On The Good Wife, female friendships–especially Alicia and Kalinda’s–and relationships between women are, I think, the driving force of the show. Yet, these relationships are inevitably strained, often silent, and above all else complicated. Near the middle of the show’s fourth season, Alicia and Kalinda sit quietly in a hotel room, drinking red wine. Each woman is atop a separate bed, so that they face out toward the camera. When they speak, their conversations are stilted–filled with one-word answers, long pauses, and minimal eye contact. Adding to the strangeness of the scene is the hunting-themed wood lodge where they’re spending the night, a setting where they are both–with their very nice clothes and red wine–out of place.
Watching Alicia and Kalinda interact this way is an uncomfortable experience for me as a viewer. In fact, seemingly strained silences often make me uncomfortable. Yet the discomfort is wholly my own. The characters themselves are actually quite comfortable; this image of the two of them–together yet distinctly separate–perhaps defines their friendship. And that’s one of the things I love most about The Good Wife: the show challenges my expectations of how female characters are supposed to behave and interact with one another on television.
The first time I watched Pretty Little Liars was on Super Bowl Sunday about three years ago. At the time, I was living in a cute, though small, house in Eugene, Oregon, which conveniently had a lofted attic. While my boyfriend and two of his guy friends gathered downstairs to watch the football festivities, I holed myself away in the attic with an air mattress, a space heater, and some blankets.
I wandered downstairs midway through binge-watching the show, hungry and hoping to catch the Super Bowl halftime show—truly the only part I ever want to watch. (One word: Beyonce). Sitting on the couch, watching television together but barely speaking or making eye contact, were the three guys. On instinct, I began to talk to fill the space. Their silence made me nervous. The Jewish grandmother in me worried that they weren’t happy, or that they were hungry, or needed more beer. The list, as any goes on. Mostly, I just worried that their silence indicated they were having no fun at all.
Our beloved little liars are back in all their lying and being pretty glory. Safe to say, things are getting wackier than ever now: Ali might be alive, Melissa is certainly evil, Wilden is dead, and a hot new cop is on the case. Also, Mona is back and more marvelous than ever.
We are trying out a new recap style, picking apart the best and worst of each week’s episode. Let us know your favorite and least favorite moments in the comments.
1) Obviously, Mona. But, I think we might agree that Mona is almost always the best? I like this new turn wherein she is part of the liars group. I did feel bad for her though at Wilden’s funeral when they didn’t save her a seat. Also, I have no idea if I can trust her in this new seemingly nice incarnation.
2) Mrs. D is back and scary. How terrifying was that shot of her in the window staring blankly at Spencer?! It also reminded me of some other similar shot from some time ago, but I can’t place it.
3) The new handsome cop. I was just so over Wilden and feel glad he is gone (although I still don’t understand the pig in the trunk situation). This new cop seems more interesting and more fun to look at.
Ohh yeah let’s talk about that handsome cop. I liked his mumbly Jimmy Stewart ways and his cheekbones. I feel that I can trust him. (I probably should not trust him.) I’d say that there has to be at least one non-crooked cop in Rosewood, but why should that be, really? All the men in Rosewood over age 18 are psychopaths, so why shouldn’t the same rule apply to law enforcement officials?
Things literally heAted up on Pretty Little Liars last week: Spencer got steamed in the shower (that looked awful!) but also got steamy with Wren; Fitz is back and baby drama is definitely afoot; Emily and Paige had a heart to heart; and Ashley was tormented by Wilden. Importantly too, Spencer has risen from her dark phoenix phase and is back (I think) with a smart-as-a-whip vengeance. Then this week, Toby mAybe is dead and Spencer is heartbroken; Aria is not ready to be a parent; and Emily was badass. But until then, here are our thoughts on this week’s PLL revelations.
Last week, Spencer was back! But now, after finding Toby’s dead body in the woods, Spencer is a mess–and institutionalized at Radley. Discuss.
Phoebe B: I was so excited last week to see Spencer back and on fire. But then, the scary steamy shower and her confession to the PLLs about Toby (why doesn’t Emily believe her??) and the downward spiral begins again. It was so sad to see her break down and then be picked up in the morning by the park rangers, and that last scene of her sitting in the bed staring off into space. I wonder if the nurse’s feet we saw were the lady in red/A-leader? Also, do you think just maybe that Spencer is faking it to get close to the truth? I really hope this is all part of her big plan (even though I would quite surprised I suppose if that was indeed the case).
