Tag Archives: season 3a

Are You Ready to Rumble? – A Recap of Teen Wolf’s Season 3A Finale “Lunar Ellipse”

im the alpha

alpha now

im the alpha

stiles alphabet 1 allisonargents

When I was little, my dad used to love watching WWF Wrestling.  I never got the appeal, personally.  The fat ugly guys dressed in weird costumes . . . the fake fights . . . the ridiculously badly written skits the various fighters would be forced to act out prior to each match . . . the fact that every match began with a pre-ordained Designated Loser, thereby taking all the intrigue and guesswork out of the entire viewing experience.

rip my blouse

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One thing I did enjoy about WWF Wrestling was the announcer . . . and how, before every match, he’d say in this booming voice, “Let’s get ready to RUMBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEE,” always carrying out the last syllable of the word “rumble” for as long as humanly possible.

Now, that guy was awesome!  In fact, I spent a good portion of my childhood, trying to be That Guy.  So much so, that I’d been known to run around my house repeating those words, ad nauseam.  “Are you ready to rumblllle?  Are you ready to rummblllllleee?  Are you ready to rumbllllllle?”

stop hounding me

In case you haven’t guessed it by now, I was kind of an annoying kid . . .

In WWF Wrestling, every once in a while, they’d have these events called Cage Matches, where pretty much the entire cast . . . Good Guys, Bad Guys, and Designated Losers . . . would get thrown into the ring at the same time.  Sometimes a few of the fighters would form alliances with one another . . . good guys versus bad . . . plotting, strategizing, taking turns at fighting, so as not to tire themselves out.

dancing derek and ennis

But most of the time they all just beat the crap out of one another, with no rhyme or reason at all . . .

not sure how to stop

“Lunar Ellipse” kind of reminded me of one of those Cage Matches.

In a season that contained more villains than any one preceding it, this week’s finale had the unenviable task of deciding what to do with them all.   Putting them in the same room, and letting them beat the crap out of one another, must have seemed like the most logical solution . . .

kung fu fighting - Copy

This is not to say it was a bad episode.  It wasn’t . . . at all.  “Lunar Ellipse” offered a ton of action, some solid fight scenes, and a neat little conclusion, which, while providing the kind of closure fans need going into a four-month hiatus, also paved the way for some intriguing future story lines.  I just suspect that the episode appealed a lot more to people who are fans of say . . . WWF Wrestling, than fans like me . . . who spent half the length of her last recap dissecting a 15-second long kiss between Stiles and Lydia . . . which this episode never mentioned, by the way.  It was almost as if it never happened  . . .

sex me now

[Of course, I must thank my good pal Andre for working tirelessly each week to provide me, and the five people who read this, a collection of some of the best Teen Wolf screencaps you’ll find on the internet.  And I can say that, without being conceited, because I have no hand in their creation, whatsoever. You rock, Andre.  And I’d totally want you at my side, if I ever found myself in a cage match . .  .]

crying stiles

And so, without further adieu, “Let’s get ready to RUMMMMMMBBBBBBBLLLLLLLLLEEEE!”

The Wet Nap

When we last left our heroes, Stiles, Scott and Allison had decided to cope with the prospective loss of their parental units by taking baths.

tsst

glurg

burgle

This, coincidentally, is the solution Trusty Veterinarian Deaton suggests for all all major problems on this show.  It’s his deus ex bath-shina.  Then again, maybe he’s just really into hygiene.

cryptic vet

magic eraser

When the episode opens, the threesome awaken, surprised to find that their bathtubs have been moved to some random empty office building with a big ole tree stump in the center.  Basically, this whole scene can serve as a PSA for the dangers of smoking too much weed, before taking your deus ex bath-shina.

in tub

office space

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the tree

Sorry . . . I just couldn’t help myself.

Stiles, Scott and Allison each touch the tree, triggering their memories of the time they first encountered it, which, coincidentally, happened to all three of them on the same night.

touching the tree

Of course, I’m referring to the night from the pilot episode.  You know, the one where Scott and Stiles went out into the woods in search of a dead body, the night before the first day of school.  Then, Scott ended up getting bitten by Werewolf Peter Hale AND almost hit by a car driven by Allison Argent’s mom.

baby scottdead girl

“Remember me?”

big eyes

goofy stiles

why do i

Why do I look significantly older than everyone else?  Oh yeah . . . because my scene wasn’t shot three years ago.”

i love youuuu

“I love you Allisssssssssoooooooooon!”

You all recall seeing a big fat tree stump in that scene, don’t you?

memba tree

“Remember tree?”

look confused

No?  Well, that, my friends, is what we in The Biz ” (I’m not really in The Biz.  Being in The Biz would require me to actually get paid for doing this.) call RET-CON.

