"Meet John Smith"
Written by Jed Seidel; directed by Harry Winer

Three boys are hanging out at Neptune High, talking about girls. They spot Veronica and give her a high rating on a scale from 1-10. Troy (see “Credit Where Credit’s Due”) catches up to Veronica and invites her to join him on his father’s boat that weekend. Veronica drops some things and Duncan stops to help her pick them up, then goes off with Logan. At home, Duncan lounges in the pool, listening to music. Jake asks him if he’s going to do anything else, then encourages him to pursue an internship for the next summer. Duncan stops listening, but not before the rest of us do. At dinner that night, Keith tells Veronica that he got a call from her guidance counselor, who wants to set up a meeting with him. She claims not to know what the meeting’s about. Veronica asks why Keith thinks Lianne was at the Camelot Motel with Jake two weeks earlier (see “Pilot”), but Keith reminds her that he wants her to stay away from that case. Veronica wonders why Keith hasn’t been looking for Lianne, since she’s been in Arizona, but she finally decides to change the subject. At their mansion, Jake, Celeste, and Duncan have dinner together. Jake thinks that Duncan needs to become passionate about something, but Celeste wants to give him more time to get over Lilly’s death. Veronica and Duncan both leave their respective houses for different reasons. Later, we see Veronica and Duncan going at it in the backseat of his car. It’s presented as a flashback, but Veronica doesn’t have long hair. In her bed, Veronica wakes up, panting from her dream.

Justin, one of the boys from the beginning of the episode, works at a video store, making recommendations to a woman. Veronica and Keith are nearby, trying to decide what movie to rent. Justin asks Veronica if it’s true that her father is a PI and that she helps him out sometimes. She confirms this and he asks her for some help; she tells him to contact her at school the next day. At the Kane mansion the next morning, Celeste reminds Duncan to take his anti-depressant. When she’s not looking, he tosses the pill down the sink. At school, Troy finds Veronica lost in thought over Duncan; she tells him that she’ll go out with him that weekend. Duncan and Logan discuss Duncan’s date with a girl named Shelley, who Duncan laments is a talker. Logan notes that Troy has been spending a lot of time with Veronica, but Duncan tells him to leave them alone. Logan notices that Duncan doesn’t look like he feels well. Duncan splashes some water on his face in the bathroom and emerges to see Veronica dragging Justin into the girls’ bathroom. Justin asks Veronica to look for his father, who left ten years ago and hasn’t been heard from since. Justin can’t provide her with any photos, address, social security number, or birth date, and his father’s name is John Smith. In the school office, Keith meets with the guidance counselor, Rebecca James (Paula Marshall), who notes that Veronica has had a difficult year since Lilly’s death. That evening, Jake and Celeste argue about Duncan, who interrupts to offer up a toast to his childhood dog Molly. Apparently the dog had bladder issues and was given away.

At school the next day, Justin brags to a friend that Veronica is helping him find his father. The friend points out that his father’s been dead for years. At Mars Investigations, Veronica records a fake voice mail message for a summer program at Stanford. She introduces Wallace to Keith, mentioning that Ms. James was wrong about her not being social. She then fills Keith in on the John Smith case, explaining that she’s narrowed down Justin’s father to one of 440 John Smiths. She’s sent each a letter congratulating his son on a scholarship, and she’s hoping that the right one will call to tell her that she’s sent it to the wrong address. After Keith leaves, Veronica asks Wallace to get her permanent record from the office so she can find out what Ms. James has been saying about her. At the Kanes’ house, Duncan once again tosses his anti-depressant down the sink. At school, Veronica and Wallace read through her permanent file. Justin joins them to find out about his case and gives Veronica a CD he’s burned for her. After he leaves, Veronica asks Wallace to get Justin’s file. Troy and Veronica have dinner together and he tells her about a fake video he and Duncan once planned. They hang out on a promenade and kiss. Veronica goes home to find Keith waiting up for her. In her bedroom, she wonders why she didn’t do more with Troy and asks herself what she’s waiting for. Duncan and Veronica make out in his car again, but this time it’s actually Duncan and Shelley. Shelley is offended by the fact that Duncan said his ex-girlfriend’s name while kissing her, but Duncan thinks it’s funny.

