Veronica Mars

Season 1 Episode 15

Ruskie Business

3
Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Feb 22, 2005 on UPN
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (17)

9.4
out of 10
Average
641 votes
  • Valentine's Day approaches&Veronica finds herself working as a love detective, tracking down Meg's secret admirer and helping a Russian woman find her missing fiancé. Logan's troubles continue when he believes he sees his mother.

    8.0
    As Valentine's Day approaches, Veronica finds herself working as a love detective, tracking down Meg's secret admirer and helping a Russian woman find her missing fiancé, both with unexpected results.
    Meanwhile, Logan's family troubles continue when he stakes out a hotel that he believes is hiding his mother but who in fact is his older sister TRina.
  • So much to enjoy, So Little time.

    10
    Veronica takes on three cases, Helping Logan find his mum, Helping Meg find her secrete admire and helping an internet bride track down her runaway husband. Ohh what a classic Ruskie Business is. So this is the first straight out love episode and is very much awesome. With Veronica working three very different cases it makes way for a lot of interesting moments. Meg and Veronica has the comedy and cute teenage romance stuff which will give you tiny little butterfly's. The Russian bride delivers one nice twist for the end, she seems so sweet and lost at first. Then we have the very powerful Logan scenes, Jason Dohring once again nails a very subtle performance. We also get a nice guest appearance from Alyson Hannigan who adds the comedy in the right places. Obviously I could not review the episode without mentioning the 80's dance which is visually a stroke of genius and lots of fun. Ruskie Business is a Veronica Mars that has everything that makes the show so great.
  • Review

    9.3
    Another really good episode where it seemed like the action never really stopped. This episode was jammed pack full of things for our characters to do and we get a lot of answers, many of which raise a lot of questions. Logan Echoll is going through a lot in the past couple of episodes. His mom his dead. His mom is alive. She is seen jumping off a bridge. But she might still be alive. Now it would seem like she is dead again. I really liked his acting in this episode, mainly the scene where he fell into Veronicas arms. That was the scene where you could really tell that all of this was taking its toll on his character. I thought the double case was good too - with neither giving us the outcome that we would have thought. I really enjoyed the high school drama scenes over the Russian Woman ones, but I did enjoy both to the episode. Veronica finds her Mom at the end of the episode to give us a big cliffhanger, but she onec again is plauged by the man who seems to have his face all over this investigation. I cant wait to see where the writers take this in the next episode.
  • Love is in the air

    9.6
    Great episode. The episodic case was superb, not as excellent as in the last episode though... but I really loved the twist with the end. In fact without it it would've been a serious downer, but then again, sometimes a good ending can justify the rest.

    The sideplots on the other hand were simply stunning. The theme of the episode is "love" but it's not soapy at all.

    Deputy Leo and Veronica are a couple now I guess, howeverI've the feeling Veronica's main goal with Leo is to be closer to the sheriff department and it's resources.

    Meg has a secret admirer and Veronica's to find out who is it. Well, it's Duncan. Now I've to say I was really surprised by this. The scene where Leo and Veronica and Meg and Duncan are dancing was very well done. Obviously both Veronica and Duncan still have feelings to eachother... but then why did Duncan dump Veronica? Hmm...

    However to me the best part was Logan's storyline. This midseason arc has came to an end. Despite all the hope Lynn Echolls is dead. It was only Logan's sister who used the credit card. Logan's emotional breakdown in the arms of Veronica was very... real. And it just gives Logan's character so much more depth. The funny thing is, I could feel some real good chemistry between Logan and Veronica(LoVe anyone?)... so this episode is almost based on a Love rombus! (Meg,Duncan,Veronica,Logan,Leo.. oh god!)But then again: it wasn't soapy AT ALL. It was really gripping and great quality.

    The ending's superb, Veronica finally locates her mother, but then so does someone else... Mr. Clarence Wiedman.

    Uh oh.
  • Veronica helps Meg track down her secret admirer.

    9.5
    I thought that this was a very good episode of Veronica Mars. I thought that it was really nice of Veronica to help Meg track doen the person who is secretly attracted to her who knew that it would be Duncan. It was nice of Veronica to help pu the Russian women to bad the women was only there to have the person Veronica was looking for killed because of what he saw. I thought that it was very sad that Logan got his hopes up thinking his mother was alive instead it was his sister using his mother's credit card.
  • Hmmm, this is actually hard to judge. Little bit of great part, and little bit of crap together, melted. New characters, new plot solutions, some action. Hmmm, can’t really decide.

