Written by Rob Thomas; directed by Mark Piznarski

Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) shows us her school, Neptune High, which is full of rich kids. Most kids who have to get after-school jobs do the regular teenage after-school stuff, but Veronica tails cheating spouses and people who have filed false claims. Veronica arrives at school to discover that a new kid, Wallace Fennel (Percy Daggs III) has been duct-taped to the flagpole with “snitch” written on him. She learns through the conversations from other students that “the bikers” taped him up, and no one wants to get him down because they’re afraid of going against said bikers. Veronica cuts Wallace down, welcomes him to Neptune High, and gives a falsely cheery, “Go Pirates!” Later, Veronica gets caught dozing in class and is asked a question about Alexander Pope’s “An Essay on Man.” Veronica opines that “life’s a b%$@# until you die,” but her teacher isn’t amused with her “succinct and somewhat inappropriate response.” Later that day, Veronica spots Vince Principal Van Clemmons (Duane Daniels) and Deputy Sacks (Brandon Hillock) conducting a surprise search on her locker, though she states in voice-over that she knows about the searches before the authorities do. (She also knows the deputy’s search dog by name.) When she opens her locker for the search, all that’s inside is a heart-shaped picture of Clemmons. “Wow,” Veronica says. “This is a little embarrassing.”

At lunch, Veronica voices over (get used to it) that she used to sit with the popular kids, even though her father wasn’t as rich as theirs. He used to be the sheriff, and that gave her something of an in, though it was really the fact that she dated Duncan Kane (Teddy Dunn) that gave her the real in. In a flashback, we see Veronica and Duncan smooching. She voices over he just broke up with her one day, without warning. In the present, Veronica watches Duncan at his table; he’s joined by Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), who sits on his lap to bug Veronica. Veronica voices over that Logan’s father is a famous movie star, and Logan is the school’s “obligatory psychotic jacka%$.” Wallace joins Veronica and thanks her for rescuing him from the pole. Eli Navarro, aka Weevil (Francis Capra), arrives and criticizes Wallace for not waiting for him on the flagpole. He threatens Wallace and Veronica tells Weevil to leave him alone. Weevil’s friend Felix (Brad Bufanda) joins, telling him not to let Veronica talk to him like that, then starts to strip to shut her up. Clemmons catches him and asks Veronica why trouble always follows her around. After he leaves, Veronica asks Wallace what he did to cross the bikers. He flashes back to the previous night, when he was working at the Sac and Pac and the bikers stole some stuff. When the police arrived, the bikers weren’t happy with Wallace.

Veronica explains that there are no police in Neptune, just the sheriff’s department. Sheriff Don Lamb (Michael Muhney) questioned Wallace, who told him that the bikers paid and lied that he pressed the alarm accidentally. On his way out, Lamb grabbed a surveillance video and told Wallace, “You need to go see the Wizard. Ask him for some guts.” (Lamb is pretty much always a jerk. Don’t expect anything else.) Veronica congratulates Wallace for ticking off the bikers and the sheriff in less than a day. After school, Veronica heads home to her apartment complex, flashing back to Duncan swimming in the pool. Her mother, Lianne (Corinne Bohrer), appears with a cake and guests for a surprise birthday party. In the present, Veronica thinks her mom is there, but it’s actually a neighbor. Veronica takes her dog to the beach, where she runs into Wallace again. She then heads to her father’s office, where she’s surprised to see Celeste Kane’s car outside, as Celeste is Duncan’s mother. In the outer office, Veronica encounters Cliff McCormack (Daran Norris), a lawyer who’s dropping off some files and suspects that Veronica helps her father out with his cases. He tells her about a dancer he’s defending and encourages her to get Keith to help her out. Celeste (Lisa Thornhill) exits, thanking Keith (Enrico Colantoni) for his help, though she’s reluctant to ask for it. After Celeste leaves, Veronica voices over that Celeste hates Keith because he tried to send her husband Jake to jail for life.

