Remember how last week our pals were just about to go on a DATE and then there was a shootout during a raid and Duke Silver got possibly fatally injured? Unfortunately, reader, that wasn’t a fever dream: it really happened. This week, we cut to Victoria Mars blasting into Duke Silver’s sickroom with the manic energy that one gets when someone important is very sick.
Victoria Mars: Sorry I’m late, there’s a new head nurse and she wouldn’t let me in. I had to move my rings around and pretend you were my husband!
Victoria Mars: She seemed bummed that you weren’t single. Hottest guy on the ward alert!
It’s at this point, reader, that we finally clap eyes on the weirdly silent Duke Silver, and no, he hasn’t had a personality transplant that allows him to not bicker with Victoria Mars: he’s asleep, or maybe in a coma.
Victoria Mars, cutting right to the point and getting increasingly emotional: Ivy’s saying I should just talk to you like nothing happened. Baby Detective told me to read to you from a boring Russian novel, which might actually get you to wake up and beg me to stop. Barney the Morgue Bureaucrat was weirdly nice and said that since you hate chatter I should just sit with you. Please wake up?
And then she grabs his hand and we all lose our collective minds. Also, we flash back 12 years to when our friends were wee teenagers, as a treat (and to stop us all from having a full on panic attack for real). Young Duke Silver starts his day in yesteryear by getting beat with a broom for sleeping on someone’s stoop, being rejected for a job helping run a meat pie stand, and then stealing a pie and running off with it. To be fair to him, he hasn’t eaten in two days, but also it is WILD to see our law-abiding detective pal stealing! Unfortunately, crime doesn’t pay, in the sense that almost immediately after eating the pie (which clearly tasted sus to begin with), Young Duke Silver ends up puking his guts up in an alley. On the plus side, after he’s fallen into a post-vomit sleep, he happens to spot a murder happening just around the corner.
Also having a bad day of a different sort? Ivy, who’s just returned home to find Young Victoria Mars sitting on the front steps, newly kicked out of training college. Inside, while Ivy rage-chops some carrots, the two debate the semantics of what just happened, and Victoria Mars tries to look sad enough about not enjoying governess school and the family dog dying to get Ivy’s sympathy. It… half works. Ivy’s clearly annoyed that Young Victoria Mars isn't living up to her potential, but has sympathy with her desire for an unconventional path.
Meanwhile, across town, Papa Mars has arrived at the murder scene, where he quickly a) recognizes the victim as a former associate called Arthur Wallace and b) deduces that the murder wasn’t a robbery gone wrong, since Arthur’s money is still intact. Having looked over the body, his next step is to talk to the person who found it: Young Duke Silver.
Young Duke Silver: Bro, I’ve been stuck waiting here for hours, what gives?
Papa Mars: You’re here to give a statement to the investigator. That’s me!
Young Duke Silver, hungry and grumpy: I already gave my statement! Walking by, saw the body, went for help! Can I leave?
Papa Mars: Slow your roll and give me your name?
Young Duke Silver: William Wellington.
Papa Mars: Ah, like the duke! A classic reference!
Young Duke Silver: I don’t know who that is and I don’t care. I won’t be framed for this crime!
Papa Mars: Nobody thinks you did this, kid. Murderers don’t usually call the cops.
Young Duke Silver: I have a job waiting for me at the pie stall, gotta go.
Papa Mars: Talk here or come to the station, those are the options.
Young Duke Silver: MOVE!
Reader, it’s amusing to know that the long history of Mars family members and Duke Silver arresting each other actually started in the opposite direction of what we’ve gotten so used to. Papa Mars pops Duke Silver in a cell to cool his heels while the detective heads off to the mortuary.
Back at home, Young Victoria Mars gets a special visit from some familiar faces: Snooty and baby Super Rooper!
She obviously tries to get out of this visit, but Ivy isn’t feeling particularly charitable at the moment, so no such luck.
Young Victoria Mars: Wow wow wow! SO nice to see you both, what brings you by?
Snooty: Our neighbor said he saw you come home, but I didn’t believe it because you’re supposed to be off at governess school!
Young Victoria Mars: Well, term’s over, so I’m home for the holidays.
