The premiere of season 3 of ‘Veronica Mars’ aired tonight and our girl is back in all her charmingly witty glory. Rather than doing what they did last season by showing the events that took place during the summer with a series of flashbacks, this season’s premiere, titled “Welcome Wagon” got right down to business. But through the usual back and forth banter among the characters, we did get filled in on all of the juicy gossip.

Dick Casablancas spent the summer in the Caymans with his father and has apparently been falling apart (mentally but luckily not physically) since his brother Cassidy’s suicide on graduation day. Dick blames Logan (at least partially) for Cassidy’s death and they’re no longer friends although Logan does refer to him sarcastically as his “BFF”. And speaking of Logan, Veronica and Logan have gone to the next level in their relationship. They appear to be stable (that’s a first) and very sexually active.

Keith did end up making it to New York three days late and he and Veronica enjoyed their trip. Keith’s lateness was due to Kendall offering a rather large sum of money (we know it was enough to buy Veronica a Saturn SUV but no exact amount was mentioned) to help get her out of town. Apparently, Liam Fitzpatrick heard about Kendall’s score with Cassidy’s company and now he wants a piece of it.

There was no real update on Wallace or Mac other than the fact that Mac’s in therapy after the whole Cassidy debacle. Its hard to say how affected she is by the whole ordeal though because aside from mentioning therapy, she’s still the same old sarcastic but adorable (in an Eeyore-like way) Mac. The only person who went completely unmentioned (though did make it into the opening credits) was Weevil. The last we saw of Weevil, he was getting arrested at graduation for the Thumper’s murder.

So that about brings us up to date – now on to the episode. Veronica is taking a criminology course and manages to solve the “Murder On The Riverboat Queen” game in six minutes. Technically it took her less time than that but six minutes was how long it took for the professor’s assistant to notice she was the only one not interviewing the “witnesses”. This was a great way to introduce Veronica to new viewers.

As for what’s going on at Hearst College, it appears they’ve been having more of the attacks from the serial head-shaver. In season 2, Veronica visited Hearst and at some point during her tour of the campus, managed to help clear Troy’s name when he was accused of drugging, raping and shaving a girl’s head. She never did figure out who was responsible for raping the girl or shaving her head but apparently that wasn’t the first time it’s happened and since then, it wasn’t the last because its still going on on campus.

The mystery du episode was Veronica helping Wallace’s new roommate Piz reclaim his stolen possessions. I won’t waste words getting into the details of this. Long story short, Piz’s stuff gets stolen and Veronica finds it and earns herself a cool $500 and a new friend.

The first time we see Dick, he’s getting the crap beat out of him by a bunch of feminists (who were protesting the rape ‘n shave attacks which they think might be related to the fraternities) after he dances almost naked with an inflatable French maid. There were fraternity brothers present cheering him on and the whole thing definitely looked like some kind of fraternity pledge stunt but that’s not confirmed as of yet. Later in the episode, Dick shows up drunk at Mac’s room in the hopes of getting it on with Mac’s cutesy blonde roommate, Parker, whom Mac describes as having a binge at the boy-buffet. When Mac opens the door, Dick is briefly surprised but to see her but then tells Mac that his brother never cared about her. Drunkness aside, Dick seemed kind of sad to see Mac and Mac (not drunk) was definitely upset but concerned by Dick’s behavior.

Keith is finishing up the Kendall job with one last task. He has to pick up Kendall’s once-boyfriend from prison and take him to her hideout. The freed prisoner is Cormac, the older brother of Liam Fitzpatrick. Cormac is seemingly friendly but there’s definitely something shady about him.

Keith takes him out to the dessert to Kendall’s house and when the couple reunites, they seem genuinely happy to see each other. Keith goes back to his car where he finds a pen with Vinnie Van Lowe’s name on it and in the pen is a tracking device (or a microphone, perhaps). Keith realizes that Liam probably hired Vinnie to track him and Cormac and goes for his gun. The gun is gone from the glove compartment and Keith runs back into the house just in time to see Cormac shooting the gun (presumably at Kendall but she was off screen). Cormac then shoots at Keith but he runs for cover outside, near the house and that’s the last we see of him in the episode.

Logan and Veronica are enjoying a lovely campus meal when they see Dick hitting on some girl. The girl’s boyfriend shows up and starts beating up Dick. Logan takes Veronica’s stun gun and zaps the goon to break up the fight. Dick neglects to thank Logan and walks away.

Veronica and Mac are supposed to go to a movie but their tickets are in Mac’s room and Parker’s got a guy in there so Mac wont go in to get them. Veronica sneaks into the room and after glancing briefly at Parker and her gentleman caller, she grabs the tickets and leaves. The next morning Veronica and Mac wake up to Parker’s screams. We next see Parker crying in front of the mirror with her head completely shaved.

Finally, Dick shows up at Logan’s hotel room looking even more beat up than we last saw him. He tells Logan he’s sorry and then says “I messed up”. Logan puts his arm about him and tells him he can stay with him.

So that about sums up the first episode of the new season. Before I get into the good stuff from the episode, I have two complaints. The first is – they need to lose the new opening song and go back to the old one. The new song is slower and just… lame. And speaking of lame, that brings me to the second complaint. I don’t care how much American Eagle is paying The CW, they need to lose the horrible “Aerie Tuesdays” segments between the commercials. A bunch of college-aged girls sitting around in their PJs chatting about relationships? CW, if you want the show to gain viewers, targeting pre-teens with this lame slumber party nonsense is not the way to go about it.

Now that that’s out of the way, I will say without hesitation that I loved the first episode of the new season. It appears Veronica will be targeting the Greeks on campus (and I do mean the fraternity/sorority crowd) for the rape ‘n shave-attacks. Now the question is, is Dick caught up in this? We know he was with Parker at some point because he showed up at her room for what we can assume was more lovin’ the night he saw Mac. The night Parker’s head gets shaved Dick shows up at Logan’s door saying “I messed up”. It’s very possible (even probable) that they’re just setting Dick up to look like the shaver. If Veronica suspects him, this will surely cause a rift in her relationship with Logan. And speaking of relationships, who do you think the new hot couple will be? My wildest but most hopeful prediction is to see Dick and Mac together at some point down the line. Cassidy's death has affected them both and aside from being polar opposites, I think there's some real potential for an extremely dramatic but surprisingly sweet love affair for them. Or maybe I'm crazy.

In terms of Kendall’s murder, it appears that Cormac may have been wrong about his brother Liam not knowing he got released from prison. If Keith was right in assuming the Van Lowe bug in his bag was Liam’s doing, how far away is the younger Fitzpatrick from the desert hide-away? Things could get very messy if Liam shows up to try and claim Kendall’s money. Is it safe to assume Kendall’s dead? When Aaron Echols got shot, it was off screen (with a bit of blood splatter for effect) so its likely they wouldn’t show Kendall taking a few rounds in the chest. Either way, stuffs about to go down and Keith’s caught in the middle of it.

All in all, I think they’re taking the show in the right direction. All but one of the best characters are present and accounted for and the fact that Francis Capra was mentioned in the opening credits is reason enough to believe that Weevil will be back eventually. The witty banter was spot on par in the episode and that is afterall what makes ‘Veronica Mars’ such a smart show. ‘Battlestar Gallactica’ fans were surely pleased to hear the word “frack” mentioned more than once in the episode and I for one loved the Saturn/Mars/Neptune/Uranus/Mercury joke. Veronica is at her best when she’s solving crimes but even more so when she’s got her tongue firmly in cheek.

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