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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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