Tag Archives: Ali

The Hand that Rocked the Video Camera – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ “Know Your Frenemies”

Oh, lighten up, girls!  The Jersey Shore isn’t THAT BAD!

Welcome back, my Pretties!   Well .  . . it seems we are one week closer to figuring out who A, and Ali’s killer, are.  (According to the PLL writers, the mysterious “A’s” identity should be revealed next week.)  Given the events of this week, we can now be pretty sure that “A” and Ali’s killer are two different people.  Inevitably, this begs the question of what, exactly, “A’s” motives are? 

After all, this week, for the first time, we witnessed “A” doing things that ostensibly seemed to help the girls, both in their personal relationships, and in their quest to solve the mystery of their friend’s murder. 

 

So, what’s the deal?  Is A seeking simply to seek vengeance against the girls, for wrongs they have purportedly committed against her (or him) in the past?  Or does she (or he) have more complex motives than that?  Let’s analyze, shall we?

A Whisper in the Dark

Is it just me, or does the fact that Spencer is wearing BRAIDED PIGTAILS make this scene seem much more ominious than it would otherwise?

With her boyfriend, Alex, pissed at her, Spencer is no longer getting laid. 

I know someone who could fix that for you, Spencer . . .

As a result, she’s got A LOT of time on her hands.  And what better way to spend your spare time, than stalking your recently-married sister, and her quite possibly sociopathic boyfriend?  When the episode begins, Spencer is eavesdropping in the stairwell of the basement where newlyweds, Melissa and Sociopath Ian, have formed their temporary Love Nest.  Conveniently, she overhears them both whispering incriminating things to one another like “No one can know.”  and “We are in this together.” 

When Spencer’s monstrously large feet creek on the steps, Melissa becomes paranoid, and rushes to investigate.  In doing so, she just misses Spencer, who dashes back to her bedroom, and shuts the door, just in time to escape detection.  And wouldn’t you know it?  The minute Spencer gets back to her computer, the ALL POWERFUL, ALL KNOWING, ALMOST GODLIKE “A” has left her an e-mail . . .

Married for love or an alibi? – A

Well, THANKYOU Captain Obvious!  (“A” maybe all-powerful, and all-knowing, but her messages seem to be getting lamer and less funny, with each passing week.  What gives, PLL writers?)

The next morning, Sociopath Ian finds Spencer in the kitchen, and starts threateningly asking her questions about what she may or may not have heard the night before.  Spencer claims she didn’t even know the Happy Couple was home.  But the Deer in Headlights expression on her face says differently . . .

Sociopath Ian informs Spencer that he and Melissa will not be sticking around Rosewood, as originally thought. Instead, they plan to move to Philly (on the lam?)  “We are family now,” Sociopath Ian tells Spencer menacingly, “I hope you start thinking of me that way.”  (Hey, Ian.  You know who else was really into family?  Norman Bates from Psycho . . .)

“A boy’s best friend is his mother.”

Recalling the MYSTERIOUS GOLF TAG attached to Ian’s bags . . .

 . . . which were also attached to Alison’s bags on the night she died, Spencer asks Ian a few pointed questions about the resort and golf course.  When Ian refuses to take the bait, she decides to investigate the matter further . . .

The next day, the Oh-So-Clever Spencer contacts the resort, pretending she is Ian’s wife, who is interested in getting information about the room where he stayed.  (By doing this, Spencer hopes to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Ian HAD, in fact, gone away with Ali, the weekend before she died.)  Inexplicably, she makes the call using a Laughably Bad Southern Accent.  (Why the accent, Spencer?  Do you think they are going recognize your voice?   Not everyone who works at the Hilton Head watches Pretty Little Liars, you know?)

Of course, the good ole’ folks at Hilton Head confirm that Ian (who apparently wasn’t smart enough to use a pseudonym, when he checked into a hotel room with a girl who was OH SO OBVIOUSLY underage) had, in fact, stayed at the hotel with a “guest,” shortly before Ali was murdered.  Despite the fact that this would be a FABULOUS lead for the police to investigate, when the New Chief Detective on the case (a.k.a. NotDeputyDouchey) conveniently pops in on the girls, Spencer says nothing.

“Dammit, Spencer!  You couldn’t have said ONE SENTENCE to me about Sociopath Ian?  I was one line away from getting my SAG card!”

Back at home, while supposedly “studying,” Spencer embodies the Nosy Neighbor in every single Family Sitcom ever made, by snooping around in Ian’s moving boxes for clues.  Spencer’s search is interrupted, when her sister Melissa comes home, bearing groceries, and a Big Ole’ Pregnancy Test Ovulation Kit, that conveniently falls to the floor, so that Spencer can find it.  (Come on, Melissa!  You couldn’t have fit that in your purse?  What kind of Murder Suspect ARE YOU?)

When Spencer questions her sister about the kit (She’s just questioning EVERYBODY this week, isn’t she?), Melissa’s eyes glaze over like a Stepford Wife, as she explains how she no longer cares about having a successful career.  Instead, she would rather squeeze out lots of “Little Melissa’s and Ian’s,” and have a Big Sweet Sociopathic Family.

Spencer immediately begins searching Melissa’s ears for excess wires and computer parts.  Finding none, she becomes convinced that EVIL Ian has hypnotized her Big Sister into giving up her future.  During this enlightening conversation, a very Testosteroney (seriously, did he BULK UP since the last scene?) Sociopath Ian comes home.  Upon hearing that Melissa spilled the beans about the Happy Couple’s planned Baby Fest, Ian grunts and shoots a Roid Rage-induced sneer in his new wife’s direction . . .

This is probably what The Hulk looks like, about two seconds before his face turns green . . .  and he rips his shirt open . . . with his bear hands . . .

Though both Melissa and Spencer assure Ian that the couple’s “Baby Making Secret” (SO SCANDALOUS!) will remain under wraps until further notice, Ian doesn’t look at all convinced . . .

Emily’s and Maya’s Relationship Goes to Pot . . .

Unlike Spencer, Emily’s problems this week ostensibly had NOTHING to do with “A” or “Ali’s killer.”  Rather, her own MOM was the Big Bad Villain of her tale, this week . . .

It all started with Emily’s mom catching Emily and Maya getting a bit cuddly on Emily’s bed, while the two were studying eachother’s body parts.  Emily’s mom TOTALLY flips out, and kicks Maya out of the house.  Maya is so incredibly shocked by Emily’s mother’s rude and homophobic behavior that she leaves her bookbag in Emily’s room.  This, in hindsight, was the STUPIDEST thing Girlfriend could have done, under the circumstances.

Once Maya leaves, an Enraged Emily tells her mother that, for the first time in her life, she is ashamed to be her mother’s daughter . . .

Taking a page from Snoopy Spencer’s book, Emily’s mom creeps into Emily’s room, while the latter is at school, and rifles through Maya’s bag.  Inside the bag she finds a MIX TAPE (gasp!) and an ALTOIDS box (double gasp!).  Why Emily’s mom decided to open her daughter’s girlfriend’s Altoids Box remains a mystery to me.  (Perhaps, she has bad breath from all the SEAFOOD she has been eating lately, if you catch my drift. ;))  Whatever the reason, upon opening the ALTOIDS, Emily’s mom finds two delicately rolled joints embedded therein.

Maya is INTO THE REEFER! 

Emily’s mom speedily confronts Emily about what she found, before rushing off to rat Maya out to her parents.  The next day, we learn that, upon finding out that their daughter smokes Altoids, Maya’s parents have decided to ship their daughter off to some Religious Wackadoo Camp for BAD GIRLS!  (I’ve seen pornos that started this way . . .)

“I wanna be a BAD GIRL, because it hurts SO GOOD!”

By the way, did anyboy ELSE find it weird that Maya’s Hippy Dippy Parents, of the Permanent Marker Wedding Rings and the Getting Married AFTER having two kids, would freak out THIS MUCH over a little pot?  Riiiiiiight . . . as if those two weren’t High off their Asses, and rocking out to the Grateful Dead, when Maya was conceived!)

Emily is clearly heartbroken, when she informs her friends of the news, the next day.  But fear not, Emmaya Fans!  The Pretty Little Liars have a plan!  And when the foursome get together that night to search through more of Ian’s boxes study (No .  . . I’m serious.  This is the girls’ idea of fun) . . .

. . . they call upon Maya to surprise Emily, and give the Wounded Lover a nice final Goodbye Screw, before she leaves for Jesus Camp . . .

Remember, boys and girls, Maya eats EVERYTHING . . . but seafood.

Now, I have to admit, initially, I was skeptical of the Emmaya pairing, simply because I thought Maya was boring, and looked more like a 35-year old hooker, than a high school student.  But I must say, the farewell kiss and slow dance that Maya and Emily shared together this week was SUPER HOT!  (And this is coming from a Straight Girl.)

We’ll miss you, Emmaya!  Y’all come back now, you hear?

Note:  When Maya is leaving Spencer’s house, SOMEONE, presumably either “A” or Ali’s killer, is clearly watching the girls from outside the house.  The foursome gives that person chase, but SHE gets away, causing Hanna (I think) to remark, “That’s one fast, B*tch.”  Whichever of the two “villains” that stalker ends up being, it obviously isn’t Maya.  This is not to say, that if the stalker was “A,” Maya can’t end up being Ali’s killer, or vice versa.  It’s just some food for thought . . .

Poor Creepy Toby!

In other news, Spencer has been spying on Creepy Toby.

Seriously, is there anyone Spencer HASN’T been spying on?  I feel like she’s been making THAT FACE for the ENTIRE HOUR!

In spying, she learns that Creepy Toby, has been getting harassed at school, as a result of his being the main suspect in Ali’s murder investigation . . .

His face also, apparently, scares little kiddies . . .

This causes him to cry in dark alleyways . . .

We feel your pain, Creepy Toby!

A Strikes Back (Against Bushy Eyebrows Noel?)

Creepy Toby wasn’t the only PLL Guy having a rough episode this week.  Our favorite English Professor, Fitzy, was still dealing with the increasingly aggressive threats of Blackmailer and Professional Creepo, Bushy Eyebrows Noel, who “needed” Fitzy to change his grade on his English paper, so that he could compete in the “game” this week. 

(Note: I’m not entirely sure what sport Noel plays.  However, I imagine he’s probably not a swimmer.  Those massive eyebrows would DEFINITELY weigh him down, underwater.) 

Noel even goes so far as to hand Fitzy the same paper AGAIN to “re-evaluate.”  To show Fitzy and Aria that he means business, Noel then makes lewd and suggestive comments to Fitzy’s students about Aria being into “older guys.”  He also suggestively tells Aria’s brother that Fitzy is messing around with a “student.” 

Fitzy is clearly shaken by the threats, and considers changing Bushy Eyebrow’s grade.  However, ultimately, he decides that he cannot, in good conscience, do that. Upon coming to this important decision, Fitzy texts Aria, and invites her to his apartment.

Once she is there, Fitzy confirms his love for Aria, and tells her that he plans to resign from Rosewood High to protect his career, and save their relationship.  “How I feel about you is real,” Fitzy tells Aria.  “I will not change Noel’s grade.  And I will not let him hurt you . .  . I will not let him change this into something that feels wrong . . .  I love you.”

Lo and behold, Aria loves Fitzy too.  (AWWWWW!)

The two then share a long and sweet kiss . . .

Afterward, they head to the couch, for an extended dry hump cuddle session . . .

But just like the final rendezvous between Emily and Maya, there is an element of sadness here, as if the pair fear that, once Fitzy resigns, their relationship is doomed.

The next day, Fitzy packs up his classroom super slowly, as MAJORLY DRAMATIC MUSIC plays in the background.  (Dead Fitzy Walking.)

But, just when Fitzy is about to tender his resignation, he finds Noel in the hallway, getting busted by the principal for purportedly stealing exams . . .

The PLL’s, all of whom, except Spencer, have suspected Noel of being “A” for the past couple of weeks, are shocked by the recent development.  However, they are even more shocked to learn who was behind it.  Just seconds after Noel is publicly confronted for “stealing,” the girls all receive texts from the increasingly chatty “A.”

“A is for Alison, not Amateur.”

Now that “A,” who is clearly NOT Noel, has done Aria a solid, by saving her relationship with Fitzy from utter ruin, the future Miss Fitzy doesn’t know what to believe, anymore . . .

Hey look, Aria is wearing an “A” necklace!  Yes, I understand that her name begins with an A.  But still . . . weird . . .

Cupcake Torture

Seriously, how ADORABLE are these cupcakes?  And where can I buy myself one?

Of all the Pretty Little Liars, Hanna has probably been the one who has gotten the brunt of “A’s” torture.  I mean, the girl got RAN OVER BY A CAR!  It doesn’t get much worse than that.  This week, Hanna found herself at “A’s” mercy, as a result of the letter she found last week, instructing her that she had to follow “A’s” directions, in order to get her mom’s hard-earned  stolen money back.   In her locker at school, Hanna finds one of the many missing $100 bills . . .

The bill has a message taped to the back of it . . .

Go to 21 Main Street.  Ask for Hefty Hanna’s Order – A.

Suddenly, it’s flashback time!  We are treated to a shot of a still-skinny-but-pretending-to-be-fat Hanna, binging on an ENTIRE brownie tin . . .  In comes Ali to “rescue” Hanna, with her “helpful” tips on the Wonderful World of Bulimia.

“I can help you get rid of it [the food in your belly],” offers Flashback Ali seductively.

Back in the present day, Hanna is forced to order an entire box of Pig-Decorated Cupcakes.  She then receives another message from “A,” telling her that she must EAT THE WHOLE BOX of them!

Watching Hanna tearfully stuff her face with cupcakes, as football players “oink” at her, was a truly painful experience.  Arguably, baiting Hanna’s preexisting eating disorder is the WORST psychological torture “A” has inflicted on a member of the foursome thus far.  And when Hanna receives a text from “A,” echoing Ali’s earlier flashback words, “I know how you can get rid of it,” it starts to seem like things have been taken a bit too far . . .

