Oh, Creepy Toby! How we missed those big blue eyes and that Serial Killer Facial Expression, of yours!
“Je Suis Un Amie,” this week’s episode title, when translated into English, means, literally, “I Am A Friend.” Get it? A Friend . . . as an “A?” Pretty darn clever, huh?
Given the title of the episode, it’s kind of fitting that this latest installment of the series (1) featured lots of French influences — from French tutoring, to Spencer’s ridiculous French-inspired wardrobe (Seriously, who is DRESSING her, lately?), to a French language version of Catcher in the Rye; and (2) may very well have brought us closer than ever before to finding out “A’s” true identity. (I’ll give you a hint. Based on the evidence we learned this week, all fingers seem to point to a girl who’s name rhymes with . . . LINED . . . HENNA.)
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s start digging for clues!
Turning the Paige . . .
I am going to start with the LEAST exciting storyline first, to get it out of the way . . .
Sorry, Em! But you KNOW it’s true!
It’s a few days before the Big Swim Meet. Emily and her new rival Paige, or, as I like to call her, Little Orphan Butchy, are still at odds with one another. Except now, instead of MERELY competing for the role of Team Captain, Emily and Paige are now also in competition to determine who gets to swim the much-coveted anchor leg of the relay race.
Since the girls’ respective personal best times are identical, the coach decides to have the at-odds pair compete in a Swim Off against one another. Emily, once again, tries to be friendly to her rival, by offering her a few words of encouragement. But Little Orphan Butchy is not having it. She responds to Emily’s efforts by, more or less, growling and snarling, like the rabid dog she may very well be, underneath that ridiculous wig of hers.
That night, Emily awakens to a knock at her door . . .
And, wouldn’t you know it . . . it’s a WET DOG!
Little Orphan Butchy is COMPLETELY soaked through with rain (or is it sweat?). She’s also blubbering and crying, and looks half way toward catching pneumonia. But does Emily let Butchy into her house? Nope. (GOOD GIRL!)
All joking aside, Little Orphan Butchy evokes just a smidgeon of my sympathy, when she starts sobbing out apologies to Emily, while standing on her porch. “I’m sorry,” she snivels. “I just wanted you to know that. You have every reason to hate me.”
(Yes, she SURE does!)
With those brief words, Little Orphan Butchy dashes off on her bike, right into the storm, leaving a still half-asleep Emily completely confused. Now, while I’ll admit I felt a little bad for Little Orphan Butchy, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the Evil Homophobe was apologizing for something more than just a few nasty comments, and that time she almost drowned her . . .
Could Little Orphan Butchy have done something AWFUL to Emily to sabatoge her ability to compete in the upcoming Swim Meet?
Understandably, I fear for Emily’s safety, when she arrives at the swim team locker room, the following day, prepared for her little race against Little Orphan Butchy. As it turns out, however, my worries are unfounded. Because Wet Dog Paige DOESN’T show up to practice! Coach claims she was HURT on her bike the night before. Her absence results in Emily getting the opportunity to swim the anchor position in the relay, by default!
Well . . . surely it is Little Orphan Butchy’s intention then to sabotage Emily at the MEET, itself. Right?
The day of the meet comes. And once again, I am EXTREMELY worried for Emily’s safety. As she waits on the platform, I watch her for signs of poisoning and sudden illness. When she steps onto the diving bored, I fear that Paige may have greased it with butter, causing Emily to slip and break her head. When Paige HERSELF arrives on the scene, I find myself entirely convinced that she’s some kind of witch/wizard, planning to put a spell on Emily to make her perform poorly, during the race. (Yes, I read Harry Potter too much.)
But then the race ends, and Emily WINS IT FOR HER TEAM!
“Fooled ya, didn’t I?”
After the meet, Emily finds Paige alone at the pool. Paige admits that she wasn’t hurt, but WISHES she had been. As it turns out, she has gotten so caught up in the pressure and competitiveness of winning, that she just doesn’t enjoy swimming anymore. Emily, of course, can relate to this feeling, having experienced it herself, just a few months earlier, when she had temporarily quit the swim team.
“How did you get over it?” Paige wants to know.
“I stopped swimming for everyone else, and started swimming just for me,” explains Emily. “When was the last time you swam just for fun?” Emily inquires, with a wink.
