Tag Archives: Know Your Frenemies

The Hand that Rocked the Video Camera – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ “Know Your Frenemies”

Oh, lighten up, girls!  The Jersey Shore isn’t THAT BAD!

Welcome back, my Pretties!   Well .  . . it seems we are one week closer to figuring out who A, and Ali’s killer, are.  (According to the PLL writers, the mysterious “A’s” identity should be revealed next week.)  Given the events of this week, we can now be pretty sure that “A” and Ali’s killer are two different people.  Inevitably, this begs the question of what, exactly, “A’s” motives are? 

After all, this week, for the first time, we witnessed “A” doing things that ostensibly seemed to help the girls, both in their personal relationships, and in their quest to solve the mystery of their friend’s murder. 

 

So, what’s the deal?  Is A seeking simply to seek vengeance against the girls, for wrongs they have purportedly committed against her (or him) in the past?  Or does she (or he) have more complex motives than that?  Let’s analyze, shall we?

A Whisper in the Dark

Is it just me, or does the fact that Spencer is wearing BRAIDED PIGTAILS make this scene seem much more ominious than it would otherwise?

With her boyfriend, Alex, pissed at her, Spencer is no longer getting laid. 

I know someone who could fix that for you, Spencer . . .

As a result, she’s got A LOT of time on her hands.  And what better way to spend your spare time, than stalking your recently-married sister, and her quite possibly sociopathic boyfriend?  When the episode begins, Spencer is eavesdropping in the stairwell of the basement where newlyweds, Melissa and Sociopath Ian, have formed their temporary Love Nest.  Conveniently, she overhears them both whispering incriminating things to one another like “No one can know.”  and “We are in this together.” 

When Spencer’s monstrously large feet creek on the steps, Melissa becomes paranoid, and rushes to investigate.  In doing so, she just misses Spencer, who dashes back to her bedroom, and shuts the door, just in time to escape detection.  And wouldn’t you know it?  The minute Spencer gets back to her computer, the ALL POWERFUL, ALL KNOWING, ALMOST GODLIKE “A” has left her an e-mail . . .

Married for love or an alibi? – A

Well, THANKYOU Captain Obvious!  (“A” maybe all-powerful, and all-knowing, but her messages seem to be getting lamer and less funny, with each passing week.  What gives, PLL writers?)

The next morning, Sociopath Ian finds Spencer in the kitchen, and starts threateningly asking her questions about what she may or may not have heard the night before.  Spencer claims she didn’t even know the Happy Couple was home.  But the Deer in Headlights expression on her face says differently . . .

Sociopath Ian informs Spencer that he and Melissa will not be sticking around Rosewood, as originally thought. Instead, they plan to move to Philly (on the lam?)  “We are family now,” Sociopath Ian tells Spencer menacingly, “I hope you start thinking of me that way.”  (Hey, Ian.  You know who else was really into family?  Norman Bates from Psycho . . .)

“A boy’s best friend is his mother.”

Recalling the MYSTERIOUS GOLF TAG attached to Ian’s bags . . .

 . . . which were also attached to Alison’s bags on the night she died, Spencer asks Ian a few pointed questions about the resort and golf course.  When Ian refuses to take the bait, she decides to investigate the matter further . . .

The next day, the Oh-So-Clever Spencer contacts the resort, pretending she is Ian’s wife, who is interested in getting information about the room where he stayed.  (By doing this, Spencer hopes to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Ian HAD, in fact, gone away with Ali, the weekend before she died.)  Inexplicably, she makes the call using a Laughably Bad Southern Accent.  (Why the accent, Spencer?  Do you think they are going recognize your voice?   Not everyone who works at the Hilton Head watches Pretty Little Liars, you know?)

Of course, the good ole’ folks at Hilton Head confirm that Ian (who apparently wasn’t smart enough to use a pseudonym, when he checked into a hotel room with a girl who was OH SO OBVIOUSLY underage) had, in fact, stayed at the hotel with a “guest,” shortly before Ali was murdered.  Despite the fact that this would be a FABULOUS lead for the police to investigate, when the New Chief Detective on the case (a.k.a. NotDeputyDouchey) conveniently pops in on the girls, Spencer says nothing.

