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“Aren’t you just sick and tired of being you?” – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ “A Kiss Before Lying”

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Greetings, My Pretties!  I think the theme of “A Kiss Before Lying,” is best stated by the late Ali herself, when she asks Hanna (in her trademark “Ali” way that is both insulting and mysterious, at the same time). “Aren’t you just sick and tired of being you?”

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In a literal sense, the line refers to Ali, herself.  After all, at the time, she was wearing a wig and masquerading as a fictional literary character, and quite possibly — if the conspiracy theorists are to be believed — masquerading as her own twin sister.

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But, in a way, this episode showed us that all the PLL characters have created alternate identities for themselves, to some extent.

Let’s see:  there’s Hanna and her mom, who must pretend that they are wealthy through natural means, and not, as a result of theft.  There’s Aria, who must pretend she’s dating Holden, instead of Fitzy.  There’s Spencer, who’s trying to portray herself, as tough and strong, while, on the inside, she is literally wearing Toby’s under shirt, and falling apart at the seams.

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There’s Maya, who’s trying to show herself as being “cool and laidback,” while, in reality, she’s still rocking some serious resentment toward her girlfriend’s mother, for getting her shipped off to druggie camp.  And, finally, there’s Evil Stepsister Kate, who’s hiding a literally UGLY past, during which her now-flawless face was covered with ugly boils.  And, if my theory is correct, she’s also hiding a series scheme to take down Hanna, once and for all . .

“I’m going to ship you to the glue factory, just like this horse . . .” 

As for the episode title itself, “A Kiss Before Lying,” two couple’s exchanged kisses this week, Emmaya and Ezra.  Fitzy and Maya . . .  what lies are they tellings their loved ones about their identities?  Could either of them be “A”? 😉

So shake up your boil-and-baggy, throw on your favorite wig, and practice your favorite Air Hockey Victory Dance . . .

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 . . . because it’s time for another Pretty Little Recap . . .

Spencer Hastings Smells Like Cheeseburgers . . .

“What?  You don’t like it?  It’s my new Ode de McDonalds’ perfume . . .” 

So, I have this new theory that Caleb Rivers is a werewolf.  Why?  Because he has a creepily good sense of smell.  Just last week, while on yet another phone hacking excursion with the PLL girls, Caleb kindly informed Emily that she smelled like mulch . . .

This week, Caleb got Spencer to stop crowding him, by informing her that he could tell she had a cheeseburger for lunch . . . even though it was already dinnertime!  Now, that’s impressive . . .

Anyway, contrary to my own interest in Caleb’s latent lupine tendencies, I think the real point of the scene was to show (1) that the PLL crew still couldn’t figure out what the heck is in Ali’s Secret Box; (2) that Dead Ali takes the best fake license picture, ever . . .

 

Seriously . . . it’s like one of those Glamour Shots! 

 . . . and (3) everybody is still freezing out Hanna, due to the whole “she put the flashdrive in a blender, but Caleb secretly made a copy” thing . . .

Have you ever called all your friends at once, and none of them answered?  So, you developed this paranoid fear that all of them were together having fun without you?  Well, that’s pretty much EXACTLY what’s happening to Hanna, right now.

“Hmm . . . well, Ali’s dead, so I can’t call her.   Mona’s probably out shopping for more sweater sets.  Lucas is an ONLINE GAMBLER!  So, I can’t hang out with him . . .”

We watch as each of the PLL girls, and Caleb, receive calls from Hanna, one right after another, and subsequently ignore them.

Eventually, Spencer takes pity on Hanna (after cynically noting that she is always the last one called), and actually picks up her phone.  Cue the idiocy of Emily, who chooses that exact moment to break glass on the floor, and Aria, who chooses to yell “EMILLLLLLYYYYYY,” in a ridiculously loud voice, so that Hanna can hear her.

(She might as well have just yelled, “HI HANNA!  It’s ARIA!  We are all here at Spencer’s house, rubbing up against your boyfriend!  And you aren’t invited!  Sucks to be you!)

“Umm, I’ve got go hang out with my family,” Spencer blurts out awkwardly, before hanging up the phone.

In other news, Aria has inexplicably begun lying, not just to her parents, about continuing to see Fitzy, but to her friends as well.  “There are certain situations where you have to lie to your friends, even if you hate doing it,” Aria tells Spencer in a private moment, after everyone else has left the house.

Aria’s actually talking about herself.  But Spencer assumes the confession relates to the secret all of them are currently keeping from Hanna.  So, she lets it slide . . .

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Speaking of Spencer, the poor girl is clearly on the verge of an Abs Toby-fueled emotional breakdown!  She’s wearing his t-shirts . . . sitting in his abandoned car . . . deathly afraid to be alone . . . all the post breakup depression signs are in full force.  It’s interesting to see this more vulnerable side of Spencer.  After all, of all the girls, she seemed to be the most independent, and the least reliant on significant others to make her happy.

And yet, perhaps, that’s precisely the point.  Unlike the other girls, who are all rather quick to fall in love, and open their hearts to new people, Spencer is a bit more guarded and closed off.  So, the fact that Toby was really able to wiggle his way into her heart, is something that Spencer does not take lightly, nor can she let it go, so easily.  “I don’t know how you are holding it together,” Spencer cries to Aria, as the two embrace.

 Spencer, I’m really sorry your sad.  We all love Toby, really we do.  But . . . might I make a suggestion?

Sorry, I just couldn’t resist . . .

Fitzy and Aria generate some real heat, while Holden and Aria order some fake appetizers . . .

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I love all these TV shows, where couples do things together while driving, like making out, and sometimes even, having full-on sex.  And nobody stops to think that maybe this is a bad idea  . . .

Fortunately, (since this IS ABC Family, after all) Aria’s mouth doesn’t stray far enough from Fitzy’s to go some place more X-rated.  Yet Fitzy definitely closes his eyes, and turns his head, for a good five seconds, in order to return the favor.

And we all know how “easily distracted” Fitzy can be . . .

