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Well, THAT’S Convenient! – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ “If At First You Don’t Succeed, Lie, Lie Again”

SMILE!  You’re on a Creepy Stalker’s Camera!

Welcome back, my Pretties!  This was a pretty productive episode, wasn’t it?  We met a new enemy (specifically, Emily’s Swim Teammate, Paige, or as I like to call her, Little Orphan B*tchie).

Seriously?  That hair?  Those clothes?  No . . . just . . . no.

We got to know a new friend with benefits? a little bit better . . .

“Hi!  My name is Stereotypical Bad Boy Love Interest.  What’s yours?”

We welcomed back a new suspect (who’s been SERIOUSLY hitting the steroids HARD eating his Wheaties, since we saw him last).

A few couples heated things up (one of which we ACTUALLY cared about!).

Mmmm!  That looks like it tastes good . . .

Meh . . .

An old lady died (RIP Old Lady!).  And another Old Lady told SOMEONE (A?  Ali’s Killer?) that she (or he, though it definitely seemed more like a she) had nice eyes . . .

“Why thank you, Old Lady, and you have nice .  . . teacups.”

And finally, Spencer FINALLY revealed why she’s been acting so Cuckoo Bananas, everytime she gets anywhere near that picture of Ali that was taken the night she died . . .

But we still haven’t figured out why she always makes that weird face . . .

Let’s review, shall we?

Questionable Judgment (and even more questionable hats)

Clearly, all these months of being tortured by “A,” making out with inappropriate men (and women), and not sleeping, have started to take their toll on the girls.  We see the first signs of this, when the typically stylish Aria arrives at Spencer’s house inexplicably dressed like Where’s Waldo?

(Hanna, of course, had another analogy for Aria’s bizarro appearance.  She compared her to a Strung Out Powder Puff Girl.  This, to me, seemed kind of redundant, as the Powder Puff Girls ALWAYS look strung out, as far as I’m concerned . . .)

Sorry, Buttercup!

And yet, we can’t really blame Aria for not looking her best this morning.  After all, she’s been up all night, dreaming about the next public restroom she and Fitzy can screw in, McDonalds?  Wendy’s? studying Ali’s morbid final moments caught on film.  And during these hours of restless study, she has come to two conclusions: (1) there is a shadow of a second person in the film, who is clearly following Ali toward wherever she is going; (2) the photograph was taken from Ali’s bedroom window.  This new information causes Hanna and Emily to begin speculation as to who could possibly be the second person caught on film.  And it causes Spencer to . . . make That Face again . . .

Sometimes, my jaw and eyebrows get tired, just watching her do this . . . I’m starting to think she might have inadvertently swallowed her “ex”-boyfriend, Wren . . .

 . . . and Alex, for that matter . . .

In terms of who has taken the Extremely Morbid Picture, the girls rationally assume that it had to be Ali’s brother, Jason.  If you recall, Jason is the same creepy brother who TOTALLY took over Ali’s memorial service, and basically, accused all the girls (but, mostly, Spencer) of knowing more than they claimed about Ali’s death.  None of the girls seem to have any desire to talk to Jason again.  But Spencer JUMPS RIGHT ON THAT OPPORTUNITY!

Gee!  I wonder WHY?  (That Spencer . .. such a Maneater!)

Clad in her best approximation of an Indiana Jones Halloween costume (all she’s missing is the whip), Spencer heads off to the track to find Ali’s brother, Jason, sans shirt.  (Correct me if I’m wrong, but is this the first shirtless male we’ve seen on PLL?  Thanks, ABC Fam!  It was much appreciated.  TRUST ME!) 

Of course, he HAS to be running stairs when we first see him!  Because, otherwise, there seems to be absolutely NO EXPLANATION as to how this guy nearly DOUBLED in size (and hotness), since we last saw him . . .

He also seems to have dyed his hair . . . not that I spent all that much time focusing on anything above his neck . . . 😉

Jason initially denies taking the picture.  When asked who he thinks might have taken it, he informs Spencer that it could have been anyone.  After all, plenty of  insensitive people have tried to send him fake photographs of Ali, since her untimely demise. 

