Be cool, soda pop — Veronica Mars is back and suddenly, I'm dying to rewatch classic episodes from the iconic early 2000s series. Sure, you could sit back and enjoy yet another run through of the show's original 64 episodes before consuming the entirety of Season 4. But nowadays, who has the time? So let's trim a bit of excess and go straight to the episodes that made you laugh, cry, and instinctively fear Kristen Bell. Luckily, this ranking of the 21 best Veronica Mars episodes will let you in on exactly what to watch ahead of the reboot.
Before we begin, let me start off by saying there are no bad episodes of Veronica Mars, and it destroyed my teenage soul to narrow over 2500 incredible minutes and three phenomenal seasons into 21 episodes. Showrunner Rob Thomas created the perfect blend of wit, drama, and adventure in the UPN-turned-The CW series, and I bet at least one of you has a dedicated LiveJournal account to prove it.
Although this list is obviously subjective, I hope we're still friends after I taser you with my opinions. So without further ado, here are the top 21 Veronica Mars episodes, from worst to best. And by that, I mean from good to great, because — I repeat — there are no bad episodes of Veronica Mars.
21. The Bitch Is Back (Season 3, Episode 20)
I know, I know. The original series finale was incredibly divisive among fans. I, too, screamed at my television when the episode wrapped with a million loose ends. However, "The Bitch Is Back" highlighted the best parts about Keith and Veronica's relationship — aka the heart of Veronica Mars — and ultimately, the episode left plenty of room for the show to get a fourth season.
20. Hot Dogs (Season 1, Episode 19)
One of the best parts of Veronica Mars is Veronica's ability to shut down creeps and misogynists. In "Hot Dogs," Veronica helps one of her classmates, Mandy, to find her missing dog, so the episode isn't exactly action-packed. Regardless, this episode contains one hell of a speech that has Veronica ripping into "the world's biggest cockroach" in defense of Mandy. And yes, it's incredibly satisfying to watch. The episode also features a steamy kiss between Veronica and Logan that will probably stick with you for the rest of your life.
19. Betty and Veronica (Season 1, Episode 16)
If you're looking for a simple and fun Veronica Mars episode, then Betty and Veronica should be your go-to. Veronica goes undercover as a "good girl" named Betty, and Bell as Veronica who is acting as Betty is one of the best performances of the season. Plus, the episode is dedicated towards growing Veronica and Wallace's friendship, and I'm always here for that.
18. Happy Go Lucky (Season 2, Episode 21)
"Happy Go Lucky" is basically just one stressful hour of tension and mystery. As high school comes to a close, Veronica, Keith, and Logan take the stand in the trial against Aaron Echolls. And despite everything, Aaron is found not guilty. It's infuriating to watch, but the episode sets up the show for its second season finale.
17. Donut Run (Season 1, Episode 11)
16. I Am God (Season 2, Episode 18)
Okay, so "I Am God" contains an all-too-familiar dream cliché. However, the episode is still one mind-boggling hour of television. Veronica has nightmares about the bus crash from "Normal Is the Watchword," and fans get to experience a few cheesy — but memorable — dream sequences.
15. Papa's Cabin (Season 3, Episode 15)
In "Papa's Cabin," fans find out who shot Dean O'Dell, one of the main mystery arcs of Season 3. And although it is still an interesting conclusion, the episode doesn't really have enough payoff to match anything that happens in earlier seasons.
14. Mars vs. Mars (Season 1, Episode 14)
"Mars vs. Mars" proves Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester was always meant to be a queen bee. Meester's character, Carrie, has an affair with a teacher — played by Adam Scott — and Veronica uncovers every slimy detail. Ultimately, the episode illustrates the fantastic blend of teen drama and mystery that truly helps Veronica Mars shine.
13. Look Who's Stalking (Season 2, Episode 20)
It wouldn't be a teen drama without a prom episode, but Veronica Mars' "Look Who's Stalking" takes the cake, despite — you know — prom being cancelled and all. Although the episode has a number of fun moments, everyone remembers Logan's "epic" speech to Veronica. Seriously, just cue the tears already.
