TV Recap

Primate Suspect

On ''Veronica Mars,'' our heroine investigates the case of a missing lab monkey; plus, she and Logan try and fail to get over each other

Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars | PHAT GIRL Veonica made a convincing member of People for Humane Animal Treatment
Image credit: Veronica Mars: Michael Desmond
PHAT GIRL Veonica made a convincing member of People for Humane Animal Treatment

''Veronica Mars'': The case of the missing monkey

Welcome back, Veronica Mars devotees! That was one heck of a long holiday break, wasn't it? But how perfect is it for a show set in college to take a lengthy between-semesters vacation? After waiting nearly two months, I'm glad to be back, and ''Show Me the Monkey'' turned out to be one of my favorite episodes of the season. The ongoing mystery — that of Dean O'Dell's murder/suicide — is stimulating and, thankfully, has nothing to do with rape. Plus, the mix of hilarious dialogue, the save-the-animals plotline, and the focus on personal lives and character development made for great, old-fashioned TV watching. After a fall of subpar (for Veronica, that is) episodes, maybe we're back on track? Let's hope so.

On the Dean O'Dell front, how convenient was it that the cops closed up the case and ruled it a suicide? Makes it prime material for Keith and Veronica, even if Keith wasn't convinced it was worth a look at first. But after one glance at that untouched bottle of expensive scotch and the tour around the dean's office, as well as a description of the suspicious ''suicide note'' O'Dell supposedly left (''Goodbye, cruel world''?), he believed. By having Keith go after Hank Landry first, the writers made me think that the professor must be innocent. With most Veronica mysteries, there are several diversions along the way (e.g., the bitchy, competitive grad student Emmy, in the lab-monkey plotline). But what does implicate Professor Landry — or his creepy TA — is that the murder is shaping up to be a copycat of the scenario outlined in the paper Veronica turned in for in the professor's class. Granted, that paper was posted online, so anyone could have read it.

I can't really go any further without discussing Logan and Veronica. That sappy conversation Veronica had with Piz in the food court pushed her over the edge and back into the arms of Logan. Was this the kind of reconciliation all you LoVe fans out there were hoping for? The two do have this iconic status — one of those great, undying loves — but are they really meant to be together? Veronica hasn't a clue about what Logan was up to while she was out finding monkeys and rats, but doesn't she know Logan's bad-boy ways by now? In Logan's defense, he did seem somewhat remorseful for hooking up with the surfer chick (in a car on the beach, no less), who really only seemed pleased that she'd bagged Aaron Echolls' son. I will give the doomed couple this: When they got back together, it somehow felt right. But, as we all know, this relationship is more toxic than K-Fed and Britney Spears'. And judging by next week's previews, it's only about to get worse. ''This is something I'm never getting past,'' Veronica said. Um, Veronica, why don't you just check into Heartbreak Hotel right now?

For a fleeting second there, I considered that maybe Veronica was actually thinking of taking up with Piz, after all that ''when you know, you just know'' stuff. But Piz isn't made for Veronica. He's needy and a poser. On the other hand, he's harmless. What's wrong with a harmless relationship? That's what college is for! Experiment, Veronica!

Speaking of college romance, this episode could also be titled ''How Mac Got Her Groove Back.'' After Beaver used her as his beard and kicked her to the curb last season, my favorite tech supporter was bruised and claiming that her libido was gone. Enter Bronson, the leader of People for Humane Animal Treatment (PHAT). Don't they make a cute couple? I'm rooting for them already. And how could you not cheer? About to walk away after being gutsy enough to ask Bronson to the movies, she ran back and planted one on him big time. Way to go, Mac! You deserve a good guy more than anyone else on the show. Except for maybe Parker, who was also working on getting her groove back in a very boy-crazy way.

The lab mystery was standard — Veronica literally sniffed out the rat (and the monkey!) — but intriguing because of the result. Although, as usual, Veronica solved the case and saved the day, she didn't save the day for the people who hired her. She let her personal feelings tangle things up, and she lied to the professor and the other student, saying she couldn't find the monkey. Maybe cavorting with the PHAT people got to her more than she realized. For such a hardened detective, who won't even cut those closest to her some slack, she went soft. But even though she lied, I can't fault her for wanting to save the cute, rambunctious monkey, who was going to meet an untimely demise. (Did anyone else get flashes of Ross and Marcel from Friends when Oscar and Gil were together? I'm convinced that only good things happen when you bring a monkey into a TV story line.)

I also loved the scene in which Parker, Mac, and Veronica dressed in Zeta Theta Beta sweatshirts and snapped the photo with the Ted Nugent type wearing a ''Meat Is Murder'' sweatshirt. Genius! And the awkwardness of the anti-fur calendar photo shoot? Simply classic. Mac looked like she wanted to jump out the window. And I even got tickled when Veronica and Keith bantered about what manila was to open the episode. ''Is it a substance?'' said Keith. ''A color maybe? In the kitchen we'll do a nice manila.'' To which Veronica replied, ''By the time we dug him up, he turned manila.'' Who thinks of this stuff?

And to finish, a treat for you all. My favorite quips from the episode, in no particular order (yeah, I know I did this last week with my Ugly Betty TV Watch):

· Mac, after responding to a research lab for tech support: ''Wow, this is one trashed lab. All that's missing is a big hole in the wall shaped like the Hulk.''

· Veronica: ''We're talking monkey, as in...'' Mac: ''Touch mine.''

· Veronica, after hearing the allegation that the ''fat'' (really PHAT) kids took the monkey: ''Because monkeys are delicious? And dude, 'girth-challenged' is the preferred nomenclature.''

· Veronica, while prepping for the PHAT meeting: ''According to the PHAT website, we should stay away from fur, obviously, down, leather…'' Mac: ''The one day I feel like wearing a leather miniskirt!'' ''If it ever had a face or parent, you can't wear it.'' Mac: ''So my mollusk shoes are cool?'' · Lab assistant: ''The only way to conclusively prove test results is through an autopsy.'' Veronica: ''So that monkey good life includes a blindfold and a last smoke?''

· Veronica, upon discovering the missing rats: ''Rats!'' And Veronica, after hearing that the rats just showed up at Bronson's house: ''Like, in a tiny van with a sob story about needing a place to crash?''

· Dick, reprimanding Logan: ''How about a little life? So what, you're just going to mope around like that guy in — what's the book where the guy's mom dies and he comes back to Jersey? He's got that motorcycle sidecar...'' Logan: ''Garden State was never a book.'' Dick: ''It wasn't? Oops, so much for that paper.''

· Dick and Logan's friend, after the gaggle of surfer girls passed by: ''We didn't bring enough beer to make 'em hot anyway.''

So, TV Watchers, what's your favorite quote of the evening? How are you feeling about LoVe being back together? Got any theories about who killed Dean O'Dell? And was Wallace still on break this episode?

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Originally posted Jan 24, 2007
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