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Recap / Veronica Mars S 01 E 10 An Echolls Family Christmas

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Nighttime at the Mars apartment. Veronica and Keith are decorating their Christmas tree while watching The Year Without a Santa Claus. Veronica jokes about all the handmade ornaments she made as a kid, while Keith wants more Padres ornaments on the tree, which Veronica also finds amusing. She asks Keith what he wants for Christmas, but he tells her to save her money. Keith points out the "Heat Miser" song is on, and they both watch happily...


...while Duncan, inside Logan's pool house/game room, is drunkenly singing the same song, carrying around a bottle of Jack Daniels, until Logan takes the bottle away from him and tells him to stop singing. The two of them are playing Texas Hold 'Em with Weevil, Sean Friedrich (Kevin Sheridan), another 09er kid, and Connor Larkin (Travis Schuldt), a movie star who works with Aaron Echolls. Logan and Weevil snark at each other as they bet. Duncan notices Sean is drinking cheap beer, and Sean snarks at how it's his new "ghetto" aesthetic. Logan turns over one of the cards and when he sees his and Weevil's hands, Logan acts as if the second card he turns over will guarantee him a win. Except when Logan turns it over, it's not any of the cards he needs, which means Weevil wins the hand. Weevil smugly asks for his five grand, and Logan asks Sean for the money box. Except there's no money inside. Weevil is pissed, and Logan is dumbfounded, as is everyone else. Weevil says he's not leaving without the money, and threatens to turn the others upside down to get it...


...and we cut to the other four stripped down to their boxer shorts as appropriate music plays in the background. Weevil takes a Faberge egg from the room and tells the others it isn't over. A dejected Sean sits down and says, "This is the worst game of Strip Poker ever." Credits.

At school the next day, Veronica is telling Wallace about a baseball camp, which would be a perfect Christmas gift for Keith if she only had three thousand dollars. Duncan pushes past her, goes up to Weevil, and demands that his laptop be returned. He also denies stealing the money, but Weevil simply points out, "Someone did." A few of the PCHers shove Duncan up against the lockers, but Weevil tells them to let Duncan go. As they walk away, Veronica goes up to Duncan and asks him what happened. Duncan tells her about the poker game at Logan's and what happened, and Veronica tells him, "If you lie down with dogs, you're gonna get fleas." Duncan protests he didn't invite Weevil, and Veronica retorts she wasn't talking about Weevil. Duncan then tells Veronica he kept on a journal on his laptop about their time together, and when Veronica hears that, she agrees to help him get it back.


In a darkened classroom sometime later, Weevil and the other PCHers are playing craps. Veronica comes in, and Weevil snarks at how she always tilts her head when she's asking for a favor. Veronica does ask him to let her find the missing money so nothing else has to get taken. Weevil blows her off at first, but does allow that if she does find the money, the laptop and other things would get returned. She wonders why Weevil was even at the poker game in the first place...

...and in a Flashback we see Weevil (who had told Veronica he would never pass up the chance to make an easy five thousand dollars) ask Logan if he can get in on the game. Logan says no, until Weevil points out he has the thousand dollars for the buy-in. They snark on each other, but eventually, Logan agrees. Back in the present, Weevil points out no one left with the money and Logan did have an opportunity to hide it. This leads to another flashback where we see Sean won another hand and we learn Connor has to go to the bathroom a lot. Sean also snarks about not being embarrassed about how rich he is, but gets distracted when he sees Lynn Echolls at the diving board. Everyone but Logan goes up to the window and leers at Lynn diving into the pool, though Weevil at least looks slightly chagrined when he sees how upset Logan is about it. Back in the present, Weevil tells Veronica he would have torn the entire house apart except for the fact Logan probably would have called the cops on him.

Meanwhile, at Mars investigations, Lynn comes into the office, and she and Keith greet each other. She tells Keith about threatening letters Aaron has been receiving, and shows him one that reads, "Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater, had a wife and couldn't keep her." Keith promises to look into it, and says he'll come by the house later that afternoon. They mention how they don't see each other as much anymore now that their kids are estranged.