Term doesn’t end for three weeks. What gives?
Young Victoria Mars: My classmates and I were doing SO well that they let us finish early?
Snooty: You and your dad are my tenants! Anything embarrassing YOU do reflects poorly on ME.
Young Victoria Mars: I would never forget about your reputation, don’t worry!
Snooty: Great. Tea please!
LMAO some things really never change! Back at the station, Papa Mars interrogates Young Duke Silver, explaining that his story just really doesn’t add up.
Papa Mars: You claim you were walking down a dead end, kid, that just doesn’t track. I think you were sleeping there, and that this backpack belongs to you.
Young Duke Silver: Nope!
Papa Mars, reading the workhouse discharge papers inside the pack: This literally has your name on it. How long have you been stuck on the streets? Looks like a while, you’re probably hungry.
Young Duke Silver: You’re just pretending to be nice to me so I’ll talk.
Papa Mars: Yeah, exactly. Anyway, let’s go get food huh?
Obviously, that works, and this is how Young Duke Silver ends up getting brought home with Papa Mars and then sent down to the kitchen to get some food from Ivy. Unfortunately for our hungry young friend, it’s going to be a minute, because Papa Mars has discovered that his wayward daughter has returned home, and needs to loudly lecture her despite her attempt to use Ivy as a human shield.
Papa Mars: Respectability! You’re not doing it! Most girls your age are married, and this was the compromise.
Young Victoria Mars: For YOU! I know what I want to do!
Papa Mars: We are not discussing this.
Ivy: Kiddo, give us a second ok?
Papa Mars: Actually, we have a guest. Go down and feed him, I’ll be there soon.
We all know this is a bad idea, except Papa Mars, who for some reason thinks that cooking classes can overcome his daughter’s natural ability to ruin lives with food. Ivy saves the day again, pointing Young Victoria Mars to a ham that’s already cooked. Armed with this knowledge, Young Victoria Mars swans into the kitchen ready to impress one of her dad’s coworkers, and instead finds a dirty, grumpy teenager.
Young Victoria Mars: Have some ham and tell me how you know my dad! Are you a cop?
Young Duke Silver: Got any bread?
Young Victoria Mars: Dunno, let’s see what else “I” made today. You’re Scottish, huh?
Young Duke Silver: What is it with this family and interrogations? Also, I just heard your dad yelling at you — what’d you do?
Young Victoria Mars: Why do you assume it’s my fault?
Young Duke Silver: I’m right! What DID you do?
Young Victoria Mars:
Clearly, the mutual crabbiness has been an ongoing theme between these two since jump. Young Duke Silver asks for water. Young Victoria Mars tells him to get it himself. Young Duke Silver reminds her that he’s a guest. Young Victoria Mars tells him to have table manners. It’s like watching mean tennis. Upstairs, Papa Mars continues to gripe to Ivy, who reminds him that his daughter is just *like that* and that he should get over it.
Papa Mars: I shouldn’t have encouraged her. I gave her these ambitions she’ll never get to have. Anyway, I should go talk to our guest, it’s gonna be a long night.
Young Victoria Mars, walking in: I tried to feed him, but he left. It wasn’t my fault!
The next morning finds Young Victoria Mars guilt-washing some dishes, which only intensifies when Ivy explains that her dad’s been out all night looking for Young Duke Silver.
Young Victoria Mars: Did you talk to him?
Ivy: Look kid, things are hard for him. The money from your mom is running out and the house is expensive to maintain. He won’t admit it, but he’s struggling. If you want to help him, do what he asks. That might mean doing something you don’t like.
We’re spared from hearing whatever sad, soul crushing thing this would be (probably marrying Super Rooper) by a knock at the door. Reader, I was unfortunately just shy of correct. The knocker? Snooty, but she’s not here to marry off her only son. No, she’s here to explain that she’d promised Victoria Mars’ mom that she’d keep an eye on our young friend, and that Papa Mars, who initially refused, has changed his mind.
Meanwhile, Young Duke Silver has just successfully picked a fancy man’s pocket when he’s pinched by Papa Mars. How? Deduction! Papa Mars knew Young Duke Silver hadn’t found work, so he’s been canvassing the areas where pickpocketing is common. Easy peasy!
