"Normal is the Watchword"
Written by Rob Thomas; directed by John Kretchmer

Veronica is working as a hostess at a place called the Hut. She voices over that normal, “the watchword,” sounds good. She’s about to start her senior year of high school, she has a boyfriend and a best friend, and Lilly’s killer is in jail (see “Leave it to Beaver”). She also has a normal job, though she wishes she didn’t see so many of her classmates. A guy named Kelvin arrives and asks for Veronica’s help - he was kicked out of athletics for the year after failing a mandatory drug test, even though he’s been clean for almost ten months. Veronica thinks that he’s telling the truth but says that she’s out of the investigation business. He wonders who he’s supposed to turn to for help. “Encyclopedia Brown?” she suggests. “I hear he’s good.” Kelvin taunts that she’s an 09er now, since she has a rich boyfriend, and last year was just an act. He notes that no 09ers failed their drug tests. After he leaves, a co-worker calls Veronica over to see Keith being interviewed on TV - he’s co-written a book called Small Town, Big Murder. Veronica voices over that while Keith was recovering from the events of “Leave it to Beaver” and trying to pay his medical bills, a crime reporter from the San Diego Tribune approached him about a book deal. The co-worker thinks that Keith is hot.

The interviewer asks Keith about the night everything came to a head as Veronica flashes back to what happened after all the action. She opens the door, as she did at the end of “Leave it to Beaver,” and finds Logan outside her apartment, bloody and beaten. She tends to him inside as he explains that Weevil and his biker gang found him on the bridge and Logan started a fight with them. He was knocked out, and when he woke up, he was holding a knife and Felix was lying nearby, dead. Logan swears that he didn’t kill Felix; Veronica promises that she believes him. He explains that he threw the knife in the water and left. Veronica starts to tell him about Aaron, but Logan has already heard on the radio that he was Lilly’s killer. Leo arrives and tells Veronica that he’s looking for Logan; he knows that he’s there and wants Veronica to turn him in. She opens the door for him and he notices the bruise on her cheek, then heads inside to arrest Logan. In the present, Veronica notes that she has a lot to say in her “what I did last summer” essay when she gets back to school. The next day, Veronica tries to goof off with Wallace, but he’s ticked that she didn’t return his calls the night before. He, too, failed a drug test and was kicked off the basketball team. Wallace wonders if it’s a conspiracy; Veronica notes that nothing happens by accident in Neptune. He informs her that there was one 09er who failed - Meg. Veronica realizes that she’s going to have to get involved and comments, “Just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in.”

At lunch, Wallace describes the drug testing process to Veronica. Veronica determines that since the sample is rejected if the seal is broken, Wallace’s sample couldn’t have been switched with another. She asks which period Wallace is working in the administration office as a student aide. He admits that he didn’t sign up for a year. “Yeah, that doesn’t work for me,” she tells him. However, Wallace has snagged a master key for her, as well as a bunch of administrative passwords. He’s not sure who might have it out for him and thinks it might be someone who hates Veronica. He asks where Veronica’s boyfriend is; Veronica says that he’s visiting his father. She voices over that things were easier when she had a secret relationship, but now that’s impossible. In a flashback, Duncan visits the Hut and tells Veronica that his parents are in Napa for the duration of Aaron’s trial, but he’s staying at the Neptune Grand so he can finish high school in Neptune. Veronica’s co-worker lets her know that her boyfriend is there and Veronica goes over to see Logan. In the present, Veronica voices over that Logan and Duncan aren’t speaking anymore, which she guesses is “what happens when your best friend starts dating your ex.” Veronica finds Kelvin and tells him that she’s changed her mind about helping him. He admits that a kid named Butters swore he’d ruin Kelvin’s life after Kelvin humiliated him in gym class. Veronica takes Kelvin’s photo and moves on to talk to the other athletes who failed their drug tests.

A girl named Jilly tells Veronica that her father is being sued by a company called Boatloads of Fun Corp. A beach house he leased to a group of families (calling themselves Boatloads of Fun) wants their money back because the roof leaked. Later, Veronica speaks with a guy named Viet who beat out a kid named Jennings in singles tennis. Jennings’ parents tried to have the coach fired and held a school board meeting, bringing in a professional tennis player to testify that Jennings was a better player than Viet. Veronica spots Meg nearby and voices over that when Duncan broke up with Meg, she blamed Veronica, so they’re not exactly friends anymore. She tries to be friendly to Meg, but Meg is cold to her and doesn’t help her figure out who might have wanted her to fail her drug test. Veronica heads into school, passing through metal detectors, which were installed when tensions arose between the 09ers and the non-09ers. In a flashback, Logan fights through a crowd at the sheriff’s department to a limo where Veronica is waiting for him. She voices over that the knife that killed Felix was never found and Logan’s lawyers discredited the bikers who testified against him at trial. They were able to prove that if he did kill Felix, it was in self-defense. Logan was acquitted six weeks after his arrest and the town went crazy over a rich kid literally getting away with murder.