Back at school, in journalism class, Veronica tells Duncan she's working on getting his laptop back. He's amused at first until he realizes she's serious about it. She asks if he was surprised about Weevil being there, and he allows he was, which leads to another Flashback; Duncan comes into the game room with his Jack Daniels bottle and brags about feeling lucky. He greets Connor, but when he sees Weevil, he says, puzzled, "You're not Chester." As Logan takes Duncan's thousand dollar buy-in, he assures Duncan Weevil won't be walking out with their money. He wraps up the five thousand dollar pot, holds it out for everyone to see, and puts it in the money box. Back in the present, Veronica asks Duncan if Logan invited Weevil to steal Weevil's money; Duncan denies it, but looks troubled.

Later, at lunch in the courtyard, Logan, Sean, Duncan and some other 09er kids are eating lunch, and Logan and Sean are joking about Weevil stealing the egg. Duncan, however, doesn't find it funny and storms off. Logan follows him and Duncan accuses Logan of stealing the money. Logan points out Duncan was too drunk to notice anything, but Duncan calls Logan out on his Jerkass behavior, says he's over it, and leaves.

At the Echolls house, while Lynn arranges decorations for her Christmas party, Keith tells her he's convinced the same person has sent several threatening letters, and tells her she should cancel the party. Lynn points out she has security, and won't cancel. Aaron walks in singing a Christmas Carol, but stops when he sees Keith. He greets Keith amiably, and tells him Lynn is making a fuss over nothing. As he walks Keith to the door, however, they both notice a pumpkin with Aaron's face carved into it, and a knife sticking out of it with red dye that's meant to be blood.

At Mars Investigations sometime later, Keith futilely tries to track down who purchased the pumpkin. Veronica comes into the office, and Keith asks her to drop off some papers at the Echolls house for Lynn to sign. She does so...

...but stops by Logan's pool house first, which is a complete mess. Logan is playing a video game, and she snarks about that. Veronica tells Logan why she's there, but also asks him about the poker game. Logan blows her off, but as she's leaving, mentions she ought to talk to Connor. Veronica is excited about the chance of questioning a real movie star like Connor, but also doesn't believe someone as rich as Connor would steal the money. Logan implies Connor is a cocaine addict, and that there are personal issues between the two of them...

...which leads to another flashback. Weevil asks Connor what Catherine Zeta-Jones was like, which leads Sean to snark about what he heard about her on "The Insider". Connor admits he only met her in passing, and Logan snarks about how its not like "you people", and that movie stars don't all know each other. Weevil takes it well enough, but Connor gets offended by the racist comments Logan has been making all night, and Logan snarks about how he should get off his soapbox. Connor then tells the story of how Logan had a crush on Rosie Perez when he was ten, so Aaron arranged for her to come to his birthday party as a surprise - except Perez thought he was a girl named Lauren, and got him a purse. Everyone laughs at that except Logan, of course, and Connor once again goes to the bathroom after his cell phone alarm goes off.

Back in the present, Logan points out how fishy the bathroom trips and cell phone alarm are. Veronica gushes she would be more than happy to question Connor, so Logan calls the set and arranges for Veronica to visit. Even though he insults her in the process ("It's 'V' for 'virgin'."), she thanks him, and he snarks at how her going after Connor will make his day.

A little later, on the set of an action movie, Connor, dressed as a commando, gets out of a helicopter and pretends to shoot. In a voice over, Veronica gushes again at how hot she thinks Connor is. Connor asks if Veronica's there because she wants to be an actress, but she clarifies she's just a fan, and asks about the poker game. He tells her he feels bad about Weevil being cheated out of the money, and mentions there was one person who left the house with money...