Papa Mars: Look kid, just tell me what you saw in that alley.
Young Duke Silver: What do I get out of it?
Papa Mars: You’re a smart guy. Help me, and I’ll help you. You saw the murder, right?
Young Duke Silver, finally giving in: Right.
While they go review the crime scene, Snooty explains today’s lesson to Young Victoria Mars. TL;DR: they’re hosting a fancy tea for socialites, and Young Victoria Mars will be polite, articulate, and only talk about approved topics. I’m sure this will go great! Young Victoria Mars has just informed Snooty that her greatest interest is in reading pathology books when Snooty sends the maid away.
Snooty, accidentally teaching Victoria Mars a valuable lesson: Good servants don’t talk to us, but EVERYONE gossips.
Young Victoria Mars, inside: Noted!
Snooty: You can’t be sharing your weird, creepy interests in front of them! Also, ew! Someday you’ll be married and your husband will need to know you can run the house. Actually, speaking of which, Super Rooper is never interested in women, but he seems to like you.
Young Victoria Mars: Uh…
Snooty: Your dad has no money. We have a lot of it. This is good for everyone. Now sit down so I can see your posture.
Whew. At the crime scene, Papa Mars asks what woke Young Duke Silver up to see the murder. Young Duke Silver describes what he saw: the killer was young, blond, rich looking, and whispered something in Arthur’s ear. It almost looked like they were acquainted? While they mull that, Young Victoria Mars is doing a passable job of pretending to be upstanding and mousy with Snooty. So passable, in fact, that she gets invited to a fancy soiree that very evening! She tries to decline, natch, but no luck: Snooty RSVPs yes for her, and even picks her plus one (Super Rooper).
Young Victoria Mars, trying desperately to regain the upper hand: Of course, I’ll have to ask my dad!
Snooty: Nice try, but your dad delegated you to me. Super Rooper will pick you up at 8.
At Scotland Yard, Young Duke Silver is unsuccessfully scouring books of suspects to look for the killer when Papa Mars decides he’s done enough for the day. A naturally curious kid, Young Duke Silver asks Papa Mars how long he’s been a cop.
Papa Mars: Oh, 24 years? Tempus fugit — time flies. I joined the same week as Arthur.
Young Duke Silver: You were friends?
Papa Mars: Yeah, but this job wasn’t for him. He left to become a private detective. Where did you sleep last night?
Young Duke Silver: Some doorway, I think?
Papa Mars: Look, I have a spare room, you can crash at my place for a few nights.
Young Duke Silver: Why would you do that?
Papa Mars: I need to be able to find you. But you’re gonna need to clean up, or Ivy will kill us all. Hit the public wash house, take a bath, and go buy some clothes from the thrift shop on the way.
Young Duke Silver: How do you know I won’t just take your money and run?
Papa Mars: I don’t! I just have to trust you!
Very sweet, and something that both of this man’s children (real and adopted) could use a reminder on! Anyway, back at the house, Ivy’s hemming a very annoyed Young Victoria Mars into a lovely evening gown while her charge whines about having to go have fun.
Young Victoria Mars: AND I have to go with Super Rooper! His mom won’t stop until we’re married.
Ivy: LOL, well, I think you’re safe. He’s not the marrying type.
Young Victoria Mars, innocent: What do you mean?
Ivy: Nothing! And stop getting taller! You look beautiful.
Again, there’s a knock at the door, and Ivy goes to answer it while telling Young Victoria Mars to tidy up the sewing supplies. Through the door, Young Victoria Mars hears Ivy introducing herself to Young Duke Silver, and reader, before she goes out to say hi, our friend heads to the mirror for a fit check! Because she wants to look cute!! For Young Duke Silver!!! And guess what, it WORKS, because when she walks into the hallway, our boy is gobsmacked. Pulling himself together, he heads downstairs at Ivy’s direction, whilst Young Victoria Mars is sent upstairs to stay away from him and tidy her bedroom until Super Rooper arrives. Obviously, that doesn’t work: a few minutes later, while Young Duke Silver chows down on Ivy’s delicious cooking, Young Victoria Mars sneaks up on him.
