‘Veronica Mars’ was back in full force tonight with the first of the final five episodes of the season. The episode, titled “Un-American Graffiti” felt like a breath of fresh air. Being a stand-alone episode, there was no dragged out story-arc to follow. Instead, there was the usual mystery of the week, Keith managed to weed out some of the weaker links at the Sheriffs department and Veronica decided to take a chance on Piz.

Lets get the mystery of the week portion of this recap out of the way. A woman shows up at Mars Investigations, looking to hire Keith to figure out who sprayed “terrorist” on the outside of her and her husband’s restaurant. This would be a good time to point out that the woman was played by actress, Carole Davis. I haven’t seen her in anything since she played the head of the Rome Wolfram & Hart Office in and episode of ‘Angel.’ She was a ridiculously boisterous Italian woman in ‘Angel’ but tonight she’s a woman of Middle Eastern decent.

Veronica decides to take the case, thinking it’ll help her get her mind of the birthday party Logan is throwing Parker. While she’s staking the restaurant out, she learns that the owners are the parents of Amira, a girl she went to high school with. Apparently this chick is still not over Veronica ruining the whole “Pirate Points” system back at Neptune High during their senior year. Get over it, high school’s over. A bunch of kids drive by and shoot Veronica, Amira and her parents with paintball guns. These guys turn out to be nothing more than a bunch of stoner-gamers out for a good time.

The real vandal was a kid named Derek who decided to spray paint “terrorist” on the restaurant after one of the eatery’s employees handed him a flyer depicting Iraqis laughing at dead Americans. As Derek’s brother was wounded in the Middle East, costing him the use of his legs, Derek got angry enough to vandalize the restaurant. The restaurant dishwasher’s name is Nassir. The owners had hoped their daughter would marry him some day and took him in, giving him a shelter and a job since his student-Visa expired. When they found out about the flyer, they decided not to press charges on Derek, despite the fact that the kid refused to apologize for what he did. Instead, they called INS on Nassir, deciding that while he has the right to express himself, his sentiments are un-American and they don’t have to continue supporting him. The whole thing was a bit on the preachy slide if you ask me but a somewhat entertaining mystery nonetheless.

After a 19-year-old was hit by a car after stumbling drunkenly out of a bar, Keith decides to check into the underage drinking problem in Neptune. As it turns out, most of the bars are pretty lax about their ID policy. Keith checks out the bar where the kid was last seen downing beers prior to the accident. He speaks with the owner who explains to him that he and Lamb had a sort of arrangement. He’d keep the sherrifs department’s soft ball team in new uniforms each season by buying lots of raffle tickets and Lamb didn’t bother him about the number of underage patrons in his establishment.

Keith isn’t easily bought though or perhaps he’s just not a big fan of softball because he’s not interested in selling raffle tickets right now. He spots Wallace and Piz throwing a few back at the bar and approaches them. They show him their IDs, despite the fact that they know he knows they’re not 21. Keith recognizes his daughter’s handiwork and confronts her about it later. She apologizes to him and promises not to use the Mars powers for evil anymore. Keith isn’t through with Wallace and Piz though. He sends them back to the bar with two ridiculously fake IDs (they looked like laminated business cards). They order some non-alcoholic beer and proceed to drink it at the bar. One of the sheriff’s deputies comes in and asks everyone to hold up their IDs. He glances at Piz and Wallace’s but ignores the fact that they’re fake and makes a snide remark about the “temporary” sheriff wasting all of their time then leaves. Wallace lifts a walkie-talkie to his mouth and asks Keith if he got all that. He did. Keith ends up firing that deputy and a few others, letting the rest of them know that there really is a new sheriff in town.

