thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “A Hot Piece of ‘A” (Season 2, Episode 15)

In girl culture, Pretty Little Liars, teen soaps on January 11, 2012 at 12:00 pm

This week on PLL, the liars attempt a birthday bash that ends in danger and drowning (maybe), bring Caleb into their super secret circle, and suspect Lucas of being A’s helper. Meanwhile, Mona returns and Jenna and Garrett fight. Read on for answers to our post-PLL questions.

Caleb helps the PLLs unlock A's phone!

How do you feel about Aria’s parents in this episode? And Byron’s Ezra-vention?

Phoebe: I feel frustrated but also that any other response would be a little crazy unrealistic (not that my main concern on PLL is realism, but still). Although, Byron’s insanity, which maybe stems from guilt about his own affair (maybe?), is a smidge overwhelming: for example, him threatening to call the police and not even thinking about the consequences for Aria (well played, Ella!).

Sarah: I don’t mind them forbidding Aria from seeing Ezra (makes sense!), but I agree that Byron’s plan to call the police was pretty flawed from most any perspective. Also, Aria called Ezra so many times in this episode! Not that sneakily! Relatedly: just for some perspective, I’d really like to see a scene where Ezra talks about this situation with someone who’s not directly involved (ie someone who’s not a Montgomery and who he hasn’t previously dated). What would one of his college pals say? What about his mom?

Chelsea: Aria’s parents are being pretty normal, I think. Well, except for the whole “now let us present you with a suitable young man” thing. Byron’s Ezra-vention was a bit dramatic, and Byron could have tried to listen at least a little bit, but it still seemed fair. I totally agree with you Sarah about Ezra talking to someone else. I think we all need some perspective on this.

What is afoot in the lake house’s creepy attic? A’s hideout?

Phoebe: I don’t know … but it was SO scary. I’m glad Spencer took a picture of it though as that seemed like a good move and a potential clue or way to trace A’s steps, which seems super important. But is it A’s hideout? I don’t know as I tend to think A is everywhere. Also, I feel like there are more things to find in the attic and that they’ll have to go back.

Sarah: Lots of shadows are certainly afoot.

Chelsea: Only creep-tastic things could happen up there. I know it’s an old house, but electric lighting is also old. I’m confused about what exactly would have made it an ideal hide-out, photo studio, or secret headquarters. Hopefully all will be revealed.

What do you think about the disagreements within the PLL group this week (over whether or not to involve Caleb, whether or not Lucas is a threat, and more)?

Phoebe: Lucas was so creepy in this episode, but it seems in true PLL style that he is a red herring. Plus, it also seemed like he was maybe about to tell Hanna that he loved her rather than he was about to try to kill her (Although he was being creepy so her fear seems reasonable, particularly after Spencer and Emily’s crisis hotline encounter with him). I think involving Caleb is a good idea, as I think the girls do need outside help, however, I fear it won’t work out well.

Sarah: I thought a lot of the disagreements in this episode were about Hanna trying to protect or defend people she cares about — she doesn’t want to get Caleb involved with cracking A’s phone because she doesn’t want to put him at risk, and she doesn’t believe Lucas would do anything harmful or dangerous (until the two of them are alone on a rowboat in on a dark and misty night and Lucas is talking like a murderous zombie). Also noteworthy to me was her response to Spencer: “Stop giving us orders. We’re not your winged monkeys!” They resolve the issue in this episode, but it’s a consistent source of conflict among the PLLs.

Also, I definitely think Lucas was just trying to tell Hanna that he likes her. But in the future perhaps he should not speak in weird code and lurk in the shadows, and then people wouldn’t hit him with oars so much.

Chelsea: I understand Hanna’s reticence to involve Caleb or Lucas any more than absolutely necessary because being involved with A has only brought her pain. The other girls–perhaps naively–seem to feel like they’re closer to an end or an answer, which makes them more willing to involve outsiders and take other risks. Hanna either doesn’t agree or doesn’t care because her love/loyalty trumps sleuthing. I also agree that Lucas was working up the nerve to tell Hanna he has feelings for her, but doing so in one of the worst of all possible ways.

Holden is totally going to catch Aria’s eye, right? (Ew that ended up sounding really gross even though it’s meaningless.)

Phoebe: Totally. And I think Aria also knows it and is not into it, but oh boy do her parents want her to have a rebound romance with Holden (also, The Catcher in the Rye reference is a little too much for me, plus I feel that it doesn’t say great things about our PLL Holden).

Chelsea: “Say it in Portuguese, Holden,” was enough for me. I’m over him already. I know his dad was directing that scene and conversation, but based on Aria and Holden’s brief interaction (and maybe the similarities between their dads), they seem to be more like siblings than romantic interests anyway.

What do you think about the Jenna/Garrett situation?

Sarah: It was interesting to see Garrett freaking out about losing Jenna, since up till now we’ve mostly seen him acting pretty contained. And while I’m not convinced that they’re A, I do think that Garrett’s side of the phone conversation indicates that they were in some way involved with the fake box-drop at the greenhouse.

