thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “Breaking the Code” (Season 2, Episode 21)

In girl culture, Pretty Little Liars, teen soaps on February 22, 2012 at 6:05 pm

This week on PLL, danger is in the air; Spencer gets drunk; Melissa is back in the picture; Aria and Ezra hit a bump in the road; and Mona becomes A’s newest target. Read on for more on our favorite pretty little liars.

Thoughts on why Melissa feels so scary? And what does that video mean?

Sarah: Why oh why did Spencer go with her to a second location? Is it a barn? Oh lord, it’s probably a barn with creepy dolls and horseshoes in it. Anyway, I think Melissa feels creepy because she has all the Hastings intensity and terrorizing ability with little to no mediating personality traits, and also because she had like twelve good reasons to hate Ali murderously. I don’t know why she’s so anxious to find Ali in that video clip, but it can’t bode well. Also, the fact that Melissa worked at the law firm where the blocked Vivian Darkbloom calls were coming from definitely puts her at the top of my list of A-candidates. And also also, is Garrett going to be the father of the baby, not Ian?

Phoebe: Oh man I was definitely also wondering whether Garrett was indeed the father (and not creepy Ian). Either way, Melissa’s choices in male-companion types = terrible. Then again, I agree Sarah that she is all the Hastings intensity without anything to make that softer and ya know less scary. And I am so concerned for Spencer’s safety with the episode ending as she walks out of the house without her phone! Why leave your phone Spencer?! So worrisome. Then again, could Melissa actually harm her own sister? And what did she want to tell Spencer at Ian’s funeral?

Chelsea: Melissa is scary because she’s always scary. She’s just like Spencer, but with way more bitterness and a tad more ruthlessness. Also, her Ann Taylor wardrobe when she doesn’t seem to do anything Ann Taylor-y in life creates an unsettling dissonance for me. Seriously.

Melissa: I think Melissa is scary (not talking about myself here) because she has been willing to see Spencer hurt before. Remember? Oh sure, murderer husband pooky poo; I’ll keep loving you and not believe my sister that you’ve been threatening her. And Melissa has always struck me as ruthless: willing to throw her family under the bus to get at the men that she loved at the time. She seems to have no loyalty and to be a big ball of bullying possessiveness, with a great capacity for emotional blackmail. I’ve always thought she was at least part of Ali’s death, though I’m not sure I think she’s A…She doesn’t seem quite devious enough…But SPENCER?!??! Why for the first time ever are you believing someone so readily? Normally you reserve that poor judgment for the police. Why are you trusting your sister? Just because your father’s past behavior is currently tearing your family apart? Noooooooooooooooooo.

What are your thoughts on Mona as A’s new target?

Sarah: As the president of the I Love Mona fan club, I felt awful for her, and was really impressed with the way she handled the whole situation. If she does end up being A, I’m going to be pretty shocked. Her love for Hanna feels real to me, as does her freaked-out-ness at A’s machinations. I’m happy the last few episodes have been building Mona’s relationship with the other PLLs too, so that the moment in the lunchroom where she tentatively accepts Hanna’s invitation to go sit with them feels really earned. If you think about it, that moment is kind of huge–even though nerd-Mona was, in her words, “like two personalities ago,” that’s the table we saw her trying to sit at in flashbacks, where Ali constantly rejected and excluded her. Mona’s friendship with Hanna was likely enabled by the fact that they both made themselves over at the same time, so Hanna wasn’t as intimidating as the other girls–but Mona’s still kind of edgy about whether or not Spencer and Aria and Emily will accept her. And so it was really nice to hear their sweet, casual “heys” as she sat down. I’m crossing my fingers that the core four will be adding her as a fifth to their group, particularly since she knows now about A.

Phoebe: Yes and yes and yes. I agree with all your points. I would be really surprised at this point if A turned out to be even part-Mona. And I loved that final moment where she got to sit with the PLLs and I really hope that she is not A! As I too am enjoying her character development in the past couple episodes.

Chelsea: I don’t have anything new to add that y’all haven’t covered other than when she was crying a little and her mascara got all runny it reminded me of L.C. in The Hills in the best possible way. It was the moment I officially joined the Mona fan club.

Melissa: Mona is earning my trust, a bit at a time, because she seems so loyal to Hannah. And it totally made sense that A would have given her the liposuction info on Hannah ages and ages ago.

Spencer + Wren. Discuss.

Sarah: I have such mixed feelings about this! Wren is pretty much irresistible with his British accent and floppy hair and big grin, so no objections there. And Spencer has chemistry with everybody, but I especially buy the flirty rapport between the two of them–back at Wren’s apartment they were cookin’! But the age difference thing is a real problem for me. If Wren’s doing his residency, he’s got to be at least 10 years older than Spencer. I know she’s mature and kind of a 35-year-old in a 16-year-old body, but I can’t help but feel weird about the age gap. At least he stopped them from going any further that night since Spencer was definitely too drunk–I loved that little backward couch-flip of assent she did at his assessment.

