Night in Tijuana. Luke (Sam Huntington) carries a pinata, takes an envelope out of it and puts the envelope inside a dumpster, taking something out in exchange. He goes to a car and joins Troy and a very drunk Logan, and Troy snarks on Luke buying a pinata. Next, they're at the border checkpoint; the patrol guard makes a joke about them handing over their contraband, but everyone, Luke especially, is relieved when the guards check Troy's trunk and find nothing. The three boys decide to go for an early breakfast at a grill close to the border, and Logan and Luke talk about the girls they were with while Troy is in the bathroom. Troy comes out, and the three of them leave. As Logan and Luke continue to argue about the girls they were with, Troy worriedly looks around, and finally announces his car has disappeared. Troy is especially panicked because his parents come back in five days and if the car is still missing, they'll send Troy to Catholic school in Albuquerque. Veronica shows up to pick the three of them up and makes a joke about the missing car; Troy is not amused. Credits.
Veronica drops Logan and Luke off at Luke's house, and the two of them get into Logan's car. Veronica offers to help Troy find the car; Troy doesn't think it can be done without reporting the car stolen, but Veronica tells him she's good at things like that.
Later, in the office of Mars Investigations, Wallace asks if she can really find the car over the Internet, and Veronica says she can. She goes to a Private Investigator website, and Wallace asks if she can find anything on him there, and she amusingly notes that his driver's license was suspended (though he got it back), and he still has a subscription to MAD. Keith comes in, and Veronica talks about buying him a birthday present; Keith mentions he's not coming home for dinner, and will get take-out from Luigi's. Veronica asks if he can bring back some lasagna, Keith jokes about how much she ate last time, and Veronica snarks in return how his birthday will be spent sky-diving alone.
Later that day, Veronica goes home, and gets ready to take Backup out for a walk. She checks the answering machine, but is immediately thrown when she hears a woman leave a message for Keith saying she might be late for dinner that night. Veronica is further troubled when she figures out the woman is Rebecca James, her guidance counselor, and in a voiceover, Veronica explains change always comes out of nowhere for her.
Later that day, inside a gym club, Hank (Deron McBee), the club's owner, holds down a barbell Luke is attempting to life, and Luke is clearly in pain. Hank tells Luke to bring his package; Luke tells him it's in a friend's car, and he can't get it till 9 the next morning. Hank warns Luke if he doesn't bring the package by then, he'll be in big trouble.
The next morning, Veronica comes out of her bedroom to find Keith putting some of Lianne's things in a box, which he says he's putting in storage. He gets ready to leave when Veronica mentions she knows about him and Rebecca. Keith tries to tell her it's not a big deal, but Veronica lies and says she's okay with them dating. When he leaves, Veronica looks through the box and finds a key to a safety deposit box.
At school that day, in journalism class, Luke drops by, and asks Veronica if she's still helping Troy find his car. He says there's more to the story; the pinata he had in the car was full of steroids he was supposed to deliver to Hank. Veronica asks if Troy and Logan knew about it; Luke first says no, but then admits Logan knew there was a deal, but not exactly what. Veronica sharply tells Luke she won't help retrieve drugs, but when Luke says she'd be saving his life, she agrees to help him if he returned the drugs and then returned the cash to Hank. She then prints up a death certificate with her mother's name on it.
Later that day, she goes the bank of the safety deposit key, tells the teller her mother is dead (handing over the death certificate), and asks if she can get into the deposit box. She goes down to the basement, opens the box, and to her horror, discovers photos taken of her, with cross-hairs on the photos. Veronica speculates Lianne might have run because she was worried about Veronica's safety, and she also realizes Keith doesn't know anything about this.
At Mars Investigations, Veronica is looking at the photos again when Rebecca shows up, and Veronica hides the photos. She and Rebecca exchange awkward "hellos" until Keith comes out. The two ask Veronica again if it's okay the two of them are dating; Veronica says the attempted meet and talking about it doesn't work for her, but she again lies and says she's fine with the two of them dating.
Later that day, Veronica drives Troy around, and tells him that she's had no luck so far. She asks a seemingly distracted Troy what was going on in Tijuana, and Troy tells her it was just the usually partying. He also gets a little defensive until she points out the more she knows, the easier it will be to get the car back. They go to the Beacon Corporation, which can track GPS signals, and Veronica tries to bluff her way into having them track the car (pretending to be a personal assistant, and giving the car's VIN number), but while one person she encounters seems sympathetic, the supervisor denies Veronica's request, saying it's against regulation.
Logan drops Luke off at his house. Luke sees Hank's car pull up, and takes off, with Hank giving chase on foot.
At school the next day, Veronica asks Logan about the Tijuana trip, but he blows her off.