All doubts aside, Jason takes the picture, anyway (not sure where he put it though . . . his pants, perhaps?), and promises to have his private investigator take a look at it.  Jason then apologizes for being such a douche to Spencer, during Ali’s memorial.  To this Spencer mumbles her assent unenthusiastically, and rushes off.  Now, I suspect our girl Spence would have been more gracious about accepting Jason’s apology, if she weren’t so mesmerized by his six pack and bulging sweaty chest . . .

See, in THIS context, The Face makes PERFECT SENSE!

But Jason isn’t the only one getting some exercise this morning.  Emily is in the pool, working on some strokes (no pun intended).

The Battle of the Breast(stroke)

If you recall, Emily was quite the swimmer, back in the day.  But after everything went down with Ali, she took some time off from the sport, to get her head together.  Now, Emily is back, and kicking butt!

But SOMEONE isn’t happy about it . . .

Little Orphan B*tchie doesn’t appear to be quite the swimming phenom that Emily is.  But what she lacks in talent, she makes up for in sheer annoyingness, and cheesiness.  This is evidenced by her deciding to use the team’s Locker Room Change Time to give everyone on the team dorky “Go Sharks” bracelets . . .

Does that Ugly Bracelet look familiar to you?  It sure looks familiar to EMILY!

Of course, Emily immediately assumes that the “friendship bracelets” they got from Ali, back when she was alive, the DUPLICATE one that “A” gave them, and the ones that Paige had made, all come from he same place.  (Really?  Because I’ve probably seen about 100 ugly friendship bracelets that look just like those, in my time.  You can usually buy them for 50 cents in those toy dispenser machines they keep in front of grocery stores . . .)

Paranoid Paige, who immediately assumes that Emily is back on the team, only to take the coveted Swim Team Captain job away from her, not-so-subtly threatens to “out” Emily to the rest of the team, should she compete against Paige for the position.

Paige does this by making an extremely unfunny Breast-stroke joke.  (Why do I have a feeling this is going to end up being a Kurt versus Karofsky from Glee situation, all over again?)

Emily holds her own, however.  She tells Paige, in no uncertain terms, that if she really wants to be Swim Team Captain, she should stop sucking so much at .  . . you know . . . swimming.  But Paige’s homophobic comments still irk Emily enough to complain about them to Aria and Spencer at lunch.  These complaints prompt Spencer, unbeknownst to Emily, to rat Paige out to the swim coach.  (This, by the way, eventually causes a pretty intense fight between Spencer and Emily.  But they make up by the end of the episode.  So, it didn’t really seem worth mentioning.)

The swim coach keeps Emily and Paige, after practice, to discuss Paige’s derogatory statements.  She even offers to throw Paige off the team, for what she said to Emily.  Emily, however, tells her that won’t be necessary.

Now, you would think that Emily’s act of EXTREME kindness, in the face of TOTAL douchebaggery, would merit some appreciation on Paige’s part.  But NO.  Paige instead tries to DROWN Emily in the pool . . .

Paige claims she did THIS, because she was pissed that she ended up being replaced by Emily on the relay team for an upcoming meet.  But I just think that BIATCH is CRA-ZY!

“Are YOU talkin’ to me?”

As for those ugly bracelets, the girls later did some investigation as to where they were purchased, and learned that they were made by some old lady, who worked out of her home.  When Spencer (of course, it would be SPENCER doing the investigating, AGAIN!) arrives at the lady’s house, however, the old biddy tells her that both Emily’s bracelet, and “A’s” bracelet, were both purchased by . . .  wait for it . . . SPENCER HASTINGS!

But just when I think that this was going to devolve into one of those Split Personality Lifetime-type movies . . . you know, the ones where the victim ALSO ends up being the torturer . . . we are treated to a final scene, in which an unknown person, who, apparently has NICE EYES, visits the old biddy.  And the Old Biddy says to HER, “I did exactly what you said [lie].”

That, of course, immediately made me think of THIS flashback  scene, from the episode “Please, Do Talk About Me When I’m Gone.”

And with that, “Blind” Jenna just moved up a notch on my Suspects List.  After all, we never did figure out how she was able to put on that lipstick using the MIRROR . . .

But enough about Little Miss Swimfan, and Blind Jenna’s “beautiful eyes,” let’s talk a bit about Aria and Fitzy, and their Hot Date . . .

NO!  Not that one . ..  the one at the MUSEUM!

Night at the Museum

(NOTE:  Animated GIFS in this section of the recap have been “borrowed” from the Aria and Ezra Tumblr.  So, special thanks to the folks over there!  Readers, if this is your “SHIP,” definitely check them out!)

