Tag Archives: Isabel

Managing Expect-A-tions – A Review of Pretty Little Liar’s Season 2 Finale “UnmAsked”

[Brief note: This post is simply a “review of” and “reaction to” “UnmAsked.”  A full recap will follow . . . eventually. :)]

Strait jackets .  . . all the cool psychopaths are wearing them . . . 

Greetings, my Pretties!  This week, PLL wrapped up its sophomore season with a season finale that was arguably as polarizing as “A” herself.  Thousands of frustrated fans flooded the message boards, Twitter, and YouTube to express their discontent with the way the season concluded.

Meanwhile, others rushed to defend the controversial choices made by the writers and producers.

The source of this controversy, of course, was the identity of “A” . . . the technologically savvy, ridiculously snarky, and seemingly omniscient super villain, who had been torturing the titular Pretty Little Liars, since the pilot episode.

And while I suspect a large number of fans were surprised by the reveal, it wasn’t necessarily for the reasons the writers intended . . .

Truth be told, this was far from the first time a television series that had been based on a book series chose to remain faithful to some of those novels’ main plot points.  Many television shows have successfully done this, without provoking the inevitable ire of the fandom.  Back in 2008, True Blood was applauded for its faithfulness to the murder mystery storyline that comprised the first book of the Sookie Stackhouse book series (serial killer included).

A season later, they were applauded again for creatively diverting from those same books, in order to save the life of a beloved character, who notoriously met his demise on the first few pages of the series’ second novel.

More recently, in 2011, the producers of Game of Thrones received critical acclaim for their almost slavish loyalty to the book series on which it was based.  Critics particularly appreciated the show’s courageous decapitation of the show’s main character, a moral and mostly likeable protagonist, who also happened to be played by a rather well-known and popular actor.

So what made PLL the high school outcast of this group?

The difference in this situation, I think, was that the producers, writers, and cast of PLL failed to properly manage expectations regarding what viewers could expect to see in the season’s final episode.  In what was undoubtedly an attempt at last-minute damage control, Pretty Little Liars showrunner, Marlene King, assured fans that she had never explicitly told fans that the identity of “A” would be different from who it was in the books.  And yet, when countless articles, and press releases, like THIS ONE, and THIS ONE posited this very theory as stemming directly from King, herself, she never exactly disabused fans of this notion, either.

So, when Mona van der Waal acted so RIDICULOUSLY guilty, throughout the show’s second season, that she all but wore a neon sign on her back that said, “I AM A,” recappers and reviewers, like myself, pointedly avoided listing her as our main suspect, simply because we took for granted the fact that the writers weren’t going to go there.

 

So, when they did, in fact, go there, we couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed and betrayed.

And that’s a shame, because it undermined the integrity of what was, by many other respects, a pretty solid finale episode.

Truth be told, of all the possible “A” suspects — with the exception of, perhaps, Not-so-Blind Jenna, and maybe Lucas — Mona had the best motive to be “A.”  After all, she had been shamelessly tortured by Ali throughout most of high school, while the rest of the PLL girls stood idly by, and let it happen.

To make matters worse, Hanna, Mona’s self-proclaimed “one true friend,” has been noticeably distant from Mona, throughout the series, consistently ditching her to engage in “A-Sleuthing” with the rest of the liars . . . (of course, it could be argued that Hanna’s recent absence from her life was actually MONA’S fault).

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And yet, I would have liked to see the producers push the boundaries a bit, by not necessarily going with the most obvious choice for “A.”

We’ve seen the writers take chances like this, earlier in the series, in a number of ways: by introducing new characters, who weren’t in the books, choosing not to kill characters who died in the books, and, in one particular instance, killing a character who DID survive the series.  So, why not do it again, in this instance, by changing the identity of “A” to someone unexpected . . . someone who seemed a bit less . . . for lack of a better term . . . shady?

Or, conversely, I would have liked for the writers to simply be honest about the direction in which the story was headed, by saying something like this: “There are some aspects of the television series that pay homage to the books.  But even faithful book readers will find some surprises in store for them in the season finale.”

This, at least, is a true, and non-misleading, statement.  After all, the finale DID have some surprises contained within it, even for fans of the book series . . .

Unlike a lot of other series’ season finales, which tend to be slow-moving and uneventful, until the last ten minutes of the episode, “UnmAsked” definitely FELT like a season finale.  The episode moved a long at a brisk pace, throughout the hour.

And the genuinely creepy locales where the drama unfolded . . .  for example, the Psycho-inspired motel (complete with its very own Norman Bates, lookalike) and accompanying Shower Scene . . .

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 . . .  the Masquerade Ball filled with strangers and unsavory looking characters . . .

. . .  the abandoned road on a dark and stormy night, A’s “Lair” which looked like it would have been right at home in the first hour of any episode of Law and Order, SVU . . .

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 . . . only added to the building excitement, and unshakeable feeling of impending doom.

I was also really impressed with the acting in this episode.  As the unhinged Mona, Janel Parrish was just the right mix of campy crazy, unintentionally hilarious, and genuinely terrifying.

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Hanna’s shock and sadness at learning her so-called bestie was a total wackadoodle, who HIT HER WITH A CAR, felt real to me.

Shay Mitchell’s Emily literally had me in tears, during the episodes heartbreaking final moments . . . And this is coming from someone who was never a Maya fan.

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(I also adored the parallel between the pilot episode’s Body Discovery, and this one.  That background song they played during both, will haunt me for the rest of my days . . .)

And who could forget the unbeatable Team Sparia, who provided the episode’s only evidence of comic relief . . . not to mention a nice nod to a certain segment of the fandom?

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Speaking of ships,  fans of Ezria . . .

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Spoby . . .

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  . . . and Haleb . . .

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 . . .  all had something to cheer about, when the aforementioned couples each received their respective Happily Ever Afters Nows, this week.

Of course, I still wanted my Wren to make an appearance . . . (Damn you, writers!  DAMN YOU!)

And while the episode did answer some of the major questions plaguing fans throughout the series, it also presented us with plenty of new ones to get us excited for the upcoming third season (which is set to premiere this summer).  Here are just some of the questions that were swimming around my head, after “UnmAsked” concluded:

(1) Who exactly is on the A Team?

Was Mona REALLY it’s leader?

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 (And why didn’t Spencer “join it,” when she was given the chance?  I mean, wouldn’t that have been the perfect way to keep your ENEMIES CLOSER?)

(2) Which mysterious female dressed as The Black Swan at the Masquerade Ball?

(3) Who was Not-so-Blind Jenna talking to in the park, and what mysterious item did she give her (because it looked much too small to be the Black Swan costume)?  And WHEN DID SHE GET HER DRIVER’S LICENSE?

(4) What the F is the deal between Abs Toby and Dr. Sullivan (a.k.a. as the lame shrink who got scared out of town by an eighty pound high schooler?  Is he her son, or what?  How much did they know about what was going on?  And why was it necessary for Toby to “pretend he didn’t love Spencer?”

(5) Who exactly was the creepy chick with the red dess and gold mask at the Masquerade Ball?

And was she the same creepy chick who visited Mona in the loony bin, at the end of the episode?

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(6) Does Mona’s have Supernatural Powers, which enabled her to BEAT UP Spencer and Emily, on separate occasions, and CARRY SPENCER INTO A CAR?  (Oh and how lame was Dr. Sullivan’s explanation of her PSYCHOSIS?  How exactly does being a psychopath, make you seem omniscient to OTHER PEOPLE?  Where exactly did this b*tch go to shrink school anyway, Dunkin Donuts?)

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(7) Did the flashback featuring Mona and “Ali” dressed as Vivian Darkbloom actually happen?  Did “Ali” really not pick up the phone, when Mona called her, like Mona said?  Or was being “A” the price Mona paid for her so-called popularity?

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(8)Who killed Maya (assuming Maya is actually dead) and why?

(9) And, perhaps, most importantly, “WHERE’S MY WREN?”

So, tell me, my Pretties, what were your thoughts on the Season 2 finale?  Were you disappointed that Mona was “A?”  What are your expectations for next season, in light of some of the cliffhangers / new mysteries introduced here?  Feel free to vent to your heart’s content, in the comment section below.  I’ll see you there!

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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Filed under Pretty Little Liars

“Follow me . . . End up like me.” – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ “If These Dolls Could Talk.”

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Thank you, PLL, for reawakening my childhood fear of being murdered in my sleep by my neighbor’s Ugly Doll Collection . . .

Greetings, my Pretties!  This week’s installment of PLL was definitely not for the faint of heart.  It featured ghosts . . . things that go bump in the night . . . ugly evil demon dolls . . . ugly evil demon kids . . . old ladies that talk like the witch from The Wizard of Oz . . . one VERY dead fly, the sister from hell, and worst of all, MONA KISSING CALEB!

 But those of you who watched the episode hidden behind pillows, or with your hands covering your eyes, did so at your peril.  After all, next week’s episode features A’s big reveal.  And that means this one was chock full of clues as to his or her true identity.  So, be brave, my Pretties.  And follow me toward another Pretty Little Recap . .  .

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Better ease up on those pain meds, Spencer . . .

Oh, dear, sweet, sexy accented Dr. Wren!  Not only are you insanely easy on the eyes, you also dole out the GOOD pain meds to your girlfriends . . . even though the only injury they’ve suffered recently is getting a few sprigs of glass in their palms.

“Your love is my drug, Doctor . . .” 

We begin this episode with the usually-uber-alert Spencer, passed out and drooling, on the Hastings’ living room couch.  Suddenly, there is a loud crash in the living room, followed by the sound of someone noisily thumbing through Spencer’s purse.  As it turns out, that someone just so happens to be Dead Ali (who we would expect to be a lot more stealthy, given all we know about her).

Not to mention the fact that . . . oh, I don’t know . . . she’s DEAD!

This is actually the third time we’ve seen Ali appear to one of the girls, while they are in a “less than sober” state.  The first time we experienced this was with Hanna, when she was in the hospital, after having been hit by A’s car.

The second time, it was Emily’s turn, when “A” locked her in a garage, and she asphixiated on the fumes.  (Don’t be surprised if Aria ends up with a concussion, next week, after some rough sex with Fitzy goes south, so that she can see Ali too . . .)

What’s intriguing about all these Beyond the Grave exchanges is that, as the viewer, you are never 100% sure they are the hallucination they claim to be.  After all, following these sequences, Ali always seems to leave the “sleeper” in question, with some sort of souvenir of her presence.  And yet, since the Liar in question believes herself to be dreaming, she never gets the opportunity to ask “Ali” the questions she would likely ask her, had she encountered her in a more lucid state.

Take for example Spencer, our resident super sleuth.  She is so frustratingly dense, during this exchange with Ali, I nearly threw my shoe at the television.

And because she failed to ask “Ali” a single pertinent question, throughout the entire exchange, it was up to Ali, herself, to offer the cryptic comments and clues we will inevitably be analyzing, this week.  Proponents of the “Melissa is A” theory, will undoubtedly harp on Ali’s comment that Spencer “deserves a good sister,” thereby not-so-subtly implying that Melissa is NOT one.  Well, I could have told you that . . .

Best  . . . sister . . .  EVER! 

And yet, merely being a horrible person, with a terrible personality, and few redeeming qualities, doesn’t necessarily make you a murderer . . . nor does it make you a relentless stalker of your little sister and her friends.  Does it?

More intriguing, to me, anyway, was THIS comment  . . .

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 I thought Ali’s choice of the word “parked” was a rather unusual one. It’s just not the type of phrasing you would expect a teen like Ali to use . . . It’s kind of old-fashioned, and, for lack of a better term, “nerdy.”  Given that, I can’t help put think that Ali used the word “parked” specifically to make reference to a certain car . . .

The most obvious car reference would seem to point to Police Boy Garrett, who’s car was most recently spotted in front of Not-so-Blind Jenna’s house, and has literally seemed to follow Spencer everywhere she goes this season.  But it also could be referring to the car Spence purchased for Toby.  If you recall, Toby returned this car to Spencer’s driveway, when he left town.  And, as far as we know, he hasn’t retrieved it yet.

Another car that played a major role in the series was the one that hit Hanna at Mona’s party, back in Season 1.  And of course, we can’t forget Fitzy’s car, site for many a passionate make out session, throughout the course of the show . . .

Ali’s parting words to Spencer were that she was “getting warmer,” which I guess, after two season of seemingly endless wrong turns, on Spencer’s part, regarding this mystery, must be nice to hear.

