thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “She’s Better Now” (Season 3, Episode 14)

In 2012 election, gender, race on January 11, 2013 at 6:27 am

In “She’s Better Now,” Mona adopted a fun retro-preppy look for her return to Rosewood High, Meredith taught Civics not-so-civilly and then got exploded (probably by Mona), and Jason and Mona are Rosewood’s newest Nefarious Power Couple. In non-Mona news… practically nothing. This was an all Mona all the time episode! Just giving the people what they want, ay show.

Pretty Little Liars 3x14 She's Better Now

Why is Aria’s dad so horrible and creepy?

Sarah T: I know! He sleeps with his students, he has under-handed psycho dealings with Aria’s teenage friends, he stares insanely at his daughter while she stares intently at necklaces and then accuses her and her friends of blowing up Meredith based on nothing. (Except, granted, a history of blowing up Jenna. BUT THAT WAS A LONG TIME AGO.) The man makes Spencer’s dad look like Father of the Year.

Phoebe B: So true … By comparison, Spencer’s dad is looking amazing. Also, Emily’s dad is the BEST of all the dads by far (that security system on the house was crazy!). But Aria’s dad is freaking me out so much. That moment when he stares creepily at Aria plus him eavesdropping outside her door when she’s on the phone were SO scary and why on earth does he think the PLLs blew up Meredith. Why would he not suspect Mona, who just got back from being extra evil? And the Jenna thing was totally Ali (right?!). Also, Ali was scary in this episode … scarier than normal I thought as she blackmailed Aria’s dad.

Mona is back. What’s she got up her sleeve this time–was she behind the brain in the locker incident and/or blowing up Meredith?

Sarah T: I’m gonna guess that she was the mastermind behind both incidents. She put the brain in her own locker as part one of the Mona: Sympathy for the Devil campaign, and she blew up Meredith either because warped logic led her to believe that it would help her prove herself to the Liars or because of A team reasons, which are always mysterious.

Phoebe B: I will second you on all counts. I definitely think Mona is working in cahoots with the janitor (who is now on the A team?) and definitely running an intense Sympathy for the Devil campaign. Also, Mona walking down the hall with that knife. Amazing. And scary too. I agreed with Hanna’s grandma wholeheartedly (also, I was so glad she was back! But where was Hanna’s mom?), who said that Mona was trying way too hard. Lastly, speaking of Hanna’s grandma, do you think there was a reason she sang so much at the beginning of the race? Like was she trying to distract folks from something? Or was it just for comic value?

Why is the Norman Bates-esque motel guy the new janitor at Rosewood High, and why did he bring along all the trappings of Mona’s “A” lair?

Sarah T: I guess it seems like he’s obsessed with/teamed up with Mona, after getting to know her while she was using the Psycho motel as her homebase? So he followed her to Rosewood, with or without her go-ahead, when he found out she was starting school again. Honestly I think his character’s reemergence is going to end up mattering plot-wise not at all, but it’s a great excuse to get a fun guy back on screen, and I hope to learn much more about his taxidermy animal friends in episodes to come.

Phoebe B: That seems a good guess … Or what if he was someone tormented by Ali? And so turned into a tormentor/member of the A team? He is so so strange and the exchange between him and Toby in the downstairs creepy hall (after the PLLs narrowly escape him) was so scary. I felt like he or Toby were on the verge of saying something and like that he clearly recognized Toby. I definitely feel he is part of the A team but don’t know whether he will actually be important or not. Maybe he is a MacGuffin (is that the right term here)?

It seems like there are some inter-“A” alliances and conflicts afoot. In the opening scene, Toby is trying to run over a hooded skateboarding figure who we later learn was Lucas. Jenna’s transferred schools, which may or may not mean something. Mona and Lucas have some dealings going on, as do Mona and Jason. What’s going on behind the curtain?

Sarah T: I’m thinking that the A team is split over the best course of evil action, with respect to murrrder most foul, who their targets are, their end game goals, etc. Especially since A didn’t do much to the Liars this episode, which makes me think A was too busy bickering with one another.

Phoebe B: I am SO confused. I feel like Lucas is moving away from the A team (that is if he was ever on it!) and there is definitely something creepy afoot with Jason and Mona. I felt like Jason and Spencer were getting on so well and I don’t understand what could have changed his mind.

Does the wound in Jason’s side suggest that he was the person Aria stabbed on the train in “This Is a Dark Ride?”

Sarah T: That is what I’m thinking! So we know one-half of the culprits. I also think Mona was on board the train (good guess Hanna!), but not necessarily the other person who shot Garret and tried to throw Aria overboard. I’m pointing my finger at Melissa for that one, because that would make sense with the NAT Club theme (given that Jason and Garret were involved). Also Melissa’s cold, I don’t think she’d have a huge problem shutting up Aria with a corpse.

Phoebe B: Good question! I feel like it could be that Aria stabbed Jason on the scary Rear Window train. However, I felt like perhaps that wound came from the fire that hurt Meredith … Like he was there and maybe helped Mona set the explosion thing up? I’m just so confused about this new alliance.

HANNA’S GRANDMA IS BACK! Oh hi Grams, hello. What was your favorite Grams moment?

Sarah T: It’s so hard to choose–I did love her crazy family history tales over huevos rancheros — but her impromptu decision to seize the mic and sing all fourteen unknown verses from the national anthem boxed set before the charity race would have to be my favorite Betty Buckley moment.

Phoebe B: I LOVE Hanna’s grandma. I think she is always the best and I wish she was around all the times. Seconded on both counts. And I loved the way she told Hanna that Mona was trying to hard … Like she is so wise and funny and awesome.

What was up with the A-tag and messing with a random kids bike?

Sarah T: That was so odd! Just, like, showing us that A is still mean? No clue.

Phoebe B: Again, I’m so confused! I felt like this episode just raised like a million questions and didn’t answer any … I also felt like it had nothing to do with the Halloween episode. Remember the hand coming out of Ali’s backyard? And finding Ali’s corpse on the ghost train? And all the other crazy things that happened? But yeah, this A-tag was so odd … We’ve never seen that character before and it just seemed mean without purpose. Like the A team does evil things but always targeted at the PLLs and I’m so confused how that kid and his bike have anything to do with the PLLs.

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