Sarah T: I do think it’s possible that Spencer is faking–perhaps as a way to lure in Mona–but I think she’s probably grieving too much to be plotting simultaneously.
Detective Wilden is Rosewood’s number 1 creep and this week he had it out for Hanna and Ashley. What do you make of his encounters with the Marin ladies? And where did he go after Ashley ran him over?
Phoebe B: He is! But I do think he is perhaps dead in the woods OR potentially in the car. I thought he was horrible to Hanna and Ashley, but I thought it was good that there was proof he was threatening both the Marin ladies (ie the video feed in his car). I think two things are possible post-accident … one, that his body is in fact the one Spencer found in the woods (thinking it was Toby), or two, his body was in the car that Hanna and Aria pushed into the lake (I feel distinctly that pushing the car in was a very bad idea).
Sarah T: Hahahaha don’t you think pushing the police car into the lake was totally the large-scale version of Hanna and her mom’s general approach to problem-solving? Small incriminating evidence they throw in sinks and blenders, large ones they push into bodies of water. Also sometimes embezzled money goes in lasagna boxes. A place for everything and everything in its place. MARINS I LOVE YOU. But yes, I do think that Wilden is probably dead and either taking Toby’s posthumous place or in the trunk of the police car. My money’s on the former, because I don’t think Toby’s really a goner.
Also, I’m confused by the video in the police car. It totally exonerates Ashley, right? You can hear Wilden threatening Hanna and see him getting rough with her. You can’t see him pull the gun, but it’s pretty clear he is not acting in official above-board cop capacity. This makes me think she’s going to trial but that she’ll be cleared by the video down the line. Read the rest of this entry »
This week on Pretty Little Liars, Emily continued to be the most proactive PLL, confronting Spencer about her bad behavior (“You don’t have a monopoly on pain!”) and teaming up with Jason DiLaurentis to find out more about Ali’s relationship with Detective Wilden. Aria spent some quality time with Mini-Fitz and the always entertaining CeCe Drake, who later disappeared and lied to them about her whereabouts. (BUT TO WHAT END?) Meanwhile, Hanna campaigned for a Caleb-father reunion, and if you looked inside Spencer’s brain right now it would pretty much just be Quiz Bowl – Quiz Bowl – Staring at the Fruit Bowl It Looks Like a Quiz Bowl – Quiz Bowl – Quiz Bowl – Quiz Bowl – MONA RAWR – Quiz Bowl.
Spencer’s wrath is transforming her into quite the seductress, between strip-World History-quizzing with that hot burly quiz dude and then giggling her way into an impromptu road trip with Wren. But it’s all to the same end: to drink Mona’s blood/get back on the academic decathlon team. Which seem to currently be the same thing in her eyes. What’s your take on Our Lady of Vengeance this week?
Phoebe B: I feel like I totally understand why Spencer is so full of revenge (it is all highly reasonable) … But I keep hoping that she something else is afoot with her. Like I hope calculating and brilliant (old) Spencer is up to something, like making Mona think she is losing it and therefore feel powerful. I seriously just keep hoping that Spencer’s downward spiral is part of some giant plot to trick Mona. Into what, I’m not sure. But I think Spencer is so great and I want to see her triumph. That said, strip tease Spencer to tackling Mona Spencer is pretty terrifying and also kind of awesome.
Sarah T: Oh that’s an interesting thought that she’s playing Mona, Phoebes! I’ve been buying her deterioration full stop. I mean, her hair is in a frizzy ponytail. A FRIZZY PONYTAIL! (Note: My hair is often in a frizzy ponytail, but Spencer’s mane is normally shiny and swishy like a Garnier Fructis commercial. Clearly this is a sign of end-times.) However! Maybe she does have a master plan in place.