While it was definitely sweet to see Aria and Fitzy together again, doing coupley things (even though, for obvious reasons, those “things” are restricted to secret car rendezvous), there’s something about the way the pair has to continuously sneak around and look over their shoulders all the time, that’s a bit sad.  It must make them FEEL like they are doing something wrong, whether or not they believe they actually are.

Oh, and did I mention that Byron the Bad Dad is trying to get Fitzy shipped off to Louisanna for an “Associate Dean” position, at Hollis’ satelite school?

“Whachu talkin’ about, Recapper?” 

*insert evil laugh here* 

First of all, what kind of self-respecting university gives an Associate Deanship to a 24-year old, with less than one year of teaching experience?  Second of all, Byron’s a moron, because he’s pretty much inviting his daughter to runaway with an older man and elope in the bayou.  He also seriously needs to get laid, because his man-crush / fixation on Fitzy is getting a bit ridiculous.  Third of all . . . well . . . I think this picture pretty much says it all . . .

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After Aria’s and Fitzy’s Secret Car Ride, she rushes back to Holden, just in time for Bad Dad Byron to take them home.  While Bad Dad leaves the car to make a clandestine call to his secret underage girlfriend  get some money from the ATM, Aria and Holden work to get their story straight about what they fake ate for dinner, during their fake date.  They also make plans for their next fake date, which just so happens to be their third one of the week.

I kind of love that ABC Family is “cultured” enough to have it’s characters do a little eyebrow raising and tongue wagging at the notion of the “third date,” which is referred to by some single adults as the “sex date.”  Though I suspect the line was not meant to imply that Aria and her friends share the same custom as their older counterparts, I do think ABC was providing a little wink to some of it’s viewers, who are college age, and above . . .

Of course, Aria and Holden aren’t having sex.  They are just eating a lot of fake garlic bread, with extra butter.  It’s a good thing Bad Dad Byron doesn’t share Caleb’s superpowers.  Otherwise, he would have totally been able to “sniff” out this particular lie . . .

“One of you smells like Fitzy’s car, and the other one smells like Fight Club.  I wonder which is which?” 

In which Maya teaches us about the pot-smoking tendencies of jazz musicians . . .

I guess I should really start listening to jazz music . . . 

So, Maya and Emily are back together.  By the time we reunite with them, they are already cuddled in Maya’s bed bantering, back and forth about Emily’s disappointment about being off the swimteam . . .

On one level, Maya’s being pretty cute and supportive of her girlfriend, while attempting to find humor the bad situation that is Emily’s expulsion from the team, due to both her being a suspected murderer.  And yet some of Maya’s “joking” suggestions about how to seek vengeance against the team do seem just a smidge “A” like, don’t they?  Like putting Nair in their shampoo bottles for example . . . Just sayin’ . . .

In other news, Fitzy apparently isn’t the only couple capable of creating heat.  Emmaya was so racy this week, it practically came with it’s own “parental discretion is advised” label . . .

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In addition to plotting against the swim team, and fondling one another, Emily and Maya also briefly discussed Mama Field’s visit to Rosewood, and what impact that would have on the couple’s relationship.  Apparently, Maya still hasn’t quite warmed to the woman who got her shipped off to druggie camp.  (Gee, I wonder why?)

Back at school Emily gets a message from “A” attached to her locker . . .

Just kidding!  The note is actually from HER MOM!

“Haha!  Suckassss!”

It IS interesting that “A” and Emily’s mother happen to have the same handwriting, though.  Don’t you think?  I also think the wording of the red-herring message is interesting, considering that Emily, herself hasn’t been tortured by “A,” since her greenhouse encounter.  It’s also important to note that of all the romantic relationships on this show, Emmaya seems to be the only one “A” hasn’t tried to break up.  Hmmm . . . suspicious . . .

Anywhoo, when Emily’s mom offers to take Emily’s friends out for dinner, Emily instead suggests new/old girlfriend, Maya.  And you could just see Mommy Dearest’s face crumple into a million pieces at the suggestion.  But she quickly recovers, and agrees to date, promising to give Maya another chance . . .

To say Emmaya and Mom’s date doesn’t exactly go well is the understatement of the century.  Right off the bat, Maya angers Emily for engaging in odd conversation about “cell phone apps” with A’s probable new lacky, and Blind Jenna’s new beau, Bushy Eyebrows Noel.

“Emily . . . Emily’s mom . . . two women on this show that I haven’t dated yet.  Might I interest you in a threesome?” 

When Maya promises Emily that Noel is a “nice guy,” the disdain is written all over Emily’s face.  The latter observes wryly that “his smile takes up half of his face.”  I’d like to add that his eyebrows take up the other half . . .

Have you ever a friend who, for whatever reason, just continuously said rude and inappropriate things in front of your mother?  And you just knew that your mother couldn’t stand her, which made meetings between the three of you super uncomfortable?

 I’ve actually had this experience a few times, which is why I was cringing throughout this dinner scene . . .  From Maya’s backhanded compliment to Mrs. Fields about her ability to control and dominate those less powerful than herself . . . to her insistence that Mrs. Fields probably only listened to conservative music, and wouldn’t listen to jazz, because jazz musicians were potheads . . . to her leaving the phone on LOUD, while at the dinner table . . . to her repeated references to “druggie camp” . . . and the stalker boyfriend she had there, it was as if every word out of Maya’s mouth was specially designed to piss off Mama Fields.  And if Mama Fields’ pursed lips smile, and raised eyebrows were any indication, her plan worked splendidly.  (I think I smell another Byron Montgomery, in the making.)

When  a frazzled Mama leaves the table (probably to call her shrink, or her priest, or something), Emily really lets Maya have it for her bad behavior . . .

At first, Maya is extremely defensive, when confronted with the accusation that she is deliberately sabotaging Emily’s relationship with her mother, and, by extension, Maya’s relationship with Emily.  She genuinely doesn’t seem to think she did anything wrong.  Then, she goes on the offensive, by accusing Emily of picking a fight with Maya, simply because she’s concerned about Maya dating boys.

