thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

PLL Summer Finale Recap, Season 2 , Episode 12, “Over My Dead Body”

In girl culture, Pretty Little Liars, teen soaps on September 2, 2011 at 8:14 am

This week we recap the Summer Season Finale (tear) and answer questions about the best wedding dresses, possible father/son situations, break-ups and make-ups, theories on A, and more. See you in October!


Whose wedding dress was your favorite and why?

Phoebe: I think Aria’s. But I just thought Aria looked so pretty throughout the whole episode with her amazing eye make-up. Thus, I think I was predisposed to thinking Aria looked great. I was the most intrigued by Aria this whole episode.

Sarah: I also really liked Aria’s mixture of feminine-punk in the pink rosette dress with a black belt and black lace-up back. I also thought Spencer was rocking the halter dress. And I agree with Phoebe on Aria’s eye makeup—there is no such thing as too much eyeliner (especially on that girl).

Melissa: I did think that Aria looked great.  What creeped me out about her outfit was how her punk-y, rhinestone-y skull necklace reminded me of the jeweled owl thumb drive that Caleb gave Jenna last season.  But that was an aside.  I also thought Spencer looked fabulous, and if I was Wren, I would have kissed her too, though my sister and I were yelling the whole time, “No!  Toby will come back and see you!  No!”  Still, it was a very chaste kiss, so that was fine.

What is your best guess about the relationship between Jason and Mr. Hastings?

Phoebe: I think Mr. Hastings is Jason’s father … That is sort of the only I can think of that makes sense. Particularly given what he said about watching him grow up, but also perhaps makes sense as to why Jason was not in the will (particularly if Ali’s grandma is on her dad’s side). But also, that doesn’t explain why Mr. Hastings is kind of mean to Jason all the time and wants him to stay away from the PLLs. I want to know what he told Jason, when he went to visit his house. On another somewhat related note, I am SO sad about Toby and Spencer. He loves her so much!

Sarah: I concur, I think it’s quite likely that Jason and Spencer are half-siblings. (On a side note, it’s interesting that Spencer always ends up being connected with the people she’s so suspicious of—she was certain Toby was the murderer and he became her boyfriend, sure that Ian killed Ali and he became her brother-in-law, and now she’s positive that it was Jason and it looks like they’re related. I wonder if this is a hint about her own involvement/her family’s involvement the mystery of Ali’s murder?)

Melissa: You girls both did fabulous sleuthing there.  I concur with your assessments, though my first thought was simply that Mr. Hastings had had an affair with Mrs. DiLaurentis and just wanted to hush that up.  But I could easily believe that Mr. Hastings is Jason’s dad.  What if he and Ian and Garrett ARE ALL MR. HASTINGS’S SONS and their club was a SECRET SONS CLUB.  Not likely, but since Melissa married Ian in secret, I guess we can’t rule out the possibility, can we?

What do you make of Emily’s vision of Alison?

Phoebe: So I am wondering if Ali is alive. Or rather if she has an evil twin or something?! And here’s why: In Emily’s vision of Alison, she is wearing the same boots that the person dragging Emily out of the shed was wearing. And granted the girls often dream of/have visions of Ali, but this one seemed different and more real, particularly given the boots, which I felt were a clue because it seemed as if the camera focused on them a decent amount.

Sarah: I was initially more inclined to think that the vision was just a dream, but I think Phoebe’s point about the boots is a sound one. In terms of what happens during the vision, I didn’t really understand why it was significant to ask Emily to choose between coming with Ali (if that = dying) or staying/living – while Emily has been under a lot of stress lately, it doesn’t seem like that would be a tough call for her to make. So, since I still believe Ali is dead, that also makes me think that maybe Ali has a twin, and that coming with Ali didn’t mean dying but maybe joining A? And relatedly, if Ali did have a secret twin, how many of their memories are of Ali, and how many are of the twin?

Melissa: Oh my gosh goodness, this secret twin thing just blew my brain sockets.  I can’t even process that.  I also cannot process if Ali is alive or dead.  I think Ali is dead.  Even though a body in a shallow grave could be unrecognizable after 1 year, I still think they probably did some sort of science-magic identification and know that it was Ali’s body.  Right?  The show hasn’t yet questioned any forensic evidence … Then again, it did take the show at least six weeks longer than us to acknowledge that A might be multiple people, so there’s no saying … But I think Ali is dead.  So yes, a secret twin would make good sense.  I also noticed the boot detail; I yelled loudly at my sister “THERE ARE THE BOOTS!” and I think she spilled her wine.  That’s a hazard with mystery shows, I guess.  But also, couldn’t someone in those boots have dragged Emily out and then Emily, still high off of the carbon monoxide, just imagined those boots on Ali?  The light was so fake-y that I didn’t believe Ali was alive; it was the same light that always surrounded Lily in Veronica Mars.  I am just saying; it is Dead Friend Mystery Teen Girl Show Light.  Maybe Melissa pulled her out and Emily just imagined she was A.  I am still waiting for Melissa to come back.