...and in another flashback, we see a pizza delivery person at the door, and Duncan is struggling to get his wallet out of his pocket. Logan grabs it out, and he and Connor both joke about that. Duncan says he at least isn't a tightwad like Sean, and he and Sean trade insults. Logan pays the delivery person, who thanks him, but Duncan stops him by pointing out Logan didn't tip him enough. Duncan and Weevil hand over more money, and Logan snarks at Duncan's "beer brains." Back in the present, Connor, who's finishing a cup of tea, mentions all the breaks people took, and Veronica mentions him and the others, except for Logan, watching Lynn diving into the pool. Connor guiltily acknowledges that, and tosses the tea bag towards a garbage can; it misses. His cell phone beeps again, and he excuses himself, saying it's his agent. Veronica gets on her cell phone and calls Wallace, asking him to get Sean's address.

At the Echolls house a little later, Aaron is playing tennis. Keith asks him if he was with anybody on Halloween. Aaron stops playing tennis, walks over to Keith, and denies ever cheating on Lynn; in fact, he was with Lynn during a Halloween party at the Casablancas residence.

At Sean's house, Veronica knocks on the door, and a man in the suit answers. Veronica asks if he's Mr. Friedrich, and when he says yes, asks to see Sean. Mr. Friedrich tells her Sean isn't allowed to receive visitors at home, and someone inside the house calls for "Mr. Friedrich." He shuts the door, and Veronica looks thoughtful.

Later, at a catering company, Keith asks the head caterer, Martha, about the Halloween party at the Casablancas. Martha replies she's not allowed to talk about the events or the guests, but when Keith mentions how Mrs. Casablancas said Martha had the "bad taste" to fire a server, Martha points out Aaron insisted the server be fired because said server (a woman) walked in on Aaron in a bedroom with someone else's wife.

At school the next day, Veronica catches up with Sean as he's being dropped off at school by a chauffeur. Sean mentions Weevil has stolen his Rolex. Veronica asks him about the money, and Sean accuses Weevil of stealing the money beforehand. In another Flashback, we see him and the others being forced to strip down to their boxers, and everyone is snarking at each other. Back in the present, Sean points out Weevil was down to his last two chips, which is why he stole the money; Veronica counters that Sean was as well, but Sean responds he doesn't need the money, unlike Weevil.

Later, at Mars Investigations, Keith tells Aaron about how he knows what happened at the Halloween party. Aaron says he loves Lynn, but doesn't deny what happened. Keith assures Aaron he's not going to tell Lynn because that's not what he was hired to do, but pulls out a list of people at the party and asks Aaron to circle the names of everyone he slept with. As Aaron starts circling several names, Keith clarifies that he meant whom he slept with at the party. Aaron mentions Monica (Emmanuelle Vaugier), the wife of his agent (in a brief flashback, we see the two of them sleeping together and the server (Alexandra Fatovich) walking in on them), but says Monica isn't a stalker. Keith asks if he could point Monica out in a picture.

At Monica's house, she's being fitted for a dress, and she tells Keith how attractive she finds Aaron. She tells Keith he should talk to "Deborah" (another woman Aaron slept with at the party), because she's always flirting with Aaron. Harvey (Paul Ganus), Monica's husband and Aaron's agent, walks in, and Monica tells him why Keith is there; Harvey sighs he wishes Aaron wasn't always the topic of conversation.

At lunch, in the courtyard at Neptune High, Veronica stares at Duncan, Sean and other 09ers sitting together, and wonders if she's going to get Duncan's laptop back. Wallace sees her and snarks about her thinking too hard. He asks her about the case, and she tells him she thinks she's finally solved it. At the 09er table, Logan walks over and grabs a slice of pizza, but Duncan ignores him, leading Sean to yell at them to kiss and make up. Veronica, followed by Weevil, walks over to the table and tells them she knows who stole the money. Veronica suggests Logan host another poker game that night; Logan demurs at first, since Lynn's party is that night, but Veronica mentions she'll reveal who did it in exchange for her getting to play instead. Logan again tells her it's not going to happen, but Veronica and Weevil point out if it does, Weevil will return what he's stolen. Veronica also points out only the guilty party would be reluctant about it. Logan asks if she even knows how to play poker, and she admits she doesn't, but it must be really hard if they all know how to play.