“Dammit, Spencer!  You couldn’t have said ONE SENTENCE to me about Sociopath Ian?  I was one line away from getting my SAG card!”

Back at home, while supposedly “studying,” Spencer embodies the Nosy Neighbor in every single Family Sitcom ever made, by snooping around in Ian’s moving boxes for clues.  Spencer’s search is interrupted, when her sister Melissa comes home, bearing groceries, and a Big Ole’ Pregnancy Test Ovulation Kit, that conveniently falls to the floor, so that Spencer can find it.  (Come on, Melissa!  You couldn’t have fit that in your purse?  What kind of Murder Suspect ARE YOU?)

When Spencer questions her sister about the kit (She’s just questioning EVERYBODY this week, isn’t she?), Melissa’s eyes glaze over like a Stepford Wife, as she explains how she no longer cares about having a successful career.  Instead, she would rather squeeze out lots of “Little Melissa’s and Ian’s,” and have a Big Sweet Sociopathic Family.

Spencer immediately begins searching Melissa’s ears for excess wires and computer parts.  Finding none, she becomes convinced that EVIL Ian has hypnotized her Big Sister into giving up her future.  During this enlightening conversation, a very Testosteroney (seriously, did he BULK UP since the last scene?) Sociopath Ian comes home.  Upon hearing that Melissa spilled the beans about the Happy Couple’s planned Baby Fest, Ian grunts and shoots a Roid Rage-induced sneer in his new wife’s direction . . .

This is probably what The Hulk looks like, about two seconds before his face turns green . . .  and he rips his shirt open . . . with his bear hands . . .

Though both Melissa and Spencer assure Ian that the couple’s “Baby Making Secret” (SO SCANDALOUS!) will remain under wraps until further notice, Ian doesn’t look at all convinced . . .

Emily’s and Maya’s Relationship Goes to Pot . . .

Unlike Spencer, Emily’s problems this week ostensibly had NOTHING to do with “A” or “Ali’s killer.”  Rather, her own MOM was the Big Bad Villain of her tale, this week . . .

It all started with Emily’s mom catching Emily and Maya getting a bit cuddly on Emily’s bed, while the two were studying eachother’s body parts.  Emily’s mom TOTALLY flips out, and kicks Maya out of the house.  Maya is so incredibly shocked by Emily’s mother’s rude and homophobic behavior that she leaves her bookbag in Emily’s room.  This, in hindsight, was the STUPIDEST thing Girlfriend could have done, under the circumstances.

Once Maya leaves, an Enraged Emily tells her mother that, for the first time in her life, she is ashamed to be her mother’s daughter . . .

Taking a page from Snoopy Spencer’s book, Emily’s mom creeps into Emily’s room, while the latter is at school, and rifles through Maya’s bag.  Inside the bag she finds a MIX TAPE (gasp!) and an ALTOIDS box (double gasp!).  Why Emily’s mom decided to open her daughter’s girlfriend’s Altoids Box remains a mystery to me.  (Perhaps, she has bad breath from all the SEAFOOD she has been eating lately, if you catch my drift. ;))  Whatever the reason, upon opening the ALTOIDS, Emily’s mom finds two delicately rolled joints embedded therein.

Maya is INTO THE REEFER! 

Emily’s mom speedily confronts Emily about what she found, before rushing off to rat Maya out to her parents.  The next day, we learn that, upon finding out that their daughter smokes Altoids, Maya’s parents have decided to ship their daughter off to some Religious Wackadoo Camp for BAD GIRLS!  (I’ve seen pornos that started this way . . .)

“I wanna be a BAD GIRL, because it hurts SO GOOD!”

By the way, did anyboy ELSE find it weird that Maya’s Hippy Dippy Parents, of the Permanent Marker Wedding Rings and the Getting Married AFTER having two kids, would freak out THIS MUCH over a little pot?  Riiiiiiight . . . as if those two weren’t High off their Asses, and rocking out to the Grateful Dead, when Maya was conceived!)

Emily is clearly heartbroken, when she informs her friends of the news, the next day.  But fear not, Emmaya Fans!  The Pretty Little Liars have a plan!  And when the foursome get together that night to search through more of Ian’s boxes study (No .  . . I’m serious.  This is the girls’ idea of fun) . . .