I mentioned earlier that Ali always seems to leave something behind following these “dream sequences,” that causes the Little Liar, as well as the viewer to question whether the scene actually occurred in real life.  This time, however, it wasn’t what Ali LEFT BEHIND that was important, but, rather, what she took.  Presumably, Spencer’s pain medications were in her purse when she fell asleep.  And yet, when she wakes up, not only are they on the counter in front of her, they also seem to be a couple of pills short.  Oh Ali . . . don’t you know abusing drugs could kill you?  Er . . . nevermind . . . pill pop away, Pretty Little Corpse .  . .

In which Emily, Hanna, and Aria’s parents all get BUSTED . . .

It’s a bad day for being sneaky, this week, on PLL . . . a lesson Emily, Hanna and Aria’s parents all learn the hard way, when they try unsuccessfully to hide pertinent information from their friends and lovers.  First up is Emily, who receives an angry, “How could you rat me out to my parents?” type text from the still-missing Maya.

OK . . . now I’m positive something is fishy about her disappearance.  First of all, how would Maya know that Emily had contacted her parents, if said parents had no way of reaching her, since even Emily couldn’t pinpoint her exact location?  Second of all, why is Maya texting Emily from her own cell phone?  Isn’t she the least bit concerned that Emily will trace the call, and tell her parents exactly where she’s hiding?  It just seems odd that Maya felt the need to send an e-mail from an “Undisclosed Sender,” and yet seems more than willing to use her actual phone to send a text.

My theory?  “A” has Maya’s cell phone, and she’s been the one sending messages to Emily.  But, if that’s true, where’s Maya?

Speaking of cell phones, Hanna gets busted for disobeying her mother’s implied “no cell phone” rule, when she stupidly fails to keep the darn thing on vibrate, while hanging out in the Marin kitchen . . . with her mother.

Hey, nobody ever said Hanna was the sharpest tool in the shed, right?  I have to say, for a character who’s supposedly “good at lying,” Hanna really botched this one.  It would have been easy for her to simply say she had been holding on to a friend’s phone, and forgot to return it.  But instead, her excuse is, “Mona needs to keep in touch with me?”

Well . . . I guess that one’s actually kind of true . . . particularly, if Mona ends up being “A,” which I really hope she isn’t, because BOOOO-RRRING.

And yet, as annoyed as Mama Marin might be with her daughter’s deception, she can’t quite justify confiscating a phone for which she (1) didn’t pay for; and (2) isn’t footing the monthly bill.  So, instead, Mama Marin simply rolls her eyes, mutters under her breath, and sends her daughter off to school.

In other parental unit news, Aria inadvertently learns her parents want to ship her off to a Fitzy-free boarding school in Vermont, upon finding a telltale application on her mother’s desk, at school.  Understandably, the littlest liar is livid.

You could feel the tension in the Montgomery home, as Aria clomps around in her wedge shoes, passive aggressively avoiding her mother’s attempts at casual conversation.

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Now, while Aria might be the best liar of the foursome, she’s definitely not the most adept at hiding her feelings.  So, of course, it isn’t long before the pint-sized brunette is letting Mommy Dearest know exactly what she thinks about the whole “let’s ship Aria off to boarding school” plan.  It’s a terrible idea.  And I think, deep down both of Aria’s parents know it.  Even if we take at face value Mama Montgomery’s statement that the decision was not based solely on Aria’s determination to continue dating Fitzy, applying for a school a thousand miles away, isn’t exactly the kind of thing you do for a sixteen year old, without broaching the matter with her first.

While I think most PLL fans agreed wholeheartedly with Aria that her parents were in the wrong, in terms of how they addressed this situation, I was surprised by how divided the fanbase was, regarding how Aria ultimately responded.  In a move that would have made Expert Blackmailer “A” proud, Aria venomously threatened to expose her father’s erstwhile affair with a student, should the Montgomerys decide to actually ship her off to boarding school.

Having perused the message boards a bit, following the episode, I noticed that while a good number of you applauded Aria for standing up to her parents, and blatantly exposing their hypocrisy (particularly her father’s).

There was also an equal number of you who thought Aria took things much too far.  You were shocked by her seeming willingness to put her boyfriend before her father’s career, and her family’s financial stability.

In Aria’s defense, I don’t think Aria had any intention of actually ratting out her father . . . just as I don’t think Aria’s parents would have ever gone through with their plans to ship her off to boarding school, without first discussing the matter with her.  Rather, I think Aria made her threat predominately out of anger, and also as a way of making herself be heard, by two people (again more-so her father than her mother) who have made a habit out of not listening to her point of view.

*insert hissing noise* 

Regardless of Aria’s true intentions, the Montgomery’s were clearly crushed by what they viewed as their daughter’s betrayal.  Mama Montgomery even went so far as to say she was ASHAMED of Aria, which, as any one who has a parent can tell you, is about the most hurtful thing a parent can say to his or her kid.

Throughout these past two seasons, the Montgomery family’s relationships with one another have continuously disintegrated.  What we have now is a family in crisis . . .

But hey, at least we’re getting laid, right? 😉

To catch a predator (by making out with your best friend’s boyfriend) . . .

Oh Mona!  If you are going to go through the trouble of sending yourself fake text messages from “A” (which most of us assume is what she’s doing, whether or not it’s because she’s actually “A” herself, or simply out of desperation to be the unofficial fifth liar), the least you could do is make them seem moderately realistic.

Why would “A” suddenly decide to use MONA to break up Hanna and Caleb?  It just doesn’t seem to be A’s style, especially when it would be much more mentally devastating to blackmail one of the other girls to do it, or, better yet, force Hanna to do it herself, as “A” had previously done with Spencer and Toby.

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I also find it increasingly odd that, despite Mona’s increasingly erratic behavior, not one of the girls has ever suspected her of being “A.”  This is particularly strange, when you consider how practically everybody else in Rosewood has earned a slot on the suspect list, at least once, including family members and significant others of most, if not, all of the liars.  I would have at least expected Spencer to consider the possibility.  She usually suspects EVERYBODY!  Those pain medications must really be dulling her senses . . .

I blame the evil horse sweater . . .

Perhaps the reason the girls are all missing the neon pink flashing, “I’m a Suspect!” sign over Mona’s head is because Spencer’s sister, Crazy Nanny Carrie has been acting SOOOO frigging guilty.  When Spencer finally confronts her with that video of her storming around Ali’s room, just hours before the dead girl’s demise, Melissa really has nothing to say in her own defense, aside from, (1)”Well, EVERYONE wanted Ali dead so . . .,” and (2) I’ve got dirty videos of you b*tches too, so F-U.”

It’s not exactly a rousing defense.  So, when Mona conveniently suggests that she make out with Caleb in front of Melissa, to see if she takes the bait, and text the info to Hanna, the rest of the girls blindly go along with it .  . . even though poor Caleb looks like he’d rather make out with the old lady from that denture commercial.  “We are doing this for Hanna,” says Mona solemnly, before aggressively raping Caleb’s face with her tongue.

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Poor Caleb!  He was so horrified by the experience, he literally bolted from the car, and walked home alone.  This, of course, gave Mona . . . er .  . . I’m sorry, I mean “A” . . . the perfect opportunity to text Hanna the “bad news.”  (Don’t you think the real “A” would have at least sent a picture as proof?)

Moments later, Mona’s back at Hanna’s house, supposedly wanting to shower the so-called “ickiness” of Caleb off of her body.  Sure you do, Mona . . . sure you do . . .

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He sees dead people.  (How original!)

Upon learning that Ali communicated with “A” via the classifieds, and may or may not have met her in front of that Creepy Doll Hospital, before she died, the girls decide to take a little field trip there.  When they arrive there’s a creepy kid staring at that from the window, who must have been cast in this role, because he is the perfect mixture of (1) the kid from The Sixth Sense; (2) the kid from The Shining; and (3) a Chucky doll come to life.

As for the owner of the hospital, she’s just some old lady.  (Old ladies are scary too!)

When the girls question the Old Lady about the voodoo doll in the window (the same one “A” sent Ali), she claims not to sell them.

She’s also rather cagey regarding whether or not she keeps records of prior doll purchases.  And while Old Lady doesn’t seem to be particularly forthcoming with information, Creepy Kid Seth is just a fountain of knowledge.  Claiming to have some sort of “Sixth Sense” about people, Creepy Kid Seth reports meeting with Ali prior to her death.  He even knows exactly how she died, despite the fact that the cause of her death was not recorded in the papers.

But the most intriguing piece of information of all that Creepy Kid Seth offers the PLL girls is that a “dark-haired couple” was out to hurt Ali.  Now, of course, a “dark haired couple” could refer to any number of pairings on this show.  (And I’ll list them all, in just a bit.)  But Creepy Kid Seth eliminates one pair from the suspect list right away (Blind? Jenna and Policeboy Garrett) by assuring the PLL girls that “the girl is not blind.”  (Or DOES he?)

Other couples that fit Creepy Kid Seth’s description, and, might have been out to hurt Ali include:

Melissa and Dead Pedo Ian (Creepy Kid Seth specifically noted that the female had hair like Spencer’s.)

Melissa and Policeboy Garrett

Mona and Bushy Eyebrows Noel

Mona and Lucas

Jenna and Toby (though Toby’s hair seems more reddish than dark)

Maya and Noel

Fitzy and Jackie

Fitzy and Aria (Don’t kill me.  I’m just mentioning all the possibilities here . . .)

“Vivian Darkbloom” (i.e. Ali’s twin) and . . . Dead Pedo Ian or Duncan Donuts?

Well, now that narrows things down, doesn’t it?

To see, or not to see . . .

I mentioned earlier that Creepy Kid Seth’s assertion that the female in the couple wanting to hurt Ali was not blind, may or may not exclude Blind Jenna from the list of suspects.  I say this because Jenna’s blindness has been a subject of debate among PLL fans, ever since that time when she used a mirror to put on her lipstick.  And yet, faking eye surgery would be a pretty tough feat to pull off.

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Jenna’s blindness gets called into question again, when she takes off the bandages from her post-surgical eye, this week, and immediately erupts into tears.  Toby, of course, assumes the worst, and moves to comfort his step sister.  But we never get to hear Jenna’s response.

At school, the following day, Hanna, never one to beat around the bush, asks Jenna right up front whether or not she can see.

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This time,  she pretty explicitly states that the operation was a failure.  Yet, according to Jenna, the mental  clarity she gained from this experience has convinced her to “forgive the girls” their Jenna thing, in hopes that the former enemies can move past their grudges and hatred for one another.  Do we believe her when she says this?  Perhaps, more importantly, do we believe her when she says this?

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I don’t know about you, but I was definitely fearing Jenna, toward the end of the episode,  when she shocked everyone, by aggressively killing a fly on her window, wiped it off with a tissues, and winked at the camera . . . her sight clearly restored.

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The question is, how long has Not-so-Blind Jenna been able to see.  Has she been playing us all along, as many suspected?  Was she actually blind, but regained her sight, as a result of the operation?  (And if so, why is she lying to the girls, and possibly Toby?)  Another possibility is that Not-so-Blind Jenna wasn’t lying at all to the girls.  She merely hadn’t fully regained her sight until the end of the episode.

I suspect we’ll learn the answer to this question, next week.  But, of course, I’d be eager to hear your theories on the subject . . .

Another intriguing thing Jenna does this week is turn the infamous Page 5 of the Autopsy report in to the police.  She plays dumb as to its contents, when broaching the matter with Toby.  But, by the end of the episode, it’s pretty clear she knows exactly what’s on them, and WHO they will incriminate in Ali’s murder . . .

To screw, or not to screw . . .

Throughout most of the episode, Aria and Fitzy still find themselves walking on egg shells around one another, as Fitzy nervously awaits the fallout from his decision not to take the Associate Dean position in Louisianna.  He expects the worst, and gets it, when the class he teaches is mysteriously ripped from the college curriculum.  (I thought he just taught Freshman English?  How does a college take Freshman English off its curriculum?)

Fitzy and Aria are certain that this is Evil Papa Montgomery’s doing.  But I’m not sure how realistic that is . . .  I mean, it’s one thing for a popular professor to have enough influence on the university to help someone get a job; it’s quite another for that same popular professor to have enough influence to COMPLETELY CHANGE THE COURSES THAT THE COLLEGE OFFERS.

Anyway, long story short, Fitzy and Aria finally bang one another, on that darn couch Fitzy loves so much . . . a little detail that I found surprisingly fitting.

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Their “Sex Song” was a really awesome cover of Wicked Games . . . the epitome of sex songs, in my humble opinion.  It’s white hot!  (I also really liked the lace tank top Aria was wearing pre-bone.  Does anyone know where I could get me one of those?)  But is it really goodbye sex?  Only time will tell . . .