Also, for character motivation reasons I’m relieved A threatened to off one of the Liars if Spencer exposed Toby’s secret. We haven’t gotten much insight into why Spencer has been hiding the truth from her pals, but this at least gave her a reason to keep mum going forward. Read the rest of this entry »
I watch a lot of TV. Like a lot. Thus, I was excited to put together this list, which did prove quite hard as there is a lot of fun TV out there right now. Anyway, as I made this list, I realized that all my favorite shows feature amazing leading ladies (both on and off-screen). This top five (perhaps save for PLL) is in no order in particular.
1) Pretty Little Liars
PLL continues its reign in my top spot. I realize this is not a 2012 show BUT last season was so good. It included such gems as a Psycho-esque season finale, a Rear Window reference, and Jenna regaining her sight in the best femme fatale scene ever. Oh and then there is Mona … the best villainess ever.
2) The Mindy Project
I was sold by the preview and the pilot. There is something so hilarious and charming about the Mindy Project and its hilarious and pretty awesome (and very pretty) heroine. I love Mindy’s spacey and craziness, but also that she has this super successful and amazing career. Most recently, we saw sadly that her new boyfriend turned out to be a jerk, but the highlight of the episode was how great her friends were afterwards. Basically, The Mindy Project is delightful and snarky simultaneously.
All aboard the ghost train: Pretty Little Liars is back, Halloween style, in one of the craziest episodes yet. Flashbacks reveal that Ali was murdered at least three different times on the same night. Aria gets drugged and trapped in a crate alongside Garrett’s fresh corpse (!!), and she’s about to be pushed off board a moving train when a combination of her killer screwdriver aim and her fellow Liars’ good timing saves her life. Meanwhile, Hanna’s mom and Pastor Ted encounter what appears to be an actual ghost — one of the twins from last year’s Halloween special. And in the TWISTIEST TWIST since we saw Toby in A’s trademark hoodie, Ezra. Fitz. Has. A. Bandage. On. His. Hand. Read on for more of the spooky twists and turns of this year’s Halloween special.
The Liars’ Halloween costumes were, as usual, flawless. Hanna was Marilyn Monroe in her iconic white dress, Aria was Daisy from The Great Gatsby (“the book,” she clarifies, although really what difference it makes with respect to her costume is unclear), Spencer was Lauren Bacall circa To Have and Have Not, and Emily was Barbarella. Which was your favorite look? And any other notable costumes from the rest of the cast?
Sarah T: Hmm I can’t choose a favorite, they all looked great — and of course the choices were perfectly tailored to their personalities. (As Spencer tells Hanna, “How could you have been worried that we’d pick the same costume?”) But in terms of other noteworthy costumes: Jenna showed some dry wit with her pirate eye-patch costume and admirable commitment with her dreadlock-and-curls hairstyle. I couldn’t tell what Noel was supposed to be. (A prince?) It’s fun that Mona wore a costume under her costume. You KNOW our girl was probably wearing a costume under the paper mache mask too. She’s turtles all the way down.
Phoebe B: Aaah Mona, what a wonderful evil genius. Her costume was SO scary! But I think Aria’s Daisy was actually my favorite since it seemed an homage to the one book we can be certain the PLLs read and Ezra’s former career as a high school teacher. Remember when they read The Great Gatsby forever?! After that, I thought Emily was rocking her Barberella costume too! Also, I kind of missed Spencer’s ridiculous queen costume from last year’s Halloween flashback.
If Garrett’s version of events is true, the night Ali died he saw her arguing with Byron. Then he threatened her with a hockey stick, making the then-blind Jenna believe he had killed her when in fact he was hacking away at a poor old tree. Do you buy Garrett’s story? And if so, what might Ali and Byron have been fighting about?
Sarah T: I think I do believe Garrett. For one thing, he’s dead now, and I feel like on PLL people usually get axed right after they tell the truth about something. Also because we saw a flashback, and thus far none of the flashbacks have been disproven, which makes me think they’re a truthiness-indicator. I think Ali may have been blackmailing Byron about his dalliances with Meredith the College Student, which makes him a new member in the ever-growing lineup of people who had motive to want Ali dead. I am thrilled about this development, because Byron has always seemed like a creeper and this seals the deal.
Phoebe B: Good questions! And I agree. That was a crazy revelation and I am inclined to believe Garrett now that he is very dead. I have always suspected Byron of something as he just seems so creepy and suspicious all the time. I agree about Ali blackmailing Byron but I also thought perhaps Byron made the grave mistake of sleeping with Ali. I realize that’s extra creepy, but there seemed to be something more afoot than blackmail. But the story too about Garrett fake killing Ali was so weird! What were her and Jenna fighting about? Why were they going after each other? I thought Jenna and Ali reconciled when Jenna was in the hospital. I’m so confused.
This week’s PLL was SO scary and filled with many creepy twists and turns. Plus we got a reveAl, and Paige was cleared of all A-related business. Read on for our thoughts on the PLL summer finale.
Toby?! No! Wait really, do you think he is part of the A-team? Or is he playing Mona?
Sarah T: This reveal made me cackle out loud. And THAT is how you do a twist. I think it’s definitely possible that he’s a double agent who’s crossed over in order to bring down the A-team. He basically threatened to do as much earlier in the season when Spencer was stonewalling him. However, I hope that he’s in the Axis of Black Hoodie Evil for real — not because I want to see Spencer get hurt, but because that is so interesting if it’s true. It’s a total game-changer not just for his character and his relationship with Spencer, but for the entire series. It impacts what we think about his relationship with Jenna: What if she’s the innocent in this scenario? Or what if they’ve both been on the same side the whole time? It also has implications for what we know about the night Jenna got blinded and Ali’s argument with Toby in its aftermath. What if Toby really WAS spying on the PLLs the night of the Jenna Thing? What if Ali had something on him that was bigger than the step-incest intel? I like this plot development for the way it breaks the show open, so I hope it sticks.
Phoebe B: Oh my goodness so many good questions ST! Oh man I actually really hope that Toby is a double Agent and not part of the Axis of Black Hoodie Evil … Mostly I don’t want him to be evil and playing Spencer because they just slept together for the first time (right?) and I feel like it would be super messed up if he was then evil. I feel like if he was evil, then the show would be somehow punishing Spencer for sex and that would make me sad. BUT also, if Toby is indeed evil that would be an insane turn of events since then maybe he really was guilty back when he was accused. And Toby does randomly disappear a lot. Although remember when A-knocked him off that ladder/scaffolding situation at the Hastings? That seemed real and he seemed surprised. But maybe he was playing Jenna or was horrible to her? Rather than the other way around. Oh I don’t know anymore, I’m just so confused!
We are approaching the Pretty Little Liars summer finale and an upcoming betrAyal. This week there were asps afoot and secret children revealed. Meanwhile, we learned that Ali’s evil reach knew no bounds. Read on for our thoughts on this week’s rather scary episode.
Be still our hearts.
An asp! What do you make of the A-ttempt on Spencer in the dressing room?
Phoebe: Firstly, how Shakespeare of you PLL! And secondly, so scary! So clearly the snake is meant to signal that A (or Paige) overheard Spencer telling Emily about how Paige and Ali were rivals. Also, it made me super suspicious of Caleb when he snuck into the changing room that Hanna was in. How did he know to get in there? Also, how adorable was that scene? Lastly, do you think A was the driver of the truck (we never saw his face)? Or snuck into the dressing rooms the Caleb way?
Sarah T: I will never suspect Caleb of anything because he makes me swoon like Hanna. Those two have heat! But yes, the asp was hilarious and scary, full-on striking out at Spencer. I also loved the detail that Cece killed the snake with a mannequin leg in the background as Spencer gasps for breath after being released. Say what you will about her mean girl tactics, but she is fearless. You’ve got to give her that. Read the rest of this entry »
This week on PLL, lovers were scorned while Ella dated many men. Then Hanna got stabbed (by her own hand) and Wren sewed up her leg. Meanwhile, Aria and Ezra continued to squabble and Emily kissed Nate. Read on for our thoughts, musings, and suspicions regarding our favorite Pretty Little Liars.
These two don’t Clash.
Ella is having so much fun dating! What do you think of her choice in men?
Phoebe B: Oh man I’m so excited for her and the hot cafe owner! He is adorable and clearly so into her. Also, I thought his exchange with Aria was hilarious and awkward and I was pleased to find out that Ella was out and about dating up a storm. I really hope he isn’t terrible … the men on this show are so hard to trust! Interesting too that just as Aria and Fitz are starting to have trouble, Ella starts having a fun dating life. Lastly, there final wine filled date looked so fun and cute as did that amazing and delicious-looking picnic he brought her at school.