. . . they call upon Maya to surprise Emily, and give the Wounded Lover a nice final Goodbye Screw, before she leaves for Jesus Camp . . .

Remember, boys and girls, Maya eats EVERYTHING . . . but seafood.

Now, I have to admit, initially, I was skeptical of the Emmaya pairing, simply because I thought Maya was boring, and looked more like a 35-year old hooker, than a high school student.  But I must say, the farewell kiss and slow dance that Maya and Emily shared together this week was SUPER HOT!  (And this is coming from a Straight Girl.)

We’ll miss you, Emmaya!  Y’all come back now, you hear?

Note:  When Maya is leaving Spencer’s house, SOMEONE, presumably either “A” or Ali’s killer, is clearly watching the girls from outside the house.  The foursome gives that person chase, but SHE gets away, causing Hanna (I think) to remark, “That’s one fast, B*tch.”  Whichever of the two “villains” that stalker ends up being, it obviously isn’t Maya.  This is not to say, that if the stalker was “A,” Maya can’t end up being Ali’s killer, or vice versa.  It’s just some food for thought . . .

Poor Creepy Toby!

In other news, Spencer has been spying on Creepy Toby.

Seriously, is there anyone Spencer HASN’T been spying on?  I feel like she’s been making THAT FACE for the ENTIRE HOUR!

In spying, she learns that Creepy Toby, has been getting harassed at school, as a result of his being the main suspect in Ali’s murder investigation . . .

His face also, apparently, scares little kiddies . . .

This causes him to cry in dark alleyways . . .

We feel your pain, Creepy Toby!

A Strikes Back (Against Bushy Eyebrows Noel?)

Creepy Toby wasn’t the only PLL Guy having a rough episode this week.  Our favorite English Professor, Fitzy, was still dealing with the increasingly aggressive threats of Blackmailer and Professional Creepo, Bushy Eyebrows Noel, who “needed” Fitzy to change his grade on his English paper, so that he could compete in the “game” this week. 

(Note: I’m not entirely sure what sport Noel plays.  However, I imagine he’s probably not a swimmer.  Those massive eyebrows would DEFINITELY weigh him down, underwater.) 

Noel even goes so far as to hand Fitzy the same paper AGAIN to “re-evaluate.”  To show Fitzy and Aria that he means business, Noel then makes lewd and suggestive comments to Fitzy’s students about Aria being into “older guys.”  He also suggestively tells Aria’s brother that Fitzy is messing around with a “student.” 

Fitzy is clearly shaken by the threats, and considers changing Bushy Eyebrow’s grade.  However, ultimately, he decides that he cannot, in good conscience, do that. Upon coming to this important decision, Fitzy texts Aria, and invites her to his apartment.

Once she is there, Fitzy confirms his love for Aria, and tells her that he plans to resign from Rosewood High to protect his career, and save their relationship.  “How I feel about you is real,” Fitzy tells Aria.  “I will not change Noel’s grade.  And I will not let him hurt you . .  . I will not let him change this into something that feels wrong . . .  I love you.”

Lo and behold, Aria loves Fitzy too.  (AWWWWW!)

The two then share a long and sweet kiss . . .

Afterward, they head to the couch, for an extended dry hump cuddle session . . .

But just like the final rendezvous between Emily and Maya, there is an element of sadness here, as if the pair fear that, once Fitzy resigns, their relationship is doomed.

The next day, Fitzy packs up his classroom super slowly, as MAJORLY DRAMATIC MUSIC plays in the background.  (Dead Fitzy Walking.)

But, just when Fitzy is about to tender his resignation, he finds Noel in the hallway, getting busted by the principal for purportedly stealing exams . . .

The PLL’s, all of whom, except Spencer, have suspected Noel of being “A” for the past couple of weeks, are shocked by the recent development.  However, they are even more shocked to learn who was behind it.  Just seconds after Noel is publicly confronted for “stealing,” the girls all receive texts from the increasingly chatty “A.”

“A is for Alison, not Amateur.”

Now that “A,” who is clearly NOT Noel, has done Aria a solid, by saving her relationship with Fitzy from utter ruin, the future Miss Fitzy doesn’t know what to believe, anymore . . .