Welcome to the Dollhouse . . .

While Aria is cashing in that much-abused V-card, the rest of the PLL girls are heading back to the Creepy Doll Hospital to show “I See Dead People” Seth a video of Melissa, in hopes that he could possibly ID her as the dark-haired woman who “wants to hurt Ali.”  Unfortunately, when they arrive at the “Hospital,” no one is there . . . or are they.  Not two seconds after the girls enter the place, a doll starts eerily chanting “Follow me . . . end up like me,” over and over again.  (I’m not going to lie, I almost peed my pants.)

As the girls move through the dark corridors of the place, we see a pair of eyes follow them, from beneath one of the dolls . . . or is it a mask?

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The voice they hear is coming from a closed cabinet.  And when they open it . . . ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE . . .

As if the dead Ali doll recreation wasn’t frightening enough, the whole place literally starts falling down around them, as the girls run screaming from the exit.  Can you blame them?

Arrested Development

Now, I don’t know about you.  But if I had just got home from that Doll House of Horrors, the absolute last thing I would want to do is go searching through some creepy dead girl’s bag in the home of her possible killer, Crazy Nanny Carrie.  (They’ve decided to turn it over to the police, after all.)  And yet, that’s exactly what the girls are doing, when they hear Melissa, herself, and Policeboy Garrett enter the home from the kitchen.  Did I mention they are tonguing one another?  (Crazy Melissa SURE DOES get around! Oh, and Policeboy Garrett seems to have recovered from being dumped by Jenna pretty quickly.)

Then again, he got a very early start . . . 

In just one of the many shocking twists of the evening, both the Gross Makeout Couple, and the girls are interrupted from their machinations, by a knock on the door.  It’s the police . . . they’ve come to arrest Policeboy Garrett . . . the question is why?  My first thought,  was that they were going to bring him in for questioning regarding the fire at Jenna’s house, or Maya’s disappearance.  After all, it did appear to be his police badge that “A” planted right outside, Facelift Vampire Jason’s recently exploded house.

And yet, Policeboy Garrett actually ends up being arrested for Ali’s murder . . . which likely means that something on Page 5 of the autopsy report Jenna turned into the police, coupled with additional evidence, served to incriminate him . . .

EXCEPT, WE STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT THE DARN THING SAID!!!

In the final moments of the episode, “A” is seeing paying off both the Old Lady and Creepy Kid Seth for their “work” at the Doll Hospital, thereby calling into question everything they said earlier on in the episode, including the whole “Dark-haired couple” comment . . . which basically leaves us back at square one, in terms of suspects.  Brilliant . . .

Next week on PLL, the moment we’ve all been waiting for arrives . . .

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Feel free to check out (and massively over analyze) the trailers for the episode, below . . .

Last chance, my Pretties.  Choose your villain wisely . . .

Tune in next week to find out of you’re right.   I know, I will!

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[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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Filed under Pretty Little Liars

Where There’s Smoke, There’s a Liar . . . – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ “Eye of the Beholder”

Greeting, my Pretties!  This week on PLL, we got a deeper glimpse into “Vivian Darkbloom’s” past.  In other news, Blind Jenna got a wicked eye patch, Fitzy got a bit testy with the parental units, and Facelift Vampire Jason’s home underwent some “explosive” renovations.  Oh, and don’t even get me started on Spencer and all the awesome eye sex she got to have this week.  It’s a good thing retinas can’t get pregnant . . .

They can’t . . . I promise! 

So, hop into that rickety plane with a complete stranger, and hold on to your music box, because it’s time for another Pretty Little Recap . . .

(Screencaps provided by prettylittleliarsfans.com)

Well, THAT was awk-ward . . .

So, remember that cute little cupcake shop, where “A” COMPLETELY BRUTALIZED Hanna, by forcing her to eat a vomit-inducing amount of little piggy-shaped cupcakes, in front of a crowd of judgmental jocks?  Well, apparently, Hanna was not quite as traumatized by that moment as I would be.

(Let’s not forget, this is a girl who’s already been HIT BY A CAR, ARRESTED AS A SUSPECT IN HER “BEST” FRIEND’S MURDER, and almost DROWNED IN A LAKE.  It’s entirely understandable that our ideas regarding what’s considered “traumatizing” would differ.)  After all, the episode opens with Hanna enjoying a CUPCAKE (not pig-shaped) with her fellow little liars at that very same sweets shop.

As the girls pretend to eat cupcakes, and chat, we learn a bit more about the Anonymous Hot Guy who mistook Aria for “Vivian Darkbloom” at the end of last week’s episode.  It turns out, his name is “Duncan.”  He has a last name, but since I wasn’t paying attention when it was referenced, I’m just going to call him Duncan Donuts, OK?

“You can trust me, because I dress like I’m 75.”

So, apparently, Duncan Donuts and Vivian Darkbloom were REALLY close . . . as in close enough to go on numerous secret dates in a town nearby . . . and close enough for him to buy her a not particularly cheap red jacket . . . but not close enough for him to CALL HER ON THE PHONE, AFTER NOT HAVING HEARD FROM HER FOR OVER A YEAR . . . and certainly not close enough for him to READ THE LOCAL PAPERS, SEE HER PICTURE ON THE FRONT PAGE, AND FIND OUT SHE’S A CORPSE.

Aria thinks she should give Duncan Donuts a call, basically because her contract requires her to have a boyfriend-type figure in every episode.  And Fitzy and Holden won’t be sharing scenes with her, this week . . .  From experience, every PLL girl already knows that meeting Strange Men — who may or may not have had sexual relations with Dead Ali in the past — while alone, is a bad idea.

However, they wholeheartedly support Aria in her stupidity.  That’s what friends are for, right?

Oh, hey, look who’s back in town?  It’s Abs Toby and Blind Jenna . . . correction, it’s Abs Toby and Half-Blind, Eyepatch Jenna.  That’s right, my Pretties!  As we’ve long been promised, Jenna finally had her groundbreaking,” blind-no-more” surgery . . . in one eye . . . which hasn’t healed yet.  Yep, they are really going to drag this plotline out for as long as possible. aren’t they?

“At least I will save money on my pirate costume, this Halloween!”

Truthfully though, we are less concerned with the return of Half-Blind, Eyepatch Jenna, than we are of the return of Spencer’s ex-boyfriend with the HOT haircut, and the ice COLD chip on his shoulder.  Cue the Spencer Face . . . the longing looks (on Spencer’s part), and the glares (on Toby’s part) to the tune of . . .  Intense Mood Music, and Slo-Mo Walking.

Also, notice how Abs Toby is no longer treating Half-Blind, Eyepatch Jenna like the brother-raping, police boy banging, little-liar framing, ninety pounds of pure evil she actually is!  He actually seems to NOT MIND hanging out with her, as evidenced by the way he keeps . . . you know . . . touching her and stuff.  Did they give you a lobotomy with that haircut, Tobster?

Spencer runs into Abs Toby again later at school.  And she’s all, “What’s the deal with your Creepy Sister and her fugly eyepatch?”

So, Toby’s all, “She finally had the operation.  What’s it to you, you Maneating B*tch?  I miss you!  I love you.  Why did you start humping that hot British doctor, when I would have let you be part of my Abs Toby Sandwich?

So Spencer says, “Let’s get back together.  Mm-kay?  Because Emily was totally kidding about me banging the British guy.  I didn’t do that until we were ‘on a break.’  ‘A’ still might end up murdering in your sleep, because you’re dating me.  But that’s just the price of True Love, right?”

But Toby’s all, “Ya snooze ya, lose, Ho!  I LOVE YOU SPENCER!  KISS ME, YOU FUNNY-FACING MAKING BUNDLE OF LOVE!

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Then Half-Blind Jenna emerges from the Principal’s office, and creepily tells Spencer, she KNEW she was standing in front of her, despite Spencer not having uttered a word, since Half-Blind Jenna’s appearance.  This means Half-Blind Blind Jenna knows her Pretty Little Liars so well, that she can smell them, when they are close by.  Yeah . . . because that’s not creepy, at all . . .

“Stop sniffing my ex-girlfriend.  That’s MY job!”

Missed Calls and Mixed Messages . . .

Back at the Marin household, Hanna and her mom are in a fight.  It turns out that Mama Marin won’t buy Hanna a new phone to replace the one she DROPPED IN THE SOAPY SINK, last week, in order to prevent Mama Marin from confiscating it.

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As much as I adore my Hanna, you have to admit, this was a pretty ballsy request on Hanna’s part . . . I mean, sure, we all know that Hanna only destroyed the phone to prevent her mother from discovering A’s identity, thereby, putting herself in danger.  But she has to see that, from her mom’s perspective, the whole “phone drowning” thing, came off as a very deliberate and highly personal “F-U Mommy.”

Besides, Mama Marin worked hard to steal that money from the Old Dying Lady!  She can’t be going off spending it, wily nily, on electronics, every time Hanna decides to drown them, or throw them in a blender!

Part of me thinks it would have been REALLY funny, if Hanna got one of those prepaid phones mailed to her by “A,” with a message like, “Try not to get this one wet, or make it into a smoothie.”

However, considering it was Mona, who ended up providing Hanna with a replacement phone, and many people think SHE’S “A,” perhaps my scenario is precisely what happened.  More and more, we are seeing Mona get involved in the PLL girls’ dealings with “A” in ways that help the mysterious evildoer complete her master plan.  In this case, obviously “A” wants Hanna to have a phone, so that she can continue to taunt her with text messages . . . like the one the girls received later on in the episode: “Where there’s smoke, there’s payback.”

But here’s a question for you?  Assuming the cell phone Hanna received from Mona was on Mona’s account (which Mona explains to us that it is), how did “A” manage to snag Hanna’s new number, if not from Mona herself?  (Assuming Mona and “A” are two different people, of course.)  Unless, Mona somehow transferred Hanna’s old number to Mona’s account, in which case, I take back everything I just said  . . .

Speaking of anonymous, and not-so-anonymous communications, “Maya” has been secretly contacting Emily, with text messages saying she is “OK,” and sweet, exceptionally well-written e-mails, about their great times together and “perfect goodbyes.”  Emily is touched that Maya is reaching out to her, but torn as to whether she should clue Maya’s parents in to her possible whereabouts.  In the end, she decides to confront the St. Germaines with the information she has received.

The question is . . . did Emily jump the gun?  After all, Maya’s messages (particularly the e-mail) certainly SOUNDED like they were from Maya. But what if they weren’t?  After all, both messages were sent from an “undisclosed sender.”  Is it possible that “A” has been sending these messages, on Maya’s behalf, to keep her off the trail of a girlfriend in danger?  Only time will tell . . .

Come Crash Fly with Me!

Duncan Donut has two dates meetings with Aria, in this episode.  The first one is normal.   The second one is ridiculous.  First Duncan Donut meets Aria in the school courtyard, where he admits that he knows that Vivian Darkbloom was just an alias for Ali.  (No mention as to whether he believed that big ole black wig was actually her real hair.)

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He also seems to know a heck of a lot about Ali / Vivian’s friends, including Aria . . . “the writer . . . who keeps journals.”  Interesting . . . because the only time I’ve ever heard Aria even talk about writing was in the pilot episode . . . right before she humped Fitzy in the bathroom.  I thought the whole “writing thing” was just a pickup line.  Go figure!

Talk about being the bearer of bad news!  Aria then has to tell Duncan Donuts that Vivian/Ali is . . . you know . . . not-so-much alive,  anymore.  Check out Duncan Donut’s face in this scene.  He’s clearly shocked . . . and totally crushed by the news . . . either that, or he’s a really great actor.  P.S. He claims to have been with Ali / Vivian the weekend she supposedly disappeared . . .

Having had so much fun on her first date with Duncan Donut, Aria decides to set up a second one with him, this time in a totally secluded area in a town called Brookhaven.  Be careful Aria.  Your best frenemy hung out with this guy, and then DIED.  Does that make him a killer?  Not necessarily.  Does that make him REALLY bad luck? Absolutely . . .

So, you know those comedy sketches that take place in front of green screens, where it’s supposed to look like the television character is doing something CRAZY, like water skiing on Niagara Falls, or climbing the alps, or hanging off the top of Mount Rushmore.  But actually, they are basically just standing in front of a piece of paper with a picture on it.  Well, those all look WAY more realistic than the image of Aria and Duncan Donut flying a plane together on their date / mutual interrogation session.

