thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “Kingdom of the Blind” (Season 3, Episode 3)

In teen soaps on June 20, 2012 at 9:45 pm

This week things started to get a little bit out of control for the PLLs. It appears Mona is faking her crazy, Lucas is being creepy and also visiting the not-so-crazy Mona, Caleb is getting grumpy, and Mr. Fitz bonds with everybody. Read on for more thoughts on this week’s “Kingdom of the Blind”!

Do you believe that Jenna is scared? Or is she playing the PLLs?

Melissa: I really can’t tell for this one! The story she told about Emily just wandering around town drunk was a little out there…but then again, “out there” things seem to happen all the time in Ye Little Towne of Rosewood. The infamous fly-smashing shot really set her up as a villainous femme fatale, and her wide green eyes shouldn’t make us forget the scheming she and Garrett got up to last season. Then again…she did almost die in a fire and she did go blind in a fire, so Jenna has plenty of reasons to be scared. Could she have been a pawn in A’s game? And how hilarious was the bait and switch scene that led us to a doctor’s office and then to a gun store, all based on a note in a flute case? I kinda wanna call the girls paranoid, but Em had a good point: “You’re not paranoid if someone’s really out to get you.”

Sarah T: Jenna is nothing if not complex: I think she’s probably genuinely scared of someone and that she’s definitely not telling the Liars everything. But why should she trust them, really — from her perspective, these are the girls that blinded her and have done nothing but yell at her and act spooked ever since. She’s been sketchy too, of course, and she definitely set up Garrett for who knows what reason last season, but at this point it’s impossible to say what side she’s fighting on or what her motivations are.

I’m also interested in the implications of Jenna asking the Liars to keep her sight a secret. This is the first time she’s ever asked them for anything — not counting asking Aria to be her accompanist I suppose — and it has the potential to forge a bond between them. (Ben Franklin argued that if you want someone to like you, you should ask them for a favor, and I think he’s probably right.)

Phoebe B.: I agree with both of you! I am SO confused by Jenna …  At once, she is totally the victim of Ali and the PLL’s cruelty but at the same time she has been set up as a femme fatale and also was super tricky last season. I just don’t know! But I am inclined, at least for the moment to believe her, though the story of her picking up Emily seems pretty weird although not impossible. But why would Emily be at Ali’s grave ready to get framed for digging up the grave? Was that just a coincidence? It seems so unlikely. Though I do agree that Jenna asking them to keep a secret seems like a gesture of trust, but what if she is just playing them? Trying to rope them into trusting her? It all seems so dangerous!

What is going on with Lucas? Is he evil?

Melissa: I’m equally confused about Lucas. He was once so good, and now seems to be going creeptron, unlike Jenna who seemed so menacing and now seems potentially less threatening. It does not bode well for the PLLs that Lucas is out visiting Mona, and I think that there is definitely something conspiratorial afoot between those two. Remember…Mona and Lucas were both involved in the weird lakehouse debacle, and he could have been up to no good then, even if we thought he was just trying to tell Hanna of his undying love. Also, dude, chill a bit with the iceberg metaphors. I liked you better when you just had a gambling problem.

Sarah: And why does he suddenly look as if he recently crawled out of a garbage can all clammy-handed? (No diss to the actor, he’s totally cute — this is definitely an intentional looks-mucking-up that the show is doing.) Lucas is clearly coming unhinged, but I can’t tell yet if it’s from stress or from internal evil-ness. Looking at his behavior sequentially in this episode, he: talks to Hanna all wild-eyed and maniacally sets a letter from the school on fire, brushes off Caleb and says that Hanna is concerned about him “like a pet” and makes vaguely threatening references to secrets coming out in the form of icebergs overturning, goes to visit Mona and then shadily explains that he’s just trying to find out if she’s as crazy as she says she is. Putting it all together, I think it looks like Lucas isn’t out to get our girls, but he is more wrapped up in the A-team and PLL shenanigans than we ever suspected in the past. In fact, I think the A-team may be leaning heavily on him right now — perhaps even blackmailing him as they do the Liars.

Phoebe B.: Lucas is being so confusing! Also, I still feel like his gambling problem was a pretty absurd storyline and it would make more sense if he was at like A-team training camp or something where he learned to be creepy and evil. Also, he was wearing a black sweatshirt for like the whole episode this time, just like the sweatshirts A bought at the end of the last week’s episode. His visits to Mona on the other hand seem to be one of two things: a) he is evil and on the A-team or b) he is trying to find out who is messing with the PLLs. Either way, he definitely knows more than he is letting on!

Let’s talk about Mona (also, how amazing is Janel Parish? So amazing!).

