"Drinking the Kool-Aid"
Written by Russell Smith and Rob Thomas; directed by Marcos Siega

Veronica is still crying in her car after her visit to Koontz (see “Like a Virgin”). Then she stops and tells herself to deal with the possibility that Jake is her father. As she drives home, she wonders if Keith knows the truth and used it as an excuse to go after Jake for Lilly’s murder. Suddenly, she realizes the implications of Duncan being her half brother and has to pull over to get sick. On the road again, Veronica wonders if Jake had someone take photos of her in a gun’s crosshairs (see “You Think You Know Somebody”) in order to get revenge on Keith. She decides that, if he did, she’s going to take him down. She heads back to Lianne’s safety deposit box and looks at the photos again, realizing that, based on the location, they were taken on a Thursday during the six weeks in which Lianne made her see a counselor after Lilly’s death. She also notices that a photo was taken in front of a Book Week banner, so at school, she asks a teacher about that week and finds out that it was the first week of February. Veronica heads downtown, figures out where the photo was taken from, and asks a waitress about receipts, looking for another one from the same time she was there. She discovers that the guy, Clarence Wiedman (Christopher B. Duncan), paid with a credit card, so she’s able to track him down and watch him at his house. She follows him and discovers that he works at Kane Software as the head of security. Veronica voices over that Jake scared Lianne away, and now that she knows Jake might be her father, she wants whatever money she can get from him.

At home, Veronica meets up with Keith, who’s a little beaten up from a baseball game. He’s also hyper because he bought Veronica a (used) water bed. She’s grateful for the gesture, and not just because she’s always wanted a water bed. At Mars Investigations, Keith meets with a couple, the Gants, whose son Casey (Jonathan Bennett) has joined a cult. They explain that he’s gone off to live with the Moon Calf Collective; he’s also sold his Porsche and given the money to the cult. The Gants offer Keith a nice reward if he can get Casey back, so he eagerly agrees to take the case. In the outer office, Veronica tricks Keith into giving her a DNA sample by telling him that she needs his blood for an extra-credit HIV test for a health class. Keith tells Veronica about Casey; Veronica knows him, since he’s an annoying 09er, but is surprised to hear that he joined a cult. Keith says that they need to prove that something unlawful is going on with the cult so that the sheriff’s department can shut down their compound. Apparently, Casey is still going to school, so Veronica offers to help Keith out. He tells her not to go anywhere near the compound. After Keith leaves, Veronica sends his blood sample off to an online paternity-testing service. At school, Veronica runs into Duncan but ignores him, not wanting to face the possibility that they’re related. Veronica watches Casey with some guys and fills Wallace in. She flashes back to an English class when Casey made fun of a poem Weevil supposedly wrote (it was actually lyrics to a song). Veronica interrogates Casey’s ex-girlfriend Darcy, who dumped him when he turned weird. She suspects that something is going on between Casey and Ms. Mills, the English teacher.

At home, Veronica decides to get involved with Ms. Mills and Casey’s literary magazine crowd so she can do some investigating. After a bad shower, Veronica asks Keith to find a way to get their super to fix their pipes. He suggests that they take their inevitable bonus from the Gants to find a new place to live. At school, Veronica gets left out when students in her class break into groups. Later, Ms. Mills catches up to her to talk about a poem she submitted to the literary magazine. She invites Veronica to hang out with the Moon Calves some time and Veronica quickly agrees, pretending to wonder what Keith said about her going to the compound. Later, Veronica heads to the compound with Ms. Mills and is warned to stay out of the barn. She meets Josh, the head of the group, who likes to hug, then encounters Casey. Ms. Mills invites Veronica to stay for dinner, since the cult’s garden has been yielding a lot of food lately. Veronica meets a girl named Rain and helps her out with food preparation, including cow-milking. She tries to get information out of Rain, but only learns that the Moon Calves are growing “the ultimate cash crop.” Later, the Moon Calves sit around a fire and Veronica voices over that they need to go ahead and do something cultish already. The Moon Calves talk about how happy they are, and when Veronica is put on the top, she decides to play it “flighty” and runs off. She checks out the forbidden barn but only finds a spooked horse inside. At home, Veronica keeps quiet about where she was. In the shower, she notes that if she’s really Jake’s daughter, she’s grabbing her fortune and never taking another cold shower.

