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Recap / Veronica Mars S 01 E 04 The Wrath Of Con

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Veronica and Troy are kissing each other outside her apartment. After they each pretend to break it off before kissing again, they finally break it off and Troy insinuates he's going to ask Veronica to go to the Homecoming Dance with him. She goes inside and immediately calls out Keith, who's sitting on the couch, for watching them and listening. Keith says he doesn't know what she's talking about, but when Veronica heads to her bedroom, Keith mentions that "If he's gonna be kissing my daughter on my porch for eight and a half minutes, I'll need to meet him."


Veronica goes into her bedroom and we get the first of several flashbacks as Veronica remembers preparing with Lily for the previous Homecoming dance. Lily tells Veronica she should be wearing red satin and not trying to hide her "hotness". Veronica says she doesn't have time to get that kind of dress before the dance; Lily corrects her by saying they aren't going to the dance; the two of them, Logan and Duncan will just go driving around in the limo. Veronica protests her father is going to bust them, but Lily tells her not to worry and they'll have enough fun to make it memorable. In the present, Veronica, lying on her bed, smiles in memory.

Meanwhile, in the Neptune school office, Georgia (Kyla Pratt) is trying to help Wallace put away file folders, but knocks a pile onto the floor. He tells her not to worry, but she cries about how she needs help and that she did something stupid.


The next day, she's in the girl's bathroom, explaining to Wallace and Veronica how she received an e-mail from "Karl" asking for money for his friend with a gambling problem, and how he's supposed to pay Georgia back, but he hasn't. Veronica quickly figures out it's a scam, and is about to call Georgia out for this when Wallace tells Georgia not to worry, and that he and Veronica will solve everything. Veronica is amused by this, but goes along by pretending to be "Amber" and leaving a message with Karl setting up a meet. Credits.

In journalism class, the school newscast mentions how much time is left to buy tickets to Homecoming, and also announces the dedication of the Lily Kane Memorial Fountain that's scheduled for Homecoming Week. Veronica and Logan both look pensive at that.

In the hall, Troy asks if Veronica wants to go mini-golf on Thursday, and takes her initial reticence as a no, but Veronica confesses Keith wants to meet him. Troy assures her he's good with parents, kisses her, and then officially asks her to Homecoming. She says yes, but says in a voiceover she's already lived the experience...


...And we're back in another flashback, and everyone is waiting for Lily to come down; Duncan is upset, but Celeste knows Lily just wants to make an entrance. Just as Duncan is asking Veronica to go get Lily, Lily appears, wearing a gold sequined backless dress, and everyone admires it (Logan especially). The four of them pose for pictures for Jake and Celeste, and then take off.

Wallace interrupts her reverie by thanking Veronica for giving him the opportunity to talk more to Georgia than he ever has before. Veronica teases him about wanting Georgia to be a Damsel in Distress, but is interrupted by her cell phone ringing. When she hears it's Karl, she puts on her "Amber" voice and arranges to meet him later in the day. Also in the hallway, Logan sees Duncan with a number of VHS tapes, and Duncan explains Celeste wants a video to go with the memorial fountain. Logan volunteers to put it together.

At the park, Veronica, dressed up as "Amber", meets Karl at a public bench. She "forgets" that he can only accept cash (she wants at first to pay by check), but promises to have the money tomorrow She then asks Karl if she can trust him, and Karl affirms this. Georgia, who's hiding with Wallace, says it's not the same guy she met with, but he's wearing the same backpack and outfit, so Wallace attaches a tracking device to Karl's car.

Later, Veronica, now dressed up normally, follows Karl in his car, and finds out Karl's real name is Jimmy (Alex Scarlis), he's an actor, and he thinks he's been hired to play "Karl". When Veronica confronts him outside the theater (he's in a play) that night, Jimmy at first doesn't realize he's been tricked as well. He does tell Veronica he saw an ad in a trade paper for a show called "Duped", and Veronica gets the phone number, which turns out to be for an unlisted pay phone at a place called "Gameland". At school the next day, she tells Wallace this, and he tells her it's a gaming club.

