thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “Birds of a Feather” (Season 3, Episode 4)

In Pretty Little Liars, Recaps on June 28, 2012 at 9:48 am

This week, we learned a lot about the patterns our PLLs fall into with their extended network of psychopaths, boyfriends, and family members. Hanna and Caleb continued their who’s-protecting-who spiral of deceit. Spencer had blinders on when it comes to her big sister’s nefarious ways. Aria was still trying to shield her mom from her father’s skeezy choices, and Emily was still grieving over Maya (and finding comfort in talking with Maya’s new-to-town cousin). But a few twists — and at least one major revelation — shook up the status quo. Read on for this week’s recap, and let us know your take in the comments.

“Trust me. It’ll work. Hot. Mama.”

Melissa is the Black Swan! And we found out that she had been faking her pregnancy for super-long. But do you believe her?? Was she really threatened by A?

Sarah T: The first part of this season seems to be devoted to giving all the prime suspects alibis. Last week Jenna explained why she’d been faking her blindness; this week Melissa explains why she’s been faking her pregnancy. Maybe next week Noel Kahn will explain why he’s been faking his… general opaqueness? Anyway, it’s true that Melissa was trying to tell Spencer something in that one episode last season, and that she called it off when she saw Spencer’s phone, so that part matches her story. And I guess I believe that A might have made her be the Black Swan, although why she would end up running away when she saw the rest of the PLLs still doesn’t make much sense. Actually, you know what I think? I think Melissa a) had something to do with Ali’s murder and b) is not part of the A-team. So I believe that she was getting threatening texts from A but I don’t believe she’s innocent — not with the incriminating video evidence, Ian’s line about how he was doing all this for Melissa, and her ample motivation for wanting Ali dead.

Phoebe B: Hmmm, Sarah I think you are on to something! I too am oh so suspicious of Melissa and can’t imagine that she is completely innocent. I mean she did fake a pregnancy for months and was sketchily hanging out with Garrett before his arrest. It would make sense if Melissa had something to do with Ali’s murder or at least knew something. (maybe Ali had something on her too?? Just like the PLLS.) But I agree I don’t think she is A or perhaps even on the A team. Also, I LOVED the PLLs snooping around Melissa’s apartment and making comments about she was more anal than Spencer and then I also giggled when they found the feather in the costume dress after the dramatic unzip. Such great stuff.

What are your thoughts on the Hanna/Caleb break up? Why didn’t she tell him the truth?!

Sarah T: I think she ultimately didn’t tell him the truth because A was threatening to hurt Caleb’s family members (and Caleb himself by extension) via the car crash in Montecito. Which I get. But earlier in the episode, I don’t know why she wouldn’t have told him, apart from their usual standoff in their mutual desire to keep each other out of danger. I think it’s probably that. Plus, at this point maybe secrecy is becoming habit for all the PLLs. Since the Jenna Thing incident, they’ve been hiding majorly traumatic and dark things for going on two years. We’ve talked before about how the PLLs basically can’t trust anyone except each other and (three of) their moms, so I think Hanna’s silence with Caleb is partly a result of that. It sucks, though — neither of them want to break up, but they’ve reached an impasse.  I get why Caleb’s frustrated at being stonewalled and why Hanna feels like she can’t be open with him.

Phoebe B: I too get why Caleb is frustrated with Hanna and I too am so frustrated with Hanna. But I get that she think she is protecting him by distancing herself from him. But I feel like Caleb has shown time and again that he can take it and be there for Hanna. Although I get that Hanna would feel compelled to break up with him given that his mom was just put in danger. Also, how creepy was A looking at the Montecito brochure?! Also, what is going on with Hanna and Wren? I don’t trust him and his penchant for teenage girls and his weird presence at the hospital (ooh and the awkward Hanna-Wren hand touch!). But back to Caleb … I hope they come back together sometime soon and that Hanna can be honest with him! The image of Hanna crying into Aria’s lap at the end was so sad. On the Hanna-Aria note too, didn’t they seem particularly close in this episode? And I thought that Aria gave Hanna such great advice about telling Caleb.

There was lots of Ashley and Ella in this episode, aka the Cool Moms. What do you think about Aria’s attempt to get Ella in the online dating game, and about her bonding with Ashley?

Sarah T: First of all, I love that Hanna coyly thinks “Hot Mama” is a foolproof online dating username. Her confidence in that is so amazing. I also really appreciated the coffee shop scene with Ashley and Ella, since those two should totally be best friends — they’re both so wry and loving at the same time. It was sweet of Aria to try to help her mom get back into dating, though I’m sympathetic to Ella’s desire to take some time to herself before diving back in. Are there any eligible bachelors already on the show who’d be a good match for her, I wonder? I can’t really think of any, since the vast majority of Rosewood’s male population is super-creepy — as Ashley indicated while explaining that most guys their age want much-younger ladies who wear slap bracelets and mullets, or whatever was going on with those two girls at the coffee shop. AGH what if Ella’s going to meet someone creepy and A-related on the dating site? That’s probably it. Oh no.

Phoebe B:Oh no, that would be terrible! I really don’t want Ella to meet some creepy A related person on the dating site. She has already had it rough and that seems like too much! Also, I too loved the Ashley and Ella bonding over white wine in the coffee shop and I hope that they become friends because I think they both need some good lady friends. And I really really appreciate how Ella wants some time alone but also how much Aria wants to protect her mom and how much she wants her mom to be happy. I think too that Ella’s want for time alone is so great and understandable since as she said she has been a wife and mom her whole adult life and that she now wants some time for herself. Also, can we talk about why Byron gets the house? I feel like that is unreasonable especially because Ella is clearly the better and more wonderful parent.

Now that Maya’s cousin is in town, do you think we’ll start to learn more about her past and what led to her murder? Also, do you think he’ll be a love interest for someone? 

Sarah T: I feel like he’s too attractive not to get set up with somebody, although just who it’ll be remains a mystery to me right now. (Emily, though I don’t know if she’s into dudes? Maybe Jenna?) I also think that his appearance is going to set off some more discoveries about what Maya’s connection is to the larger mystery. It seems likely that Maya must have something to do with Jason, since they both have the drug/ex-drug connection, Maya lived in Jason’s old house, and the PLLs spotted them talking to one another. And now that Jason’s back, it seems possible that the show’s moving more in that direction.

Phoebe B: Hmmm I think you are correct on all fronts. I definitely think he will become a love interest for someone … Maybe Hanna? As her and Caleb are now split (at least for the moment). But I am also suspicious of him because I feel like he was so weird with Em (and unsympathetic) when she asked about the funeral or when he said he left Maya’s parents’ address in the car as it seemed like he was lying. I just kept feeling like he wasn’t telling Emily the whole truth or something even though there were moments were he felt super genuine like when they talked about Maya’s parents’ threatening to send her to True North again or when they talked about Em and Maya’s first date (and that present from Maya was so sweet and made me so sad for Em).

If A is in Montecito, who was Jason going to meet at the end of the episode? Another member of the A team?

Sarah T: That’s my guess! I think A’s framing the PLLs as the body-snatchers, or why else would he/she/they have lured them to her grave?

Phoebe B: Me too! And I concur! But who is left on the A team for Jason to go meet? I feel like this episode took away (sort of) some of our key suspects like Melissa and Jenna (last episode). Also, the A-tag at the end where A changes Mona’s visiting privileges while looking at a Montecito brochure … so creepy.

PLL Poll!

Last week, we asked what was up with Melissa and her mysteriously disappearing baby. 37 percent of you think Melissa was never pregnant (which still seems like a possibility). Another 37 percent think Melissa IS the baby, in some bizarre Benjamin Button/Freaky Friday/master-of-disguise scenario.

This week’s poll asks: Is Lucas evil, or just unhinged?

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