Veronica tries to find out why Celeste was visiting Keith; she suspects that Jake is having an affair. He confirms this and tells her that he took the case, since they need the money. Keith has to leave quickly for an investigation, so Veronica agrees to book his flight and get him a rental car. He warns her not to do anything on the Kane case while he’s gone, then implies that he knows she will anyway by telling her to take backup. Veronica tails Jake to his company, Kane Software, which is full of millionaires and is responsible for the wealth of most of the town. Veronica flashes back to a carwash she volunteered at with Jake’s daughter Lilly (Amanda Seyfried), her best friend. Veronica notes that Lilly is cheerful and Lilly replies, “High on life, Veronica Mars. I’ve got a secret. A good one.” Veronica voices over that that was the last time she and Lilly ever spoke. That night, as Veronica and Keith were driving home, they got a call on the dispatch radio that something was wrong at the Kane’s house. In flashback, Veronica goes to Duncan at the mansion, but he doesn’t respond to her. She soon finds Lilly dead, with Keith and the Kanes nearby. During the investigation, Keith went after Jake and wound up getting criticized for going after someone who wasn’t really the killer. In the present, Veronica follows Jake (Kyle Secor) to a seedy motel. She flashes back to six weeks after Lilly’s death, when she learned that someone at the sheriff’s department had leaked the crime scene video. Someone made millions off the video, and Keith took the blame. Logan wasn’t too happy with Veronica after that.

Later in flashback land, Keith and Lianne argue about Jake’s possible guilt. Veronica voices over that an emergency recall election got Keith kicked out of office and Lianne wanted to leave Neptune, but Keith and Veronica didn’t want to be run out of town. On TV, Veronica spotted a report that a guy named Abel Koontz (Christian Clemenson) had been arrested for Lilly’s murder. Koontz was a former Kane employee and was fired as Kane’s streaming video project was being developed. Lamb supposedly found Lilly’s shoes and backpack on Koontz’s houseboat. In the present, Weevil and his biker gang interrupt Veronica’s stakeout. The dog, whose name turns out to be Backup, attacks a gang member, so Veronica tasers him. She tells Weevil that she’ll make a deal with him - if he leaves Wallace alone for a week, she’ll make sure the bikers don’t get in trouble for the Sac and Pac robbery. Weevil eventually takes the deal, warning that if Veronica doesn’t make good on her part, “we come for you, your boy, and your little dog, too.” After the bikers leave, Veronica voices over that she has a pretty big reputation, despite the fact that she doesn’t actually remember when she lost her virginity. She continues voicing over as she flashes back to a party she attended after Keith was fired as sheriff. Someone drugged her, and when she woke up the next morning, she wasn’t so much a virgin anymore. She has no idea who raped her, and she never told her father.

At school the next day, Logan jokingly asks “Ronnie” to play hooky with him and his friends, offering up a half-naked Duncan to her. Duncan gets Logan to back off, but Logan continues bugging Veronica by offering her some booze, asking if she isn’t her mother’s daughter. Duncan tells Logan more firmly to leave Veronica alone, but Logan whines that she used to be fun. Veronica voices over that it’s been 8 months since she saw her mother, who left the month after Keith lost his job. All she left Veronica was a unicorn music box and note that said she’d come back for Veronica some day. At lunch, Wallace tells Veronica that people are talking about her, but he’d rather hang out with the person who got him down from the flagpole than the people who laughed at him when he was up there. Later, Veronica and Wallace meet with an art student named Corny (Jonathan Chesner) about something that will help the bikers stay away from Wallace. Back at home, Veronica downloads photos from the seedy motel, tacking one of a license plate to her bulletin board. Keith returns home with a “who’s your daddy?” and tries to convince Veronica that he used to be cool. He shows her the money he made on his case and announces, “Tonight we eat like the lower middle class to which we aspire.” As he cooks dinner, Veronica tells him about Jake and gives him the photos of the license plate. He tells her to stay away from Jake and announces that they’re dropping the case.

That night, Veronica works on the case Cliff gave her and Keith, revealing that it’s connected with her plan to save Wallace from the bikers. At school the next day, Clemmons and Sacks continue their locker searches and find a bong shaped like the Venus de Milo in Logan’s locker. Logan spots Veronica smirking and tells her that things aren’t over between them. After school, Veronica and Wallace go to the sheriff’s department, where they set off a smoke bomb in the evidence room. After firemen put out the non-existent fire, Veronica goes to the fire department and chats with the chief, who calls her “Smokey the Barely Legal.” He confirms that he made the switch she wanted and gives her a tape from the evidence room. Veronica voices over some people in Neptune still like Keith, so she can sometimes count on them to help her out. Back at Mars Investigations, Veronica puts on a German accent and calls the San Juan Capistrano Police Department pretending to be a woman named Inga. She tells an officer that the sheriff’s department’s computers are down again and she needs him to run a license plate. He does so and tells her that the car belongs to Lianne. Keith arrives and Veronica asks him why they’re dropping the Kane case. He lies that it’s just about corporate espionage and they didn’t get offered enough money for the case.

