"Lord of the Bling"
Written by John Enbom; directed by Steve Gomer

A record producer named Bone Hamilton lounges at his house, attended by a maid. He chats with his wife Vanessa about their kids - Bryce, who’s a nerd, and Yolanda, who likes riding horses. Bryce approaches and announces that something has happened to Yolanda. Veronica and Wallace do homework at Mars Investigations and discuss Lynn, who reportedly left her suicide note on her Blackberry (see “Clash of the Tritons”). Keith arrives, in pain from a back injury, and Veronica makes a few jokes about Wallace’s hair. Bone appears and after Veronica sends him in to meet with Keith, Wallace tells her who he is. The story goes that Bone, the head of Drive-By Records, once held a man out a window to get him to sign a contract. In the office, Bone tells Keith that Yolanda is missing and he wants Keith to find her. Outside, Veronica realizes that Bone is Yolanda’s father, telling Wallace, “We used to be friends…a long time ago.” Bone explains to Keith that Yolanda’s friend Gabrielle told him they were studying together until midnight, but Bryce found Yolanda’s empty car up the block, and it looks like there was a struggle. Keith suggests that Bone go to the police, but Bone doesn’t want to deal with them. He gives Keith the names of some people who might have wanted to grab Yolanda to hurt him; it’s a long list, so he tells Keith to start with Sam Bloom. At home, Veronica cooks and Keith reads a music magazine, trying to get more information on Bone. Veronica offers to ask around school and Keith warns her to be careful.

At school, Veronica remembers the first time she helped Yolanda - when Yolanda was new (back when Lilly, Logan, Duncan, and Veronica were the two power couples) and needed directions around school. Keith meets with Sam, who tells him that his son grew up with Yolanda, and he hopes that Yolanda finally wised up and ran away. He explains that he and Bone don’t get along because Sam turned him in for tax evasion and got him sent to jail. In retaliation, Bone tried to have Sam (who’s now in a wheelchair) killed in a drive-by shooting. At school, Veronica talks to Gabrielle, noting to herself that she’s learned a lot from having a father in law enforcement and knows that Gabrielle is hiding something. Gabrielle finally admits that she and Yolanda snuck into a club with a bouncer who used to work for Bone. Gabrielle and her friend left earlier than Yolanda, who had her own car. Veronica flashes back to being an 09er and getting to know Yolanda. They invite Yolanda to a party at Logan’s while his parents are out of the country. At the Echolls’ house, Logan and Aaron get ready for Lynn’s wake. Aaron tries to reminisce, but Logan is a little more realistic about his memories. He tells Aaron that his sister (see “Ruskie Business”) can’t make it to the funeral but sent a telegram and a wreath. Keith heads out to investigate the club bouncer, who’s on Bone’s list of enemies. Veronica reminds him that he’s on painkillers and refuses to let him go by himself. At the club, Keith learns that a rapper named Dime Bag was at the club while Yolanda was there; he’s the second person on the enemies list. Veronica reveals that she snagged some valet ticket stubs, despite Keith’s order to stay in the car.

Keith and Veronica head to a hotel where Dime Bag and his posse are staying, but the rapper won’t talk to Keith. He decides to resort to plan B, which involves bugging the rapper’s room. Veronica flashes back to going to Yolanda’s house with Lilly, where Yolanda downplayed her father’s fame and bonded with Lilly over having annoying brothers. Lilly tells Veronica and Yolanda that she’s not going to Logan’s party, since she’s sick of his jealousy. The girls plan to go to Fleet Week the next week, though. At the hotel, a member of Dime Bag’s posse complains to the hotel receptionist about the size of the penthouse. Veronica notes that they’re back early and worries that they’ll catch Keith in their room. The receptionist offers to switch the group’s room, meaning that Keith won’t get caught, but now he’s bugging the wrong room. Veronica quickly poses as Melinda, a hospitality hostess, and shows the group to their new room, where she plants a bug. In the parking garage, Veronica lets Keith think that he’s done the job, but he does find out that she got involved anyway. At the Echolls’ house, Aaron tries to get Logan to present a united front. Logan chooses instead to attack a photographer and break his camera. He then blasts Aaron for hurting Lynn, blaming him for her suicide. Veronica tracks down Bryce, who’s performing a science experiment with water to learn something about civil engineering. Bryce tells her that he thinks someone took Yolanda, adding that he’s an embarrassment to their father because he’s a nerd. He says that it’s too bad that Veronica and Yolanda didn’t stay friends, since Yolanda really liked her and Lilly. Veronica replies that she liked Yolanda, too.

