Warning: Spoilers for Veronica Mars season four ahead!
The titular hero of Veronica Mars has solved a lot of mysteries over the course of three seasons and a movie, but it's fair to say that season four's Neptune bomber is the case that changes everything. Set five years after the 2014 feature film, season four opens up with a noticeably jaded Veronica who somehow has even fewer friends than before and a hardened edge to her that suits the overall mood of the eight-episode season.
Veronica and Keith solve various two-bit crimes, attempting to keep Mars Investigations from going under as a new initiative fronted by Richard Casablancas Sr. calls for the elimination of small, local business in favour of high-end establishments. But a serial bomber begins reigning terror on the small California town, just in time for the annual wave of tourists who invade Neptune for their Spring break holiday. Veronica and Keith are hired to find out who caused the first bomb by the family of a near-victim and the two become embroiled in a wild investigation that ultimately leads them to catching their culprit and saving the town, with a side order of personal devastation. Keep reading for an explanation behind the convoluted identity of Neptune's serial bomber.
Where Does the Neptune Bomber Strike in Veronica Mars?
Neptune's Sea Sprite Motel is the first location to go up in flames thanks to the bomber. This is followed quickly by a residential bomb that kills Perry Walsh. Soon after that, a bomb goes off during a volleyball game at Neptune Beach, then appears around the neck of a would-be rapist who was trying to roofie girls at Commodoure Quacks. (He dies.) Coincidentally, the next bomb goes off at Commodoure Quacks, where no one is killed but three people are left in critical condition. A sixth bomb is found at the Kane High School dedication ceremony, but luckily Keith is able to disarm it before it goes off.
Who Is the Neptune Bomber in Veronica Mars?
The technical answer is that there are two Neptune bombers: Perry Walsh and Penn Epner. Perry is hired by Big Dick to plant a bomb at the Sea Sprite Motel, rigging it to go off during the night when it won't hurt anyone. Instead, the motel's internet goes down, messing with the bomb's timer and causing it to go off during the day. Big Dick implies that the residential bomb that killed Perry was arranged by Clyde, made to look like the bomber killed himself.
The remaining bombs are all set up by Penn Epner. Veronica figures it out when she realises that three bombs contain nails originally found in an art piece hanging in the wall of the Sea Sprite lobby. The nails lodged themselves in Penn's back when the bomb went off, leading him to assume it was shrapnel from the actual bomb. When his theory that Daniel Maloof arranged the first bombing is proven false, he begins making the bombs himself using the same nails, incorrectly thinking they're perfect copies of the original bomb. When Veronica confronts him in episode eight, he calls his victims "locusts," gloating about the fame that he's in store for after his arrest.
What Does the Neptune Bomber Want in Veronica Mars?
The original bomber, Perry Walsh, is just in it for the paycheck. He's been arrested before for sending a bomb to an ex-girlfriend and seems to get a thrill from the rush. Penn Epner on the other hand seems to look at the entire experience as a game. He soaks up all the attention paid to him after getting caught in the first bomb, and when he's discovered as the second bomber, he seems to relish the press and fame coming his way. He tells Veronica, "I'm gonna have the time of my life . . . You threw me in the briar patch, Mars!"