The next day, Veronica heads to the sheriff’s department, where she chats with the real Inga (Seraina Jacqueline). She flashes back to the last time she was there - when she reported her rape. Lamb isn’t very accommodating, even when Veronica starts crying. “Why don’t you go see the Wizard?” he says. “Ask him for a little backbone.” In the present, Lamb is testifying against the bikers, but when he starts to show the surveillance tape, it’s been replaced by a video of Sacks with a stripper. Cliff decides to take the opportunity to try to get his dancer client’s case thrown out. Veronica heads to the beach, where she gives Wallace the real surveillance tape from the Sac and Pac. He tells her that, under her tough exterior, she’s a softie - “there’s a slightly less angry young woman who’s just dying to bake me something. You’re a marshmallow, Veronica Mars. A twinkie.” The nice moment is interrupted by Logan and some of his friends, who are hanging around Veronica’s car. Logan smashes Veronica’s headlight with a crowbar, angry that his dad took his car away because of the bong incident. The bikers show up and Weevil lets Logan know that he’s the person in town who controls all the vandalism. The bikers start harassing the popular kids, and Weevil dents a kid’s hood and smashes his headlights. He tells the others to leave and makes Logan apologize to Veronica. Logan refuses, so Weevil punches him until Veronica tells him she doesn’t want Logan’s apology.

The popular kids leave and Weevil tells Veronica that his uncle has a body shop and can fix her car. She tells him to apologize to Wallace, noting that he has the surveillance video from the Sac and Pac. Weevil apologizes, but Wallace happily tells him he’s not giving him the video. That night, as Veronica drives to Mars Investigations, she voices over that she’s learned from this business that “the people you love let you down.” After Keith leaves the office, she gets into the safe, where she finds Lilly’s murder case file. She discovers that even though Koontz is on death row, Keith is still investigating the murder. She wonders why the photo of Lianne’s license plate is in the file, why Lianne was at the motel, what she’s doing with Jake, and, of course, who killed Lilly. Keith returns after Veronica is done snooping and tries to get her excited about an evening at home with him. She tells him that she has to make a stop first, so she’ll meet him at home. After she leaves, Keith picks up the unicorn music box. In her car, Veronica voices over that Keith must have lied to her for a reason - she has to trust that he’s protecting her. She still wants answers, so she heads back to the seedy motel. In voice over, she promises that she’ll find out what really happened and bring her family back together. “I’m sorry, is that mushy?” she says. “Well, you know what they say - Veronica Mars, she’s a marshmallow.”

WELCOME TO NEPTUNE: Veronica, Wallace, Clemmons, Sacks, Duncan, Logan, Weevil, Felix, Lamb, Lianne, Backup 1.0, Lilly, Koontz

THE LILLY KANE CASE: Lilly was murdered in her home in October of 2003. Keith was the first person to arrive at the crime scene. Jake, Celeste, and Duncan were already there.

Duncan was unresponsive when Veronica tried to talk to him at the crime scene.

The last time Lilly talked to Veronica before the murder, she told her that she had a secret.

Six weeks after the murder, someone leaked the video of the crime scene.

After accusing Jake of murdering his daughter, Keith was run out of office.

Abel Koontz was arrested and convicted of Lilly’s murder. Her backpack and shoes were found on his houseboat. He’s on death row for the crime.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Weevil: “The only time I care what a woman has to say is when she’s riding my big ole hog, and even then it’s not so much words, it’s just oohs and aahs, you know?”
Veronica: “So it’s big, huh?”
Weevil: “Legendary.”
Veronica: “Well, let’s see it. I mean, if it’s as big as you say, I’ll be your girlfriend…. (gasps) We could go to prom together!”

Keith: “Who’s your daddy?”
Veronica: “Ugh. I hate it when you say that.”

Keith: “You remember this - I used to be cool!”
Veronica: “When?”
Keith: “‘77. Trans-Am. Blue Oyster Cult on the eight-track. A foxy stacked blonde riding shotgun. Racing for pink slips. Oh, wait a minute. I’m thinking of a Springsteen song. Scratch everything. I was never cool.”
Veronica: “I don’t know which bothers me more - ‘foxy’ or ‘stacked.’”

“That’s right, my daddy took my T-Bird away. And you know what I won’t be having? Fun, fun, fun.” - Logan

“Hey, yo! Is this O-Town any good? I mean, my little sister likes ‘em, but she likes ponies and juice boxes, too.” - Felix, making fun of Logan’s friend’s CDs

Wallace: “I suddenly feel like I’m in a scene from The Outsiders.”
Veronica: “Be cool, Soda Pop.”

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