Though my instinct was to side with Emily on this one (respecting my elders, was one of the very first lessons my parents drilled into my head, back when I was really young . . . and it stuck, in a big way), Maya’s response to the accusation made me wonder, if, perhaps, she really wasn’t aware of how rude she was being.  Having grown up in a hippie-type household, it’s highly possible that Maya was simply raised differently than Emily and I were.  Perhaps, in her house, parents and adults speak to one another as equals, and are brutally honest with eachother, even when it’s hurtful.  Then again, my parents probably wouldn’t ship me off to juvie, just because they found a doobie in my bag.  So, who knows?

 Maybe all of this weirdness is simply because Maya is “A” . . .

Emily must have been giving all of this some serious thought, because she shows up at Maya’s house, before school the following morning to apologize for her (comparably small) part in their argument . . .

“This would probably be a bad time for me to ask you, if you had any weed, right?”

Emily opens the conversation by admitting to Maya that she was uncomfortable with the notion of Maya dating boys, but only because she’s uncomfortable with the notion of Maya dating anyone besides her.  (Let’s temporarily forget the fact that Emily has had five romantic relationships on the show, aside from Maya . . . two of them with boys.)  In return, Maya admits that she probably was acting out against Emily’s mom, because she’s still pissed at her for getting her shipped off to druggie camp.  But when it comes to dramatic apologies, Maya certainly doesn’t mess around . . .

OMG!  Maya just redecorated her ENTIRE room to look like an underwater wonderland, JUST BECAUSE Emily missed the pool.  Talk about romantic.  (Of course, you do know, Maya, that whatever you do for Valentine’s Day and her birthday, is going to end up being a SERIOUS letdown, by comparison.) 

If there was ever an appropriate time to exchange “I love yous” with your significant others  . . . this is that time . . .

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Annnnnnd . . . then they had makeup/ underwater wonderland / “we just said I love you for the first time” sex . . .

The first rule of Fight Club is you never talk about fight club . . . with Aria.

Anyone else think that if Aria went into fight club with Holden, she’d kick his ass.  Girlfriend is small . . . but scrappy.  Just ask Fitzy!

So, Aria and Holden are out on another ‘fake date”  . . . which ends up being a “real date,” because both of their “fake dates” conveniently canceled at the same time.  (For the record, this was the first time I started to wonder whether Holden actually has nowhere else to go, while Aria is off with Fitzy, and simply uses the “fake date” as an excuse to get out of the house.  It would certainly explain his awkwardness, when Aria announced that her date was canceled, as well as his insistence that he and Aria see one another as much as possible.  More on that, in a bit  . . .)

Studies show that a good way of determining whether someone is lying is to watch their eyes when they talk.  Liars tend to avert their eyes, when speaking to you, by looking above you, or to the side of you, while they  are speaking.  See above.

One of the fun things about watching Aria and Holden play air hockey together, was how genuinely innocent and angst-free it was.  So many relationships on this show, are filled with drama, tears, breakups, and “A” manipulations.  But these two just seemed to enjoy spending time together, and felt comfortable enough with one another to be genuinely goofy.

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So, of course, Holden had to make things dark, by showing off his MASSIVE TUMMY BRUISES, right?

OK, so I have a few theories as to where Holden got that bruise on his stomach.  Here they are, in no particular order:

(1)  Holden is secretly Tyler Durden from Fight Club.

(2) Holden suffers physical abuse at home.  And goes on fake dates with Aria, simply to get out of the house, because he is terrified of being alone with his abuser.   (See above)

(3) Holden is also involved in a Forbidden Relationship, only those who are opposed to it are A LOT more upfront about their dissatisfaction than Bad Dad Byron and his sleazy “associate deanship” plans . . .

(4) Holden has been hired by Blind Jenna to do the N.A.T. club’s dirty work (just as Caleb was, earlier on in the season).  Generally, he just spies on the girls.  But once, she had him pick up Ali’s secret box.  The bruise is from where Hanna hit him with her car, during his getaway . . .

Do you guys like any of these?  I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts .  . .

You take the high road, I’ll take the NAKED road . . .

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Toward the beginning of the episode, Hanna’s mom warned Hanna to play nice with Evil Stepsister Kate, or they’d both end up looking like trash.  Obeying her mother’s wishes might be easier said than done for Hanna, especially when she’s being freezed out by all her friends and her boyfriend, and continues to receive texts like this one from “A” . . .

So, remember when Ashley Marin stole money from that old lady, and hid it in a lasagna box.  And then the old lady DIED?  Yeah, I thought the PLL writers forgot about that too.  But apparently, “A” remembers  .  . .

Of course, it’s not the reference to the lasagna box in A’s message that confuses Hanna, it’s the reference to her techno boy toy Caleb, who, as far as she’s concerned, stopped investigating A’s phone, when Hanna “blended” the flashdrive containing all it’s intel.  Not wanting to break their pact with Caleb, the rest of the girls are frustratingly evasive with Hanna, when she inquires about this . . . even going as far as to suggest that A is just flat out WRONG.

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Silly little liars!  Everyone knows that A is NEVER wrong, especially Hanna . . .  So, she pulls Spencer aside, and asks her flat out, whether the rest of the girls are blowing her off, because they are mad about what she did with the flashdrive.  Spencer denies this, but awkwardly so.  (Breaking up with Toby, has apparently turned Hanna into a really sh*tty liar.) 

And a sh*tty litte dresser . . . 

This prompts Hanna to angrily remind Hanna that she did what she did to protect Caleb, and she would do the same thing for any of the little liars.  Oddly enough, in actually, that’s exactly what the rest of the liars THINK they are doing for her.

Meanwhile, Hanna is trying to figure out what exactly Kate is up to that is prompting her to be so sickeningly sweet to Hanna and her friends.  (We’ll find out soon enough.)

“Is your head going to start spinning around, and start spewing out green stuff?  Or are you more of a Paranormal Activity, watch me while I sleep, and then throw me into a video camera after you eat my heart out, type demon?”

Meanwhile, Spencer is just trying to figure out where the f*&k she remembers Evil Stepsister Kate from, aside from the ill-fated wedding . . .

