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Unknown Caller – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ Season 3 Premiere “It Happened That Night”

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Sorry, A!  It looks like we are going to have to save that request for Pretty Little Liars: Spring Break Edition . . . or at least until PLL gets picked up by HBO.

Welcome back, my Pretties!  Long time, no “A.” . . .

Let’s see, it’s been five months in Rosewood Time (and about three months in Real Time) . . .

 . . .  since the erstwhile social pariah, turned Queen B, turned psychotic lunatic with a text-messaging addiction, Mona van der Waal donned her evil black hoodie, and evil-er raccoon eye makeup, and took a long leap into a short ditch, but, miraculously, didn’t die.

So, what have our favorite PLL’s been doing during all this supposedly A-free time?  Let’s review, shall we?

Nightmare on Spencer’s Street 

Nearly two years ago, to the day, the pilot episode of PLL bean with what ended up being the Worst High School Sleepover Party EVER!  Sure, everything started out normal enough.  There was gossip, girly pop music, ambiguous liquor being consumed out of not-so-ambiguous red cups . . .

But then Ali snuck out for a quicky with Creepy Pedo Ian, and the rest is, for lack of a better term, “history.” . . .

And how do the girls plan on commemorating the proud day when their bestie got her head bashed in by a shovel?  By throwing another slumber party, of course!

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We get a creepy sense of deja vu as the girls listen to Rihanna (By the way, does anybody remember what pop song was playing during the pilot?), while drinking from those all-too-familiar red plastic cups, and discussing the summer that recently passed.  Emily spent her summer building homes in Haiti, where, at least according to Hanna, up to 50 people can live in one house.  (If that’s true, I wonder how many bathrooms she built.)  Aria and Spencer took college courses, while Hanna had an obscene amount of sex took cooking classes with Caleb.

What’s cooking, good looking? 

Just to remind the fans that she (or he, or they) is still around, “A” instructs the girls, via text message, to expose their tatas to the viewing audience.  Clever!  Maybe the real “A” is a dude, after all . . .

In hindsight, I think the point of the text was to foreshadow that the girls were under close surveillance by at least one member of the so-called “A” team.  But at the time it just made me giggle . . . you know, because they said “boobs” on the “Good Little Christian Channel” that is ABC Family . . . also, because I’m 12 . . .

Emily, who has been getting progressively drunker by the minute (By the way, Drunk Emily = My New Favorite Character on this show), thinks the whole “show your boobs” thing is a Great Idea!  And if this show actually had any male fans, I suspect they would too.

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Now, in most cases (with the exception, perhaps, of during Mardi Gras0, when a woman starts offering to expose herself in public, that’s a pretty good indicator that she should be cut off, liquor-wise.  “Nahhhh, you just keep getting sh*tfaced,” decides Hanna.

And why not?  After all Drunken Exhibitionist Emily is SOO much more fun than the mopey sober one, who whines aout Maya being dead / missing all the time.

On second thought, I may have spoken a bit too soon.  In the course of about a minute, Emily morphs from being a slightly jaded, but still hilarious drunk, to a killjoy depressive drunk.  (Isn’t that always how it works?)  When Spencer brightly tries to engage the girls in a toast to their upcoming senior year . . .

 . . .  Debbie owner Emily reminds them all that Maya will never get to be a senior . . . you know, because she’s like . . . dead . . . and stuff.

(Don’t fret, Emily!)  Maya DID make it to her senior year .  . . about ten years ago . . .  on Dawson’s Creek.

Now, it’s the middle of the night, Aria and a very hungover Hanna (Both girls must have been pretty hammered to fall asleep with their boots on . . . SOOO uncomfortable) . . .

 . . . wake up to find the front door to Spencer’s home open, and both Spencer and Emily MIA.

As if on cue, Spencer rushes own the stairs to inform the girls that Emily is, in fact, gone.  (Sound familiar?)

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Yes, Spencer, you looked everywhere . . . including upstairs, even though the most obvious place to look for Emily was OUTSIDE considering that the DOOR WAS WIDE OPEN.

And you’re supposed to be the Smart One!

Now, Spencer has always been my favorite little liar . . . after Hanna . . . and now Drunk Emily.  But even I have to admit, her actions throughout this scene were SUPER SHADY with a capital “SUPER,” especially considering that she was also the first PLL to notice that the now-dead Ali was missing the summer prior.

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First off, why didn’t Spencer think to call Emily’s cell phone, the minute she noticed she was missing . . . like Hanna does, just moments after she awakens.  Oh wait . . . she did . . . only she blocked her number from Emily’s phone.  Spencer, of course, claims to have no memory of this call.  She claims that someone must have come into the house and made the call, while she was asleep.  o we believe her?  For now, I think we do.  But it’s still mighty suspicious . . .