Later that day, at the Mars apartment, Rebecca is in the middle of cooking dinner when Veronica comes home. Things are again awkward between them even when Rebecca says she's making some of Veronica's favorite foods, including waffles and ice cream. This leads Veronica to a flashback where she remembers Lianne making that same dish while cheerfully quizzing Veronica about who her boyfriend is. Everything's fine between them until Veronica admits she's dating Duncan. Lianne's face freezes, and Veronica, puzzled, notes the waffles are burning. There's a sound of something crashing, which brings Veronica back to the present, as Rebecca tells her she dropped a cup. Veronica helps her clean it up as Keith walks in with groceries. Veronica then tells them she can't stay for dinner ("school project"), but she'll eat whatever Rebecca cooks when she gets home; Keith, skeptical, tells her not to stay out too late.
Later, Veronica and Weevil visit Weevil's uncle, Angel, who tells them Troy's car was chopped, and he doesn't know by who. He also says he gave the pinata in the car to someone named Mario, since it was his daughter's birthday. Weevil drives Veronica to Mario's, though he doesn't really know which house it is; Veronica sees all the balloons and figures out where it is. She runs up to the party just as one of the kids hits the pinata - and candy comes out of it. Veronica beats a hasty retreat.
The next day, Veronica drags Luke into the girls' bathroom, and tells him the drugs are gone; the only way he can get out of it is if he buys "Ziggy" (her nickname for Hank) off. Luke tells her even if he does return the money, without the steroids, he's a dead man; Veronica tells him to let her worry about that.
Veronica walks by the admissions office and flashes back to the time when Lianne tried to take Veronica out of school to go out for the day, even though Veronica said she had a history test. Back in the present, Veronica says in a voiceover while at the time, she thought her mother was merely acting drunk and strange, she now sees Lianne may have been scared instead, as this happened three days before she left for good.
That night, at the Mars apartment, Veronica puts several disposable cell phones in envelopes, which she plans to mail out to all the places she thinks Lianne is at (her family and friends). She hears Keith come in, and asks what's going on, but Keith says he's going to bed. Veronica then asks if he'll help Troy find his car; Keith notes Troy means a lot to Veronica, and says he'll be nice to Troy if Veronica will be nice to Rebecca, to which Veronica agrees.
The next day, Keith goes to the Beacon Corporation and bluffs his way into having them track the car.
Later that day, in a computer class, Luke puts his copy of a baseball autographed by Barry Bonds up for auction; he thinks the process is going to slow, but Veronica points out people often wait till the end of an auction to jump in. He's also still pissed about having to sell the ball in the first place, but Veronica testily tells him he's dead otherwise.
At lunch, Troy invites her to his place after school; Veronica calls him out for being so laid back, but he tells her he'd rather be thinking about how best to use their few remaining hours together, which is to be with her. Veronica, of course, is still hoping to get the car back. Wallace comes by and jokes that Albuquerque is a bit harsh.
Later, in journalism class, Miss Dent has the students pair up and interview each other. One girl, Ashley, sardonically asks about the rumors of Troy being in Tijuana with strippers, but Veronica counters with the news of Ashley's parents getting divorced because her father was sleeping around. Miss Dent keeps her after class and calls her on this; Veronica says she wasn't telling Ashley anything she didn't already know, but Miss Dent gently tells her, "But sometimes the lies we let ourselves believe are for our own good." Veronica thinks about this, then opens up the Private Investigator website in order to investigate Rebecca, as she says in a voiceover that you can never be too careful when it comes to love.
At Mars Investigations, Keith asks Veronica if they can go to Rebecca's place for dinner before Veronica gives Keith his birthday present, and Veronica gives Keith the information she found on Rebecca. She asks if he knew she was still married, and Keith counters that he's also still married. Veronica brings up the fact Rebecca passed bad checks, but Keith replies that was in the past; starting to get pissed, he says it's not Veronica's job to do this, or to try to protect him from anything. He also points out he and Rebecca did everything they could to make Veronica feel comfortable, but she snubbed Rebecca at every turn. Veronica asks why he hasn't been trying to find Lianne, and Keith angrily counters that she didn't care about Lianne until he started dating Rebecca. Veronica tearfully says Keith is a great detective and should be able to easily find Lianne, but Keith yells he doesn't want to find her. Calming down, he tells Veronica he got Troy's security turned on. He goes into his office, and Veronica continues to cry.
That night, she and Troy track the signal, which is moving all over the place. They discover the reason why is a Labrador is wearing the signal device around its collar.
The next morning, Keith offers Veronica breakfast, which she declines. He also leaves for her a file on Troy.
Later, at a coffee shop, Keith breaks up with Rebecca, telling her Veronica isn't ready for him to be dating yet, and Rebecca says she understands, though she wishes Keith would come up with a reason she could bitch to her friends about.
At school, Troy comes up to Veronica, and she starts to point out the things Keith found out - he was kicked out of two schools for drug possession, and one of the times was with a girl named Shauna. Veronica also now thinks Troy knew about Luke and the steroids, but Troy denies it, and says he was going to tell Veronica about his past, but only when they knew each other better. He storms off, and Luke comes up to say he has the money.
