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Change Your Partner, Change the Game: A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ “Homecoming Hangover”

To call tonight’s installment of Pretty Little Liars a “game changer” is a bit of an overstatement . . . a very cliched overstatement.  And yet, in the most literal sense of the term, that’s what “Homecoming Hangover” was.  After all, this was the episode where everything  . . . CHANGED.  Formerly “hot” romances fizzled out  . . .

I still haven’t given up hope, Wren!  COME BACK!

. . . recently broken relationships were mended, new prospective couplings blossomed, and a MAJOR suspect may very well have been taken out of commission for good.

Now that you know all of the rules have changed, what do you say we start playing the game?

“I Was Hunted Down by Creepy Toby, and All I Got Was This Lame Wrist Brace . . .”

“Thank goodness for this stylish butterfly stitch on my forehead, or you might have never known I was recently in ‘GRAVE DANGER.'”

When the episode opens, Aria, Spencer, and Hanna are still at the Homecoming Dance, searching for Emily when they find her cell phone on the ground . . . along with some broken glass . . . and BLOOD!

“I TOLD Emily she should have never chosen the theme song from The Shining as her ringtone.  That’s just asking for trouble.”

But fear not, boys and girls.  Emily is not dead . . .

 . . . She’s just out for a romantic, late night car ride . . . except, she’s all bloody . . . and unconscious . . .  and Creepy Toby is behind the wheel . . .

Now, those of you who truly believed that Toby would chop up Emily into little bite-sized pieces, and eat them with french fries, have clearly never watched an ABC Family show.  Because in the next scene, Emily is chilling in her bedroom with no injuries at all, except for what appears to be a sprained wrist, and a small, very attractive, cut on her forehead.  Then again, maybe Emily suffered some  brain internal injuries, invisible to the human eye, because she was inexplicably on bedrest for two days. 

As it turns out, Creepy Toby . . .

“That’s ME!”

 . . . merely drove Emily’s unconscious body to the hospital, dumped it near the entranceway, and skipped town on his motorcycle, faster than you could say “raving lunatic.”

The next morning, cops swarmed upon Emily’s home, inquiring as to both Toby’s whereabouts and the location of his psychological records, which seemed to have gone missing that same night (because Hanna took them). 

“Oh yeah!  I’m one Bad Ass Chica!”

At some point during the evening (not sure if it was when Toby was chasing her around the school like a mad man, or dragging her, limp unconscious body into his car), Emily decides that Toby is a “totally sweet guy . . . just misunderstood.” What a moron!  So, she comes up with the brilliant idea to lie to the cops on his behalf, by claiming that her injuries were due merely to her own clumsiness, and nothing more. 

Unfortunately for Emily (and Creepy Toby), precisely NO ONE believes her story, particularly not Emily’s mom.  In fact, Mommy Dearest sees this as a BRILLIANT opportunity to lecture the recently beat up Emily for EMBARASSING her family, by having the NERVE to go to the prom with someone SO UNCOOL!

I don’t understand, Emily.  Why can’t you just date statutory rapists in their mid twenties, like your friends do?”

While Emily is resting up in bed with her barely there injuries, she receives some visitors.  First up are Spencer and Aria, who inform Emily about Toby’s whole “Sister Sex with Blind Jenna” Thing.  Emily who has always really wanted a hot brother to screw, is not quite sure what to do with this information.  Fortunately, My New Favorite Character, Hanna, arrives next, to put things into perspective . . . . She sweetly (and wisely) tells Emily that being a Lesbian is WAY better than dating a Sister F**ker who may very well also be a Stalker / Killer, like Creepy Toby.

Third on the guest list is Blind Jenna . . .

. . . who seems to have replaced her Cane of Destruction with a Hound from Hell.  Blind Jenna’s Guide Dog was so menacing and unstable looking, that if this was a different show, I would have sworn it was Creepy Toby in werewolf form . . .

Jenna also brings cookies, which she insists that Emily eat with milk because it helps the poison in them go down easier.

