We’ve arrived at that Veronica Mars episode, Marshmallows. The one with the balcony and the Jonathan Taylor Thomas and the kissing and the what the hell just happened?
I can distinctly remember sitting on the futon couch in my post-college apartment, losing my stuff when the plucky P.I. and the sulky (former) psycho first locked lips. It was hot. It came out of nowhere. It was – to paraphrase Veronica herself from a later episode – so wrong, it was right. And it kicked off a pairing that strapped me and every other LoVe enthusiast into a yellow Nissan Xterra headed straight to heartbreak. (Hands in the air if you’ve got this GIF from the upcoming movie bookmarked.)
I could just squee through this whole recap, but I will make an effort to channel my inner Backup and be cool – after all, the hour does feature a mystery plot, a Sons of Anarchy star in the making and a dad back on the dating scene, and those elements deserve their due.
Since we’re not recapping every episode, let’s go over a few points revealed in the lead-up to the hour. Logan became aware that Veronica was keeping a file on Duncan. Keith let Veronica know that he believed Jake and Celeste Kane were somehow involved in the cover-up of Lilly’s death – perhaps because Duncan had a hand in it. And Veronica’s mom Lianne went to rehab to curtail her drinking.
Now that you’re caught up, let’s revisit “Weapons of Class Destruction.”
WE LOVE THE ’90s | We open on Veronica and Leo making out outside her apartment door. He’s jockeying for an invite inside; she teasingly asks what’s so important to see in there. “I wanted to get a really good, long look at your bedroom ceiling,” he responds with a grin. Deputy dawg! Veronica mentions that Keith is cool with his daughter dating a 29-month-older man, but that he’s probably not going to be down with a school-night sleepover.
When they part and Veronica goes inside, Keith wants to have a little talk. V assumes it’s about her new beau, so she’s rather surprised when Keith confesses that he’s been dating too – and his lady is Wallace’s mom, Alicia. Neither kid is psyched about the revelation, though the next day at school, Veronica jokes, “I’ve always wanted a little brother I could dress up like a little doll.” Wallace is unamused.
Soon, though, they have the case o’ the week to distract them from their parents’ canoodling: A journalism class assignment leads Veronica to discover that someone’s been making bomb threats at school, and graffiti reading “KillEmAll.net” is popping up throughout campus. The sleuth quickly latches onto two suspects: Norris, a big lug with a past as a bully (hi, future Juice Theo Rossi!), and Ben, the fatalistic new kid who tags along with him. (Side note: Between Joey Lauren Adams as journalism teacher Ms. Stafford and JTT as Ben, it’s 1997 up in here.)
LOGAN TO THE RESCUE! | Wallace procures Norris’ file for Veronica, but only after they make up following a little spat about their folks dating. I’m with Wallace; Veronica’s assurance that Alicia won’t be around for long because Lianne will be back from rehab soon is callous, especially when you’re talking about your close friend’s mom. But the fact that Wallace and Veronica establish their status as besties is very sweet – remember, this is a girl who has walled herself off from pretty much everyone else.
The weird thing, Wallace notes, is that Ben doesn’t have a file in the administrative office. And another student saw him and Norris throwing explosives at cats after school. So when Veronica sees the two miscreants fighting from a distance, she decides to tail the new kid. She follows him to the Camelot Motel, which is odd, and then to a garden store, where he buys lots of bags of fertilizer. Veronica is distracted from her P.I. duties by a call from Logan, and that’s when Ben hops into her car and tells her to start driving. She can see he’s wearing a handgun in a shoulder holster, so she complies… but drops the phone with Logan still on the other end, and makes sure to mention that they’re heading back to the Camelot.
Ben calls Veronica “pesky” and tells her a lot of people could die because of her; based on that and the way he strong-arms her up the stair to his second floor room at the motel, I can’t blame her for freaking. But have no fear! Logan is there with a ready fist and years of pent-up victimhood, and he whales on Ben like there’s nothing he’d rather do. But Veronica stops the carnage when she finds Ben’s ID and realizes he’s a federal agent.
LoVe IS IN THE AIR | Logan is still unimpressed, and tells Ben so when he asks for a moment with Veronica. “Dream on, Jump Street. I’m not leaving you alone with her,” he cracks (heh), but eventually complies when after V agrees to leave the door open. Ben tells her he’s the (babyfaced) head of an Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms investigation into the bomb threats at the school, and that he needs her to infiltrate Norris’ bedroom and garage to see if he’s got weapons stockpiled there. And how’s she supposed to gain access? “Easy,” Ben says, smiling. “He likes you.”
She leaves and finds Logan waiting like a smoldering guard dog, wanting to know if she’s OK. She says yes, then impulsively plants one on him. Just like that! Both of them look shocked that she did it, and Veronica even shakes her head as though she’s thinking better of it. She starts to walk away, skinny scarf flapping behind her. But then (oh goodness) Logan reaches out and grabs her arm (ohgoodnessohgoodness), spins her back toward him (why is the spin-and-kiss always 40 percent hotter than a regular old kiss?) and goes for it.
What got me – and still gets me – about this kiss is how much fire it has. This isn’t a drunken, convenient hook-up. This isn’t a let’s-see-how-this-goes peck. This is two people acting on years of something unacknowledged between them. We get a long moment of LoVe in action before they break apart and realize what just happened. V can’t deal, so she drives off while Logan watches from the balcony.
VINDICATION | Veronica’s trip to Norris’ house yields nothing except the knowledge that his family has wi-fi (such a novelty back then!) and that his neighbor is the same student that tipped Veronica off about the kitten bombs. Turns out, that kid was also terrorized by Norris in middle school… and he’s gotten his revenge by creating red-flag Web content and making it look like it’s coming from Norris’ home computer.
Veronica is about to warn Norris that he could be in trouble when the ATF, headed up by a black-and-blue Ben wearing a suit, finds fertilizer and guns in the trunk of Norris’ car. He claims they’re not his, and Veronica soon realizes he’s right: Ben, wanting a quick and definite win, planted the evidence. So with Ms. Stafford’s encouragement, Veronica writes a cover story for the Neptune Navigator which exonerates Norris… and gets Ms. Stafford fired. But as she walks away from the classroom for the last time, the teacher hears the class continuing on in grand journalistic tradition, and she smiles. Yay, I guess?
¿DÓNDE ESTÁ DUNCAN? | But what of Duncan in this episode, you ask? Don’t worry, I saved him for last. After acting like a complete jerk to Veronica when she and Meg chat during lunch, he finally confesses that Logan told him Veronica has been conducting her own investigation of Lilly’s death. It gets ugly, especially after she says she knows his Type IV epilepsy makes him prone to violent mood swings and that the Kanes likely paid Abel Koontz to confess to their daughter’s murder. “You think I killed Lilly?” he shouts, suddenly seeming like someone very capable of that act, and leaves the room.
Later, Meg is distraught: Duncan withdrew $10,000 from the bank and went missing… exactly the way Veronica described earlier in the episode when discussing someone who wanted never to be found again. Oops!
Now it’s your turn. New to the series? Old-school Veronica aficionado? What did you think of the episode – did it turn you into a LoVer, too? Sound off in the comments!Follow @kimroots