Fortunately, Aria arrives to save the day.  She even blesses the oinking football players with the FUNNIEST line of the entire episode . . .  “Don’t you guys have practice?  Or have you lost your balls?”  the former Goth Girl snarks . . .

You GO, ABC Family!  There’s nothing like a good balls joke, to lift the crowd’s spirits after an uncomfortable moment . . .

While, not going as far as to tell Aria about the “unauthorized loan” her mom took out, Hanna does confide in her friend, about the nature of A’s threats, and her problems with bulimia.  Aria is supportive, without being judgmental.  And it is the support that enables Hanna to go to the bathroom, and NOT puke up those cupcakes . . .

She, does, however, wash and dry her hands, and is rewarded by “A” for doing so.  (Cleanliness is godliness, after all.)

Back at home, Hanna’s mom learns that Hanna has somehow gotten a portion of her “unauthorized loan” back.

And though she clearly realizes that Hanna probably had to do something VERY naughty to get that money, Ashley doesn’t really question it’s source.  This is because Hanna’s mom is kind of a terrible person. (But she is still way better than EMILY’S MOM!)

You know what they say about Idle Hands . . .

In the climactic last few moments of the episode, “A” sends the girls the same video the detectives had shown them last year, of Ali and her “boyfriend” on the night of Ali’s death.  The only difference now, is that this is the UNRATED and UNCUT version.  And, let me tell you, this puppy has SNUFF PORN written all over it!  First, we see Ali talking about how immature her friends are and how much she loves the person holding the video camera.  Then, she turns the camera on HIM . . .

Now, those of us who watched the show last year, already KNEW it was Ian on that tape.  What we didn’t know, was that his on-camera debut, was followed by: (1) the camera being dropped to the ground; (2) moans of pleasure from Ali;  (3) a scream of possibly pleasure, and possibly excruciating pain, on Ali’s part (though the horrified, mostly virginal, PLL’s obviously assume it’s the latter); (4) Ali’s hand grasping at dirt, and twitching; and, finally (5) and, Ali’s hand falling to the ground — completely immobile and lifeless.

Ladies and gentleman, what I just described to you was either the most sexually suggestive video EVER to appear on ABC Family, or one of the most horrifying murders-by-video-camera ever to be witnessed by a young adult audience, during prime time.  Either way, it’s some pretty intense stuff.

Honestly, there’s no telling where things are going to go from here.  And I, for one, can’t wait.  Until next week, My Pretties! 

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Looks Can Be Deceiving – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ “Salt Meets Wound”

Hanna got bored being home alone.  So, she decided to reenact a famous scene from that old movie, Rear Window.

Welcome back, my Pretties!  It’s time for another Pretty Little Recap.  Is it just me, or does this show keep getting better every week?  I mean, here we are two weeks away from the supposed reveal of “A’s” identity, and I still have NO CLUE who it is!  NONE!  And I suspect everybody . . . even YOU!

Let’s start reviewing the clues, shall we?

What do Jesus and Humpty Dumpty have in common?

When the episode begins, the Fabulous Foursome have just taken a wheelchair-bound Hanna home from the hospital.  Immediately, we see  Hanna fussing with a very large bumper sticker on her cast.  (I’m loving her flawless blue manicure, by the way.)

The bumper sticker says “Humpty Dumpty Was Pushed.”

“So TRUE!”

Of course, the nursery-rhyming sticker is meant to cover up a much more odious message, which “A” left on Hanna’s cast last week . . .

Aria snipes at Spencer for the inappropriate nature of the bumper sticker.  (Hey, at least it didn’t say “Humpty Dumpty was run over by a car.”  Because that would have just been rude!)

“Ya, think!”

(By the way, notice how Hanna has BLACK nailpolish in this scene, and LIGHT BLUE when she gets home from the hospital . . . just sayin’.)

Spencer defends her choice by saying, it was either the Humpty Dumpty bumper sticker or one that says, “Jesus is coming  .  . . look busy.”  Personally, I would have gone with Jesus . . .

With all the TOTAL crazies who are after these girls, they are going to need all the help from above they can get!

One of the girls (I can’t remember who) holds up a stuffed panda that Hanna brought home, and asks who gave it to her.  She tells the girls it’s from Lucas.  Emily thinks this is very sweet, but Hanna doesn’t seem to agree.   As for me, I just keep wondering about that EVIL bear that we saw by Hanna’s hospital bed, last week . . .

That bear is nowhere to be found.  I’m thinking it was from Sean.  So, Lucas’ panda probably ate it . . .

The Truth is in the CARBS!

Hanna sudddenly gets this MAJOR craving for Pop Tarts, which is kind of random . . . And if this was any other teen show, it would make me think she was pregnant.  So, when the rest of the girls leave the room for a second, she takes her crutch, and uses it to empty the contents of the Marin Family FORBIDDEN CARBS CABINET!  Unfortunately, Hanna never gets to eat her precious Pop Tarts, because she finds THIS on the floor . . .

It’s a box of lasagna . . . with HUNDRED DOLLAR BILLS HIDDEN INSIDE!

Hanna’s not 100% sure where this money came from, but she’s thinks its probably bad news.  Us fans, on the other hand, KNOW its bad news, because we watched Hanna’s sticky fingers mother steal it from a little old lady, during the mid-season finale.  When the girls come back from wherever it was they conveniently ran off to for the last two minutes, Hanna kicks their asses out of the house.  They seem confused by her sudden rudeness, but chalk it up to her being tired, and, ultimately, leave.  Then, as if on cue, Hanna gets THIS text from “A.”

“Like Mommy, like daughter.  Can you run from the law on those legs? – A”

(I’m thinking this “clue” is going to be a pretty tough one for the writers to explain away.  I mean, any number of high school students could have learned about Hanna’s shoplifting arrest.  Teens do gossip, after all.  But for “A” to know that Ashley Marin stole that money, he or she would have had to have been in the bank with her WHILE she was doing it . . . or at least saw the wad of cash in her car, when she was driving away.  I don’t think too many of the suspects on this show had the opportunity to do either of those things.  The plot thickens!)

When Ashley Marin arrives home from a shopping spree, Hanna confronts her about the Lasagna Money.  (I sure hope they don’t end up eating those!  Who knows where that money has been?)

Rather then be embarrassed or apologetic about her behavior, Mama Marin copes with the situation, by getting extremely defensive with her daughter.  “I HID IT IN A BOX OF CARBS!  I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE SAFE!”  She whines.

(Nice Mama Marin!  Way to make your daughter, WHO IS RECOVERING FROM AN EATING DISORDER, feel good about herself . . .) 

 Ever the wordsmith, Ashley describes the money as a five finger discount an “unauthorized loan,” one that she plans on paying back by the end of the year by turning tricks for Deputy Douchey and Aria’s dad.  Hanna, of course, thinks her mom’s excuse is a load of crap, as do I.  But she’s got way too much on her plate to deal with it right now . . .

“Maya eats everything!”

Sometimes, I have to wonder a bit about the writers of Pretty Little Liars, and just how purposeful their “dirty little jokes” are.  Take this scene for example, where Emily is having yet another awkward breakfast with her perpetual-stick-up-her-butt mom, and her way-nicer-than-I-thought-he-would-be military dad.  The family is discussing how Emily’s girlfriend, Maya, will be joining them for dinner that evening.  So, Emily mother asks if there is anything she should know about what Maya eats.  To this, Emily responds, “Maya eats EVERYTHING!”

I know, girls.  We can’t believe they wrote that into the script, either . . .

Source

(For those of you who don’t understand why that comment was risque, you are probably better off not knowing.) 

Anyway, the next day at school, Emily is VERY nervous about Maya coming over for dinner, and instructs her new lady love to wear a dress.  Maya jokes that she will tell Emily’s parents that she knit her dress, so as not to appear too “butch.” But Emily is not amused.  Apparently, Emily’s parents are NOT down with the gay jokes except the ones they accidentally make, involving “eating out”.  They even change the channel when Ellen comes on . . .

They must have something against dancing!

Aria, who is nearby at the time, tells Maya that if she decides to wear jeans, instead of a dress, she should definitely IRON THEM . . .

“Nice one, Aria!  Usually, Spencer and Hanna get all the funny lines, but that one was all YOU!”

Maya does end up wearing a dress to dinner, which scores her major points with Emily’s mom.  Those points disappear, however, when Maya tells Mrs. Fields (as in Emily’s mom, not the maker of the cookies) that she doesn’t eat fish seafood.

Yeah . . . I can’t defend them anymore.  The writers definitely knew what they were doing here.   That was one FISHY joke!

“But you said MAYA EATS EVERYTHING!”  Emily’s mom cries out way too loudly.  (Oh dear!  This is starting to make me feel uncomfortable.)

Maya loses more points, when she admits that her parents didn’t get married until AFTER she and her brother were born.  (GASP!)  They also used a FELT TIP MARKER to DRAW their wedding ring. (DOUBLE GASP!)  And one of them even has a TATTOO!  (OOOOHHHH NOOOO!)  Emily’s dad thinks Hippy Dippy Maya is just a plain old riot.  But Emily’s mom most certainly does not.  In fact, she leaves the room to do THIS . . .

While in the pantry, Emily’s mom spent so long, staring at jars of food, and bawling her eyes out, I half expected her to try and POISON Maya to death, by sneaking seafood into her meal.  To make matters worse, when Emily’s mom comes outside to give Maya some leftovers, she finds her and her daughter making out, HARD CORE!

I wouldn’t eat those leftovers, if I were you, Maya.  They seem . . . fishy.

After dinner, Emily’s sweet mom kindly tells Emily that (1) her dad’s leaving again at the end of the month; and (2) Emily’s relationship with Maya makes her sick to her stomach.  (Wow, the moms on this show are the BEST EVER!  One’s a thief, and the other’s a mean-spirited homophobe . . . If Aria’s mom ends up having killed Ali, I won’t be surprised.)

She is a witch, after all . . .

 Speaking of Aria . . .

She visits Fitzy, after class to tell him that it was Bushy Eyebrows Noel who “I SEE YOU””d his car, during the mid-season finale.

Aria assures Fitzy that Noel promised to keep their relationship a secret.  But Fitzy isn’t so sure . . .

His suspicions are confirmed, when Noel stops by the class later to complain about a “C” he got on his Great Gatsby paper . . .

Noel doesn’t think he deserves a “C.”  Not with all he .  . . KNOWS.  In fact, he thinks that he deserves an “A.”

Get it?  “A” . . . (hint, hint, wink wink)

Fitzy tells Aria that Bushy Eyebrows Noel is a TOTAL psycho, who is blackmailing him for grades.  Their discussion is interrupted by Super Scary Blind Jenna (more on her freakishness later), who needs Fitzy to sign something.  “Sorry to interrupt,” she snivels.

OK . . . PLL writers, the whole “Blind Girl Knows Everything” joke is getting a bit old . . .

Aria later confronts Noel about Fitzy’s allegations against him.  Noel completely denies it, assuring Aria that her illegal boyfriend is a Big Fat Liar.  What surprises me is that Aria actually considers this for a moment.  However, she then remembers a time when Ali got Noel’s girlfriend to dump him, so that he would be single for Aria (who was crushing on him at the time).

Check out “Goth” Aria, and Not-Actually-Chubby-But-Pretending-To-Be Hanna from Flashback World!

And look!  There’s Bushy Eyebrows Noel with an Elvis Presley Haircut that’s SO LAST YEAR!

“Is there some old grudge you’ve got against me and my friends?”  Aria asks, genuinely expecting an honest answer from this d-bag. 

Noel responds by . . . walking away . . . (Hmmmmm, interesting.)

 

But you know who CAN’T walk away?

Even though Creepy Toby is out on bail, he’s under house arrest.  This means he has to wear a police-locating anklet, just like Lindsay Lohan.  When Emily comes to visit him, he’s trying to CHOP IT OFF.  (Riiiight, because the cops would NEVER notice a thing like THAT!)  Emily promises that she’s not the one who turned Creepy Toby in to the cops last season.  Creepy Toby doesn’t seem to believe her, because Emily never showed any signs of believing Toby, when he promised her that he didn’t murder Ali.

After Emily leaves, Blind Jenna pops up (as she ALWAYS tends to do), thereby ensuring that this already creepy scene is about to get TEN TIMES CREEPIER!

Toby tells Jenna about how Emily said she wasn’t the one who turned him in to the cops.  “She didn’t.  I did,” says Jenna matter-of-factly.  “How did you expect to prove you were innocent, if you kept running around like a fugitive?”

Then . . . she KISSES . . . HER BROTHER . . . ON THE LIPS!

OK . . . I get that they aren’t supposed to be biologically related .  . . but STILL!

Toby makes me like him just a smidge more, when he rebuffs Blind Jenna’s advances.  (See, I didn’t even call him Creepy, this time.  Baby Steps.)  “You can chain me to this porch, and I still wouldn’t touch you again,” he growls.

Blind Jenna responds to this remark, by slapping Toby in the face, and running away.  But Toby’s got bigger fish to fry than a Scary Incest Loving Sister.  We learn toward the end of the episode, that the police found Ali’s blood on the ugly green sweater Toby lent her the night she died.  This will undoubtedly make Toby the prime suspect in Ali’s murder, in the eyes of the Rosewood Police.  In PLL viewers’ eyes though, the prospect of Toby’s being “A” and/or Ali’s murderer is becoming increasingly less likely.  (After all, he has a perfect alibi for when Hanna was hit by the car last season, seeing as he was IN JAIL at the time.)

 

“Point, Set, Match!”

Of all the Pretty Little Liars’ storylines tonight, Spencer’s was probably the least interesting.  Because Wren wasn’t in it.  BRING BACK WREN!  In her defense, she was looking ABSOLUTELY fabulous in her 1920’s inspired hat, and matching blouse.  She spent most of the episode making out with her new boyfriend notWren Alex . . .

 . . . who, though, supposedly “working class” inexplicably owns a REALLY nice sports car (see above). 