What do you think A has on the therapist that made her susceptible to blackmail?

Phoebe: I don’t know! But I was so worried she was dead … It also made me wonder if the original call was a set-up? That is the call from last episode where she said she knew who A was. But I feel like maybe the therapist isn’t a real therapist or maybe she did something with one of her patients? Or maybe A did something to her or caught something on that bug that had been in the office under the bobbly head of Freud. A is so creepy!! And also, so clearly multiple people, right? Because A is always and already everywhere.

Sarah: Ah that’s an interesting idea about the therapist not being a real therapist/having an affair with a patient, since those are both pieces of info big enough to destroy Anne’s career and potentially make her do such a sudden turnabout. The idea that A has the power not only to hurt the people the PLLs love and trust, but to make those people turn against the PLLs, is really scary. Because it means A’s power, again, is much more psychological than physical, and that it can reach practically anywhere—since I really do believe that Anne was invested in the girls’ well-being and wanted to help them.

Melissa: What if Anne had an affair with one part of A?  That would seem like an interesting twist, especially if A is young (as we suspect) since it would reverse the older male/younger female power plays that have dominated the show.  I would be intrigued if an older woman had a relationship with a younger man, since it would bring into question not just gender and power but a larger general question of age and power.  Still, Anne seemed to cave so easily; we’re not talking about manipulating the girls into small things now.  They’ve been framed for murder!  Maybe I’m just a good person, but I think I would ruin my career prior to framing four innocent high school girls for murder.

Why are Garrett and Jenna setting up the PLLs for Ali’s murder?

Phoebe: Clearly, because they are evil. Also, so weird that Garrett became a cop only to be able to frame the PLLs or so it seems from this episode and Jenna and Garrett’s creepy police interview room chat. It makes me think that it is either payback for Jenna going blind and Garrett is doing it for the love of Jenna. Or they really did kill Ali, hence the comment Jenna makes about Ali deserving to die the way that she did. Plus, they went so far as to confuse Jason, and clearly have been plotting along with this frame job since Ali’s death.

Sarah: As Phoebe knows from an earlier rant, this part of the episode really made me mad, because I feel like their conversation SEEMED like it was full of reveals/interesting things but in fact could have been about their favorite My Little Ponies because it was so difficult to pin anything down—except that we now know they wrote Jason’s note, took page 5, and were behind the shovel set-up. Ha, now that I type that I guess it’s a fair amount of facts, I just want to know more about what really happened that night I suppose. But I don’t think they’re ultimately going to be behind Ali’s death, so I concur that it’s likely their motivation for setting the PLLs up is probably revenge—or perhaps a cover-up for another thing that happened that night (related to Ali but not necessarily her murder) that they don’t want anyone to know about.

Melissa: I was angry about this scene too, but my faith has been restored.  Here’s why.  Anger – it made me have Lost flashbacks, where the carefully crafted plot suddenly unraveled and settled for a totally unsatisfying and easy reveal that made zero sense.  But then, I was reading, this website which is convinced that Garrett/Jenna were A.

As I was reading it, I realized that I don’t think Jenna/Garrett are A, and that their big reveal was another red herring.  That would replicate the crazy bait-and-switch of the last season finale – where we were sure Ian was A until the last second when another mysterious figure showed up to shove him from the balcony.  I think that Garrett/Jenna set the girls up for murder, but I don’t think they’re all of A.  I’m not even sure why, but my gut just tells me that when questions get half-answered the way that Sarah points out happens in this dialogue, then it’s leaving space for the plot to thicken.  And given the way ABC family has been playing up PLL (referencing it in like every new show promo ever), we know this show is going to continue.  I still go with my multilayered A plan.  I think there are multiple As.  Ian might even have been part of A.  But they are full of competing desires.

You know what might make sense? If the We See All club had turned into A.  That would explain A’s schizophrenic behavior.  Then Ian would have been part of A, but another part of A killed him for trying to kill Spencer.  Then Jenna/Garrett could have been framing the PLLs for murder, but Jason could have been pushing them to figure out who really killed Ali.  And others like Melissa could have been brought in as things happened.  I hope it’s something that complicated; Jenna and Garrett just aren’t scary enough for me anymore.

What do you think about all the PLL relationship developments in this episode? Maya/Em, Ezra/Aria/Jackie, Caleb’s return, and Toby/Spencer break-up/Wren’s kiss?

Phoebe: I thought there was so much afoot in terms of relationships. I am glad that Maya is back in town, although I feel confused about the ditching of Samara so rapidly (although I am kind of glad). And I thought the exchange where Maya wants to get to know the new Emily and take it slow was really sweet. In the Ezra/Aria world, I am SO scared of Jackie. She is clearly evil and mean, and also interesting that the plagiarizing is on the table. Ugh, but I would be happy for Jackie to be written off. And I am so so sad about the Spencer/Toby break-up and a little suspicious of Wren and his swooping in and kissing Spencer. Toby is so sweet and would totally love Spencer and all her secrets, if she gave him the chance. But in my favorite PLL relationship moment, Caleb came back and was awesome. I was so pumped when he told Hanna’s almost evil-stepsister that her dress gave her back fat. Glorious! Go Caleb! I’m so glad he is back and not as grumpy and that he has Hanna’s back.