Young Victoria Mars, attempting subterfuge: Some news: dad says we’ve got dinner plans tonight and he wants you to come too.
Young Duke Silver, hip to her tricks already somehow: Ivy just made me dinner.
Young Victoria Mars: She doesn’t know about it yet. She’s sewing and I didn’t want to bother her. Do you have a dinner suit?
Young Duke Silver, miming looking into his pockets: Hmmm, no!
Young Victoria Mars: Well good news! My uncle stayed here last year and he’s about your size. His suit is in your room. Go change.
Young Duke Silver: No?
Young Victoria Mars: My dad has been so nice to you. Saying no isn’t good manners.
Young Duke Silver: I don’t care?
Young Victoria Mars: You should because I’m gonna rat you out to my dad.
Obviously, that works, and that’s how it happens that when Super Rooper rolls up in a carriage to pick up Young Victoria Mars, his date (and carriage!) get sniped by a VERY swanky looking Young Duke Silver. Later, at the soiree, Young Duke Silver finally cottons on to the fact that he’s been manipulated by Young Victoria Mars for the first of many times. She tries to double down and lie her way out of his questions, but not very successfully, and finally comes clean: she brought him there because Snooty is scary, rich, and pushy.
Young Duke Silver: You lie a lot, huh?
Young Victoria Mars: Last time, I promise.
Young Duke Silver, me, and everyone watching at home:
Obviously, Young Victoria Mars’ next move is to ask what her escort is doing with her dad. Unfortunately for her, Papa Mars knows her pretty well, and asked Young Duke Silver not to tell. She briefly puts her foot in it by suggesting that she find his absent father to share a secret of their own, but since Young Duke Silver is easily distracted by food, they instead have a cute flirty conversation about canapes. It’s fun! It’s going well! And then Young Duke Silver realizes that one of the party guests is the murderer he saw, and decides he better ignore Papa Mars’ request and confide in Young Victoria Mars.
Young Duke Silver: Oh snap. Dude, I witnessed a murder — that’s what I’ve been doing with your dad. And the killer is right over there.
Young Victoria Mars: Right. I’ll go introduce myself.
Young Duke Silver: WHAT? No! Let’s go find your dad.
Young Victoria Mars: It’ll help him more if we can tell him the name of our suspect!
Young Duke Silver: OUR? You’re not involved!
Me: Uh oh.
Young Duke Silver, doesn’t know better: We’re leaving.
Young Victoria Mars: Of course. Let me just go find Super Rooper, I’m sure he’ll let us take the carriage.
You all know what happens next, right? Young Victoria Mars bats her eyes at the murderer, entices him away from his friends, and gets his identity. It’s… not great. This man is the son of the fancy woman we met earlier today, the one who’s hosting this very party! Young Victoria Mars’ ploy is relatively transparent (it’s her, after all), so Murder Boy clocks that she actively approached him. Fortunately, he’s pretty self important, so he just assumes she’s hitting on him, and touches her hand.
Young Victoria Mars: Hey pal, mitts off please.
Murder Boy, hasn’t heard of consent: I totally would if I thought you meant that!
Young Victoria Mars: Fun fact — did you know the worst bite you can get isn’t from an animal, it’s from a person? Our mouths are GROSS. Anyway this was fun! Bye!
Young Victoria Mars heads outside to fill in her compatriot, who is, unsurprisingly, mostly just annoyed that she went behind his back and keeps inserting herself in the case.
Young Victoria Mars: Look, my dad is very busy and stressed out. I don’t want to waste his time. I think the two of us should investigate this more before we tell him anything. Ok?
Obviously not ok: the next shot is both kids getting a lecture from Papa Mars and Ivy. Young Duke Silver tries to take the fall, but nobody’s really buying it. Lucky for them, Papa Mars is more interested in justice than in punishing his wayward child(ren), but explains that they need to be careful: Murder Boy’s family is very fancy indeed, and they need to keep everything very quiet. Young Victoria Mars tries to make a suggestion, but her dad isn’t hearing it, and after he sends Young Duke Silver off to bed he has a heart to heart with his daughter.
Papa Mars: Look, I know you want to be a detective. But it’s not possible!
Young Victoria Mars: So instead you want me to go drink tea with the boringest people alive?