Up until this point in their relationship, Aria’s and Ezra’s “dates” have included (1) a quickie in a public restroom; (2) some hot tongue action in cars; (3) blink and you’ll miss it, romps in Ezra’s Swingin’ Bachelor Pad; (4) school dances; (5) and a trip to the movies with Aria’s MOM.  So, you can imagine how THRILLED Aria was, when Spencer got her and her Secret Boyfriend tickets to an art opening at a museum in Philadelphia . . .

As Spencer put it, Aria was willing to give her TONGUE for those tickets.  (Hmmmm .  . . wonder how Emily would have felt about that.)  In Philadephia, Aria and Ezra will be FREE to swap spit in public!  YAY!  (Well . . . people will still probably notice that Ezra was macking an underage girl, but at least they won’t know she’s his HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT.)

For me, the BEST part of the entire episode, was when Aria approached Ezra, while he was proctoring an exam, to give him the tickets (hidden in a writing notebook), and inform him that he should “dress formally” for their date . . .

For a second there, I was seriously concerned that Fitzy’s eyes were going to fall right out of his head!

Unfortunately, for Ezra (along with the two straight male fans of this show on the entire planet), Aria wasn’t exactly naked under there . . .

There are, of course, a lot of X-rated ways in which this “note” could be interpreted, but I’m pretty sure she’s just telling him to wear a tie . . . unfortunately.

That night, when Aria arrives at Ezra’s apartment for their date, he surprises her by picking her up in a stretch limo, Mr. Big from Sex and the City– style . . .

And in my dirty mind, on the WAY to the museum, the pair got it on, Chuck and Blair-style . . .

Even though the artist they were SUPPOSED to see ended up canceling the event, Aria and Ezra still had an amazing time . . .

 . . . which is a relief, considering how close they came to having the WORST TIME EVER!  (I’m looking at YOU, Hanna!)

If you are REALLY happy that some one died (because it will prevent you from going to prison), does that make you a bad person?

Probably . . . but we still love you, Hanna (and so does Lucas .  . . and maybe that Caleb guy too).

Hanna’s family hits yet another rough patch, when the old biddy who Hanna’s mom took the “unauthorized loan” from inexplicably made an appointment to meet with Hanna’s mom.  And although Mommy Felon tried to put a brave face on things, you could tell she knew she was TOTALLY up Sh*t’s Creek, without a paddle . . .

“I am SO f&*ked!”

Later that day, Hanna gets notice from “A” that she can make some extra cash, by ratting Aria out to her mom.   The note comes with a ticket to the museum event Aria and Ezra will be attending.  Obviously, this is a TOTALLY crappy thing to do to your supposed best friend.  But, then again, letting your mom get 15-to-life for trying to pay your medical bills is also a kind of crappy thing to do. 

So, Hanna leaves the tickets in an envelope in Aria’s mom’s mailbox at school (apparently, she teaches there, who knew?).  However, immediately after making the delivery, Hanna has second thoughts.  So, she tries to put a stop to things, by convincing Aria not to go on the date.

Whatchu talkin’ about, Girl Who’s NOT Dating a Hot 20-Something?”

But that doesn’t work.  Then she tries to talk Aria’s mom out of going to the museum . . . but that doesn’t work either.  Finally, she tries to steal back the envelope, but ends up getting detention for skipping gym class.  (I’m glad SOMEONE noticed that one week, Hanna had a CAST on from being RUN OVER BYA CAR.  And the next, she was dancing with Lucas for SIX HOURS at a school event.) 

In detention, the seemingly omnipresent Caleb starts flirting with Hanna, hardcore . . .

“Hey Hanna, I may be a Bad Boy, but I’m Real Good in the Sack . . .”

As for Hanna, she’s either so desperately in love with Lucas that she doesn’t notice any other boys (YAY!), or she has NO game, whatsoever.  Because Hanna actually responds to Caleb’s flirtation by . . . wait for it . . . talking about how much she loves Justin Bieber.

Hanna’s got the Bieber Fever.  Side Effects:  Never getting laid . . . EVER!

(OK . . . now, I GET that ABC Family was trying to do a whole Cross Promotional Thing with the Bieber Documentary Movie, but this whole scene was just lame, with a capital “L.”)

