thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “Blood Is the New Black” (Season 3, Episode 2)

In Recaps, teen soaps, Uncategorized on June 13, 2012 at 11:01 am

The PLLs are gearing up for a scary, confusing, and crazy season. This week, we discovered a dark secret in Aria’s past; Meredith returned (ugh);  Ella took a test; Mona stabbed her finger with tweezers; and the PLLs proved that Jenna can see. Read on for some GLG musings on this week’s episode!

What’s up with Jody from Center Stage (aka Meredith) getting all up in Aria’s grill? Does her end game involve Jamiroquai

Phoebe: Firstly, is is so weird to see Jody from Center Stage being mean! I just want her to do a rock ballet to a Jamiroquai song. Secondly, Meredith is SO mean! Although some of her meanness makes sense now that we know she was unfairly accused of destroying Byron’s office … It also seems like maybe she suspected Aria of the vandalism already. Also, why are all the women that work at Hollis College really mean and horrible? Like Meredith and Ezra’s ex-girlfriend Jackie (was that her name?).

Melissa: I was also wondering why Meredith and Jackie were so…similar. Snarly diva attitude? Check. Hair that’s just like the PLL’s hair from season one (voluptuous, shiny, long, and curling-iron perfect)? Check. Vendettas straight out of eighth grade? Check. Inappropriate levels of rage towards a high school girl (having nothing to do with her TERRIBLE dress made out of a canvas sack but having everything to do with her terrible, pretentious, cheating father and her terrible choice to date a semi-adult-man who is her teacher)? Check. Also, just for the record, while I’m not planning on having an affair with a much-older and meaner married man any time soon, should I do so, I would kinda expect his children to be vengeful. I’m just saying…

Spencer drank all the coffee out of this bag, then I draped it around my knees and used belts to hold it up!!!

Relatedly, what do you make of the revelation that Aria and Ali were responsible for vandalizing Byron’s office and framing Meredith? And who is the real owner of the mysterious earring?

Phoebe: I totally think those earrings were Ali’s! And I definitely was suspicious when Ali found not 1 but a pair of earrings in the couch just randomly sitting there. Like I don’t think those kinds of earrings would fall of SO easily AND also I would imagine you might lose 1 in the same place but not both. I found this flashback particularly unsettling and revealing about Ali and her ability to manipulate the PLLs. Like here we realize that she pushed Aria to vandalize the office after setting her up to believe her dad was still having an affair. Also what is up with her not explaining the earring situation to Byron?!

Melissa: What Phoebe said. Those earrings are so Ali’s, and Ali seems to have been having an affair with Aria’s dad, maybe?!?!?!?! Which would at least help explain why he’s been in a competition with Mr. Hastings for Most Inappropriate Parental Responses to Your Daughters Being Framed for Murder. Seriously! It’s like “I had an affair and your mom and I are now getting divorced and I tried to bribe your (admittedly inappropriate) boyfriend out of town using the power of professorial elbow patches. YOU, young lady, have been framed for murder and have had two friends die. GO TO YOUR ROOM!” Ughhhhhhhhhhhhh. With Father’s Day coming up, can we just be happy that Emily’s dad exists and send the rest of the PLL dads overseas? Why did the only good dad in this show get deployed to a war zone? /endrant.

Sarah T: Yeah, I thought it was very distasteful of Byron to force Aria to apologize to Meredith and to get mad at Aria himself. He is the worst! He cheats on Aria’s mom, gets caught, asks her to lie about it indefinitely — I think a little teenage vandalism and outrage is to be expected under those circumstances! Where does he get off acting all high and mighty about it? Three cheers for Emily’s dad indeed.

Meliss, I also wondered if this means that Ali was having an affair with Byron. He seems not-hot enough for our girl, though — I know she liked older men, but I don’t think she liked dad-older men. So what other motivation could she have for planting the earring, besides stirring up trouble? (Which, since it’s Ali, is often motivation enough.) Maybe there’s some connection between Meredith and Ali that we don’t know about yet? They are both alpha-blonde girls who are inordinately crafty…

Is the show setting up a Caleb-Hanna-Wren love triangle, or is Wren just trying to help a sister out?

Phoebe: I am totally confused by this dynamic! But it does seem like Caleb at least is supposed to feel like there is a love triangle and also can we talk about the hilarious Hanna words/phrases from last week’s “jubilation” to this week’s “ambiguous loss.” And I am suspicious of Wren. Why is he in the mental hospital? Although we learned about his father’s stint in a mental institution this week, his timing still feels oddly suspicious.

Melissa: All the suspicion in the world towards Wren! I suspected he was flirting when he first started telling Hanna about “ambiguous loss” and revealing these heart-wrenching stories about his father. And the timing is too convenient, like it was when he just happened to be working at the hospital when Spencer was there with Tobey. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? If he’s a doctor, doesn’t he have LOTS of hours he has to work? And, like, at semi-regular and accountable times? How does he have time to just lurk about mental institutions? Also, let’s not forget that Wren helped Melissa get Ian medicines when he was supposedly hiding in a barn somewhere (as opposed to being dead in a barn somewhere). I still haven’t ruled out Wren and Melissa as parts of the A-Team, and Wren’s lurky, Gothic presence (and horrible outfits now that he’s at this institution. Suits and sweaters?!?!?!) have my suspicion re-activated.

Sarah T: Ha, I’m much less suspicious of Wren, though it could be that I’m just distracted by his general dreaminess. I thought he was being so helpful — particularly in giving Hanna a way to understand the knotted-up feelings she’s dealing with. (I do love Hanna’s continuing expanding vocabulary, Phoebes.) But I do think he might be starting up a flirtation with Hanna, which would break my heart if it drives a wedge between her and Caleb…

Why is Spencer’s mom Garrett’s new lawyer? And does Spencer get tired of having 5-second-long conversations with Garrett before he peaces out all the time? 