Chelsea: I agree. It was kind of satisfying to see that maybe Garrett does actually love Jenna in some way that goes beyond the two of them simply using one another to further an agenda of revenge.

Lastly, what’s up with Mona and Noel showing up again? Seems like suspiciously creepy timing.

Phoebe: So creepy, is what I think and I think it brought them back into the potential candidates for A ring. Particularly, as they went for a little “dip” or so they said at the same time that Lucas is potentially drowning. Suspicious, I think so. But also, I think that as Jenna and Garrett appear to be self-destructing, we needed two new potential As. But also, what if Jenna and Garrett are fake fighting! Like the PLLs last week in order to trick them …

Sarah: I was delighted to see them! I am building up a lot of affection for this somewhat nefarious power couple. And I liked how their enthusiasm for the party (and helping with the party) kept throwing Hanna off her game.

Lastly, where is Lucas??

Phoebe: Maybe drowning? But I think perhaps just missing a shoe somewhere on dry land. Definitely, I don’t think Hanna killed him (also, creepy was it when someone grabbed the oar). And also, if he was just trying to tell Hanna he liked her, what a terrible response to be smacked with an oar!

Sarah: I agree, what a terrible response! On the crisis hotline they were probably like, “Worst case scenario, she doesn’t reciprocate” and now he’s going to have to call back and be like “Worst case scenario, I get drowned on a lake.” But I agree, I don’t think he’s dead.

Chelsea: Drowning in his sorrow. Ba-dum-ching?

Bonus Feature: How to Be Awesome Like Assorted PLL Characters 

A few additions to our How to Be Awesome posts about the core four:

How to be awesome like A:

Be good at pushing (people’s buttons, cell phone buttons, Ians off of bell towers).
Be good at stalking (and make it your life’s work).
Be good at keeping lots of secrets (including your own identity).

How to be awesome like Mona:

Gain bonus attitude by storing surplus snark in your side ponytail.

How to be awesome like Ms. Ashley Marin:

Subsist off white wine and arched eyebrows and wry acceptance.

How to be awesome like Jenna:

Look amazing in a Lady Gaga costume and talk with this mysterious flat intonation so that even “I’m going to get a sandwich” sounds potentially malicious. (Do you think the girl who plays Jenna talks that way because she’s not sure if she’s playing a villain or not?)

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  1. Bahhhhhhhhhhhhh, I hadn’t been able to watch the episode until late last night because of sundry computer woes, but oh my goodness. I had to say a few things:

    1. While I loved Hannah standing up to Spencer’s bossiness – and while I think Emily and Spencer overreacted in such a way as to drive Hannah to paranoid attempted manslaughter with an oar – I was so annoyed at Hannah’s stubbornness. I get that she wants to protect those she loves, but in this case it seemed like she was lying to herself in order to do so. Like, “I’m not worried that Lucas is A LA LA LA LA LA” was how it felt when she just wouldn’t listen to Spencer and Emily. I’d say she and Spencer are the most stubborn, so it was intriguing to watch them square off, but sometimes Hannah is so stubborn in self-destructive ways: refusing to listen to Caleb until Lucas dragged him back, for instance. Come on. If your immediate reaction to someone saying “I have to tell you something” is to try and kill them, maybe deep inside you are suspicious of them and don’t need to be all like, “SEE, ladies? I’m NOT your flying monkey! He’s innocent! I’M GETTING IN THIS CREEPY BOAT. SEE HOW INNOCENT HE IS? I TOTALLY TRUST…oh…what? KILL.” But then, trusting isn’t my strong suit. That’s probably why I like Spencer so much. Overreaction + deep skepticism + elaborate schemes that make everything too complicated? Sign me up!

    2. Speaking of trust, Emily and Spencer are getting paranoid. To me, it seemed pretty obvious that all Lucas was talking about on the hotline was telling Hannah he loved her and cutting off their friendship afterwards. But when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail, right Em? It actually reminds me of Veronica Mars: the more deeply you get entwined in complicated plots, fake-outs, and ruses, the less likely you are to recognize that some people aren’t scheming, sleuthing, and sneaking around. I don’t think Lucas is involved with A.

    3. I do think Noel and Mona might be. I also think they could be red herrings. Jury is out. There were just lots of creepy camera shots while Hannah and Lucas were in the boat that suggested someone was out there watching. It’s so obvious, given that Mona told the girls Hannah was on a boat and given Noel and Mona’s little dip, that it’s either true or totally false that these folks are A. But remember Noel’s creepy little comments to Spencer before the fashion show from hell? I don’t trust him, but he might just be a general high school menace rather than a murderous blackmailing menace.

    4. What about Melissa? What about Jason? All these old A-candidates were suddenly back in the picture for me too. If it was in the lake house, Melissa could have had access. Or Wren. And Jason being “out of town” does seem suspiciously easy to me. I still stand by the fact that the We See All club must have something to do with this, and that maybe via Ian Melissa and Wren got involved. But am I just paranoid?

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