Then, suddenly Emily and Paige are “having fun” in the pool together, with Cheesy Girl Power music playing in the background. Emily is giving Paige some “looks,” if you catch my drift. And these LOOKS worry me. (Please LORD don’t make these two a couple, PLL Writers! Emily can do SOOOOO much better than Little Orphan Butchy . . . just sayin!)
Just keep swimming, Emily! There are MANY other (better) fish in the sea!
Aria’s Not So Shocking Discovery
Hanna: “Ewww, Aria, why are your mom and dad making monkey in our school library? That’s REALLY nasty!”
Aria: “Shut the f*&k up, Hanna. At least my mom doesn’t screw Deputy Douchey, or steal money from old ladies!”
If you recall, last week’s PLL installment ended with the
completely lame and entirely predictable cliffhanger of whether or not Aria’s mom ACTUALLY saw Aria and Fitzy necking on their clandestine “date” at the Philadelphia museum . . .
When the episode begins, Aria is digging for money in her dad’s jacket pocket, when she comes upon some VERY interesting contraband . . .
When Aria inquires as to what her dad is doing with the SAME ticket to the SAME museum event that she secretly attended with Fitzy, Aria’s dad mumbles something about Aria’s mom, and then proceeds to become even more socially awkward and incoherent than usual. Aria gets even MORE concerned that she’s been found out, when her mom acts equally bizarre, when questioned about whether SHE attended the event.
“Ummm . . . ummmm . . . ummmm . . .
I’m boinking your dad again, and have inexplicably decided to keep it a secret from you so that you will spend the entire first half of the episode worried that I found out about you having Hot Limo Sex with your much older teacher boyfriendI’m sorry. Could you repeat the question?”
Aria is ultimately relieved to learn that her mom’s car broke down, thus making her, ultimately, unable to attend the museum art exhibit. And yet, much to Hanna’s chagrin, Aria has caught Spencer’s Veronica Mars Disease, and is still intent on finding out why her parents have been acting so friggin bizarre lately. And so, Aria and Hanna tail Aria’s dad’s car one night. Of course, they are surprised, when he ends up parking it at their high school.
Hanna: “Hey Aria, maybe your dad has lost his memory, and thinks he’s 16 years old again, and still looks like THIS . . .”
Oh yeah, that’s TOTALLY a pre-drugged out Charlie Sheen next to him, by the way. It’s AMAZING what you can find on the internet!
Still waiting in the car, Aria calls her mother from her cell phone. As a result of that call, we are treated to this image . . .
I think I just threw up in my mouth a little . . .
Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I’m ageist, or anything. In fact, there are PLENTY of 40 and 50 somethings that I would be PERFECTLY cool with seeing hook up. (For starters, I could watch George Clooney hump a TREE, and I’d still be happy!) It’s not even that Holly Marie Combs and Chad Lowe are unattractive. On the contrary, they are both VERY good looking people. It’s just that these two have NO CHEMISTRY WHATSOEVER! So watching them makeout, and rub up on eachother, is about as romantic as watching two slugs mate . . .
Anywhoo . . . Aria is concerned by her mom’s weirdness on the phone, and knows that her parents are DEFINITELY up to something. (Oh, they are up to SOMETHING all right!) After some cajoling and puppy-dog eye giving, Aria ultimately convinces Hanna to go into the school with her, so the pair can stalk Aria’s dad. Good times!
Hanna’s and Aria’s investigation ultimately leads them to the library, where they encounter THIS . . .
Nope . . . still not sexy . . .
(Of course, the girls find OTHER things in the library too, which I will get to in just a bit, when we tackle Hanna’s storyline.)
The next day, a now emotionally-scarred Aria gets a text from A, that says THIS . . .
Oh, HANNA! You’ve got some ‘splaining to do!
Hanna (temporarily) loses a friend . . . but gains a new boy toy and housemate
Welcome to The Dating Game, Hanna! So far, we’ve met Bachelor Number One, Sean, and Bachelor Number Two, Lucas. Allow us to introduce you to Bachelor Number 3, Caleb. Caleb is homeless, has no family, and is probably a drug dealer. But he’s very attractive, and can break into anything
even your pants! Needless to say, your mother will LOVE HIM!