Phoebe: I am totally confused by this situation and I found it, as Melissa said while we were watching it last night, narratively super frustrating. I want to know what Garrett knows! And I don’t understand why Spencer’s mom suddenly decided to be his lawyer. Unless it was only to make sure that Spencer stayed clear of him?

Melissa: I think Mrs. Hastings became his lawyer just so she could force Garrett to stop talking to Spencer. I really do. Mrs. Hastings is so obsessed with image. Don’t date Tobey – it’ll make you look guilty. Don’t go to the jail – it’ll make you look guilty. Granted, that’s probably some lawyer-smarts about how a jury of your peers will decide on your guilt or innocence largely based on rumor and conjecture, at least in a town as small as Rosewood. But still…And I’m sorry Garrett, but Mona sooooooo has you beat on the semi-numb, spaced-out, former-villain. Garrett was all, like, trying to be menacing and enigmatic, but mainly he seemed confused, like when he was just following Jenna like a puppy. Garrett might know something, but he’s just hanging on to it to save his skin. He’s not pulling anybody’s strings anymore.

Sarah: I second everything above. But also, who do you think that “someone you know very well” is that Garrett’s referring to? My guess is Melissa, but she doesn’t exactly have Spencer fooled… nor does Jenna, who would be the other obvious guess.

Ella cheated for Emily! What’s your take? Are you worried about Ella?

Phoebe: I am totally worried about Ella! Particularly given that it looked like someone was watching her from the doorway as she filled in Emily’s test. Although, I feel like from that shot it only looked like Ella was grading a paper … So I’m not sure how A could know she cheated for Ems! Then Ella’s conversation with Fitz was so painfully awkward and seemed like they were speaking some mysterious yet silent teacher language. So, do you gals think Fitz understood that Ella cheated for Emily? If so, do you think he will tell on her? And risk his relationship with Aria?

Melissa: Oh man, I really think Fitz understood Ella. She had so much significant eyebrow movement. I’m glad she cheated for Emily, though I wish Em could pull it together a little bit and, like, explain things to Ella. Ella even offered to give her more time and take the test over? Yes, traumatized by friend’s mysterious murder, but there’s only so much dramatic mid-class gasping you can do before you start to have Bella Swan Syndrome, y’know what I mean? What was exciting was the potential for Fitz and Ella to start seeing themselves on the same team – defending the girls from the Rosewood forces of evil. Which also makes me wish Mrs. Marin was around more….

Now that the PLLs have proof that Jenna can see, how will they put the knowledge to use?

Phoebe: Oh man this was such a grand moment! I knew the episode was going there between Toby finding the eye drops and Emily remembering Jenna driving her to the graveyard but I was so pumped that they all now 1) believe Ems and 2) know that Jenna can see! And I love how Spencer conniving Spencer seemed about it like now that they know, but Jenna doesn’t know that they know, they can use her sight against her. That moment in the bathroom was also so great, as was Aria’s suspicion of her early in the episode when she wondered why Jenna seemed more clumsy than she was last year.

Melissa: No idea, but I’m sure Spencer will come up with an elaborate plan that goes horribly awry and either 1) gets them back in the police interrogation room or 2) puts one of the PLL’s lives in danger.

Sarah T: Agh I don’t know but thinking about this scene made me think of the bathroom scene that started the episode which made me think of THE HUMAN TEETH NECKLACE. Can we talk about how horrifying that was? And obviously it gets flushed down the toilet due to all of the PLLs being so very much themselves as they argue — particularly Spencer and Hanna bickering, which seems to be the most frequent source of conflict when there’s a decision to be made among the Liars. I love it when they argue, though, because a) they don’t hold it against each other and b) usually nobody’s wrong, it’s just that their different temperaments are giving them completely opposing senses of the right course of action. Which is very friend-realistic.

Best Line Award goes to:

Phoebe: Aria! For “That Bitch can see!” Also, a contender (another Aria line about Jenna): “Is it just me, or she more blind than last year?”

Melissa: I liked the whole Aria line: “I’m ready to hang a note – ‘Bitch can see!!!'” Her wit is like her outfits: glorious or absolutely nonsensically horrifying. Win for the blue dress and the hilarious snark, Aria. Also, while not hilarious on its own as a line, I loved the A-tag at the end, and how the clerk companionably asked, “So, are you buying [these hoodies] for a team or something?” THE A-TEAM. IT’S A TEAM. HEY, VIEWERS – THERE ARE MULTIPLE As!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lastly, a new season means a new weekly Pretty Little Liars poll. This week’s topic: the great and powerful Mona Vanderwaal.

  1. So, once again your reviews are awesome. I have to say this episode was even better than the premiere, and honestly I shouldn’t be surprised. I mean, this is PLL we’re talking about here. lol. Obvious highlights for me was Ella cheating for Emily and the girls finding out Jenna can see.(“Bitch can see.”)

    Ever since last season, I’ve wanted to see the parents more involved in this whole A crisis and it looks like it might start happening. We know Ashley Marin and Ella Montgomery know for sure someone was threatening their daughters. But now with Ella cheating for Emily(which is surely going to come back and haunt her), I wouldn’t be surprised if she or any of the other moms start getting blackmailing “A” texts? I mean, that would certainly take the show to a whole new level of awesome!

    • Makeda! Thanks so much for your awesome comments. I hadn’t thought about the possibility of a new mom-generation of PLLs coping with texts from A, but I think you may well be on to something. And Caleb’s getting increasingly pulled into A’s world too. WHERE WILL IT END?

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