Papa Mars: Kinda, yeah. We are already struggling; stay out of this.
Hate to break it to ya, pal — there’s no way your daughter is listening to that. I’m quickly proven right: the next morning finds Snooty waiting outside the Mars house having received an invitation to go for a walk with Young Victoria Mars. They make small talk, and when the subject of the previous evenings’ soiree comes up, Young Victoria Mars pounces, suggesting that the two of them head over to the hostess’ home to thank her in person. Obviously Snooty falls for it, which gives Young Victoria Mars a chance to pump Murder Boy’s Mom for information. She also steals a picture of Murder Boy off the piano, just in case.
While she has tea, Papa Mars leaves Young Duke Silver outside while he follows Murder Boy into the club. His plan? Ask the suspect if he knows anything about a spate of robberies in the neighborhood.
Papa Mars: Were you here two days ago around 6pm?
Murder Boy: Alas, no, so I can’t have seen anything.
Papa Mars: Where were you? See, sometimes pickpockets target a specific person and follow him around. If we can establish a pattern it may help us catch him.
Murder Boy: Ok? Well I was at my other club. Stayed there all night, didn’t see anything on my way in or out.
Papa Mars: Glad to hear it. Between the two of us, the investigation has taken a dark turn. We think one of the thieves killed a private detective.
Murder Boy, fake as hell: Whaaat? No way!
Papa Mars: Yes, and he was a former cop too. Such a shame!
Murder Boy: Why are you talking to me, by the way?
Papa Mars: Oh, I’ll be interviewing everyone, I just saw you first.
I’m not sure Murder Boy is buying any of this, reader, and so far Papa Mars hasn’t gotten anything that useful. Meanwhile, at tea, Young Victoria Mars finds out that Murder Boy’s dad is off colonizing, leaving Murder Boy to run the family in his place.
Young Victoria Mars: That must be hard! Has he been acting weird because of the pressure?
Snooty: Ok kid, chill: you’ve been asking nonstop about Murder Boy, when MY son was your escort. That’s rude!
Young Victoria Mars: So sorry, I’m just interested in human nature.
Murder Boy’s Mom: Cute! Anyway, I’m afraid I have to leave now. I have a lot of appointments and since my driver quit I’m stuck using old timey Uber, and boy is it slow!
Snooty: A good driver is so important, you have to hold on to them no matter what!
Murder Boy’s Mom: I know, right? Ours was amazing, and we’d had him for years. But then he just quit after some weird fight with my son.
Young Victoria Mars: About what?
Snooty: Seriously? Let’s go.
Not done yet, obviously, Young Victoria Mars asks to use the bathroom first, and takes the opportunity to pay the maid for information on the driver’s whereabouts.
Next stop, the driver’s place, where he confirms that he’s been working for Murder Boy’s family for literal generations… and that he’s ready to talk crap about Murder Boy.
Driver: Oh, I’ve known that kid since he was small, and he’s been messed up the whole time. We had a fight a couple of weeks back after I noticed that the horse had come up lame. I told Murder Boy the horse had to go to the vet, but he was drunk so he ignored me, pushed me out of the way, and rode off. The next morning the carriage was all messed up, and still attached to the poor horse. We had to euthanise him! That’s when I knew I couldn’t keep working for the family.
Young Victoria Mars: So you think he hit something with the carriage?
Driver: Or someone!
Young Victoria Mars: When exactly did this happen?
Information gathered, she returns home to rifle through the trash looking for old newspapers, because, as she explains to Ivy, many crimes end up being reported to journalists before the police find out. Ivy doesn’t really care about that, however, because Young Victoria Mars has literal garbage in her hair.
Ivy: Also, you’re wasting your time — I told him he had to bring those papers to the office. Got sick of them cluttering everything up.
Speaking of the office, over at Scotland Yard, Papa Mars tells Young Duke Silver that he’s asked Murder Boy in for an interview. Sure, the suspect has probably taken time to firm up his alibi, but Papa Mars is confident that a crack in one of the lies will turn up sooner or later.
Young Duke Silver: But why do you think he went after your friend in the first place?
Papa Mars: I’m not sure.