Spencer and Alex got into a bit of a fight over the fact that Alex had the opportunity to take on a fancy tennis internship  (He could GO PRO!), but prefers to stay at home and work for his uncle instead.  Over-achieving, Harvard-bound, Spencer thinks this is kind of lame.  And when Alex throws the internship application in the trash, she looks disappointed in him.

“I’m judging you.”

So, you could imagine BOTH their surprises, when Alex is notified by phone that his internship application has been submitted ELECTRONICALLY.  Alex automatically assumes Spencer went behind his back to do this, and storms off.  So, of course, precisely NO ONE is surprised when Spencer receives that Oh-So-Predictable text from “A” that says . . . wait for it . . . “Point, Set, Match . . .”

That’s OK, Hanna . . . we thought it was cheesy too.

Back at her mansion, Spencer finds all of her NEW brother-in-law, Ian’s stuff in her living room, and chats with her dad about what a huge jackass her sister decided to marry, and how bizarre the whole thing is.  (We think so too, Spencer!)  While she’s looking at Ian’s crap, she notices a set of golf clubs with a hotel tag on them Hilton Head, South Carolina . . .

She then conveniently recalls, via flashback, that Ali had the same tags on her suitcases when she returned from her “Grandma’s House” the day she died.  And since WE all know from that video tape from last season, that Ian may well have been the last person to see Ali alive . . . this all looks very suspicious, indeed .  . .

Happy “You Still Have a Spleen” Day, Hanna!

Annoying Mona decides to throw Hanna a “Welcome Back!  You are still hot, even though you don’t have a spleen” surprise party at the Marin household.  But Hanna still HAS her spleen, so Mona has to change the party’s name.  Name changes aside, Mona arrives at Hanna’s house, under the pretense of “getting her up to speed” on school.  She then acts shocked, when a random car pulls into Hanna’s driveway.  Hanna, of course, FREAKS out.  “CALL THE POLICE!”  She yelps.

“SURPRISE,” replies the ENTIRE student body of Rosewood High . . .

Hanna tries to be a good sport about this impromptu event, but it’s pretty clear she’s not having a good time.  For starters, random people (most notably BUSHY EYEBROWS NOEL) are raiding her CARBS CABINET, which, as you recall, contains her Stolen Lasagna Money.  Then there’s her lame as heck boyfriend, Sean, telling lame stories about Hanna to anybody who will listen, and making constipated monkey faces, like THIS . . .

Then there’s Lucas, who CLEARLY did not take Hanna’s gentle bedside rejection of his advances well AT ALL!  He’s getting belligerantly wasted on “jungle juice,” and making all sorts of snide (though admittedly VERY funny) comments at Boring Sean’s expense.  Eventually, Sean gets fed up, and starts to whale on the kid.  Fortunately, Bushy Eyebrows Noel breaks up the fight.  (I can’t believe I just used the words “fortunately” and “Noel” in the same sentence.) 

Hanna invites a very petulant Lucas outside to talk about his feelings . . .

“You came here to get back at me for what happened at the hospital,” Hanna tells Lucas, matter-of-factly.

“You are no different from the rest of them!” Lucas yells, despite the fact that Hanna has been NOTHING BUT NICE to him, through his hospital stalking, and recent bad behavior.  “Considering what that b*tch did to me, I should have done way worse to her!”

Hanna looks horrified.  “What did you do to Ali, Lucas?”  She asks.

Lucas then admits something we all have suspected, since last season.  He was the one who destroyed that UGLY ASS memorial fountain built in Ali’s honor.  “Dying doesn’t make you a saint,” Lucas says, by way of explanation.

But destroying this fountain makes YOU one, Lucas.  MAN, was that thing UGLY!

Lucas offers Hanna the opportunity to turn him in for his destruction of public property, but Hanna refuses.  “I’m not going to call the cops.  I think we can keep this between us,” replies Hanna.

“Please don’t make me like you.  It’s too hard,” pleaded Lucas sadly, before walking away.

(Please don’t make me like YOU, Lucas!  Because, despite everything you’ve done in the past two episodes, I still DO . . . VERY MUCH, actually!  And if you end up being “A” or Ali’s killer, that will make me REALLY upset!)

*Sigh* 

After Lucas leaves, Boring Sean comes outside to stick out his tongue and sing “Na-Na Na-Na Boo, Boo!”

But Hanna uses this opportunity to question him as to how well he really knows Bushy Eyebrows Noel, who she still suspects of being “A” and/or “Ali’s killer.”  The mere SUGGESTION that his Butt Buddy isn’t Mr. Perfect, freaks out Sean.  And he gets all huffy with Hanna.  So, Hanna, who is clearly tired of babysitting cranky baby boys, when SHE is the one nursing a serious leg injury, tells Sean to leave, and take the rest of her “party guests” with him.

While Hanna is cleaning up, she hears a noise in the house, and becomes convinced she is being attacked by “A” and/or Ali’s killer.  The poor girl is nearly in tears, when her mother gets home.  Mama Hypocrite is FURIOUS with Hanna for throwing a party (which she didn’t, by the way .  . . at least, not on purpose).  Hanna’s mom then becomes even MORE furious when she finds that someone has STOLEN her STOLEN MONEY from her!

Ashley Marin takes one of Hanna’s pain meds, before stomping off to bed.  But when Hanna opens the SAME medication, she finds a letter tucked inside . . .

“You will get your money back, if you do what I say. — Sweet Dreams, A”

In the last scene of the episode, we see a “mysterious gloved hand” (Aren’t they ALWAYS mysterious and gloved?) shoving those stolen $100 bills into an UGLY Clown Bank . . .

My prediction?  The next time we see this bank, it will be in episode 4.  And it will be THIS bank, that ultimately reveals to US (if not to the Pretty Little Liars themselves) A’s identity.

And, that was “Salt Meets Wound” in a nutshell.  Sweet Dreams!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Creepy Boys and Their Creepy Toys – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ Mid-Season Premiere “Moments Later”

Welcome back, my Pretties!  Tonight, Pretty Little Liars  kicked off the second half of its first season, with some genuinely shocking plot twists, an “outing,” a surprise wedding, and enough new suspects to fill Hanna’s perpetually too crowded hospital room.  (Seriously!  Talk about LAX SECURITY!  I half expected Deputy Douchey — who was strangely absent this week —  to peek out from under Hanna’s bed, wearing nothing but a towel, and that smug expression that comes from being the WORST DETECTIVE ON THE PLANET.)

“Hey Hanna, I know YOU were really driving the car that ran you over!  Don’t lie to me!”

And as for who “A” is . . . well, I don’t know about you, but my money is on that Creepy Teddy Bear the camera kept randomly focusing in on, at completely awkward moments.

That silly Chucky doll’s got nothing on Teddy Bear Bundy!

But, before I get started on the proper recap, can I just get one thing out of the way?

Mean Girls 2:  Electric Boogaloo?  What . . . the . . . hell?  I thought they ran these b*tches over with a bus, at the end of the first movie?

OK . . . I feel better now.  On to the recap . . .

Scenes from a Car Crash . . .

“Sheesh!  Having your daughter get run over by a car requires a whole lot of emotion!  It kind of makes me wish I eased up on all those Merry Christmas Botox treatments.  Do I look upset?  Because I’m going for an ‘upset’ look, here . . .”

It’s super appropriate that the mid-season premiere episode of Pretty Little Liars was entitled “Moments Later,” because it literally began just moments after the summer season finale left off.  (And yet, during those “moments,” all the male characters seem to have completely grown out their hair.   Weird . . .)

(That’s Seth Cohen, in case you were curious . . .)

Hanna has just been run over by a car at Mona’s lame party, to which Hanna was not invited (Worst punishment for party crashing EVER!).

She is being taken away by an ambulence, having been knocked unconscious, and rendered completely immobile . . .

Aria glances at all the shocked onlookers, and spies Bushy Eyebrows Noel.

(who’s hair has been cut, and who’s eyebrows are slightly less bushy than before)

However, her loverboy Fitzy (who she was majorly macking with in the car, just seconds earlier) is seemingly no where to be found . . .

“Sayonara SUCKAS!”

Meanwhile, Hanna’s formerly cash-strapped Mommy Dearest is guiltily driving back home, after stealing a whole wad of cash that was conveniently left in a bank safe deposit box where she works, by a little old lady.  When the cops stop her, she fears the jig is up.  She’ll be locked up FOR LIFE!  And those orange jumpsuits are going to clash with her haircolor, something FIERCE!

But no . . . the cops simply want to warn her about that whole pesky “your daughter has been in a near fatal accident” thing .  . .

“PHEW . . . oops . . . I mean . . . OH NO, I sure hope my daughter is OK! (Was that convincing?)”

Studying Hanna’s Anatomy

By the end of the first commercial break, all of our Pretty Little Liars arrive at the hospital, having come directly from the scene of the crime.  They are all chatting on their cell phones in hushed tones, presumably telling their parents what happened.  As it turns out, Hanna got pretty darn banged up in the car accident, with a broken leg and ankle, bruised ribs and a ruptured spleen.

“Hope Mama’s got some REALLLLL good health insurance!”

Oddly enough, Hanna’s future boyfriend, the always adorable Super Seth Cohen-y, Lucas seems to have arrived at the hospital first.  It’s a bit odd that no one really thought to have asked him how he found out about the accident so fast, considering, he was most certainly not at Mona’s lame party . . .  (He hates that Evil Biatch!)

(I really do hate to suspect sweet Lucas for any of the crimes committed against our girls on this show.  But you have to admit, he was acting a bit strange this week . . .   And there’s still the issue of his having “dirty shoes,” the day after Ali’s Ugly Ass Memorial Fountain was destroyed in the park, this past summer . . .)

Dirty feet = a dirty mind?

The other girls worry for all of two minutes over whether Hanna will be safe in the hospital alone over night.  (You know .  . . because someone, like, tried to kill her, and stuff.)  However, ultimately, they decide to leave her there, in order to further their own respective plotlines get some rest. 

If you thought Lucas was acting weird this week, he had NOTHING on Spencer’s b*tchy older sister, Melissa, and her freakish old / new boyfriend, Ian, who — we know from flashbacks — apparently had a real THANG for under age teens and pedophillic sex tapes, back in the day.  (So far, we have been led to believe that Ian was the last guy to see Ali alive.  He also once made out with Spencer, as most of Melissa’s boyfriends tend to do.)

Come BACK, Wren!  COME BACK!

Was I the only one who found the whole exchange between Spencer and her sister weird?  There was just something about Torrey Devitto (the actress who play’s Melissa)’s line delivery.  It kind of sounded like she already knew what had happened to Hanna, but was pretending to be all shocked and concerned, for Spencer’s sake.  And then, as if right on cue, the shirtless Adonis, Ian pops in . . .

(If you recall from the previous episode, Ian and Melissa had just had their “first date,” after a long breakup, during which Melissa had met and become engaged to HOT WREN.)  Notice how when Ian inquires, “How is she?” Melissa responds only as to Spencer’s well being, not even thinking about Hanna’s.  Is the faux pas merely evidence of natural sisterly concern?  Or something more . . .

It certainly wouldn’t be the first time THIS actress played a bat-sh*t crazy killer . . .

Believe it or not, it is Ian that corrects Melissa, by inquiring specifically as to Hanna’s well being.  And yet, how did Ian know Hanna was hurt, if HE had supposedly been screwing Melissa the entire evening, and SHE claimed not to have even been aware that the accident occurred, until Spencer told her about it?  VERRRRRRRRRRY Interesting!

“Paging, Dr. McDreamy . . .”

Meanwhile, Aria and Professor Fitzy Ezra are getting their flirt on, and worrying a bit over the incredibly lame cryptic message drawn in dew on the back window of Ezra’s car the night of Mona’s party (back when the couple was screwing like bunny rabbits, in the front seat)

You GO, Aria and Ezra!

(Now, I’m certainly no scientist.  So, maybe someone who is can help me out here.   Is “dewy mirror finger painting” really THAT visible, on a sunny day, HOURS after it was written?  Because the hearts and happy faces, I used to “draw” on car windows, backwhen I was a kid, almost always faded to dull indecipherable scratch marks, within 10 minutes of my making them. 😦   Just saying . . .)

Anyway, Ezra . . . the only member of this couple who is old enough to have actually seen I Know What You Did Last Summer . . .

. . . becomes immediately convinced that the message is a threat from someone who saw Fitzy macking on his underage student at the party.  “It says ‘I See You,’ not ‘Wash Me,’ not ‘Go Sharks’ . . . It’s very specific,” snarks Fitzy. (Haha, “WASH ME”  Oh, that Fitzy!  He’s such a little joker!) 

Aria, on the other hand, is confident that the message is nothing but some kid’s idea of a silly prank . . . at least, until she speaks to Hanna, later that day.

Sometime in the afternoon, Hanna’s mom texts the girls to tell them to come play with her daughter at the hospital.  So “cool” is Mama Marin, that she even signs the text with her first name “Ashley” as opposed to “Hanna’s mom,” which is how most PLL fans probably know her, anyway.  I swear, after that scene where Emily got the text message, I spent about 2 minutes saying, “Who the heck is Ashley?”  (Then again, this is coming from a girl who has always called ALL of her friends’ moms by Mrs. [Insert Last Name], and STILL DO.)

“Some girl named ‘Ashley’ just texted us, and said you needed company.  We thought it was another SUPER SCARY message from ‘A,’ until we remembered that’s actually your mom’s name.”

As soon as the girls are alone, Hanna makes an announcement so triumphant, that I swear I heard someone banging piano keys dramatically in the background, while she spoke *DUN . . . DUN . . . DUNNNNN*  “BUSHY EYEBROWS NOEL KAHN is ‘A.'”

YIPPEE!  I just went from being the lamer part of a love triangle to being a REAL murder suspect!  I’M OFFICIALLY AWESOME!”