In the present, Veronica and Wallace put photos of all of the kids who failed their drug tests on a white board. Veronica determines that all of the athletes may have been present when Kelvin humiliated Butters. Keith comes home and grosses Wallace out a little about Alicia. At school, Veronica tracks down Vincent, aka Butters, who hates his nickname because it’s after a weak kid on South Park. Vincent doesn’t confirm or deny that he’s behind the drug test failures. Veronica warns that Kelvin will go after Vincent if he is responsible. Vincent doesn’t think he will because he’s Clemmons’ son. That night, Veronica and Wallace break into the administration office and look in a filing cabinet. Veronica thinks that Vincent forged the negative results before Clemmons could go over them. However, after some studying, Veronica can’t find any way in which the results were altered. The results were also all hand-signed by a lab technician named Jim Chimery. Veronica wonders if the results might have actually been accurate - Wallace might have ingested something without noticing. He remembers that the athletes had spirit boxes in their lockers on the first day of school; the cookies in them must have been laced with pot. Veronica tells Wallace to meet her at her house in a few minutes, since she wants to run to the drugstore, but he doesn’t want her to go by herself. She flashes back to making out with Logan in his car and getting shot at through the window by a biker.

In the present, Wallace tries to do a drug test at Veronica’s but has some trouble performing. Keith isn’t helpful. Later, Veronica performs the test and notes that Wallace is, of course, clean. She realizes that this means Vincent didn’t lace the cookies in the spirit boxes, so they’re back to square one. Wallace points out that all of the students who failed were starters for their particular sports. Veronica and Wallace list all of the students’ substitutes. Veronica then asks Keith for some help in getting them information on a company’s shareholders. She wants to fill him in on everything but makes sure he won’t tell Alicia anything. Keith gets the names of the shareholders of Boatloads of Fun and Veronica matches them as the parents of the substitute athletes. The next day, Veronica and Wallace talk about their plan in the journalism classroom - Veronica will e-mail the shareholders and tell them that Chimery, the lab tech, wants to meet with them about their financial arrangement. She thinks this will scare them, and though this might not necessarily help Wallace, it’ll be fun for her. Veronica tells Wallace that the new journalism teacher, Ms. Dumas, is taking a group of students to a nearby baseball stadium for a field trip the next day. Wallace notes that Veronica doesn’t like people, but Veronica wants to do something else normal.

Veronica passes Weevil in the hallway and, though he watches her, they don’t talk. She flashes back to the summer, when Logan took summer school (since he didn’t take his finals because he was arrested) and she met him for lunch at school. Logan says that Trina is negotiating to sell her version of their father’s story; she wants to play herself, but producers want Tara Reid. Veronica notes that Trina wasn’t even around when the truth came out about Aaron. Logan says it doesn’t matter and wonders if they can get Tom Welling to play him. The couple runs into Beaver/Cassidy and Dick, who calls Veronica “Logan’s special lady friend who I approve of whole-heartedly and without reservation.” Veronica notices that the brothers are loading a lot of gasoline in the back of their car; Logan explains that they’re going to burn the grass on Pan High’s field and spell out “Pan Sucks.” Apparently, the next day the community pool caught fire and the city had to close it down for the rest of the summer. 09ers, of course, have their own pools, so they weren’t affected. After school, Logan and Dick hang out by the Casablancas’ pool while Cassidy swims. Logan has been skipping school and doesn’t think it’s a big deal, since he’s basically an orphan now and can do whatever he wants. Dick and Cassidy’s stepmother Kendall (Charisma Carpenter) comes outside, pretending to be maternal, and Dick and Logan almost lose it.

Veronica is working at the Hut when the Boatloads of Fun families arrive to meet with Chimery. Veronica has planted mics at the table and she and Clemmons are listening to the families’ conversation. Clemmons hears enough to know what’s really going on. Veronica’s co-worker tells her that her boyfriend’s there - but this time it’s Duncan, not Logan. The next day, Veronica and Duncan head to the school bus for their field trip and encounter Logan. “I’m gonna miss you,” he tells Veronica. She flashes back to breaking up with Logan because he’s getting into too much trouble with his friends and she thinks he’s going to get hurt. He lashes out, reminding her that his mother and girlfriend are dead and his father is a murderer. Now the only person he cares about is dumping him. Keith arrives and grabs Logan, pulling him away from Veronica and telling him not to talk to her that way. In the present, Duncan and Veronica sit near Dick, Cassidy, and Meg on the bus and Dick notices a new girl, Gia (Krysten Ritter). Logan heads to the Casablancas’ house and asks Kendall if Dick and Cassidy can come out and play. She lets him in, then drops her robe. “We’ve got to stop meeting like this,” he tells her, following her. At the baseball field, the team’s owner, Woody Goodman (Steve Guttenberg), talks to the students and tells them that he’s running for mayor. (Except this is a mistake, and he’s actually running for county supervisor, so pretend he didn’t say that.) He invited everyone over to meet Gia, who’s his daughter.