 

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(I suspect the costume department wanted Spencer to wear a ridiculous Sherlock Holmes hat, while she was doing her investigation, just to add to the humor of this plotline.)

Later, in gym class, the show producers make a point to show us how Hanna puts her cell phone in her bag, which she then stupidly throws into her locker, WITHOUT LOCKING IT . . .

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Then we see Kate lingering, an oddly long time in front of her locker, as if she can’t get it open.  Though everyone else is already in their gym uniforms, she is suspiciously still dressed.  And you’ll see why that’s important, in a little bit.  Of course, it’s this moment when Spencer finally figures out exactly where she knows Kate from . . .

Apparently, Melissa was Kate’s camp counselor, back when Kate was a loner loser with a Face Bug Bite problem.  And Spencer has the pictures to prove it!  I do love when Spencer gets into protective mode for her pals.  I think we all could use a friend like Spencer in our lives.

Anyway, spencer not-so-subtly warns Kate that if she mistreats Hanna, Spencer will expose her for the Bug Bitten B*tch she is.  Of course, Spencer strongly suspects that Kate will ruin her own reputation, long before this can happen, simply by being her awful, nasty, self . . .

“Ooh, I should really threaten you back, but I can’t think of another horse metaphor to use . . .” 

I actually think that Spencer’s words were what inadvertently gave Kate the idea to steal Hanna’s phone, if she hadn’t been planning to do it, already . . .

Later that night, Spencer and Hanna meet up at Spencer’s house.  Spencer is happy not to have to spend another night alone sniffing Toby’s undershirt.  And Hanna is just happy she’s let back into the ‘inner circle.”  Spencer even rewards Hanna, by showing her the promised picture of Evil Stepsister Kate and her Evil Bug Bites.  Hanna is impressed with her friend’s super sleuthing, not to mention VERY pleased with the results . . .

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But the friendly outing goes south fast, when Hanna finds the picture of Ali’s faux-license in Spencer’s phone, and realizes precisely what Caleb and the rest of the PLL girls have been hiding from her, these past few days . . .

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Hanna later confronts Caleb with this discovery, who perhaps doesn’t feel quite as guilty as he should, since he’s still not sure why Hanna was so adamant about him not investigating the phone in the first place.  Hanna then tells Caleb about the whole “money in the lasagna box” thing, and admits that the person who’s phone he has, is the one who’s been taunting her with knowledge of this information.

I was kind of glad Hanna trusted Caleb enough to tell him this, especially since she hasn’t been able to tell any of her friend, and I know the secret has been weighing heavily on her, for quite some time.  I also love that Caleb (a) accepted the information without any judgment, and (b) immediately went into protective boyfriend mode by heading straight to Blind Jenna’s house to threaten her against hurting Hanna.  (I guess he assumes this is her phone.)

Of course, Police Boy Garrett intercepts Caleb the minute he sets foot on Blind Jenna’s porch.  Clearly, business is very slow in the Rosewood Police Force, since Police Boy Garrett seems to have nothing better to do than to hang out in coffee shops, and sit outside Blind Jenna’s house for hours, waiting for visitors.

“Hey, Caleb!  I’ve been sitting in this cop car doing nothing all day, and I’m super board.  Wanna sit with me.  We can watch Blind Jenna’s window, and play Angry Birds on my iPhone!” 

Did you catch how Police Boy Garrett made reference to Caleb’s former job working for “A” as Blind Jenna’s spy, and how he’s since been replaced by someone else?  I actually think this seemingly throwaway line was important for two reasons.  (1) Continuity, yay!  Caleb’s shady past is another thing the writers seemed to have conveniently forgotten, up to this point.  (2)  Who exactly is Blind Jenna’s new henchman?  Is it Noel, as the PLL girls seem to suspect?  Or is it someone closer to the PLL girls .  . . like Maya . . . or Holden?

Oh!  Good news!  Spencer and Hanna kissed and made up.  Well . . . they didn’t really kiss, but, you know what I mean . . .

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“Have you been eating cheeseburgers again?” 

They’ve also uncovered a potentially HUGE clue about Ali’s death .  . .

Hanna recalls seeing Ali wearing a black wig, and masquerading as someone named Vivian Darkbloom, while at a beauty salon.  (Don’t you think a beautician would figure out that the person who’s hair they are working on was wearing a wig, when they .  . . oh . . . I don’t know .  . . TRIED TO WASH THEIR CLIENT’S HAIR?)

Now you see it . . . 

Now, you don’t . . . 

Suspecting that Ali might have used the new look and fake identity, in order to investigate her stalker “A.”  Super Sleuth Spencer researches the name Vivian Darkbloom on the internet.  She quickly discovers that Vivan Darkbloom was a character in the book Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov, and is also an anagram for the author’s name.  Ahh . . . I love with PLL gets all nerdy and literary!

I read Lolita.  The book was both fascinating and skeevy at the same time.  Surely, it can’t be an accident that the show’s writers choose to reference a book about an older man who falls in love with a tempestuous and manipulative early teen, considering how many age inappropriate relationships exist on this show . . .

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Hanna recalls stealing the book from Ali, for some inexplicable reason.  (Weird . . . Hanna is probably the least literary of the four girls.)  But when she retrieves it,  out falls some old claim ticket “Vivian Darkbloom” had for a storage locker.  Spencer calls the number and makes an appointment to retrieve the contents of the locker, since the REAL Vivian Darkbloom never will . . .

Ahhh . . . the plot . . . it thickens . . .

Over at school, everyone’s gossiping about a phone message that was apparently sent to the entire student body from .  . . wait for it . . . Hanna Marin.  Yes, because apparently Hanna Marin is a child pornographer . . .

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Honestly, I’m a bit annoyed at the rest of the PLL girls for even thinking, for a second, that Hanna would do something so patently disgusting, especially when she had so much riding on not rocking the boat with Evil Stepsister Kate.  Of course, the minute Hanna insists that she DIDN’T send the picture, the girls immediately assume that “A” did.  Personally . . . I think Kate sent it herself.