What’s Hanna’s PROOF, you ask?  Well . . . she saw Noel writing on Fitzy’s CAR!  (See what the writers did there?)  This revelation, of course, forces Aria to admit to the rest of her pals that she’s boning the English teacher.  All the girls pretend to be aghast by this, but you know they are all secretly turned on (well . . . maybe not . . . Emily ;)).  “Part of me thinks it’s self-destructive behavior, but most of me just thinks it’s really hot,” admits Spencer later . . .

Spencer just got about ten times cooler, in my estimation, for saying that hilarious line.  It almost makes me want to forgive her for dumping Wren for that Alex kid . . . almost.

Aria still doesn’t think Noel is “A” (or Ali’s killer for that matter).  He may have bushy eyebrows, and be the most possessive non-boyfriend on the planet, but he’s not a murderer, she argues.  And yet, the suspect count is dwindling, at least as far as the girls are concerned.  Creepy Toby was tucked safely away in jail, on the night in question . . .

And Slutty Ian was porking Spencer’s sister (or, at least, that’s what Spencer thinks). 

So, of course, Noel has to arrive at EXACTLY this moment, carrying the LARGEST Hospital Gift Basket I have EVER SEEN.  Geez!  For someone who claims to luuuuuuve Aria, this guy sure likes to buy stuff for Hanna!  Suffice it to say that I’ve purchased those gift baskets before.  And they are NOT CHEAP!  (I just wish I had a picture of this monstrosity to post here.  For one thing, I’m really curious as to whether it was Noel or Lucas who brought Hanna the EEEEEEEVILLL Teddy Bear.)

I’ve read that Noel is supposed to be viewed as a viable lovematch for Aria.  And he’s certainly pretty enough to be one.  But, honestly, I’m having trouble being anything but creeped out by the guy.   Observe the way he comes stalking into Hanna’s room unannounced, bearing extravagant gifts, his saucer-like eyes nearly bugging out of his head.  Aria doesn’t let him inside, fibbing that Hanna just fell asleep.  Then, when Aria asks Noel about his whereabouts the night of the party, he lies through his teeth, telling her he wasn’t there. 

When Aria doesn’t call Noel back, like he asks her to at the hospital, he seeks her out in an empty classroom.  It is there that she finally calls him out on his “Car Art.”  Noel then gets WAY TOO defensive, considering he’s only dated Aria once.  He immediately assumes Ezra has been pressuring Aria into sex, and seems completely intent on pummeling the lanky English teacher like a deflated punching bag.  When Aria, more or less, admits that their relationship is a mutual one, Noel refuses to believe it.  And starts STALKING Professor Fitzy in the dark, as a result .  . . SPOOKY!

Be afraid . . . be VERY afraid, Fitzy!

As for Aria and Ezra, they shared a sappy sweet conversation in an empty classroom too!  This one was about their relationship, which, unlike Aria’s and Noel’s is actually real.  They also talked about how they don’t regret screwing one another in that dirty barroom bathroom, during the pilot episode, even though the act gave Aria crabs technically made Fitzy guilty of statutory rape . . .

Speaking of boys who are sweet (like Fitzy), but a tad on the overbearing and possessive side (like Noel) . . . I thought it was pretty darn adorable that Lucas snuck into Hanna’s hospital room late at night, while she was supposedly fast asleep (again with the NO SECURITY!), looked at her lovingly for a few moments, and blessed her forehead with a delicate little butterfly kiss . . .

Fans of The Vampire Diaries probably loved this little scene just as much as I did, as it undoubtedly reminded them of ANOTHER sweet sleepy love moment between fan favorite couple, Damon and Elena . . .

Unlike Elena, however, who had no memory of Damon’s sweetness (Elena never seems to remember ANYTHING sweet that Damon does, DAMMIT!), Hanna DID remember Lucas kissing her, but thought the lip brush might have been nothing more than a figment of her imagination . . .

To everyone’s surprise, Lucas cops to the kiss willingly, claiming that he thought Hanna was awake when he did it, and tacitly approved.  Hanna gently reminds Lucas that she has a very Snoozy Boyfriend Named Sean (who was NO WHERE to be found, in this episode, by the way), and would prefer that her and Lucas stay friends.  Lucas argues that he feels like he’s been dumped, even though he and Hanna never officially went out.  He also believes that Hanna deserves a better boyfriend than Snoozy Sean (and I AGREE). 

What I didn’t agree with, was Lucas angrily storming off, like the jealous boyfriend, he isn’t (at least not yet)Don’t get me wrong.  Lucas has every right to be frustrated.  He and Hanna have more chemistry in their pinky fingers, than Hanna and Sean have in their entire bodies . . .  And I think, eventually, these two are going to make an amazing couple!

But, considering that Lucas has never explicitly made his romantic feelings plain to Hanna before today — and that he KNOWS Hanna and Sean are dating — I’m not quite sure how exactly he expected her to react to his sudden amorous nighttime advances.  Under the circumstances, I actually thought she handled the situation quite well  . . .

“Paging Nurse Ali (and Wench Mona)”

Honestly, I don’t know which female bedside meeting Hanna experienced was more disturbing:  “Ali” — dressed in a candy striper uniform, and bathed in flowing white light — leaving telltale lipstick on Hanna’s water glass (as “ghosts” tend to do), and telling her that lies are far preferable to truths . . . 

or Annoying Mona .. .

 . . . and her Extreme Hospital Makeover, her sorry excuse for an apology for lying about Hanna having weight loss surgery, and her nauseating story about how she “fell in love” with Hanna, when the latter puked on the trampoline at a party.  Man, I HATE that friggin Mona chick! 

Granted, Ali’s a real b*tch too.  But at least SHE’S fun about it!  (Like when she said, “I really should do something about “A.”  That b*tch is getting on my nerves.”  That was AWESOME!)

In Other News .  . .

Emily came out as being gay to her dad.  Surprisingly, he was not that big of a dick about it.  He then told Emily’s mom . . .

 . . . who was a TOTAL DICK about it, especially considering that SHE already knew about her daughter’s sexuality (thanks to some very explicit photos), and was simply in denial of it . . .

Emily also tried repeatedly to get to see Toby in jail this week, by phoning the police station, and inquiring as to his whereabouts.  So far, she’s been unsuccessful.  Blind Jenna found out about this, and called Emily out for screwing Toby over, by unwittingly leading the cops to bring him in as a suspect.   Emily responds to these accusations, by calling out Jenna on SCREWING Toby .  . . period (which made me like Emily, a heck of a lot more, as a result). 

“You, Blind Brother F*&ker!”

Also, Melissa randomly eloped with Creepy Ian . . .

And, at some point, Ian (or somebody who actually gives to craps about Ian) chopped down that very special tree in the park, (the one with the inscription “Alison & Ian” on it) and burned the part of the bark containing the inscription in a fireplace  (which seems like a lot of unnecessary work to me . .  . not to mention, the environmental implications).  I mean . . . all the tree needed was a little SHAVE, and all that incriminating evidence would be HISTORY!

Pretty Little Liars version of the Yule Log . . .

And, finally “A” (whoever the heck he or she is) left a little love note on Hanna’s cast, during one of the MANY times throughout the episode that Hanna was UNCONSCIOUS and had NO SECURITY WHATSOEVER around her hospital room . . .

Clearly, the people who write for Pretty Little Liars never watched last season’s finale of Grey’s Anatomy . . .

Here’s what “A” had to say this time . . .

“Sorry about losing my temper.  My BAD . . . Love -A”

And that’s all she wrote . . . Until next week, My Pretties!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Got a Secret. Can You Keep It? – Pretty Little Liars Returns January 3rd

ARIA:  OMG, Guys!  I just got a text message from “A!”

EMILY:  Me too!  What does yours say?

ARIA:  That Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens BROKE UP!

HANNA:  NO WAY!

ARIA:  WAY!

SPENCER:  That’s soooo not true!  I just saw them out together like last week.  That “A!”  She is SUCH a Pretty Little Liar!

Deny it if you’d like.  But I’m willing to bet that SOME of you (and you know who you are) became obsessed, this past summer, with a guilty little pleasure of a teen drama called Pretty Little Liars.  Whether you admit to watching it or not, Pretty Little Liars ended up being quite the little ratings darling, during those hot summer months.  As a result of its unexpected success, ABC Family decided to add the show to its dance card, again this year. 

After a jaw-dropping, sometimes laughable, but almost ALWAYS entertaining, first half of the season, Pretty Little Liars is slated to begin airing ALL NEW episodes starting January 3rd, at 8 p.m.

Wren and Spencer are clearly thrilled by this awesome news . . .

It seems like AGES, since we last checked in on “A’s” Pretty Little Victims, doesn’t it?  With so many characters, storylines, and plot twists, you might find yourself a bit confused as to where we left off . . .

But fear not, my Pretties!  What follows is a PLL primer, which will hopefully help you get up to speed on Pretty Little Liars (i.e. where it’s been, and where it’s going), just in time for the midseason premiere . . .

(By the way, just in case you were curious, the GIFS included this post were brought to you by the F-Yeah Pretty Little Liars Tumblr)

The Books

The Pretty Little Liars television series was inspired by a young adult book series of the same name, which was written by author, Sara Shephard.  The original series consisted of eight books.  Each book focused primarily on one of the four main characters in the series: Aria, Hanna, Spencer, or Emily.  The events that took place during the television series’ pilot episode, more or less directly corresponded with those from the first book in the series.

Recently, Sara Shephard has announced that, based on the success of the first eight books, as well as the television series inspired by them, she plans to add four additional books to the Pretty Little Liars series.  The first of those four books, Twisted, is set to hit bookstores in July of 2011.

The Mystery

You see that girl in the Missing Persons Poster pictured above?  Her name is Alison.  (Ali for short.)  And she’s dead.  At least .  . . we think she’s dead.  Actually, what exactly happened to Ali is one of the main mysteries of both the books and the television series.

About a year before the events of the television series take place, Ali, Spencer, Hanna, Aria, and Emily were having a slumber party in a barn on Spencer’s property, when Ali suddenly disappeared in the middle of the night.  She wasn’t seen or heard from for a year after that. 

Then, a year to the date of her disappearance, Ali’s decaying, smelly, and very stinky body was discovered near that barn.  Now, suddenly, all the girls who attended that slumber party are receiving strange and threatening messages from someone named “A,” who seems to know secrets about them that only the supposedly six-feet-under Alison would know.

What really happened to Alison that night?  And who is “A?”  These are the two main mysteries of the series.

As for the first mystery, well . . . there are a lot of folks out there who’d want to off Alison.  If you watch some of the flashbacks from the series, you will become one of them.  Girlfriend was a b*tch with a capital “B!”  Aside from being pretty, popular, and kind of a ho, Ali really had no redeeming qualities, whatsoever.  In fact, sometimes, figuring out what the heck the girls were thinking, when they decided to befriend Alison is the unofficial third mystery of the series . . .

Everyone seemed to have a motive to kill Alison — from the outcasts she taunted, to the girls whose boyfriends she stole, to the girl she inadvertently made blind, to the boy whose life she ruined, and to the many boys (and girls) whose hearts she broke.  Later in the series, we learn that, among the last people to see Ali alive on the night of her disappearance, was her much older boyfriend, Ian, who she dated in secret . . .

 and her neighbor, Creepy Toby, who was basically sent away to juvie, because of her . . .

The Pretty Little Liars Themselves

(1) Aria

When we first meet Aria, she is the rebel of the group.  We know this because she wears black, and has a purple stripe in her hair.  But her father’s adulterous affair, a year spent in Iceland, and Ali’s death, scare all goth tendencies (including the aforementioned purple stripe) right out of Aria.  She is a more or less well-behaved “sensitive writer type,” by the time we meet her.  Aria’s knowledge of her father’s affair, was a secret that only Ali knew about. 

Aria’s Dirty Daddy

And yet, during the season, “A” dropped that bomb on Aria’s mother, by sending her an anonymous letter about it. 

Aria’s Messed Up Mommy

This letter caused Aria’s mom to become briefly estranged from Aria, and move out of the family household.

“A” also seems to know about the illicit affair Aria has begun carrying on with her English teacher, Ezra Fitz, who Aria met at a bar, and classily screwed in a unisex bathroom, just days before the school year began . . .

Aria and Ezra broke up briefly, when Ezra found a text message from “A” about their relationship, on Aria’s phone, leading him wrongly to believe that his underage girlfriend was “talking out of school.”  Ezra also left town for a period of time, without telling Aria, in search of another teaching job. 

During the couple’s breakup, Aria briefly tried to date Bushy Eyebrows Noel, but that relationship quickly fizzled, when Noel realized that Aria wasn’t yet over her “old boyfriend.”  (And when I say OLD, I mean it in more ways than one . . .)

In the mid-season finale, Aria and Ezra had reunited, and were getting freaky in Ezra’s car, when another car hit her friend Hanna, who had just made a major break in the “who killed Ali” case.  Whoever tried to kill Hanna, also seemed to know about Aria’s and Ezra’s affair, and told the couple so, in no uncertain terms . . .

Apparently, “A” has learned her communication kills from the I Know What You Did Last Summer School of Window and Mirror writing . . .

(2) Hanna

Before the series began, Hanna was an outcast, and, apparently, a major porker.  We know this because, even though she looks JUST AS PRETTY AND THIN in flashbacks, as she does during the actual series, in flashbacks, she wears baggy t-shirts and ponytails, and has bad posture.  Oh  . . . she’s also EATING SOMETHING, in every single flashback scene.

But Ali’s disappearance apparently left an opening in the Popularity Pool.  So, after Evil Ali was out of the way, Hanna “lost a lot of weight” and became the school’s new Queen Bee, along with fellow former outcast, the UBER ANNOYING Mona.

 

Hobbies of Hanna’s include shoplifting and bulimia.  But lest you think she’s just another biatch, Hanna quickly becomes one of the kindest and most relatable characters in the series.  This can be attributed to four humbling things that happen to Hanna, during the course of the series:  (1) her mother’s unfortunate and sudden loss of wealth;

(2) her father’s sudden remarriage;

(3) the termination of her relationship with that Snoozy Bible Thumper Sean;

and (4) her budding friendship with sweetheart outcast, Lucas.

When we last saw Hanna in the mid-season finale, she was hit by a car (A’s car?) and knocked unconscious.  The hit and run occured just moments before Hanna was about to share a “shocking” announcement with her friends, about A’s true identity, and/or who might have killed Alison.

(3) Spencer

Spencer is your typical Type A personality / overachiever.  She wears lots of argyle and sweater vests.  Her family is very wealthy, and her dad is kind of a dick.  Spencer also has a penchant for stealing her older sister’s boyfriends.  The first she made out with was Ian, who, we learn, by the end of the series, was also dating Ali at the time.   Then she starts smooching with her sister’s adorable fiance, Wren . . .

Spencer’s sister catches the pair hooking up in Spencer’s bedroom, and eventually calls off the engagement.  Wren continues to court Spencer for awhile, but then inexplicably disappears . . .

 . . .  and is replaced by new not nearly as exciting boyfriend Poor Alex, who she ironically meets at her family’s country club.  (He’s a BALL BOY, naturally . . .)

Spencer and Alex break up briefly, after Spencer’s sister tries to make Alex think Spencer is embarrassed to be seen with him, because he’s so darn POOR.  But they, eventually the couple makes up.  Spencer later learns that Alex once comforted Spencer’s mother, during a breast cancer scare.  This information touches Spencer deeply, and makes us feel a bit better about Wren’s untimely disappearance but not much

 Throughout the first half of the season, “A” taunts Spencer about what a man-stealing HO she is .  . .  Spencer was also the last of the PLL girls to see Ali alive.  The two supposedly had a BIG FIGHT on the night Ali disappeared.

(4) Emily

Emily is quiet tomboy, who used to date Wife Beater Ben, until he tried to rape her in the gym locker room. 

But Emily actually likes girls, more than boys.  She made out with Ali once, and professed her love to the Queen Bee in a letter, only to be viciously spurned by her.  During the series, Emily begins a tentative lesbian relationship with a girl named Maya, who moves into Ali’s old house . . .

Maya looks to be about 40-years old . . . but is supposedly only 16 . . .

“A” seems aware of Emily’s relationship with Maya, and taunts her with it, by posting pictures of the couple in Emily’s locker.  This causes Emily to break up with Maya, and briefly begin a friendship with Creepy Toby, who she takes to the Homecoming Dance as a date. 

 But Creepy Toby creeps her out too much, so she runs away from him at the dance, and eventually ends up in the hospital, as a result.  Toby escaped authorities after dropping Emily off at the hospital.  He then stupidly called Emily (who he PUT in the hospital) for help during the mid-season finale.  Emily initially acted as though she wanted to help Toby.  However, instead of meeting him when she was supposed to, she sent the cops instead . . .

 

 

The Frenemies 

(1)  Creepy Toby and Blind Jenna

 

Creepy Toby and Blind Jenna (who wasn’t always blind, by the way) were Spencer’s neighbors.  They are step-siblings.  One night Creepy Toby was supposedly spying on the Pretty Little Liar girls.  This infuriated Ali, and made her desperate for revenge.  So, she made firecrackers, and decided to set them off near Creepy Toby’s garage.  But when Spencer peeked into the garage, she saw Creepy Toby and Blind Jenna DOING IT . . .

So, Ali (understandably) freaked out and dropped the firecrackers.  The sparklers went off in the garage, and caused Jenna to become blind.  Jenna now carries around a VERY LOUD cane of destruction, and always makes weirdly suggestive remarks to the girls, for no apparent reason at all.  She also oddly still uses a mirror to put on lipstick, even though SHE CAN’T SEE!

The girls briefly suspected Jenna as being “A,” when they caught her sending strange text messages through her laptop voice recognition program.  Later, the girls found a threatening message written on Spencer’s mirror in Jenna’s ugly shade of lipstick . . .

But of the two people I listed, Toby seemed to the girls a more likely candidate  to be Ali’s killer.  After all, it was TOBY who took the rap for causing Jenna’s blindness.  He did so, after Ali threatened him with revealing the knowledge of his sister-f*cking affair, if he didn’t absolve her of all wrongdoing.  Toby was sent away to juvie, as a result.  As mentioned earlier, Toby was also one of the last people seen with Ali, before she disappeared.

(2) Deputy Douchey

Deputy Douchey is a busy guy.  When he’s not catching shoplifters . . .

  . . . or screwing Hanna’s mom . . .

 or looking hot in a towel . . .

 . . . he’s trying to solve Ali’s murder.  But, basically, he just runs around stupidly accusing the Pretty Little Liars of killing Ali, and making Hanna’s life miserable.  Basically, aside from being kind of hot, Deputy Douchey sucks at life . . .

(3) Mona

 

You know who else sucks at life?  Mona.  We’re still not quite sure why Hanna hangs out with her, as she is really quite annoying.  Mona basically exists to make mean comments to everyone on the show, and repeatedly remind Hanna that her “popularity” is important.  I include her in this synopsis for two reasons only: (1) the events of the mid-season finale took place at HER ery lame birthday party; and (2) she was a MAJOR character in the book series, in more ways than one . . . 😉

(4) Jason

Jason is Dead Ali’s older brother.  He used to be a Goth, but now he’s just an A**hole.  Jason flew onto town on his broomstick toward the end of the summer season, and has been getting in the girls’ way, ever since.  Not only did he completely take over Ali’s memorial ceremony, after the girls worked so hard to put it together,  he, like Deputy Douchey, seems to think the girls had something to do with Ali’s death . . .

The Newbies

When Pretty Little Liars returns on January 3rd, at least three new faces will join the regular cast.  Lindsay Shaw, of 10 Things I Hate About You and Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide will play Paige a fellow athlete, and rival to Emily on the school swimteam . . .

Alona Tal of Veronica Mars and Cane will play Simone, Aria’s old babysitter, and a competitor for Mr. Fitz’s heart . . .

Tyler Blackburn will play Resident Bad Boy, Caleb, who will likely serve as a new love interest for one of the Pretty Little Liars . . .

Promos and Clips

Recently, ABC Family has released some new video footage from the show, to promote the upcoming mid-season premiere.  You can check out the new promo, and two clips from an upcoming episode, entitled “Moments Later,”  below.  ( Special thanks, Team Ezra Fitz, for showing me these!)

Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to end this post with a few of my favorite Cheesy Stalker Messages from “A” . . .

See you on January 3rd, my Pretties!

[www.juliekushner.com]

 

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Filed under Pretty Little Liars, Spoilers and Sneak Peaks

The Scavenger Hunted – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ Summer Finale “Keep Your Friends Close”

“Afraid of driving alone at night?  Not sure what dangers may be in the store for you, just around the corner?  Put an inflatable Creepy Toby in your back seat TODAY, and drive in ‘comfort’ TOMORROW!”

WOAH!  Pretty Little Liars gave us quite the little twisty, turny Season Finale, didn’t they?  And talk about piling on the potential suspects!  At this point, ANYONE can be “A,” can’t they?  Heck, I could be “A!” But I’m not . . . (or am I?). 

In addition to keeping us guessing as to the identity of Ali’s killer, “Keep Your Friends Closer” also provided fans with a whole bunch of information about what (and WHO) Ali was doing, outside Spencer’s farm house, on the night she was murdered.  But no matter how much information we learned, everything seemed to keep leading us back to THIS GUY . . .

 . . . who I will hereinafter refer to as “Pedophile Ian.”  (You’ll understand why, soon enough . . .)

So, without further adieu, LET THE HUNT (and the scavenging) BEGIN!

My Super Schmucky Sweet 16!

When the episode begins, the girls each receive invitations from Mona the A**hole to attend a party, in honor of her being born 16 years prior.  (Perhaps, a Day of Mourning would be more appropriate?)  The girls reluctantly accept the invitiations.  However, (all except Hanna) plan on bailing on the b*tch.  That is, until they get a text message that reads, “Camp Mona is a scavenger hunt, and I’m the prize.  Come find me b*tches! – A” 

GAME ON!  Looks like our girls will be “glamping” after all.  (Whatever the heck that means!)

“Mirror, Mirror, on the wall.  Who’s the most annoying castmember of them all?   IT’S ME!”

Later, Mona the A**hole (who had WAY TOO MUCH screentime this week, if you ask me) arrives at Hanna’s house begging for handouts.  Apparently, having a spa party named after her wasn’t enough.  This b*tch wants a fancy dinner too.  Hanna tries to get out of it, because who the heck would want to spend time with this horrible troll she doesn’t have the money to pay for dinner.  But Hanna’s mom, who has overheard the exchange and feels super guilty about all the sacrifices her daughter is making, due to the family’s precarious financial situation, spots Hanna the only $100 bill in her wallet.

“Don’t sweat it, honey!  You can turn tricks to pay me back tomorrow!”

But when Hanna ends up canceling on Mona anyway, due to being stuck in the principal’s office (more on that later), her “Best Friend” turns on her completely, by (1) starting some rumor that Hanna got thin through liposuction; and (2) disinviting Hanna to her lame party.  OH THE HUMANITY!

But I really had my heart set on getting BLOWN (dry . . . in the Blow Room, of course). . .

Now, about that liposuction rumor . . . Mona claims she got a text about it from “A.”  Really?  Because it doesn’t seem like Hanna ever told Mona about “A.”  And if Mona doesn’t know who “A” is, why would she listen to “A” over Hanna?   Unless of course, MONA IS “A?”

“Does this mean we don’t have to go this lame ass party?”  Emily asks, hopefully, upon hearing about Hanna’s and Mona’s “messy breakup.”

But Hanna forces them to go, because she’s tired of “A’s” games, and she wants to “scavenge” her.  Besides, Hanna plans on crashing Camp Mona, so that SHE can hunt for “A” too  . . . 

(Please take Lucas with you, please take Lucas with you, please take . . .)

Hanna DIDN’T take Lucas to the party, nor did she take my OTHER fave Pretty Little Liar man . . .

(Not like she even knows Wren to take HIM, but still!)

 I can’t help but wonder, whether things would have ended up better for her, if she had brought company along  . . .

Move over Deputy Douchey!  You’ve Been Replaced (by the FBI . . .)

“So, I parade around your television screen half-naked, and THIS is the thanks I get!  I’m FIRED?   WTF!”

Once again, the Fabulous Four are called to the Principal’s office together, and once again, their meeting is “All About Ali.”

Apparently, in addition to terrorizing her classmates, reading the classics, and eating cute little puppies for lunch, Dead Ali was also quite the Child Porn Star, in her day! 

Observe Ali’s expert “O” Face!

But Ali’s hottest video, was the one made on the day of her death (which I guess makes it Snuff Porn?).  The video was sent to the Rosewood Police Department by an “Anonymous” party, the day before.  And it was the receipt of this video that forced the local rent-a-cops to come to the conclusion that they were out of their league, and that bigger guns were needed.  In the video, Ali is stripping out of a hideous green button-down sweater, and “making love” to the camera.  “I know you wanna kiss me,” she says seductively to her audience. 

Honestly, after seeing some of the places that mouth has been?  No, not really . . .

The girls confirm that the yellow dress Ali is wearing in the video is the one she wore on the night of her disappearance.  But the origins of that hideous green sweater remain a mystery.  Emily also notes that the place where the video was filmed has been creatively named “Kissing Rock.”  In return for this information, the FBI let the girls in on the fact that the still MIA Creepy Toby remains their primary murder suspect.

Later, a news broadcast on television informs the girls that a warrant has been issued for Creepy Toby’s arrest.  Apparently, the jacket Ali was wearing in her Child Porn Flick was Toby’s and the blood on it matched his blood. 

What?   Does this mean Ali and Toby “Sister F*&ker” Cavanaugh were SECRET LOVERS? 

How is that even possible?  Well . . . I KNOW how it’s possible . . . but . . . you get my drift.

Pedo Ian Rides (Everyone) Again . . .

“Why do I get the feeling, I’ve been here before?”

Remember early in this season, when Spencer met her sister’s fabulous then-fiance, Wren, and the two hit it off like perfect soulmates . . .

 . . . and started going at it like horny bunny rabbits?

(Well, I’m glad YOU do, because the writers of Pretty Little Liars certainly don’t seem to!)

But I digress .  . .  apparently, this wasn’t the FIRST time, Spencer swapped spit one of her sister’s men. 

From a flashback scene, we learn that Melissa’s then-boyfriend, Ian, used to help Spencer with her “hockey swing” (insert sexual euphemism here), and sometimes ended up helping her with her TONGUE- SWING . . .

The costume and lighting designers did a very nice job making Troian look younger in this scene.  Certainly closer to the 14 or 15 she was supposed to be in the flashback, than she is in real life.  But that only made her tryst with the 20-something Ian character more disturbing.

Hence, the nickname, Pedophile Ian.  (And don’t even get me started on his later romantic scenes with the ACTUAL 14-year old who plays, Ali, Sasha Pieterse . . .)

But if anything GOOD came from Pedo Ian’s unceremonious return to Rosewood, it was that it allowed Spencer to FINALLY attain forgiveness from her sister, Melissa, for singlehandedly ruining the latter’s upcoming nuptials . . .

Spencer even convinced Melissa to give Pedo Ian another chance, even though he had dumped her all those years prior.   (Then again, considering what happened at the end of this episode, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea.  But hey, if anyone can protect themselves from violent nutjobs, it’s Crazy Nanny Carrie from One Tree Hill!

Pedo Ian, consider yourself WARNED!

It’s EASY!  Like taking MONEY from Little Old Ladies!

There’s a special place in Hell reserved for people who bilk Grandmas out of their live savings.  And, from the looks of it Hanna’s mom is going there for sure!  It all started when Hanna’s mom, Ashley, started falling behind on her bills, as  a result of a difficult economy.  Cutbacks were made in Ashley’s life, and in the life of her daughter.  Fun Time in the Marin house was over.  No more caviar in the fridge . . .

  . . . no more douching . . .

or Deputy Douchey-ing . . .

No more inviting male prostitutes over for some “Afternoon Delight” . . .

In short, no more fun.  Unfortunately, for Hanna’s mom, all that cutting back may have come too little to late, because she had become delinquent on her mortgage payments, and her house was about to be foreclosed upon.

But don’t you count out Ashley just yet!  After all, she gave birth to Hanna, the best shoplifter in ALL of Rosewood!

Well .  . . except for that one time, when she got caught . . .

But, let me tell you, solid shoplifting genes like that?  They DON’T just appear out of nowhere.  Those are a BIRTHRIGHT!

For those of you who were always left wondering where exactly it was that Hanna’s mom worked, we finally got that answer in tonight’s episode.  She works at a bank.  A bank where little old ladies, who have NO relatives, receive gobs of money from other dead little old ladies, and leave hundreds of thousands of dollars of cold hard cash in a safety deposit box (Perish the thought of putting it in an ACTUAL savings account!), which they only visit once a year, after which, they conveniently forget to take back the deposit box keys.

So, of course, with “no other options,” Hanna’s mom absconds with the cash.  And she must work in a really bad neighborhood too!  Because, as she is driving away, this told wackjob creeper asks her for a ride.  Ashley firmly declines and guns it out of there like a Bat out of Hell.  I mean, look at the guy . . . wouldn’t you?

F*cking a Stranger in the Bar Bathroom may earn you an STD, but it also makes for a fabulous POEM!

Roses are Red,

Violets are Blue,

I have Genital Warts,

and, now, SO DO YOU!

Poor Aria!  Everytime she tries to get out from between Fitzy’s legs and begins to move on with her life, he pulls her back in.

“It’s my white, pasty stick legs!  They’re utterly irresisitible.”

Early in the episode, Aria is standing by her locker, trying to plan a first date with her new sort-of beau, Bushy Eyebrows Noel . . .

Bushy’s brilliant idea?  Stay at home and watch movies on TV.  Seriously Romeo?  For a FIRST date?  How old exactly do you think Aria is, 85?  Just because she DATES geriatrics, doesn’t mean she IS one!  As the two continue on their BORING conversation, a book conveniently falls out of Aria’s locker.  And, lo and behold, there is a note from “A” attached to it . . .

“Someone named A wants you to read page 22,” offers Noel, excitedly.  “You should TOTALLY do it.  Why not?  Be SPONTANEOUS!”  (Coincidentally, Noel’s idea of spontaneity is wearing black socks, instead of his usual white.)

Aria opens the book, which I presume is a school literary magazine, of some sort, to page 22.  Turns out, there’s a poem on that page .  . .  written by, who else . . . Ezra Fitz.

The poem is called B26, which, if I recall, represents the song playing on the jukebox in the bar where Aria and Fitzy first met, and later screwed, in the bar bathroom.  Ahhh, memories!  Apparently, for Fitzy, those couple of minutes spent with his back up against a dirty mirror, cheap soap running down his pant leg, toilet paper on his shoe, banging the living daylights out of some jailbait, was the single most romantic moment of his ENTIRE LIFE!  This was why he wrote a poem about it, and chose to publish it in the High School Literary Journal so everyone under the age of 18 could enjoy reading about his raunchy sexcapades.

When Aria reads the poem, she is absolutely infuriated by the mixed signals Fitzy has been sending her.  She rushes to his classroom to confront him.

Aria reams Fitzy a new one for claiming not to want anything to do with her, and then drafting this porny love poem about her for the entire student body to read.  Fitzy has very little to say in response.  And when, Aria tells Fitzy, loudly and in no uncertain terms, that she is through with him, who walks in?  THIS GUY . . .

It’s Bushy Eyebrows Noel!  And while Mr. Excitement, didn’t seem at all suspicious as to why “A” was telling Aria to read her English teacher’s poem, he totally seems clued in to the situation now.  And he looks PISSED!  It looks like Aria’s phantom “Boyfriend from Iceland” just got a whole lot closer to home.  To make matters worse, based on the portion of the conversation Noel heard, it totally seemed like Fitzy was making unwelcome advances toward Aria.  Yep, Bushy Eyebrows is TOTALLY going to rat Fitzy out to the PoPo for being a Baby Lover . . .

Creepy Toby:  Here TODAY, Gone to the Slammer, TOMORROW. . .

The FBI may be combing the town in search of Toby Cavanaugh, but apparently, they haven’t been looking in Emily’s car, because THAT’S where he is!  I never quite understood why, in these “sneak into the person’s car and scare them” scenes, the guy or girl always seem to wait in the backseat.  Because if it were me, I would be TOTALLY crouched down on the driver’s side. Then when he got into the car, I would grab his legs, and see how high I could get him to jump.  A total missed opportunity if you ask me.

As it turns out, Creepy Toby is stalking Emily because he wants to tell her HIS side of the story, you know the one he never got to tell her at prom because he was too busy crashing into glass, and she was too busy, falling on her face and being knocked unconscious.

“Good times.”

Emily takes Toby to a small secluded wooded area (REAL SMART, there girl!  Because someone will SURELY hear you, if you scream THERE!).  Toby then explains that Ali misunderstood his relationship with Blind Jenna.  She saw the siblings BONING . . .

 . . . and automatically assumed Blind Jenna was being raped.  But according to Toby, these two are IN LOVE . . . and not a brotherly- sisterly love, either.

And, NO, in case you were wondering, the fact that these two AREN’T related by blood doesn’t help me feel better about this situation AT ALL!

In terms of Alison, Toby explains that he DID meet her in front of Spencer’s barnhouse the night she disappeared, but only to talk to her.  And he gave her his sweater, to warm her up when she was cold.  The last Toby saw Ali, according to him, was when she was getting into the car with “some old dude.”  Despite telling Emily all this, Toby inexplicably would like to speak with her more, and tells her where he will be for next few hours, until he goes out on the lam again.  And it is in this exact spot where the coppers pick him up and arrest him.

Now, as you know, I’ve never exactly been Creepy Toby’s biggest fan, but, based on what we’ve seen in this episode, I think we could all pretty safely assume that HE is neither “A” nor Ali’s killer.  Therefore, you’ve got to feel bad for a guy who may very well have been wrongly accused.  And for that reason, I offer this to YOU, Young Cavanaugh . . .

(Special thanks go out to Amy over at Imaginarymen for providing me with the inspiration for the FABULOUS tee!)

In Other News . . .

Emily’s dad returned home from Iraq, today . . .

But her mother mysteriously received an envelope containing Emily’s “tonguing Maya” photos .  . .

And the look on her face upon reviewing them was none too pleased . . .

“I attended Camp Mona, and all I got were these damn skidmarks on my face!”

“Well, heck.  At least I didn’t have to get BLOWN, like Aria and Emily!”

“Oh stuff it, Half-Dead Hanna!  You WISH your hair was big enough to warrant its own zip code!”

Over at Mona’s self-indulgent bore of a birthday party (16-years old and no boys allowed?   SERIOUSLY?)  . . .

I’m thinking that the girl-to-guy ratio at this party might be a bit more Emily’s speed, than Aria and Slightly Slutty Spencer’s

 . . . Spencer, Aria and Emily, begin receiving clues from “A” for their “scavenger hunt”.  Their first hunch leads them to where they found Ali’s bracelet a few episodes back.

A’s not there.  But a “Jenna” necklace is.  (OK, so what’s the deal here?   Does EVERYBODY get an ugly fabric bracelet with their name on it?  Do I get one?   Seriously, it’s like Ali bought stock in the Ugly Bracelet Company before she died . . .)

Next to the ugly “Jenna” bracelet is a note from “A” informing the girls that they are in the wrong place.  (Well, DUH, A’s not here, so it HAS to be the wrong place!)  Spencer, however, who is clearly a bit wiser than I am, recognizes the double-meaning inherent in the world “Wrong.”  She ultimately determines that “A” is hiding in a place called “Wright’s Playground.” There, Spencer finds a heart etched into a tree saying “Alison loves Ian.” 

Meanwhile, Aria gets a text from Fitzy, in which he says he needs to see her.  He conveniently parks somewhere near Wright’s Playground (hmmmmm . . .  interesting).  Once Aria gets in the car, Fitzy tells her that he always loved her, and was looking for a job elsewhere so that he and she could be TOGETHER without fear of repercussion, NOT to run away from her, as Aria had initially suspected. 

However, when Fitzy caught Aria flirting with Bushy Eyebrows, he thought the high school GUY might be more appropriate for a high school girl.  Aria chastizes Fitzy for not recognizing the strength of her feelings for him.  Then the two engage in an encore of their infamous “Car Makeout Scene” from a few episodes back.

In a truly creepy scene, we see a ghostly figure looming over the back of the car, as Aria and Fitzy go at it, oblivious to the SCARY THING behind them.  Fortunately, that “thing” is not out to kill them, it is just out to leave a cute little love note on Fitzy’s car.   “I SEE YOU,” the oh, so, mature “A” writes on the back of the car, using the condensation from the window as her (or his) canvas.  Though genuinely frightening, the whole thing was also a bit cliche, and reminded me a bit too much of that very special scene from the film I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, where the killer took the same tired approach to scare its victims, as “A” did . . .

By this time, Hanna has successfully crashed the party . . .

She quickly locates Wright’s Playground, and hangs out nearby, waiting for something to happen.   Something DOES!  Hanna takes out her binoculars, and spies Aria and Fitzy making out inside the car.  Then she sees SOMETHING ELSE, and that SOMETHING ELSE may be the key in figuring out who A is.  It IS definitely the key for Hanna, who immediately texts Spencer that she knows “who A is.”  But, as Hanna is walking toward the girls, to spread the news, she is HIT BY A CAR, AND KNOCKED UNCONSCIOUS!  She even stops BREATHING!

And where was Fitzy when all this was going down, you ask?

Who knows?  Perhaps, he was writing poetry about girls who get hit by cars, and the boys who love them .  . .

Sigh!  Poor Lucas!

The rest of the Pretty Little Liars instantly gather around Hanna, screaming, crying, and calling for an ambulance.  It was admittedly a highly emotional scene.  I was very moved.

As the credits roll, we are treated to the final portion of Ali’s Child Porn Star video, the portion which its author had apparently excised from the  copy he or she had sent it to the FBI.  At the end of the video, Ali turns the camera around to face her boyfriend who is doing the videotaping, and that boyfriend is THIS GUY . . .

And, here, you thought I was kidding about the whole “pedophile” thing .  . . 😉

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Please, wipe your feet, before entering the school – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ “The Perfect Storm”

Hey, Emily and Lucas!  I want to show you something.  See this?  It’s called WATER!  You can use it to wash your SNEAKERS . . . you know, when they get DIRTY . . . and you have to go somewhere . . . IMPORTANT . . . like, say, an EXAM.

Tonight’s Pretty Little Liars installment didn’t really get us any closer to finding out who “A” was, or who killed Alison.  But it did provide us with motives for two brand new suspects.

Emily and Lucas

Granted, I don’t really think EITHER of these two “did it,” but it does serve to make things a bit more interesting . . . 

Oh, and you know what else?

IT’S ALIVE!

Yeah, so apparently, Dead Creepy Toby is not so much DEAD, after all.  Then again, I don’t think he “did it” either.  That would be way too easy!  He still scares the crap out of me though . . .

But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here . . . So, strap on your muddy sneakers and, let’s backtrack a bit . . .

It’s S.A.T. Time!

When the episode opens, Spencer, Aria, and Hanna are studying for the S.A.Ts, which they will all be taking the next day.  They are also waiting for Emily, who is MIA.  Now, I’m not sure exactly how long its been since the writers of this show took their SAT’s.  But you would think that SOMEONE on the staff would have taken the test recently enough (like, say, sometime within the last 50 years) to know that studying vocab words with flashcards the night before the test isn’t really going to help.  The chances of a word on those cards ACTUALLY being on the test, are about as slim as the chances that Toby is actually “A” on this show . . .

“Hey Emily, do you, by chance, know a synonym for the word ‘psychopath?’

Nonetheless, I do have to thank ABC Family for the little vocab lesson I received tonight.  Before this episode, I didn’t know what “meretricious” meant (It means “deceitful”).  Now I do!  Yay, for educational television!

“Tonight’s episode is brought to you by the letter ‘A.”

So, the girls are studying.  Hanna is trying to convince Aria to get with Senor Bushy Eyebrows.  Spencer is gushing over Alex.  Blah, blah, blah . . . pretty boring stuff.  But then someone wonders out loud where Emily is . . .

“Well, I’m not out buying clean shoes to wear for the test, that’s for sure!”

Elsewhere, Emily dashes into her bedroom and locks the door.  She’s soaking wet and muddy from running in the rain.  She empties out the contents of her bag, and shoves them under her bed.  It’s hard to tell what’s in the bag, but we suspect it’s some pretty random and useless sh*t.

Case in point: THIS photograph.

Relieved that she has gotten away unnoticed, Emily slumps down on the bed, heaving a sigh of relief.  That is until her cell phone vibrates.  Hey, Emily!  You got a new text message!  Golly gee!  I wonder who it’s from?

The taunting text messages have returned! 

THAT was awkward . . .

“On the bright side, Mom, at least I’m not boning my sister’s fiance anymore!”

Sigh!

It’s now the day of the exam.  And the same storm that made Emily so wet the night before (ha ha ha) is still going strong — SO STRONG, in fact, that the exam might actually be canceled!

Oh, please no!  The S.A.T’s can’t be canceled NOW!  Not when I finally know what meretricious means!

Spencer’s mother, who we haven’t seen AT ALL since the series started, but is suddenly Miss Overbearing Mommy of the Year . . .

“Woo hoo!  SAG card here I come!  Wait .  . . what’s my daughter’s name again?”

. . . insists on escorting Spencer to the exam.  Once inside the high school, Mama Hastings immediately proceeds to raise hell to anyone who will listen, about the travesty of justice that will inevitably result, if her precious little daughter, Spencer, has to take a test IN THE RAIN!  (Heaven forbid!) 

Spencer . . . now THAT is a girl who would NEVER EVER be caught wearing dirty shoes to an exam.

“If my shoes were dirty, I wouldn’t be able to read the test answers I wrote on them, which, I conveniently stole from my sister’s laptop.”

As it turns out, Spencer’s new beau Not Wren Alex is also taking the S.A.T.’s at Spencer’s high school.  And her mom, may or may not have caught the couple cleaning eachother’s teeth with their tongues, right in the middle of the school hallway.  “Oh, you’re the [Ball] Boy from the [Country] Club,” says Spencer’s mom, with an expression on her face that looks like she just ate poop.

A face like that is generally not a good sign for you, Blue Ball Boy Alex . . .

Alex seems equally uncomfortable during the meeting, and Spencer, being Spencer, immediately assumes the worst.  “What did my mother say to you?”  Spencer demands.

 “I don’t want to talk about it,” replies Alex, in Typical Guy fashion, before basically blowing Spencer off . . .

Spencer doesn’t have too much time to ponder the meaning behind Alex’s sudden departure, however, because she is soon confronted by another moody man, one who looks a little long in the tooth to be taking his S.A.T’s . . . It’s Deputy Douchey of course!

Unfortunately, he had clothes on this time.

Deputy Douchey proceeds to tell Spencer and Co. what us Pretty Little Liar fans already knew.  “Somebody destroyed Alison’s memorial,” Douchey sneers.

Now, it’s Spencer’s turn to look like she just ate poop.  But Douchey’s not really interested in torturing Spencer today.  He has his sites on another Pretty Little Liar . . .

No, it’s not Hanna, although we’ve already established that Douchey secretly wants to get in HER pants . . .

“Moi?”

Douchey wants to know if Emily has seen Creepy Toby lately, who, as I mentioned, is not so much, dead, anymore.  Douchey suspects that Toby killed the memorial (and Ali?).  He also wonders out loud why Emily’s shoes look like someone took a giant dump on them. 

(Seriously?  WTF?  We all know Emily got home early enough the night before to wash her shoes, or AT LEAST change into another pair, before heading off to the exam.  Are we REALLY supposed to believe that the girl took the time to get dressed in a new outfit . . . and then put on those same nasty shoes . . . without bothering to so much as pat them with a sponge or paper towel?)

Fortunately for Emily, Spencer’s mother swoops in to halt the interrogation . . .

‘”I’m sorry, I thought you were my daughter . . . never mind.”

 . . . and the girls head together toward the library, to register for the exam.

Oh, yes!  Reading Great Expectations Makes Me SO HOT!

“Now I know why they call him Charles DICK-ens.”

The girls sit down together at the library to “study” some more . . .

If you look closely at this picture, you can tell that all the books they have open are completely blank . . .

It’s not long before Deputy Douchey comes to bug them again.  “Where were you all last night?”  Douchey demands.

“We were all together, studying,” pipes in Dirty Feet Emily, before any of her friends can contradict her.

“Of course, I’m not lying!  What on earth would give you that idea?”

After Deputy Douchey leaves, the girls confront Emily about her little fib.  She gets defensive.  “I’m going to the bathroom, but if you want to come with me, we can all try to squeeze into the same stall together!”  Emily quips.

“I’m serious.  I’d really like to see you girls in my bathroom stall.”

(Speaking of lesbians, was it just me, or was Emily WAY more interesting in this episode, without Snoozy Maya to bring her down?  Just saying . . .)

As soon as Emily leaves, Spencer gets a text from the suddenly way more prolific A.  “It seems like you girls lost Emily.  Who’s next?”  It says, more or less . . .

Emily gets a text from “A” too, hers makes reference to the Charles Dickens’ novel “Great Expectations,” which apparently the girls had read in English class the previous year . . .

First To Kill a Mockingbird, then Catcher in the Rye, then the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, now Great Expectations . . . We get it, ABC Family!   You want us to read the classics.  You can stop shoving old books down our throats, now . . .

Emily quickly finds the book in question, and pulls it from the shelf.  A few passages are highlighted, but we can’t really see what they are.  A letter falls out of the book addressed to Alison from Emily, herself.  Initially, I thought it was a “Love Letter,” but it actually ended up being a “You made out with me, and then rejected my ass.  I hate your guts, you Big Fat Turd” Letter.

Instantly, we flash back to a year earlier.  Emily and the surprisingly well-read Ali are in the library on the floor.  Ali waxes poetic about how beautiful and romantic Great Expectations was (Clearly, she and I didn’t read the same book.)  Then, Emily tells Ali about her dream that Blind Jenna got her sight back and was miraculously able to use a mirror to put on lipstick!

Look!  It’s a DREAM COME TRUE!

Ali then reads Emily some random passage from Great Expectations.  The reading gets them both so hot and bothered, that they start necking.

On to Flashback 2 . . . Now Emily and Ali are in a gym locker room.  Ali babbles on for a bit about how she would love to go to Paris so that she can eat croissants and shop, even though she could probably do both of those things at the mall down the street.  “Do you know any French families looking to house a nice girl from Pennsylvania?”  Ali asks Emily.

“Sure I do, but then who would YOU stay with?”  Emily replies, or at least that’s how she WOULD reply, if she had any backbone at all . . . which she doesn’t.

The picture Ali used in her application to become an exchange student in Paris.

Did I mention that Ali delivered this entire speech COMPLETELY naked?

(It might interest you to know that, unlike the other actresses on this show, most of whom are in their early 20s, Sasha Pieterse, the actress who plays Ali, is just 14-years old.  Skating on some thin ice there, ABC Fam!)

To further slut things up, Ali asks Emily to help her put her bra on, because she can’t do it herself.  (She must have really short arms.)  Emily complies, taking the request as an invitation to start kissing Ali on her lady parts.  “What are you doing?”  Ali seethes.  “I like boys on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I’m a total lezzie!  The only reason I would kiss you would be to practice for the real thing.  Take me home, b&tch!  You’re my ride!”  She says to Emily, more or less.

Hence the . . . “You made out with me, and then rejected my ass.  I hate your guts, you Big Fat Turd” Letter.

Emily gets so caught up pondering her Relationship Baggage, that she fails to notice that someone  has swooped in and taken her ACTUAL baggage.  Oh, did I forget to mention, that Emily was SO determined that people not find the Bad Stuff she took home in her bag the night before, that she  BROUGHT IT ALL TO SCHOOL WITH HER?

So, of course, who stole finds the bag, but THIS GUY . . .

Yes, I have CLOTHED pictures of him.  NO, I DON’T feel like using them . . .

Emily might as well have wrapped her guilt in a bow and handed it to Deputy D-bag (which is why we all know she is innocent, by the way – Emily is clearly not smart enough to be “A.”).  In addition to her muddy sneakers, Douchey presents to her: (1) pieces of the destroyed memorial, found in her bag; (2) the “You made out with me, and then rejected my ass.  I hate your guts, you Big Fat Turd” Letter; and (3) pictures of her sitting at the destroyed memorial around the time the crime purportedly occurred.

A tearful Emily explains to Deputy Douchey and the rest of the Pretty Little Liars that she came to the memorial to apologize to Ali for writing the above-referenced letter, and found the memorial already destroyed.  She took its pieces because they were the only ones still left in tact.  She also FINALLY comes out of the closet to her friends (aside from Hanna, who already knew about it).

But, just when it seems like Douchey may have enough evidence to build a case against Emily for Ali’s murder and/or the destruction of her memorial, who steps in to save the day YET AGAIN, but Spencer’s mom!

“Wait!  Are you sure this isn’t my kid?  Darn!”

Ball Boy Gets Lucky . . . Though Not in the Way Some of You Would Have Hoped . . .

Spencer’s Mom informs Douchey, in no uncertain terms, that he has crossed the line, by attempting to interrogate the Pretty Little Liars (all minors, by the way, without an adult present).  Impressed by her mom’s unusually helpful behavior, Spencer finally confronts her, and asks her what her deal is with Alex.

“I f&cked him.  He supported me during a difficult time,” she explains. 

As it turns out, Spencer’s mom had a lumpectomy, and dealt with it by (1) not telling her family about it; and (2) getting completely wasted at the Country Club.  Alex discretely kept her from suffering alcohol poisoning, and kept his word not to tell anyone about what happened.  In return for his good deeds, Alex is rewarded by getting Spencer’s mother’s blessing to date Spencer.  Spencer is so proud of her new boy toy she practically nails him right in the middle of the school hallway . . .

Part of me was kind of hoping they would start salsa dancing again.  They didn’t.

“If it were ME, I totally would have salsa danced with Spencer at school.  I’m just a spontaneous kind of guy!”

We know, Wren!  Oh boy, do we know!

Like Daughter, Like Mother . . .

“Turns out .  . . EVERYONE wants a piece of the white pasty stick legs!”

Still bummed out over her parent’s separation, and Fitzy’s disappearance, Aria . . .

 . . . tries to cheer herself up by taking part in an impromptu jam session with the guitar slinging (Did he take that thing to the S.A.T’s with him?  Seriously?) Bushy Eyebrows Noel.  He plays.  She sings.  (Some chaperones these kids have that NO ONE with any authority has any idea they are doing this!) 

Once Noel was finished playing, his eyebrows provided an encore performance.

 Like Emily and Ali, and their SUPER SEXY Great Expectations read along, Aria and Bushy Eyebrow Noel get swept up in their karaoke moment, and are about to kiss, when who magically appears?  THIS GUY!

But just when you think the clearly jealous Fitzy is going to fight for the woman he loves . . . he doesn’t.  El Wimpo merely reverts back to his same broken record mantra, of “You’re too young.  This will never work,” all the while, repeatedly telling Aria how much he still loves her.  (Talk about mixed messages!)

At the end of the episode, Aria reluctantly agrees both to go out on a “real date” with Bushy Eyebrows, and try to reconcile things with her mother, who she hasn’t been speaking with since her parents separated two weeks ago . . .

Speaking of Aria’s mother . . .

 . . . girlfriend was putting the moves on her daughter’s boyfriend Fitzy, pretty hard core this week, wasn’t she? 

Granted, she doesn’t KNOW it’s her boyfriend, yet, but still.  “If we were in a plane [in this storm], I’d totally be in your lap right now,” Aria’s Mommy explains seductively, while her and Fitzy search for food, during their tenure chaperoning the S.A.T. That Wasn’t.

“Is that an invitation?”

Aria’s mom also plies Fitzy for information about Aria — information that he doesn’t know, because he has been being a Total D-Bag, and ignoring her for weeks.  Nevertheless, I’m really glad that, ultimately, nothing happened between Fitzy and Mommy Montgomery, because that would just be too weird!

Since when did “faxing” become a euphemism for sex?

You know what else would be weird?  A relationship between Aria’s dad . . .

Note: For purposes of this blog post, please pretend Hilary Swank is not in this picture . . .

 . . . and Hanna’s mom!

It all started (like any good porno would) with a blackout, and Aria’s dad coming to Hanna’s mom’s house to “fax something.”  (Ahem.)  The two flirt in the dark over candles and some wine.  They gripe about loneliness, and the trials and tribulations of “single parenthood.”  They make a date to meet up for dinner that weekend.  And then the lights go on . . .  and nothing happens  . . . thank goodness!  Because these two as a couple?  NOT cute!

And, finally, in Fabulous Hanna and Adorable Lucas News . . .

Lucas continues to sell Hanna’s stuff on EBay all through faux-exam day, eagerly tapping her on the shoulder to spread the good news, whenever one of her items is sold.  The two even have a bit of fun at the expense of Hanna’s RIDICULOUSLY AWFUL “friend” Mona, who, unknowingly BOUGHT one of Hanna’s bags.

Evil Mona sloughs it off.  “I meant to do that,” she explains.

But you can tell she’s defensive about the whole thing, seeing as she immediately remarks snidely on Hanna’s sensitive financial situation (“So, what, you’re poor now?”   She asks.) , as well as her newfound friendship with Lucas.  Evil Mona even goes as far as to tell Lucas to grow something that rhymes with WEENIS!

You don’t hear THAT on ABC Family every day!  Awesome Hanna sticks up for Adorable Lucas against Evil Mona, and Lucas is thrilled.  After the S.A.T’s are canceled and the storm has lifted, so that the students can finally leave the school, Lucas thanks Hanna profusely for her kindness.  “There’s nothing to thank.  We’re friends’ right, Geek?”  She remarks lovingly, before heading out of the school.

The normally unflappable Lucas’s face falls a bit, at the mention of the dreaded “f” word . . .  not that he wasn’t expecting it.  He calls after Hanna, we think, to come clean about his obvious romantic feelings toward her.  However, he ultimately loses his nerve. 

But WAS that what he wanted to say to Hanna, or did he have something else to confess?

In the last shot of the episode, we scroll downward to Lucas’ feet, which, like Emily’s, look like someone took a dump on them, even though he’s been at school FOR HOURS with nothing to do but wash the darn things . . .

Note the SKINNY JEANS!

Could ADORABLE LUCAS have destroyed Ali’s memorial?  After all, he DID admit to hating Ali for teasing him mercilessly, throughout her short life. But did Lucas hate Ali enough to KILL HER?  Could HE be the mysterious “A?”

I guess we will have to tune in to next week’s Season Finale to find out . . .

 [www.juliekushner.com]

 

 

 

 

 

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The Last 30 Seconds Was the Best Part! – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ “Please, Do Talk About Me When I’m Gone.”

“Hey!  Watch where you’re putting those hands, Jason Di-Grabby Fingers!  Who do you think we are, Toby and Jenna?  I’ll be watching you.” – A

Last night’s episode of Pretty Little Liars was unusually thinky and philosophical, wasn’t it?  In it, the girls discussed “deep” topics such as “immortality,” “aging,” and “leaving a legacy behind after death.”  I bet you didn’t realize you were watching such a SMART show, did you?

“These discussions are nice and all, but I was kind of hoping we’d get to discuss more important things:  like whether we like Fitzy’s new haircut!”