    8.5
    Now we have first official “Veronica Mars” love episode (or resembling that one). The dance motive was perfectly fit in. It was a good chance to reflect on some feelings and emotions that have been bottling up for last couple of episodes. Few surprises.

    I liked Meg comeback. I don’t like the actress, she smiles weirdly, but her character is nice and sweet, and seems to be a friend of Veronica’s, which fact I like. Another new character – Trina. A very good addition performed by my beloved Alyson Hannigan. Finally, she came out of her Willow shell and is playing not-so-good girl, as I assumed. Again, we have Leo in the picture. An addition I do not approve. The very character of Leo is fine by me, but I just can’t stand the guy. Doesn’t he have front teeth?!? Because he talks as he doesn’t and it is driving me crazzzy! Plus he looks obviously older than twenty an is completely not compatible to Veronica – I mean, she’s bright and he is fuzzy... The guy gives me creeps. Another addition is the sketch artist and Veronica’s portrait. Oh, and don’t let me forget the florist! He was cute trying to describe the guy who bought the flowers... Not to mention a great portion of my beloved Wallace.

    Let me focus on the plots. First we had a Russian Mail Wife trying to track her lost love. Give me a break! I mean, what kind of Russian person coming from a very cheap and poor city has a cheque book and agrees to fees like that proposed by Veronica right off the bat?! Wasn’t this a tip-off for a PI to check the cash flow? Too easy for me, too easy. So this plot was just a mili-second long for me. Although the dog was fun! The second plot involves Meg and her secret admirer. Too easy for the first guy because he was obviously hitting on her – crossed out as a “secret” one. The other guy – fine, I admit it, he was on my list of possible candidates. But I knew it has to be someone of a great value to Veronica – otherwise the show loses its point. I had Logan and Duncan on my mind for a while, but Logan lost his seat pretty quickly, so it left me with Duncan. So a piece of cake too. I am just happy that the are both moving on. Although the sudden change in frequency of talking surprises me, apparently she is not repulsed by the half-brother factor anymore
    But I think two major plotlines of this episode are of L.L. initials.
    Lianne. First, I was surprised that Veronica was not able to trace her prank calls back. I mean, observing her previous actions with phones and her wits, she should be able to do it herself. But never mind that. Veronica had to find her mother sooner or later, although the life of Two Marses vas in my eyes perfect. And it was her who badmouthed her mother in front of Keith. So a little bit of surprise here too. I pray for her mother not to be drunk – because that would be too much for a character to take on. I mean, we don’t really have make her that miserable, do we. I wonder what is the real truth behind that people. So Veronica found her, but she found Clarence too, so two birds with one stone I guess. Totally a milestone.
    Logan. A very funny guy I guess. First of all, I cannot accept that Logan would risk being seen with Veronica in public at school, not to mention the pat on the back? What was that, Gummibears? I know that a tragic event can leave you in shock, but it is too much for me to take. I can understand cramming in that hotel foyer in waiting of his mother. But there are certain things off the boundaries here. His sudden emotionality, his crying... He cried for Pete’s sake! This is like having Lorelai shut up for more than 5 minutes! Not-possible!! But let me follow up – Logan’s show-off at the dance was a great stunt. It was hilarious when Veronica hold him facing wall without his pants. Great beginning of a relationship. Hands up!
    His sister was a treat though. I wonder what this is all about when she mentions the old times – having to pick up Logan, or him being wasted. It’s a one twisted family. Heh, just like every other I guess!
    Oh, and to sum it all - I love her clothes and the she dresses, but her Kajagoogoo costume was awful and I do doubt that people in America dress like this even to stupid 80's dances.
  • This epesode was great. It had some good charactor devlopment and was really interesting. So, so much happened.

    9.7
    Overall
    This epesode was great. It had some good charactor devlopment and was really interesting. So, so much happened.

    Meg's Secret Admierer
    Wow. Duncan. The flowers we great. Veronica tried some cleaver things that didn't work. Meg and Duncan are a cute couple but it seems Duncan still loves Veronica. Poor Veronica, it was so hard for her to see Meg and Duncan together.