Sarah T: Aria’s protective warning to Zach—“If you hurt her, I’ll crush your scones”–is most definitely the line of the night. I don’t think Zach is going to be one of the bad apples (of which there are men aplenty on this show), but I do think that he was a little off his rocker bringing Prosecco to drink in the classroom in the middle of the school day! I guess maybe that’s proof that he’s been out of high school long enough to reasonably date Ella.
Good observation about Ella’s dating life picking up just as Aria and Ezra are hitting the rocks, Phoebes. I also think it’s interesting that the Montgomery clan seems to solely date outside their own age range: Aria’s parents date younger, Aria dates older. What will Mikey do? Does Mikey exist anymore? Only time will tell. (Where is Lucas, relatedly, and why isn’t anyone asking him why he had the pills that were used to drug Emily? My beloved show has more dropped plotlines than Bella Swan has dropped spaghetti sauce.)
So many scorned lovers this week. Are you worried about Paige and Wren betrAying the PLLs?
Phoebe B: I am so worried! I feel like Wren was being really nice and patient this episode, until that last moment plus awkward hand touch. But in fairness to him, Hanna is definitely sending some mixed signals. And where is Caleb? I’m super confused as I thought they got back together last episode rather than agreeing to avoid each other. And then Emily! NO! I pulled the blankets over my face when she and Nate started making out. What was she thinking?! Also, it was like the least sexy kiss ever as they have no chemistry. And I felt so bad for Paige … Do you think Emily is going to tell her? It seemed like perhaps that was afoot in pre-swim practice before they were called to go in the pool. But I feel like Paige is rightfully pissed (seriously!) and has been so awesome and supportive of Emily and she likes her so much. Thus, I most worried about her betrAying Emily. What do you think ST?
Sarah T: Yeah, I’m not super-enamored of Paige at this point (she’s just so intense!), but I did feel bad for her when she peeped Emily and Nate accidentally making out. I don’t think she or Wren will end up being the betrAyers, however. Neither seem very A-associated, although of course somebody could have a sudden memory relapse that reveals they were in Fashion Club with Ali the day before she went missing or what have you. On the Wren front, granted Hanna kissed him and there’s clearly an attraction there on both sides, because girl’s not blind. But she gave him two very reasonable reasons why they can’t date (his history with Spencer, her situation with Caleb), so he should listen to those reasons and not loom quite so pleadingly. And maybe try being attracted to girls his own age? Spencer and Hanna is seeming like an Ian-type pattern.
But speaking of betrAyals! My money’s on Toby. Here’s why: he’s super-frustrated with Spencer right now, he was sketchy at the end of the last season (remember how he seemed to be getting chummy with Jenna again and pretended to hate Spencer for confusing reasons? Maybe he’s pretending NOT to hate her!), and everyone keeps talking about how saintly he is (see also: the Dalai Lama comparison in today’s episode). My other top contenders are Lucas and Maya (post-humously).
What do you make of the video Noel sent Spencer? And Maya’s temporary accommodations at the creepy Kahn cabin?
Phoebe B: Scary all around! I can’t believe that Emily and Hanna went out there alone (and that Hanna stabbed herself) and got locked in the creepy cabin. Also, why was Maya staying there? So now we know this is where Maya was staying when she disappeared and that she never got on the bus (remember that episode where Em’s dad helped her look for Maya? Heartbreaking.). Perhaps she found the room when she was at one of Noel and his brother’s super creepy parties.
And that definitely seemed like A that took her near the end of the video, which we now know can’t be Jenna and/or Noel or at least they didn’t kill Maya. After all they might still be part of the A-team. Also, how did Noel know that was what Spencer was looking for? And also why haven’t they shown that video to the police? Is it because Jenna was trying to frame Garrett? Or rather A was trying to frame Garrett and they are part of the A-team? Also, what happened to Jenna’s short-lived terror abotu everyone finding out about her eyesight? I think she was faking it. But oh man, so many things were afoot this week!