That night, Veronica goes to the club looking like a live-action version of a Sailor Moon character. She sits on a couch between two guys, one of whom is named Liam (Robert Baker), who are playing a game with each other. She notices one of the people on the game board is named Grrantula, which is similar to the handle on the e-mail address Georgia got. She signs up to play under the name "Game Girl", and goes back to her same position on the couch. She starts firing at anyone and everyone and eventually Grant (Adam Wylie) tells her in an irritated voice not to fire on her own team. When Veronica leaps up after one "kill" and yells, "Ownage!", Grant jumps up to yell at her, and she gets a good look at him. She then leaves, but not before getting Grant's ID.

As it turns out, Grant goes to San Diego State, so Veronica and Wallace arrange to go to a party there. Veronica has Wallace pretending to be a prospective student and math genius, and she teases him about how much he wants to help Georgia. Wallace doesn't want to talk about it, but eventually admits he has a crush on her. They start to go, but Veronica forgets her cell phone. As she goes to get it, she sees a picture of her, Duncan, Lily and Logan...

...which leads to another flashback, the night of the limo party. The four of them are playing "Truth or Dare", and Logan, who gets "Truth", admits he had a crush on Veronica when he first saw her, which grosses Veronica out because they were twelve at the time. When it's Lily's turn, she takes "Dare", and Logan dares her to kiss someone in the limo. Lily makes as if she's going to kiss Logan, but at the last second plants one on Veronica instead, which makes Logan cheer, but grosses Duncan out. Duncan then sprays champagne all over Logan, and the two of them end up getting out of the limo and fighting each other. Lily and Veronica laugh about their boyfriends...

...and in the present, Wallace reminds Veronica they have to go.

At the party (which is an "Around the World" party), the R.A. goes on about the school. Veronica sees Grant and asks about him; the R.A. explains how Liam is Grant's roommate, and they're the "Silicon Mafia". Other students describe them as computer geniuses, talk about how they ruined a fellow student just for looking at their computer, and claim Grant and Liam are growing weed in their dorm room. A little later, Veronica gets the R.A. out of his room by pretending the party is getting out of hand, and steals the keys to Grant's room. While Wallace is grilled about math by several students, including Grant, Veronica tries to break into Grant's room, but an alarm goes off. Grant finds out from his cell phone, by which time Liam has already confronted Veronica. She pretends to be drunk and disoriented, but Liam and Grant aren't ready to buy it; however, they look worried when they see the picture of Jimmy that Veronica has left by their door. Veronica pretends she's going to be sick, and she and Wallace flee.

At school the next day, Wallace tells her about having to talk about math, while Veronica wonders about all the security, and tries to figure out what they're hiding. She sees, however, Wallace is too busy staring at Georgia to pay attention, so she leaves. She walks by the journalism classroom, but stops short when she hears Lily's voice. Veronica goes into the room and discovers Logan working on Lily's memorial tape; he's watching home movies of Lily. Logan tells Veronica to leave, but he does admit he's working on the tape, and they both agree the memorial as Celeste wants it would piss Lily off. This leads Veronica to another flashback...

...where the four of them are still partying, but are now walking on the beach, and have moved to playing "I Never". Veronica says she's never gone skinny-dipping, and the others not only drink, but chastise Veronica for this; Lily tells her they're going to have to change that. Logan, looking at Duncan, says, "I've never taken matters into my own hand in the boys' locker room after watching the cheerleader tryouts." Duncan tells Logan he's dead, and drinks, Lily laughs, and Veronica hopes this happened before they started going out. Duncan says he's never seen his parents having sex. Lily drinks, and describes what happened, which grosses Duncan out. Lily then says she's never not had sex, which Logan clarifies as, "Drink if you're a virgin." Veronica drinks, and after some hesitation, so does Duncan. Lily and Logan laugh, Veronica thinks it's sweet and kisses him, and the four of them end up hugging each other.

Back in the present, Veronica eventually leaves the room, but seems to get an idea.

Later that day, Veronica takes Keith, who's with Backup, to San Diego State. He protests this is not what he meant when he said he wanted more quality "Daddy/Daughter time", but she says, "I've never loved you more." He puts on a DEA jacket, goes up to Grant's room with the R.A., and pretends to be looking for drugs. He manages to plant a bug in the room without Grant or Liam noticing. Veronica is sitting at a table outdoors listening in, and hears the two arguing about setting the alarm. A little later, she hears them set the alarm as they leave, and records it. A little later, she's almost asleep at the table when she gets a call from Troy reminding her about their mini-golf date, and she rushes out of there.