And yet, Bieberery Slips aside, Hanna apparently still charms the pants off Caleb.  Because the dude actually goes out and BREAKSAria’s mom’s car, so she can’t get to the museum.  Now, how’s THAT for dedication?

Hanna, of course, offers to PAY Caleb for his trouble.  But he doesn’t seem to want any money.  He’d much prefer to get inside Hanna’s pants . . .

Don’t you worry about it, Lucas!  He’s a strong contender.  But we still think you can take him!

But what about Hanna’s mom, and the felony??  Well . . . the good news is we aren’t going to have to worry about that for a little while at least, until the Old Crone’s will finishes going through probate, which could take months.  The bad news is, this is because the “unauthorized lender” . . . DIED.

Tears of sadness, or tears of joy?  You be the judge.

The Part About Aria’s Parents — Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

“Hey, Aria’s mom!  Just because I recently got under the hood of one of my students (Sound familiar?), doesn’t mean I can’t still pop YOUR hood?”

So, remember when I told you that Caleb broke Aria’s mom’s car, so she couldn’t go to the museum opening?  Well, it turns out she REALLY wanted to go.  So much so, in fact, that she was willing to call her Cheating Louse of Husband to fix the damage, which, of course, he couldn’t.  The pair bicker a bit, and it’s supposed to be cute, I guess.  But it isn’t, because we don’t really care about Aria’s parents (no offense), and the actors playing them have no chemistry with one another, whatsoever.

Long story – short, Aria’s dad ends up driving Aria’s mom to the museum in his car, and they end up making out in the front seat.  (Apparently, the “Making Out in Cars” gene runs in this family.)  Since we didn’t see what happened after the two started necking (THANK THE LORD!), we can’t be too sure, whether Aria’s mom, in fact, SAW Aria and Ezra on their “date.”  And yet, Aria’s mom is acting MIGHTY weird, when she tells Aria they need to “talk” the following day at school .  . .

“Why does SHE get to make out with the hot guy, and I get the Wanker?  Damn you, Aria!”

Personally, I’m pretty sure Aria’s mom DIDN’T see Aria and Ezra.  I’m thinking she wants to tell her daughter that “Mommy and Daddy are getting back together.”  After all, thinking about someone’s life, other than her own, doesn’t exactly seem to be Aria’s mom’s strong suit.  Then again, I could be wrong . . .

Spencer’s Big Secret

When Spencer arrives home from school that day, she is surprised to find that Hot Jason (now wearing clothes, unfortunately) has let himself into her house.

Clearly, not much for small talk, Jason spills a wealth of information to Spencer, in just a few short moments.  Here’s what Jason tells Spencer:  (1) The picture she gave him of Ali is Real.  (2) Jason may have taken it himself.  (3) Jason can’t remember whether he took the picture or not, because he was drugged out of his gourd the entire month before Ali died.  (Fortunately, Jason doesn’t drugs, anymore . . . well, aside from the steroids of course.) (4) Creepy Ian was Jason’s good pal, and a fellow drug addict.  He often spent time at Jason (and Ali’s house), and was probably there the night Ali died.  (That last part, of course, we already knew.)

This last bit of information prompts Spencer to recall the fight she had with Ali the night of her death.

During the fight, Ali (who, unbeknownst to Spencer, was boning Ian, and probably just wanted him for herself) threatened Spencer that if she didn’t tell her sister that she (Spencer) and Ian had kissed, Ali would spill the beans for her.  This prompted Spencer to tell Ali that she was done being friends with her.  And eventually, if she had her way,  the other PLL’s would ditch her ass too.  “You are dead to me already,” concludes Spencer

This outburst prompts the normally unflappable Ali to storm out of the house, and Spencer to sneakily follow after her.  (See, some things NEVER change!)

In Real Time, the rest of the PLL’s confort Spencer, as she tells them about the fight, and admits that SHE was the second shadow in the photograph of Ali sent to them by “A.”  The girl’s are very supportive of Spencer, and tell her, that she has nothing to feel guilty about.  The love fest is interrupted, however, when the girls spy Hot-But-Now-Seeming-Kind-of-Creepy-Again Jason leering at them from a nearby window.

“Damn him!  Why is he STILL wearing his shirt!”

And that’s all I’ve got, My Pretties!  SO, now it’s your turn!  Feel free to sound off in the comment section, and tell me what you thought of tonight’s PLL installment.  I’ll even leave you with some questions to get those wheels turning: 

Do you think “Blind” Jenna is behind those ugly bracelets? 