Why does Aria get into a plane with this Admittedly-Hot, but not particularly stable-seeming loon, you ask?  It beats the hell out of me.  Supposedly, this was something Ali/ Vivian just loooooooved to do.  According to Duncan, flying with him (he has a license, she didn’t), made her feel free from all the little people on the ground, who were trying to kill her.  You know, because death-by-plane crash is much more pleasant than death-by-shovel-repeatedly-bashed-into-brain.  (So much for that dream!)

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Throughout the entire experience, Aria basically looks like she is about to pee in her pants.  So, of course, this gives Duncan Donut the brilliant idea to FORCE her to takeover the controls, despite her complete lack of experience flying planes, under the ridiculous rationalization that this will help her “understand” Ali.  (If you mean because they will both be dead, by the time they have finished with you, then, yes, this is a brilliant idea, Duncan Donuts.)

It certainly doesn’t help matters that Duncan is sporting a serious case of the Crazy Eyes throughout the entire scene.  I’ll be honest, this made me miss a lot of what the pair were talking about, because I was so busy screaming at my television, “Don’t kill Aria, before she gets to have that sex scene.  Ezria fans will FREAK!”

Nonetheless, here’s what I got out of this lovely near-death-by-green-screen conversation:

(1) Duncan Donut would have loved to have intimately explored Vivian’s “dark bloom” (if you catch my drift), before she died.  However, he suspected that there were other men out there, who were beating him to the punch.

(2) Aria admits to Duncan Donut that she thinks the police and the newspapers are wrong regarding Ali’s murder.   Creepy Pedo Ian didn’t kill Ali.  He was either framed, or willingly took the fall for someone else, before he died.

(3) Duncan Donut notes that on the weekend prior to Ali’s disappearence, he flew her to Philadelphia from Brookhaven, which means she had been back in town for hours, by the time she met up with the girls.  (What was she doing in Rosewood, during all those missing hours?)

(4) Duncan observed that Ali seemed “different” the last time he saw her.  He assumed this was because she had “just figured something out.”  However, the proponents of the “Ali has a twin” theory, could easily surmise that “Ali” seemed different, because she was actually a different person, than the one with whom Duncan had developed a relationship.

Oh yeah, and he and Aria didn’t end up dying in a plane crash.  So, yay for hot people surviving the danger of their own idiocy . . .

Speaking of men who want to put their hands all over Aria’s “controls” . . .

Fitzy Must REALLY Like that Couch . . .

Fitzy, you little lazy scamp, you . . . why do you always seem to be laying on that couch of yours?  Aren’t you afraid of falling asleep and missing your classes?  Do you actually teach any classes?  Or do they just pay you to sit on that couch and pretend to grade papers?

After “Who’s A?” and “Who killed Ali?” this is the third biggest mystery of PLL.  Fitzy is an enigma wrapped in plaid, wrapped in a nerdy sweater vest, wrapped in Aria’s arms . . .  He also seemed to grow a pair this week, when he was visited by not one, but BOTH elder Montgomery’s.

How did he grow a pair, you ask?  Well, he basically told them both where to stick it, in terms of their attempts to control his career / relationship with their daughter.  (Well, on second thought, he was a bit more polite to one than the other . . . bet you can’t guess which one . . .)

Oh, one more thing about Fitzy, before I recap the conversations he had with Aria’s parents . . . he can be a little . . . how do I put this kindly . . . intense .  . . when he’s feeling disrespected.  We saw this for the first time, during his “don’t wake a sleepwalker” speech to that scheming harlot, Jackie.

We saw it again tonight.  Now I’m not SAYING Fitzy is “A.”  (For one thing, he lacks a comprehensive motive . . . so far.)  However, I will say that those of you who subscribe to that theory, got a lot of juice out of his scenes in this episode . . .

First up was Mama Montgomery, who also, seems to rarely teach, as she just decided to hop on over to Hollis college smack in the middle of the day to give Fitzy a piece of her mind.  “I’m not an ally,” insists Mama Montgomery to the Perpetual Couch Dweller.  “I don’t have an opinion on [the job offer my husband is using to manipulate you to leave town].”  She adds.

“It matters what you think of me,” Fitzy replies stoically.  (Well, that was a nice thing to say, under the circumstances . . . I guess.)

And yet, lest you think this conversation is a total waste of time (which I’ll admit I did, initially), before leaving, Mama Montgomery lays her cards on the table, regarding why she REALLY made this long journey to Fitzy’s office in the middle of the day.  I’ll give you a hint: it starts with the letter “A.”

Apparently, Mama Montgomery is still very much hot on the trail of the “A” who (1) initially informed her about her husband’s affair; (2) clued in Byron to the continuing nature of the Ezria relationship; and (3) may or may not be torturing Aria and her friends on a fairly consistent basis.  So, she turns to Fitzy for clues, hoping that, perhaps, one of Aria’s Deep Dark Secrets will help yield another.

Fitzy’s words are brilliantly filled with alternative meanings, and double entendres, depending on whether you view him as an “A” suspect or not.  For those of you who view Fitzy as 100% innocent in the torture of Aria and her friends, his statements, “I would never intentionally hurt Aria,” and, “there was someone who would want to hurt [me], but not any more” seem perfectly honest and straightforward.  The first statement, simply refers to his complete and unabiding love for Aria, and the second refers to Jackie, the one person, aside from “A,” Aria’s parents, and, of course, Bushy Eyebrows Noel, who ever sought to ruin the Ezria relationship.

And yet, those who think Fitzy might be “A” see the statements in an entirely different light.  Assuming for a second that Fitzy was “A,” his statement regarding how he would never “intentionally hurt Aria,” seems to dovetail directly with fans “concerns” regarding the fact that, of all the liars, “A” goes the absolute easiest on Aria.  As for Fitzy’s statement about someone wanting to hurt him and Aria, but “not anymore,” well,  one might surmise that he was referring to Ali, herself . . .

Just a suggestion . . .

While Fitzy’s meeting with Mama Montgomery was all mixed meanings, and double entendres, his conversation with Papa Montgomery gives off a much clearer message.  And that message is: ‘I hate your guts . . . BASTARD.”

*insert growling noise*

Whatever your feelings are regarding Ezria, you have to admit that this scene was just incredibly fun to watch.  Initially, the two grown men are icy, yet cordial, to one another.  Fitzy informs Byron he’s not going to take the job in New Orleans, and Byron says he’s “sorry to hear that.”  But that’s when the gloves really come off.

Fitzy tells Byron that the reason he’s not taking the job in Mardi Gras town is that he doesn’t want Papa Montgomery to have that kind of “power” over him.  There was also some smack talk flying back and forth about which man had the bigger “ego.”

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 In other words, Classic Male Pissing Contest.  It was awesome.  Fitzy’s been running scared from the Montgomery’s for such a long time now.  It’s nice to see him finally taking charge of his own life even if he does end up being “A.”  Oh, and, after it was all over, he called Aria, and told her he loved her, thus proving that Classic Male Pissing Contests are exceptionally good for the libido  .  . .

“I wanna whack her like a pinata!”

Oh, Mona!  I used to find you insanely annoying.  But now I kind of adore your smart mouth, and warped sense of loyalty.  You are like the female version of the comedically- inclined hitman character on one of those mob shows.  (So, I really hope you don’t end up being “A.” like you were in the books.)

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Anywhoo, the PLL girls have plenty of good reasons why they want Abs Toby to stay away from Half-Blind, Eyepatch Jenna.  For one thing, that’s SPENCER’S man, dammit though, I still prefer Wren.  For another, Half-Blind is a fairly awful human being, who never really forgave the girls for their part in her blinding, and has more than once framed them for some Very Bad Things.  For a third, she’s just CREEPY.  And has been known to do things like rub Toby’s leg, while saying that she “wants to surround herself with things she love, and you [MY BROTHER WHO I LIKE TO SCREW] will be there too.

Get your paws off me, pirate!’ 

(By the way, where the heck are Half-Blind Jenna’s and Toby’s parents, during all this?  Did Half-Blind Jenna eat them?)

To be honest, I’m not quite sure why MONA hates Half-Blind Jenna (assuming she’s not “A,” of course).  But whatever the reason, she’s REALLY quick to offer a helping hand in getting Hanna some alone time with the Tobster, for anti-Jenna reasons.  (She’s also really quick to offer to basically BEAT HER TO DEATH, but that’s neither here nor there.)

“If you show me your abs, I’ll give you this car.”

Mona get Toby alone by offering a threesome with her and Half-Blind Jenna claiming to have some random “car question” for him.  But once she’s got him cornered, she’s out like a tubby girl in dogeball, and in comes Hanna.  Now, in Abs Toby’s defense, Hanna comes on just a LITTLE bit strong, with her whole, “How dare you hang out with your sister, when she’s so mean to your ex girlfriend,” logic.  That said, Abs Toby, is more than a bit douchey in response, by playing the whole “YOU BLINDED HER” CARD, and then storming off, like it’s his job.

Speaking of doucheyness, Abs Toby has an extra special dose of it lined up for Dr British Hotpants Wren, when he happens by Half-Blind Jenna in the hospital, on the day she is supposed to have her bandages taken off.  If looks could kill Hotpants would be one very sexy puddle on the floor.  That said, I have to give the Line of the Day Award to Half-Blind Jenna, who refers to Dr Hotpants as “Spencer’s personal physician,” and insists that “even a lie would sound good in that accent.”

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Truer words have never been spoken . . .

 Ali DiLaurentis – Closet Hoarder?

It’s odd, isnt’ it, that mere days after Maya goes missing, Facelift Vampire Jason pops by to claim that she ”just happened” to drop some of Ali’s stuff by the house, in a big fat duffelbag?  The PLL girls are thrilled, assuming that they will find something in the bag that leads to discovering who either “A” or Ali’s killer is.  Unfortunately, most of the stuff in there is just a bunch of childhood junk (though I did notice the Voodoo doll from the Halloween special in there. YAY, continuity!) . . . or is it?

While searching through the crap, the girls realize that the newspaper in which it is wrapped, is actually from prior to Ali’s disappearance, and contains within it, some sort of a code.  (Thank you Hanna for your insanely accurate memory of Michelle Obama’s wardrobe).  It seems that Ali and “A” were communicating with one another through personal and classified ads prior to Ali’s death.  (How very low tech!  I’m disappointed in you, A.)

In fact, on the weekend of Ali’s demise, she met “A” at .  . . wait for it . . . the Creepy Doll Hospital.

(Oh, Ali also has a creepy music box.  I’m not entirely sure why that’s relevant, but the producers seemed to focus on it a lot, so I figured I would throw it in there.)

Burning Up for Your Love

Upon realizing that the bag might contain even more clues than originally suspected, the girls rush to retrieve it from Facelift Vampire Jason’s porch, where they had dutifully returned it, earlier that day.  Hanna gets to do the honors.  So, you can imagine her suprise when HALF-BLIND JENNA’S FACE POPS OUT OF NO WHERE, and THE ENTIRE FIRST FLOOR BURSTS INTO FLAMES.

It’s Hanna and Spencer (when did she get here?) to the rescue, as they pull Half-Blind Jenna from the wreckage, just seconds before the flames . .  . excuse the expression, whack her like a pinata.

Off to the hospital we go to assess the damages.  Surprisingly, Hanna is absolutely fine, aside from her hair smelling like smoke (which, of course, brings back memories of Emily’s “I have glass in my hair,” moment.)  But Spencer has glass in her HANDS.  YAY!  Wait . . . why am I saying, yay, to Spencer’s injury?

THAT’S WHY!

Wren is “cleaning and mending Spencer’s hands” very carefully (which I wish was a euphemism for something, but isn’t).  He’s also talking to her in this super sweet and soft voice of his, and telling her that she has a very complicated life.  (See, Wren is smart!)   He then eye sexes her up, so hard, she pops out about ten eye babies.   Upon eye baby delivery, he asks her if she would like to pretend certain things between them (like massive makeout, eyesex, half-nude massages, and drunken sleepovers) never happened.

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Spencer responds, “HELL TO THE NO!”  (As most of us would.  Because, seriously, who would want to forget  any time spent with Dr Hotpants . . . I mean, really.)

In other news, Spencer’s mom is apparently not on Team Facelift Vampire Jason, for obvious reasons.  Spencer takes issue with this because . . . well . . . he’s her half-brother, a.k.a. family.  (Makes sense.)   In fact, judging by the way things are turning out for the Hastings brood,  he might very well be the most SANE hastings of the bunch . . .

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But for not so obvious reasons, Mama Hastings claims that SHE, and not her husband, was the one who spent $15,000 for the private investigator to find Ali.   Hmmm . . .  Why do I feel like we are still missing a big chunk of this story?  Toward the end of the episode, Facelift Vampire Jason and Mama Hastings seem to share some not entirely antagonistic words at the hospital.  So . . . um . . . progress!

Controlling the world . . . one Rosewood Resident at a time . . . 

Oh, I guess you’re interested in finding out how Half-Blind Jenna is, right?  Well, she’s fine . . . if you ignore the fact that she is still half-blind . . . hysterical crying . . . and of couse, an evil brother-f*&king shrew.  As it turns out, Half-Blind Jenna was in Facelift Vampire’s house based on a message she supposedly received from Jason . . . a message he claims he never sent.  In other words, “A” basically tried to have Half-Blind Jenna killed, but Hanna saved her life (with Spencer’s help).  “Where there’s smoke, there’s payback,” right?

Again, where the F*&k are Half-Blind Jenna’s parents?  HELLO!  YOUR KID ALMOST DIED!  Time to return from the mall, or wherever the heck it is you’ve been for 2.5 seasons

There is an interesting, and suprisingly divisive, scene toward the end of the episode, in which a tearful Half-Blind Jenna asks Hanna why she would possibly save her, given the awful history the two have with one another.  (The Slap Heard Round the World Comes immediately to mind here.)  To this, Hanna responds with a rather icy, “You’re welcome,” before exiting stage left.

Having perused the message boards, I notice that a lot of you felt this was rude of Hanna, considering Half-Blind Jenna’s emotional state.  However, I kind of think, under the circumstances, Hanna handled the situation quite well.

After all, Hanna and Half-Blind Jenna are NOT friends, in fact they are nearly enemies.  So Hanna certainly didn’t save the girl out of any fondness or loyalty she felt toward her.  Rather, she simply did it, because it was the RIGHT thing to do . . .  She probably would have done it for ANYONE . . . possibly even a complete stranger (like Duncan Donuts).  While this is a perfectly good reason to save someone’s life, it’s not a particularly nice thing to say to someone.:  “I saved you because I was SUPPOSED TO DO IT.”

And like Mommy always says, when you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all . . . which was exactly what Hanna did . . . at least in my opinion.  (That said, giving Jenna a little smile when she said it, certainly wouldn’t have hurt . . .)

In the final moments of the episode, Gloved Hand leaves Police Boy Garrett’s badge on the floor near Facelift Vampire Jason’s house, thereby implicating him in the fire.  In hindsight, he’d make for a good suspect, considering we’ve seen him arguing with Half-Blind Jenna, and angrily fleeing her home many times in the past.

Ahhh, the plot thickens.  Next week on PLL, more Creepy Dolls, Creepy Old Ladies, and an Ezria sex scene?  You can check out the promos here . . .

So, who do YOU think is A?  Until next time, my Pretties . . .

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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Daddy Dearest? – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ “Father Knows Best”

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Dads . . . scientifically speaking, we can’t live without them.  Though, by the end of this episode, three out of four of our Pretty Little Liars may have been wishing they could do just that.  Not Emily.   Her dad is awesome . . . which is probably why the writers are going to kill him off, just to make us cry.  Meanies!

I’m still not quite sure how I feel about “Father Knows Best.”  Don’t get me wrong.  It wasn’t a bad episode, by any means.  It gave us some solid insights into each of the girls’ families (Hint: Spencer’s family is CRAZY!), while providing us with some interesting clues as to A’s identity.

And yet, I kind of felt as though something was missing.  Perhaps, it was because the girls had little time in the midst of all their family drama, for their usual fun snarky interactions with one another.

Maybe it’s because not one of the girl’s significant others actively appeared in the episode.

(I refuse to count that ridiculous shot of possibly-Toby on the motorbike.) All I know is that I left the episode hungry for a bit more camp, and A-related chaos . . .

That said, I’m seriously considering replacing “Clowns” with “Dolls” at the top of my list of Things that are Supposedly Meant for Kids that Give Me Nightmares . . .  It’s been nearly 24-hours, and just thinking about that doll hospital still gives me chills . . .

So grab your dad, and strap on your favorite dress, and, for heaven sake, hide all those creepy dead girl pictures you have in your lock drawer, because it’s time for another Pretty Little Recap . . .

Emily Fields and the Case of the Missing Maya . . .

It’s a few days before Rosewood High School’s annual Father/Daughter Dance.  While Emily’s obviously psyched that her father traveled all the way from Texas just to attend, erstwhile-girlfriend Doobie-Lovin’ Maya’s recent disappearance has her feeling more than a bit distracted.  Fortunately for Emily, her dad is the most awesome dude on the planet, and is completely understanding of Emily’s predicament.

When Emily admits that she suspects Maya St. Pothead of possibly running away to San Francisco, so as not to have to attend Druggie Daycare, Papa Fields even shares with us a tale of his own days as a teenage runaway.  How cool is that?  That’s almost as good as your parents admitting to you that they used to smoke pot, when they were your age.  Not that I know this from experience or anything . . .  😉

Anywhoo, culling from his experience as a Teenage Bad Ass, Papa Fields cleverly suggests to his daughter that Marijuana Maya probably headed to the nearest bus station.  He reasons that bus transportation tends to be the quickest and cheapest way to get out of town in a pinch.  I liked how Papa Fields immediately offered to drive Emily down to the bus station, so that she could look for her friend, rather than immediately calling Maya’s parents, which would have been (in my opinion) a betrayal of her daughter’s trust.

Some might argue that Maya’s parents — who were undoubtedly extremely worried about their daughter — had a right to know this information.  And yet, it wasn’t really Papa Fields’ information to give.  Plus, if it turned out that Smokey St. Germaine had never gone to the bus station, the Fields’ “tip” would have done nothing more for the St. Germaine’s than get their hopes up about their daughter’s safe return home.

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At the bus station, Papa Fields shows off his awesomeness again, when the man on duty at the ticket booth is less than helpful in providing Emily with information.  Papa Fields plays the Army Card, and immediately gets Ticket Man to change his tune.  Suddenly, he absolutely remembers a totally stoned looking Maya purchasing a ticket to San Francisco, before, possibly, getting into a strange unmarked car and driving away.  It’s not exactly the news Emily wanted to hear, but at least it’s something . . .

Later on in the episode, Emily misses a phone call from Maya’s cell phone.  But when she calls the number, back she learns that the voicemail box is full.

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Well, that sucks . . .

You know what else sucks?  That Emily has to find out at the father/daughter dance that her awesome dad is going to be deployed to Afghanistan for six months.

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Why do I have a sinking suspicion the writers are going to kill off the best dad on this show, just to tug at our heartstrings, around sweeps week?  Here’s a hint for you, PLL writers: DON’T DO IT!

In other news, Gloved Hand takes a newspaper from a bin with Maya’s picture on the front page, and the words “Missing” emblazoned across the top.

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Silly Gloved Hand!  We already knew Girlfriend was missing.  You couldn’t have found something a wee bit more EXCITING and A-like to do besides reading yesterday’s news?  Just sayin . . .

Hanna Marin and the Case of the Police Report that will NEVER DIE . . .

You know how sometimes after a celebrity is big and famous, someone will come out of the woodwork with an old nudie picture of the actress from her starving artist days, and it creates a whole big “SCANDAL?”  Well, that’s kind of what happened to poor Hanna and her dirty little shoplifting secret.  That darn police report just keeps popping up everywhere, doesn’t it?

Now, it’s prompting Mama Marin to make more Not-So-Secret Meetings with Deputy Douchey, who suggests that Mommy Dearest steal her own daughter’s phone, to find out what exactly she’s been hiding.

Then again, maybe she just wants another excuse to get him naked .  . .

But hey, at least Mama Marin kinda cares about her kid.  The same can’t be said of Papa Marin, the guy who supposedly moved into town and enrolled his stepdaughter in Hanna’s school, so that he could spend more time with Hanna.   And yet, oddly enough, can’t be bothered to attend the Father/Daughter dance with EITHER of his kids, despite living right down the block from the school . . .

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Feeling more than a bit guilty, Mama Marin offers to attend the dance in her ex-husbands place . . . which sounds like a super sweet idea, until Hanna gets wise to her mother’s rendezvous with Deputy Douchey, and throws her cell phone in a sink filled with soapy water, in protest.

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Hanna Marin: Enemy to All Technological Devices . . .

Though the bold move solved the immediate problem of having Deputy Douchey or Mama Marin learn about “A,” it did little to solve the larger problem of the “Police Report.”  Oddly (and suspiciously) enough, it’s Mona who suggests that “the best liar of the group” confess to sending the report to Hanna, herself, as a way to stage an “intervention” on Hanna against future shoplifting excursions.

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I found it interesting that the girls immediately chose to crown Aria as “Best Liar” of the bunch.  I guess that’s true, somewhat.  This meta moment, was followed by another one, in which Aria hilariously confessed to Mama Marin, “A stand for Aria.  A stands for Anonymous.  I am A.”

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Could that be true?  Random Hot Guy at the end of the episode certainly seemed to think so, when he saw Aria wearing Ali’s alter ego “Vivian Darkbloom’s jacket” in the street,  and immediately referred to her as “Vivian.”  Upon seeing this case of mistaken identity play out, one can’t help but notice that Ali’s “Vivian Darkbloom” wig, does bear a striking resemblance to Aria’s natural hair color, style, and texture.

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Hmmm . . .

In other news, as good of a liar as Aria might, in fact, be, Mama Marin apparently doesn’t buy her story, which is why she teams up with Aria’s mom at the end of the episode to find out once and for all who this “A” person is, who has been torturing their daughters.  This can’t end well . . .

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Aria Montgomery and the Case of  . . . Lots of Pouting . . .

It was basically more of the same, in Arialand.   There, the littlest PLL girl, struggled with the notion of having to “play nice” with her pops, despite knowing that he tried to permanently cock block his own daughter, by shipping her lover off to the Big Easy.  With both Pops and Daughter being stubborn as mules,  it was up to Mama Montgomery, and formerly crazy, but now seemingly perfect, Little Brother Mike to keep the peace.

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Mommy did her part, by convincing Aria to attend the dance with her dad, despite her protests.   As for Mike (who would like you to know that he’s a REAL man, who shaves now . . . yessiree!) . . .

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 . . . he subtly and politely asks Aria, whether all the trouble that her dating Fitzypoo is causing the Montgomery family is worth while.

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She replies that “When you love someone it’s worth fighting for.”

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I wonder if Little Mikey has ever been in love.  I find the character intriguing, and was kind of disappointed when they unceremoniously dropped his storyline earlier in the season.  I hope they revisit it soon . . .

Lest you think Little Mikey is on Team Dad, he also has some choice words for Papa Montgomery, later on in the episode, about how the latter might not be really giving his daughter a chance, by actually listening to what she has to say, in regards to Fitzy.

Nonetheless, despite the rest of the families’ encouragement, the Father/Daughter Dance does not go well for the Montgomery duo.    In fact, it all ends, pretty sh*tty, with Aria huffily refusing to take a picture with her father, arguing that, “I’m not your little girl, anymore.”

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Now, I’ve certainly never been a fan of Byron Montgomery’s.  But, I have to say, my heart went out to him just a smidge in this scene.  Maybe it’s because my dad isn’t around anymore.  And I would do absolutely anything to get to take my picture with him again, dance with him, and have him call me his “little girl.”  But I guess that makes me a bit biased . . .

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What do you think, my Pretties?  Was Aria’s treatment of her dad at the Father/ Daughter dance overly harsh?  Or did the punishment meet the Ezria cockblocking crime?

Spencer Hastings and the Case of “Which of My Family Members is a Murderer?”

As screwed up as the rest of PLL girls families might be, Spencer’s family definitely takes the wackadoodle prize!

When we last left Spencer, she was stupidly heading off alone in a car with her surely-psycho sister, sans cell phone.

This week, she’s already in the car.   And so far, Melissa has not yet bludgeoned her with a butcher knife.

I take that as a good sign . . .

Anyway, Spencer’s still wondering why Melissa ditched her to go hang out with Police Boy Garrett.  (I’d say, Spencer should be THANKING her for doing that, because it enabled her to have more makeout time with that Hot Doc, Wren.  But that’s neither here nor there.)

Melissa makes up some excuse about wanting to talk to the Police Boy about her supposedly murderous husband Dead Creepy Pedo Ian.  I, for one, don’t buy it.

If you are feeling guilt about Marrying a Psychopath, tell your shrink, or your priest.  Don’t tell the Local Police Boy.  How exactly do you think he’s going to heal you, by handcuffing you, and telling you to “Get Up Against the Wall and Spread Em?”

“Well, I’d certainly enjoy that.” 

That said, even though I don’t trust Melissa, I don’t think she’s “A” either.  If she was, she probably wouldn’t have admitted to her sister, that she threatened the dead girl, by sending A-like texts to her, when the latter started making out with her boyfriend in public places.  The setup . . . the motive . . . it all just seems a bit too simplistic too me.

Plus, having Melissa end up being “A” after learning all the suspect things she did, just three episodes prior would be more than a bit anticlimactic for fans, I suspect.  That said, at least now we know why Melissa was in that video on A’s phone.  And why Jonah traced one of the cell phones that called Ali to the law firm where Melissa used to intern.

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When the rest of the PLL girls, learn Melissa’s excuse, they immediately want to turn her in to the cops.  But the ever-loyal Spencer, asks for more time to clear her sister’s name.  And why not?  When her equally psycho dad would make just as solid of a suspect in Ali’s murder!  Boy, when they were handing out family members in Heaven, Spencer Hastings must have been in the bathroom.  There sure are a lot of runts in her litter, aren’t there?

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Speaking of Spencer’s dad, like Aria’s not-so-proud papa, Spencer’s sire is also trying desperately to make amends for past wrongs.  Check out the I’m Sorry I Fathered a Bastard Big Brother of Yours and Never Told You About It Designer Necklace.  Spencer’s not quite sure how to react to this token of monetary affection.  So, she starts by snooping around her dad’s office, while he’s out playing tennis.

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There, she finds a number of naughty things, including porn a copy of a check made for $15,000 to cash . . . which just so happens to be precisely the amount of blackmail money Ali had lying around, and a folder filled with a bunch of creepy photographs of Ali.

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“Why is every male I know a TOTAL PEDO?” 

One thing she didn’t find in dad’s drawer, was a gun.  You know, because “A” already STOLE that . . .

And where does Spencer confront her dad about all this?  You guessed it, the Father/Daughter Dance.

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“Out of all my legitimate children, you were always my second favorite.” 

After she drops the bomb shell, she then dashes outside to see a mysterious leathered up figure riding past her on a motorcycle, “Toby?” She stage whispers.

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But whoever it is just rides right past her . . .

Now what the hell was the point of that?

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Once at home, Spencer admits to finding the incriminating items in Daddy-o’s drawer.  He explains them both away, by saying that he used the money and the pictures to hire a private investigator to find Ali, shortly after she went missing.  He claims that because he knew Melissa was threatening the girl earlier, he was hoping he might be able to clear her name.

I don’t know, it all sounds a bit too convenient for me. Besides, since when do you need 80 pictures of a girl to send to a private investigator?  Shouldn’t one or two suffice?  And besides, why exactly did Papa Hastings have SO MANY pictures of Ali, on hand, in the first place  It’s all a bit creepy, if you ask me.  Unless, of course, he ends up being HER father too . . .

While rifling through his now thoroughly searched drawer, Papa Hastings finally figures out that SOMEONE has stolen his gun . . . someone who has a key to his home and his lock drawer.

Once Spencer assures him she’s not a gun thief, Papa Hastings call the cops.

It’s not until they arrive that a frantic Melissa — who claims to have been “watching television” in the “no television” cabin — escapes back to her home in Philly.  Wow, someone really has something to hide, doesn’t she?  Melissa’s parting words to Spencer are that, if things get too tough, “I will always be around to protect you.”

“Riiiiiiiiight.” 

Why is that statement, when coming out of the mouth of a freakazoid like Melissa, not at all comforting?

Now, I remember . . . 

Newsflash: Dolls are Scary.

So, do you guys remember Jonas ?  The guy who bilked Spencer and Facelift Vampire Jason out of a crapload of money, just to give them the address to some old abandoned law firm?  Well, apparently, the guy’s been withholding some information.

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Apparently, Melissa’s phone wasn’t the only one threatening Ali.  She was also receiving calls from another number.  . . one in a nearby town called Brookhaven . . . a telephone that “A” likely dialed, while standing in front of the Creepiest Doll Hospital ever.  (Of course, in Doll Hospital’s defense, this is probably the first Doll Hospital, I have ever seen . . .)

Looking in the window, the girls immediately recognize the dolls as highly similar to the blackmail-bearing Chuckie dolls they received from “A” last season.  The plot . . . oh how it thickens.

In other news, Aria apparently didn’t dress weather appropriate for the Doll Hospital excursion.  Fortunately, Dead Ali’s alter ego’s red coat is still waiting in the trunk of the car.  The minute she puts it on, from the back, Aria looks exactly like the infamous “Virginia Darkbloom.”  Special Hot Guest Star must think so too, because the minute he sees her, he starts calling her “Vivian.”

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That Dead Ali!  She sure did get around, both literally, and figuratively, in her short life, didn’t she?

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And that (aside from the obligatory showing of Gloved Hand READING A NEWSPAPER) was Father Knows Best, in a nutshell.

Next week on Pretty Little Liars, Toby returns, Blind Jenna gets a super eye patch, and Hanna BLOWS UP.  It’s all just another day’s work for “A” . . .  You can check out the trailers for the episode here:

See you next week, My Pretties!

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YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH! – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ “Breaking the Code”

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Caleb must have accidentally slipped a video from his personal porn collection into the “A” attachment . . .

The Truth hurts sometimes, My Pretties!  And for a group of characters, who have become rather accustomed to spending their lives tiptoeing from one lie to the next, sometimes the pain of facing real, honest-to-goodness, truth can be just about unbearable.  In “Breaking the Code,” all of our PLL girls were forced to confront some pretty ugly truths, both about themselves, and about the people they loved.  How they react to this knowledge will undoubtedly shape the events of these crucial upcoming weeks, as we get closer and closer to finally figuring out the identity of “A”!

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So head on over to your favorite abandoned law firm, drink some tequila shots with the hottest doctor in town, and plan a tea party with your mom and boyfriend, because it’s time for another Pretty Little Recap . . .

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“Did I catch you in the middle of a nap?”

That Mona!  For a girl who supposedly became Queen B, around the time Princess Ali kicked the bucket, she sure does get the short end of the Friend Stick, where Hanna is concerned.

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Between her endless “A” investigations, dramatic family issues, and regular interludes of sex on Spencer’s Nana’s couch with Caleb, it seems as though Hanna constantly has better things to do, than to go shopliftping with Mona.  This, of course, makes Mona’s receipt of text messages from “A” seem more than a bit convenient, don’t you think?

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Now, suddenly, Mona has something else to talk to Hanna about, aside from whether she should wear pure silk or a poly blend to some party.  And it’s a good thing too, because life sure seems to be distracting Hanna from the “important things,” lately.  “Did I catch you in the middle of a nap?”  Mona inquires, when Hanna isn’t giving Mona’s new clothing “purchases” the attention the latter feels they deserve.

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You know what DOES get Hanna’s attention though  . . . Mona’s admission that “A” has been feeding her intel about Hanna’s mom and Deputy Douchey, that’s what!  You know, like, for example pictures of the two of them making sweet, sweet love IN FRONT OF AN OPEN BEDROOM WINDOW  (Because that’s precisely the place you take all your secret lovers, right?) . . . and police reports about Hanna shoplifting that were expunged, after Mama Marin and Deputy Douchey made sweet, sweet love IN FRONT OF AN OPEN BEDROOM WINDOW.

“Are you looking at my bum?   You dirty bum-looker!” 

This is some pretty damaging stuff!  (Not as damaging as the fact that Mama Marin stole money a dead lady, mind you, but pretty damaging nonetheless.)  Now, suddenly, Hanna is very, very interested in what Mona has to say, indeed . . .

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Of course, this is PLL, not Gossip Girl.  So, when “A” shares information with you, it’s not just as an FYI.  Usually there’s a catch involved to knowing certain things, even if you weren’t interested in knowing them in the first place.  Now, “A” is threatening Mona to rat out Mama Marin, or SHE will be the one put under fire for her own pretty little shoplifting habit!

“Moi?”

What’s Mona going to do?  Sell out her bestie, in order to ensure her own safety?  It’s not really Hanna’s place to say.   But Mona’s confession does put her in a really awkward position with her friend . . . not to mention, make her feel EXTREMELY guilty.

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Fortunately for Hanna, Mona ends up being loyal, and turning herself in for shoplifting instead  . . .

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I don’t believe it either, Hanna.

. . . an act of valor which results in her getting to do some PLL-themed community service, like all the other characters in our story.

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(Poor Mona!  And she would have been such a good crisis center call responder too . . . such sensitivity to those less fortunate than herself!)

It also earns Mona a spot at the PLL girl’s lunch table . . . an honor she’s been denied, multiple times in the past.  The invitation in question, comes after Mona gets yet another threat from “A,” this time on an apple, of all things.

If I were “A”, I would have probably just written “bite me.”  But I guess this works too . . .  

Hmmm . . . on one hand, I’m happy to see Mona finally getting treated right by Hanna, and accepted into the fold, by the other girls.  She really has come a long way from that girl who ripped up, poured soda on, and tossed out, Caleb’s first declaration of love for Hanna.

And yet, if Mona DID end up being “A,” wouldn’t her sudden receipt of text messages, and act of valor involving Hanna be the PERFECT ALIBI, not to mention a great way to get in close with her victims, and mine them for additional information.  (“Keep your friends close . . . and all that.)

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I hope I’m wrong.  But it’s all starting to look mighty suspicious to me.  Speaking of suspicious . . .

“I’m The MONEY!”

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I just love when Spencer goes into Law and Order mode!  Her tough-girl rendition of, “I’m the money,” when that creepy Jonah dude met with her and Aria to give them tracer information on the cell phone from whom Ali was getting calls, nearly had me in hysterics.  Too bad they spent $2,000 of Jason’s money, and only got themselves one stinky address.  (I could of told them, the call was from a prepaid cell phone!)

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Though the girls initially plan to seek out the address in question immediately, they can’t because Police Boy Garrett is watching them .  . . Correction:  he’s ALWAYS watching them!  And we wonder why so many bad things happen in Rosewood to the teenage population!  It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that all the cops in town are too busy stalking their underage ex girlfriend’s enemies, or diddling the parents of crime suspects, now could it?

Eventually though, the girls manage to give Police Boy the slip long enough to stake out the address.  And it ends up belonging to an old abandoned law firm, and the CREEPIEST LOOKING OLD GUY EVER!  Seriously, I’m talking Freddy Krueger levels of frightening.

“That’s not A!”  Captain Obvious Emily remarks, as the pair dash away from this oldster, and escape the abandoned, but not entirely forgotten, premises.

But wouldn’t it be hilarious, if that was “A”.  Just the idea of this guy sending Mean Girl text messages to Emily, and scrawling threatening letters to Mona on an apple is enough to make me giggle . . .

As much as Jonah’s Ice Cold Tip might have seemed like a red herring at first, the law firm in question actually ends up being linked to not one, but two, characters on the show .  . . one of whom is pretty close to the top of the “A” suspect list.  For starters, it’s the law firm that represented Mama Marin in her divorce from Papa Marin.

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 Second, it’s where MELISSA HASTINGS interned, back when she was a student.

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But the bigger question for me is, why the hell did the firm shut down, in the first place?  Most law firms don’t just close up shop over night, and sell their real estate to creepy, Freddy Krueger-looking old guys.  Something pretty bad must have gone down at that firm, in order for this to occur . . . just sayin . . .

“The first time I saw you, I just thought, ‘Damn!'”

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Ahhh, now for my absolute FAVORITE part of this episode.  While continuing to decode A’s cell phone, Caleb unearths another piece of the same video taken from Ali’s room, that we’ve been viewing part and parcel, for weeks now.  Up until this point, we’ve always assumed that the NAT club was sent scattering from the room, because Ali herself was returning there.  But, as it turns out, the person from whom the NAT club was running wasn’t Ali at all .  . . it was . . .  wait for it . . . a TOTALLY PSYCHO-looking Melissa.  Seriously, girlfriend looked full scale Crazy Nanny Carrie in those video shots!

(I know I keep using them, but I just love these pll-ichats.  They are hilarious!)

No wonder the PLL girls were screaming so loud!  Crazy Face Melissa could give Freddy Krueger looking old guy a real run for his money, in the evil entrances department.  The rest of the girls, of course, want to turn the video over to the police right away . . .Now, this seems a bit moronic, if you ask me.  After all, how many times are these girls going to give up the goods to the police department, before they realize that the Rosewood PD is (a) completely useless, (b) always ends up using the information against the girls, and (c) is probably working for “A.”

Aside from that, stomping into someone’s bedroom angrily, far from makes you a killer.  Then again, she does look pretty f*&king crazy in that picture.  Anyone could see that . . . well, except for maybe Blind Jenna.

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Inappropriate?

Not wanting to turn in her pregnant sister to the cops, so soon after (1) her husband died / killed himself / was murdered; (2) she got into a car accident and almost lost the baby; and (3) she just found out that her parents have an illegitimate child she used to enjoy making out with, Spencer begs the rest of the girls for another 24 hours, to talk to Melissa, and get HER side of the story, before they turn her in.

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Here’s the thing about Melissa.  I kind of think her being “A” is too obvious, especially since she was painted pretty firmly in the suspect corner this week.  And, remember, we still have at least two episodes left in the season, before we learn A’s true identity.  What I do think about Melissa though, is that she might have been the one Ali was blackmailing with information about Jason’s paternity.  There was just something about the way Melissa acted early on in the episode when that information was revealed, just didn’t strike me as that genuine.

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The blackmail option would also explain Melissa’s angry presence in Ali’s room, on the night she died . . .

As for Spencer, the possible guilt of her sister isn’t the only harsh truth she has to face, in this week’s episode.   She also learns that Aria’s been lying to her about not seeing Fitzy, when, in actuality,  the two were sucking face on a weekly basis, the whole time Spencer was whining to her about the loss of Toby.

Then, to make matters worse, when Spencer goes to meet Melissa at a local bar, to discuss her appearance on the tape (Yes, because a bar is an absolutely GREAT place for an underage girl and a pregnant woman to meet!) . . .

. . . Melissa BLATANTLY ditches her for Police Boy Garrett, of all people.  Worse yet, Spencer WATCHES her do it, and lie about it, from the window of the bar!

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(Rumor has it, these two have been spending A LOT of time together.  It was even implied, during the episode, that Melissa’s current spawn, might actually belong to the Policeboy.  Crazy Eyes sure does get around, doesn’t she?)

Just kidding . . . please don’t kill me.

Is it any wonder that, by the end of the night, an emotionally exhausted Spencer is ready to get totally snockered on tequila with Dr. McSexypants himself, Wren?

I know I’d do it, if I were her!  After engaging in some innocent bar flirting, Wren ends up taking Spencer back to his place, where she drinks even more, and starts drunkenly seducing the older man, like it’s her job!

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“The first time I saw you, I thought, DAMNNNNN,” coos Spencer in Wren’s ear, as she shimmy shakes around him like a dancer in a burlesque show.

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(That’s funny.  This is exactly how I reacted, the first time Wren was on MY TV screen.  Go figure!)

It’s rather impressive, actually.   Then the pair share a pretty adorable conversation about which one of them is more screwed up / comes from a more screwed up family.  (Hint: Wren don’t even bother, Spencer’s got it in the bag!)  During the conversation, Spencer admits to being a competitive perfectionist (duh!), even when it comes to yoga.  As for Wren, apparently he’s so OCD about organizing his books alphabetically, that when Spencer teasted him about having an Aristotle book out of place (What kind of twenty-something actually owns a book by Aristotle?  Oh Wren, it’s a good thing you’re so hot!), he actually stopped macking with Spencer to stare at his bookshelf.  Silly boy!

Skewed priorities aside, the chemistry between Wren and Seduction Mode Spencer (it’s always the straight-laced ones that end up being the craziest drunks) was white hot!  And what was even white hotter, was the fact that Wren, despite clearly be tempted, ultimately played the part of a gentleman, by not taking advantage of Spencer, in her vulnerable situation.

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He did, however, let her sleep on his couch, and offer her an invitation to return, whenever she likes.  They tongue kissed to seal the deal, of course.

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Wren might not want to take advantage of Spencer.  But something tells me Spencer will be taking advantage of that body of Wren’s very, VERY soon.  Can you blame her?

In other news, Melissa finally decided to show up and talk to Spencer.  But she insisted on taking her to a remote place to do it, and just seemed really squirrely throughout the entire conversation.  What’s worse, the usually smart Spencer, decided to go off with Crazy Eyes, herself, WITHOUT TAKING HER CELL PHONE.

Clearly, all those hot Wren kisses, must have gone to her head . . .

Speaking of face sucking . . .

When the going gets tough, (the tough eat your face) . . .

Maya may actually have made good on her threat to run off to San Francisco, rather than return to True North to conquer her “doobie problem.”

All Emily knows is that she hasn’t been returning any of her calls.  But as is usually the case with Emily, the very minute she seems like she might be single again, a buzzer goes off in the heads of every lesbian in Rosewood.  And suddenly, they are all in hot pursuit.

“Ooh . . . ooh . . . pick me . . . pick me . . . my turn!”

This time, Emily’s aggressor is Paige, a.k.a. as Little Orphan Butchie, (though now that she has a better haircut, the title is admittedly no longer appropriate).

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When we first see Paige, she’s all zen and thrilled about having finally come out to her parents.  And it’s not long, before she’s making flirty and suggestive comments to Emily, about the possibility of a rehash of their earlier, tumultuous relationship.

*clears throat*

Paige may be more out and proud than she was when we first met her, but when it comes to reading relationship cues, she still has a heck of a lot to learn.  Case in point, when a crying Emily admits to Paige that Maya and her had a fight, after which the former went missing, Paige decides this is a great opportunity to RAPE EMILY’S FACE.  Oops.

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Emily literally runs away, horrified.

And as much as I was never Paige’s biggest fan, I can’t help but feel bad for her and her utter cluelessness.  Then again, she did try to DROWN Emily, once before, which undermines my sympathy for the character, just a smidge  . . .

At the end of the episode, the police come to Emily’s doorstep to talk about Maya.

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Golly gee, I hope she didn’t burn down that law office, while sparking a big ole’ doobie . . . Seriously, though, I hopes she’s OK . . . unless she ends up being “A,” in which case, GOOD RIDDENS . . .

Speaking of good riddens .  . .

It’s an Ezria Tea Party! (a.k.a.  Now A’s messing with the Moms!)

Ladies, what the heck was the deal with Fitzy, this week?

And why was Aria wearing that bizarre early 90’s ensemble?  She looked like an extra from Saved by the Bell . . .  Was it just me, or was he SUPER CALLOUS in that car scene,  with Aria, in which he contemplated dumping her, and running off to New Orleans, for his new boyfriend Byron?

Yes . . . Fitzy . . . you were a dick . . . yes, you were.

On one hand, this isn’t the first time, Fitzy has been scared away by Aria’s parents, and frightened into giving up on the couple’s May/December romance.  But the way he treated her, while he was doing it, just seemed uncharacteristically cold to me . . . particularly when he left her alone crying in the car, and then proceeded to WATCH HER CRY, STONEFACED, from his car, for about five minutes, before driving away.

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It was just an odd scene, all around, in my opinion.  Though on a positive note, Lucy Hale definitely does give good cry.  I’m not ashamed to admit, I got a little teary .  . .

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Make that A LOT teary . . .

Speaking of odd, Aria’s mom is suddenly all up in A’s grill, because of that note Papa Montgomery got last week, cluing him in to the location of Aria’s ultimately canceled date with Fitzy.  Now, she’s decided to find out, for herself, who A is.  That can only lead to BAD THINGS, me thinks . . .

*insert hissing noise here*

But the hunt for A isn’t the only aspect of Aria’s life that Mama Montgomery has started to dip into.  She’s also decided to reevaluate her stance on the whole Ezria issue, after receiving a tearful tongue lashing from Aria regarding Papa Montgomery’s plans to ship Fitzy down to the bayou (probably in hopes that he would be eaten by alligators).  Honestly, ladies, it doesn’t get much more awkward than your mother plopping down on the couch at your boyfriend’s couch, and staring at you, while you all pretend to drink tea.

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That said, I do give Mommy Dearest some props for her willingness to hear her daughter out . . .

Speaking of self-sacrificing mom’s, Mama Montgomery might not be the only PLL Mommy hot on A’s trail.  When Mama Marin finds the police report A threatened Mona with, her first thought is that Deputy Douchey sent it, in hopes of forcing Mama Marin to have more sex with him.  But when she confronts the latter with the offending document, he seems just as freaked out by it, as she is!  And with good reason!  Last I checked, accepting sexual favors in return for sentencing clemency, was generally frowned upon, in law enforcement . . . no matter how good one might look, dressed in nothing but a towel . . .

In the final moments of the episode, we see “A” using the gun she stole from Spencer Hasting’s desk to do some pretty on-point target practice.

Be afraid, PLL girls.   Be very afraid!

And that was “Breaking the Code” in a nutshell, my Pretties.  Next week on PLL, we get a father/daughter dance, a missing persons poster, Toby on a motor cycle, and Spencer’s dad repeatedly saying things, like “pump up the jam.”  (Hey Mr. Hastings, 1992 called.  It wants that phrase back.)  You can check out the promo for the episode, here . . .

Until next time, my Pretties!

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[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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Snitches, and Phonies, and Liars (Oh my!) – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ “The Naked Truth”

Greetings, my Pretties!   And Happy Truth Up Day!  Considering how, most PLL episodes revolve around the lies various characters tell, and the secrets they keep, I thought it was kind of fitting to have an episode that focused on truth, for a change.  “The Naked Truth” was all about characters stripping down, spilling their guts, and coming clean.  So, open up your blacklight pen, and power up your photo shop, because it’s time for another Pretty Little Recap . . .

Change your attitude . . . Change your coat

Don’t you just hate it when someone uses your phone to take a naked picture of themselves someone else, and then sends that picture to the ENTIRE SCHOOL?

Maybe not . . . 

Our episode begins in the Principal’s Office, where Hanna and her mother are facing child pornography trafficking charges.  And yet our favorite blonde still can’t be bothered to put her cell phone on vibrate.  Awk-warrrrrd  . . .

*cell phone begins to play “Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO*

HANNA and KATE: (in unison) “That’s not mine.”

PRINCIPAL: “Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle YEAH!” 

Want even more awkward?  How about the fact that everyone in this room answers to the same last name?

Anywhoo . . . Evil Stepmonster Mommy thinks Hanna should be expelled for sending the nudie shot, in question, which, of course, Hanna denies taking, in the first place.  Through it all, Evil Stepsister Kate sits in silence crying crocodile tears, and wondering whether the principal is picturing her naked, while he’s talking to her.  (Yes, Kate.  He absolutely is!)

“I’ve already printed out a copy for my wallet!” 

Rather than expel Hanna for a crime she swears she didn’t commit, Mr. Principal decides instead that the two girls should air out their own differences, while in the same group at the school sponsored lock-in type event, “Truth Up Day.”

Meanwhile, back at Spencer’s house, the rest of the PLL girls are very confused about the Pretty Little Red Peacoat they retrieved using Ali’s old storage claim tag, under the pseudonym Vivian Darkbloom.

ARIA: “It’s only one color . . . and doesn’t come with any loud patterns.   Lame!”

SPENCER: “Where’s the matching hat?  I need my matching hat!”

EMILY: “I bet Maya would think I looked hot in that jacket . . .” 

Emily seems unusually tense about the whole situation.  “I feel like we are in a bad place,” she warns.

Spencer, of course, is having none of that.  “We are in my living room, Emily.  We are holding a coat,” she retorts . . .

Game, set, match, for Spencer, on that one . . .

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Since the peacoat in question is not really Ali’s style, the girls suspect that Ali used it to perpetuate her Vivian Darkbloom identity, in hopes of bringing down “A,” once and for all.

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While fondling the dead girl’s coat, the girls notice a slip of paper containing a telephone number, in one of the pockets.

“Who the heck writes down  telephone numbers, anymore?  That’s what cell phones are for!  Silly, Vivian Darkbloom!” 

The girls promptly dial the number, and leave a message, claiming to be “friends of Vivian’s,” which, isn’t a lie . . . at least, not exactly  . . .

From Boil-n-Baggies to Bags of Pills to Bad Intentions . . .

At school, everyone is looking at Hanna like she’s a TOTAL PERV!

Meanwhile, Emily is SUPER pissed at the principal, for keeping her off the swim team, based solely on that whole, the “PLL Girls Touched the Ali Murder Shovel” thing .  . .  Also at school,  Holden should really learn to keep his school bag closed, especially, if that’s where he wants to hide his drugs.

“Oh, hello there, Holden’s Drugs.  Fancy meeting you here!” 

“Doh!” 

“It only works, if you pull on the end,” says Holden to Aria, as the two tug on opposite ends of a ream of paper.  And my mind immediately goes to dirty places . . .

A few feet away, someone trips over Holden’s bag, sending the telltale pill bag flying out into the open.   “Oh Hol-den!  You have some ‘splaining to do!”

Upon seeing the pills, Aria gets that look on her face, that actresses tend to reserve for Lifetime Movies and After School Specials . . .