Yeah, see . . . here’s the thing.  Pretty Little Liars is not a show I watch for “deep thoughts.”  So, before I begin my recap, I have a little message for the writers.  In the future, less waxing poetic about the meaning of life, and MORE snarky messages from A / sex with inappropriately-aged men, OK?

Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself.

Glad we got that straightened out.   On with the recap . . .

Life’s a beach, and then you die . . .

“Does this insanely large ego, make me look fat?”

When the episode opens, our four main characters are making final preparations for Ali’s Memorial Service, which is set to occur that weekend.  They roll out this big scary-looking wooden box . . . the kind that always carries a ferocious tiger, or massive gorilla, in the cartoons.  Unfortunately, this box doesn’t contain anything so exciting . . . just this . . .

When the green packing noodles are the most interesting thing inside your box, you know you’ve made a bad purchase.

Despite this “Memorial Fountain” being hideously ugly, the girls marvel over its “sheer awesomeness.”  Aria ruminates a bit about how, long after everyone has forgotten SHE existed, Ali will still be remembered as “the dead girl who had the lame fountain named after her.”  Aria’s trying to be respectful of her long lost pal, but we all know she secretly wishes a monument could be erected in her honor – one that, for centuries to come, will be considered “home” by countless cigarette butts, gobs of drooly backwash, and piles of bird sh&t.

Aria’s Memorial Fountain

“That’s immortality, my darlings,” coos Spencer, in this weird whispery voice that kind of creeps me out.  Suddenly, we are flashed back to the previous summer.  The girls are hanging out at the local pool, looking pretty . . . except for Hanna, who’s wearing a t-shirt over her bathing suit . . . because she’s supposed to be FAT!  Apparently t-shirt = Really Huge Heifer in Pretty Little Liar’s world.

“Don’t look at me!  I’m hideous!”

Ever the philosopher, Flashback Aria wishes out loud that you could pick an age you want, and stay there forever.  Riiiiiiight!  Because 15-year olds ALWAYS worry constantly about growing old and aging.  You know what age I wanted to be when I was 15?   21 . . . so I could drink legally, without having to worry about my fake ID getting confiscated, and someone ratting me out to my Mom.

Fortunately, Ali has a FABULOUS solution to Aria’s wrinkle and cellulite worries.  Death! 

Hooray!

“Die young.  Leave a beautiful corpse,” Ali instructs Aria, as she relishes the thought of dying a mysterious death at an early age.  (Be careful what you wish for!)  “That’s immortality, my darlings,” Ali concludes, echoing Spencer’s earlier words.

Hey, Ali!  You know who ELSE is really into perpetual youth and immortality?  Evil Bloodsucking Vampires . . .

OK . . . OK.  I’m pretty sure this show ISN’T going in that direction.  But, COME ON!  Wouldn’t that be a fabulous idea for a spinoff?

The girls are shaken out of their respective reveries by a reminder that they will be meeting with Ali’s long lost older brother, Jason, the following morning, to run through the Service itinerary.  The crew take some time out of their busy Memorial preparations to diss on Ali’s Big Bro, wondering out loud how an Ivy League school could have possibly admitted a student like Jason, who listened to “LOUD MUSIC” and “DRESSED LIKE AN EMO!”

NO!  Not ELMO!  EMO!

That’s better!

And yet, when the girls reunite with Jason the following day, they find out, much to their surprise, that he isn’t EMO at all!  Instead, Jason is a Poor Man’s Ryan Phillippe, circa Cruel Intentions.

Same pouty lips.  Same “I just sucked on a lemon” face.  Still pretty hot though . . .

Jason is also kind of a D-bag.  Immediately upon arrival, he gives the girls an obnoxiously fake smile, and thanks them for all their hard work.  He then proceeds to subtly crap on everything they’ve done, and completely take over.  As if that isn’t bad enough, Jason adds a name to the list of Memorial Service Speakers.  Bet you can’t guess who?

 

WORSE!  Guess again  .  . .

Nope! 

Give up?  It’s  BLIND JENNA AND HER CANE OF DESTRUCTION!

 . . . which she’s mysteriously stopped using, since the pilot episode.  (NOW, how are we supposed to know when she’s coming?) 

The Return of Deputy Douchey

“I’m BAAACK!”

Apparently, Blind Jenna wasn’t the only one Jason contacted prior to returning to town.  He also got a hold of the one man on this show whose D-bag tendencies rival his own.  It’s Deputy Douchey!  Apparently, Jason is interested in re-opening the investigation into Alison’s murder, and is unhappy with the way the local PD has handled the matter, thus far.  So, of course, Deputy Douchey immediately starts nosing around Hanna again, who he CLEARY has some creepy crush on. 

Kudos to My New Favorite Character, Hanna, for calling Douchey out on his unethical (but strangely hot) shirtless behavior.  “Exactly what evidence were you planning to uncover wandering around my kitchen wearing nothing but a towel?”  She quips.

Funny, I think I once saw a porno that began with this exact same line . . .

All Aboard the Lanna Ship (a.k.a. Lucas and Hanna Together Forever)!

Awwww!  I SO heart them!

Speaking of Hanna, things just seem to keep going from bad to worse in her life.  When we first check in with her, she is complaining to her mother about the total embarrassment of having her credit card recently declined.  Hanna’s mother explains that the family has been experiencing financial difficulties.  “We’re a one paycheck family,”  she explains morosely.  “We can’t keep living a two paycheck life.”

By way of illustration, Hanna’s Mom opens the refrigerator, to show her just how bad things really are.  (Conveniently enough, if you want to see a “before” picture of Hanna’s Fridge, simply scroll up to Deputy Douchey’s picture, above!)

“Now, honey, I know, in the books, you are supposed to be ‘bullimic,’ but do you think you can switch to anorexic for a little while?  The ‘binge’ part of the ‘binge and purge’ cycle is just too pricey for us, right now.”

“Does this mean I have to go back to using the ‘Five Finger’ Discount, like I did in the Pilot Episode?”

But, guess what?  Despite the obvious stress she’s under, Hanna doesn’t go back to STEALING!

Why, you ask?  Because of THIS GUY!

While the Soon-To-Be Couple (Come on!  It is SO obvious!) are working together on formatting the School Yearbook, Lucas unwittingly suggests that Hanna sell some of her old (probably stolen, let’s be honest) designer things on eBay to make some extra cash.  Ever the helpful guy, Lucas is even willing to help her photograph the items and put them online.

Hanna makes a MINT!  And even though she happens to be with her Snoozy Current Boyfriend, Sean, when Lucas gives Hanna her earnings, the two clearly share a moment, during the monetary exchange.  (In yet another beach flashback, we see Ali making fun of Lucas and warning the Not-So-Hefty Hanna against hanging out with “losers.”  We can’t help but notice, that Hanna seemed partial to the Nerd Cutie, EVEN THEN!)

Ultimately, Hanna does the selfless thing, by using her eBay earnings, to buy groceries for her mother.  As if we couldn’t like this girl enough, already!

In Emily and Maya News . . .

Emily and Maya . . . . .  ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZz

Oops!  Sorry!  I must have dozed off for a second there!  Emily and Maya went out on a date.  They went to see what looked like a creepy old horror movie.  It was VERY romantic, so they started to make out during it.  Yeah . . . that’s about it. 

 Oh, and Emily’s Dad is coming home from the Armed Services, which is exciting, I guess . . . Except, I never knew he was gone in the first place . . .  I imagine they probably mentioned it before on the show.  Maybe I was sleeping . . .

Aria Has a New Guy?

OK.  PLL, now you’re starting to make me MAD!  First, you have Spencer COMPLETELY forget about Wren, and jump instantly into the arms of the Ball Boy . . .

“Hey, when you HAVE balls, you might as well USE them .  . .”

. . . NOW you’ve got this random Noel dude, with big Bushy Caterpillar eyebrows, honing in on Fitzy’s girl?  WTF?

“You better watch out, NOEL!  I’ve got white pasty stick legs!  And I’m not afraid to use them on your face!”

To Aria’s credit, she’s not NEARLY as ho-ish as Spencer, and at least hesitates a bit, before “moving on” to a new man. 

Tired of Aria’s newfound mopey ways, Hanna decides to set her up on a double date.  You see, Lame-O Sean got four concert tickets.   Two of them will go to him and Hanna, of course.  But Sean’s friend, Noel has dibs on the third one, and HE would really like to take Aria as his date.  Recalling that Aria used to crush on Furry-Browed Noel,  Hanna tries to convince her friend to go out with them.  Aria initially declines, but ultimately, decides to go.

The problem is that Aria is still SERIOUSLY depressed about her parent’s separation and Fitzy’s sudden departure.  So, during the date, she acts like someone just killed her best friend.  (Oh  . . . wait . . . someone DID!)  Noel pulls Aria aside to ask what’s wrong, and, to all of our surprises, she opens up to him about her “ex boyfriend in Iceland” (a.k.a. Fitzy White Legs).  Noel sees Aria’s misery, and figures it’s the PERFECT opportunity to ask her whether the two of them can starting making out.   (Smooth move, Douche!)

Aria declines . . . but isn’t nearly as turned off by the randomness of the request as she should be.  Damn those hot boys with Wild Overgrown Eyebrows!  They get away with EVERYTHING!

And then there was Spencer . . .

Sigh!

Spencer was the only Pretty Little Liar who didn’t get any loving this week.  Instead, she was pretty much abused, accused, and berated throughout the entire episode.  First, Jenna informs her that during the last few months of her life, Ali didn’t TRUST Spencer.  Ali apparently told Jenna this, while visiting her in the hospital. 

Spencer later learns from Brother Jason that Ali told him all about the Jenna Thing.  Except, instead of admitting HER part in setting off the fireworks that blinded Jenna, Ali told Jason that SPENCER was the mastermind behind it all!

Spencer is understandably hurt, and more than a little freaked out, by these revelations.  Why would Ali say these things about her?  Apparently, Spencer and Ali weren’t seeing eye-to-eye during those last few months before she disappeared.  If this information gets out, will SPENCER become a suspect in Ali’s murder? 

Possibly, but she won’t be the first.  It was also revealed this week that Creepy Toby called Ali on the night she disappeared, and SOMEONE (either Ali or someone with Ali’s phone in hand) TOOK THE CALL!

“What?  Did you think they would just STOP talking about me on the show, just because I disappeared?  Who do you think I am?  Wren?”

Before the Memorial Service, Spencer receives yet another cryptic message from A.  “The Memorial Service is tomorrow.  Do it right.  I’ll be watching, just like Tom Sawyer.”

OK, ENOUGH with the High School English Literary References, PLL.  First To Kill a Mockingbird, then Catcher in the Rye, NOW The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.  We get it, Tom Sawyer attended his own funeral.  Ho, ho, ho.  So clever! 

Do you really expect me to believe that a girl as stuck up and shallow, as Ali would make this kind of reference in a threatening text message?  The Girl Who Never Met a Nerd She Couldn’t Abuse?  Even if she READ the book (unlikely), I highly doubt she’d admit to doing it.  Be reasonable, PLL Writers!

Remembering Ali

Here’s a scenario for you.  You have this “friend” who is total b&tch during her lifetime, but ends up dying this totally tragic, untimely death.

You have to give her eulogy.  What do you say?  Do you lie, and make up nice stuff about her, even though you know it’s not true.  Are you brutally honest, a la Jen Lindley eulogizing the sort of evil, but hilariously funny, Abby Morgan on Dawson’s Creek?

I WISH I could find that eulogy on YouTube so that I could show it to you.  It remains, for me, one of the most uncomfortable moments on television, EVER!

Or do you do something in between.  It seems, in this case, that the girls go for option three.  Spencer discusses how much Ali would love all the attention of a Memorial Service in her honor.  She also talks about how nice it was that she was able to constantly fight with Ali.  (Not a smart admission, Spencer, seeing as you’re already a suspect in her murder.) 

 Hanna talks about how Ali “challenged” her (i.e. relentlessly berated her for being a chubby dork, and made her feel like crap on a regular basis).  Emily and Aria say stuff too, but it is so boring and meaningless, that I can’t remember any of it. 

At some point, during the ceremony, the Ex-Boyfriend of Spencer’s sister Melissa shows up.

“I come bearing flowers!”

NO!  I’m not talking about Wren . . .

Her OTHER Ex-Boyfriend, Ian!

Played by the adorable Ryan Merriman, who, unfortunately, was wearing a shirt at the time.

No one can really figure out why he was there.  But I’m sure we will find out in coming weeks . . .

Then Blind Jenna gets up to speak . . .

Surprisingly, she is kind of nice too!  She speaks about Ali’s strength, which, I guess, like the rest of the “positive traits” mentioned at the service, could be interpreted as “bitchiness,” but, no matter.  At least she doesn’t say anything crazy, like “I KNOW WHO KILLED ALI!”

After the ceremony, Jason approaches the girls with a gift . . .

It is THAT UGLY ASS BRACELET with Alison’s name on it!  Supposedly, Alison was wearing it at the time of her death.  BUT WAIT!  The girls already HAVE that bracelet!  They found it in the woods during the second episode . . .

Huh?

This is when THE BEST PART OF THE EPISODE happens.  As the credit begin to roll, we look upon Alison’s Memorial fountain, surrounded by tiles, and covered with candles.  A figure in black approaches it.  He or she sits silently, observing the memorial for a few moments.  He or she then takes out a hatchet, and BASHES THE CRAP OUT OF IT!  It is SO AWESOME!  That scene makes the whole episode worthwhile, in my opinion! 

So much for “remembering Ali forever!”  They really should have went with Aria’s Memorial choice . . .

That’s all I’ve got for this episode.  According to ABC Family there is only ONE EPISODE LEFT before the Season Finale.  That’s CRAZY TALK!  That would mean the whole season was just TEN EPISODES long, and I know for a fact that the channel ordered 22 episodes!

Whatever the situation is, there’s a PLL hiatus coming up soon, which means the next two episodes should be ACTION-PACKED!  See you then!

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