Did Aria’s mom see Aria and Fitzy getting up close in personal in front of the museum?  Or is all of this just about Aria’s SUPER BORING Dad? 

Are you Team Lucas or Team Caleb?  (Notice I’m completely leaving out Team Sean.  Because that’s not even an option as far as I’m concerned?)

What the heck is up with Jason’s new bod?

And, finally, do you understand “The Bieb” as well as Hanna does?

See ya, next time . . .

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under Pretty Little Liars

A Dance With the Devil – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ “Careful What U Wish 4”

Welcome back, My Pretties!  This week, on Pretty Little Liars, each of our four favorite Rosewood High Students were forced to face down their own personal demons.  For Aria, that demon was the green-eyed monster, we all know her better as .  . . jealousy.

For Emily, the demon was a fear of abandonment.  Coincidentally, she found it at the bottom of a liquor flask.

Hanna had to cope with the guilt she felt over leading on someone who had romantic feelings for her.  But are you REALLY leading someone on, if you have romantic feelings for them, in return?

. . . and Spencer, well, her demon had a face (EVIL) . . . and a name (PSYCHO IAN) . . . and had just married her sister (DISTURBING).

Oh, and can SOMEONE tell me who the HECK this guy is?  Please!

So, now that you’ve met all the demons, what do you say we start “hunting them down?”  Shall we?

Aria Battles a Green-Eyed Monster Named Simone (with a Teddy Bear between her legs)

When Aria first learns that her childhood babysitter, Simone, is back in town from NYC, she is thrilled!  And the fact that Simone is a “published author” (something Aria has always strived to become), who has enough money to sponsor all four of the PLL girls for an upcoming dance-athon makes Aria even more excited to pick her brain.  (Clearly, none of the writers of Pretty Little Liars know anything about what “publishing short stories” actually pays, i.e. usually NOTHING.)  But when Simone starts making a play for Ezra Fitz, by meeting him for “coffee” . . .

“Lay a hand on my babysitter, and I will pour these lattes down your pants, Fitzy!”

 . . . following him to LAME school dances . . .

. . . offering to pass his VERY badly written “romantic” poetry on to publishers . . .

. . . and regaling him with embarrassing tale’s of Aria’s childhood, including one about a certain teddy bear that she used to keep between her legs . . .

Honestly, can you blame her?

 . . . Aria has just about had it with her “childhood friend” and so-called “role model.” 

When Aria confronts her mother about it being high time for Babysitter’s Club Reject Simone to skedaddle, the brilliant (and by “brilliant,” I mean “idiotic”) woman who raised her actually assumes that her daughter is jealous of FITZY for monopolizing SIMONE’S time!  “Good men are hard to find,” Aria’s mom suggests, in her defense of Simone’s aggressive man-stealing tactics.  “When you get a little older, you will understand.”  (Ummm .  . . how old exactly does this woman think her daughter is?  EIGHT?)

Then again, how much intellectual prowess can you expect from a woman who willingly chose to procreate with THIS LOSER . . .

Is he cute?  Absolutely!  Is he a catch?  Not so much . . .

Having received NO HELP AT ALL from her own mother, at one point during the school dance marathon, Aria becomes so enraged with jealousy, that she looks about ready to go all Jerry Springer Show on Simone’s ass!

“That biatch STOLE MY MAN!  I’m going to rip every single hair OUT OF HER HEAD .  . . with MY TEETH!”

Fortunately, Spencer is able to stop Aria, before she does something rash.  (Well, actually, it’s unfortunate, because an Aria Versus Babysitter Girl Fight for Fitzy’s affections would have been an absolute JOY to watch!)

“Heck yeah, it would!”

After the dance, a tearful Aria confronts Fitzy in the parking lot, wondering out loud whether Fitz might prefer dating Simone, someone REALLY ANNOYING!  his own age, who he could date in public, without any fear of consequences.

But, worry not, Ezria fans!  Because Fitzy quickly sets his girlifriend straight, by explaining to her, in no uncertain terms, that his heart belongs to Aria, and ONLY Aria.  (Awwww!)  They couldn’t make out in the parking lot, however . . . because someone might see them . . .

Emily Gets Swindled, Gets New Ringtones, and Gets TOTALLY Wasted!

