The episode opens with Logan and Veronica trading insults and exposition about the fact that Duncan can't see his baby. After catching Kendall in Duncan's shower, Veronica confronts Duncan in the school parking lot, and he dumps her in front of numerous witnesses. The breakup leads Veronica to listen to depressing music, and you know she's hit rock bottom when Paula Cole starts warbling away. Lamb shows up to inform Veronica that Duncan has abducted his daughter, and arrests her for her likely involvement. Keith urgently counsels Veronica to cooperate entirely with Lamb, which you'd think is about as likely to happen as Celeste Kane hiring Vinnie Vanlowe to help find Duncan. However, both of those things happen, at least as far as we know at first. Also, the FBI shows up to help with the investigation, and in case you thought Xena wasn't still kicking ass, she hilariously runs verbal circles around Lamb. However, Veronica ends up in turn running circles around her. But first, the other plots.
Weevil and Logan continue their secret marriage. The part that we see on screen is where Weevil tells Logan that according to Thumper, the only two PCHers left with Felix and Logan on the bridge were Hector and Bootsy. Weevil also thinks that whoever did it is in league with the Fitzpatricks, so Logan enlists Dick's help to smoke the guy out. Dick is denied by Bootsy but succeeds in buying drugs from Hector, but when Weevil confronts him, Hector says he just skimmed a profit by buying it cheaper from an 09er dealer, who turns out to be the scumbag Sean from "An Echolls Family Christmas." Sean convincingly denies a Fitzpatrick connection, so that looks like a dead end, but they get a real clue when they discover that Felix had some sort of involvement with Molly Fitzpatrick. Might have wanted to fool around with a girl from a slightly less protective family there, kiddo. Veronica discovers Wallace came home because one of his Chicago basketball teammates drunkenly hit a guy and ran with Wallace in the car. He tells Veronica he knows she would have done the right thing, because she's a teenage woman of propriety. A reporter from Chicago catches up with Wallace and seems to know about the whole thing, so it looks like Wallace didn't run far enough.
Anyway, the whole breakup was part of a labyrinthine ruse, which Vinnie and Astrid, Celeste's personal slave, are totally in on, to get Duncan and the baby to Mexico while fooling the FBI and the local authorities. The FBI goes on a wild goose chase to Big Bear, and Lamb thinks he's outsmarting them and Veronica by going to Mexico, but it turns out all he did was give Duncan, who was hiding in his trunk, a ride across the border. In the end, Duncan has a nice sendoff (so it seems, anyway) as he rides off into the Mexican sunset holding his daughter. The price of that moment, however, is that Keith feels totally betrayed by his daughter, and their new rift is not a good sign for the solving of the bus crash. If anyone still cares about that.
First off, I'd just like to say how much fun the Austin Marsathon was, and how great it was to meet so many people from the boards. There were people there whose handles I was familiar with even before I started writing for TWoP, so it was really cool to put faces and real names to those monikers. All credit to the Alamo Drafthouse for running the event so smoothly, to Rob Thomas for putting together some great clips, and to everyone on the panel (Rob, Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, and Michael Muhney) for doing such an entertaining Q&A and also signing autographs for and taking pictures with every last person there.
Now, if you know the agenda of the event, you're aware that they showed this episode as the feature presentation, so Wednesday night wasn't my first viewing. But what you don't know is that my exposure to this episode goes back quite a bit further. You see, back in September, I had occasion to visit L.A. on business, and I was able to take Rob up on an invitation to meet him and the other writers. At the end of that visit, he invited me to see the set the next time I was in town. Business again took me out there in November, and I was able to duck down to San Diego for a quick trip during the filming of this episode, which you probably know marks Rob's directorial debut. And I have to say, everyone I've met who works on this show in both L.A. and San Diego is funny and down-to-earth and kind of just plain awesome. In one sense, it seems like a no-brainer to be nice to someone who critiques your show, but in another sense it's...not, at all, so thanks for showing me a great time. Special shout-outs go to Dan Etheridge, for rocking like Dokken; Rick Pickett, who's a great designer and, I just found out, went to Princeton, my alma mater; and Venita Ozols-Graham, for insisting on putting me on tape despite my better judgment. Oh, we'll get to that.
On a somewhat less fun note, I should say that opinions of this episode were rather bitterly divided on the boards. I really enjoyed it when I watched it in Austin, but I have to admit on closer examination that there were quite a few problems, although I don't think they were as serious as some people did. Maybe it's partially because I've already gotten my "Duncan sucks" rant and my "What bus crash?" rant out of my system recently. Or maybe I've just totally lost any objectivity because people on the show have been so nice to me. Hey, I'm just trying to save people the trouble of sending me hate mail. I don't like anyone to put himself out unnecessarily. Anyway, I'm going to recap the episode as if I don't know the twist, and explain what worked for me and what didn't afterward.