Veronica Mars/Welcome Wagon
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Welcome Wagon is the first episode of the third season of Veronica Mars, and the forty-fifth episode overall. Shortly after her first day at Hearst, Veronica has a new mystery to solve. While she attempts to locate Piz's belongings, Keith transports a released con across the desert.
Starring: Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Jason Dohring (Logan Echolls), Percy Daggs III (Wallace Fennel), Ryan Hansen (Richard "Dick" Casablancas), Julie Gonzalo (Parker Lee), Chris Lowell (Stosh "Piz" Piznarski), Tina Majorino (Cindy "Mac" Mackenzie), Michael Muhney (Sheriff Don Lamb) (credit only), Francis Capra (Eli "Weevil" Navarro) (credit only)
Co-Starring: Brandon Hillock (Deputy Sacks), Kristen Mengelkoch (Cathy), Tanya Michelle (Nancy Cooper), Cher Ferreyra (Fern Delgado), John Zacchino (Guard), Hector Anthony (Freshman Boy), Jessica Scheid (Rose), Drew Robinson (Singer), Jesse Fremont Allis (Rat Boy), Creagen Dow (Ferret Boy), Wana Lee (Furious R.A.), Mandy Gill (Honey)
Mystery of the Week
- Welcome Wagon Thieves: While moving into the dorm room he shares with Wallace, Piz signed a clipboard held by someone claiming to be part of the "Hearst College Welcome Wagon" and agreed to watch his things while he went inside the dorm. When Piz came back out, his things were gone and the girl had vanished with no trace except for a band logo traced in the dirt on his car. Veronica swings into action, interviewing other people struck by this supposed Welcome Wagon before coming up with the lead of going to the previously mentioned band's concert and asking people there. Three teenagers tell Veronica a story about two black guys and blonde girl wearing a fat suit with a moving van being the culprits, but instead of buying it, Veronica manages to find Piz's guitar on Craigslist being sold by a Donald Fagan off campus. She uses her skills of subterfuge in order to steal a picture of him and a suspicious looking blonde girl at the space needle in Seattle. Piz confirms that the girl in the picture was the same one who claimed to be on the Welcome Wagon, leaving Veronica to call the police and watch them uncover the stolen goods from Fagan's garage.
The Hearst Rapist
- The Hearst rapist is still on the loose since the subject was last brought up in the previous season. Several more girls on campus have been raped and had their heads shaved and this time, Mac's new roommate has become the latest victim.
- Although it isn't mentioned what job exactly Keith did for Kendall that netted him the suitcase full of money from the season finale, he does agree to transport a released convict from prison to her new home. When there, Cormac apparently shoots Kendall and tags Keith in the leg. Although what exactly is going on is unknown, it seems connected with whatever job Kendall hired Keith for.
- Veronica: Veronica is going to college at Hearst now that she's out of high school. The only one of her classes mentioned in this episode is "Intro to Criminology." It is likely that she takes the class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- Dick: Ever since Cassidy's suicide, Dick has gone off the deep end. He's been kicked out of campus housing and, although he still harbors a grudge against Logan for his brother's death, accepts Logan's offer to live with him.
- Kendall: Kendall is apparently shot dead by her ex-convict boyfriend. Although her death is not shown explicitly, it seems likely that the several shots fired in the house were aimed at her.
- First Appearances: This episode marks the first appearance of both Piz Piznarski and Parker Lee, the roommates of Wallace and Mac respectively. Also appearing for the first time are a variety of potentially recurring characters including Professor Hank Landry and his teaching assistant, Tim Foyle.
- Missing In Action: Both Francis Capra and Michael Muhney are absent from this episode.
- Credit Changes: There are main credit changes again this season, with the removal of Teddy Dunn, Tessa Thompson and Kyle Gallner, and the addition of Tina Majorino, Michael Muhney, and two new characters, Julie Gonzalo as Parker Lee, and Chris Lowell as Stosh "Piz" Piznarski. Additionally, Percy Daggs III has dropped to third billing behind Jason Dohring, and Enrico Colantoni's credit has changed to "and Enrico Colantoni as Keith Mars".
- Title Changes: Along with the new season cast changes, the main title sequence has been updated to give the show a darker, more mature feel for its third season. The Dandy Warhols' theme tune has also been remixed for the new titles. Both the new titles and remixed theme have been met with very mixed (and mostly negative) reaction from the fans.
Behind the Scenes
- Pre-Release: This episode premiered online September 26, 2006, on MSN.com, a week before its broadcast premiere on The CW, and was viewable there until its premiere on the network.