Something that elevated Veronica Mars from just any other mid-2000's TV teen dramedy was its dual status as a neo-noir. With each show breeding long mystery arcs peppered by baby assignments for the flaxen-haired private eye, there were more than a few epic Veronica Mars plot twists that sent us into emotional tizzies. And for the sheer thrill of it, we will compile some of the series' most dramatic reveals. From murders to babies to affairs and back again, it was hard to narrow a top list of mystery resolutions that truly resonated, but I did my best.
Will you disagree? Probably in part. Regardless, the following are mysteries that left a personal impression on my memory, so feel free to look at this as merely my fond memories versus a definitive ranking.
I'm leaving the movie out of this one, though, so in the future, feel free to come over for tea so we can discuss that alone. Of course, if you haven't finished a Veronica Mars binge-watch, be warned that this is spoiler INTENSIVE. A veritable melange of spoilers, if you will. You've been warned, my friends.
7. "My Mother, The Fiend": Willow Rosenberg's Mom is a Lunch Lady
Long story short, Logan's sister Trina ends up being the 1980 prom baby and biological child of Principal Moorehead and Mary Mooney, Neptune High's deaf lunch lady. God, the Echolls family is complex. What's interesting here is that the ending sheds some humanity on Veronica's alcoholic mother, with lunch lady Mooney telling Veronica her mother was a friend and helped her during the pregnancy.
6. "Nobody Puts Baby In the Corner": Meg's Secret
Not so much a complicated mystery, but a dark resolution nonetheless. Veronica finds some emails to child protection services from a now-comatose Meg, and it turns out that the child in question is actually Meg's little sister, Grace. Grace is being tortured by Meg's hyper-religious parents, and this revelation is complicated by the fact that Meg, still comatose, is HEAVILY pregnant. How can Veronica hope to keep Meg's (and her boyfriend Duncan's) baby safe in the hands of such monsters?
As we all know, Mexico is involved.
5. "Mars Vs. Mars": Carrie Bishop, The Early Years
Before she became the central mystery of the Veronica Mars film, Carrie Bishop was the gossip queen of Neptune High, ironically played by a pre-Blair Waldorf Leighton Meester. Carrie accuses Veronica's favorite teacher (aka Ben from Parks and Rec) of having an affair with her, and Veronica proves this to be false by way of text message — but there's a twist. The teacher HAD been carrying on an affair with Carrie's friend, Susan Knight, who was afraid to bring it to light. Carrie was trying to bring justice by taking her place, so to speak.
It's a mystery with interesting layers, one that pits a favorable "victim" against an unlikable villain, and then turns the tables. But, generally, it wins points because it plants the seeds for a much bigger mystery later on.
4. "Papa's Cabin": Tim Killed Dean O'Dell
A complex plot line that had more to do with one of the show's fallen angels: Veronica's criminology professor, Hank Landry. This guys gives her a recommendation for an FBI internship, and ends up the prime suspect after having an affair with the Dean's wife Mindy. It's TA Tim that ends up murdering the Dean, however, wanting to frame Landry because he gave him a bad recommendation.
3. "A Trip To the Dentist": The Night of Shelly Pomroy's Party
Veronica's Season 1 sub mystery tackles some heart-wrenching territory. The initial reveal? It was current boyfriend Logan who brought the GHB that knocked her out, inadvertently, by way of evil Madison Sinclair's "trip to the dentist." But to make things more unpleasant, Duncan, also drugged, ends up being the one who slept with Veronica, and didn't tell her. Why? "Because you're my sister and I knew it!" he tells her, before she runs off in hysterics. In short, this is not the way anyone wants to lose their virginity.
Of course the reveal is only filled with partial truths and some outright false claims (yeah, Duncan and Veronica are not related), but that moment is potent and hard to watch.
2. "Leave it to Beaver": Who Killed Lilly Kane?
Lilly Kane's murderer is finally revealed to be her boyfriend's father, the psychotic Aaron Echolls. Veronica finds out that the two had been carrying on an affair and Aaron murdered her in a rage after Lilly hijacks some of their sex tapes. It all leads to an anxiety-attack-inducing confrontation between Veronica and the villain... with fire. Truth be told, I sobbed the entire time, absolutely terrified for our heroine, positive that no not-Buffy-the-Vampire-Slayer blonde would be able to survive this affront. Thank god I was wrong.
The only reason it doesn't take the number one spot is because we knew about Aaron's violent tendencies. In truth, one mystery surpasses it.
1. "Not Pictured": Beaver Becomes the Series' Unsung Super Villain
A game changer that had me sobbing twice as hard. It was meek little Beaver who raped Veronica, Beaver that gave her chlamydia, Beaver that blew up the school bus, Beaver that was molested by Woody Goodman as a child. Though a tragic figure, that rooftop battle between the two, with Logan's interjection, the claim that Keith is dead, and Cassidy's eventual suicide takes us to new levels drama, one that solidified Veronica Mars as a masterpiece.
Image: Warner Bros.; Giphy (8)