Veronica Mars/Lord of the Pi's
Lord of the Pi's is the eighth episode of the third season of Veronica Mars, and the fifty-second episode overall. Keith is hired to find Selma Hearst, the grand-daughter of the Hearst College founder, after she disappears without a trace from a trustees reception.
Starring: Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Jason Dohring (Logan Echolls), Percy Daggs III (Wallace Fennel), Ryan Hansen (Richard "Dick" Casablancas), Julie Gonzalo (Parker Lee) (credit only), Chris Lowell (Stosh "Piz" Piznarski) (credit only), Tina Majorino (Cindy "Mac" Mackenzie) (credit only), Michael Muhney (Sheriff Don Lamb), Francis Capra (Eli "Weevil" Navarro) (credit only)
Guest Starring: David Tom (Chip Diller), Charles Shaughnessy (Budd Rose), Chastity Dotson (Nish Sweeney), Cher Ferreyra (Fern Delgado), Michael Charles Roman (Wilson Behan), Krista Kalmus (Claire Nordhouse), Brian Kimmet (Brant), Keri Lynn Pratt (Hallie Piatt), Scott Alan Smith (Roger Hearst)
Co-Starring: Brandon Hillock (Deputy Sacks), Ryan Judd (Ted), Tim Sitarz (Mountain Man), Kristopher Logan (Morty the Homeless Man), Linda Bailey Walsh (Linda the Caterer), Carlee Avers (Bonnie Capistrano), Colin Kim (Bob), Emily Happe (Barb), Kevin Foster (Conductor Frat Guy), Lee Smith (Conductor's Buddy), Chase Penny (Rival Frat Guy)
Veronica has been re-entered into the Hearst Free-Press freelance photographer pool now that Nish has been removed from her post and her first assignment is to take shots of a board reception. The trustees intend to vote on whether or not to ban Greek society from the campus the night after, but Veronica's mission is to get a picture of Selma Hearst-Rose, granddaughter of the founder of the school. Before she can make it to the board reception, Veronica runs into Logan, who tells her to stop investigating the rape case after her close call with the date-rape drugs. The request quickly becomes a shouting argument, which causes Keith to intervene and Logan to leave in a huff.
At the gala event, Veronica makes the rounds with her camera, but at the time that Dean O'Dell introduces Selma Rose to the rest of the trustees, Rose has disappeared. The sheriff is called and is typically useless, which causes the Dean to go to Veronica instead. Lamb sees this and is none too happy. She brings the Dean back to he can lay out the details and formally hire Keith to find her.
Veronica gets busy on the legwork the next day, where she finds out that Fern was the only waitress working the event that night. Fern claims that she was only relaying a phone message and had nothing to do with the disappearance, but that doesn't stop Veronica from putting Fern together with the motive for kicking the fraternities off campus. While she questions the wait staff, Keith visits Budd Rose, Selma's husband. He suggests that Keith talk to Selma's brother and the dog walker, who conveniently has a Hearst College bumper sticker on her car.
At Hearst, Veronica follows up on something Fern said about the Pi Sig "sex quest" starting up. The day before, the Pi Sig president was found mostly naked with his head shaved on campus. According to Dick, an egg with a roman numeral on it was used as a suppository on him too. Dick can't remember what the number was, which forces Veronica to go dumpster diving. While Veronica is hunting for Easter eggs vicariously through a homeless man, Keith questions Selma's brother and discovers that the company stock has been skyrocketing because of her disappearance. She intended to shut down cheap labor factories in Asia, which would have caused a great deal more cost to the company.
The egg that was "inside" the Pi Sig president had several scrabble pieces in it which translated to a date from nearly three years ago. In the library, Veronica pours through back-issues of the Hearst Free-Press to find that on that date, a pledge for the Theta Beta fell off the roof of the sorority. The next day, she questions Hallie about both Patrice (the victim from 2003) and the dog walking for Selma Rose. She points the finger at Budd's assistant, Brant. From there, the two devise a wholly different theory involving Budd keeping Selma hidden in order to keep a large portion of her money. The two sneak into the Rose estate to see if Selma is being stashed with her dogs. They find her right where they expected, but to their surprise, she doesn't want to be rescued.
Selma explains that she's being blackmailed by her husband, who discovered her extramarital affair. Because of the blackmail, she has been hiding out in the guest room until after their 10th anniversary so that Selma's brother can lock the company into a lucrative (but unethical) business opportunity. Keith suggests that Selma get a lawyer so that she can divorce him over the infidelity, but that isn't in the cards; Budd has pictures of Selma kissing Hallie (who was hired to seduce her for a cut of the money). They devise a plan that will get Selma out from under the shadow of blackmail and implicate Hallie. Hallie points the Sheriff towards Budd and his guest house, where they find Selma Rose. She serves Budd with early divorce papers and he won't be sent to prison for kidnapping and blackmail. The next day, she thanks Keith and the dean before going to vote the Greeks off campus.