(I do, however, remember Scott almost getting hit by a car. And I’m intrigued by the notion that Davis always planned to have the Argents play the role of Hit-and-Runners.  If so, that was some pretty crafty story boarding on his part.  If not . . .)

stefan shrug

Upon waking up back in Deaton’s office, the kids learn they’ve been snoozing in their bathtubs for SIXTEEN HOURS!  SIXTEEN HOURS . . . that’s almost an entire day!  I thought they’d be more, you know, brain dead, from lack of oxygen . . . or at least a little pruney.

dont get it wet

Before . . .

wet gremlin

After . . .

Actually, the whole “out for 16 hours” conceit really seems like nothing more than a plot-manufactured time jump to get us closer to the time when the Lunar Eclipse is meant to occur.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I loved the way the Surrogate  Sacrifices concept was portrayed in the last few moments of Alpha Pact, and the opening moments of this episode.  It was poignant, visually appealing, and compellingly morbid.  I adored how each hero carried a totem of his or her parent into the water, and how Stiles, Allison and Scott each literally put their lives in the hands of someone they cared about.  It was all very Inception-esque. . . in a good way.

inception water

spinning-top-inception

But there was one teensy tiny problem with this whole design .  . . THERE WERE NO ACTUAL SACRIFICES!!!!

verbal keyboard smash

By temporarily suiciding themselves in bathtubs, Stiles, Scott and Allison did not, as was initially suggested, free their parents from the Darach’s clutches.  Instead, it just made them into Human GPS’s for a big ole’ tree stump that, honesty, didn’t look all that hard to find in the first place.

ep 9 obviously stiles

And since I’m nitpicking, what exactly did Isaac, Deaton and Lydia do for those sixteen hours, while their friends were “dead?”  Sleep?  Pray?  Marathon the entire first two seasons of Teen Wolf?  (Without commercials, of course.)

ep 5 not watching notebook again

I’m just saying there were probably at least one or two more efficient ways the Scooby Gang could have spent their time, during the last sixteen hours before the Druid Apocalypse, than Bath Time with Rubber Duckie . . .

rub my ducky

pissed at sleeping

“Couldn’t you have put an alarm clock in there or something?”

Also sleeping on the job, since last week?  Der Bear.

grooming

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We find him in his loft, being lovingly coddled by a no-longer-spewing-black-goo Cora.  Meanwhile, Peter Hale screams at him to hurry up and actually do something heroic, and/or run and hide under a table from that wacky lady with foot fungus, who seems intent on murdering them all . . . whichever he prefers . . .

lizard people, geriatric psycho

Hiding under the table is looking like a more attractive option, by the minute . . .

Breaking and Entering

Back at the Vet’s office, Ethan . . .

ethan

gay one

. . . pops by to see Lydia.  And I’m wondering how he knew she was there.  Is her scent so strong that it could be tracked after sixteen hours?  That’s a LOT of perfume . . .

what are you doing here

DEATON: “Why is he here?  I thought you were dating the other one?”

LYDIA: “Beats me.  I’ve been screwing the guy for months, and I still can’t tell the two of them apart.”

Perhaps, he popped by her mom’s house, and asked if the red-headed teen could come out to play.  Then, Mama Martin replied, “I’m sorry Sexy Teen.  Lydia isn’t home.  In fact, she hasn’t been home for over 24 hours.  Last I checked, she went to visit that creepy veterinarian at his office, after hours.  Hmmm . . . I wonder if I should be concerned for her well-being.  Probably not.  I mean I did her hair this morning, and she looked so cute.  Girls with cute hair NEVER get murdered by creepy veterinarians who have no friends their own age, right?”

harm a hair lol

Lydia and Ethan head to Chez Derek to confirm for him, what he pretty much already knows . . . that Kali Toe Jam is coming to his house to kill him.

lyd back

chatting together

So, now would be a good time to run screaming like a little girl.  Lydia helpfully notes using her Banshee-Spidey Senses that she feels like she’s standing on a graveyard, which the Hales immediately take to mean that if Derek stays at home he’ll die there.  But, I don’t know . . . didn’t Boyd die in Derek’s house?

boyd kicking ass

too soon haha - Copy

Back in “Scott-Land,” McCall and Co. are skipping around to their various homes, so that the wolf can smell Allison’s and Stiles’ dad’s personal items, and “follow his nose” to the Darach’s lair.

in home

“Don’t worry Stiles.  I won’t mistake your underwear for your dad’s.  I’ve sniffed your boxers before.  They have a very distinct scent . . . particularly after lacrosse practice.”

Wait . . . what?  Don’t they know where the parents are already?  Isn’t that what the 16-hour wet dream was for?  Is there a plot specific purpose for Scott’s inexplicable desire to sniff Chris Argent’s boxers?

sniffing

smell something

Oh . . . now I get it . . . they had to run back to Allison’s house, so that they could have a run-in with This Guy . . .

daddy o

. . . a.k.a. FBI Douche . . . a.k.a. Scott’s Dad . . .

not you

ALLISON: “Is that what you are going to look like in 25 years?  Because I could live with that.”

