thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “The Remains of the ‘A'”: Season 3, Episode 6

In Pretty Little Liars, Recaps on July 21, 2012 at 10:15 am

This week on Pretty Little Liars, everyone dropped everything to flock to the white-hot heat of a church dance celebrating a rummage sale; a trap for A shockingly failed to ensnare the hooded top banana; Ezra is probably going to join the embezzler’s club (currently headed by Ashley); Garrett got off the hook for murder, and Spencer subsequently broke down. Intensities abound! Read on for our thoughts.

Just a totally regular interaction between two people hanging out normally.

This storyline was heavy on Spencer-Alison drama. Thoughts?

Sarah T: I love it whenever the show concentrates on Ali’s individual relationships with our PLLs. The friendship between her and Spencer has always been shown as the most tense and conflict-ridden, largely because she didn’t hold the same kind of power over Spencer as she did over the others. In the present day, she resents Ali more than the others do (but that also suggests she’s maybe hanging on to some things the others have let go of). But in this episode, the dynamic got a bit more textured when we see Spencer feeling hurt and frustrated because Ali bails whenever they make plans. And then Ali tries to reframe the conversation in terms of maturity, which is a total power play — she’s leaving to get them all fake IDs, so that “instead of languishing at the kiddie table, we’ll be mixing it up on futons with frat boys.”

But I also thought it was interesting that this episode highlighted the friendship between Hanna and Spencer in the present as a contrast to the Ali-Spencer relationship in the past, since Hanna’s storyline is partly about becoming Ali 2.0: Now Far More Benevolent. When Spencer confesses to Hanna that she fantasizes about what her life would have been like if she’d never met Ali, Hanna understands — and when Spencer adds, “But then I have to remind myself, if I hadn’t met Ali, I wouldn’t have been friends with you,” it’s clear she feels the same way. Spencer’s always needed the other PLLs the most, I think; in a lot of ways she’s the loneliest (because her family is uniformly made up of possible murderers and accessories to murderers).

Phoebe B: Yes and yes! I loved that part between Hanna and Spencer and appreciated the focus on both of them this episode as they are my favorites. But also I thought it was interesting to see Spencer looking at the anklet and on an A-related adventure with Jason, whom I am not sure I completely trust (despite that they are siblings). Also, how creepy was Spencer’s dad when he was watching her and Toby chat on the bench? Ugh I do not like him.

Was that or was that not the oddest church dance you have ever seen in your whole life?

Sarah T: YES okay first of all, why on earth would the church hold a dance to celebrate the end (or merely the highwater mark?) of the apparently weeks-long rummage sale? Second of all, Toby and Hanna make the most awkward fake-date couple ever. This was, I think, the first time they have ever had a one-on-one conversation? They have zilch to say to each other. Yet Toby was also weirdly insulted about Hanna not wanting to dance, I guess because he just had no idea what the heck the point of all this was. Fair enough: I really don’t understand why Spencer and Hanna had to lie to Toby about the reason he was there, which was that Hanna’s web of nonsense-lies happened to draw him in like a floofy-haired fly.

Phoebe B: YES. Oh my goodness so many uncomfortable moments! And I totally don’t understand why Spencer and Hanna had to lie and I wish they would just tell Toby the truth. His message to Spencer at the end was heartbreaking. And I have not been to a lot of church dances (or any for that matter) but that was horrible! And poor Ashley …

Sarah T: Moving beyond that whole mess, you’ve got Ashley amazingly digging herself ever-deeper into a pew-crawling hole by making an endless string of revealing jokes about her wine obsession; Holden showing up for absolutely no reason whatsoever except that the show needed somebody to have gone to a rave so Emily could recognize the stamp (he’s in a fight club so why not); and Detective Wilden excelling — as he always does — in the categories of Looming Threateningly and Misreading the Situation. Do you like Pastor Ted? Do you think he is a nice robot? I think he is.

Phoebe B: Detective Wilden is horrifyingly scary! But I sort of want him to be a good guy just to confuse me. I’m also really sad that Hanna’s plan went so poorly. And then Pastor Ted, I do not trust him as far as I can throw him (which is not very far mind you). And then Holden’s stamp! He was so creepy  about it too and about how he used to see Maya there. What is going on?!

Do you believe Ezra got all that cash by selling an antique car? What’s up with his shady backwards glance at the cabinet? And didn’t he get a job?

Sarah T: I’m lost on this front. I guess I’m going to go with thinking he did take the reward money from Jason, because hey, that would be interesting. (A LOT MORE INTERESTING THAN HIS RIDICULOUS PHOTO SHOOT.) Also, is he looking at the cabinet because the money’s still there, or is there like a secret drawer with even more suspicious stuff in there?

Phoebe B: Me too!! That was SO sketchy. I feel like he’s looking at the cabinet (which is creepily in the shadows) because there is more stuff in there but also because he totally lied to Aria about where he got the money. OR maybe he just feels super guilty about his current situation. But I totally don’t believe him.

We now know for sure that the NAT club was about videotaping young girls (1 – gross, 2 – so in line with PLL’s predatory landscape), and that Jason admits to being a member. Do you think the implication here is that Ali was actually an “employee” — setting up her friends to be in the videos? And if Ian really was filming the videos for someone else, who might that someone be?

Sarah T: I do think Ali may have been an employee of the NAT club, partially because of that season 1 episode where we see her visiting Jenna in the hospital and telling her that she has a friend who likes to make videos. So clearly she knew what Ian was up to, which suggests that she was pimping out her friends, which is completely horrible.

But also, plot-wise, it’s interesting if the show is heading this way, because the galvanizing incident on the night of the Jenna Thing was that Ali said she’d caught Toby acting as a peeping tom and wanted to teach him a lesson. I’d kind of assumed that she made that up because she wanted an excuse to go after Jenna, the number one threat to her throne. But what if Ali really did see someone — not Toby, and not Ian (because it seems like she wouldn’t have reacted that way), but someone else? Not a member of the NAT club — someone who wasn’t supposed to be there? Maybe that would be the person Ian was making the videos for, and she mistook him for Toby?

Phoebe B: So many interesting theories, ST! I too think Ali might have been an employee or even a ringleader type. But then wouldn’t Jason have known? And I like your idea about Ali seeing someone at Jenna’s window whom she mistook for Toby. Right now I’m feeling like Spencer’s dad is guilty of something (hopefully not a member of the NAT club but I kind of felt like the episode wanted us to believe that).

Just how innocent or guilty is Garrett? What about Spencer’s dad and his insane wonder cabinet of facial expressions?

Sarah T: I think Garrett didn’t kill Ali. I buy that: his personality makes him seem like he’s more of a soldier in this war than a guy at the top. I doubt he even has a clear idea of what’s going on currently. But man, Spencer had really been pinning all her hopes on having caught the killer. Her breakdown at the end of this episode was intense.

Phoebe B: Seconded. I too think Garrett didn’t kill Ali. But of the NAT club then it only leaves Jason and the supposed backer. But he might have killed Maya? Lastly, Spencer’s breakdown was SO sad and I felt so bad for her …

Best lines?

Sarah T: Spencer: “What happened to the girl who wouldn’t get out of her sweats?” Hanna: “She traded them for fatigues.”

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  1. […] I was thinking about how two weeks ago we had Hanna at the dance with Toby (super awkwardly and non-romantically), and now we’ve got Spencer teaming up with Caleb (much […]

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