Later that day, Veronica goes to Hank's gym, with Backup in tow. She tells him she's there to pay off Luke's debt, and Hank counters that while Luke may have paid back the money, he still owes the steroids. Veronica gets a call from Wallace, surreptitiously takes a photo of Hank with her cell, and tells Hank he's going to regret making that threat. She and Backup leave.
At Mars Investigations, Veronica prints out the picture of Hank, and puts it into the fax machine.
Later that day, Troy gets into a taxi as his father tells him he's used up all of his chances.
Later that day, at the apartment, Veronica pulls out a birthday cake for Keith. She asks when Rebecca is coming, and he tells her they broke up. Veronica sincerely tells him she's sorry, and she wants him to be happy, but he tells her being with his daughter on his birthday is what makes him happy.
Troy gets out of the taxi near the diner from the beginning of the episode. He then goes into the bathroom and pulls out a package. He gets into his car, which has been left in the parking lot, and drives off. In the car, he calls Shauna, and tells her he can't wait to see her, but she interrupts, telling him some girl named "Veronica" called her. Panicked, Troy opens the package and discovers candy and a note. In the note, which we hear Veronica read in a voiceover, Veronica says while it took her awhile to figure out where the steroids were, she found them and flushed them down the toilet. She also wishes him well with Shauna. Troy is pissed.
That night, Hank gets stopped at the border by a patrolman who has the picture Veronica faxed over.
That same night, at the apartment, Veronica is listening to music when her cell phone rings. It's Lianne, who tells her she misses Veronica, but that Veronica can't come looking for her now, and she will explain everything when the time is right. She also wishes Keith a happy birthday, and tells Veronica she loves her.
This episode contains examples of:
- Brick Joke: The same border patrol officer who jokingly asked Troy where he was hiding the contraband is the one who asks Hank the same thing at the end, though he's serious this time.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Veronica kisses Troy and they walk down the corridor in front of everyone with his arm around her shoulder and Veronica looking adoringly up at him, both of them oblivious to the world. This is almost exactly the way she and Duncan walked down what appears to be in the same corridor in flashbacks.
- Foreshadowing: The pictures Veronica finds of herself.
- Also, the call Lianne makes at the end.
- Hypocrite: Keith points out that Veronica never said anything good about her mother until he started dating Rebecca.
- I'm Thinking It Over!:Veronica: Think of it this way - the ball versus your life. You do the math.Luke: (long pause)Veronica: (exasperated) It's a ball!
- Out-Gambitted: Veronica to Troy.
- Parent with New Paramour: Keith and Rebecca, though thanks to Veronica, it doesn't last.
- Put on a Bus: Troy.
- Shout-Out: If you think when Veronica picks Troy, Logan and Luke up after Troy's car goes missing that Veronica's not going to ask, "Dude, where's your car?"...then you just don't know Veronica.
- Just before this, Logan suggests that the disappearing car is "Like Brigadoon - if you come back in a hundred years, it'll be right back in this spot."
- Wallace calls Veronica Velma; she replies she's more Daphne, and Wallace claims he's Shaggy. This could also be a shout-out to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, since Buffy and her friends were known as the Scoobies, and Veronica was often compared to Buffy.
- When Rebecca awkwardly talks about how she's there to talk with Veronica to make things less awkward, Veronica responds, "And do you see the catch-22 inherent in that plan?"
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: During the interview exercise, though it's clear Veronica is the winner here:Ashley: So, Miss Mars, how do you respond to the rumors that your boyfriend hooked up with strippers in Tijuana last weekend?Veronica: Miss Banks, have you decided which parent you're going to live with after the divorce? And if I may, a follow-up. Can you believe your father's choice in mistresses?
- South of the Border: Mostly averted, as we don't see any of the stereotypical tropes on display, but played straight in the fact Luke was there to smuggle drugs (steroids, but still).
- Stage Whisper: Veronica does this with Wallace when asking about a possibility for Keith's birthday present.
- Take That!: When Veronica asks Troy what he, Logan and Luke were doing in Tijuana in the first place, Troy jokes that they spent part of the time plotting the assassination of Kim Jong II (the North Korean dictator), as well deleting the records of black voters in Florida.
- Waxing Lyrical: Veronica tells Keith, "I need you to do some of the voodoo that you do so well."
- What the Hell, Hero?: Veronica and Keith each give this speech to each other; Keith to Veronica over her attitude towards Rebecca, and Veronica towards Keith over the fact he hasn't tried harder to find Lianne.
- A milder one from Ms. Dent to Veronica after the exchange quoted in Snark-to-Snark Combat.
- Your Cheating Heart: Troy is revealed to have another girlfriend, Shauna. Veronica, naturally, fills her in (off-screen) as part of her take-down of Troy.Veronica: Say hi to Shauna for me! She sounds like a keeper.