Fortunately, for Emily, she has seen Snow White enough times to know that taking food from Creepy People is a Bad Idea.  So, she leaves the cookies untouched.  Upon realizing that Emily knows about Creepy Toby’s missing psych file, Blind Jenna begs her for its safe return.  Emily promises Blind Jenna that she will do everything in her power to keep the latter’s Brother F*c*ing Secret safe, by retrieving the file.  However, when Emily texts the other Pretty Little Liars regarding said promise, they have already thrown the file in the LAKE, fully in tact.  

Riiiiiight . . . because NO ONE is going to find it THERE!  Haven’t these girls ever heard of a SHREDDER?

NO!  Not THAT Shredder!  THIS Shredder . . .

Only two can keep a secret, if one of them is SHRED . . .

During this episode, Emily also wins a car . . .

and decides to make a go of it with her lady crush, Maya . . .

 . . . which I would be excited about . . . if these two weren’t the most BORING lesbian couple on the entire planet  . . .

Hanna learns the joys of YouTube . . . and Lucas

“Hey, Hanna!  I found this GREAT video where they make fun of all the girls from Pretty Little Liars.  Wanna see?”

The next day at school, Hanna has to take a makeup picture, for the yearbook, wearing her Homecoming Queen crown. Hanna’s photographer is none other than THIS GUY  . . .

 . . . no . . . actually it’s not him. 

However, OUR guy, Lucas, looks and acts JUST LIKE Seth Cohen from The O.C., which undoubtedly has a lot to do with why I like him so much.  After initially getting adorably shy and flustered around Hanna, upon seeing her once again decked out in her homecoming finest, Lucas quickly develops an easy repoire with the Queen Bee, tossing cute jokes and sarcastic quips her way, as he hones in on her with his camera lens. 

Then, unfortunately, the Boring, Quite Possibly Gay, Sean has to come and ruin everything, with his bitchy attitude and his blubbering about how Hanna ditched him at the dance.    Boo Hoo, Rich Popular Jock Boy, the world’s smallest violin is performing an entire concert in your honor . . .

Beauty and the D-Bag.

Did I mention that this A-hole couldn’t even be bothered to put on a PAIR OF PANTS, before appearing in the photo shoot?  (Then again, Sean was probably just trying to hit on Lucas, by showing him his hot dog . . .)

It’s a tough job, but SOMEONE has to be Sean’s little weiner.

 Sean ultimately throws a temper tantrum, and storms out of the room, leaving Hanna and Lucas alone to flirt with eachother.

Later, Hanna and Lucas bond over the wonderful world of YouTube, and, in particular, a video involving a Snowboarding Turkey.

Not exactly the video I would have chosen to help land ME a date.  But it seemed to work prettyh well for Lucas.  So who am I to judge?

While enjoying their YouTube, Lucas and Hanna learned that they both had something else in common: both had a bad high school nickname bestowed upon them by none other than the Now Dead Ali . . .

Lucas’ was “Herme the Hermaphodite,” because Ali didn’t like his glasses (Huh?  I don’t get it.)  Hanna was “Hefty Hanna” (Now, that one I get, at least).  Wise Lucas then asks Hanna what many Pretty Little Liars fans have undoubtedly been thinking since the start of this show.  Namely, “Why the heck did you all hang out with Ali, if she was such a b*tch?”  (Well, put Seth Cohen Lucas!)

Hanna spouts off some nonsense about Ali having a way of “making people feel special.”  However, I suspect the REAL reason for their friendship was that Ali had a way of “making people popular.”

At the end of the episode, Hanna makes up with Sean, but soon learns that HE, unlike Lucas, has NO appreciation for Snowboarding YouTube Turkeys OR Loud Music (two things which should clearly signify the death knell for ANY high school relationship).  Worry not, Sean . . . you’ll always have Jesus . . .

First Wren Leaves, Now Fitzy, What is this show coming to?

Watch with a heavy heart, as those pasty twig legs and dweeby haircut ride off into the sunset  . . . alone.

But before I get to Fitzy, there’s something else you should know about Sean.  Aside from loving Jesus, and hating Snowboarding Turkeys, he’s also a two-timing bastard.  He taught us that, when he sent a huge bouquet of flowers to his girlfriend’s best friend, Aria, in hopes that doing so would help him to get into her pantalones, pronto.  (By the way, I’m not buying Sean’s whole “abstinence thing” for a minute.   Are you?)