Later, the students hang out as a baseball player, Terrence Cook (Jeffrey Sams), complains to Woody about something. Woody introduces him to everyone. Dick tells Duncan and Veronica (his friend’s girlfriend, “whose quick wit I find enchanting”) that instead of taking the bus back to school, he and Cassidy are taking their father’s limo. Veronica and Duncan agree to go, though Veronica is reluctant. Dick invites Meg to come as well, but she declines. Veronica decides that it’s time to make up with her and tells Duncan that she’ll go back on the bus instead. Duncan doesn’t think that Veronica owes Meg anything, since Veronica didn’t do anything to her; Veronica notes that he’s obviously not a girl. She goes to talk to Terrence, telling him that Keith is a big fan but admitting that she likes Johnny Damon because he’s pretty. On the bus, Veronica tries to make small talk with Meg, who sarcastically offers to pay her for getting her back on the cheerleading squad. In a flashback montage, Veronica spends some time with Duncan at the Hut, noting that he visited every day since she started working there, whether she was there or not. In the present, Veronica voices over that she heard that Duncan broke up with Meg on the last day of school. She’s not sure, however, if it had anything to do with him learning from her that they weren’t related. Veronica and Duncan didn’t get back together until Veronica’s 18th birthday, after she broke up with Logan and Keith kicked him out. In a flashback, Duncan leaves a fortune cookie for Veronica after he leaves the Hut. She reads the fortune, runs after him, and they kiss. (The fortune will be revealed in “Donut Run.”)

In the present, Veronica voices over that she’s sorry Meg is hurt, but she doesn’t regret what happened. The bus stops at a gas station and Veronica goes in to get some water. When she comes back out, she has a vision of Lilly running behind the building and follows her. Around the corner, she sees Weevil and sarcastically asks if she’s safe there with him. Back on the bus, Ms. Dumas asks if everyone is there; Meg sees Veronica still talking to Weevil but says that everyone is on the bus. Weevil asks Veronica if she enjoyed her “year of living dangerously.” He notes that she went back to the 09ers as soon as they let her back in. He’s angry because he believes Logan killed Felix and he got away with it because he’s white and rich. Veronica notes that the bikers beat Logan up and Weevil didn’t see anything anyway, since he’d been knocked out. Weevil is adamant that Logan killed Felix, since none of the other bikers would have done it. Veronica fills him in on a biker shooting at her and Logan; he doesn’t have a response. The bus starts to leave and Veronica tries to go after it but is too late. Weevil smirks and starts to leave on his motorcycle. Veronica calls Wallace but Weevil changes his mind and offers her a ride. On the road, they spot smoke up ahead and see the limo pulled over. Veronica heads to the edge of the cliff, where Duncan, Dick, Cassidy, and Gia are looking down at the water - the bus has gone off the cliff. Upset, Gia tells Veronica, “It just went straight off the cliff. It didn’t even slow down. They’re all dead.” As Duncan holds her, Veronica voices over, “This is Neptune. Nothing happens accidentally.”

WELCOME TO NEPTUNE: Kendall, Gia, Woody, Terrence

THE SCHOOL BUS CASE: Ms. Dumas, the journalism teacher, took a group of students on a field trip to the local baseball stadium. The students included Veronica, Duncan, Meg, Dick, Cassidy, and Gia.

Before Veronica and Duncan got on the bus, Logan told Veronica, “I’m gonna miss you.”

Duncan, Dick, Cassidy, and Gia were all in Dick and Cassidy’s father’s limo for the trip back to school. Veronica was on the bus until it stopped at a gas station; she got a ride with Weevil.

Gia told Veronica that the bus went over the cliff without slowing down.

THE FELIX TOOMBS CASE: The night of the events of “Leave it to Beaver,” Logan woke up after his fight with the bikers to find Felix dead. Logan was holding a knife and was accused of murder.

Logan threw the knife in the water before leaving the bridge.

Logan was acquitted of Felix’s murder because the murder weapon was never found and the bikers were discredited.

Weevil didn’t see what happened on the bridge because he was knocked out in the fight.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Kelvin: “I guess it’s true what they say about you, then, huh?”
Veronica: “Probably, but you’re going to have to narrow it down for me.”

Veronica: “Try to figure out what the connection is between all the people that failed the test. Got any enemies you know about?”
Wallace: “Well, there’s the Klan.”
Veronica: “This is not really their MO.”
Wallace: “I guess that leaves everybody that hates you.”

Keith: “Wallace, your mom and I have an understanding.”
Veronica: “You do?”
Keith: “Yes, and it’s this: I behave myself and she doesn’t leave me.”

Keith: “So, senior year. How was your first day of school, honey?”
Veronica: “Great. I beat up a freshman, stole his lunch money, and then skipped out after lunch.”
Keith: “What, no premarital sex?”
Veronica: “Oh, yeah, yes. But don’t worry, Dad, I swear you’re gonna like these guys.”
Keith: “That’s my girl.”

Dick: (re: Gia) “Hey who’s the lovely young flower blossoming into womanhood?”
Duncan: “Let me guess: you want to pluck her.”

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