Lucas has been gone for two whole weeks now, and Hanna seems to have a VERY short attention span. For this reason, she spends most of the episode eye f*&king Resident Bad Boy Caleb. You see, Hanna owes Caleb for that “little favor” he did for her, by wrecking Aria’s mom’s car, so she couldn’t get to the museum where Aria and Fitzy were
screwing enjoying their date. And Caleb wants to COLLECT on this favor . . .
Now, if this were a show on ANY channel, aside from ABC Family, we all KNOW EXACTLY how Caleb would expect Hanna to “repay him” for the “favor” he did her. (Hint: It rhymes with “lex.”) But this IS ABC Family, so Caleb merely wants Hanna to go on a “date” with him. Caleb believes that dating a popular and “clean cut” girl like Hanna will give him the “Street Cred” he needs to push drugs and alcohol on Hanna’s rich friends.
Hanna kindly obliges, even going as far as to point out which of her friends are the wealthiest, sluttiest, and most drug addicted. She does this, in exchange for information regarding Caleb’s Sick Sad Life as a foster child. Once Caleb has enough gullible marks for his Con Artist game, him and Hanna attend Emily’s swim meet, and eye f*&k eachother some more . . .
That night, while she is stalking Aria’s parents, Hanna finds an air vent, filled with cell phones, dark clothing, and a wad of cash, all of which she immediately assumes belongs to “A.” Hanna promptly pockets the cash, explaining to Aria, that “A” owes her for the medical bills she incurred when “A” ran her over with the car. (Of course, she neglects to mention to Aria the whole “Felony Blackmail thing,” or that “A” also “owes Hanna” for doing her bidding, by trying to sabotage Aria’s date with Ezra.)
The moment Hanna
steals borrows takes an Unauthorized Loan of the cash, however, her and Aria are startled by a loud crash, and frightened by the sight of a dark figure looming before them, in the distance . . .
Aria and Hanna try to outrun their assailant, but he is WAY faster than them, and catches up quickly. At one point, Hanna tries to put more space between her and Aria and their potential attacker, by overturning a trashcan in front of him. But the dude leaps over it SO effortlessly, I start to wonder whether “A” (if that’s who he ends up being) might, in fact, be Spiderman . . .
Eventually, however, the hooded figure backs Aria and Hanna into a corner. Out of options, Hanna cleverly improvizes, by spraying hairspray in her assailant’s face. Blinded, he removes his mask. And the girls’ assailant IS . . . (drum roll, please) . . . THIS GUY!
Yes, boys and girls, Caleb lives in the LIBRARY, where the books are free, and the nighttime teacher makeout sessions are a plenty! He does this, because he doesn’t want to end up in yet another foster home. Hearing this, understandably, makes Hanna and Aria feel guilty for complaining about their own, not nearly as crappy, lives. So, Hanna reluctantly returns Caleb’s money. Then, the girls leave the library, and let Caleb go back to reading Wuthering Heights for the 325th time . . .
The next day, school board officials find Caleb’s personal belongings stashed in the heating vent, and toss them in the trash. “My Eviction Notice,” notes Caleb to Hanna morosely, as he digs his food-stained shirts out of a nearby garbage pail.
“Well, this place has very little closet space,” remarks Hanna, trying to keep things light.
Recognizing how terrified her new Bad Boy Buddy is about returning to the foster care system, Hanna invites Caleb to live in her basement. “My mom is so self-absorbed, and oblivious to every aspect of my life, she will NEVER EVEN KNOW YOU ARE THERE!” Hanna says, more or less. “
Besides, she’s out hooking most of the night, and sleeps all day in a drug-induced stupor.”
In hindsight, it’s kind of a good thing that Hanna has a new housemate. Because she’s going to need all the friends she can get, now! When Aria first receives that cryptic text from “A” alluding to Hanna’s part in her almost getting caught with Fitzy by her mom, she immediately confronts Hanna with it, not believing the content of the message at all. “A’s really gone off the deep end now. She’s trying to turn us against eachother! I can’t believe it,” insists Aria, infuriated.
(Well . . . that’s true, Aria. Just not exactly in the way you think.)
Though Hanna could have just blown off the text message, thereby preserving her friendship with Aria, guilt ultimately overcomes her. So, Hanna comes clean to her bestie, about sending Aria’s mother the museum tickets. “A has something on ME,” Hanna insists, by way of explanation for her massive betrayal.
