thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “The Kahn Game” (Season 3, Episode 9)

In Pretty Little Liars, Television on August 9, 2012 at 10:40 am

This week, our fab four split off for individual or pair-oriented adventures. Emily spent the entire episode watching videos from Maya’s vlog, and it was sad. Hanna made up/made out with Caleb, and he officially voiced his intentions to join Team A Take-Down. Spencer and Aria went to a post-collegiate-aged party and had a Noel/Jenna smack-down. A rented an apartment or something and it truthfully wasn’t as sinister as usual, which is maybe a nice break. Even murderer/stalker/blackmailer types need some downtime every once in a while. Read on for more ponderings on “The Kahn Game.”

Don’t mess with the (evil) best.

What was your take on the insanely high-stakes game of “Truth or Truth With a Stopwatch, Everybody Act Like This Is Intense Even Though There Are No Real Consequences”?

Sarah T: Here are my thoughts in numerical order. One, the Noel-Aria face-off was full of spite! Do you think he still resents Aria for kinda-dating him and then getting back together with Ezra? Two, the Jenna-Spencer face-off was full of simmering rage, but I was interested in that scene beforehand where Jenna’s telling Noel she won’t let Spencer bully her again. I’m curious about how true that reading of Spencer is, from Jenna’s perspective, and how much that comment was just damsel-in-distress misdirection. Three, what do you think Jenna and Noel talk about together? What kinds of activities do those two creepers get up to? Noel-Mona were about presenting the pretty polished surfaces, but Noel-Jenna seem to be about cobwebs and axes of evil and adopting pet snakes. They’re such a fun couple.

Phoebe B: Yes! Noel seems a tad bit pissed still about the Aria-Ezra situation. To Two: I was so intrigued by that exchange between Jenna and Noel and was trying really hard to remember whether Spencer had ever bullied Jenna. And then I thought perhaps Ali had told Jenna lies about Spencer or maybe there is a yet to be revealed moment of Spencer being mean to Jenna. Also, I imagine that Jenna and Noel talk about plotting evil A related things or just plotting evil in general. They are a great evil-power couple. Also, Truth with a stopwatch game. What is going on?! And what a contentious round between Spencer and Jenna? Oh my. And what is going on with Cece? I am so suspicious of her and I feel like she did not give Spencer’s application to the UPenn guy (I don’t even think he exists).

Is Caleb a brave white knight or a misguided one?

Sarah T: Misguided FTW! I mean, I totally get why he wants to help Hanna, and I get why he wants to go after A (especially given that he now knows A went after his mom). He should probably do those things, even though the more he gets involved in mystery-solving the more scared I get he’s going to get blown up. But what about the “You’re talking to a guy who just kidnapped his own girlfriend” line and the “I’m not asking for your permission” line? Both seem aimed at positioning him as the Take-Charge Guy, although he didn’t kidnap Hanna at all. He tricked her into meeting him outside a cafe and then she willingly got in the car with him. Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with being take-charge guy, as long as he doesn’t think that means he is the ONLY person in charge or that he is in charge of anybody else. Hanna is in charge of herself. Ahh, feminism… Sometimes I just gaze off in the distance and think about how much I love it (not sarcasm).

Phoebe B: I think Caleb is perhaps a white knight but also maybe more like a equal partner white knight. I think it is great that he is on board! And not taking no for an answer. Mostly, because I think more people on the anti-A team, the better! And I feel like Caleb understands that he is not in charge of Hanna but that he wants to help and that he wants to be part of the team, rather than getting shut out. I think too, that for the PLLs, it might be an important lesson to ask for help or allow themselves to be helped.

Cece returned tonight to take Aria and Spencer to a college-age party and alternately flatter and bully them, not unlike a certain Ali DiLaurentis years ago. What do you make of her affiliation with the Kahn brothers, and her purported connection with a UPenn admissions officer?

Sarah T: Cece was definitely growing on me in this episode. She was fun with her little nose-tap in response to the question about whether she’d ever made a sex tape. I think her connection with the Kahn brothers is just one more parallel between her and Ali, pretty much. I also think the UPenn admissions officer does not exist and that Cece somehow hacked into the system to send Spencer that email — or else she got Big Brother Kahn to do it. Nobody gets into college for real on this show, everyone just gets into trick college (see also: Emily Fields).

