''Veronica Mars'': Now, it's personal
Is it just me, or has Veronica Mars been on repeat with slight plot variations here and there for a few weeks? Consider the general pattern: Veronica continues to investigate the campus serial rapes, making a hair of progress each week. Piz hosts a radio show and tries to edge in on LoVe but gains little ground. There's a smaller one-episode mystery that Veronica solves after going down the wrong path at first. Logan hides things from Veronica. And Keith and Harmony struggle with their sordid relationship. Is that about right?
That's not to say that this episode was bad; things just have gotten a bit formulaic. If nothing else, Veronica's still got more snap than a lobster. (''Consider my mind blown, and then put back together. And blown again.'') She was on a rampage this week, against both her dad and Logan. The men in her life haven't been living up to her high standards the usually principled Keith took up seriously with the unhappily married Harmony, and the rarely principled Logan was keeping secrets about his and Mercer's alibi the night of the campus rapes during the summer. So Veronica spoke her mind and generally avoided them both, focusing instead on the mystery of the week a visiting girl's missing boyfriend which was a snoozer.
Veronica's investigation into someone else's relationship served to widen LoVe's growing gap. Upon finding her boyfriend, Sully, at the police station, the hapless girlfriend, Merrill, thanked Veronica, who apologized for at first thinking Sully was cheating and avoiding the break-up chat. Merrill responded with a curt, but very appropriate, ''If I had never been in love before, I wouldn't have believed it either.'' Zing. Ouch. Jeez. Does Veronica not know love? What does she really have with Logan? Why does she always assume the worst about people in love? These things had to be spinning through her head.
Veronica had left things dicey with Logan the last time she'd seen him. He'd finally given up his alibi he and Mercer ran away from a motel fire that Mercer had started in Tijuana but she didn't like it. She responded by asking how he could just leave a burning motel without checking on the other people inside. Really, Veronica, being naive about the very obvious flaws of someone you're so close to just don't work for somebody with your smarts. It's natural to want to believe good things about a person, but wishing for them to be true won't make it so.
As for Keith, Veronica slammed him about Harmony: ''So if Jake Kane thought he and Mom had something special, would that have been okay?'' Ouch, again. But truly, what seemed somewhat innocent before (except for the teensy-weensy problem of Harmony being married) got nasty this week. Vinnie was working for Harmony's husband, and he threatened Keith that he'd expose the affair if Keith didn't reveal information about Kendall Casablancas and the money she owes the Fitzpatricks (with whom Veronica and Merrill had a quick, nasty run-in). It's ironic that what Keith does for a living can so quickly be turned against him. But I feel for the guy when he told Veronica that what he had with Harmony was real, I truly believed him. Note to Harmony: Pay the extra money for a speedy divorce. I'm rooting for you and Keith!
Over on the slow-burning rape story line, Veronica cleared Mercer's name. She proved that he was doing his call-in radio show during Parker's rape and the rape in the spring. Back to the usual suspects, I suppose: Dick? Teaching assistant Foyle? The RA? At this point, fatigue with this long-gestating (and overdone) story line was setting in. That is, until the rapist went after Veronica.
The food-court scene where her drink was drugged set things up perfectly: her hair-infested pasta, the cup abandoned for a few seconds. I was startled to see our sassy heroine so vulnerable in the last few scenes stumbling, then lying in the parking lot with part of her head shaved, then being fed medicine by Keith. If I were that culprit, however, I'd be hella scared now: You've unleashed the dragon. Whoever it was should have known that when Veronica Mars is attacked, she fights back. So it looks like we're in for a rollicking few weeks as this mystery gets wrapped.
Veronica's Stan Marsh-inspired final voice-over really brought the episode home: ''I think we all learned a valuable lesson about faith. You give it to the people you love. But the people who really deserve it are the ones who come through even when you don't love them enough.'' While I love Veronica's zingers, this was one of my favorite monologues so far this season. Veronica needs people, no matter how much she might pull away.
What do you think? How should Veronica go after the rapist now? Can LoVe survive? Are things going to boil over with Veronica and Professor Landry? And, most important, how did little Hearst score a Chili's on its food court?