with guests and caterers.

As you can probably tell from the episode's title, this episode is a clever character study of the two Echolls men - Logan and Aaron. At first, everyone suspects Logan of hiding the winnings because he's a shithead - even Duncan, who stops talking to him. It's in this episode that we get our first inkling that Logan wasn't always a self-absorbed jackass.

I always wondered how he, Duncan, and even Veronica could have ever been friends but we learn that Lilly's murder warped him just as much as it did Veronica. Only instead of becoming focused and internal like her, he became a hedonistic ne'er do well who acts like he doesn't care about anything. But when your best friend believes you're douchey enough to steal a guy's poker winnings, that's a pretty obvious sign that you've taken your "callow asshole" act too far.

And as for Aaron - well, we already know he's an awful person and this episode just piles more poop-flavoured ice cream on top of the shit sundae of his character.

Whodunnit: 1) Sean Friedrich stole the money by slipping it into his drink bottle and picking it up when it was thrown out for recycling. He lives in the most expensive house in the Oh Niner zip code and gets chauffeured to school in a town car, but Veronica discovers he's a scheming fraud - his father isn't the mansion's owner, but the mansion's butler.

2) Aaron's stalker was an innocent catering employee who was fired at an earlier function when she accidentally walked in on Aaron cheating on his wife. However, when she turns up at Aaron's Christmas party and stabs him with a vegetable carver, we find out he slept with her, too. Gross.

Everything comes to a head at the Echolls' Christmas Party - Veronica's there to reveal who stole the poker winnings (which she does in return for Logan buying her in to their next poker game), Keith's there to track down the stalker, and the Kanes are there to celebrate with their friends. When Veronica spots Jake Kane at the party, she finally takes the opportunity to get him alone and demand answers for the threatening pictures that were sent to her mother. Jake Kane maintains his innocence, but after this exchange he makes a beeline for his wife, Celeste, and demands, "What did you do?"

Awesome Things:
  • Logan and Weevil, together again. Seriously - when's that sitcom coming?
  • "Annoy, tiny blonde one - annoy like the wind!"
  • Connor Larkin's character - at first we're supposed to think he's a shallow teen actor and drug addict. Turns out he's just a sweet guy with awesome abs who calls Logan out for being a racist. Why don't we get more of him?
  • Aaron getting stabbed. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy, am I right?

Less-Awesome Things:
  • So it was Celeste Kane who had Clarence Wiedman send the gunsight pictures to Leanne Mars? Could she get any more horrible? 
  • Duncan keeps a diary. Oh come on, dude. 
  • Keith's face when he spots Veronica and Jake Kane fighting. I'm not sure what he's thinking but it can't be good.

The Lilly Cane Case Files:
  • Nothing for it in this episode.


  1. One of my favorite episodes of the whole series.

    "Looks like an evildoer. Smells like an evildoer." Love Logan's reaction shot.

    1. Pretty much everything Logan says and does in season 1 is gold. I love his character So. Much.