    The Total Eclipse of Heart Dance
    Wow. First off both Meg and Veronica looked amaizingly beautiful. Meg also looked great in the blue dress at the other party. Go Deputy Leo. It was so cute when he showed up. Wathching them dance was cute but yet still felt kind of wrong.

    Logan's "Mom"
    Oh my god. It was Trina. Poor, poor Logan. He had hopes. It een shocked me. I hate Trina. Veronica did some great sluthing. Watching him cry showed a different more emotional side of him. I love LoVe.

    Fraud/Missing Love Case
    First off veronica did great sluthing to find the guy in the first place. Using the dog. Good job. At the begging I was woundering why them had Keith working on the fraud case but now I get it. The fake house thing came back. Their are really no loose ends in this show. I loved the ening how they cornered the "bad" guys.

    Veronica's Mom
    Wow. Veronica screwed up at the end. It must have been so hard for her to see her mom that way. She is so strong with all that she goes through. Her mom gone, her dad kicked out of being sherif, her best friend being murdered, the guy she thought she loved breacking up with her, loosing most of her friends, the list goes on and on and yet she keeping going to school and all.
  • Logan was great, everything else was boring.

    8.2
    Wow, I am soo falling for Logan Echolls! His breakdown after finding out that the last hope he had of his mother being alive was gone was heartbreaking. Although Leo is unbelievably sweet, I really want Veronica and Logan to get together. I guess we will have to wait and see.

    The mysteries this week were pretty weak. The way Veronica found Tom Cruz was interesting, but the fact that he ended up being in the witness protection program was pretty pointless. And I could care less about Meg\'s secret admirer, or that he turned out to be Duncan.
  • Logan Echolls...

    10
    My only question now, is when do Veronica and Logan get together?

    I was really moved when he finally broke down, and his drunken antics were inevitable really. But seriously, I am going to implode if him and Veronica don't get together soon.

    Better yet, maybe it's time for him to come on over here, and I'll get together with him. Like Michael Scofield, we have another character that looks so much better when he pouts. Hmmm. I'm incorrigible, I really am.

    But yes, this show is really so good, it is my favourite show at the moment. And that is something, if you consider that I'm watching 18 hours of TV a week (and it's all recorded, so no ad breaks). Gosh. That must be over 20 shows. Here's to several more brilliant seasons.
  • Romance, death and the beginning of the Veronica/Logan storyline.

    9.5
    The beginning of a beautiful, if very complicated, romance. I used to be rooting for Duncan/Veronica until I found out about L/V. Compared to Logan, Duncan is so boring! And dating one of Veronica's few friends is pretty mean. When we first met Logan, he was this spoiled, selfish rich kid. But since then we've discovered parental abuse, seen how devastated he was by Lilly's death and then his mother's suicide. Not many kids his age have been through so much. Logan presents this tough guy face to the world but once you get past that, you see who Logan really is. The only word that comes to mind is 'wounded'.

    Though this is still early days in the series, I've seen dozens of clips from season 2 and wow! I thought the series was interesting and complex now, but what I know of season 2 shows this is just the beginning. Logan in particular becomes, hands-down, the most interesting and complex character in the series. And it all starts here. He and Veronica are already an intriguing and wonderful pairing, their interchanges are a wonderful part of the series.

    I loved the whole Lynn storyline, especially Logan's argument with Trina at the hotel, it's a wonderful insight into the real Logan. Also, Duncan referred to himself earlier in the episode as Logan's 'best friend'. I find it very interesting that when Logan was making a scene, it was Veronica who rescued him, then waited with him until Trina arrived. Duncan was nowhere in sight. Duncan was certainly in fine form tonight.

    I can't say I'm a huge fan of Leo, he's quite annoying actually. Plus, every time I see Veronica with Logan, I lose interest in the insipid Leo storyline. But he does match Veronica's current taste in boys - look at Duncan. Thankfully her tastes will change to boys who are intelligent, witty and desperately in need of a good woman. Can't wait!
  • The only reason why it was this high is because you see Veronica grow as a person and if the main character doesn't grow, the whole show gets boring...