*insert dramatic, Drugs are BAAAAAAD, music here*

Meanwhile, Blind Jenna is canoodling with Bushy Eyebrows Noel  . . .

Please excuse me for a moment, while I go hurl . . . 

OK . . . I’m back now. 

Then, Spencer runs into Facelift Vampire Jason at the school, you know because he’s a diddler of teenagers “mentor” and stuff.   He tells Spencer that she should give her dad a “message” that he’s been awaiting his call.  But Facelift Vampire Jason says “message” like most of us would say threatening, scary things like, “knife through the throat,” “bullet wound to the head,” and, in Facelift Vampire Jason’s case, “bite on the neck.”  So, you really can’t blame Spencer for being a bit concerned, on her father’s behalf, douchey as said father might be . . .

“I want to suck your blood, chew off your face, and give your father a ‘message.'”

“Oh no!  Not a ‘message’ . . . anything but that!”

Then, Aria’s mom comes by to beg Facelift Vampire Jason to be a chaperone at Truth Up Day.  (Because that’s just what high schools need at their sleepover events, more bloodsucking vampire chaperones!)

That’s Aria’s mom, doing her best vampire impression . . . 

At first, Facelift Vampire Jason says “no dice.”  It’s really hard to suck on teenagers, with all those pesky chaperones around.  But when Aria’s mom casually notes that Spencer’s parents might be there, he promptly changes his mind.  Hey, maybe he will get the chance to deliver his “message” after all!

At Hanna’s house, Hanna’s mom confronts her about the whole pervy child porn picture thing. She reminds Hanna that she would crush anyone who tried to hurt her daughter.  But she needs to know who’s during the “hurting,” before she can start doing the “crushing.”

“I’ll give her a ‘message’ she’ll never forget.” 

Hanna looks genuinely distraught, but flawlessly so.  (As an ugly crier myself, I’m always seriously jealous of those people with a talent for “pretty crying.”  And Hanna is a Gorgeous Crier.)

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Hanna wants her mother to know that she didn’t do this totally awful thing.  Yet, if she spills the beans about “A,” she will be potentially putting yet another person she loves in danger.  And she definitely doesn’t want to do that.  So, instead, she continues to suffer in silence . . .

“Why not just skip the step, and jump out the window?”

Awkwardness abounds, as the students arrive at Rosewood, armed with sleeping bags, and cellphones that have been forcibly turned off.  A misty chill hangs in the air between Aria and Holden, now that Aria thinks Holden is a High School Drug Lord.  Glares are exchanged between Hanna and Evil Sister.  And Facelift Vampire Jason growls with fangy rage, when he learns that Spencer’s dad won’t be present at the event.  But, hey, at least he could deliver his “message” to Spencer’s mom!

“You and your messages better stay away from me.  I’m a lawyer!” 

Oh, an then there’s Blind Jenna creepily playing the piano in the music room.  First the flute, now the piano.  Is there any instrument in the world this girl doesn’t play?  Next, we will probably see her with a tambourine, or massive-sized harp . . .

“I guess Three Blind Mice would be an inappropriate song to request.” 

 Also in the group with Blind Jenna — and led by Spencer’s mom, and Facelift Vampire Jason — are Caleb and Aria.  It’s fun to get to see these two interact with one another, for a change.

I’d ship it, but I’m pretty sure Hanna would beat me up, if I did . . . 

Emily and Mona are in Hanna’s mom’s group.  And these two are saucy little duo.  When Mama Marin suggests the students take a step forward, if they don’t want to be “here”  . . .

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 . . .  Mona suggests this, instead . . .

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As for Emily, she decides to take multiple steps forward for every statement Mama Marin makes, because she thinks just one, is simply not enough . . .  (She’s also probably one of those girls, who always cheated at “Mother May I,” when she was a kid.  I HATED those girls.  I played “Mother May I” fair, dammit!)

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Emily’s real gripe, of course, is against the Principal for continuing to keep her off the swim team.  The fact that he happens to be there at the time, allows her to direct her dagger glare at his smug face.  “Message” sent . . . and received.

“I’m currently experiencing a pain where my heart is supposed to be.  Is this guilt, or just indigestion?” 

The Principal calls Emily over, and basically tells her she’s not on the swim team, because she’s a bad seed, sucks, and pretty much deserves everything she gets . . .  How’s that for making students feel “welcome” at their school!

“This is why, in high school horror movies, the principal always dies first.  Just sayin'” 

Mona watches this exchange from a far with interest.  You could just tell she’s cooking up a plan in that devious little mind of hers . . .

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Speaking of not feeling welcome, Aria conveniently forgets to turn off her phone, which allows her to get yet another text message from “A.”  This time, the target seems to be Aria’s “new friend.”

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So . . . who’s the friend?  Is it Beard Boy Holden, or Techno Boy Toy Caleb?  Always more questions . . .

The Blame Game

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In Hanna and Evil Stepsister Kate’s bouncy ball tossing group, Kate whines that people at her new school aren’t “nice people.”  (Yeah, Kate, because YOU’RE a real sweetheart!)  Bushy Eyebrows Noel takes opportunity to leer at Kate, and tell her how nice she looks, all “nekkid.” The Caterpillars that live above his eyeballs seem to agree . . .

The whole exchange causes Hanna to blow up, and ask her group whether they really think she’s a bully.  Ooh . . .here’s a hint, Hanna.  Don’t ask questions, if you REALLY don’t want to know their answers . . .

Fortunately, Caleb is waiting for her on the roof, with a hug, some words of encouragement, and a little tongue  . . .

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“Oh honey.  You are just too good in bed to be a bully!”

Oh, did I mention that Caleb put the smackdown on puss-faced Blind Jenna in group, after she started b*tching and complaining about how terribly SHE gets treated at school?

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It was pretty effing awesome, I’m not going to lie.  In fact, I haven’t had this much fun during a PLL episode, since Hanna slapped Jenna in the face . . .

 OK . . . so that might have seemed REALLY rude, back then.  But now we know the wench had it coming . . .

During a brief break, Emily takes the time to apologize to Mona for the way Ali used to bully her.  Mona claims she’s WAY past that “That was like, two personalities ago!” She exclaims, nonchalantly.

But the look on her face seems to suggest that Mona’s still holding on to quite a bit of baggage from her outcast days.  However, for now, she’s Emily’s greatest savior.  Why?  Because Mona happens to know that the Principal takes bribes from members of the football team, to keep them on the squad despite bad behavior.  And she’s got the mad hacker skills to prove it!

Viewers for whom Mona remains their chief “A” suspect, got a ton of clues, in their favor, this week.  For starters, she’s clearly computer savvy, as we already know “A” to be.  She has the motive of years of bullying.  And, as we heard in this episode, when Mona contacted Emily on the loud speaker, she’s pretty adept at disguising her voice, as necessary.

“Computers are my only friends . . .” 

Additionally, Mona’s previous job working in the Principals office clearly gave her access to a ton of information about all of the students of Rosewood High, most notably the PLL girls . . . not to mention all the additional scoop she must have dug up by being Hanna’s bestie.

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But does this make Mona too obvious of a choice?  I think so . . . a reveal of Mona as “A” would probably disappoint many fans, for that very reason.  But hey, she did manage to get Emily back on the swim team, with her scheming, blackmaily ways.  So, yay for that!

In slightly less positive news, Aria and Beard Holden broke up their faux-lationship . . . presumably, because of the whole “drugs thing.”

What a shame!  I was just starting to like their fake dates!  I really hope they fake make-up soon!

YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

Regarding the room where everybody anonymously wrote their secrets using a blacklight pen . . . a few of those secrets bear very special significance to our story . . .  (Also, it just looks really cool.  So, I’ve decided to share the picture with you.)

Well, we can be pretty sure none of the PLL girls wrote the “never been kissed,” secret.  But Aria might be the virgin!

 .  . . despite regular efforts to make it not so . . .

As for the “I’m afraid of my dad,” confession, my money’s on Holden.  It would certainly explain the bruise on his stomach, and why he never seems to want to go home.  It also might explain his actions at the end of the episode. 😉  As for the taunting, “I know who killed Alison Dilaurentis . . .” well, I’m going to go with Jenna or Mona for that one.  Both girls seem like such obvious “A” candidates that they just HAVE to know more than they are letting on . . . (assuming, of course, that neither is actually “A.”)

A Match Frowned Upon by the Gods

Upon overhearing her mother fighting with Facelift Vampire Jason about truth, justice, and the illegitimate bastard child way .  . . Spencer makes the Spencer Face . . .

Then, she remembers that time when Melissa and Facelift Vampire Jason got caught making out in their car, and Ali responded by making all these naughty incest jokes.

“A match frowned upon by the gods,” Ali quips.  “This is more interesting than the guy who kills and eats his dates.”

More interesting, indeed.  But, for the record, I happen to think that Facelift Vampire Jason does kill and eat his dates  . . . I mean, he is a vampire, after all . . .

Later that night, Spencer confronts Facelift Vampire Jason with the fact that they might very well be half siblings.  He doesn’t deny it . . .

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Spencer understandably feels hurt and betrayed about being left out of the loop on this.  After all, given the younger Hastings’ siblings penchant for dating older men, there’s a good chance that Spencer could have ended up doing a lot more than make out with Facelift Vampire Jason, if left to her own devices . . .

And though Spencer gave her mom a bit of a verbal smackdown, at the end of the episode,  it’s her father that really has some explaining to do . . .

Now, Spencer that’s no way to talk about the newest additions to your family tree . . . 

Speaking of “rotten fruit under the family tree” . . .

Busted by a Birthmark . . .

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One of the problems with using photoshop to improve the quality your sexts is that, eventually, the person to whom you sent the picture is going to actually have to see you naked.  Evil Stepsister Kate just never figured that the person seeing her naked was going to be the same girl she was trying to screw over . . .

Get thee to a dermatologist, STAT!

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I absolutely adored the scene where Hanna got Kate to admit that she was the one, who sent that naked picture of herself to the whole school on Hanna’s phone.  And when Emily and Aria emerged in unison from the bathroom stalls, smiling and holding out matching cell phones that had recorded the conversation, I’m not embarrassed to say I did a little dance of joy . . .

BUSTED! 

I also loved seeing the smug, and self-righteous look wiped right off of Mama Isabel’s face, when she found out from the principal exactly what her “sweet daughter” had done . . .

Where’s Caleb?  (And why is your hand on my leg?)

Now, that the whole “Porno Kate” situation has been properly handled, Hanna becomes concerned that Blind Jenna and Bushy Eyebrows Noel might be after Caleb, because (1) of what he said to Blind Jenna in group; (2) because they seem to be working for “A,” and he has their phone.  Though, admittedly, I’m not quite sure why she sent Aria to find him, as opposed to going herself . . .

“If we are playing hide-and-seek, Aria, you are very, very bad at this game . . .”

Walking right past Caleb, as he types away in front of an OPEN WINDOW, Aria finds herself on the creepy, windy rooftop, screaming Caleb’s name . . . and not in a sexy way, either . . .  The minute she walked past that heavy door, held open by a rock, I just knew she was going to get locked up there by “A.”  What I didn’t expect was for Bushy Eyebrows Noel to start yanking on her legs, while she climbed a ladder, like the villains always do, in those action flicks.

Then, this happened  . . .

Never has Beard Boy Holden looked hotter than when he drop-kicked Noel in the nuts, to rescue Aria from his clutches.  It was 100% awesome sauce!  In fact, I may have to stop calling him Beard Boy, and start calling him Fight Club!

But Aria’s on to him . . .”Did someone jump you like that?  Is that how you got the bruises?” She wonders out loud . . .

Well, Holden, I’m sorry that you probably have an abusive dad and/or regularly used to get your ass kicked by people who don’t approve of your choice of mate.  That sucks!  But hey, at least you have a better nickname, now!

In other news, at the end of the night,  Emily’s and Aria’s regular calls from “Vivian” and “Vivian’s friend” to the number in Ali’s peacoat seem to have paid off.  Though, at first, someone who sounded suspiciously like Mona told them to piss off, when they called.  This time, the person on the other end of the line actually agrees to meet with them.

The plot . . . it thickens.

Oh, and as for Techno Boy Toy Caleb, he may be great at cracking cell phones, playing hide-and-go-seek, and being Hanna’s savior, but he sure is crappy at guarding his personal items.  Boyfriend is dumb enough to fall asleep at the school, with his precious laptop exposed to the world.

Is it any wonder the damn thing gets stolen in the middle of the night?

 Next week, on Pretty Little Liars . . .

Until then, my Pretties!

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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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