Poor Emily!  Just when she finally gets up the courage to come out to her parents, and give her heart to another person, the woman of her dreams gets shipped off to a Creepy Religious Camp to be “scared straight.”  When the episode begins, Emily is just DYING to call Maya on her cell phone.  Unfortunately, once Maya got to Creepy Religious Camp, the Cult Leaders Counselors there blocked all of Emily’s calls!

But, worry not, Emily!  Random Rebel Phone Expert is here to rescue YOU . . .

 . . . provided you pay him a boatload of cash, of course.  (I repeat, where the HECK did this guy COME FROM?)

After nearly bilking Poor Lovesick Emily out of her life savings, Random Rebel Phone Expert does manage to somehow fix Emily’s phone so that she can successfully call Maya at Creepy Religious Camp.  (YAY!)

But when Emily finally DOES talk to Maya, her new Gal Friday seems WAY too perky for someone who was just shipped away to Creepy Religious Camp for carrying weed in an Altoids box . . .

MAYA (on phone):  “This one time . . . at Creepy Religious Camp . . . I stuck a flute up my . . .”

Instantly convinced that Maya either no longer loves her, or was lobotomized upon arrival at Creepy Religious Camp by her Cult Leaders Counselors, a very distraught Emily, goes through Hanna’s coat, and pulls out a large flask of liquor, the contents of which she promptly pours down her throat.  Within literally SECONDS, Emily is COMPLETED WASTED.  (Gotta love ABC Family and their exposition of the “Consequences of Underage Drinking!”  Next week, I bet Emily’s going to be a RAGING ALCOHOLIC!)

Drunk Emily, of course, decides that this is the PERFECT opportunity to tell all the PLL girls EXACTLY what she thinks of them.  She also pretty much publicly accuses Psycho Ian of killing Ali.  (Nice going, Em!)  Fortunately, Spencer and Hanna take her home, before she can do TOO much damage.  They even successfully prevent her from drunk dialing Maya.  (NOW, that’s friendship!)

Someone is going to have a PRETTY bad hangover, tomorrow morning!

Hanna Becomes A’s Prostitute

While Aria and Emily fret over matters of the heart, Hanna seems more concerned with Matters of the Wallet.  Specifically, Hanna’s Deadbeat Mom is broke AGAIN, because “A” STOLE her Stolen Cash Stash.  If you recall, for the past few weeks, “A” has been using the stolen money to make Hanna her unwitting slave, inflicting psychological torture on the poor girl, so that she can “earn”  the money back.  (Seriously, “A” DEFINITELY hates Hanna the most!  This is the THIRD week in a row, that she got the brunt of “A’s” torture, while the other girls got off virtually scot free!)

Hanna tries to wriggle out from “A’s” clutches, by getting a respectable job.  Unfortunately, however, her mom is such a deadbeat credit risk, that NO ONE WILL HIRE HER DAUGHTER!  And so, my favorite PLL is stuck doing “A’s” bidding AGAIN.  This week, her “bidding” involves ditching her Boring Ass Boyfriend Sean . . .

 . . . and dancing with Lucas, instead, in exchange for MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF CASH!  (I’m liking “A” more and more, every minute! 🙂 )

Though initially reluctant to dance with the girl who unwittingly stomped on his heart . . .

 . . . Lucas eventually complies, and the two spend most of the night in one another’s arms . . .

When it comes time for the Last Dance, Hanna dutifully returns to her Boring Ass Boyfriend.  But then she receives one final text from “A,” who makes her an offer she can’t refuse . . . $1,000 for one more dance with Lucas.

When Sean learns that Hanna will be ditching him for Lucas once again, he dumps her.  (YAY .  . . oops . . . I mean, POOR HANNA!)

Having witnessed the entire exchange, Lucas sweetly comforts a crying Hanna, during the last dance.  But a small glint in his eyes, suggests he might not be all that dissatisfied with how the evening turned out . . .

After the dance, Lucas sympathetically offers to drive Hanna home, but she declines, telling him that she needs to care for Drunk Emily.  Lucas understandably looks disappointed, but, being a good sport for a change, he gently embraces Hanna, before stalking off.  Once she is alone, Hanna finds a scarf in her pocket containing all of the money she “earned” inside. 