    7.5
    It took about half of the season before they had Logan acting even slightly human. And that\'s not necessarily a bad thing, but it almost made it feel like in the middle of the season, they decided that they\'d gone the wrong way with poor Logan and then decided that he was going in the wrong direction... Anyway, this is an episode where Logan is being human, they track down someone who may be his mom, but turns out to be his sister (which happens to be Alyson Hannigan, whom I adore from her Willow Rosenberg days...), and he weeps into Veronica\'s breast. Thankfully, Jason Dohring sold the sorrow... otherwise, I would have thought he was just trying to cop a sympathy feel.

    Veronica gets to go through more teenage growth as Duncan asks her new popular friend Meg out. (I suppose it doesn\'t help that I think Veronica & Meg\'s relationship is odd and I prefer Duncan & Veronica together... but what the hey!) Veronica\'s hurt and almost doesn\'t help them get together, but then becomes a bigger person. She\'s rewarded with cute deputy boy... but he\'s a little too much of a pushover to last long. But she gets to dance with him and we see Duncan making a few jealous glances their way, but since he\'s got Meg in his arms, he\'d better just look elsewhere. Veronica also gets some action, which is nice.

    The main mystery of the episode was finding a man named Tom Cruz... and yes, the jokes abounded. I was so ready for that to be over that I could have cried when it was done. It turns out that Veronica almost broke the cover of poor Tom who was in the witness relocation program.

    End of the episode, we get to see drunk Mommy and sinister Wiedman. I could tell you how it all turns out, but you find out part of the story in the next episode.
  • From Russia with Death

    10
    The main attraction of this episode is the guest appearance by Buffy alumni Alyson Hannigan as scheming Trina Echolls, Logan's older sister. She doesn't disappoint and her two scenes are some of the best in the episode.

    Ruskie Business sees Veronica helping a Russian mail-order bride find her missing husband, trying to uncover who is using Logan's mother's credit card and helping Meg discover the identity of her secret admirer.

    This is a classic episode, with a massive case-fest, all of them being interesting. The Russian storyline is excellently written. Cynthia "Big Rhonda" LaMontagne was well cast as Russian bride Catherine and the twist ending to the story, in which we discover that Catherine isn't searching for her husband, but is actually a Russian killer who, with her two partners, wants to kill a man in the witness protection program, was completely unexpected.

    Alyson Hannigan was scene-stealing as Trina and I loved her chemistry with Logan. Their argument was hilarious, in particular Logan's comment about Trina playing "Dead Hooker #2" on CSI.

    I found the secret admirer subplot the best. The identity of Meg's admirer is was a good mystery and I wasn't expecting it to be Duncan. Although, I did have to rewind the DVD when we were shown the sketch artist's picture of the admirer. I'd say the "artist" part of his job name was slightly exaggerated...

    I loved the 80's theme to the episode, in particular Veronica's "Madonna-in-Holiday-phase" get-up to the dance. The hour was full of 80's references, from Logan's Risky Business underwear thing at the end and the constant mentions of "Tom Cruz".

    Veronica's relationship with Leo is annoying though. Am I the only one who thinks Max Greenfield is an awful actor? He constantly has a grin on his face and reads his lines as if he's under paralysis!

    Besides the Leo subplot, Ruskie Business is an absolute riot of an episode and the cliffhanger involving Veronica's mom and Clarence Weidman was a shocking moment...
  • A tin of sardines... or are they sharks?

    8.4
    Whoo! Cramming in the plotlines or what?

    Keith is doing an insurance fraud case and hands a Russian woman trying to find her lost love on to Veronica with instructions to take a flat fee of $75, do some research and get shot of the case. Instead, Veronica takes it on at $250 a day - while simultaneously trying to find who Meg’s secret admirer is. Logan’s mum’s credit card is used again… and there’s a lead on Veronica’s mum. All this and the Veronica/Leo and Veronica/Logan relationships are developed as well - in my opinion, subtly and well.

    This is crammed full of good plotting, good character writing and development and genuine wit. And all of this is enhanced by actors who are up to the job. Most worthy of mention is the continuing development of Logan away from a cardboard cut-out rich, spoilt brat. This is merely one strand which ties into the main theme of the series, I. E. things not being what they seem: the Russian woman is not what she presents herself as; the person in the hotel is not who she is supposed to be; Meg’s secret admirer is not one of the initially-proposed two candidates; the house that the party is held in isn't the home of the host; and, perhaps most interestingly, Keith’s insurance case is not what it looks like at first , I. E. the ‘A’ plot of the episode - it’s a barely-mentioned plot device.