Melissa: Mona is CLEARLY still in the game, and I am afraid for Caleb. I thought for sure after that creepy line to Caleb – “You’re a terrible kisser” – that she was going to accuse him of sexual assault or something, but I’ve probably just been watching too much SVU. Caleb’s fatal flaw seems to be that he thinks he’s invulnerable, all the while fretting about Hanna (who in reality is pretty good at taking care of herself, all things considered). And I feel about 90% sure that Mona is faking her entire condition – she clearly faked the psychotic break we saw today. Is she using Lucas to keep masterminding a plot from afar? Or is Wren somehow involved in the dissemination of info to the outside world? There are so many suspicious people orbiting around Mona…

Phoebe B.: I agree on all counts! Mona is CLEARLY faking it given her purposeful but odd screaming fit after telling Caleb that he is a terrible kisser. Also, that was the weirdest and totally unexpected line! Also, I agree that his fatal flaw is his desire to be Hanna’s knight in shining armor, which she totally doesn’t need. And I kind of love PLL for showcasing how frustrating his desire to save her is. Like Caleb’s mucking about in the PLL’s business and not trusting Hanna to protect herself seems to be putting both of them in more danger. I am worried for next week though as I don’t want them to break up! Also, I was SO creeped out by Mona’s question to Hanna about Ali’s empty grave … shudder.

Sarah: Janel Parish is killing it as Mona for reals, particularly given that this season she has to basically reinvent the character from the ground up with the new knowledge that Mona is a psychopathic genius. I loved her spaced-out song at the end of the episode, though it made me think that Mona may be more of a pawn in a larger scheme than we’ve been led to believe thus far. (Which makes me sad, because if Mona is going to be evil I want her to be the BEST at being evil.)

Why are Mrs. Hastings and Melissa being so sneaky around Spencer? And where did Melissa’s baby go?

Melissa: This makes me CRAZY. I do not understand what the Hastings parents are so suspicious of Spencer and so willing to go along with Melissa’s harebrained everythings. When did Melissa lose her baby? Why was Garrett driving her around to ultrasounds? Why would anyone sleep with Ian anyway? Did Ian murder Ali and then Garrett had to help cover? Was the club they had in high school some kind of cult? There are so many questions that come up with this revelation. My suspicion is that a) Garrett told Melissa that Ian had killed Ali and b) Melissa decided to have an abortion because she didn’t want a murderer’s baby and c) Wren was somehow involved in this process. Thinking about this also raised more questions for me…like, was Mona capable of killing Ian? Because weren’t we pretty sure A did that? Somehow, I don’t see her as the murdering type. But Jenna at the gun store….

Phoebe B.: So I think Melissa a) was never pregnant (she was faking it!) or b) had an abortion at that nice hotel. I don’t understand though why everyone in Spencer’s family insists on lying to her and being mean to her. It is so strange given that Melissa seems to be, by far, the sketchier and meaner child. I am also curious as to how Melissa insisted on their mom defending Garrett after Spencer had been severely warned to stay away from him. I am SO frustrated by Spencer’s mom and also where is her dad? And who killed Ian? And how does Garrett know that Ali’s body was stolen?

Sarah T: I completely couldn’t even follow this plot line. When it comes to Melissa, though, I’ll believe anything.

Are you worried about the Emily/Ella/Fitz debacle?

Melissa: Not really. Ezra seemed to fix it up pretty nicely, and I liked that Emily came back into herself and demanded that people stop treating her as though she were terribly fragile. But we do have proof that there’s still someone doing A-like snooping around the school and using information to take down the PLLs’ parents.

Phoebe B.: I am sort of worried as I think Emily had a pretty good point that A trades in secrets like a really horrifying mean girl. Also, let’s talk about how Fitz was making friends in this episode! Now he and Ella are helping each other out (she helped him get a soda from the vending machine!) and he and Emily are becoming buddies (he gives her the make up test at the end of the episode and then she is pumped to take it).

Sarah: I think Ezra wrapped it up okay, but I’m more concerned about why he thinks having Emily take the test in the coffee shop is the same thing as having her take it for real. Like yes, she’s proving to herself that she can do it — and that’s important — but I think Emily also needs to prove to herself that she can do it under actual circumstances that are not being administered a fake quiz by her best friend’s inappropriate boyfriend while the Counting Crows sing in the background or whatever soundtrack coffee shops use these days. Speaking of Emily, though, I’m digging her anger! Way to get mad rather than get beaten down, E. I can feel her harnessing her powers as I type.

Quote of the episode?

Melissa: There were so many good ones this time, and my favorite (aside from Emily’s ominous assessment) when Spencer told Hanna, “You have all the subtlety of a hand grenade!” and Hanna said, ‘Thanks!”

Sarah T: Ha, I loved that one too Meliss! Hanna seemed so pleased. And she went hand grenade again later in the episode when she jumped in front of Jenna’s car, so it does seem to be an apt description. I think my favorite line was Mona hilariously downplaying the fact that she is a crazed stalker who ran her best friend over with a car (what is it with Hanna and cars?):  “Let’s be honest, we’ve had our ups and downs, and I’ve had to forgive myself for that.” It’s like something Dolores Umbridge would say, but way more amazing because it’s Mona.

Phoebe B: YES all of those. Such great lines!!!

The results from last week’s poll are in! 53 percent of you think Mona is just playing nice in order to continue her PLL-terrorizing rampage. But 46 percent think Mona will end up defending the Liars against a greater A-evil. This week, weigh in on Melissa’s mysterious pregnancy and the disappearance thereof.  

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