Papa Mars doesn’t really have time to expound on that, because they’ve just walked into his office to find newspaper strewn everywhere, and a note from Young Victoria Mars on an article about a carriage crash saying to meet up at the crash site. Naturally, the guys head straight there, where Victoria Mars introduces them to a couple of immigrants from Cyprus. A few weeks ago, Cypriot Husband was hit by a horse and carriage while out walking. The carriage didn’t stop, and the police couldn't find the driver. Cypriot Wife explains that her husband has been permanently injured by the crash, so they sought help from a private detective to find the driver. Arthur (because obviously that’s the detective they were working with) waived his fee unless he found the guy and got justice for Cypriot Husband.
Papa Mars: Did you see the man who did this?
Cypriot Wife, peeved: Yes, and we gave the description to the police, but they didn’t do anything.
Cypriot Husband, looking at the photo that Young Victoria Mars helpfully stole earlier: That’s him!
Young Victoria Mars: See! Told you who it was, dad. I’m pretty sure Arthur found Murder Boy, confronted him, and that was what made him snap and kill your friend.
Look, this is a huge solve, and obviously Papa Mars is proud. He’s also ready for action, and in the very next scene, he heads to the club to arrest Murder Boy and bring him down to Scotland Yard. Meanwhile, Young Victoria Mars, left in her dad’s office (which, yes, is the same office that Duke Silver eventually inherits) works on her witness statement and fantasizes about sitting behind this very desk when she gets older. Papa Mars returns and explains that they searched Murder Boy’s house and found Arthur’s case file, which named Murder Boy. That, plus Young Duke Silver’s witness statement, might put Murder Boy behind bars.
Young Victoria Mars: Wait, might?
Papa Mars: Well yeah, he’s rich. Nothing’s guaranteed.
Young Victoria Mars: So what now?
Papa Mars: I mean, procedurally it’s time for a lineup.
Young Victoria Mars: No, I mean for me! This proves I’m good at this job, right?
Papa Mars: I’ve NEVER doubted that you’re good at this job! You’re unstoppable, and sneaky, and just as good as every man here. But dude, it’s the late 1800s.
Young Victoria Mars: So you haven’t changed your mind.
Papa Mars: What I think doesn’t matter; the rest of the world has the bad opinions. Things may change eventually… in like a decade when I die mysteriously, maybe? But this isn’t a viable career path for you. I’m sorry.
The next day, Young Victoria Mars is packing her things to return to school when Young Duke Silver pops in to say goodbye.
Young Victoria Mars: Yeah, they’re letting me have a second chance. Well… third. Anyway, I was looking for books and found this leash.
Young Duke Silver: You have a dog?
Young Victoria Mars: We did; he died. Mind if I keep packing while we talk?
Young Duke Silver: Not at all!
We find out that our Scottish pal has secured lodgings with help from Papa Mars, in addition to a lead on a job… with the cops. Young Victoria Mars, having just had her own dreams of becoming an investigator crushed, and clearly having picked up on the fact that Young Duke Silver is giving off strong “the son I never had” vibes, can’t help but get upset about this. She blames her suitcase, and the dead dog, and then the moment we’ve all been waiting for finally happens: the famous teen romance Big Damn Kiss!
Y’all, it’s a pretty good one, and you can tell because both of them act like absolute numpties when Ivy almost interrupts. Also of note? Both of these two clowns are absolutely delulu, as the kids say, regarding the circumstances of this kiss, and have manufactured a wildly different narrative for themselves in the present day. The slap? Never happened. He dead dog? Barely an afterthought. The chemistry? Very much NOT an afterthought.
Anyway, speaking of the present day, Duke Silver remains stubbornly comatose… for a hot second, after which his fingers twitch and me lets out an “I’ve been out for days” groan and asks for a drink. Victoria Mars, overjoyed, gets water (despite his repeated request for whisky), and lets her mask slip long enough to show everyone exactly how relieved she is that he’s woken up. I’m not sure Duke Silver notices, because, to be fair, he’s probably confused and in quite a lot of pain. What will be the fallout from his injury? Is Victoria Mars finally ready to move past her hurt at this man replacing her in her father’s eyes? And are they actually ever going to go on that date? Time will tell!