    I may have mentioned this before, but, of course, Veronica Mars is not a series about a high-school girl who solves all her idiot failure P. I. father’s cases for him; the biggest things-are-not-what-they-appear-to-be of them all.
  • The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!

    9.2
    So, "Ruskie Business", huh?. Have to say I am liking most of the episode titles the show has come up with so far. Some better than others, of course. But a play on words of the 80's film "Risky Business" isn't the only hint of 80's nostalgia that runs through this fine, fine episode of an increasingly brilliant series. The episode is filled with 80's clothes, hair, and music. I love it. I'm an 80's child and I loved that time. Anyone who wants to spring a little 80's love out there is fine with me. But like high schools and a lot of shows with a high school theme, we have a dance here and it needs to have a theme. That's right. The 80's. It's a "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" 80's dance as well. I wonder if this will be another residual check in Bonnie Tyler's pocket?. On a side note, I loved the 80's era. It seemed more free and open and creative. It was a lot more fun and colorful than the 90's and today which, in my opinion, suck. There I said it. But I guess I am getting besides the point. Anyways, what we have here is a really, really good episode of Veronica. Out of the seven episodes I have seen, this is probably second. After the finale, of course. It's a fun and colorful outing that is brimming with humor, revelations, and good crafted storytelling from beginning to end, So, what's up in Neptune this week?...

    Veronica, this week, is the detective of love. Both of her big cases this week involve someone looking to find out who her secret admirer is, and another is a mail order bride trying to find her, well, orderer. The better of the two?. Well, I liked them both quite well actually. First up, Veronica is asked by Meg to find out who her secret admirer is. Not the most hardy of cases for Veronica, but a case nonetheless. At first, all signs seem to point to footballer Caz(Zachary Ty Bryan), but maybe it's not him. Maybe it is. Nice to see the "Home Improvement" boys still getting work. Anyways, some flowers are left for Meg and Veronica goes to the flower shop to see if she can get anything out of the flower maker on who had ordered those flowers. Let's just say that this guy was not the best of brains, and basically said it was a good looking kid who had that "cold look". Gee, that's a lot to go on. Veronica and Meg go to a dance at a model house in hopes of finding out more about who the admirer is. No such luck. I am reluctant to reveal more than that in case there is someone reading these reviews to check out the episode first before they see it. Aw, what the hay. It's Duncan. Veronica's ex likes her friend, Meg?. Salt on the wound, my friend. This was a nice and fun little mystery, but not the best that Veronica has to offer. It was a somewhat surprising outcome, and was written very well, but was filler compared to more serious things that were at work in this episode.

    A russian mail order bride named Catherine Lenova comes to Mars Investigations. She speaks with Keith at first, but he turns her over to Veronica to finish things up. Catherine is a Russian mail order bride who is trying to find the man who brought her here. An aspiring actor named Tom Cruise...woops, back up, make that "Tom Cruz". At first, I thought nothing of it, but the more she talked, the more this just sounded somewhat peculiar. This was a more interesting case and storyline than Meg and her secret admirer. There was something mysterious about this, and something that seemed more interesting to see come through in the end. Veronica works on the case through a picture she has of Tom with his special breed of dog. She also pretends, on the phone, to be a casting agent, in hopes of getting the struggling actor into an audition. But thanks to Keith, it is revealed that Cathereine Lenova is not her real name. She is Yelena Sukarako. She, and two goons who have been trailing Keith for a while, are Russian mobsters. This Tom guy doesn't want to be founds for a reason. He's in the witness protection program. I will admit that I wasn't sure what was happening, and didn't really expect the outcome. Again, the writers have a strong talent for throwing in some twists to seemingly ordinary cases. The only thing that didn't seem right was how Keith caught the two mobsters in the model home. It was cool how it all worked out and ended up, but didn't it feel just a little too perfect?. It all went down so smoothly. Otherwise, this was a good story.

