thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “Father Knows Best” (Season 2, Episode 22)

In girl culture, Pretty Little Liars, teen soaps, Uncategorized on February 28, 2012 at 11:26 pm

This week our prettiest little liars got one step (read: episode) closer to finding out the true identity of A; got the moms involved; had awkward father-daughter dances and even stranger sibling moments; Aria wore a very red coat; and Maya is still missing. Read on for more on the PLL’s adventures.

This week featured a lot of awkward daughter-dad moments between all the girls (save for perhaps Emily and her dad). What are your thoughts on these dad developments?

Sarah: Spencer wins the prize for worst dad. Peter Hastings is Captain Von Suspicious. I think I believe him about hiring the PI to investigate Melissa, though. I also heavily dislike Byron (Aria’s dad), who did seem to be putting a lot of gross pressure on Aria to be his “little girl” (matching his tie to her dress). I was glad she told him off, because part of the subtext to his whole thing about Ezra is about controlling her sexuality, which is definitely not okay. Emily’s dad was sweet and helpful in the search for Maya, though. I’m nervous about his going back on duty–I hope he’ll be okay!

Phoebe: Spencer totally wins the prize for worst dad and I love the reference to Captain Von Trapp (particularly given Christopher Plummer’s recent win!). I too believe him about hiring a PI as that actually makes sense. Also, I am worried that Spencer’s mother might be involved in all this. And I second your thoughts on Aria–he is being a bit of a jerk. But also, Emily’s dad was so sweet and awesome and I really hope he’ll be okay to come back to Rosewood but I am glad that Emily’s mom will be back on the show. I have really enjoyed watching their relationship develop. Lastly, it is awesome that is episode is named for (I think) the 1960s domestic sitcom Father Knows Best, in which father always does know best. But, for PLL clearly this is not the case! Yay for TV references!

Melissa: I love Emily’s dad soooooooooooo much, and he was so delightful, though I laughed and laughed when he tipped his Army hat at the bus station man and it worked. Apparently I need to join the armed forces because then I would Get. Stuff. Done. Like solving mysteries. Although I think Mr. Hastings is the worst and is totally Captain Von Suspicious, little silver whistles and all, I still hate Aria’s dad the worst. Something about him is so SKEEZY, and I feel slimy whenever he’s around, so when the “little girl” thing started I got CREEPED. Prof. M, you wouldn’t need to INFANTALIZE YOUR DAUGHTER if you weren’t sleeping with women five years older than her. You could let her be a teenager and twenty-somethings be twenty-something and your wife be hot. C’mon, son. Pull it together.

Dad strategy sum-up: Mr. Fields – help your daughter find your girlfriend but then drop the Deployment Bomb; Mr. Hastings – buy your daughter expensive jewelry and lose your firearms; Mr. Marin – just disappear??!?!?! Total dodo-head. Mr. Montgomery – infantalize your daughter and guilt-trip her with nostalgia that is just gross.  At least the moms are mobilizing. They should recruit Emily’s dad.

Also, what do you make of the newly teamed up Mrs. Marin and Mrs. Montgomery? Grown-up PLLs are afoot.

Sarah: I’m excited, since they are the cool moms. But I don’t have a ton of faith in their sleuthing abilities, because they already figured out that their daughters were being stalked at the horror fashion show a season ago. So I think they’ll probably move at a glacial pace on this investigation, or just forget what they figured out and the next time they get a threatening note they’ll be all “But who’s that A person” again.

Phoebe: I am pumped about their teaming up and I am so glad that Ashley knew Aria was lying. I am concerned about the glacial pace of their A realizations, but I am hoping now they are about to go to town on A. Watch out A, the moms just might know best and kick some A butt!

Melissa: I don’t know how to feel!  It could be so good!  It could be so bad!  A was lurking right outside the window! Mrs. Montgomery looked sadly at her coffee cup! A has so much dirt on Mrs. Marin that A could wipe her out in mere seconds! Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, what to feel. But I too was glad that Mrs. Marin knew Aria was lying, because that was some pretty terrible lying. I guess Aria is only good at hiding romance.

Who do you think that guy who mistook Aria for Vivian is?

Sarah: I have no idea, but I loved this part so much. Because Vivian (as far as we know) is Ali’s secret identity, and the show has been really emphatic about making Aria be the Vivian at every turn. She’s the one who calls Jonah and gets mistaken for Vivian and then for Alison; now all she has to do is put on Vivian’s old red coat and it transforms her into Ali’s alias. Taken in combination with that moment earlier in the episode where all the PLLs say that Aria is the best liar of them all, I feel like this plot point is taking Aria’s character in a really intriguing direction. If Vivian was Ali’s literal dark side, or at least her lying side, maybe Vivian becomes an expression of Aria’s dark side too. Or maybe there’s something that Ali and Aria had in common that we don’t know about yet.

Phoebe: I second that cluelessness. However, maybe he and Vivian were dating? Maybe Vivian was also a real person? Since nobody seems to know she’s dead? Also, I too loved this moment and I rather like your interpretation of it!

Melissa: Sarah, you said it, girl. I saw it coming a mile away and I thought the little hair-shimmy was a little over the top, though then again, I kinda liked that too because it brought back the whole weird blonde/brunette thing that was going on for the past few episodes. I hope this guy tries to date Aria and then is in a secret fighting club where they sell comic books, purses, drugs, and phones – and then gamble.