Sarah T: First off, why does Noel think it’s hot that Spencer believes he’s capable of murder? I feel like only a murderer would think that! And I’m also not sure exactly why he sent her the video in the first place, except that perhaps he was getting annoyed by her sleuthing and locker-safe-cracking and thought the video would persuade her to bugger off. (Clearly he has no idea who he’s dealing with.) But moving beyond that, it seems like Noel was both Maya’s weed dealer (I buy that connection) and that perhaps he was also providing her with a place to crash whilst high, which would make sense since her parents had her on drug-related parole. Also, I guess Jenna was faking being blind with Noel in the video? I think, timeline-wise, that was after she’d gotten her vision back. Not sure what the significance there is, except that it makes me think they’re not both on the A-team. Unless perhaps the Red Queen keeps her A-team members unenlightened about the developments with the rest of the crew.
This week, our fab four split off for individual or pair-oriented adventures. Emily spent the entire episode watching videos from Maya’s vlog, and it was sad. Hanna made up/made out with Caleb, and he officially voiced his intentions to join Team A Take-Down. Spencer and Aria went to a post-collegiate-aged party and had a Noel/Jenna smack-down. A rented an apartment or something and it truthfully wasn’t as sinister as usual, which is maybe a nice break. Even murderer/stalker/blackmailer types need some downtime every once in a while. Read on for more ponderings on “The Kahn Game.”
Don’t mess with the (evil) best.
What was your take on the insanely high-stakes game of “Truth or Truth With a Stopwatch, Everybody Act Like This Is Intense Even Though There Are No Real Consequences”?
Sarah T: Here are my thoughts in numerical order. One, the Noel-Aria face-off was full of spite! Do you think he still resents Aria for kinda-dating him and then getting back together with Ezra? Two, the Jenna-Spencer face-off was full of simmering rage, but I was interested in that scene beforehand where Jenna’s telling Noel she won’t let Spencer bully her again. I’m curious about how true that reading of Spencer is, from Jenna’s perspective, and how much that comment was just damsel-in-distress misdirection. Three, what do you think Jenna and Noel talk about together? What kinds of activities do those two creepers get up to? Noel-Mona were about presenting the pretty polished surfaces, but Noel-Jenna seem to be about cobwebs and axes of evil and adopting pet snakes. They’re such a fun couple.
Phoebe B: Yes! Noel seems a tad bit pissed still about the Aria-Ezra situation. To Two: I was so intrigued by that exchange between Jenna and Noel and was trying really hard to remember whether Spencer had ever bullied Jenna. And then I thought perhaps Ali had told Jenna lies about Spencer or maybe there is a yet to be revealed moment of Spencer being mean to Jenna. Also, I imagine that Jenna and Noel talk about plotting evil A related things or just plotting evil in general. They are a great evil-power couple. Also, Truth with a stopwatch game. What is going on?! And what a contentious round between Spencer and Jenna? Oh my. And what is going on with Cece? I am so suspicious of her and I feel like she did not give Spencer’s application to the UPenn guy (I don’t even think he exists).
Is Caleb a brave white knight or a misguided one?
Sarah T: Misguided FTW! I mean, I totally get why he wants to help Hanna, and I get why he wants to go after A (especially given that he now knows A went after his mom). He should probably do those things, even though the more he gets involved in mystery-solving the more scared I get he’s going to get blown up. But what about the “You’re talking to a guy who just kidnapped his own girlfriend” line and the “I’m not asking for your permission” line? Both seem aimed at positioning him as the Take-Charge Guy, although he didn’t kidnap Hanna at all. He tricked her into meeting him outside a cafe and then she willingly got in the car with him. Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with being take-charge guy, as long as he doesn’t think that means he is the ONLY person in charge or that he is in charge of anybody else. Hanna is in charge of herself. Ahh, feminism… Sometimes I just gaze off in the distance and think about how much I love it (not sarcasm).
Phoebe B: I think Caleb is perhaps a white knight but also maybe more like a equal partner white knight. I think it is great that he is on board! And not taking no for an answer. Mostly, because I think more people on the anti-A team, the better! And I feel like Caleb understands that he is not in charge of Hanna but that he wants to help and that he wants to be part of the team, rather than getting shut out. I think too, that for the PLLs, it might be an important lesson to ask for help or allow themselves to be helped.