The Grave Mistake

Anyway, back to Drunk Emily.  Now, when some people get wasted, they black out and wind up in bed with inappropriate people.  Other people get waste, black out, and end up getting married at an Elvis Chapel in Vegas.  Still others get wasted, black out, and wake up in a pool of their own vomit.  Emily’s fate was worse than two of these options . . .

Hey, Ali.  Aren’t we a little too old for Hide and Seek?

I think we can probably assume, based on what we learn later in the episode that the A-team somehow further drugged Emily, shoved her in the trunk of one of their cars (Blind Jenna’s), drove her to the cemetery, dug up the body, then pulled Emily out of the trunk of the car, handed her the shovel and drove away.  That said, I’m not quite sure why Emily’s reaction to all this was to stand like a zombie over the empty coffin, still holding the shovel, from the time Hanna called her to the time the girls finally arrived at the cemetery to pick her up.

Nevertheless, the PLL girls, who’ve gotten pretty adept at cleaning up crime scenes, quickly wipe Emily’s prints off the offending shovel, and get the f*&k out of there.  For some reason, and I don’t exactly recall why, the group splits up.  Spencer and Emily return to Spencer’s house, to engage in a rather homoerotic exchange, in which Spencer demands that Emily strip for her, so that the former can burn her clothes, which can now be construed as evidence.  (Hey!  It looks like Emily got to show someone her boobs, after all!)

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Elsewhere, Hanna and Aria are shocked to find a new-and-not-so-improved Lucas (now with facial hair!) lurking around town in the middle of the night.  Could Lucas be a part of the mysterious “A” team?

Only time (and a few more episodes) will tell.

Anywhoo, Boss Woman Spencer unilaterally decides that the girls will all head to her creepy lakehouse (a.k.a. the place where Hanna and Caleb had sex on Spencer’s nanna’s couch), and claim to have spend the night there, thus providing them with an alibi for the grave robbing for which at least one of them looks extremely guilty . . .

You know what they say . . . if the shovel fits . . .

And it’s a good thing too, because, sure enough, the next morning, Ali’s body snatching is all across small-town news, and the girls need to have their story straight, when they are inevitably questioned by the cops about it . . .

Hmmm . . . so, let’s see.  What else happened this week?

Cooking with Caleb

Hanna talked dirty to Caleb . . . something about dongs . . . or is it “dong po.”  The pair cooked together, while Hanna fibbed about going to the shrink, when she’s actually been visiting Crazy Pants Mona this entire summer.  Caleb, of course, assumed that Hanna spent much of her time in therapy talking about him, because, and I quote “We are intimate.”

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In other news, Caleb now needs to turn in his Man Card, because, in the course of a single episode, he grocery shopped, used the word “intimate” to describe something other than underwear, and cooked a meal with a name that sounds specifically similar to a very private part of the male anatomy . . .

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In other couples’ news .  . .

In which Abs Toby gives Spencer a blue shirt (and blue something else) . . .

Abs Toby is a TOTAL TEASE!  First he parades around Spencer’s bedroom wet and half-naked all summer.  Then he lets her wear his shirt, and DENIES HER SEX.  (I’d say Toby has to turn in his Man Card too . . . but I can’t.  I mean, LOOK at those abs .  . .

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Speaking of Spencer, I should also note that, throughout the episode she gets calls from a blocked phone number, though she seems to know exactly who’s calling each time.  She keeps these calls a secret from the girls and Toby though, all of which makes her seem even more shady . . .

Eventually, we learn that those calls are actally coming from Police Boy Garrett, who seems to be using all his limited phone privileges on the little liar, who probably hates him the most.  So, I guess that means conjugal visits were probably out of the question . . .

“A police boy can dream, can’t he?” 

But more on those two, a bit later.  First we have to talk about Aria and her “thing” with bathrooms . . .

“Hey, remember that time you and I almost banged in a dirty bar bathroom?  Good times!”

Meanwhile, over in Ezria land, Fitzy cleverly decides to remind Aria that this day is not just the day her friend’s rotten decaying corpse was stolen from the ground . . . nor is it the anniversary of the day that same friend was bludgeoned to death . . . it’s also the anniversary of the day the two of them met in a bar, and, moments later, almost got VD by banging in a dirty bar bathroom . . .

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Given those oh-so-fond memories, you would think that Aria would really LIKE bathrooms . . . but . . . apparently not.  Apparently, bathrooms give Aria panic attacks.

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No offense, Fitzy . . .

Anywhoo Aria’s and Fitzy’s plans to “Recreate the Date” of their first public restroom screw, are foiled when Aria gets called in by the cops for questioning about the disappearance of Ali’s body.  Mommy is there, when Aria’s finished.  And she has some not-so-kind words to say to Fitzy, while Aria’s isn’t around to hear them.

“HISSSSSSSS!”

(Did I mention that Mommy Montgomery and Daddy Montgomery are getting a divorce?  At least we won’t have to watch them making out anymore.  Yuck.)  Nevertheless, the two Aria lovers manage to retract their claws temporarily for Aria’s sake, and even agree to a sit down dinner date.  How very mature of them all . . . even the underage one . . .

OMG!  Psych Ward Mona is creepy.  Why the heck would Hanna . . .  WREEEEEENNNNN!

In slightly less happy couple news, Hanna just can’t seem to “quit” Mona, even though the latter pretty much ruined her entire life, and possibly tried to have her killed on more than one occasion.  Unbeknownst to the rest of the PLL girls (though she eventually comes clean later in the episode), she’s been visiting the wackadoo at what appears to be the psych ward from Every Bad Horror Movie Ever .  . . all the way down to the pee-colored yellow walls, saggy beds, and, of course, dirty chairs.  Hang out too long in a place like this, and if you aren’t already crazy, you’ll be there in a month or so .  . .

“Mona, girlfriend.  You’ve gotta cut those split ends from your hair.  And the big baggy white nuthouse nightgown look is SOOOO last season.” 

I’ve seen toilet bowl seats that were cleaner than this . . . 

So as not to clue anyone from town into her visits, Hanna’s been seeing Mona under a fake last name . . . wait for it . . . Rivers.  I guess Caleb Rivers would probably be amused to know this . . . after all, the two ARE “intimate” . . .

Of all the PLL girls, Hanna was, by far, the closest to Mona.  She truly considered the girl a friend, having confided many secrets in her, as the pair traveled the ranks of popularity together.

This makes Mona’s betrayal wound Hanna much deeper than the other girls.  And so she finds herself in desperate need of closure.  She needs to know why.

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Unfortunately for Hanna, Mona isn’t exactly in the closure-giving mood, lately.  Rather, she is in the stare at the wall blankly and drool mood.  In fact, the only time we get any sort of reaction from Mona, is the SUPER CREEPY smile she gets on her face when she hallucinates “Ali” reading Lolita, in the chair behind Hanna.

Is Mona for real?  Is she faking it?  There’s one scene in the episode, in which Mona rises to watch Hanna converse with the doctors and nurses outside Mona’s door, that seems to suggest that is exactly what she is doing.

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“PEEKABOO, I SEEEE YOUUUUU!”

But one thing is for sure, Mona didn’t act alone as “A.”  In fact, the girls can pinpoint at least two times during which Mona COULDN’T have done the things that “A” did.  One of them was the time “A” snuck into Emily’s spa session and massaged her.  (Mona was with Hanna at the time.)  The second one was moving Ian’s hanging body from the bell tower.

“Just hanging out.”

Mona simply isn’t strong enough for that.  The question, of course, is who was helping Mona complete these tasks, and more importantly why.  The seeming lack of motive for these torture sessions are the most confusing thing about them.

But enough about that.  Let’s talk about WREEEENNNNNNN!

Wren’s position as the Only Doctor in Rosewood, apparently extend to psych wards.  (When does this guy sleep?)  For a guy with romantic feelings for Spencer, Wren seems oddly invested in Mona’s fate, even going as far as to personally call Hanna on the phone to  ensure that she continues visiting the looney tune.

Next week, we’ll learn that Wren’s father suffered from mental illness (schizophrenia, perhaps?).   I have to say, I kind of love the writers for taking the time to explore, and provide a back story for this seemingly side character . . . And not just because he’s super hot, and has an adorable accent . . . well,  maybe 95% of my interest has to do with that.  But the last 5% is totally intellectual, I swear! 😉

Speaking of the boys of PLL, what’s the deal with Lucas?  I used to ship him with Hanna.  And now, all the sudden, much like Mona, he’s wandering around town disaffected and zombified.  (Perhaps, being part of the A-team means becoming a zombie.  That would be an interesting supernatural twist on this mystery, wouldn’t it?)

That said, I have to say, the black clothes, and slight facial hair, really work for this guy.   He looks so dark and tortured now.  Sexy . . .