Sarah: I was wondering if the reason Spencer decided that the only way to keep Toby safe was to break up with him was because A cut his brakes, and brakes = break-up? That seems like the kind of decision I might make, so I get it. But I also thought that was very sad, and that Wren was out of line with the kiss—I get that he may have feelings for Spencer, but she seemed clearly not in the mood. I also delighted in Caleb’s return and his loyalty to Hanna, and in Maya’s as well. Jackie seems insane, which is maybe a little sudden? Although I guess we’ve mostly just seen her watching Ezra and Aria suspiciously up till now without knowing what was going on in her head, and apparently what was going on in her head was a bunch of evil demons building a watchtower. Aria’s breakdown on the phone in the police station when she called Ezra to ask him to come was really sad and moving (and well-acted), as was Ezra’s urgency at the station. I’m curious to see what Ezra will do now that he knows Ella has picked up on the age-inappropriate relationship but gotten the girl wrong.

Melissa:  All I can say is if Ezra and Aria let Spencer go down for their torrid affair, I will happily sic Jackie on them.  COME ON.  Just own up already.  You’re under serious suspicion of MURDER, so what’s a little inappropriate affair?  It’s not illegal- you haven’t had sex.  JUST… Aria, if you want your family to stop lying, YOU stop lying!  Sorry.  Okay.  Got that out.  Jackie is evil, but I just get so frustrated with Aria sometimes.  I kind of wish Hanna would throw up on Jackie and that would just speed things along.  I also thought the Toby/Spencer breakup was sad, though, as I said to my sister, “That was like the easiest breakup ever.”  Spencer:  “Toby, I lied this morning about my dad” [which is not surprising, because he is insane, and like, came out of a house and hit your truck last night, not to mentioned burned things – also my brother in law died.  Yeah.  Rough year.  So I told one lie.]  Toby:  “Why would you DO that?  Remember our UNDYING LOVE?  Remember IMAGINING WHAT OUR CHILD WOULD LOOK LIKE IN YOUR BEDROOM?  MELODRAMA.”  Toby, you are my favorite ’til I die, but you think running from the law would have toughened you up a bit.  As for the other girls/guys – YAY Caleb for the back-fat slap down, and YAY Maya for being sweet and kind.  Samara was lame-sauce.  She and Toby should go sit somewhere and pout about being misunderstood while their super-hot exes have awesome lives.  Then Samara should go away but Toby should get back together with Spencer.  PS – My sister and I watched some of the old episodes too, and I seriously adored Maya’s line from her date with Emily last episode re: Paige – “She held your head underwater and you still dated her?  Girl, I got back just in time.”  Perfect!

Final Thoughts on the Summer Season of PLL? And predictions for the Halloween return of the PLLs? 

Phoebe: I am so sad the summer season is over. But I am pumped for the Halloween episode. And I think we are going to learn a lot about Ali (or at least that is what I am hoping for). I feel like we were left with so many cliffhangers in this episode. Oh and also, this episode’s format is one of my favorites! I love the flashback from the police station format, where we find out how they get arrested, while they sit covered in dirt in an interrogation room. Awesome. And the return of the creepy FBI/policeman dude who is out to get the PLLs, also seems bad news bears for the girls. And I hope for AMAZING PLL Halloween costumes with crazy glitter, more ripped fishnets, and lots of eyeliner.

Sarah: Overall I think this season did a particularly good job of fleshing out the relationships between the PLLs and their families and of stretching out the scope of the mystery of Ali’s death. I’m also pumped for the Halloween episode and hope that it foreshadows the directions of next season, because I would love it if next season were devoted to developing the Ali backstory more (all flashbacks all the time, I love them!). I also think it’s likely that more information about the relationship between the Hastings family and the DiLaurentis family will be forthcoming. And high on my wishlist: more of Hanna’s grandma!

Melissa:  I’m skeptical of the Halloween episode, but that could just be the weird advertising angle that I’ve noticed on ABC family commercials lately.  I just don’t know that they’re going to tell us anything particularly plot-forwarding in this episode.  It seems like an excuse for costumes and flashbacks.  Don’t get me wrong – I like flashbacks.  But I want some answers too!!!  I want Toby and Spencer to have to reconcile their differences; I want Hanna to fight Jackie with her flask; I want Spencer to do some schnauzer-like digging and uncover her dad’s dark secrets; I want Melissa to come back, in a serious way; and I want the PLLs to realize that Hanna’s grandma is their perfect confident, who could handily defeat A with a wooden spoon and some serious sass.

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