''Veronica Mars'': A basketball murder | EW.com

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''Veronica Mars'': A basketball murder

On ''Veronica Mars,'' our girl takes the case when a coach's son is accused of murdering him; Logan gets some half-pint heartache help; and Wallace makes a too-brief appearance

Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars

(Veronica Mars: Michael Desmond)

”Veronica Mars”: A basketball murder

The beginning of last night’s episode gave me hope, TV Watchers. Hope that the wait was over. That the mystery would be solved. That we’d finally get some answers to the question…

Where the hell have you been, Wallace?

The opening scene sure was promising. It found Wallace and his fellow Hearst hoops-team members in the locker room, with Coach Barry chewing out his son Josh. All right! Our Fennel boy is back! The following sequence did nothing to suggest otherwise: There sat Veronica and Wallace in the cafeteria, chatting freely about basketball-team politics over chocolate ice cream. It was like old times. Filled the heart with joy, I say.

But then the dude went and disappeared on us! We were duped, VM fans! In the end, last night’s ep was no Great Return of Wallace. All we got was a few measly minutes of him. So Rob Thomas, unless you’re planning on having the guy transfer to UCLA, for the love of sidekicks, bring him back full time, already. And while you’re at it, give us some more Mac screen time, too. (But nice work on keeping Weevil involved of late. Appreciate it.)

Okay. Now that I’ve aired that grievance, we can move on to the rest of the episode, which was generally in line with recent return-to-form eps (though short on those zingers I so enjoy). As she did last week, Veronica kept from wallowing in her Loganlessness by helping her pops with the Dean O’Dell case (more on that in a sec) as well as the murder of Coach Barry, whose body was found off the Pacific Coast Highway shortly after he and Josh had their blowout. Though Sheriff Lamb picked up Josh for the crime, Veronica believed Josh to be innocent (enough to bake him cookies — an uncharacteristic sight that inspired her father to crack, ”Did you suffer a blow to the head?”), and put credence in his claim that a disgruntled teammate, Mason, is the real killer. But I’m not so sure. There was a decidedly spooky moment on the PCH when Veronica peeked over the cliff into the ocean and Josh seemed to be creeping up behind her, ever so ominously. (Do I have too active an imagination?) And the scenes from next week certainly suggest he’s got a violent streak.

Keith appeared to be closing in on an O’Dell suspect when he learned that on the night of the killing, someone had taken the eggshell-tainted Volvo out of the garage of the Neptune Grand between 1:51 and 2:59 a.m., within the presumed time frame of the murder. Seems we’re supposed to buy that that someone is either the widow Mindy O’Dell or her lover, Professor Landry. But again, I’m not so sure. My hunch is that the guilty party is either Richard Grieco’s Steve Botando (why else have the guy reappear last week?) or, as some of you TV Watchers have posited, Mindy’s Goth son. (An Oedipal story line — now we’re talkin’!) The O’Dell mystery is heating up, and I’ll take a few more weeks of that investigation over further mentions of the word ”rape” any day. (Another detail Keith and Veronica dug up: Someone in Mindy and Landry’s hotel room ordered Kiss Kiss Bang Bang on pay-per-view that fateful night. Why that movie (which is mentioned three times), you ask? It’s a great film, to be sure. But it also happens to have been produced by VM’s own Joel Silver. Quel coinkidink!)

The only Neptune denizen who’s likely to be unaware of all the corpses turning up around town is Logan, whom we found pining away under heaps of dirty clothes and a week’s worth of room-service carts. (Ewww!) I wasn’t too keen on the idea of sitting through another hour of mopey-dopey Logan, but then in walked 11-year-old Heather, sister to Dick’s booty call and soon-to-be-ex-wife, Melinda. Babysitting the sprightly preteen gal turned out to be just what the cheerless Mr. Echolls needed. Loved seeing him crack the faintest of smiles while discussing Neptune’s best ice cream parlors with Heather. Laughed out loud when she pranced into his bedroom and asked, ”Do you want me to put highlights in your hair?” Got giddy flashbacks to my own middle school years when she had a local DJ dedicate a song to Veronica from Logan over the air. And definitely teared up when L, after encountering V in the Neptune Grand elevator, snapped at Heather for believing that a simple, sincere apology would win him back his true love: ”I’m not 11, and I’m not delusional. You don’t know a single thing about love, Heather!” There was something so sweet about the naïveté of a little girl trying to offer relationship advice to a bad boy — especially since, in the end, her lively, pint-size self broke Logan’s heartbroken spell. Dude finally left his crypt and showed up for class. (Way to go!) Jason Dohring turned in some great, nuanced work last night, but it was the actress who played Heather, Juliette Goglia, who really stole scenes. She’s one powerhouse of a tween. (IMDB shows that she played God on Joan of Arcadia, so there you go.)

If Logan really is on the up and up, I fear for our gal Ronnie. Not because she got arrested at the end of the ep (though that is kind of insane) but because there’s only so long she can bury her heart in the sand before she has to actually grieve the breakup. Ms. Mars is strong, sure, but she’s not made of steel.

What do you think? Do you have theories on who the baddies are? Did you ache for LoVe when Veronica switched off the radio playing the dedication? And what’s that prison tat Veronica is sporting in next week’s episode?