Return of the Kane

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"Return of the Kane"
Veronica Mars episode
Veronica Mars and Keith Mars.png
Veronica (Kristen Bell) and Keith (Enrico Colantoni) prepare to watch Abel Koontz's arrest footage.
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 6
Directed bySarah Pia Anderson
Story byRob Thomas
Teleplay byPhil Klemmer
Production code2T5705
Original air dateNovember 2, 2004 (2004-11-02)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"You Think You Know Somebody"
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"The Girl Next Door"
Veronica Mars (season 1)
List of Veronica Mars episodes

"Return of the Kane" is the sixth episode of the first season of the American mystery television series Veronica Mars. The episode's teleplay was written by Phil Klemmer, with story by series creator Rob Thomas and was directed by Sarah Pia Anderson. The episode premiered on UPN on November 2, 2004.

The series depicts the adventures of Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) as she deals with life as a high school student while moonlighting as a private detective. In this episode, Veronica investigates a potentially rigged student election after her ex-boyfriend Duncan Kane (Teddy Dunn) wins over more popular candidate Wanda Varner (Rachel Roth). Meanwhile, Logan faces the consequences of running an illegal boxing ring which brutally pits homeless people against each other, and Veronica investigates Lilly Kane's (Amanda Seyfried) murder further.


Logan (Jason Dohring) finds a mob of paparazzi waiting for him in the morning one day. Meanwhile, Duncan (Teddy Dunn) talks to his father Jake (Kyle Secor) about running for school president. In addition, a cheerleader sees another girl, Wanda (Rachel Roth), get her food delivered, and she confronts Mallory Dent (Sydney Tamiia Poitier) about the problem. Eventually, a fight ensues between the two. Veronica says she used to be in pep squad with Wanda. At dinner that day, Keith and Veronica see on the news that the convicted murderer of Lilly Kane (Amanda Seyfried), Abel Koontz, has fired his legal defense counsel. In newspaper class the next day, Veronica is tasked with covering the school election just as soon as she sees that Wanda is running. Duncan also starts to think about beginning a campaign.

Later, Veronica interviews Wanda. She gives some politically charged responses, leaving Veronica dumbstruck. Duncan sees an ad for his presidential run on the school TV, which he did not know about, although Logan actually created the video. Veronica decides to research more into Lilly's murder. She starts with researching suspects—Abel Koontz, Celeste Kane (Lisa Thornhill), Jake, and Duncan. She opens her father's safe and begins to look for clues. That night, Logan runs an illegal boxing ring. The next day, it is announced that Duncan has actually won the presidency, to the shock of the entire school. Veronica proudly announces that "now [she's] got a story," implying that she believes it was rigged.

Later, Veronica talks with another faculty member, Mrs. Donaldson (Jane Lynch), who says that one adult must sign a request for the votes to be recounted. Veronica recruits Mallory, and she accepts. Veronica runs through the ballots with Wallace and Wanda, but they still show a victory for Duncan. However, Veronica finds a ballot of a student who wrote "Wanda Rulez" on his form, but voted for Duncan. Veronica soon finds that the voting instructions for the ballots were different in different rooms. She confronts the principal about this, but he doubts her. It turns out that Madison Sinclair, an 09er girl, made the ballot orders, and Veronica considers the mystery solved. The principal gives in and a run-off is scheduled for that Thursday. That night, Veronica calls an adult reporter to ask him for his copy of a piece he did a few days ago on Abel Koontz.

Jake pressures Duncan to win the election, and Jake wins him over with jokes. The next day, Veronica sees defaced Wanda posters and clean new Duncan posters. Veronica and Wanda decide to hang out and make new posters. In newspaper class, Veronica confronts Duncan about his role in the election, but he doesn't respond. That night, Logan finds his father, who cannot sleep due to the recent press about Logan's homeless boxing ring. Wanda and Veronica talk on the day of the election, and they decide to have a sleepover, win or lose. Logan's father tells Logan that he is going to force him to volunteer at a soup kitchen as a publicity response. It starts to go well, but Logan states that his father is donating $500,000 to the Neptune Food Bank, which he is not. Later that day, Logan's father whips him with a belt while Logan's mother sits in another room.