“A has something on ALL OF US,” argues Aria, “But nothing A said could make me do that to you!”
And, with that, a rightfully furious Aria stalks off, leaving a dejected Hanna alone to lick her wounds.
That night, Hanna is sobbing on the staircase, as she makes yet another apologetic phonecall to Aria that goes unanswered. Caleb is there, talking about showers, and towels. So, I start to think that maybe we will get to see him shirtless tonight . . .
We don’t . . .
But we do get to see him sit next to Hanna and sweetly comfort her, which is nice . . .
And yet . . . given that Caleb has spent weeks living in the school library, I’m not entirely sure his decision to FORGO a much needed shower, for Hanna’s sake, is a particularly hygenic (or good-smelling) one.
Here, I would like to note that the Lucas has not missed a single shower since he was two-years old. Just sayin’
And finally, the storyline you’ve all been waiting for . . .
Spencer and Toby do French . . . but not in the way you think . . .
Last week, I mocked Spencer a bit, for the Indiana Jones costume she wore, while investigating Ali’s hot shirtless brother Jason out on the field. This week, Spencer entertained us, by wearing yet another Halloween costume. This time she dressed up like her favorite American Girl doll . . .
Blue Beret sold separately!
Maintaining her French wardrobe theme for the evening, Spencer’s second ensemble was a cross between French Maid, French Clown, and French Poodle . . .
Given Spencer’s newfound love of French Couture, it was, perhaps, fitting that she had decided to tutor Creepy Toby (who was now being homeschooled, as a result of all the bullying he was receiving, on account of being the main police’s suspect in Ali’s murder) in French.
Spencer’s reasoning for deciding to tutor Toby is three-fold: (1) She feels guilty for being TOTALLY convinced he murdered Ali, during the early months of her murder investigation. And she sees this as a good an opportunity as any to apologize for being such a b*tch to him. (2) Seeing as people keep blowing up his mailbox, there’s no way Toby’s ever going to get those Rosetta Stone CD’s he ordered from Amazon.com, in time for finals . . .
(3) Now that Spencer TOO has been somewhat accused of being responsible for Ali’s death (Remember that Crazy Bead Selling Lady, suggested that Spencer had ordered Ali’s Death Bracelet, last week?), the Veronica Mars Disease in Spencer has somehow convinced her that Toby can be her Logan Echolls (or, at least, her Wallace). Together, Spencer feels that she and Toby can figure out WHO is framing them and why. And THIS, she figures, might actually lead them to “A” and Ali’s killer.
After taking the advertisement off the wall, so no one else could volunteer for the job
not that anyone else would want it, Spencer nervously heads over to Boo Radley’s Creepy Toby’s and Blind Jenna’s house, after school . . .
When she eventually finds the courage to ring the doorbell, Creepy Toby answers.
Toby is clearly leery of Spencer, and isn’t quite sure what her true intentions are. He’s also concerned that, if Blind Jenna knows that Spencer is in the house with him, she will
rape Toby again freak out. Of course, Creepy Toby would absolutely LOVE to study with Spencer someplace away from home, where he would feel more comfortable (like a cemetery, or bat cave, perhaps), however his darn House Arrest Bracelet, won’t let him leave his property. So, Spencer suggests that the pair study on the porch instead. Toby reluctantly agrees . . .
Initially, Spencer tries to butter Toby up, by giving him a French version of a book she KNOWS he enjoys, namely, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Spencer wisely notes that reading a book in French that he has already read in English will help him become fluent in the language. But Toby is not so easily bought. He wants to know why Spencer is really there.
The two eventually warm to one another a bit, and get to talking, about how much it sucks to be framed for Ali’s murder. Spencer wonders out loud how the jacket Toby gave Ali on the night of her murder, ended up back in his house, after she died. Before he can answer her question, however, Toby notices the rustling of a nearby window, and quickly bids Spencer adieu. Obviously, Blind Jenna has come out to play!
(OK. If Jenna is BLIND why is she “LOOKING” out the window at Spencer and Toby? Weird!)
That afternoon, Spencer already seems totally smitten with Toby, which is odd considering
that she used to make out with SUPER HOT Wren that just a few episodes ago, she hated his guts. “He seems . . . hornydifferent,” Spencer notes dreamily to Emily, as the latter tries not to laugh hysterically at her friend’s MAJOR change of heart.