ISAAC: “Me too.  He’s kind of a DILF.”

How did he get in?  I hope he has a warrant.  Nevermind.  This is Beacon Hills we are talking about here.  The only laws that matter here, are the Laws of the Jungle .  . .

Jungle Boogie

How many Alpha Males do you know that let girls fight their battles for them?

ep 9 yeah derek just teenwolf

So, Derek goes to hide under a rock somewhere, leaving Lydia and Ethan to house sit for him.  (You know, because he has so much expensive furniture for people to steal.)

ill get you

“I’ll slay you with my snide comments about your poor personal hygiene, and uninspired fashion sense.”

A few seconds later, that car alarm Derek installed in his wall, goes off, and in comes Kali Feet-for-Brains . . .

kali here

“Bored now . . .”

. . . along with Aiden . . .

and aiden

straight one

Aiden starts off fighting at Kali’s side.  But his alliance shifts quickly when Kali starts talking smack on his showmance girlfriend Lydia.  Do I smell a Character Rehabilitation?

mad ethan

Josh-can-smell-something-being-human-us-17734049-400-210

“Smells like Jackson’s replacement.”

Something is missing from this little party.  What can it be?  Oh, wait, I know . . . an Evil Druid in tight leather pants!

came through ceiling

That’s better.  Now, we can REALLY have some fun . . .

stiles dancing at gay bar melchiors

Cue the 80’s Video Game Theme Music.  It’s time for a Girl Fight!

Now, as much as I usually snooze through extended battle scenes, I have to say, this one is pretty awesome.  There is something elegant, and almost graceful about the well choreographed way Jenny the Darach and Kali attempt to kick one another’s asses.

dancing kali and jen dancing jen 2 dancing 3 dancing 4 dancing 5

lets put our heads together

“Let’s put our heads together and strategize.”

not happening

“Not so fast, Siamese Lunkhead Twins.”

(I guess they should have merged by Aiden fisting Ethan, like they did last time . . . These guys brains are clearly not their strongest organs.)

And then, all of the sudden, they stop fighting, and the music gets all cheesy and romantic.  Jenny is talking about how much prettier she is, now that she has her Magic Coochie, and doesn’t have to look like Lord Voldemort 24-7.  Then she starts levitating, while Kali gazes at her lovingly.  And I’m thinking, if this were another show, these two chicks would make for some really hot lesbians . . .

looking loving

looking loving 2

Then, Jenny throws some glass from the ceiling in Kali’s face, and she dies instantly.

opens ceiling glass blower glass in face

dead kali

BabyScared

Wait . . . WHAT?  Did I miss something?

Please tell me that Jenny Darach didn’t murder virgins, soldiers, philosophers, and countless birds, just so that she’d have enough strength to shove a one-inch thick shard in someone’s face.

Solstice Sunglass Boutique - Safilo USA at the HBO Luxury Lounge In Honor Of The 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Day 1

Should have worn these . . .  could have saved her life.

I’ve seen carpenter ants that are harder to kill than Kali .   . .

Anyway, nice knowing ya, Wolf Girl.  I hope they find a coffin for you that’s large enough to fit your massively long toe nails . . .

feet

Worry not, Lydia.  It’s Shrek to the rescue!

shrek to the res

offended shrek

. . . or . . . maybe not.

neck snap down on floor

You know that old adage about always wearing clean underwear, so that, if you die, you don’t have to be embarrassed about the state of your skivvies?  Well, I’m pretty sure the same goes for wearing YOUR OWN PAIR OF PANTS . . .

Sensitive chick that she is, Jenny Darach tries to cheer up a bereft Lydia, by quoting, the always Hilarious Coach Crackhead . . .

bigger bigger

“The bigger they are . . . the harder they fall the bigger they are . . . indeed.

Where there’s smoke, there’s a screamer.

Boys and their toys .  . .

sitting showing weapons

Allison cleverly uses her impressive knowledge of advanced artillery to mesmerize Scott’s dad, before gassing him with a grenade, and using the diversion she created to escape with her harem of wolf men . . .

can of whoop ass

“And this weapon is what I like to call a Big Ole Can of Whoop Ass.”

Elsewhere in town, an abnormally thick fog causes Stiles to get into a car accident, and Lydia screams . . . though the two events aren’t necessarily related.

driving stiles fogcrash

lyd screams

Derek hears Lydia scream, and decides to return to town, which kind of seems counter intuitive to me.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Derek running away like a little wussy, BECAUSE Lydia sensed death?

ep 9 no fit gravyjones

And since she’s a banshee, isn’t Lydia’s scream supposed to signify that someone’s death is imminent . . . someone like Derek?

nodding oh yeah

Do they not teach logic in Werewolf School?

View to a Death

All over Beacon Hills, heroes and villains are preparing for their battle royale.  Allison and Isaac FINALLY find that damn root cellar, where all the parents are being held . .  .

find cellar 1

find cellar 2

Scott reluctantly agrees to join forces with Deucalion against the Darach.

with deuc

Derek inexplicably links himself with Jenny once again.  (That must be one SERIOUSLY POWERFUL Magic Coochie.)

dennifer

And Stiles . . . Stiles?  Bueller?

sleeping stiles

Back in La Casa de Ineffective Alpha, Cora and Lydia watch Shrek morph back into two teenage boys, each with their own pair of pants.

find boys

find boys 2

“These two are so much more likeable when they are unconscious.”

They decide to bring the pair to Vet Deaton.  Maybe he’ll make them take a bath, like he does with everyone else . . .

magic eraser

And then, because this episode hasn’t satisfied its product placement quote, Scott sends the Evil Darach a message on her Android phone . . . you know, because villains use Androids and heroes use iPhones, just saying . . .

revenge sign

reading text

“Is he for real with this sh*t?”

Who’s Your Alpha?

It’s fitting that the final Cage Match between all our characters occurs right under the revenge sign Ennis made, back in “Visionary.”  The Same Vengeance Sign that led to Gerard blinding Deucalion, which led to Deucalion creating his Alpha Pack, which led to his Alpha Pack killing their emissaries, which led to Kali not-quite killing Julia Baccaria / Jennifer Blake.   This was the Vengeance Sign that started everything.  And it would be a great place for everything to end, except for the fact that Scott and Derek are both under the delusion that being a “Good Guy” means having to be a “Doofus.”   But we’ll get to that soon enough . . .

ephemeral

Anyway, our chance to see Death -Destroyer-of-Worlds Deucalion’s Alpha Form has finally arrived.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

cyber smurf

Interesting . . . he’s kind of like a cross between an Evil Cyborg . . .

terminator

.  . . and a Smurf.

Movie_Grouchy_Smurf

Or, maybe like a blue version of Jim Carrey’s character in The Mask.

jim carrey mask

Sure, Peter’s Gorilla-Alpha, and Jackson’s Kanaima were scarier.  But Demon Wolf gets points for making a fashion statement.  Blue is, after all, the new black.  Smurf-Borg does to a pretty good job of kicking Jenny the Darach’s ass . . . at least until Scott creates a familiar diversion . . .

come at me bro

come at me bro! noo hahahah familiar diversion

Annnnnnnd then comes the Lunar Eclipse.

luna r e

Welcome back, Lord Voldemortette.  We’ve missed you!

voldemorteet

“Wait . . . let’s talk about this Jenny the Darach.  Before you kill Deucalion, don’t you want him to see how ugly you look in the morning without your makeup on,” Derek offers hopefully.

your adorable prettylittlegossipgirl

Come on, Jenny.  You’ve been a fairly intelligent villain up until now.  You aren’t going to fall for this one, are you?

But she does!  Perhaps, the Lunar Eclipse not only deprives werewolves of their powers, it also makes television characters into morons.  Knowing that she only has 15 minutes to kill the guy she’s been waiting eagerly to kill since 2002, Jenny the Darach suddenly decides that it’s more important to (1) fix his eyesight, so that he can WATCH her kill him, and (2) play pattycake with Derek!

eye fix

der and jen

Villains the world over, are hanging their heads in shame . . .

draco malfoy facepalm

I like how the writers analogized Derek’s endurance of his Stage-Five-Clinger Girlfriend’s ineffective punches to his human form, to Derek’s endurance of his errant werewolf children’s scratches, back when they went all rabid batty, early on in the season . . .

torn up derek 1

Then, the Lunar Eclipse is over, and everyone’s back to Werewolf Cage Fighting . . . except for Jenny, who has a meme to share with all of you.

mountain ash

“I know you like cages, so I put a cage in your cage,” she says.

And I bet you’ll never guess what that cage is made out of?  That’s right!

mountain ash

This annoying ass brown dirt is fast becoming a lead character on this show.  It’s the deus ex dirtshina.

making mountain ash

Now, Scott is miming again.  Get it?  He’s the man outside the box.  We’ve been here before . . .

more bubble

bubble pop 1

Jenny calmly tells him he should probably be thinking more about saving the parents, who are stuck underground in an avalanche, than putting on a show.  But Scott will not be deterred from his performance.  Besides, he knows that, as per usual, “his pack” will do all the dirty work of saving lives, while he pops bubbles with his mind  . . .

That’s right.  It’s Stiles . . . in the root cellar .  . . with his trusty bat.  How’s that for an answer in the game of Clue.

im batman haa

batman catwoman

im batman

(P.S. I’m so glad he didn’t die in that car accident.  I hope the massive head injuries he suffered from his airbag not deploying have no long-term impact.)