On the secondary character watch, why do you think Toby rode up on a motorcycle only to drive off into the darkness? And what do you think about Mona’s involvement in hatching the scheme to lie to Mrs. Marin? 

Sarah: I’m not sure it was Toby, though Spencer seemed convinced. But based on the previews for next week’s episode, maybe he’s pissed at Spencer and that’s why he rode off without saying anything? I forget why he would be–because he thinks she’s making out with Wren? Is that it? Well, she is making out with Wren now, I guess, but she wasn’t at the time that he learned that. Meanwhile, Mona’s thing about how she’s a terrible liar struck fear in the depths of my heart–I was with Spencer and her suspicious brow-wrinkle at that too-obvious line. Please don’t make Mona be evil, PLL! I really loved her in quintuplet mode at the dance.

Phoebe: So, I am wondering if it was Toby too and I am leaning towards no. I think it might have been A masquerading as Toby by accident. But I am intrigued about Mona’s involvement too. In part, because I feel like because of A, she is know getting what she wants. And, I’ve seen quite a few crime shows lately where the killer pretends to be one of the victims and I feel like Mona might fit that situation. But, I’m hoping I am wrong!

Melissa: I am 50/50 on whether it’s Toby. But he was so dumb to believe Spencer was really into Wren. C’mon! He grew up with Jenna! Didn’t he learn how to sniff out deception? Mrs. Marin would have rolled her eyes and said, “Uh-huh, right – Spencer, you’re in love with Tobey!” and then she would have broken down sobbing and we’d all know the truth, boys too……….though I guess Tobey might be dead then, so maybe it’s better this way, but if it was him I am seriously annoyed that he was all, “Here’s me, flouncing on my motorcycle, just being a tough-ass outside the school dance. I’m not a dad so I won’t dance with anyone. Take that! Engine rev and mystery helmet face!” Blarrrrrrrrrrrgh. But anyway…

I was stoked that Mona got in on the PLL plotting action, and I don’t know why, but I still think she’s good. I have to believe…I have to believe…

Were you surprised that all of the PLLs said that Aria was the person who was best at lying at people she’s close to? And what did you think about Mike’s involvement with the Aria-Ezra saga?

Sarah: I was surprised, although I guess it makes sense. Hanna breaks down in her lies pretty quickly–her evasion tactics are basically tossing some technology into whatever kitchen appliance is handy and then peacing out. When Emily lies she gets ulcers. Spencer is normally a tough nut to crack but I think she’s kind of lovably spazzing out at this stage, which is understandable when all the members of your family apparently converged to kill your frenemy on the same night. So that leaves Aria. Plus the Vivian stuff! I think Mike was pretty on-target with the message behind both of his interventions, but I also think it’s probably not a great idea to get involved in the Ezria-parents mess.

Phoebe: Firstly, Mike is the best turn-around character in this series. He gives such good advice! And is so sympathetic. But, I think too that he is already involved and so might as well throw in opinion in the ring. Also, I too am worried about Aria’s ability to lie, which seems kind of close to Alison’s.

Melissa: I thought Mike was surprisingly stable and fatherly in this episode. Maybe he stole some wisdom while breaking into houses? Sarah, you are just killing it this recap, because your description of Hanna’s coping technique is PERFECT. I’d say that Emily, Spencer, and Hanna all have too bad of tempers to be good liars. Aria really is the best, hahahaha, and I think it’s because she acts sort of clueless, so you never know when she’s just doing weird things and when she’s actually lying. Whereas Hanna is all belligerent and destructive, Spencer is all wild-eyed and plan-schematic, and Emily is all seething and teary and loyal and sad at the same time. With ulcers.

Who do you believe: Melissa or Mr. Hastings? 

And the results of our last poll are in: 25% of you think Vivian Darkbloom is A, while 25% are convinced Jenna and Garrett are behind the sinister texting. Lucas, Mona, Noel, and Melissa each garnered one vote — but apparently Jason is off the hook (in our collective minds at least).

  1. Oh my god brilliant!! “…her evasion tactics are basically tossing some technology into whatever kitchen appliance is handy and then peacing out.” Hahahaha!!

    I think Mona is too tiny {petite} to be A, I just can’t see it! They tried making her look suspicious a while back, and I think there are still some uncovered truths there but I’m not buying that she could be A.

    Also, did anyone else see that R that flashed on Mrs. Marin’s coffee cup when she was chatting with Mrs. Montgomery about A or am I just imagining things???

    • I saw the R as well and thought I was seeing things and had to rewind a few times lol Now I want to rewatch the whole episode to see if there were more letters!!!!

  2. Lecinda — That’s a great point about Mona; she’d definitely have to have a partner to be A, since I can’t see her being the one who attacked Emily in the greenhouse, rolls off cars with the greatest of ease, etc. I don’t think I noticed the R on the coffee cup, but also what would the R mean? I’m so curious!

    • Sarah – the R was there only for a few seconds and I thought I was imagining things but I replayed the scene and it was right there in the corner of her cup. I have no idea what it means, maybe it was just a mistake?

      I can’t decide if A is a collection of people or just one person. I’m so curious to find out who it is!! Not long now! 🙂

  3. Hmmm maybe the R is a clue to who A is? idk just a thought ABC family has said only 3 more episodes till A is revealed. Maybe letters will spell out a name soo nerve racking 🙂

  4. […] been given any reason to believe he’d want to hurt Ali or anyone else. Going off of last week’s discussion of Aria becoming Vivian, I thought that scene with Aria in the plane was so illuminating–when […]

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