I mean, think about it, Kate gets to look like the poor innocent victim, while  Hanna looks, to use her mom’s own words, “like trash.”  Hanna could get expelled for doing something like this, and possibly even face criminal charges for child pornography.  It would also MURDER her relationship with her dad.  Beyond that, the picture looks totally posed, and almost too perfect to be candid.  So, I’m thinking that Kate used Hanna’s phone to snap it herself, while the rest of the girls were in gym class . . .

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Whoever it was that sent the nudie pic, whether it was “A,” or Kate, or even Hanna herself . . . girlfriend has some SERIOUS EXPLAINING to do . . .

Oh, and by the way, “A” stole a gun from Spencer’s dad’s drawer.  Wasn’t that sweet of her?

Next week on PLL . . .

And here’s what our friends in Canada had to say .  . .

Until next time, my Pretties!

[www.juliekushner.com][FangirlsForever]

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I’m not crying . . . It’s just raining on my face. – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ “The Blonde Leading the Blind”

Greetings, my Pretties!  Oh, rainy days!  They can be good for so many things . . . like staring longingly out the window . . . or staring longingly out the window AND CRYING . . . or stopping traffic with a soggy, impromptu, supposedly secret, makeout session.

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Rain can make our secret emotions bubble up to the surface.  It can also give us REALLY bad hair . . .

Remember Paige?  Nobody else does . . .

This week’s rainy day installment of Pretty Little Liars was filled with shocking reveals, terrifying twists, lies, betrayals, makeups, breakups, and a whole lot of very wet faces . . .

But, sadly, no shower scenes . . .

Let’s review, shall we?

Reasons why you should invest in a good lock for your bedroom door . . .

“Well, hello there!  My name is Ian.  I’m your friendly neighborhood pedophile!  Don’t mind me.   I’m just here to install a nifty little video camera in your room, so I can watch you get naked, while in the comfort of my own home.”

When we last left our liars, Hanna was grudgingly allowing her Super Hacker and Formerly Homeless Boyfriend to extract the video files from A’s cell phone.  This week, the girls meet up to examine the fruits of his labor.  What they end up finding is quite fruity (fruitful?)

HANNA: “Ick, Ian is so gross.  Why do I feel the sudden need to take a shower?”

SPENCER: *rolls eyes* “Gee, I wonder!”

The video begins with that little episode of Ian / Ali snuff porn we’ve all seen about eighty times before by now.  “I know you wanna kiss me,” coos Ali humiliatingly to the camera.

Poor girl!  Popular and feared as Ali may have been, her lasting legacy ended up being nothing more than a poorly shot sex tape, and some awkward attempts at pillow talk.  Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian can relate . . .

The video then rough cuts to later that night.  Now, Creepy Pedo Ian is installing this same camera in Ali’s bedroom, when in walk . . . wait for it . . . Police Boy Garrett and Blind Jenna.  Now, there’s a party I wouldn’t want to attend.

Police Boy Garrett: “You promised there’d be hot chicks at this party!  WTF man?”

Blind Jenna: *clears throat loudly*

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Unfortunately for Spencer, the self-proclaimed “NAT Club” doesn’t dance.  What it does do, is bicker with one another, and search aimlessly for a bunch of videotapes that Ali has apparently stole from the membership.  As for the club’s fourth member, Facelift Vampire Jason, apparently, he’s passed out drunk somewhere . . . drunk ON HUMAN BLOOD . . .

“MWAH-HAHAHA!”

Apparently, NAT club stands for “Never Accomplish Things,” because the threesome (minus one vampire) never find what they are seeking.  They do find Ali’s Magical Mystery Box of SECRETS, however . . . and seem shocked by it’s contents . . .

“So, THAT’S where she’s been hiding our souls . . .”

Of course, we don’t get to see what’s inside the box, because that’s just not how they roll on this show . . .

Then, Police Boy finds out he’s on Candid Creeper Camera, and gets SUPER PISSED at Pedo Ian, for setting him and his lady love up, like that.  I guess Ian was looking for some leverage . . . or perhaps, some company in the showers at the Rosewood Correctional Facility.  Either way, as we know, things didn’t end well for him . . .

. . .  or for Ali, who, we now know, was murdered that same night . . .

“Spencer can’t come to the phone right now . . .”

So, remember two weeks ago, when, in a horny weak moment, Spencer slid into Abs Toby’s Truck of Loooooove, and gave him a tongue bath?

Well, apparently “A” does too.   Because she got an EXTREME CLOSEUP shot of it on camera.  That made “A” angry.  And you wouldn’t like “A” when she’s angry . . .

“Hey Spence .  . . I know you’re freaked out about ‘A’ possibly murdering your boyfriend, and all.   But do you think you could teach me how to kill like that?  I’m testing out some new moves to use on Maya, the next time we go out bar hopping using her completely unnecessary fake ID . . .”

Wouldn’t you know it, not two seconds after Spencer receives that text threatening her boyfriend’s life, who should pull into her driveway, but the Tobster, himself . . .

“This truck is a real chick magnet.”

Abs Toby calls Spencer from his LOOOOOOVE Truck.  This causes Spencer to make the Spencer Face . . .

She then tosses her phone in Emily’s direction, begging her bestie to protect her from the evil sexual urges that are telling her to rush right into that truck and ravage her honey bunny.  Unfortunately for Spencer, Emily’s always been, by far, the worst liar of all the Pretty Little Liars.  Case in point, her words to Abs Toby: “Spencer can’t come to the phone right now,” she says, in robotic answering machine tones . . .

“What?  Why are you looking at me, like that?  Would you rather I have told him we were busy practicing our kissing moves?”

In what’s starting to sound a bit broken record-esque, Abs Toby, once again, begs Emily to tell him what the F is going on with his wackadoo girlfriend, who’s humping him in the car, one minute, and avoiding him like rotten cheese, in the next . . .

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“Pretty please, can I see her?  I’ve recently showered and everything!”