At the party that night, there's all sorts of festive activity going on, including Jake and Celeste Kane arriving, and Aaron and Lynn greeting them warmly. Inside the pool house, everyone is gathered at the table as Veronica walks in. Weevil offers to get her a drink, but she grabs Duncan's bottle of Jack Daniels over his protests and starts chugging it. She then reveals, to Duncan's chagrin, that it's really filled with iced tea, and that Duncan was only pretending to be drunk so he could beat everyone at poker (her evidence being he wouldn't have been able to figure out the appropriate tip if he was really drunk). She also reveals Connor drinks Sun Tea, a diuretic that "action stars use before they're half naked on the cover of Vanity Fair", so he had no reason to steal the money. Moving on to Logan, Veronica points out Weevil had mentioned he didn't search the pool house as much as he wanted to, and when Veronica had dropped by, it looked like a disaster area, and Logan wouldn't have been searching all over if he had taken the money. That leaves Weevil and Sean, and Veronica accuses the latter. She claims while the others were at the door debating how much to tip the pizza delivery guy, Sean took the money and hid it in one of the empty bottles of beer he was drinking, so when it got thrown out for recycling the next day, he could take it then. Logan points out Sean doesn't need the money either, which is when Veronica reveals he's not actually rich; his father is a butler for rich people. She also points out Sean has a shoplifting record. Sean guiltily tells Weevil he can pay him the money, and Weevil takes him outside. Veronica sits down and starts shuffling the cards, not at all like the amateur she pretended to be earlier.

Inside the party, Jake and Celeste tell Aaron and Lynn about a winery they should go to, and Aaron and Lynn agree to go, but Aaron is distractedly staring at Monica. Lynn announces to the party she's got a holiday surprise for everyone at nine o'clock.

At Mars Investigations, Keith examines more pictures of the Casablanca party, and finds one with a server standing in front of a carved pumpkin. He calls Martha and asks about that server; she mentions the server was a pumpkin carver. We see her at the Echolls party, handing out drinks.

In the pool house, Veronica has just won another hand. Connor makes a joke about her being unlucky in love, and Logan says it's time for a break. At the party, Veronica and Weevil both get food, and Weevil jokes about how out of place he is, but that Veronica fits right in. She sees Jake walk out of the main room, and excuses herself, following him. Also in the main room, Duncan and Logan apologize to each other and make up.

Outside, Keith tries to get into the party, but the security guy won't let him in.

Veronica finds Jake in the library, and he greets her. Veronica asks him about the photographs of her that Clarence Wiedman took, and he denies knowing about it. He also denies forcing Lianne to leave town, and Veronica tearfully says she doesn't believe him. Keith observes this from outside, but doesn't say anything. Jake storms out of the room, and Veronica slowly follows. Keith manages to slip inside the room.

