Veronica Mars Recap: Heeeeeere's Mommy

Veronica Mars Season 1 RecapIn advance of Veronica Mars’ forthcoming big-screen adaptation, TVLine is offering occasional recaps of key episodes from the series’ three-season run. Go Pirates!

Moms are in short supply in Season 1, Episode 15 of Veronica Mars, titled “Ruskie Business.” Nonetheless, Veronica manages to find hers. (Lianne is drunker than a high school football player at a model-home party, but she’s found nonetheless.) Sadly, Miss Mars’ maternal hunt goes 1-for-2, leaving a half-orphaned Logan alternately sobbing in a hotel lobby and careening into a school dance sans pants.

Since we’re not recapping every episode, let’s go over a few key points revealed in the lead-up to “Ruskie Business.” Veronica and Duncan may be half-siblings, given that Lianne Mars and Jake Kane had an affair years ago. The call to arrest Lily’s alleged murderer Abel Koontz came from Kane Software’s head of security, a very menancing fella named Clarence Wiedman. Veronica has a sweet pal named Meg. And even though the world is pretty sure that Lynn Echolls parked her convertible on a bridge and took a swan dive into the sweet hereafter, Logan is convinced she’s alive and on the run.

All caught up? Good. Let’s reminisce about what takes place in “Ruskie Business.”

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LYNN ON THE LAM? | Logan and Veronica have a little conference at school: She’s been tracking his mom’s credit cards, only the one registered in Lynn’s maiden name has been used recently – and it was to rent a car. (Oof, the hope in Logan’s eyes even at this early point in the hour is nearly unbearable.) Young Mr. Echolls, who’s turned out not to be just the resident a-hole he seemed in the pilot, gives Veronica a very contrite look as he rubs her arm and thanks her for helping him.

But this wouldn’t be Veronica Mars if our girl only had one case to keep her busy, so she rapidly picks up a few more. First, Meg wants help finding out the identity of the secret admirer who’s texting her and sending her gorge bouquets. And over at Mars Investigations, a Russian mail-order bride named Catherine wants Keith and Veronica’s help finding the schlubby guy she left but now wants back. His name? Tom Cruz.

“How hard can it be to find an actor named Tom Cruz?” V muses to Wallace, interrupting their hangout one night to do a little work. “Tom Cruise? Not as good a private eye as I thought,” he responds. (Heh.) Spotting an opportunity, Veronica asks her basketball-playing pal to snoop around and see which of his teammates is sweet on Meg. “What is it with your girls and your girly-girl drama?” he cries, but agrees to help. (Side note: In some parallel universe, Veronica totally woke up one day and realized that she was in love with her bestie — who also realized he was in love with her. They now live in a brownstone in Brooklyn and have two adorable, precocious kids.)

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THE BASH IS A BUST | Veronica and Meg attend a kegger at a housing development’s model home to sniff out Meg’s incognito boyfriend, but all they end up with is a spilled beer and more questions. Loverboy isn’t Caz (an appropriately Neanderthal-looking Zachery Ty Bryan of Home Improvement fame) or the nerdy Martin – on another note, I definitely rocked Meg’s am-I-a-bun?-am-I-a-ponytail? updo back in the day. I do enjoy Meg and Veronica’s easy back-and-forth in this episode, though (10-Year-Old Spoiler Alert) it’ll end rather soon.

DO SVIDANIYA | After a basic search turns up nothing on the elusive Mr. Cruz, Keith wants Veronica to drop the case. “Honey, we’re private investigators, not the friggin’ Love Boat,” he tells her. But Veronica keeps on detectin’, eventually finding the address of the man Catherine seeks. Just before she can hand it over, Keith shows up and shuts down her do-goodery: Catherine isn’t looking for a lost love, she’s a plant helping the Russian mafia roust a turncoat out of the Witness Protection Program.

So Veronica and her dad help lure the mob henchmen to the same staged house where Caz threw his party, the sheriff’s office arrest the bad guys, and that’s the end of “Catherine” and her great tale of woe.

RISKY | But let’s get back to Logan, who earlier in the episode meets Veronica at a posh hotel where Lynn’s card has been used. The teens pretend to be engaged so they can get a bead on which suite the card-user is holed up in. (Related: Does Veronica just have that bridal binder hanging around? If not, that’s some impressively fast last-minute work.) And when V’s attempts to cajole her way into the room fail, Logan says he’ll just wait in the lobby until his mother comes down.