12. Spit and Eggs (Season 3, Episode 9)
As a fan, I admit the show's third season wasn't quite as strong as the first two, but "Spit and Eggs" challenges that idea every time I go in for a rewatch. Veronica uncovers the truth behind the rapes on campus, and the conclusion is just as satisfying — and creepy — as anything in Seasons 1 and 2.
11. Normal Is the Watchword (Season 2, Episode 1)
Arguably, nothing can top the first season of Veronica Mars. But, "Normal Is the Watchword" is a pretty good indication the teen drama had no plans of entering a sophomore slump. The exciting episode opens the door for fresh characters to enter and a new bus crash mystery for fans to sink their teen into.
10. Ain’t No Magic Mountain High Enough (Season 2, Episode 13)
It's pretty obvious Veronica Mars fans love a good mystery, and "Ain’t No Magic Mountain High Enough" has one of the cleanest deliveries of the second season. In the episode, Veronica tries to solve who stole the funds for the senior class trip. But it was also nice to see the episode focus on the development of characters, such Weevil and Jackie.
9. M.A.D. (Season 1, Episode 20)
Everyone loves a great mystery-of-the-week episode, and "M.A.D." definitely delivers. As the first season finale approaches, the episode builds on what's to come, including a bit of interesting information about Duncan and Logan. Oh right, and let's not forget about the swoon-worthy bathroom scene between Logan and Veronica.
8. Weapons of Class Destruction (Season 1, Episode 18)
Overall, "Weapons of Class Destruction" was a solid episode. But you know why it's on this list, right? Yes, this episode contains Veronica and Logan's first kiss. I'll see myself out now.
7. Ruskie Business (Season 1, Episode 15)
What don't I love about this episode? Nothing. From everything involving Veronica and Meg to the reveal about Logan's mom, if "Ruskie Business" didn't have you in tears, then you are heartless, end of story.
6. Pilot (Season 1, Episode 1)
Not going to lie, I typically like to skip pilot episodes after watching them for the first time. However, the Veronica Mars' pilot flawlessly pulls off major character introductions while also driving the story forward. The episode properly establishes everything fans need to know — from Lilly's murder to Veronica's sexual assault — without being too slow or boring.
5. Clash of the Tritons (Season 1, Episode 12)
I might be biased because Clash of the Tritons was the first episode I ever watched, but the Season 1 classic showcases everything that goes into a great Veronica Mars episode. Not only do fans get to watch Veronica belt out "One Way or Another" in a karaoke bar, but the episode also features a secret society and dozens of fantastic one-liners.
4. An Echolls Family Christmas (Season 1, Episode 10)
"An Echolls Family Christmas" is an easy standout in the Veronica Mars series, as it features what fans love most about the show. The episode is the perfect mix of light and dark moments, from the poker game and simple mystery reveal to highlighting Aaron's abusive personality, which foreshadowed what was coming in the finale.
3. Leave It To Beaver (Season 1, Episode 22)
The first season finale features one of the greatest reveals in television history. In "Leave It to Beaver," Veronica and Keith solve Lilly's murder, and the result is — to put it simply — shocking. Filled with an unforgettable action sequence and the terrifying unraveling of Aaron, the episode was the perfect end to a satisfying first run.
2. A Trip to the Dentist (Season 1, Episode 21)
My heart breaks every time I think about "A Trip to the Dentist." In the episode, fans find out exactly what happened the night Veronica was raped, and the show pulls it off with such care and tact without sensationalizing any of it. The episode is just as emotional as it is powerful to watch, and it's honestly one episode that can't be missed.
1. Not Pictured (Season 2, Episode 22)
"Not Pictured" is the best Veronica Mars episode of all time, and this is the hill I choose to die on. Not only does the episode close the high school chapter for the series, it's also jam-packed with highly emotional and surprising moments that will stick with you for years to come. Seriously, I'm still haunted by the Cassidy “Beaver” Casablancas twist today.