Of course, Emily has no answers that’s she allowed to give him.  So, eventually Toby dejectedly returns to his criminally-under-used-of-late Loooooove Truck, and drives away, sporting a very bad case of these . . .

Everybody Loves a Beard . . .

“Me?  Gay?  Not with this Fozzie Bear hair . . .”

Back at school, the Pretty Little Liars are all complaining about how hard it is to keep their loved ones at bay, in order to protect them from “A”. (Hey!  That rhymed!)  Well, except for Aria, who’s complaining about how Fitzypoo won’t come close enough to Aria to require her protection.  But when Aria gets a little head nod from the curly-haired dude two lunch tables down, the conversation quickly shifts to something on which PLL fans have been speculating ever since the self-proclaimed “Male Little Liar” Holden came to Rosewood a few weeks back . . .

HANNA: *pouts* “Oh!  Aria is so lucky.  I’ve always wanted a gay best friend.”

EMILY: *clears throat loudly*

The PLL girls immediately suspect Holden of being gay, based simply on the fact that he never hit on Aria.  You know, because, apparently, everything with a weiner should want to to stick it in Aria . . .

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To prove her beard is straight, Aria saunters over to Holden and confirms their fake date, for the evening.  Both little liars are strangely evasive about their REAL plans.  But then Aria catches Holden checking out someone who DEFINITELY doesn’t have a weiner, and begins to wonder whether her friends might be jumping the “gay gun” after all . . .

“Well, hello there, little lady.  Ever wonder what it’s like to date a guy who strongly resembles a muppet?”

Be Afraid, Caleb .  . . Be VERY Afraid . . .

“Sure!  I think hacking into a stolen cell phone in public, while sitting two feet away from a cop is a great idea!”

Have you ever had a dream about somebody, and then, when you saw that person the next day, you found yourself irrationally wondering whether that person could tell you had dreamed about them, just by looking at you?  Well, that must be exactly how Caleb feels, when he watches stolen video footage of Police Boy Garrett beating the crap out of Creepy Pedo Ian in Dead Ali’s bedroom, only to find Police Boy Garrett himself, sitting just inches away . . .

“Ahhh, yes.  The camera loves me.  Hey, did I ever tell you about that time I was in the Lizzie McGuire movie?”

Caleb bolts pretty quickly, as soon as lays eyes on the subject of his stolen video . . . so quickly, in fact, that he leaves his keys on the table at the outdoor cafe where he’s working.  Of course, you can count on Police Boy Garrett to inform Caleb of his forgetfulness, in a way that sounds suspiciously like a threat.  Did he know what Caleb was doing?  Probably  . . . it’s not like the idiot tried to hide it at all.  After all, the NAT club KNOWS everything . . . except, perhaps, for where to find it’s own videos . . .

It’s Halloween All Over Again . . .

  . . . maybe that’s why Hanna is dressed up like Pebbles Flintstone . . .

As tends to be the case on this show, the one person who DOESN’T want to play A’s games anymore, ends up being the one to find the next clue.  This time, that person is Hanna.  The blonde is in the process of lecturing the girls to turn Caleb’s STOLEN video contents over to the police (And how exactly are they planning on explaining THAT?  Not to mention the fact that Police Boy Garrett will obviously get to it first), when she “accidentally, opens the head of that ugly doll in which Ali used to hide her own torturous letters from “A,” back in the day.  (There I go, rhyming again . . .)

DOLL: “So THAT’S why my neck’s been killing me lately!”

Most of the letters the girls find were the same ones we saw Ali receive, during the Halloween Special.  And yet, there is another message — signed by “A” herself — that Ali received on that same night, which we never got to see . . . until now . . .

(Side note:  Since most PLL fans generally assumed that the “A” in the letters the girls have been receiving since Season 1 was supposed to stand for Alison, herself, it’s odd that ALISON also got letters from an “A” before she died.  And yet, those fans who believe the Twin Theory of Ali’s murder will find a lot of support for that theory, in this particular clue . . .)

We move into flashback mode, where we are taken back to that faithful Halloween night.  Ali and the girls arrive on her front porch, after Noel Kahn’s “eventful” Halloween party to find a not-so-pleasant surprise . . .

“Someone trashed your porch,” says Captain Obvious Hanna, despite the fact that she’s BEHIND Ali, so Ali clearly saw it first.

Sure enough, there are smashed pumpkins all over Ali’s porch.  One of those pumpkins still has a knife in it’s head, which is attached to a letter hastily scrawled on the back of one of Noel Kahn’s party invitations . . .

“Hey, can you tell me if I have something in my eye?”

The note, which is a thinly-veiled threat to Ali’s pretty little head, ends up being eerily prophetic, especially considering that Ali ended up having her head bashed in by a long metal object . . .  In classic Ali style, she laughs it off, claiming the display is nothing more than a sick joke left by Facelift Vampire Jason’s beer buddies.  And yet, the letter seems to have spooked her enough to insist on the girls spending the night with her at her house.  She clearly doesn’t want to be alone at a time like this.  And, under the circumstances, who could blame her?

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Back in real-time, Spencer unfolds the undoubtedly disturbing letter, and confirms it’s sender.  “A was after Ali, before she was after us,” remarks Little Miss Super Sleuth . . .

Plot?  I hereby pronounce you thickened . . .

The Hypnotic Eyebrows of EEEEEVVVIIILLL . . .

“You are getting very sleepy.  When I snap my fingers, you will wax those hungry caterpillars off your face . . .”

At school, Mona (who’s devastation over her tragic breakup with Bushy Eyebrows Noel has clearly caused her to rip her poor pink shirt to shreds, in an act of mourning) is still giving Hanna the silent treatment, for disobeying the “Hoes before Bros Code,” and not supporting her, during this traumatic time.  In an attempt at closure, Mona skips up to Noel, to very publicly return the necklace he gave her.  But the Bushy Eyebrows win out in the end.  And Noel ends up merely smirking malevolently, as he carelessly tosses the returned necklace in the trash, thereby further exacerbating Mona’s obvious humiliation . . .