*sigh* “Creepy Toby is sooooo dreamy. Do you think he likes me? You know, when Toby and I get married, Blind Jenna will be my sister-in-law. That’s going to suck SO BAD!”
When Spencer is not sleuthing, or dressing French, or dreaming about Toby, this week, she spends the rest of her time, glaring at her new brother-in-law Pedo Ian, and quitting the hockey team, because he’s it’s coach . . .
Ian feigns offense at Spencer’s obvious rejection of him. He insists that he just wants to make peace with his wife’s little sister. However, Spencer isn’t buying it. Big Sis Meliss tries to intervene, and let Spencer know what a FABULOUS person Pedo Ian is . . .
“Is THAT why he’s hitting on a 13-year old now? Because that’s what FABULOUS adults do?” Spencer notes wryly (more or less), as she motions toward a little kiddy that Pedo Ian seems to be grooming for his special Lolita collection.
Spencer insists that Melissa ask her new husband about his various rendezvouse with Ali before she died. But Melissa retorts that, since Spencer has been spending time with Creepy Toby, he must be poisoning her little sister’s mind against her new husband. “You just always want what I HAVE,” remarks Melissa. “You need help!”
Correction, Melissa: Spencer wants what you HAD . . . not HAVE. There’s a BIG distinction.
Speaking of Wren, he gets a SHOUT OUT, in Melissa’s next line, “I’ve already lost one relationship because of you, you will not ruin my marriage too!” Melissa huffs, before storming out.
(Well, at least SOMEONE, besides me, remembers that Gorgeous Hunk of Man!)
Later, Melissa approaches Spencer again to apologize for her earlier behavior. Apparently, Pedo Ian has finally come clean to his wife about making out with Spencer, while the pair were broken up, but she’s totally cool with it (NEVER MIND THAT SPENCER WAS 14, AT THE TIME). Then, Melissa decides to drop a couple of bombshells on Spencer, by revealing (1) that SHE proposed to Pedo Ian, not the other way around; and (2) that she’s pregnant with Pedo Ian’s Evil Spawn!
For once, Spencer, that face is TOTALLY justified.
Later that day, Spencer comes back to visit Creepy Toby again, and is totally caught off guard, when he dumps her as his French tutor. “This isn’t going to work out,” says Toby brusquely. “We can’t help eachother. You have to go,” he concludes, handing Spencer back her book, as he dashes back inside his Haunted House.
(By the way, did you notice the DARK GLASSES on the outside table, during this scene? Do you think they were Blind Jenna’s? If so, what exactly does that mean?)
You’ve got some ‘splaining to do, Blind Jenna!
When Spencer gets home from Creepy Toby’s house, and puts the French Catcher in the Rye book on her bed, a slip of paper falls out of it. It’s a message from Creepy Toby . . .
“I found this in Jenna’s bedroom. I think you may be right!”
Below Toby’s handwritten message is a pencil rubbing done of some characters, which were clearly typed in braille. The question is: What exactly does it SAY?
In the final moments of the episode, we are treated to the CREEPY sounds of a record (SERIOUSLY A RECORD? What is this, 1975?), which boasts that it can teach a person French easily. All they have to do is listen. As the voice on the record repeatedly utters “Je Suis Un Amie,” the camera pans over a number of suspicious items: (1) laptop, (2) a knife, (3) some rope, (4) a wrench, and (5) THIS . . .
What the F*&K is THAT supposed to be?
What exactly all this signifies is still a mystery . . . to me, anyway. After all, TOBY would seem to be the most likely candidate to own a record like this. After all, he needs to learn French, and he just ditched his tutor. So, it would make sense for him to practice the language using an instructional record (possibly originally by one of his parents’)?
And yet, up to this point, all signs have pointed to JENNA being the mysterious “A.” Certainly, JENNA would have access to Toby’s room, during this scene. She may even play his French record out of curiousity, and manipulate his belongings, in order to
throw fans off track frame him for Ali’s murder.
And yet, would the solution that Blind Jenna is “A” be too obvious? Could “A” have been Toby all along? Or is the person featured at the end of this episode someone else entirely . . . one of Toby’s and Jenna’s parents, perhaps?
I guess we will have to wait until next week to find out . . . See you then!