Veronica is subject to an emergency locker check, after which she hears that Duncan won the presidency. It turns out that Wanda tricked Veronica into taking part in the uncovering scheme in order to clear her record of a drug charge. Later that day, Veronica receives her package from the reporter and starts to lie to Keith about its contents before telling her dad the truth and pleading with him to reopen the case. She shows the footage of Abel Koontz's arrests and the shoes made by Veronica that one of the images contains. Keith asks what she thinks those shoes were doing with Abel Koontz, and Veronica responds, "Good question."

Arc significance[edit]

  • Abel Koontz fires his public defender.
  • Veronica finds out that the pair of Lilly's shoes found on Abel Koontz's houseboat were still in her room after her murder.
  • We find out that Logan is being abused by his father.

Cultural references[edit]

A variety of pop culture references are made in the episode:[1]


In addition to the series' theme song, "We Used to Be Friends", by The Dandy Warhols, the following music can be heard in the episode:[1]


Jane Lynch (pictured) guest starred in "Return of the Kane".

This episode was directed by Sarah Pia Anderson and co-written by series creator Rob Thomas (who wrote the story) and Phil Klemmer (who wrote the teleplay). This episode is the first to be directed by a female director. The episode's title is a joking reference to The Return of the King, the third volume of J.R.R. Tolkien's high fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings, or possibly the 2003 film adaption of it, which was relatively new in that time. Among the episode's many guest stars is a young Jane Lynch, who would eventually find fame on Glee. In addition, a character by the name of Wanda Varner—who appears in a guest starring role in "Return of the Kane"—was featured in Rob Thomas's 1996 young adult novel Rats Saw God.[2] Krysten Ritter originally auditioned for the role of Wanda in the episode. She would later play recurring character Gia Goodman in season 2 and the film adaptation of the show.[3]



In its original broadcast, the episode was watched by 2.86 million viewers, ranking 104 of 111 in the weekly rankings. This was a slight increase in rating from the previous week's episode, "You Think You Know Somebody".[4]


The episode received mostly positive reviews. Television Without Pity gave the episode a "B+".[5] Rowan Kaiser of The A.V. Club wrote a positive review, stating that the twist involving Wanda at the episode's close did not fall flat because the show had built up enough "goodwill." In addition, the reviewer wrote that the episode "continues its blunt, but smart, take on class in America."[6]

Price Peterson of wrote in his episode verdict, "The twist that heroic outsider Wanda was not what she seemed was yet another turn I didn't see coming...Another fun and solid episode."[7] IGN ranked the episode 7th on its list of the top ten Veronica Mars episodes, praising the characterization of Logan. "Up to this point, Logan was just a tool and you wanted him to get knocked down. But here, you get a peek at his troubled home life. [...] It was an unexpected layer of depth that helped pave the road towards Logan becoming an appealing character."[8]


  1. ^ a b "Return of the Kane". Mars Investigations: The (In)Complete Guide to Veronica Mars. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  2. ^ ""Veronica Mars" Return of the Kane (TV Episode 2004)". IMDb. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  3. ^ "Krysten Ritter (Gia Goodman) Interview". September 9, 2006. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  4. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings". ABC Medianet. November 9, 2004. Archived from the original on August 11, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  5. ^ "Veronica Mars Return of the Kane Recap". Television Without Pity. November 1, 2004. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  6. ^ Kaiser, Rowan (June 24, 2011). "Review: Veronica Mars: "Return of the Kane"/"The Girl Next Door"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  7. ^ Peterson, Price (April 11, 2012). "The Veronica Mars Season 1 Dossier: Episodes 1–8". Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  8. ^ Ratcliffe, Amy (March 13, 2014). "The Top 10 Veronica Mars Episodes". IGN. Retrieved February 15, 2015.

External links[edit]