Finally, Logan decides to throw Parker a birthday party. The two are seriously dating and as cozy as ever. I haven’t seen this dorky-sweet side of Logan since Hannah (season 2) but thankfully, Parker is a lot more likable than she was. Logan wants everything to be “fine” with Veronica so he buys her some coffee and invites her to the party. Veronica is trying to pretend like she’s fine with Parker and Logan’s relationship and agrees to go along. She was supposed to bring Piz and Wallace with her as her wingmen but they end up going without her. Wallace has been trying to get Piz to see past Veronica and man up a bit so he can get himself a girl.

At the party, Logan does a little speech to acknowledge Parker’s birthday and a cake is wheeled out. On the cake is a picture of the two of them. Parker is delighted by this despite the fact that it’s incredibly cheesy. Honestly, is this the same Logan who organized bum-fights? The one who once dated wild-child, Lilly Kane? Can you picture him getting Lilly or Veronica a cake like that? Sorry to get side-tracked. The cake itself wouldn’t even have been worth mentioning if not for the absolute ridiculousness of it. Parker tells Veronica that she’s really happy she came to the party, then hands her a piece of the cake which happens to have Logan’s face on it. The gesture might have seemed like a really bitchy move on Parker’s part but she appeared to be completely clueless about it so she gets a pass. There was no ill-will intended but definitely a fair amount of insensitivity.

Later during the party, Logan gets some dorky guy to go hit on Veronica. He didn’t do it maliciously. It seemed more like he was teasing her as though the two of them are old pals who play these kinds of tricks on one another. Veronica puts up with it for a while but eventually grabs Piz and pretends like he’s her boyfriend. Piz dashes off to get them some drinks and Wallace pulls Veronica aside. He tells her that she knows how Piz feels about her and she shouldn’t be messing with him like this. She tries to deny knowing about his feelings but he calls her out on her thoughtlessness and tells her she needs to set things straight with him so he can move on.

When Piz returns she takes him out to the balcony to have a chat about things. She tells him she doesn’t think they’re on the same page in terms of their friendship. Piz decides to take Wallace’s advice and go “all in.” He grabs her and kisses her. When he pulls away he says “just friends” and goes to leave the party. Veronica follows after him and kisses him back. Just then, the elevator doors open and Logan is standing there. He sees the two of them smooching and is momentarily surprised. After that he just looks uncomfortable as he steps off the elevator and walks past them, not saying a word. Veronica looks after him as she and Piz get on the elevator. The doors close as she watches him walk away.

In terms of the kiss, I was pleasantly surprised to find it wasn’t as forced as I thought it would be. That said, I’m not sure if I buy it. Veronica did seem surprised by her reaction to the kiss but then again, she was there watching her ex-boyfriend throw a birthday party for his new girlfriend. Getting kissed and feeling like someone wants to be with you when you’ve just eaten a piece of cake with your ex’s face on it would probably be kind of nice. Plus, she didn’t have to go after him. Its possible that she’s realized she does have an attraction to Piz but its also just as possible that she’s interested in him because he’s interested in her. What was apparent was Logan’s discomfort at seeing Veronica kissing another guy. He had that coming though so no complaints there.

Finally, earlier in the episode Mac told Veronica that she tried going hiking with Bronson, her chip-munky boyfriend. The event was a disaster though Mac showed no signs of being tired of the relationship. That was, until Veronica introduced Max to her at the party. Max, you might remember, is the guy who sells tests and term papers to his fellow Hearst students. He and Mac end up chatting about his business as well as her side-job back at Neptune High, selling purity-test results to her classmates. These two are obviously perfect for each other. Max seems to pick up on this because he asks Mac if his friends paid her to talk to him. You cant really blame the guy, this has happened to him once before. Better to be sure before he falls for another prostitute.

The only other side-plot involved Dick trying to score with two myspace girls. His plan backfired when it turned out that the two girls actually knew each other. They left him locked in the ice-machine room at the hotel.

That about covers it. Do you think Piz and Veronica actually have a chance at a relationship or is she going to end up hurting him? Will Keith be able to gain a permanent spot as the County Sherriff?

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