Speaking of not-dead, Deaton puts gas masks on the Alpha Twins, and they magically come back to life.  You know, because gas masks heal broken necks all the time!

saved

I’m teasing Mr. D.  In all seriousness, I’m proud of the guy.  At least he didn’t throw the twins in an ice bath, this time . . .

Back in the Cage Fight, “True Alpha” Scott finally pops that pesky bubble.

bigger bubble

And Deucalion easily dispenses with Jenny Darach, by gently nipping at her neck with his nails.  That’s embarrassing . . .

neck swipe 2

Surely, Scott and Derek are going to kill the Son of a B*tch now aren’t they?

done trying to kill

NO?  NOOOOO??? They are going to let the guy live, because they heard that one time, back in 2002, for a few days, he was a nice guy?

im a moron

“I’m a moron.”

HE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATHS OF AT LEAST THREE PACKS OF WOLVES!!!!! AND THOSE ARE THE ONES WE KNOW ABOUT!  HE TRIED TO MANIPULATE SCOTT AND DEREK TO KILL EVERYONE THEY CARE ABOUT, AND VERY NEARLY SUCCEEDED.  AND THEY ARE JUST GOING TO LET HIM GO?  JUST BECAUSE?

smash 2

soap dish smash

smash

verbal keyboard smash

WHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?

haha losers

“See ya in Season 3B, SUCKERS!”

I’m kind of relieved this season is over.   This show increases my blood pressure . . .

Back at the Argent house, Allison has chosen a new credo for the Werewolf Hunters, “We help those who can’t help themselves.”

help those

Nice right?  Except, the old credo: “Only kill werewolves that murder innocent humans,” was pretty nice too.  The problem was that NOBODY FOLLOWED THE CREDO, EXCEPT CHRIS ARGENT.

argents

Here’s hoping the Argent’s improve their reading comprehension in Season 3B . . .

At school, everything seems to have gone back to normal, except everyone seems to have coupled off.  And Scott and Stiles have to pretend they don’t care that they are the only two people out of their entire group of friends, who aren’t getting laid . . .

aid lyd better eth dan better isal stiles and scott

blue balls

never have sex

Also, Derek left town with Cora .  . . a major plot development that will probably last until about 10 minutes into Season 3B.

left town

. . . which brings us to our final scene, and it’s flashback . . . to about ten minutes ago in the episode.

Jenny Darach is ALLLLIIIIIIIIVE!  She’s crawling to her precious Nemeton . . . hoping it will save her a second time.

save me

But Magic Tree is having NONE of Magic Coochie.  Not when she had this great chance at World Domination and blew it so royally.   Nahh, Nemeton is going to grant its power to a WINNER this time around.  A winner like THIS GUY . . .

out on top

kills

always been the alpha

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And that’s all she wrote folks.  Thanks for sharing Teen Wolf with me this summer.  It’s truly been a blast.  See you January 6th!

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Pretty Little Liars Season 3A – The Good, The Bad, and the TOBY!

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Hey there, my Pretties!  This week, PLL wrapped up its third summer season with a hot sex scene, the discovery of a bastard child, another dead body, and a shocking twist that absolutely blew last season’s arguably anti-climactic reveal of Mona as “A” out of the water.  Though admittedly a bit less action-packed than past seasons, season 3A of PLL still managed to serve up some genuine scares (Mona’s “nursery rhyme” anyone?), a few great one liners (“Bitch can see!”), and some tantalizing clues that kept fans guessing each week, long after the final credits rolled.

So, hold on to your teeth, check your dolls for hidden recording devices, and always keep that wooden mannequin leg handy (You never know when you might have to murder a snake with it.), because here comes a Pretty Little Season 3A retrospective . . .

THE GOOD

After Mona’s “outing” as A last season, I think a lot of fans, myself included, worried that PLL would begin to run out of steam.  “Would subsequent seasons of the show just be more of the same?”  We wondered . . . another A . . . more text messages . . . a few empty scares and clues that would end up going no where . . . until it was ultimately revealed that the story was turning out just as the books had predicted it would.

And yet, somehow, the writers and producers of PLL managed to overcome this obstacle . . . at least, partially, by giving the season a darker, more mature, tone (the girls are seniors now, after all), introducing some new characters, while delving further into some older ones, and creating some really solid standalone moments that brought back memories of what the show was like in its groundbreaking first season.

So, without further adieu, I present to you, “The Good” of Season 3A . . .

Best Scares/ Moments of Season 3A

Maya-normal activity

Admittedly, I had a lot of issues with the Maya St. Germaine murder mystery, as you’ll see in “The Bad” below.  That said, one aspect of this B-plot that I enjoyed thoroughly was the use of web videos to increase the intrigue, and heighten the fright factor, of what otherwise could have become just another “cold case” type story.  Just as the PLL writers have always done with their trademark Dead Ali Flashbacks, Maya’s web diary, helped to make Maya a more interesting and mysterious dead character, than she ever was a live one.