He’s still there that evening, when Veronica returns after a tip from Duncan. Finally, a woman in a black trench coat and hat exits the penthouse elevator and approaches the front desk. “That’s her,” Logan says, standing and lighting up with barely restrained joy. But when the woman turns around, it’s really his half-sister Trina (Buffy/How I Met Your Mother‘s Alyson Hannigan). In no time at all, she manages to dash his dream, hint at a history of him being abused by Aaron and be completely vapid as she tries to bond with Veronica. When things get a little heated, Veronica jumps in and leads Logan away; within a few paces, he’s bent in half and crying, clutching the girl who used to be his enemy. Oh, Logan. If Veronica’s face had dialogue in this scene, it would say, “WTF? How do I… oh, OK? Um, guess I’ll rub your back?”

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TIME AFTER TIME | The next time we see Logan, he’s drunkenly sliding into the school’s ’80s dance dressed in a button-down shirt, white briefs, sunglasses and socks. “I cannot escape Tom Cruise,” Veronica says in a tone of wonder. (You and 2006-era Katie Holmes, honey.) Trina soon retrieves her inebriated sibling, ending that storyline for the night.

But so much more happens before this heart is completely eclipsed. (Runner-up to that sentence: … “before that kaja is fully googooed.”) Duncan turns out to be Meg’s admirer, and Veronica graciously leads her girlfriend to what’s likely to be a relationship with V’s ex-boyfriend. It’s a very selfless act, but Veronica’s only human: She barely makes it to her car before she falls apart in the driver’s seat. Enter Deputy Leo, who’s donned his best Don Johnson get-up to squire his crush to her school event. (Side note: How old is Leo supposed to be here? Because even if he’s in his early 20s, it still feels borderline inappropriate for him to be macking on a 17-year-old – I don’t care how worldly she is.) My reservations aside, they kiss, and it’s cute.

The moment is broken when Veronica gets another of the crank calls she’s received all episode. But when she calls back (remember *69?), she learns that the number is a payphone in Barstow… and a blonde woman was there just a moment ago. V runs out on a stymied Leo, and she winds up at a dusty looking bar the next morning.

Lianne is half-passed out at the bar, but she panics when Veronica tries to walk her to the door. Remember when I said Logan’s love for his mom was heartbreaking earlier? Veronica’s conflicted feelings are just as affecting here. “I can’t be seen with you. They’re gonna hurt you,” Lianne mumbles – as Veronica catches a glimpse of Kane thug Wiedman before he walks out the door. Well, that can’t be good.

Now it’s your turn. If you’re new to the series, what are your initial thoughts on the episode? If you’ve been taking Backup for years, what about the episode piqued your interest? If I recall correctly, this was the first episode in which I didn’t actively hate Logan. Did you have a similar experience? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Just got into VM. And man oh man, what a great show that CW decided to cancel. What’s funny is now CW is kissing ass because they realized VM still has a big fan base and growing one as well.

    • shawn00m says:

      I didn’t watch VM when it aired. I’m sorry I didn’t. Looking back, the CW (or WB or whatever it was then) was foolish to put a quality show like this up against ratings giants like The Amazing Race and Lost. They never gave it a chance. But, I digress.

      Ruskie Business is definitely in my top 10 episodes of VM if, for nothing else, it is when you get to see that Logan is human. The tough guy actually had a breaking point and that was very well written and executed. The whole episode is a gem in my opinion although the follow up, “Betty & Veronica” tops it for me. But, this is definitely a quality episode. Heck, there’s hardly an episode I don’t like.

      • Will says:

        Actually, despite my disdain for the network canceling the series, they placed Veronica Mars in the plum spot behind Gilmore Girls. The then network President Dawn Ostroff, who championed for VM to come over from UPN, purposefully put it behind Gilmore Girls to increase eye balls. I did not follow ratings back then, so I’m not sure what it was pulling in the demo that they canceled it. I’ll admit that Season 3 was not my favorite, however it was still good… regardless, I’m glad I was an original MarshMallow and that we finally get our closure. :)

  2. K. says:

    Watched this episode last night, loved it because I think this is the first sign of feelings between Logan and Veronica!

  3. e says:

    deputy leo was 20, but it still does seem a little creepy! even more so that keith is kind of okay with it, but i guess he’s able to keep an eye on leo. i really enjoyed this episode, having watched it for the first time a few weeks ago, and it’s definitely the first time i didn’t hate logan. i really felt for him, and he seemed so hopeful to find his mom only to be abandoned by her in an already horrible family situation. while i don’t ship LoVe, as a person, i do sympathize with logan’s upbringing and hope he has found some happiness in the movie since the series finale :)

    • LB says:

      Doesn’t Veronica tell Leo that her dad has mentioned the 19 month age difference? Leo always seemed like a good guy, but not so bright.when I was in high school my boyfriend and I were in the same grade, yet 2 1/2 years apart (I had skipped a grade, he had been held behind).