Inside the main room, Jake grabs Celeste, yells at her, and tells her they're leaving, to the puzzlement of Aaron and Lynn. Duncan also looks at Veronica worriedly as she walks in. Lynn announces to the rest of the party that it's time for her surprise, which is carolers outside singing while fake snow falls on them. Aaron makes an excuse to stay inside while Keith walks through the crowd. Lynn comes back inside, finds Aaron talking with Monica, and excitedly tells them to come outside. Aaron complies, but is blocked by the server he had fired, who accuses him of sleeping with her and then ignoring her. Aaron protests he doesn't know what she's talking about, which is when she stabs him with a carving knife. We cut back and forth between the carolers singing and the others looking shocked, especially Veronica and Logan, while Keith tackles the woman and Lynn tearfully asks someone to call for an ambulance. In a concluding voiceover, Veronica concludes Christmas in Neptune is all facade, and there really isn't a Santa Claus.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Call-Back: The photographs Clarence Wiedman took of Veronica.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The "ghetto" beer Sean brought to the poker game; not only in terms of how he stole the money, but also a way of showing how poor he really is.
  • Christmas Episode: A complete subversion of most of the usual tropes associated with this kind of episode.
    Veronica: {voiceover at the end) What was I thinking? Christmas in Neptune is, was and always will be about the trappings; the lights and the tinsel they use to cover up the sordidness, the corruption. No Veronica, there is no Santa Claus.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Again, most of the characters, but especially Logan, even when he's being "helpful" to Veronica.
    Logan: (on the phone getting Veronica clearance to see Connor on the movie set) Yeah, Veronica Mars. No, Veronica, "v" as in "virgin."
  • Eating the Eye Candy:
    Veronica: (voiceover) I don't know if Connor's smile cost a million, but his six-pack abs are worth at least double that. Damn. I repeat, damn.
    Connor: (inspecting his stomach) Too shiny?
    Veronica: Uh, no.
    Connor: My helicopter gets shot down mid-flight so I’m supposed to be sweaty but I don’t want to be gross.
    Veronica: I think you're good.
  • Fanservice: the boys stripping down to boxers, and topless Connor
  • Foreshadowing: Aaron's infidelities become very important later.
    • Also, we find out later what exactly Celeste did, in regards to Veronica and Lianne.
    • Logan's throwaway line of "Veronica: V as in Virgin" hints that he's not her rapist.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Subverted.
    Veronica: (while revealing Sean was the thief) I have to say, I was a bit miffed. I was *this* close to being able to say "The Butler Did It". But no, it was the butler's son.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: At once subverted and played straight in "An Echolls Family Christmas", a first-season episode. In The Teaser, a Texas Hold'Em game is down to a climactic final hand. Logan's hand could go well any number of ways with the cards on the table, though he still technically has nothing, with only the river remaining. When it comes time to reveal hands, Weevil's hand...isn't so impressive. As Logan notes, given the number of cards left in the deck, he can win with over thirty of them. And as the river is played, Weevil beats him with a pair of twos.
  • Mock Millionaire: What Sean turns out to be.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Duncan (and Weevil). Also counts as Foreshadowing; while Duncan is always nice in this case, Veronica realizes he wouldn't have been able to figure out the tip should have been bigger unless he was Playing Drunk.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted with Connor, though Logan initially thought this was a cover for something else.
  • Playing Drunk: As noted above, this is what Duncan does to try and win at poker. He's just not very good at either, as Veronica points out.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Logan accuses Connor of this at one point.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Subverted; Sean seems to be acting this way at first, but it's just a cover to allow him to steal the money.
  • The Rashomon: All of the flashbacks to the poker game (except when Veronica does The Summation at the end) are from the point of view of each of the players.
  • Shout-Out: The egg Weevil steals is similar to the one in Risky Business.
    • At the party, when Weevil is joking to Veronica about how he doesn't fit in, he asks, "Where's Weevil?"
  • Summation Gathering: A variation on this; Veronica suggests another poker game so she can tell everyone who the robber is.
  • Twisted Christmas: Has a light-hearted A-plot involving stolen poker winnings, but the B-plot see Keith investigating death threats against Aaron Echolls. They turn out to be genuine, and he's stabbed by a spurned lover at his family's Christmas party - he survives, but the fallout and scandal breaks up his marriage and drives his wife Lynn to suicide two episodes later.
  • Waxing Lyrical: One of the many ways Logan taunts Weevil during the card game is to say, "The rhythm is gonna get you".
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!: After Weevil forces the others to strip to their boxers so he can find the missing money, Sean calls it, "the worst game of Strip Poker ever." And this is before he's exposed as the thief.
  • Your Mom: In Sean's flashback, he wonders why Weevil isn't stripping down to his boxers like the rest of them:
    Sean: I'm thinking...crabs?
    Weevil: I told your mother to clean up.

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