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In addition to providing some “slice of life” character insight, Maya’s videos also heightened the tension of the scenes in which they were featured, because the viewer always knew that, just outside the video frame, someone was out there trying to KILL her.  This technique sort of harkened back to “Ali’s Last Video Debut from Season 1.”  I’m sure you guys remember that one . . .

However, one of my favorite video moments of the season actually didn’t come from Maya’s video diary at all.  Rather, it came from the surveillance video that Noel Kahn sent Spencer to exculpate himself as a murder suspect.  The makers of the Paranormal Activity series will tell you, there’s just something about a grainy surveillance video, featuring seemingly random footage of people you know that’s inexplicably scary.  Maybe it’s the feeling of “authenticity” you get from watching something with a time stamp.  Or, maybe it’s because they catch you off guard, by being so boring most of the time, and then, converting to BATSH*T CRAZY MODE, just when you’re about ready to change the channel . . .

All I know is that when Maya, seconds after appearing on screen, got yanked out of the frame by an unseen evildoer, I jumped out of my seat, for the first time, this season . . .

Show Me Your Teeth

Sure, it was campy, and not particularly believable, but I love that the “A” team made a necklace out of real teeth, and slipped it into Emily’s bag at school.  I mean, sure, I imagine those chompers could have come from any number of mundane places . . . the dentists office, some way-too-proud parents commemorative jar, the tooth fairy . . . But just the mere idea that the A Team might have hand plucked pearly whites from Ali’s now nearly two-year old corpse is disgustingly genius!

Truth or Scare

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Because the girls are forced to deal with some pretty adult stuff on a daily basis, we often forget the fact that, back when they were hanging out with Ali, they were all still REALLY young.  That’s why some of my favorite PLL moments take seemingly innocent childhood toys and games, and present them in a creepier, much more sinister, light.  The most obvious example of this are those ugly-as-sin talking dolls that have fast become Evil!Mona’s calling card.  Halloween masks, Ouiji Boards, pumpkins, and super cute clown banks have also been used to create this same effect.

This season, however, the PLL writers boldly tackled a place where only middle school sleepover parties have gone before: Truth or Dare.  We’ve all played this one before, right?  It’s a game that, at it’s tamest, involves revealing secret crushes to your friends, and at it’s most bawdy typically involves flashing people, and making dirty prank phone calls.

But PLL somehow managed to turn a simple game of Truth or Dare into a tantalizing game of Cat and Mouse, during which Rosewood’s two most intense residents, Spencer Hastings and Jenna Cavanaugh each tried to out interrogate one another.  And while the game, itself, didn’t exactly reveal to fans, anything they didn’t already know, it was still incredibly fun to watch . . .

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Snakes at a Fashion Show

Let’s face it.  Snakes are SCARY!  If they weren’t, nobody would have ever bothered to make a movie, who’s entire plot featured them slithering around on a plane.  So despite the fact, that I have no idea how anyone on the so-called A-team managed to (a) buy that kind of a snake; and (b) slip it into a box of clothing without anyone being any the wiser, the ick factor produced when Spencer opened that box, and that disgusting snake started nipping at her heels, had me squealing at my TV set.

But that wasn’t the best part.  The best part was when Cece Drake “rescued” Spencer though, honestly, it’s seems pretty obvious she had something to do with the darn thing being there in the first place by  . . . wait for it . . . beating the CRAP out of the snake with a MANNEQUIN LEG!  Girls got skills .  . .

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Child’s Play – Mona van der Waal Edition

I’m going to discuss Mona’s dialogue in this scene a bit more in depth in the “clues” section.  For now, I just wanted to fangirl a bit about this scene itself, and how it seemed custom-made to produce chills in anyone who happened to be watching at the time . . . from the abandoned corridor in the already creepy insane asylum . . . to the implication that there are enough Crazy Babies, and/or Crazy Mom’s with Babies for said insane asylum to have a Toddler’s Ward . . . to that terrifying way Mona had of stroking the dolls lovingly like that Creepy Ring Monster from Lord of the Rings, while speaking in this whisper-soft, sing-song voice that made you feel like, any minute, her head was going to start spinning around and green-stuff was going to pour out of her mouth . . In short, it was AWESOME!

Best one-liners

“Or, I’ll show my boobs and we’ll be news again.”

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Why: Because Drunk!Emily is always ten times more fun than Sober!Emily.  And because, no matter how old I get, the word “boobs,” still makes me cover my hand over my mouth and giggle like an eight-year old who just heard a “naughty word.”

“Bitch can see!”