Hey Mona . . . a piece of advice: Get back at Bushy Eyebrows, by dating his friend over there.  I mean, that guy is HAWWWWT.  And I bet HE even owns a pair of tweezers .  . .

Hanna rushes to the ladies room to comfort her crying friend.  “He’s a bad guy,” says Hanna, matter-of-factly.  (Ain’t that the understatement of the century?)

“Here, Mona . . . let me lend you my jacket.  I don’t know if you realize this, but there’s a hole in your shirt that is suspiciously close to the nipple area . . .”

“I’ve never met anyone who could lie like that,” sniffles Mona, as mascara runs down her cheeks, raccoon style.  “It’s his eyes . . . I would look in them, and it was like I was hypnotized.”

She’s right . . . those . . . eyebrows . . . so  . . . hairy . . . can’t  . . . look . . . away . . .

(Side note:  I actually think this reference to Noel’s eyes was meant to be an “A” reference.  Since, many times, “A” has been referred to as having “pretty eyes.”  But since I’m almost positive that “A” is a girl, this so-called “clue” kind of fell flat, for me.)

Hanna promises Mona to take her out to dinner for a Bushy Eyebrows Free evening, to which Mona readily agrees.  Once the two leave, we learn that SOMEONE has been listening in on their conversation.  Golly gee, I wonder who that could be?

Surprise!  It’s Blind Jenna . . . who, I guess, didn’t have her eye surgery last week, after all.   (Either that, or she just really likes wearing sunglasses indoors.)  By the way, does anyone else find that Blind Jenna spends an inordinate time lurking in bathrooms?  Maybe she has irritable bowel  syndrome?  That said, Blind Jenna’s listening in on THIS particular conversation, actually has significance later on in the episode . . .

Meet me at the Big Ole Clock . . .

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I wonder if Fitzy is in Aria’s “in” calling network . . . or any of the other little liars’ networks, for that matter.  Because Aria sure does leave him a lot of unanswered voice mails!  You’ve really got to hand it to Aria, though.   She sure is persistent.  We see her here, instructing Fitzy to meet her at 8 p.m. by a big ole clock, to prove to her that the two of them should continue to secretly bone one another.

Over at Hollis a decidedly dejected looking Fitzy stares at his phone for a few loooong seconds, before returning to his work . . .

Forbidden love?  There’s an app for that . . .

Look!  He’s flying . . . or not . . .

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Last week’s episode ended with “A” loosening some hinges on scaffolding in front of Spencer’s house, where Toby used to work as a construction worker.  This week, we get to find out why she did that (assuming, of course, that we never watched the promos, which explain exactly why).  Spencer finds out at school about Toby’s accident, and is understandably devastated .  . . not to mention, she feels partially to blame . . .

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“Oh no!  I hope he didn’t hurt his beautiful abs!”

Spencer and her Spencer face rush to the hospital to find Toby looking surprisingly clean and unblemished (save for an arm cast, considering the major kersplat he made, when he hit the ground . . .

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“Care for some pity sex, considering I nearly DIED for you?”

Oh, I bet you can’t guess who Abs’ Toby’s has for a physician.  I’ll give you hint, he’s GORGEOUS, TASTY, WITTY, has a SUPER SEXY accent, is clearly my future husband, and very well might be the ONLY doctor in Rosewood . . .  Give up?

It’s WRENNNNNNN!  HOOOOOOORAAYY!

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*sighs elatedly. . . takes deep breath*

OK . . . I’m better now.  So, apparently, Wren has not given up on the prospect of a Wrencer courtship.  (This is news, right?)  In a “mark my territory” move that is nearly as effective as peeing on Spencer’s leg, Wren not-so-subtly admits to Abs Toby that he would have married Spencer’s sister if something *cough Spencer’s lips cough* didn’t get in the way.

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(I love how Spencer’s facial expression here is a complete mixture of, “Please stop, you are getting me into trouble,” and “*sings*You REALLY likkkkke me .. . you think I’m sexxxxxxy . . . you want to DATTEEEEE me.”)

The scorching chemistry between these two is not at all lost on Abs Toby, who inquires pointedly, whether there is something Spencer “wants” to tell him.  Cue the text from “A” . . .

 . . . annnnd . .  . Spencer’s speedy departure.  (Bye Wren . . . for now!  We’ll see you soon!  I miss you already!)

That not-so-fresh feeling . . .

One of the really nice things about Spencer dating Toby, and Jenna dating Police Boy Garrett is that we no longer had to witness the vomit-inducing creepiness, of Blind Jenna repeatedly trying to rape her OWN BROTHER . . .

Well, unfortunately, with both couples currently on the outs, it’s . . .

Honestly, I still don’t quite understand the squirm-inducing dynamic of the Toby/Jenna “relationship.”  Take, for example, the speech she makes to him at the hospital.  It is equal parts threatening (“I told you not to go to her house.”  “We’re family whether you like it or not.”) . . . jealous (“She’s haunted.”  “I’m the only one who belongs here.”) . . . and nauseatingly flirtatious (The whole time Jenna is talking to Toby, she’s amorously massaging his leg . . .)

Oh, and to further confuse matters, did I mention that Blind Jenna might have another boyfriend, already?  Or that’s it’s Bushy Eyebrows NOEL?

(Hey, at least we know Noel’s Hypnotic Face Caterpillars can’t hypnotize HER!)

That’s right, when Hanna and Mona head to the restaurant for a Noel-free night on the town, they spot this surprisingly cozy (and yet AWFUL) couple canoodling in the window.   And yet, considering we already know that Blind Jenna overheard the girls’ plans.  They might just be seeing exactly what that biatch wants them to see . . .

But Blind Jenna is not done wreaking havoc all over this episode.  She also has to go and threaten poor Emily at the hospital, and accuse her of WANTING Toby . . . you know . . . in the biblical sense.  HELLO!  Emily’s GAY!  Read the memo, Blind Jenna.  And here I thought you knew everything . . .

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And who’s fault is that, exactly, Blind Jenna?

Meanwhile, in Halebland . . .

Anyone care for an NAT Club Smoothie?

