''Veronica Mars'': The more things change...
Sheriff Lamb, dead? Sure, the guy made a lousy lawman. Yeah, he was a major pain in the ass for Team Mars. Of course he never looked nearly as spiffy in his uniform as Keith. But he was funny in a buffoonish sort of way. And sheesh none of us actually wanted the poor guy to be six feet under.
What a way to kill him off. After receiving a call about a break-in at the O'Dells, Lamb and Deputy Sacks arrived at the house and cased it. I was happily laughing my head off over Sheriff Lamb shooting his own reflection in the mirror when...bam! Out popped the no-good Steve Botando. Before I knew it, he was laying into Lamb with a bat. Bye-bye, li'l Lamb. TV Watchers, did I not warn you that Richard Grieco's Stevie was bad news?
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Last night's ep really was all about death: Sheriff Lamb's (sniff, sniff), Dean O'Dell's, and Coach Barry's. But it began on a lighter note, with Veronica in the slammer for allegedly helping murder suspect Josh Barry flee. If being locked up is a bummer, it certainly didn't dampen our heroine's wit. She did push-ups. She had one side of her head braided, bad-ass like. She even gave herself a tattoo courtesy, no doubt, of your everyday office Bic. In these behind-bars scenes, Kristen Bell sparkled with perfect comedic timing. And I loved every second of it.
I also dug Logan's impromptu visit to his jailbird ex. The two haven't really spoken since the big break-up, and their last encounter was that awkward, ''It's her! It's her!'' moment in the elevator. How lovely, then, to see the two of them acting like adults and chatting like people who clearly still care about each other. When Logan looked at Veronica, he was smiling so sweetly, and that twinkle was back in his eye. What a relief to put an end to Mr. Mopes and to welcome the return of the spirited guy capable of telling a dubious-looking drugstore cashier, ''It's a curse, actually,'' while buying Super Titan condoms. Oh, how we've missed you, Logan.
But please, Rob Thomas and friends, tell me that LoVe is not going to be replaced by LoPa. It's bad enough that you've sicced a character as vapid as Parker on us. But to suggest that she and Logan might actually hook up? No, no, and no. (And surely I'm not the only one who was turned off by the week-late Valentine's Day storyline. Not that Valentine's Day is ever welcome in my house, but that's another story....)
If we had to sit through an episode packed with Parker, at least we got a decent dose of Weevil, Wallace (high marks for his stinging delivery of that Wizard of Oz joke), and Mac, who finally got busy with her new beau. (You haveta love a gal who says, ''I got my onomatopoeia mixed up'' while enjoying a post-coital cuddle.) Veronica, of course, didn't languish very long in the pokey. Daddy Mars got her out, and they attacked the Barry and O'Dell cases together. After some false starts that started feeling a wee bit forced (Josh-the-accused-killer-on-the-lam stuffs Mason in the trunk of his car! Kathleen Barry takes out a gun! Will she shoot Keith?), the Mars duo figured out that Coach Barry was terminally ill with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. And that to avoid suffering a long, painful death, he'd enlisted a ''dear friend'' (his assistant coach, it seems) to help him die quickly. If his demise looked like murder, his family would be entitled to double-indemnity insurance money. Case closed.
Alas, the same can't be said for the Dean O'Dell mystery yet. But Team Mars is approaching a conclusion, thanks to a few new clues: Weevil's discovery (in a creepy, Freddy Krueger-ish boiler room) of a bloody men's shirt and a pair of gloves that apparently belong to Professor Landry; father and daughter's realization that the fatal gun went off at 3:30 a.m., not 2:30 a.m. a good hour after Mindy O'Dell's car was parked safely back in the Neptune Grand garage; and the detection of Botando's prints on Dean O'Dell's keyboard. The prints implicate ol' Stevie as the author of the dean's ''suicide'' note. But as the scenes from next week indicate, a newly reinstated Sheriff Mars (yay!) and Veronica pursue Landry in earnest.
So where does that leave Scumbag Steve, TV Watchers? Were he and the pretentious prof partners in the dastardly scheme? Is there more to be learned from the dean's Xanax prescription? Is Mindy O'Dell as innocent as she claims, or is she the sneaky snoop who bugged Landry's cell phone? And most importantly, TV Watchers, if you had to devise Parker's death, how would she bite the big one?