Silence of the Lamb (Veronica Mars)
|"Silence of the Lamb"|
|Veronica Mars episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||John Kretchmer|
|Written by||Jed Seidel
Dayna Lynne North
|Original air date||January 4, 2005|
"Silence of the Lamb" is the eleventh episode of the first season of the American mystery television series Veronica Mars. Written by Jed Seidel and Dayna Lynne North and directed by John Kretchmer, the episode premiered on UPN on January 4, 2005, as the series' first episode in the new year.
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 helps Cindy "Mac" Mackenzie (Tina Majorino) find and reconnect with her birth parents and siblings. Meanwhile, Keith (Enrico Colantoni) is temporarily reassigned to the sheriff's department in order to help with a case involving a serial killer.
One morning, Veronica talks to Keith about an old case involving a serial killer, the E-String Strangler, who has made a reappearance. Wallace (Percy Daggs III) also complains to her about the panic that's been going throughout the town because of the killer. Meanwhile, another student, Jackson, asks Veronica to track his parents. Sheriff Don Lamb (Michael Muhney) and the mayor of the town meet with Keith. After the conversation, Keith comes out and tells Veronica gleefully that he's going to start working at the sheriff's department again. But Keith says that it is only temporary, but he is getting paid his regular salary. Later, another student asks Veronica for help with her parents. Sheriff Lamb and Keith explain the case to other police officers, but they have conflicting styles. Meanwhile, Veronica's parent-seeking business takes off, and Cindy "Mac" Mackenzie (Tina Majorino) notices. Mac comes up with an idea to double their fees, so they will eventually have enough money for retirement savings. Veronica says she'll think about it. Veronica also finds that Mac's parents once sued the Neptune hospital for 1 million dollars. Veronica finds that that Mac was switched at birth. Keith and Sheriff Lamb visit a record shop, but they find nothing. Veronica visits Mac's house, and she shows Veronica her room. Veronica tells her that she was switched at birth with a popular cheerleader, Madison Sinclair.
Keith and Sheriff Lamb talk to a suspect, who leads them to a man called "The Worm" (Aaron Paul), who responds hesitantly. Both of them think he is the killer given that he had a guitar. Veronica, Mac, and Wallace invite themselves over and crash Madison Sinclair's 09er party. Mac looks around the house and meets her biological sister (Carlie Westerman), with whom she connects. The new police officer tells Keith and Sheriff Lamb that "The Worm's" guitar strings match the strings which were used to strangle the victims. Veronica bribes the new police officer and steals the Lily Kane murder files with the help of Weevil (Francis Capra). Veronica listens to the tapes she stole, and doesn't find anything until she hears a suspicious synthesized voice. Keith and Sheriff Lamb talk to "The Worm", who sexually abused both the victims. "The Worm" demands a lawyer. Veronica contacts Mac about the synthesized voice and tells her that there was a reason why she was not switched back to the right parents.
Mac goes to Madison Sinclair's house under the guise of looking for her purse. A woman runs screaming into the Sheriff's department reporting a missing daughter. Keith tracks Veronica out of fear for her. He finds Veronica and tells her about the new missing girl. Keith breaks into the record shop he earlier entered with the man who previously mocked him. Mac tells Veronica that she's decoded and the message. Veronica eventually says that she knows whose voice it is. Mac sees her biological mom waiting in the car outside with tears in her eyes. She puts her hand on the window and touches her mom's hand before her mom drives away. It turns out that the voice is Clarence Wiedman's voice, the man who took unauthorized photos of her. Veronica takes pictures of him and his family and sends them to him as revenge.
Many cultural references are made in the episode:
- Madison's parents send her a string quartet which plays "Birthday" for her birthday.
- Veronica mentions Rod Serling.
- Sheriff Lamb compares the E-String Strangler case to the Hillside Strangler murders, a real life incident in which two men strangled tens of girls to death.
- Veronica references the Internet Movie Database.
- Keith is surprised that Sheriff Lamb has never seen This is Spinal Tap.
- Mac and Veronica mention Fievel Mousekewitz, a character in the 1986 animated film An American Tail.
- Mac's blood sister is reading The Westing Game.
- Mac derides Madison's art appreciation by saying that she wouldn't recognize Claude Monet's Water Lilies.
- Keith and Sheriff Lamb decide whether or not to play "Good cop/bad cop" with their suspect.
- Mac's adoptive father references the 2000 memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.
Several songs are played in the episode:
- "Birthday" by The Beatles
- "Brilliant Sky" by Saybia
- "Fireflies" by Amy Cook
- "The Way You Are" by 46bliss
Series regulars Jason Dohring and Teddy Dunn, who play Logan Echolls and Duncan Kane, respectively, do not appear in the episode, despite being credited. This episode is also the first to air in 2005 as opposed to 2004. However, this (and the previous episode) are the only episodes of the series to be aired out of production order. The previous episode, "An Echolls Family Christmas" was produced after this episode, but was aired before, due to "An Echolls Family Christmas" being a Christmas-themed episode which aired as season's final episode of the year in December 2004. In addition, UPN also aired this episode later because executives believed that the material was too dark for the holidays.
The episode's title is a semi-joking reference to the 1991 horror thriller The Silence of the Lambs and the 1988 novel of the same name on which the film was based. The film, the novel, and the episode all deal with serial killers and the brave female detectives who hunt them down (in the case of The Silence of the Lambs, this character is Clarice Starling). Among this episode's guest stars include Tina Majorino, who makes her second appearance on the show (after "Like a Virgin") and Aaron Paul, who would later receive three Primetime Emmy Award wins for his performance as Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad.
In its original broadcast, "Silence of the Lamb" received 2.84 million viewers, ranking 98 of 107 in the weekly rankings. This episode's rating marked an increase of almost 1 million viewers from the previous episode, "An Echolls Family Christmas.
Price Peterson of TV.com wrote positively of the episode. In his episode verdict, the reviewer wrote, "that driveway scene between Mac and her birth mom was some great television, and the serial killer plot line was surprisingly intense for this show…Fortunately both plot lines were balanced pretty well. Great episode." Television Without Pity gave the episode a "B+".
Rowan Kaiser, writing for The A.V. Club, gave the episode a more mixed review, mainly criticizing the plot involving Veronica and Mac. "Veronica's plot, on the other hand, is the one that zigs where it should zag. Or to be more accurate, it neither zigs nor zags when it could have done either." However, the reviewer also wrote that "What Mac's story does is create a fulfilling emotional arc for Mac."
- ""Silence of the Lamb" Cultural references". Mars Investigations: The (In)Complete Guide to Veronica Mars. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
- "The Music of Veronica Mars: Episode 1-11: Silence of the Lamb". Mars Investigations: The (In)Complete Guide to Veronica Mars. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
- "1.10 "An Echolls Family Christmas"". Mars Investigations: The (In)Complete Guide to Veronica Mars. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "Veronica Mars Silence of the Lamb Recap". Television Without Pity. January 3, 2005. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
- "Weekly Program Rankings". ABC Medianet. January 11, 2005. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
- Peterson, Price (May 23, 2012). "The Veronica Mars Season 1 Dossier: Episodes 9-16". TV.com. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
- Kaiser, Rowan (July 8, 2011). "Review: Veronica Mars: "An Echolls Family Christmas" / "Silence Of The Lamb"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
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