Why: We’ve all known Blind Jenna could see for ages.  But there was something genuinely satisfying about having the girls FINALLY figure it out.  And Lucy Hale’s wide-eyed, yet uncharacteristically “street,” delivery of the line was priceless (and made me secretly want to watch Jenna and Aria “rumble” in the school parking lot.  For the record, my money would be on Aria.  She may be small, but she’s scrappy!

“When you baby squirrel Ezra, you are stealing his nuts.”

Just the images on Tumblr of Ian Harding’s head on a squirrel’s body that followed the episode in which this statement appeared, were enough to make me fall in love with this line.  Plus, once again, the eight-year old school girl in me, got a real kick about the fact that, no matter how you slice it, Spencer was talking to Aria about  Fitzy’s Man Parts . . .

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Best New Character – Cece Drake

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When you are coming onto a show in its third season as a new character, the deck is already stacked against you.  TV fans aren’t particularly known for being fond of change.  And chances are, the new character is being brought in to mess with their Ships, and Gal Pals, which makes it even harder for the Newbie to develop his or her own fanbase.

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I’ll be honest, I was all set to dislike Cece Drake, when her character was first introduced in the middle of the Season.  Though she was portrayed as a possible early muse for Ali, I thought for sure she’d be the straight-to-video version of a complex character I had actually grown to adore over the seasons.  However, as the season progressed, I developed a soft spot for Cece’s Fiercely-Loyal-Mean Girl-Who-Likes-to-Party-Persona.

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Of course, I don’t trust her, as far as I can throw her, but the PLL girls have all become SO serious lately, that it’s nice to throw a character into the mix, who clearly doesn’t give a rats about anything, but living in the moment, and having a good time.  Did I mention she MURDERED A SNAKE WITH A MANNEQUIN LEG?

Best Villain – Mona van der Waal

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As I mentioned earlier, I was one of the people, who were annoyed by the writer’s decision to stay loyal to the books, and make Mona “A.”  Though I thought Janel Parrish did a great job with the material she was given, during the first season, I thought her reveal as a Crazy Psychotic Loon in last season’s finale was too abrupt, and not necessarily believable.

Fast forward to season 3A, and Mona has become one of the best villains on TV.  Alternating from nearly comatose, to syrupy sweet, to oddly sympathetic, to creepily childlike, to batsh*t crazy, to EVIL!GENIUS MASTERMIND in the course of just twelve episodes, you never really knew what you were going to get, whenever Mona van der Waal appeared on screen.  But you always knew it was going to be spectacular . . .

Best clue- Mona’s secret code

Perhaps suffering from “A Fatigue,” I found it difficult to become invested in PLL during the first few episodes of Season 3A.  Basically, I just couldn’t bring myself to care all that much about which 5 or 6 suspicious-looking Rosewood residents stole Ali’s coffin, and took Drunk!Emily on a Wild Ride.  More on that later . . .

However, all that changed, during the episode “Crazy,” when Mona started speaking in her super special code.  Suddenly, I was like a Season 1 PLL fan again, re-watching scenes, stalking the message boards, and ravenously hunting through trade magazine for spoilers.  What I loved about this code, was that it never took fan’s intelligence for granted.  The PLL writers had enough faith that us fans would pick up on the hidden messages in the scene.  And we did, which made solving the mystery that much more fun . . .

Best flashback – The story of Pigskin

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If you’ve read this blog before, you might know that I was never Paige’s biggest fan.  (I belive the nickname “Little Orphan B*tchy” was used once or twice.  And while I’m still not 100% sold on the character, or her relationship with Emily, I adored the opportunity to delve deeper into her psyche this season.

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One of the best opportunities us fans had to get to know Paige better, was the flashback involving her and Ali.  Sure, it made Paige look a little crazypants, with those marks she left on Ali’s back (though, not nearly as crazy pants as she looked when she tried to DROWN EMILY), but it also explained  a heck of a lot about Paige’s treatment of Emily, and arguably disturbing behavior, during those early episodes.  I mean, how could you not sympathize with the poor girl, after Ali stole her love letter to Emily, thereby humiliating her in the worst, and most personal way possible?

Well, actually, this hair is more humiliating . . .

Oh, and she ended up NOT being Maya’s killer . . . so . . . that was nice . . .

THE BAD

Ah, yes . . . the Positivity Train has officially left the station . . . at least temporarily.  Here’s the part of the blog, where I talk about the aspects of Season 3A that I thought didn’t work, and dragged down an otherwise solid season . . .

Worst twist – Nate is Maya’s stalker / killer

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Come on now, PLL writers!  No one, for a second, believed that the super creepy, suspiciously appearing, and not the least bit interesting or likeable “Nate St. Germaine” was Maya’s real cousin, or anything, other than exactly what he turned out to be, Maya’s stalker / murderer.  So, the fact that this guy spent no less than twelve episodes, eating up screentime, with his fake Maya Memories, and his cringe-worthy attempts at “bonding with Emily,” were more frustrating than they were fascinating.  It also made Emily look like a TOTAL MORON (more on that later), for falling for his tricks . . .