You know that move “The Ring,” where everyone who watches that video with the weird girl popping out of the well dies in SEVEN DAYS?

CALEB: “You know, everyone’s always telling me I look like the male lead in that movie!”

HANNA:  “Oh, you mean the one who ENDED UP DEAD?”

CALEB: “Well . . . yeah . . . but everyone ended up dead, pretty much, except for the lady and her kid, so . . .”

HANNA: “Not helping, Caleb!”

Well, I’m starting to think that’s the case with this USB drive featuring evidence surrounding Ali’s murder.  Hanna, apparently, thinks so too.  Because the minute she learns that Police Boy Garrett might be stalking her boy toy, Hanna lays waste to the USB drive, killing her blender, right along with it . . .

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“You are out of the phone tech business, as of now!”  Hanna warns her boyfriend, in that stern voice typically only used by mommies, and high school principals.

Yeah . . . I don’t know about that, Hanna.  Old habits die hard . . . and some secrets are just too juicy to leave alone . . .

Speaking of alone . . .

Spoby in Crisis . . . AGAIN.

“Awww . . . he looks so cute in there, all doped up on pain killers.  It makes me want to just rush in their, and peek at his abs, one last time.”

Insistent on believing that Abs Toby will never be safe from “A,” as long as the two of them are dating, Spencer asks Emily to do the unthinkable: Dear John Toby for her.  And she does it in the most painful way possible too . .  . by alluding to Spencer’s very real, but not entirely present tense, involvement with another man . . . THIS GUY . . .

As heart-wrenching as it was, this was actually one of my favorite scenes in the episode, simply because of how well-acted it was.  As Emily, Shay Mitchell displayed just the right amount of discomfort, inner turmoil, guilt, and sympathy, over doing something she may or may not agree is the right course of action.  Yet, she knows her friend’s intentions are pure  . . . and wants to honor her wishes . . .

As for Keegan Allen, he portrays Toby in this scene with just the right mixture of hurt, anger, denial, disbelief, and, finally, a grudging, and bewildered acceptance.  Toby asks Emily who the man is with which Spencer is involved.  But deep down, we suspect he already fears he knows the answer . . .

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Poor Wren.  He has no idea what he’s walking into the next morning, when he comes to sign Toby out of the hospital, and is threatened with a beating.  Then again, maybe he does . . .

Cue the maudlin music, the torrential nighttime downpour, and of course, the barrage of rainy faces . . .

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It must have been all that angst, heartache, and RAINNNN that got to me.  Because, when I learned that Toby gave Spencer back the Truck of Loooooooooove, and skipped town (by bus?), leaving only a tersely-worded letter behind, I actually got a little teary . . .

TV Recappers have feelings too, you know . . .

But, in lighter news . . .

How Yoda the College Student Saved Ezria . . .

“A good deed . . . I did do.  But laid . . . I sadly did not get.”

Off our stalwart Aria heads to Philadelphia with Beard Holden on a Date with Destiny . . .

And while the two liars don’t really have enough time to share each other’s Deep Dark Secrets, at least they get that pesky “gay rumor” out of the way.  . .

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OK . . . so, I guess Holden’s not gay.  (He sure could have fooled me.)  He’s doesn’t live in a library (like Caleb).  And he probably never screwed his sister (like Toby), or became addicted to online gambling (like Lucas).  So, what secrets does that leave, exactly? 😉

Sans-beard, Aria traipses off to the Big Ole Clock . . . where she waits . . .

 . . . and waits . . .

“Dammit . . . all this rain is making me have to pee .  . .”

Meanwhile, Fitzy is still in his office, fighting with Yoda student on why the former gave the latter a “B” on his short story . . .

In case you were wondering, the “B” stands for, “B*tch please!  A man’s going to leave his rehearsal dinner to chase after a total stranger?  That’s horse poopy!”

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As Fitzy talks, he begins to realize that he may have adversely graded Yoda student’s paper, due to his having his period being so utterly bereft without his Aria.  And so, being the good little English teacher we know him to be aside from the whole “dating a student” thing, Fitzy kindly agrees to review Yoda student’s story again, when he isn’t in such a fowl mood.  Of course, Yoda student is elated.  So, elated, in fact, that he decides to offer some parting advice to his favorite troubled teacher . . .

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And so, the student has become the teacher.  Inspired by those brilliant words, Fitzy pops into his car, and battles a rain storm, so that he and Aria can stop traffic, engage in one of their trademark slo-mo makeout sessions, carelessly risk getting caught by Aria’s mother, by practically forking in public, and of course, decide to give their relationship another go . . .

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Somewhere north of the Death Star, Yoda Student is doing a little dance of joy . . .

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Got a Secret Can You Keep It . . . From Hanna?

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In what was, perhaps, the most shocking twist of the episode (for me, anyway), Caleb confronts Spencer and Emily to rat out Hanna for the little Information Disappearing Act She Performed with the Blender . . .  Needless to say, Emily and Spencer are LESS than amused . . .

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But then Caleb shocks them even further, by telling them that (1) he kept a copy of the information; and (2) he wants the rest of the PLL’s to keep all of this a secret from Hanna . . . wait for it . . .  to PROTECT HER . . .

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It’s a romantic statement, one that’s clearly filled with good intentions.   And this is undoubtedly why the girls ultimately decide to let Caleb (at least part way) in on their “A” games, and to keep his involvement a secret from Hanna.  Of course, something tells me that Hanna won’t see it that way . . .

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The episode ends with “A” cutting up and burning black-and-white photographs of each of our four main Pretty Little Couples necking . . . you know, because burning stuff is fun . . .

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This reminds me, remember, back in Season 1, when “A” bought those rats that she named “Aria, Emily, Spencer, and Hanna,” and proceeded to MURDER THEM . . .

Yeah, girlfriend REALLY needs to get herself a hobby, STAT!  And that was “The Blonde Leading the Blind” in a nutshell.  Next week on Pretty Little Liars, Hanna gets REVENGE . . . maybe . . . She might just end up crying and pouting, a lot . . .

See you then, my Pretties . . .

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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