Also, I loved the Aria-Spencer dynamic in this episode, especially Aria helping Spencer pick out clothes for the admissions officer meeting. (Whyee do people on this show turn to her for fashion advice? But nice parallelism with her borrowing Spencer’s clothes for the fancy mom-meeting the other week.) They were so cute giggling on the bed together.

Phoebe B: Agreed and agreed. Cece is definitely like an older Ali and almost better at being nice and sneaky. I don’t trust her for an instant! Although I am pretty intrigued by her character. And I thought the girls made a good point about Cece and Ali when they said something about how Ali would have dangled Cece in front of them, which seems totally true! Thus, it makes me even more suspicious of Cece.

Lastly, I think one of my favorite scenes from this episode was Spencer and Aria giggling on the bed! They were so cute and it is so rare on this show to see the girls having fun together and so I loved it. Also, their hilarious Scooby Doo conversations this week were awesome.

Is Pastor Ted a serial killer? Why else would he ignore Ashley’s very clear more-red-wine signals?

Sarah T: Hahaha I love how much Ashley talks about wine. It is the best. Not a scene goes by between her and another adult where she doesn’t toss in some reference to a nice Pinot. Anyway, I’m still troubled by Pastor Ted’s existence, but as long as he’s making our Wine Goddess happy (if temporarily), that’s fine I guess.

Phoebe B: I too love how much Ashley is about the wine! I am, however, also super troubled by Pastor Ted. I feel like he is a creeper which is in large part due to that random date he had with Ella a few weeks ago. I feel like he is hiding something and it won’t be good …

Details of Ezra’s mysterious past are now pouring out like high-fructose corn syrup from a hexagon-shaped Gusher. What are your opinions about his little brother Wesley and the child he fathered at 18? And what do you think happened to the baby?

Sarah T: Props to the casting agent who dug up the actor who plays Wesley — he looks so much like Ezra. Actually they did a great job of pairing up Ali and Jason, Noel and Big Brother Kahn, and Spencer and Melissa too. Realistic-looking siblings all around! I kind of got the impression Wesley digs Aria, so maybe there’s a little brotherly competition shaping up there. I definitely think he dropped the intel about Ezra’s baby-daddy status on purpose. It sounds to me like Maggie had Ezra’s baby and is sequestered off in some Vermont lakehouse or something, so I’ll be looking forward to meeting both of them riiiight around the season finale.

Phoebe B: I too think there is a little brotherly competition shaping up! And I think Aria knows it. You might be on to something, ST about the sequestered Maggie and baby. But I sort of also thought that ‘taking care of it’ meant that Maggie had been given money to have an abortion although this is ABC Family so perhaps that is an unreasonable assumption. Or maybe that’s what she was supposed to do, but instead she disappeared to have the baby?! And then we’ll meet them in the season finale. Also, what is up with Ezra’s Jaguar and is that why there was a roll of cash in his sock drawer? And are they really talking about a car or is something far more sketchy afoot?

Is Spencer the only Liar who’s concerned about applying to college? And what do you think would be the dream schools of the other three?

Sarah T: Yes she is, apparently! But it’s no worries, because applying to college is kind of a free-form, make-your-own-rules thing and missed deadlines are easily gotten around. Also apparently kids still use paper applications (truth? I am too old to know about this) . Here are my picks for dream schools, besides Spencer who we know is UPenn:

Aria = Oberlin or NYU or one of the Seven Sisters, Emily = UC-Berkeley or UT-Austin. I’m having the most trouble imagining schools for Hanna, because we don’t know anything about her extracurricular activities–she’s sometimes on yearbook?–or academic interests. Which is pretty awesome actually, forget those things. Maybe FIT or Pratt or something? I’m feeling a design-related major for her.

Phoebe B: Haha I think Spencer is the only early decision type of the PLLs. But I definitely think that the rest of the Liars will go to college. I agree with your assessments about different colleges. I totally want Hanna to go to like FIT or Pratt or something art and design related (she is the best!).

  1. didnt you notice a girl who looked like ali sittin in the background of the khan brother’s party. Just before CeeCee and Noel’s bro are about to start playing the truth game, the camera switches from them and focuses on a blonde who has her back away from the camera. She looked a lot like like ally. Why would the camera put focus away from CeeCee and Noel’s brother if it was not significant?

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