Maybe if the writers (and the actor who played Nate) made the character look like a bit less of a lecher, from the get go, more of us would have actually been fooled by the guy . . .

Worst Plotlines –

PLL parents try dating 

Yeah, sorry.  Maybe this makes me sound ageist.  But I don’t watch PLL to see Ashley Marin date the Dull as Dishwater Deacon, or Byron Montgomery date that blonde twit student with whom he cheated on Ella.  And, yes, the American Pie Guy is hot and charming.  But I don’t watch PLL to see him makeout with Ella in the coffee shop either.  None of this has ANYTHING to do with Ali’s death or “A.”

Just sayin’ . . .

Emily’s “lost night”

So, let me get this straight.  Emily got roofied.  Then, she was picked up on the street by Jenna and Noel.  Then, she went to some restaurant with that dude who sort of/ kind of/ but not really dated Aria for one episode, and then pretty much disappeared forever.  Then, she went to Paige’s house, and made out with her a little bit. And THEN she went back to the cemetery, and watched the “A” team dig up a grave?

Ummm . . . am I missing something here?

Don’t get me wrong, I think the idea of Ali’s corpse being stolen, and Emily being framed for it, shows a lot of promise.  I just wish the writers managed the mystery in a more streamlined way, rather than going for the, throw in everything but the kitchen sink approach . . .

Worst clues –

The Ugly Earring

The real mystery for me, is why ANYONE in their right mind would wear that hideous earring, and not, how it ended up being Rosewood’s answer to the Traveling Pants, winding up under couch cushions, in graves, inside of lockers, and in Paige’s purse, all in the course of a single season . . .

Those lame final sequences

Remember when PLL final sequences were AWESOME?  Like the one that showed Lucas bashing the crap out of Ali’s memorial fountain . . . . or the one where “A” killed the Rat Named Spencer . . . or the one where “A” changed the Rosewood Population sign to imply that SOMEONE WOULD DIE TONIGHT!

Yeah . . . now, we’ve got “A” drinking booze, watching Wheel a Fortune, and listening to old songs on a jukebox.  Can you say, LAZY?

Worst new characters

Nate – SEE ABOVE. 🙂

Maggie

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Hey, I love Alex Mack as much as the next girl . . .

But I do not love the freaky, wide-eyed pixie version of her that Fitzy supposedly impregnated with his spawn.  And now, from what I hear, this is Aria’s New Competition?  Jackie 2.0?  Been there, done that, read the Cliff Notes for it . . . let’s move on . . .

Most Frustrating Character Development – The Dumbing Down of Emily

Oh, Emily.  Let’s face it, you were never the sharpest tool in the shed.  And we know academics have never been your strong suit, considering you were ALMOST LEFT BACK A GRADE.  But, in the course of a single season you, failed to mind your FLASK (NEVER LEAVE YOUR BOOZE UNATTENDED, GIRLFRIEND) . . . got roofied . . . lent your diseased flask to your girlfriend, WITHOUT WASHING IT, so that she could get roofied too (Now, that’s just unsanitary.), hung out with your dead other girlfriend’s OBVIOUS KILLER, believed that your dead girlfriend’s OBVIOUS KILLER was her cousin, despite the fact that he DIDN’T KNOW WHERE HER PARENTS LIVED, and SEEMED TO LOOOOOVE HER, IN A WAY COUSINS SHOULD NOT LOVE ONE ANOTHER, kissed your dead girlfriend’s OBVIOUS KILLER, despite the fact that he was a TOTALLY DISGUSTING CREEPER, and finally, went to a cabin alone with your dead girlfriend’s OBVIOUS KILLER, despite the fact that he was a TOTALLY DISGUSTING CREEPER.

Maybe you just mistook your thinking cap for your swim cap this season, huh, Emily?

And, finally .  . .

THE TOBY

Ooh, talk about a shocking twist.  Coming off a season, where the Big Reveal of who “A” Was shocked almost NOBODY, Season 3A’s final moments legitimately surprised EVERYONE!  Who would have suspected that Spencer’s stalwart Rock . . . the man who supported her crazy, fell off a scaffold for her, played endless games of Scrabble with her, humped her many times in his truck, and took her virginity, would also be one of her biggest enemies?

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And that look on his face, as he donned that hoodie, and ran off into the night . . . SUPER CREEPY.

Of course, the implications of this discovery are HUGE.  WHY did Toby do it?  How long has he been doing it?  And, perhaps most importantly, did he ever really care about Spencer at all?

It’s interesting how, of all the PLL girls it was the one least likely to trust others, who let The Enemy literally get underneath her skin . . .

But I guess all is fair, in love and A . . .  Until next season, my Pretties!

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