Phoebe: Wren is SO irresistible and so charming when he tells Spencer no and lets her sleep on the couch. Also, drunk Spencer is hilarious. I feel like this is first time we’ve really seen Spencer out of control–it was crazy watching her just grab those shots while sitting at the bar (which she is totally not old enough to be in I might add and it was so strange that nobody seemed to care about that). I agree about the age gap, but then I decided he could be like an intern or something and therefore still relatively young, right? maybe? And thus, the age gap would be more Aria/Ezra-esque with the student/teacher dynamic afoot.

Chelsea: Yeah, for some reason (probably imagined) I think we found out his age last season and he wasn’t that much older than her. Not that a few years less negates the legal issues and the potential for a problematic power differential between them, but still. Also, I kind of admire Wren’s tenacity. He’s totally into Spencer and consistently open about that with her, which, considering the other romantic pairings we’re dealing with in Rosewood, is pretty admirable (despite the shady start to their relationship).

Melissa: I loved everything about this scene, though I would have had some consternation had they actually hooked up. Atta girl, Spence, going right for the tequila; I just know she and I would be friends. And can we talk about how “Oh, wait, Aristotle is exactly where it should be!” is the best pick-up line of all time?!?!?!  I’m using that on every date for the rest of forever. I feel like Spencer has genuinely real chemistry with Wren – more even than with Tobey – and he has been persistent. But I’m a little uncertain about Wren’s trustworthiness. Oh, he just happened to show up instead of Melissa so that Spencer could be distracted? And remember him getting medicine to Ian? And remember how he first made out with Spencer when he was engaged to Melissa? I was all for the chemistry, but I’m not sure their story would end happily ever after or that Wren is totally on the level.

Nomination for best parent of the episode?

Sarah: Ohh Hanna’s mom is always gonna win this award from me. I loved how protective she was of Hanna and how her top concern about the info about her affair with the police officer leaking was that she might lose custody of her daughter. I was also pleased with the way Emily and Mona both profess their love for Mrs. Marin. She is the best! Everyone agrees.

Phoebe: I think this week there is a tie between Mrs. Marin for all the reasons you stated. And also Ella (Aria’s mom) was on a roll this week with her awkward visit to Ezra’s place and their awkward tea party. So uncomfortable. But, I thought it was cool that she went to go listen.

Chelsea: Ella was pretty great this week; listening is an important step in that situation, regardless of the conclusion (and honestly, can we actually imagine Ezra living in New Orleans? Really? It’d be good for him though.). Hanna’s mom is always great, so I’m gonna give credit to Ella for her unexpected parental contribution.

Melissa: Yes, I must third the Ella nomination. Because Aria was being a bit of a brat to her (sorry, Chels; but she was seriously under my skin this week: I will run to New Orleans even though he may not want me, take that Mommy! So I thought it was rad that Ella refused to be put off by the teenage angst. I guess after dealing with Mike, heartbroken Aria can’t be too bad. And she’s married to Professor Crazytrain. That poor woman. But also, way to go Mrs. Marin, just charging in on Officer Creeptron and demanding he take accountability. Serious Mom Power shining through here!

Paige is back in action, and Maya is AWOL and, based on the police appearance, potentially in trouble. What does all this mean for young Emily?

Sarah: I’m pretty anti-Maya, so I’m happy Paige is back on the scene (with a better haircut)! I get why Emily wasn’t in a kissing mood, being so worried about Maya and all, but I hope she changes her mind. I also hope Maya’s not dead, though.

Phoebe: Paige does look pretty adorable in this episode! And I agree, I am SO anti-Maya at this point and more pro-Paige. Although, maybe Emily just needs some recovery time post-getting screwed over by Maya too which I very much support.

Chelsea: Emily needs to meet someone new.

Melissa: Paige is cool, but I just never felt any real chemistry between those two. Maya has been a total frosted flake for the past few episodes, so I hope Emily just moves on – no underwater magic can make up for how mean she’s being right now…IF SHE’S NOT SWIMMING IN A LAKE WITH LUCAS. Or selling comic books – maybe she has a gambling problem? That’s my new answer to anything. I don’t think Maya’s dead, though I think that last little A-clip was supposed to suggest potential murder. Naw, I think she’s doing some thing with whoever has been texting her and will reappear like Lucas from the dead.

Pretty Little Liars will reveal A’s identity in the season finale. Who’s the most likely candidate? Vote now!

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