Back at Keith's apartment, he's sitting on the couch with Troy, and asks him about the dance. Troy calmly says he plans to get Veronica home right after the dance, and isn't taking her anywhere afterwards or instead, but Keith reveals he's already canceled the hotel reservation Troy made at the Four Seasons. Veronica gets home at that point and asks if they're ready for mini-golf. Keith is enthusiastic, Troy somewhat less so.

The next day, Keith calls Grant, pretending to be someone from the college admissions office, asking Grant if he'll show a prospective student around. Grant isn't interested, even after Keith mentions "M.I.T." is also interested in him, until Keith dangles the possibility of tickets to see the new Matrix game, at which Liam suddenly becomes interested.

That day, Veronica visits Logan in the journalism room, as he's still making the memorial. She gives Logan a tape of the party the four of them have, and Logan looks appreciative.

Grant and Liam start talking enthusiastically about the game while Wallace, the "student" they're showing around, pretends to be texting his "girlfriend". Veronica, getting the text, goes to Grant and Liam's room, and in a voiceover, tells us Grant and Liam have been raising money for a video game they're developing through a variation of the famous "Nigerian scam", unless someone stops them. She steals all the hard drives and is about to leave with the bug when she notices another computer in a padlocked safe with backup drives. She's not happy.

At "Gamelore", where the new game is supposed to be introduced, Grant and Liam instead find an abandoned club, and Wallace pipes up how he feels "duped". At that moment, Grant and Liam's cell phones each go off, indicating the alarm for the backup drives has gone off. They run back to their room, only to find the hard drives and backup drives have been stolen, and inside the safe is drinks from their refrigerator. Grant notices an envelope with a note.

As Grant reads the note, we cut to the same park where Veronica met "Karl", only it's nighttime. Grant and Liam show up with the money, and Veronica tells them the backup drives are in a garbage can. As the two of them go through the garbage, Veronica tells Georgia and Wallace that she tipped off the anti-fraud division of the FBI about Grant and Liam's activities. As Veronica goes to her car, she notices a flier in her windshield inviting her to the dedication for Lily...

...which leads to the final flashback. It's the next morning, and the limo pulls in front of the Kane house, and the four are distressed to see Celeste, Jake and Keith waiting for them. When the limo stops, they all get out and Lily tries to bluff her way through. Celeste yells at her for ruining everything, and Lily snarks that she wasn't the only one involved and doesn't deserve all the blame, but Celeste is having none of it. Duncan tries to intercede, but Jake orders the two of them inside. Lily goes back to kiss Logan, who looks at Jake warily, and then heads inside with the rest of the Kanes. Veronica tries to apologize, while Keith tells her they'll talk later. He thanks Jake for the coffee, who gives him a distracted wave, and Veronica and Duncan smile at each other one last time.

A crowd is gathered outside the school for the dedication. Celeste gives a speech about how much Lily loved the school, and then unveils the fountain which was made in her honor. Veronica smiles at both Troy, who's in the crowd, and Wallace and Georgia, who are standing together as a couple. Then the tribute video starts, which at first is as solemn as Celeste would like, showing Lily as a young girl and then a teen, doing various activities such as riding a pony and singing. Classical guitar has been accompanying this, but then an electric guitar kicks in, and footage from the limo party with the four of them cuts in. Veronica and Logan exchange a grin. Celeste, of course, is not happy, but Duncan smiles, Jake laughs, and then he starts crying. The video ends, and everybody cheers. We then see Felix telling Weevil it's time to go. Weevil turns around, and it turns out he's been crying, but he agrees to take off.