At school, Wallace gives Veronica Justin’s file and she discovers that his father is dead. She confronts him and blasts him for wasting her time. Justin receives a letter and tells Veronica that it’s the scholarship letter she sent out, with a note attached from John. That afternoon, Justin goes to Veronica’s house and apologizes. He adds that his mother found out what he was up to and told him to stop trying to find his father. Justin says that he wants to find him and Veronica agrees to help him again. She puts John Smith into a database, explaining in voiceover that the postmark from the letter was from San Diego, and only three John Smiths from her narrowed-down list were in San Diego. Keith interrupts her search and tells her that he overheard her conversation with Justin and doesn’t want her to think of Lianne as a villain. “The hero is the one who stays and the villain is the one who splits,” Veronica notes. After he leaves, Veronica reveals that she does know where Lianne is - she has her address in Phoenix. At school, Veronica and Troy head to a lacrosse practice game, where Duncan, Logan, and some of their friends are goofing off on the bleachers. Logan and Duncan wrestle over a flash and Duncan starts singing “Summer Lovin’” to the other guys. The 09ers start flipping off of the bleachers onto a stack of mats. Duncan sees Veronica and Troy kissing and flips off of the bleachers, but hits the mats wrong and cuts his head. Veronica goes to help him and Logan sprays them with the flask. Veronica ignores him and takes Duncan to see a doctor.

In the car, Duncan tries to make conversation but Veronica isn’t very receptive. Jake meets up with them at the doctor’s office and quickly gets rid of Veronica. Veronica calls Justin at work and he confirms that he has no pictures of his dad, then chats with the woman he gave recommendations to earlier. Duncan chats with his doctor, Dr. Levine, who warns him about the possible ramifications of quitting his anti-depressants cold turkey - vivid dreams and hallucinations. “It’s worth it,” Duncan replies. At Neptune High, Keith pays Ms. James another visit, apologizing for being defensive during their last meeting. He asks her to talk to Veronica, since he’s not sure she’ll want to talk to him about certain things. Ms. James answers her phone and accidentally knocks a cup of coffee off of her desk. As Keith cleans it up, he silently notes the logo on the cup. As he leaves, Ms. James tells him that when he was the sheriff, he always had her vote. Elsewhere in the school, Veronica tells Justin about the three John Smiths in San Francisco. He rules out two of them, but says that the third might be his father. Justin asks Veronica to take him to see the third guy so that he can see him up close. He asks what the third John was driving, since his father liked cars, but it wasn’t anything interesting. After school, Veronica and Justin track down the third John and Justin approaches him, despite Veronica’s warnings. He’s disappointed to see that the guy isn’t his father. Veronica grabs a shopping list from John’s car and notes that the handwriting on it is the same on the scholarship note.

Duncan watches TV at the Kane mansion and has a dream about a bloody Lilly. She tells him that her murder makes no sense and that the truth will come out. “Clue in, donut,” she says. “It doesn’t add up. You know that deep down inside. I wish you’d just admit it to yourself. Break out of your stupor. Wake up.” Veronica and Justin follow the third John to his house, where Veronica breaks into the garage to look at his car. There, she’s busted by John, who tells her that he’s a parole officer. She tells him that she’s a friend of his son’s, but John says that he doesn’t have a son. Justin spots a car pulling up to the house and approaches, joining Veronica and John as the car stops. He’s shocked to see the woman from the video store inside. She says his name and Justin replies, “Dad?” She explains that she went to the video store to see Justin, adding that this is who she is now. Justin, upset, wants to leave, so Veronica drives him home. On the way, she points out that his father drives ninety miles every week just to see him for a few seconds. Later, Veronica explains via voiceover that she can’t wait for Lianne to find her anymore, so she’s going to drive to Arizona and find her after school. “Tragedy blows through your life like a tornado, uprooting everything, creating chaos,” she voices over. “You wait for the dust to settle and then you choose.” At home, Duncan takes his anti-depressant. “You can live in the wreckage and pretend it’s still the mansion you remember.” At school, Veronica asks Duncan how his head is, and he answers her in the lifeless way he spoke before he stopped taking his medication.

“Or you can crawl from the rubble and slowly rebuild.” Keith makes sure to encounter Ms. James at the place where she buys her coffee. “Because after disaster strikes, the important thing is that you move on.” Justin calls his father from the video store to let her know that the video she wanted is in. “But if you’re like me, you just keep chasing the storm.” Veronica goes to Arizona and encounters Arianna, Lianne’s friend from college. She tells Veronica that Lianne left a couple of weeks earlier but didn’t say where she was going, since she thought Keith would come for her and she didn’t want Arianna to tell him. “Doesn’t she care about me?” Veronica asks. “You’re all she cares about,” Arianna replies. As she leaves, she voices over, “The problem with chasing the storm is that it wears you down, breaks your spirit. Even the experts agree. A girl needs closure.” She heads to Troy’s house, then calls him outside and cries as he holds her.


THE TITLE IS A PLAY ON...: The movie Meet John Smith, directed by Francis Capra’s (Weevil) great-grandfather Frank Capra.

THE LILLY KANE CASE: Duncan, at least unconsciously, doesn’t think that things add up in the murder case.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: “Part of me is proud…and let’s just leave it at that.” - Keith

Veronica: “Hey, would you do me a favor?”
Wallace: “Why did all the hair on the back of my neck just stick up?”

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