Say what you want about Aria, but she KNOWS bullshit when she sees it.  Suspecting that Sean is only feigning interest her to get back at Hanna for her Homecoming Dance antics, Aria calls Sean out on his behavior, extracting a heartfelt apology from him, in the process.  Aria’ is lucky that this incident blew over fast, because she REALLY doesn’t have time for any more BS in her life.  She’s already chock full.  During this episode, Aria had to deal with the trial separation of her mother and father, AND her brother’s acting out in school . . .

To further complicate matters, overnight, her lover, Ezra a.k.a. Fitzy, seemed to have went the way of Wren and Creepy Toby — having disappeared into thin air overnight (They REALLY are dropping like flies, aren’t they?  It SURE doesn’t help your employment status to have a weiner on this show!). 

Desperate for answers, Aria heads to Fitzy’s apartment, and lets herself in using the hide-a-key he has left under his welcome mat. 

REALLY, Fitzy?  A HIDE-A-KEY?  Under a WELCOME MAT?  In an APARTMENT COMPLEX?  You might has well put a sign on your door that says, “Please Rob Me!”

Anyway, soon after Aria is safely inside Fitzy’s apartment, she hears a message on his answering machine from a nearby high school.  Apparently, Fitzy is applying for a job out of town.  Aria is crushed, though I’m not exactly sure why.  If Fitzy starts teaching elsewhere, Aria and him can bone without fear of repercusion for the whole “student / teacher thing.”  Then again . . . there’s still the whole “statutory rape” thing on the table.  Fitzy can’t exactly make that one disappear, now can he?

Spencer Shish-Kabobs and Salsas into Alex’s Heart

While Aria was LOSING her OLD man (emphasis on the OLD), Spencer was digging her claws into her NEW one.  With Wren seemingly no where to be found he’s probably off shooting a pilot episode somewhere, Spencer has devoted herself wholeheartedly to getting Alex’s pants. 

 Her campaign begins in the kitchen at the country club where Spencer plays and Alex works.  Spencer barges in to apologize for her bad behavior during the Homecoming Dance.  Clearly turned on by Spencer’s persistence and agression, Alex quickly forgives her and agrees to give her another chance, provided she let HIM pick the terms of the couple’s next date.  Spencer is overjoyed.

One – Love. (Two, if you count Wren, which I STILL DO!)

Just in case you forgot what he looks like . . .

Unfortunately, on the day of the Big Date, Alex calls Spencer to cancel, claiming he has to work.  Knowing the country club is closed that day, Spencer quickly becomes convinced that she has been stood up.   So, she does what any good stalker girlfriend would do, she heads to the country club, to catch him in a lie.  Except that, the jokes on her, because, HE’S WORKING AFTER ALL!

You’ve really gotta hand it to Spencer.  Rather than leave with her tail between her legs, she insists on sticking around to help Alex skewer shish kabobs.  She even wears a HAIR NET!  Now, if that’s not love, I don’t know what is . . .

Love means never having to get your hair in the mashed potatos.

And I have to say, despite a slight tiff involving a defaced photograph of Spencer hanging in the kitchen supply closet (someone who works there is apparently not a fan), these two made a mighty cute couple.   As the pair cooked and listened to the radio, an adorably booty shaking Alex (who has a really cute butt, by the way) commandeered Spencer to participate in a surprisingly spicy salsa dance.  And while it wasn’t quite enough to make me jump ship and switch to Team Alex, it WAS fun to watch . . .

At the end of the episode, two fairly important (and spooky) things happened:

(1) Creepy Toby’s Creepy Motorbike was found mangled in the woods.   He is now believed by authorities to be dead.  This prompted the Absent- for- NEARLY – An- ENTIRE Episode, A to, text the following message to Emily:  ‘Thank you for getting Toby out of the way for me;”

(2) That weird leather jacket-wearing, black-gloved person (who must be REALLY hot wearing all those layers, by the way, seeing as it always seems to be pretty sunny in the fictional town of Rosewood) retrieved Creepy Toby’s Creepy Sister F&*king Psych Evaluation from the lake.

So, there you have it.  “Homecoming Hangover” in a nutshell.  All in all, I thought it was a pretty solid, well acted, at times, even surprising, episode.  What did you think?

 

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