We then see Veronica, Troy, Wallace and Georgia inside a limo on their way to the dance. Veronica tells them she has one stop she has to make; Troy, no doubt thinking of Keith, panics, but Veronica says she'll be back. Wallace merely shrugs. They're parked by the beach, and Veronica takes off of her red satin dress and goes skinny-dipping in the ocean.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Weevil crying at the Lily Kane tribute.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The red satin dress, and Veronica admitting she's never been Skinny Dipping.
    • The flower in "Amber"'s hair, being attached to a hair grip that is later used to unpick locks.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Wallace has apparently liked Georgia for months. She goes to the same school and works with Wallace as an office aide. They get together at the end of this episode and go to Homecoming together. She is never seen or spoken of again.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The scammers' computer setup - a room protected by an alarm that they keep on even while they're both inside, multiple hard drives in individual cages, and a massive backup server inside a locker with a lock that even Veronica's bolt cutters can't get through.
  • Cutting the Knot: Veronica steals the scammers' hard drives, but then realises that there's a backup server in another locker. The lock is too good to be cut by her bolt-cutters, and the locker is too heavy to break through or steal. So she floods the entire thing with a dozen cans of energy drink.
  • Damsel in Distress: Georgia is only scammed, not kidnapped, but Wallace is more than happy to rescue her.. by going to Veronica. Complete with a victory smooch at the end. Lampshaded by Veronica in the episode.
  • Dumb Blonde: Veronica pretends to be one in her meeting with Karl.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: For the flashback sequences, Celeste and Veronica have significantly longer hair.
  • Fanservice: A the end of the episode, Veronica drives to the beach and takes off her dress to go Skinny Dipping in the ocean complete with a Toplessness from the Back shot.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Weevil crying at Lily's dedication.
    • A more subtle one; Keith calling out Troy for making a hotel reservation. It is a normal thing teenage boys do, but it also shows he's not always to be trusted.
    • Technically, Lilly warning Veronica in a flashback that Celeste will try to break Veronica and Duncan up. At this point in the series they're already broken up, but it isn't confirmed until late in the season that Celeste is indeed the one responsible (having told Duncan that Veronica is his half-sister)
  • 419 Scam: The main case for Veronica this episode.
  • Griefer: Veronica pretends to be this at Gameland.
  • High-School Dance: While Homecoming is mentioned throughout the episode, and drives some of the plot, the actual dance is never shown.
  • I Am One of Those, Too: Wallace's bumbling attempts to act like a math geek. Fortunately, Veronica's tripping of the alarm in Grant and Liam's room prevents him from being found out.
  • Literary Allusion Title: The title of the episode is a play on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
  • Master of Disguise: Veronica at Gameland, as an admissions assistant, and as a ditzy blonde called 'Amber'. Grant actually got a good look at her in her Gameland disguise, and did not recognize her despite seeing her quite close up as an admissions assistant.
  • Most Gamers Are Male: Veronica plays on this at a game club. She decides not to try to blend in.
  • Pac-Man Fever: Zigzagged.
    • The gameplay segments are quite wrong. The game itself is Unreal Championship, but without the split-screen multiplayer that would have been necessary for a single large television. The result is three people (including Veronica) all trying to control the same character.
    • The UT games typically play Friendly Fireproof straight, but you can turn it off in Settings.
    • Averted when Keith mentions The Matrix Online, which actually was unreleased and eagerly anticipated at the time.
  • Posthumous Character: Lilly is always this, but this is the episode that best fleshes out her character and shows why she and Veronica were best friends.
  • Product Placement: This troper's laptop screen is small, but it looked like the fridge in Grant Winter's room was full of a particular brand of drink.
  • Shout-Out: When Veronica asks Logan about the memorial video, Logan snarks, "It's very Wonder Years."
  • Stalker with a Crush: Wallace admits to being this, though he's a mild version of this trope.
  • Totally Radical: The show is usually great at avoiding this, except here, where it absolutely feels like a script written by a middle-aged guy desperate to connect to the homies.
  • Truth-Telling Session: The "I Never" game, though it's ultimately subverted by the fact no one gets angry by the revelations here.
  • Twerp Sweating: Veronica's running late, not getting ready, but it amounts to the same thing:
    Keith: So, Veronica tells me, um...well, actually she hasn't told me anything about you.
    Troy: Well, I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
    Keith: Neither do I. (laughs; Troy follows suit)
    Troy: Well, if you have any questions, or, you know, you want a list of references or anything...
    Keith: So you're going to the homecoming dance.
    Troy: Oh, yes sir, if that's okay with you.
    Keith: Of course. And after the dance?
    Troy: Why - I think that, uh, Veronica said that she had to be right home after, so...
    Keith: Yeah, good. And you're gonna stay for the whole dance, I mean, you're not gonna leave early to go to a party or a hotel, and still make it back by curfew?
    Keith: Good. So you won't mind then that I cancelled your reservation at the Four Seasons?
  • The Un-Favourite: Lilly; she points this out herself when both she and Duncan stay out late getting drunk, but only she gets yelled at.

Example of: