thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

PLL Roundtable, Season 2 Episode 11: “I Must Confess”

In gender, girl culture, Pretty Little Liars, teen soaps on August 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm

In this recap, Phoebe, Melissa, and Sarah develop a theory of barns, a theory of Hastings conspiracies, and a theory of dry-cleaning in Rosewood.

The Case of the Missing Therapist and the Downcast Mike

Phoebe: SO is the therapist dead?

that was so scary!

Also, why couldn’t she tell them who A was on the phone? Had she forgotten her office was bugged?

Sarah: I think she is dead, but another scary possibility that occured to me is what if she shows up in the next episode having been threatened/brainwashed by A and pretending like none of this ever happened?

Melissa: Sarah, that is scary. Because, yes, I think she’s either dead or kidnapped…and if kidnapped, she could be made to become part of A. Maybe that’s how A became multi-person; people were slowly blackmailed into joining a conglomerate force of evil.

Phoebe: I also thought maybe she could be buried alive? As isn’t that what happened to Alison? Or I thought maybe the girls would be rushing to save her in the season finale? OR the preview mentioned someone was likely dead so it could be her

Sarah: Huh that’s an interesting theory Melissa! Maybe that’s what the dolls in the box thing is about—like maybe the reason they’re going along with it is to try to save Anne.

Melissa: That doll thing is especially creepy, given that Jason just gave Aria that box with Alison’s old creepy doll

Phoebe: Oh yeah! And also, speaking of Aria her family prepared food AGAIN but did not eat

Melissa: I KNOW! I think I yelled something about it at the time. “See? Dinner again!?!?”

Phoebe: Why don’t they like to eat?!

Sarah: I’m glad Mikey is ready to get some help

Melissa: Yes, me too. I feel sad for him.

Phoebe: Me too!

Melissa: But I really want him to be on the case too, not just depressed. I don’t think his depression just happened to lead him to breaking into houses associated with A.

Phoebe: I don’t buy the depression/house breaking angle either. I feel like that family had a major breakthrough this week

Sarah: Yeah, but I don’t understand why Ella felt the need to hide the computer-wrist story from the dad

Phoebe: I think because she doesn’t want her son medicated/confused with Byron’s brother

Melissa: It also seems to be part of this larger concern about lying as a coping mechanism. We’re seeing that the girls all learned this lying behavior from their parents.

Weak Links and Familial Cover-Ups

Melissa: Also, why does A keep targeting Emily? Is she really the weakest link – and if so, why?

Sarah: It seems like each season A has a main target. Last season it was Hanna, now it’s Emily

Melissa: Good point. She also was after Spencer for a while. But framing her, not trying to physically kill her. Maybe because she’s so formidable with those field hockey sticks. And he/she actively saved Spence from getting tossed off the bell tower

Sarah: Which is an argument for A or part of A being Melissa, or someone else who’s somewhat invested in Spencer’s survival. Oh or Spencer’s dad!

Phoebe: I concur. Although I don’t think Melissa would have killed Ian. Ohh Spencer’s dad … can we talk about that?

Melissa: Right – so Spencer’s dad has been seen talking with Mrs. DeLaurentis and Jason, now. Which…both Spencer’s parents are lawyers?  Crazytown

Phoebe: And Jason was written out of the will and then Spence’s dad wrote him back in. Soo the question is (as Spencer said) what does Alison’s family have on them?

Sarah: and the reason Jason was written out of the will was because Alison framed him (we think)

Phoebe: Also, I thought that he answered no questions even though he was the one that suggested they talk

Sarah: ha true

Melissa: Remind me – Alison framed him for what?

Sarah: Based on the flashback with Hanna’s grandma, we think she set him up saying that he was going to sell a precious family heirloom and use the money for drugs

Melissa: THAT’S RIGHT. Oh Alison…you were not actually that sneaky. “You know, Regina? Like if someone sold a fairly heirloom. Juts, like, someone or something.”

Sarah: But yes, so what does Alison’s family have on Spencer’s family?

Phoebe:  Maybe something Melissa did? Or an affair that was perhaps had?

Sarah: Or the Spencer theory of Spencer!!! (in which Spencer did something the night Alison died that she doesn’t remember)

Melissa: Right! Also, what does the field hockey stick have to do with it all? was it Spencer’s and she knows something and that’s why her Dad burned it? OR was it Jason’s and he burned it to protect Jason

Sarah: Ahh good questions! I think it was to protect Spencer or someone in his own family not to cover up for Jason, because while I understand that he’s legally tied up with Jason now, there was an emotion in the burning that I don’t think he would get from Jason coverup

Phoebe: I think so too. Although I feel like Spencer’s dad knows something super sketchy or did something sketchy

Melissa: Remember all that stuff last season Spencer’s mom said about protecting her daughter? And now Spencer’s dad is telling her not to get in the middle of this?

Phoebe: And he’s super angry

Melissa: So…last season I thought Spencer was involved….but being told not to get in the middle suggests she’s not involved, which might mean Melissa???

Sarah: or it could be because her parents are worried that she’ll discover her own involvement, which they know she doesn’t remember

Melissa: What if Melissa was involved b/c she was jealous about Alison/Ian and Spencer saw it when she followed Alison from the barn?

Phoebe: Oh so possible

Melissa: Also explain why Melissa moved into the barn with Wren. Maybe she moved in to cover something up… because she was such a bitch about that, and Spencer was like Whaaaat? and her family was all like YES move out

Sarah: It’s so interesting if this theory is correct, because Spencer’s the one who’s always most doggedly pursuing the truth about the mystery—

and meanwhile there’s a huge key that she’s missing

Melissa: What key is missing?

Sarah: the key about the barn and her family and her blackout

(assuming that’s all correct). She’s in the middle of the answer and so she can’t see it.


Mystery, Were You Born in a Barn?

Phoebe: Also, how weird was the flash of Alison in the barn from next week? A different barn than the Hastings one I presume … but a a barn none the less

Melissa: What’s up with barns?

Sarah: Yeah I couldn’t tell. There are twelve million barns!

Melissa: Ian’s dead in one; sleepovers result in barn-death…now barns full of boxes and Golden Alison Ghosts.

Phoebe: And poor Em stuck in the barn

Sarah: It’s interesting because the idea of Rosewood is of all the secrets and lies beneath the perfect wealthy small-town surface. But when shit goes down it tends to be in the woods (Mona’s glampover) or in barns—more wild places

Melissa: It’s like you have to get to the outskirts of the suburbs and then the truth starts to appear

Phoebe: I feel like there is something awesome and gothic in those outskirts

Melissa: The town itself is a pretty little liar: a nice surface, with craziness underneath


Evil Stepsisters and Fairy Grandmothers

Phoebe: Also, can we talk about how evil Hanna’s soon to be step-sister is? Like Cinderella’s evil step-sisters!

Sarah: I think it’s intriguing that the stepsister is so interested in being alpha because Hanna’s storyline is about becoming the benevolent alpha by losing weight and getting glamorous without turning into a mean girl

Phoebe: Vs. the Alison type alpha

Melissa: Right, which makes it even more interesting that Mona wanted to befriend the stepsister. Because this show has a backstory called The Battle For Mona’s Soul

Sarah: Right! The stepsister, Mona, and Alison are all of the same cast and all throw Hanna’s personality into relief

Phoebe: True! Also, how hilarious were those horse books?

Sarah: The horse books were so hilarious and awesome. And I loved drunk Hanna saying that next time she would get her stepsister books about naked guys riding horses

Phoebe:  YES!

Melissa: I thought it was interesting that her step-sister manipulated Hannah in ways quite similar to Alison.  IE, Drink and Food

Sarah: Yeah, that’s a good point Melissa

Phoebe: And I’m so pumped about Hanna’s grandma who has Hanna’s back and her general awesomeness

Melissa: And knows that Hannah’s dad is a dumb-dumb

Sarah: Hanna’s family’s female lineage is I think the strongest of any of the characters, with Aria-Ella a close second

Melissa: Yeah, though Ella is annoying me lately

Sarah: With the cover-ups?

Phoebe: Yeah … but I sort of understood why she didn’t want to tell the dad. Although I don’t support the lying … it just seems Byron is a bit nuts and forceful lately

Melissa: I think Byron is nutty. I just think Ella has been less supportive than she used to be. And lying about everything annoys me. Like, either divorce your husband or start telling him the truth

Sarah: And I thought Hanna’s dad also was super-mean to her when he kicked her out of the rehearsal dinner

Phoebe:  So mean to her! Totally does not have faith in his daughter

Sarah: I get being upset about the dress, but why would you kick your own daughter out of the rehearsal dinner when it was clearly an accident

Phoebe: He seemed so out of line which was why I was so glad the grandma was there to be the parent

Sarah: Absolutely, Hanna needed a hug

Phoebe: And I don’t understand why it couldn’t go to the cleaners. It wasn’t like they were getting married that night. And also, how much does the dress matter? couldn’t they get married anyway!

Sarah: Totally, the cleaners in Rosewood are probably experts at getting bloodstains out of everything so why not vomit


Guess Who’s Back. Back Again.

Sarah: Oh how about the reemergence of Maya?

Phoebe: Also, the hand holding on the table?

Melissa: I’m glad – Samara was never as awesome as Maya. But I need some more backstory

Phoebe: True … Although I miss Maya’s old hair

Melissa: How did she go to “Don’t be gay boot camp” and then manage to sneak out and have a public date at the ol’ Rosewood grill?

Phoebe: I was wondering the same thing! I thought she was refusing to talk to Em, the last time we checked in with her

Melissa: I mean, if your parents are going to ship you across the country, what’s going to change your mind?

Sarah: Hmm all good questions/points. PLL does have a tendency to just bring characters in and out with no explanation. Like WHAT WAS UP WITH THE FAKE ARCHITECT?

Phoebe: Is there anything else we are missing from this week, ladies?

Sarah: I think that seems to cover everything… I was also happy to see Alison and excited that she’ll be in next week’s episode too

Phoebe: Me too!

Predictions for the finale?

Melissa: Anne buried alive, for sure

Sarah: The wedding proceeds disastrously

Melissa: Some other mysterious thing about Spencer’s family will be half-revealed. And I hope Mike let’s slip some piece of important info that he gleaned while breaking and entering

Sarah: Ooh that would be good. And I still think something with Hanna going to Lucas for comfort and maybe a spark of something to build on in the next season in winter

Phoebe: Oh and what about showing the pic of Caleb to Hanna’s new sis? I feel like something bad has to come of that?!

Melissa: Emily learning something important from her Alison vision? That would be cool – A thinking Emily is the weakest link, but then she has a flash of insight

Phoebe: Eeek next week is going to be so scary!

Sarah: And I think that Aria and Ezra are going to break up, even without Jason as a factor

Melissa: Yeah…maybe Aria will break up with him to focus on her family. She seems on this big “No more lying” kick, which was awesome, but that will mean admit to Ezra or cut him off.

Sarah: Also, I was relieved to see Lucas and Noel briefly in the assembly because it seemed to promise that maybe they will show up in the finale

Phoebe: I appreciated their return/consistency

Melissa: It would be nice to see some of these people come back. Melissa, Wren, Lucas, Noel

Phoebe: and maybe a ghost of Ian?

Melissa: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo



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