Meanwhile, Veronica discovers that Logan hired a bodyguard to tail her during a brawl in the food court. She confronts Logan about this and the two have a fight but make up quickly. Finally, Veronica manages to track Patrice back to Claire, who happens to be with Fern and Nish in her apartment. Claire explains again about the "two-way mirror" room and tells her that Patrice was a victim of the room. Chip Diller led the mockery against her and, eventually, it led to a mental breakdown and her suicide attempt by leaping off the sorority house. Veronica asks them if any of the rapes were real (other than Chip's), but they just stare blankly at her as she leaves.
The Hearst Rapist
- While talking to Fern, Veronica was told to "watch what she drank," slyly implicating her as Veronica's would-be rapist.
- Chip Diller was drugged and stripped nearly naked before his head was shaved and a plastic Easter egg was violently inserted into his rectum. Inside the egg were several Scrabble pieces which give the date for when a girl fell off the roof of the sorority house.
- Veronica tracked the girl back to Claire, who was in her pledge class and was a good friend of hers. Claire explained that the Pi Sigs publicly humiliated her and caused her to attempt suicide. Claire, Nish and Fern staged at least one rape in order to force the fraternities off campus. They don't say how many of the rapes were faked, but it does tie into the lack of physical evidence.
- The fact that they don't own up to all of the rapes implies that there may be a copycat serial rapist who was using the faked rapes to cover his or her tracks.
- Poison Cup by M. Ward: The song that plays at the end of the episode while Logan watches Veronica call-screen him from across the food court is "Poison Cup" by M. Ward, off the album Post-War. The album was released on August 22, 2006 by Merge Records and thematically is meant to convey the feelings of America following a war.
- The Hearst Free-Press: Because of Nish's indiscretions in the previous episode, she was forced to step down as editor of the campus newspaper. Her space has been vacated for a new editor, who rehires Veronica as a freelance photographer.
- Greek Life: The fraternities and sororities are kicked off of Hearst's campus after Selma Rose-Hearst casts the final ballot opposing the Greeks. This occurs just days after the annual "sex quest" began for the Pi Sigs.
- Logan: Logan hired a bodyguard to tail Veronica and make sure that she doesn't get hurt again. Though she confronts him and they seem to make up, at the end of the episode she call-screens him as he watches from across the room, indicating that she's still not happy about him trying to change her.
Behind the Scenes
- Casting: Selma Rose-Hearst is played by Patty Hearst, the real-life granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, whom Hearst College is named after. Although Patty isn't technically playing herself, the role is very close to her actual life. In an interview, Rob Thomas said that she "is playing a character close to herself. She's playing the granddaughter of Hearst College's [founder], who in our world is a railroad baron rather than a publishing baron. It'll be similar, but she is not literally playing Patty Hearst."
- Closed Captions: In a rare move, the closed captioning for this episode explained one of the jokes Veronica made. After talking to Fern, Veronica said "you really wrecked him" and made a rimshot noise. In the closed captioning, the joke was transcribed as "...wrecked him [RECTUM]."
Allusions and References
- Lord of the Flies: The title of the episode is a reference to Lord of the Flies, a novel written by William Golding in 1954. The book tells the story of a wayward group of marooned children who attempt to set up civilization on the island they find themselves stranded on. Eventually, civilization breaks down and brings about civil war, killing several of the kids. Ultimately, the book is about the end of innocence, but has little (if anything) to do with the episode content.
- The Big Lebowski: As with the previous episodes from season 3, there were many references to The Big Lebowski. The entire scene with Keith looking at the awards, the name of the assistant and the fact that Budd was in a wheelchair are all references to the film, in which Keith is playing the role of Jeff Bridges' character.
- Pinball Wizard: Veronica quotes a line from the song "Pinball Wizard" by The Who. The song is from the band's rock opera, Tommy, about a boy who is deprived of his senses due to trauma but has an uncanny talent for pinball. The song is about several people watching Tommy play pinball and marvel at how he always scores enough points to get a replay and never makes the machine go dead in "Tilt" mode.
- Veronica: She always gets a replay. Never tilts at all.
- Veronica: I'm off to steal the souls of the rich with my evil image-capturing device.
- Keith: Have fun.
- Dean O'Dell: I'm telling you, anyone who knows Selma knows something is seriously wrong. Look, the sheriff is an idiot. I've met smarter sandwiches.