Hey look, Aria is wearing an “A” necklace!  Yes, I understand that her name begins with an A.  But still . . . weird . . .

Cupcake Torture

Seriously, how ADORABLE are these cupcakes?  And where can I buy myself one?

Of all the Pretty Little Liars, Hanna has probably been the one who has gotten the brunt of “A’s” torture.  I mean, the girl got RAN OVER BY A CAR!  It doesn’t get much worse than that.  This week, Hanna found herself at “A’s” mercy, as a result of the letter she found last week, instructing her that she had to follow “A’s” directions, in order to get her mom’s hard-earned  stolen money back.   In her locker at school, Hanna finds one of the many missing $100 bills . . .

The bill has a message taped to the back of it . . .

Go to 21 Main Street.  Ask for Hefty Hanna’s Order – A.

Suddenly, it’s flashback time!  We are treated to a shot of a still-skinny-but-pretending-to-be-fat Hanna, binging on an ENTIRE brownie tin . . .  In comes Ali to “rescue” Hanna, with her “helpful” tips on the Wonderful World of Bulimia.

“I can help you get rid of it [the food in your belly],” offers Flashback Ali seductively.

Back in the present day, Hanna is forced to order an entire box of Pig-Decorated Cupcakes.  She then receives another message from “A,” telling her that she must EAT THE WHOLE BOX of them!

Watching Hanna tearfully stuff her face with cupcakes, as football players “oink” at her, was a truly painful experience.  Arguably, baiting Hanna’s preexisting eating disorder is the WORST psychological torture “A” has inflicted on a member of the foursome thus far.  And when Hanna receives a text from “A,” echoing Ali’s earlier flashback words, “I know how you can get rid of it,” it starts to seem like things have been taken a bit too far . . .

Fortunately, Aria arrives to save the day.  She even blesses the oinking football players with the FUNNIEST line of the entire episode . . .  “Don’t you guys have practice?  Or have you lost your balls?”  the former Goth Girl snarks . . .

You GO, ABC Family!  There’s nothing like a good balls joke, to lift the crowd’s spirits after an uncomfortable moment . . .

While, not going as far as to tell Aria about the “unauthorized loan” her mom took out, Hanna does confide in her friend, about the nature of A’s threats, and her problems with bulimia.  Aria is supportive, without being judgmental.  And it is the support that enables Hanna to go to the bathroom, and NOT puke up those cupcakes . . .

She, does, however, wash and dry her hands, and is rewarded by “A” for doing so.  (Cleanliness is godliness, after all.)

Back at home, Hanna’s mom learns that Hanna has somehow gotten a portion of her “unauthorized loan” back.

And though she clearly realizes that Hanna probably had to do something VERY naughty to get that money, Ashley doesn’t really question it’s source.  This is because Hanna’s mom is kind of a terrible person. (But she is still way better than EMILY’S MOM!)

You know what they say about Idle Hands . . .

In the climactic last few moments of the episode, “A” sends the girls the same video the detectives had shown them last year, of Ali and her “boyfriend” on the night of Ali’s death.  The only difference now, is that this is the UNRATED and UNCUT version.  And, let me tell you, this puppy has SNUFF PORN written all over it!  First, we see Ali talking about how immature her friends are and how much she loves the person holding the video camera.  Then, she turns the camera on HIM . . .

Now, those of us who watched the show last year, already KNEW it was Ian on that tape.  What we didn’t know, was that his on-camera debut, was followed by: (1) the camera being dropped to the ground; (2) moans of pleasure from Ali;  (3) a scream of possibly pleasure, and possibly excruciating pain, on Ali’s part (though the horrified, mostly virginal, PLL’s obviously assume it’s the latter); (4) Ali’s hand grasping at dirt, and twitching; and, finally (5) and, Ali’s hand falling to the ground — completely immobile and lifeless.

Ladies and gentleman, what I just described to you was either the most sexually suggestive video EVER to appear on ABC Family, or one of the most horrifying murders-by-video-camera ever to be witnessed by a young adult audience, during prime time.  Either way, it’s some pretty intense stuff.

Honestly, there’s no telling where things are going to go from here.  And I, for one, can’t wait.  Until next week, My Pretties! 

[www.juliekushner.com]

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