Why Emily needs Ginko-Baloba

Speaking of people who have been a little off lately, Emily definitely seems to be going off the rails a bit.  On registration day at school, she hangs back from the girls, staring at the longingly from outside the school.

(What’s with all the creepy staring in this episode?)

 Upon meeting with her old pal, and sort-of/kind of erstwhile boyfriend, Abs Toby, Emily admits to having developed quite the little drinking problem over the summer.  In fact, the opening scene of the episode, is far from the first time she’s blacked out,  “lost time,” and awoken to find that she’s done something she wouldn’t normally do .  . . you know, like have sex with inappropriate people, get married in Vegas, or sleep in your own vomit.

Abs Toby, being Abs Toby is super supportive, and not-at-all judgmental of Emily, which is exactly what she needs right now.  He tells her that her friends love her for who she is . . . a drunk, who’s sometimes slutty, and possibly enjoys digging up dead bodies,  just as much as she enjoys building homes in Haiti.

Back at home, we see that much of Emily’s problem is that she still really hasn’t adjusted to Maya’s disappearance.   We watch as she sadly wraps one of Maya’s picture, with a scarf the latter gave her, back when the two started dating.

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Man, this episode is depressing . . .

In brighter news, Emily’s memory from at least one of her drunken blackout moments seems to be coming back to her.  Out for a head-clearing jog, Emily sees a car (It’s actually the same one we saw the no longer blind Jenna driving, back in the season finale.) . . .

 . . .  and distinctly remembers being stuck in it’s trunk on the night of the grave robbing.  She’ll get her answers yet.   If she can stop getting wasted long enough to comprehend them . . .

In which Police Boy Garrett begs for Spencer’s help, upon learning that all those rumors about jailhouses and dropped soap are 100% true.

Speaking of wasted, Police Boy Garrett is in bad shape.  The guy who used to bone both Blind Jenna, and B*tch Sister Melissa, positively reeks of desperation, when Spencer visits him in his jail cell, after he’s called her phone about a dozen times from the pokey.  One sight that Police Boy is in trouble, the new hairdo . . . it’s kind of sexy, in a badass sort of way.  And if I like it, you can be assured that the other inmates do too, if you catch my drift.

Watch out, Police Boy.  I hear some of your cell mates are really big fans of The Lizzie McGuire Movie.

Apparently, Police Boy’s defense lawyers had just petitioned the exhumation of Ali’s body, claiming that something on her year-long rotted corpse could prove his innocence.  This means that the “A” team in which he used to be a part, severely betrayed him by taking the body, quite possibly to protect themselves.  It puts him in a unique position to help the PLL girls, if they trust him enough to let him.  Police Boy Garrett tries to bargain with Spencer.  He’ll tell her what she knows, if she gets her mother to help with his defense.  You know, because Spencer’s mom is “the best lawyer in the country,” or something.

“In the words of Harvey Levin from TMZ, I’m a lawyer!” 

Understandably, Spencer isn’t too thrilled about helping the guy who almost got HER put behind bars for the exact same murder.  And yet, as she leaves the jail cell, there is something Police Boy Garrett say that gives her pause . . .

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He doesn’t know crap about Maya though, who he also supposedly killed.  I’m starting to think her death/disappearance might be completely unrelated to this whole “A” thing . . .

Field Trip to Creepo Motel

In other keeping secrets news, we learn that Spencer’s has been spending her spare time visiting, and trying to recreate “A’s” lair, which we got to see in last season’s finale.  Apparently, the place had been cleared out, pretty much instantaneously upon Mona’s arrest, and not by the cops either.  Spencer immediately suspects the  highly suspicious chick who dressed up the black swan at the girls’ junior prom.  You know, because everyone knows the Black Swan is ALWAYS NUTS!

Toward the end of the episode, the girls decide to take a little trip down to the place, to see what they can remember.  But when they emerge from the hotel, they have a little surprise waiting for them . . .

Ending episode scenes of PLL have always been my favorite parts of the episode, and this one is no exception.  You’ve really gotta love the CRAZY of these A people.  We find the car the PLL girls arrived in, open on all sides and positively littered with incriminating images of the girls at the cemetery the night of Ali’s grave robbing.  Once again, “A” appears to be all places at all times.  And if the message she (or he, or they) delivers to the girls at the end of the episode is any indication, New A means serious business.   “Mona played with dolls.   I play with body parts.  Game on, b*tches. – A.”

Quite a leap, from “Show me your boobs, right?”

Next week on PLL . . . (By the way, as always, the Canadian promo is about ten times better than the American one.  What gives, USA?)

Until next time, my Pretties!

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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