    Logan. Logan was an interesting character from the start, but he only gets more interesting, and more deeply layered as the show goes on. Jason Dohring does a great job. Here, he is convinced that his mother is still alive and he wants Veronica to find her and prove that she is still among the living. When there is activity on her credit card at a ritzy hotel, Veronica and Logan go there to try to smoke her out. Posing, hysterically, as an engaged couple. Great. But it's not Logan's mother. It's his sister, Trina, who comes out. Alyson Hannigan. Words cannot express how much I love her, and how much of a great talent she is. She is unbelieveable. She could do no wrong on "Buffy", and was deserving of a few Emmy's. Her part here was a little disappointing. It wasn't bad, but it just seemed that she didn't quite have a hold on the part just yet. She had a nice way of delivering the lines, and had a cool "bitchy" demeanor that she did very well. But she wasn't doing her best, and I don't put any blame on her. She is a brilliant actress, and was nervous about the role, from what I have read in interviews. Alyson can do darker, more serious stuff very well. She was the best cryer on TV, and the best of anyone I saw who could just range back and fourth through emotions. But darker stuff is something she was really good at when she got the chance on "Buffy". She was absolutely brilliant as Dark Willow, and chewed up the scenery. She obviously looked like she was enjoying it, and so were we. Real juicy acting there. Maybe that is where she should go now. Something more darker and serious. Something that doesn't really show traces of our beloved Willow. Still, it was great to see her. This storyline, overall, was really good. Logan breaking down after realizing that it was not his mother after all was really good. It's also cool how Logan and Veronica's relationship has developed and changed since the beginning of the show. Not that I'm surprised. You can't watch those earlier episodes and not realize that things would be different at some point down the line. Anyways, the two of them work well together, and Bell and Dohring are good together. This was a great part of the episode, and wether or not Hannigan was on her game wasn't important to me. What was is that Hannigan was back on TV. More of her, Mr. Thomas.

    And we are back to the 80's dance. Meg dresses Veronica up as, in Veronica's words, "Manila Whore Barbie", but she looked more along the lines of "Like A Virgin"-era Madonna. And who pops up at the dance for Veronica?. It's Leo. It's cute and sweet, but would an older cop take a 17 year old to a dance?. Who cares. If this were real life and Veronica was a 24(now 25)year old like Bell is in real life, there wouldn't be any question. I never really thought about it until somebody mentioned it afterwards. Still, it's a nice moment and any little moment with the two of them are always nice.

    So, "Ruskie Business" is a top of the line episode of Veronica. One of my top favorites that I have seen so far. It was well written, nicely plotted, and an overall gem.
  • Logan: Wow, sugarpuss. You've certainly been a busy little bee. Ah, she's a keeper.

    9.5
    This episode was, like, totally awesome. Aside of the fact that it had an 80's theme (and I love the 80's), the back story was great. I especially like the hotel scenes. I had to hold in some tears towards the end there. I just wanna hug Logan. That's all.
  • One of the better,although not the best episodes of Veronica Mars.

    8.5
    (Now keep in mind,as I write this,I have only seen Season 1 up until this episode.)

    This episode was really good.Not as good as say,An Echolls Family Christmas,but one of the best.I liked that there were multiple complicated storylines going on at once,but I never got confused.The 80's dance theme was cute,and both Logan and Veronica's breakdowns were believeable and heartbreaking.Alyson Hannigan was okay,but I think she will do better in the future once she gets comfortable in the role and has more to work with.I like Leo,but since I am a LoVe shipper,I hope it doesn't last.

    Great Lines:

    WALLACE: Damn, this dog is a freak show. [Flipping it to show Veronica] He oughta be in show biz.

    Veronica grabs it and looks more carefully.

    VERONICA: You think that’s some kind of rare breed or something?
    WALLACE: That or a drunk dingo had a three-way with an ocelot and a porcupine.
    -------------------------------------------
    VERONICA: Wallace, [leaning over to him] if you do this for me, we’ll be best friends forever. [Pleading] Come on, don’t you want us to be BFF?
    ----------------------------------------------
    LOGAN: Wang chung or I’ll kick your ass. Everybody!
  • Veronica: "J. Geils was right, love stinks. You can dress it up with sequins and shoulder pads, but one way or another, you're just gonna end up alone at the spring dance, strapped into uncomfortable underwear." A great '80s theme dance & Veronic

    9.2
    Back in the day, the stereotype of the Russian man was either a craggy old man with a unibrow or a pale young man with dark circles under his eyes and a huge bulge in his tights who danced ballet. The women, of course, were either stout old women with moles and wispy beards wearing babushkas or unsmiling 14-year-old gymnasts coached by Leonid Arkayev. The Cold War is over now and capitalism "won"—which means that Russians now have the "right" to starve under a free market—so those old stereotypes have died. Today, Russian men are either pale young men who ice skate or mobsters. The women are stunning young mail-order brides or 14-year-old unsmiling gymnasts coached by Leonid Arkayev. Isn't progress great?

    The plot wasn't the big reason I had looked forward to this episode. I was pleased when I found out that Alyson Hannigan would be in this one for a couple of reasons: one, I think she's quite a good actress, even if I didn't care for her character on Buffy, and; two, I'd hoped that her appearance would help spike the ratings a bit. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed on both accounts. Hannigan is a wonderful actress, with an amazing ability to convey vulnerability with facial expressions, but she didn't knock this one out of the park by any means. She had interviewed that she was very nervous when she got in front of the camera, and had a hard time remembering her lines. Sadly, it showed, especially in her initial scene. When we first see her in the hotel lobby (wearing a hat that would look perfect on Willow—if it were purple felt and had a huge gaudy orange flower, that is), she seemed to rush her lines. I didn't feel much emotion behind them. While she did seem more at ease in her later scene, I'm beginning to think that she might not be suited for a character who isn't about sweetness and light; I didn't care for her acting when she played Dark Willow, either. As for the ratings, the show was still UPN's top-rated Tuesday night offering, but finished last in its time slot once again. (Can someone please tell me how One Tree Hill manages to beat this show in ratings? Truth really is stranger than fiction, isn't it?)

    More than Hannigan's performance, however, I had a problem with the explanation of Trina's appearance—or lack thereof. When Logan and Veronica track "Lynn" to the hotel, it's because her credit card is in use. Trina also shows up wearing Lynn's clothes. How did she get those things? As of now, it makes no sense. While I'm more than willing to give Rob Thomas et al a bit of leeway here with the caveat that this be explained in a later episode, I can't help but wonder why neither Veronica nor Logan asked the obvious question: has Trina seen Lynn? Is that why she has the clothes and the credit card? Logan may be too torn up, but Veronica should certainly be on top of it, shouldn't she? On the good side of things, I liked the discussion of their father. Comments Aaron made in "Lord of the Bling" made it seem that Logan was exaggerating his father's violence. Trina continues in that same vein. While we absolutely know that Aaron is violent with his son, the question is, to what extent? I think it's worse than Aaron or Trina would have it, but maybe not as bad as Logan would have it. That question of perspective is a very interesting—and realistic—one.

    While we're on the subject of Logan's emotions, I have to say again how much I love this development of his character. Yes, Logan's a jerk, but even the biggest jerk has feelings, loves someone, is prone to heartbreak. This guy has lost his girlfriend and his mother, and having him break down in the hotel lobby was necessary. I also felt the hesitancy between him and Veronica—should he seek comfort from her, should she reach out and give it—was very true to the characters, but it was also in keeping with those characters that he would eventually seek comfort and she would, in turn, give it. That was a very touching scene, and well-played by both of them.

    The Logan story was officially the B plot—I think. There were probably four different plotlines in this episode, but they didn't seem jammed together, which is so often the case when a show has too much going on. The least interesting plot was probably the A plot, concerning the Russian mail-order bride seeking her lost "Tom Cruz". There was nothing really wrong with this plot; it was just overshadowed in importance by the various subplots. After watching the episode a second time, I realized that I should have had doubts about the identity of Catherine Lenova, a.k.a. Yelena Sukarenko, when Keith was so hesitant to spend much time on the case. After all, doesn't father know best? I didn't have any suspicions during the first viewing, however, so the writers certainly got it over on me. I guess I didn't have any big problems with the fact that the plot revolved around Russian mobsters, except that making Russians mobsters has become almost a reflex for many screenwriters. Russians are the new Italians, I guess. The real problem I had was the way the plot was resolved. It certainly seemed like the little plan to use the empty model home was hatched quite quickly. How long did "Catherine" allow the phone to ring after Veronica hung up on her? How was Keith able to get the cops out to that empty model so quickly? Doesn't he still have issues with the Neptune Sheriff's Department? It just seemed terribly contrived.

    I found plot B.2—the story of Meg's secret admirer—much more interesting, mostly because of the "Total Eclipse of the Heart" '80s-themed spring dance. Although, I have to admit, I prefer my Bonnie Tyler along the lines of "It's a Heartache." Now, I'm not usually caught up in the silliness of worrying about my age. Yes, my oldest will be a teenager in a few months. I also had a few problems when I turned 30—not because of fading youth, but because I hadn't accomplished the things I'd expected to by that age. Nonetheless, it does make one take stock when kids getting ready to enter young adulthood are using the soundtrack of one's high school years as the music for a nostalgia dance. Songs like Spandau Ballet's "True," Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," and the Fixx's "One Thing Leads to Another" were actually played at dances I went to in high school. I also loved Veronica's get-up. It actually looked like Meg was using Miss Breck hairspray to get her hair to poof out like that. Nothing could top Logan's Risky Business get-up, though. When I saw some of the stills from this episode, I couldn't figure out why in the hell they were dressed like that. Making things even better, we had various references to TV shows from the late ‘70s and ‘80s: Keith mentions the Love Boat, Wallace refers to Veronica as "Rockford," and, of course, the running Tom Cruise jokes and Risky Business allusions. Hilarious stuff.

    I also have to admit that I never expected Meg's admirer to be Duncan. In fact, until I actually saw him walk up to her, I wasn't sure that's who it was. Let's just say that Karl the Forensic Artist may be great at "forensics," but he leaves a bit to be desired in the "artist" department. I was absolutely heartbroken for Veronica, though. After all she's gone through, seeing her sitting in the car crying over a lost first love reminds us that she is just a high school girl. Keith wanted her to do "high school girl things," and crying over your first love is more fitting than "cutting pictures of Ashton out of Teen People." Then, the sunshine of Deputy Leo comes her way. Yes, that was a happy scene, but also a puzzling one. Isn't Veronica officially jailbait? Also, I can't imagine taking a 20-year-old to a high school dance. I had older boyfriends during my junior and senior years, but I was no longer a dance-attending type by that time. It just seems strange to me for a guy who's pushing drinking age to be doing the ‘80s dress-up thing and dancing with a bunch of teenagers to bad Top 40 music from 20 years ago.

    All was well, though, as we went out on a high note. It took me a while to realize that Clarence Wiedman was the African-American guy in the Barstow bar, but the look of terror on Veronica's face has me anxiously awaiting the next new episode. Sadly, that won't be next week. Instead, UPN is giving us a follow-up to the last cycle of America's Next Top Model. I think I'll be watching something else that night.


    GREAT LINES:

    Veronica: "I look like Manila Whore Barbie."

    Logan: "Wang Chung, or I'll kick your ass!" [I was going to use one of these first two quotes in the teaser, but I thought I'd go for something a bit more family-suitable; that would be a quote about uncomfortable underwear, of course.]

    Meg: "Granted, I would look good on Kaz's arm, but do you have anything available in sensitive or charming?"

    Keith: "Honey, we're private investigators, not the friggin' Love Boat."

    Veronica to Wallace: "C'mon, don't you want us to be BFF?"

    Logan to Trina: "If you're coming home, who'll play Dead Hooker Two on CSI this week?"

    Deputy Leo to Veronica: "Ready for a ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart'?"


    One Last Note:
    I usually answer all email I get from readers privately, but there was one question I received that I wanted to note here because I think they'll be of interest to others, as well. The question that's driving me nuts: what is/was the age relationship between Lilly and Duncan? I'm not sure the show has ever made this clear. I had simply accepted that the Kanes, Veronica and Logan were all in the same grade. The only way that could be is if the Kanes are fraternal twins or one of them was held back. Now, if Lilly was older than the other three, why was she going out with a younger guy? That was extremely rare when I was in high school. Duncan has to be a junior because of comments made in "Clash of the Tritons." Veronica is 17, which makes her either a junior or a senior. This is making me nuts! Is it an error in logic or an oversight by the writers? Any ideas?

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