At school, Veronica apologizes to Casey for being dumb at the commune. He tells her that she should pay them another visit. She heads back out and steels herself for Josh’s invitation to become another one of his brides. Instead, he shows her the cult’s cash crop - poinsettias. They used Casey’s money to finish their greenhouse and grow a bunch of poinsettias to sell around Christmas. She’s a little confused that the cult doesn’t want her money, body, or labor - they just want her to be happy. Later, as Veronica and the cult members do some work, Keith arrives, posing as someone from the water department who’s there to check the pipes. He’s not happy to see Veronica there, and when they’re back at Mars Investigations, he blasts her for disobeying and putting herself in danger. He reveals that he planted some bugs while he was at the commune, but so far he hasn’t heard anything incriminating. Keith tells Veronica that she’s not allowed to work on the cult case anymore; he thinks the cult members are just out to scam people anyway. The Gants arrive with another man and announce that Mrs. Gant’s mother is dying and her money is going to Casey. They’re afraid that he’s going to give all of the money over to the cult. The man with the Gants announces that he has experience with “deprogramming” cultists and wants to get Casey off of the commune to get him back to normal. The Gants ask Keith to get Casey back from the cult as soon as possible.

Back at home, Veronica has another bad shower. At school, Veronica complains to Wallace about the lack of movement on the cult case. She tells him that the cult is actually making a difference in its members lives, but Wallace thinks she’s been “drinking the Kool-Aid.” Casey asks Veronica to come with him that afternoon when he visits his dying grandmother; she agrees to go. At the hospital, Casey tells Veronica that his parents hate his grandmother and have started treating him better since they discovered that he was getting her money. Veronica takes Casey back to the commune and goes home, though she wants to stay. At home, she spots a picture of Rain - whose real name is Debbie Myer - on a milk carton. When Keith arrives at home, Veronica shows him the carton and Keith says that they have to call the Gants. Veronica tries to stop him, noting that the cult isn’t hurting anyone. Keith tells her that they’ve committed a crime by taking in a minor, and they have a responsibility to their clients. At school, Veronica is about to warn Ms. Mills about what Keith is doing when Casey arrives and tells them that his grandmother died. Ms. Mills, Josh, and Veronica attend the funeral, and afterwards, Veronica warns them to get Rain out of the commune before the authorities find her. As Casey heads over to join his parents, he’s grabbed and shoved into a limo. Veronica rushes to Mars Investigations to fill Keith in, but he tells her that there’s nothing he can do, since Casey was put in a limo with his parents. He does admit that the cult isn’t hurting anyone and reveals that Rain is actually better off there.

At school, Veronica takes a flier for a restaurant from her car’s windshield and puts it on Duncan’s. When he notices, they joke around a little, okay again. Veronica voices over that the DNA results she sent away for can tell her the truth about biology, but even if she’s Jake’s daughter, she wouldn’t deny Keith. Casey arrives in his Porsche and will only say to Veronica, “‘Sup?” That night, Veronica heads home and finds an envelope containing the DNA test results. Without opening the envelope, she sneaks into Keith’s bedroom and shreds it. Keith wakes up and asks if it’s necessary for her to do that right now. She replies that it is.


MEMORABLE QUOTES: “I knew I should have included a few discreet lesbian overtones in that poem.” - Veronica, during a long hug from Josh

Josh: “I’m not judging you, I’m just, I’m saying what you already know.”
Veronica: (voiceover) “That fake fur was a poor choice to infiltrate utopia?”

Wallace: “You better recognize.”
Veronica: “Thank you for being my own personal Springer audience. Should I check myself before I wreck myself?”

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