  4. Stacie says:

    I am doing that 30 day trial at Amazon Prime because Netflix doesn’t have Veronica Mars streaming and I want to rewatch all the episodes so I am ready for the Movie next month. I am trying to watch all of the Veronica Mars episodes within 30 days. So I am already at Episode 20 of Season 1. I haven’t watched the show in years and years so I forgot a ton so it’s fun to rewatch the episodes and not really rememeber what’s gonna happen. I remember some of the bigger over-arching stuff, but some of the little stuff is fun to rediscover.

  5. Sara says:

    How is the show? It’s a crime procedural with some comedy like Psych & Castle, right? I like Psych & haven’t caught up yet because it seemed silly at times & I needed a break. Love Castle. Would you recommend it to help my February dry spell?

    • charissa29 says:

      It is a fabulous, well-written, well acted show. Plus, Veronica Mars is one of the few great role models for girls. There are sure not many of those.

    • I highly recommend it, Veronica Mars is a bad ass who doesn’t give a rats ass what anyone thinks. I love this more than Castle.

    • Cori says:

      Since I just finished watching Veronica Mars for the first time and also enjoy Psych and Castle, thought I’d give you my take. There are some procedural elements to it, but there’s also a much bigger overarching storyline/mystery to each season. I definitely enjoyed Veronica Mars, but know it is definitely a drama with more snarky than comedic moments. Where Castle tends to lean more light hearted, Veronica Mars is on the darker side. But I would absolutely recommend it. Finished the entire series in a little over two weeks.

      • Sara says:

        Thanks Cori, perfect explanation

      • shawn00m says:

        Good description, Cori. The show is definitely not as light as Castle. While Castle will deal with some disturbing scenes or storylines, they never feel “heavy”. Veronica Mars, in my opinion feels heavy right off the bat. But not in a bad way, in a very “real” way. It seems like this could be any family in any town in America. Maybe it’s a little over-the-top in some ways, but I think most people can relate to it. Both Kristen Bell and Enrico Colantoni play their characters so well, you definitely not only find yourself feeling like you know them, but you’re also rooting for them. This show was, in my opinion, one of the most underrated greatly written television shows of the last few decades.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Just finished watching this series for the first time. I absolutely loved it and am now looking forward to the movie!
    I enjoyed this episode because of the interaction we get between Veronica and Logan. We see him open up in this episode and it makes him much more appealing to viewers.

    • Elyse says:

      when I watched the first few episodes all I could think is “how the heck did he become a fan favorite?” then his dad beat him with that belt… now I feel for him. it’s been so long since I’ve seen VM it’s like I’m watching it all for the first time.

  7. Elyse says:

    I’ve been watching season one all afternoon. I’m on episode 8 “Like a Virgin” I’ll be all refreshed in no time :D :D

  8. Drew says:

    This. Is. Awesome. As a die-hard fan, I’m crying tears of joy because I’ve wanted to read recaps of this show. Thank you, TV LINE!!!!

    • BookGirl says:

      Hey Drew, head on over to, he’s about halfway thru season 2 and he recaps an episode a day weekly. His reviews are awesome, it’s like you’re watching him watch it for the first time!

  9. Forever15 says:

    Hate myself that I waited so long to watch this. So good and dying for the movie.

    VM & LE 4ever

  10. Lecholls says:

    I am elated to see all of these new fans of Veronica Mars. Back in 2006-07 we tried so hard to keep it on the air, and it truly broke my heart when it was canceled. It’s a dream come true to see the movie finally come to fruition, and I love that so many people are finding it and giving it new life.

  11. Kelly says:

    At one point Veronica says there is a 19 month age difference between she and Leo.

  12. adam says:

    Veronica Mars is one of my favorite shows of all time, right behind Buffy. I liked Meg was disappointed she didn’t get to stay Veronica’s friend.

  13. niki says:

    I miss my favourite “teen” shows: Veronica Mars, Buffy, Angel, The OC, Everwood. The WB/CW/UPN had a few great shows back in the day.

  14. Ann says:

    I started watching it a couple weeks ago on Amazon Instant Video (I just joined Amazon Prime, and streaming VM is free for prime members). Love it! About to start season 3. I’m excited to see the movie.

  15. Carda says:

    I don’t get the issue with the age difference. Even when one part’s a minor and one isn’t if the age difference is just 1-3 years so what?
    No one would be bothered the least by that in Europe!