Now, I’m not sure WHY Hanna doesn’t IMMEDIATELY suspect Lucas of being “A.”  However, I’m sure many of us watching at home mentally moved him up a notch on our suspect list right at this moment.  After all, shortly after Lucas went back inside, SOMEONE retrieved “A’s” signature black jacket, and thick gloves from the coat check at the dance, and promptly departed the school dance.

It’s important to note that many of the other characters heretofore seen as suspects (Creepy Toby, Blind Jenna, Bushy Eyebrows Noel, and Maya) were nowhere to be found, during this episode.  Additionally, those who suspected Fitz of being “A” undoubtedly noted that HE had already left the party with Aria, by the time “A” arrived at the coat check.  In fact, the only other MAIN suspect unaccounted for at the time of the infamous “Coat and Glove Pickup” was Psycho Ian . . .

Snoopy Spencer Strikes Again . . .

There’s Spencer’s Signature Goofy Sleuthing Face again . . .

If you recall, when we last left our PLL Girls, they were at Spencer’s house, watching Dead Ali Snuff porn on Spencer’s laptop.  (By the way, kudos to the WISE Hanna for being the ONLY Pretty Little Liar to note that Ali’s “groans of pain” may have actually been “groans of pleasure,” if you catch my drift. ;))  After a bit of hemming and hawing, the girls ultimately decide that they should turn the incriminating video in to the police, the following day, during lunchtime.  As they are discussing this, who should enter, but Psycho Ian himself (of course)!

Woah . . . it’s a picture of Ian on my laptop, next to a picture of Ian on another laptop.  How very META!

Though Ian ACTS as though he has NO CLUE what the girls were up to when he first entered the room, it should come as no surprise to ANYONE watching the show, that Spencer’s laptop is “mysteriously” stolen from her gym locker at school, just moments before the girls planned to take it to the police . . .

It’s important to note here, of course, that the ONLY time Spencer had the elusive laptop out of her sight, was when it was in her GYM locker, the combination to which, aside from Spencer, only the school coaches know.  (IAN’S a Coach!  See where they are going with this?) 

At the dance, Snoopy Spencer notes the number on Ian’s coat check, surreptitiously takes it, and, with the help of Aria, manages to steal the keys to Ian’s desk drawer from his jacket pocket.  But when Spencer tries to break into the locked drawer, who should be conveniently lurking nearby, but THIS GUY!

OMG!  It’s Random Rebel Phone Expert!  Suddenly, HE’S EVERYWHERE!  (I hope that’s not because he’s “A.”  Because that would be totally out of the blue . . . not to mention REALLY lame.)  A now desperate Spencer offers to pay off Random Rebel Phone Expert to keep quiet about what he saw, but the dude who TOTALLY extorted the heck out of Emily for her “phone upgrade,” suddenly, doesn’t want a penny from Spencer.  Weird .  . .

It’s no matter though, because Spencer can’t get into the locked drawer, anyway.  So, she reluctantly returns to the dance.  Then, after Drunk Emily confronts Ian on the dance floor, slurring that she “knows what he did,” Ian forcefully grabs Spencer into a slow dance.  Once he has his arms around her neck, Psycho Ian demands to know exactly to what incident Drunk Emily is referring.  Thinking fast, Spencer claims Drunk Emily is merely referring to the time Pedo Ian made out with her then 14-year old ass (as opposed to that OTHER time, when he boinked, and possibly killed a then 15-year old Ali).  Ian threatens Spencer to keep their Grotesque Makeout Session a secret from now on.  Spencer nervously agrees to do so, undoubtedly wondering the whole time, whether Ian actually believed her little fib.

And yet, when Spencer arrives home from the dance, she finds her laptop has mysteriously returned . . .

Not surprisingly, the Ian- incriminating Dead Ali Snuff Porn video is no longer anywhere to be found in the computer’s memory.  However, “A” has conveniently left the girls a digital photograph in it’s place.  The photo is of Ali sneaking out of the farmhouse, where the girls had their sleepover, on the night she died.  The words “watch your back.  I didn’t,” are typed in yellow across the bottom photograph.  SPPPOOOOOOKKKY! 

And that was “Careful What U Wish 4” in a nutshell.  So, now I turn the discussion over to you, my Pretties?  Who do you think is “A”?  Who killed Ali?  And were you as happy to see Boring Ass Sean go bye-bye, as I was? 😉

[www.juliekushner.com]

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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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