thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “Stolen Kisses” (Season 3, Episode 8)

In Pretty Little Liars on August 2, 2012 at 10:49 am

This week on Pretty Little Liars, everybody kissed everybody, which was fun, or else they flirted about dry-cleaning, which was very wrong. In other news, Maya had a vlog full of secrets, Ezra has Old Money and a vengeful mom, and A has a pocketful of sunshine. (Pocketful of sunshine = mad cash.) Read on for more on “Stolen Kisses.”

Yay!

Emily was with Paige on the night of the flask-driven wanderings that ended at Ali’s grave! Discuss.

Phoebe B: Oh my goodness! This was SUCH an interesting development and their KISS! SO amazing and such a long time coming. I felt like their conversation, including Emily’s reaction, about the night Emily was drugged was really interesting and seemed reasonable to me too. And then Paige’s apology to Emily was so heartfelt and sad and heartbreaking including her comment about how mad she was at whomever drugged Em. It became so clear to me in this episode how much Paige just adores Emily and is protective of her too. Then their kiss! And then the synchronized swimming!

Sarah T: I was also excited about their kiss and the metaphorical synchronized swimming, and I thought this plotline was often pretty hilarious. Like how Emily and Paige went on a run but really it looked like Emily was chasing Paige through the woods to try to get her to slow down and talk to her about That Night. It’s funny to me when people on TV set up a conversation explicitly to talk about something and then they don’t talk about it until, like, midway through the activity. Emily’s tiny hat was funny as well. She still looked amazing obviously because she’s Emily, but tiny hats are never not silly. Oh and then Paige’s speech to Emily was definitely heartfelt, but also so melodramatic (“It was like a dream… and then you were gone”). That’s just the way Paige rolls I think.

What are your thoughts on Fitz’s family? And his mean (yet super wealthy) mom?

Phoebe B: Ezra is secretly wealthy! And clearly the product of like serious East Coast prep school life! Madness. I did not see this coming at all but maybe it helps explain his random sock drawer full of rolled up bills in a giant ziplock bag. His mom also seems horrible and I couldn’t (and yet could) believe that she tried to buy Aria off. I did love Aria’s storming out (and her dress was SO beautiful) and her breakdown with her dad was also heartbreaking (so much emotion in this week’s episode). It was nice in some ways to see Byron be more supportive and present although I missed Ella and really wanted to know how her hot date with the cafe owner went!

Sarah T: This revelation about Ezra’s old money past makes soooo much sense, actually. That’s why he’s kind of generally dapper and uptight, and why he buys Aria expensive pinhole cameras, and why his version of struggling writer looks so elegantly scruffy — microbrews, Westerns, manly yet bohemian apartment decor. He practically has lightly worn elbow patches.

No no no no no no no no no.

Wren and Hanna. Spencer and Caleb. So many switcharoos. What are your thoughts?

Phoebe B: I am NOT happy with these switches. Not at all. I do not like the Spencer and Caleb flirting at all. What about poor Toby?! And Hanna? I also do not trust Wren (as I think I’ve said before) at all. No way, no how.

Sarah T: I am freaking out over here about the touchy-feely Spencer-Caleb hangout, what with Spencer resting her hand on his bicep and Caleb doing that whole laugh and shake his head, glance back at her, smile move. I do not like this one bit. If they hurt Hanna I’m going immediately into Hulk smash mode (from a safe television distance, of course). Hanna and Wren’s kiss, on the other hand, I thought was hilarious — they’re both so taken aback and formal about it. I don’t necessarily think the kiss will lead anywhere, though.

However, 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 more flirtatiously). Plus Spencer also has a history with Wren. So it seems like the show is intentionally trying to go the incestuous route on Hanna and Spencer’s boyfriends. I have a guess about why: It’s connected to Ali. All this switcharoo stuff started around the same time we saw Spencer’s backstory with Ali getting developed, with parallels between her unhappy friendship with Ali in the past and her much more supportive friendship with Hanna in the present. The sudden boyfriend exchange program seems designed to create a rift between Spencer and Hanna — which would then start resonating with the Spencer and Ali dynamic again, since they were a) both involved with Ian and b) generally competitive with each other. So that’s where I think all this is heading. But it doesn’t mean I like it.

What did you think about Hanna and Wren’s mission to save Mona from being shipped off to Saratoga?

Sarah T: I’m glad Mona gets to stay, and I’m so proud of this show continuing to engage with Hanna and Mona’s friendship and with their experience of teen girlhood. I thought Hanna’s speech to the board was so revealing. The description of how close she and Mona were to being the girls who watched the purses while the hot girls went out on the dance floor was so evocative of that awful teenage fear of being a nobody. Before their transformation into conventionally hot, fashionable, popular girls, the world sent them the message that they didn’t matter. Constantly. To get basic recognition of their human value, just to get seen, they had to overhaul themselves completely — “Mona made sure we didn’t disappear,” as Hanna says. That’s where Mona’s anger comes from, and that’s why Hanna can imagine herself in Mona’s shoes too. They’re both angry about how the world treated them, and (I suspect) about how that treatment changed once they successfully molded themselves into the shapes of their former tormentors. But Mona freaked out when Hanna got strong enough–largely thanks to the other PLLs–not to feel so angry all the time, which meant that Hanna could ditch the It Girl script. Whereas Mona was still sticking to it, but if her best friend didn’t believe in its value any more, what did that say about her, and about all the energy she’d poured into making sure they didn’t disappear?

Phoebe B: Agreed! And good question! I thought Hanna’s speech to the board was really compelling and I am so glad that Mona gets to stay! But I wonder if this will make A really angry and go after Hanna even more. And Hanna and Wren working together plus that kiss! Ugh. What about Caleb?! Not a fan at all and why does Wren (who must be in his mid-20s at least) keep flirting with teenage girls? Creepy.

How about that Maya website, ay?

Sarah T: Maya is coming across as a pretty creepy vlogger here. Pretty Creepy Vloggers! That could be a new spin-off. But it makes sense the show is heading in this direction, because PLL is obsessed with surveillance and secrecy, how people’s private lives are consumed in public. And it looks like Maya was actively choosing to participate in putting her personal life on tape, whereas the PLLs were filmed in secret by the NAT Club and are currently being stalked by an omniscient audiovisual expert. So I’m wondering if Maya was involved with the NAT Club somehow, particularly since that plot thread was brought up last episode.

Phoebe B: I like your theories, ST! I feel like there has to be some connection between Maya’s recording herself and A and the NAT club. Remember too, when Emily saw her chatting with Jason last season I think. And how did Mona know about the site? That made me think that Maya somehow got involved with the A-team. Lastly, that last video was SO scary or rather Maya seemed so scared … And then also, what was Maya doing by herself in Emily’s backyard that night? It seems really random and fairly odd.

What was going on with the A tag with the bank and the money counting?

Phoebe B: Maybe A is renting a new creepy hotel room to use as the A-home base? Or maybe A is buying a house? Or going off to buy a bunch of creepy disposable phones? Also, why is nobody suspicious of selling shit to a person in a big sweatshirt and gloves in the middle of summer? Does that mean that everyone knows who A is? I have so many questions!

Sarah T: I kind of thought the woman with the painted nails was Cece! But no reason apart from the nail polish and the voice. And I echo your confusion about why the gloves and hoodie fail to raise suspicions, Phoebes. Also people always seem to really warm up to A! Remember the whole “you’ve got pretty eyes” thing with the bracelet lady? That kind of rules out Melissa in my mind, as I think she terrifies people.

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