Veronica flashes back to Logan’s party, remembering that Logan didn’t believe Lilly was sick. Veronica and Duncan leave, but when Veronica goes back to get her purse, she sees Logan and Yolanda kissing (as Logan mentioned in “Clash of the Tritons”). At school the next day, Veronica tells Lilly what she saw and Lilly immediately cuts Yolanda out of her life. At the Hamiltons’, Keith tells Bone that he thinks Dime Bag took Yolanda. Bone calls Dime Bag at the hotel; Dime Bag asks him to beg before he’ll tell him anything. He then claims to know nothing about where Yolanda is. After Bone hangs up, he, Vanessa, and Keith listen through the bug and realize that Dime Bag isn’t the culprit. In Veronica’s room, she and Wallace look through the valet tickets, finding one for Benjamin Bloom (Sam’s son), who was at the club the same night as Yolanda. At Lynn’s wake, Logan schmoozes the crowd and plays with a lighter. Aaron’s agent tries to get some business done, but Aaron, fed up that he’s bringing up the subject at Lynn’s wake, announces that he’s leaving show business. Duncan finds Logan in his room, playing video games; Logan says that the wake is all for Aaron and Duncan tells him that he’s getting worried about him. Logan shows Duncan the lighter, explaining that it belonged to Lynn’s father and she always carried it around. However, the day she supposedly died, it was on her dresser. Logan thinks it’s a sign that Lynn is alive and only faked her death to get revenge on Aaron. “She just escaped,” he says.

Keith goes back to see Sam, who doesn’t think that Ben was at a nightclub with Yolanda. Keith wonders if Ben could have taken Yolanda, but Sam claims that he’s in Mexico. At Mars Investigations, Keith has Veronica pose as a sorority girl and call Ben’s dorm room, pretending to have an STD and wanting to know where he is. She learns from his roommate that he’s been acting strangely and left a Vegas hotel confirmation number on his desk. Keith gets a contact in Vegas to track down Ben as Veronica flashes back to Lilly getting her to snub Yolanda at school. Bone comes to Mars Investigations with a ransom note demanding half a million dollars for Yolanda’s return. Keith thinks it’s strange that the note details all of the pieces of the drop; usually kidnappers wait until the last minute to give all of the info. Due to the wording in the note, Bone thinks that Dime Bag has Yolanda and swears to make someone pay if he doesn’t get her back. Back at Bone’s house, he and Keith get together the money, as well as a die pack and a GPS tracker. Keith suggests again that they call the police, but Bone refuses again. Keith decides that he can’t continue to work on the case, so Bone lets him go. Keith and Veronica head to the drop anyway, finding it suspicious that the location is out in the open, susceptible to surveillance, and free of escape routes. As she watches rain running into drains on the street, Veronica gets an idea. She leaves and returns with rubber ducks.

Veronica and Keith monitor the tracking device with the money as Bone gets a call telling him to go to a trash can nearby. He’s ordered to put his expensive ring in a plastic football and throw it down a storm drain instead of giving over the money. When he does, the cab will stop and Yolanda will be released. Bone does as he’s told, but when the taxi approaches, Yolanda isn’t inside. At the end of the storm drain, Bryce watches rubber ducks pop out, followed by the football. Veronica and Keith arrive and Veronica and Bryce compliment each other’s intelligence. Bryce tells her that Yolanda was never kidnapped - she met someone at the club and they ran off together. Bryce rode in Yolanda’s trunk when she went to Gabrielle’s, then took the car back and made it look like she’d been kidnapped. He thinks that Yolanda was trying to get Bone’s attention, but Bryce might have one-upped her a little. Keith hears from his Vegas contact that Yolanda is okay. Back at the Hamiltons’, Bryce slaps Bone’s ring on the table and announces, “You lost your ring.” Keith explains that Yolanda ran off and Bryce wrote the ransom note. “Well, you can be mad, Dad. But you can’t call me soft,” Bryce says. Keith sets up a laptop so that the Hamiltons can have a video phone conversation with Yolanda, who’s just married Ben in Vegas. She says that they won’t come back to Neptune until their parents get over their differences and give them their blessing. Bone doesn’t, so Yolanda tells him they’re staying away. In her room, Veronica chats with Yolanda over the video phone, congratulating her on her marriage and apologizing for not being a better friend. Yolanda says that if she’d been in Veronica’s place, she would have reacted the same way. Later that night, Logan shows up at the Mars’ house and tells Veronica, “I want you to find my mother.”

THE TITLE IS A PLAY ON... The Lord of the Rings.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Wallace: “You know who that is?”
Veronica: “Should I know who that is?”
Wallace: “If you’re serious about your cred with the urban demographic.”
Veronica: “I am absolutely serious about my cred with the urban demo.”

Veronica: “Well, if you’re ditching, that means Yolanda and I will have to party for three.”
Lilly: “Which means Yolanda will have to be partying for two and a half.”

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