thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “Single Fright Female” (Season 3, Episode 11)

In Pretty Little Liars, Recaps on August 23, 2012 at 11:54 am

We are approaching the Pretty Little Liars summer finale and an upcoming betrAyal. This week there were asps afoot and secret children revealed. Meanwhile, we learned that Ali’s evil reach knew no bounds. Read on for our thoughts on this week’s rather scary episode.

Be still our hearts.

An asp! What do you make of the A-ttempt on Spencer in the dressing room?

Phoebe: Firstly, how Shakespeare of you PLL! And secondly, so scary! So clearly the snake is meant to signal that A (or Paige) overheard Spencer telling Emily about how Paige and Ali were rivals. Also, it made me super suspicious of Caleb when he snuck into the changing room that Hanna was in. How did he know to get in there? Also, how adorable was that scene? Lastly, do you think A was the driver of the truck (we never saw his face)? Or snuck into the dressing rooms the Caleb way?

Sarah T: I will never suspect Caleb of anything because he makes me swoon like Hanna. Those two have heat! But yes, the asp was hilarious and scary, full-on striking out at Spencer. I also loved the detail that Cece killed the snake with a mannequin leg in the background as Spencer gasps for breath after being released. Say what you will about her mean girl tactics, but she is fearless. You’ve got to give her that.

Oh my goodness, Paige. What are your thoughts on the Ali + Paige situation? Is Paige evil or a red herring? Discuss.

Phoebe B: So I totally think this is a red herring (or I guess I really want it to be a red herring) but Paige was being incredibly cryptic this whole episode especially near the end wherein she silenced Emily’s phone. Then also I wasn’t sure I trusted her breakdown about Ali on the Emily’s front porch. I thought this revelation was particularly interesting including Spencer’s memory of the giant bruise on Ali’s neck. Clearly the two girls were going on at it but it seems like Paige, was for a while, holding her own in Ali’s bullying wars. And I do think Cece was right that Ali was scared of Paige since post stealing Paige’s love note, Ali looked legitimately freaked Lastly, I am also pretty sure that placing the earring in Paige’s bag would have been pretty easy to do in order to frame her. After all, the A-team is everywhere and seemingly ever-multiplying.

Sarah T: Okay, I think Paige probably isn’t A, but I do want her to get away from Emily. Insulting Emily’s friends (before Spencer started going into complete attack-dog mode) is a signature manipulative move from possessive significant others, and seeing her delete Spencer’s call sealed the deal for me. However, I do feel awful about Paige’s bullied past with Ali.

I agree that Ali looked freaked in the flashback, Phoebes, but I feel like maybe Ali wasn’t scared of Paige so much as of herself? Maybe that’s giving Ali too much credit, but the exchange they had didn’t make Paige seem like much of a threat at all — she was a mess, pleading with Ali and generally not giving her much of a run for her money. But Ali did seem jittery right before and outright scared right after, which makes me think that maybe the cracks in her armor were showing as she anted up from your basic high school cruelty to some next-level blackmail.

Relatedly, the PLLs are at odds with each other this week, with Hanna and Spencer pretty quick to convict Paige as a member of the A-team and Emily having none of it. (Aria, of course, is off in her own separate universe that has nothing to do with everyone else’s storyline, as per usual.) Is the show setting us up for a group split–and does Emily’s suggestion that it’s all Cece’s fault hold weight?

Phoebe B: I think Emily is on to something! Especially given that in Cece’s flashback it seems like she might have taught Ali everything she knew about being evil. And I do think her sort of randomly jumping into their lives suggests that there is more afoot with her, especially with her random fit of anger directed at Spencer in this episode. I definitely did not understand why she was so pissed at Spencer and also what the girls were doing at the shop. Was it a trunk show? That never happened? Or was at like a billion o’clock? I was so confused.

Sarah T: Ha, yeah the trunk show part did not make much sense — in a show that loves fashion, why wouldn’t they give a quick montage of the girls modeling the clothes on the catwalk or whatever? But anyway, yes, I do think that Cece may be turning the girls against each other — perhaps not even with a particular goal. She’s a power player like Ali, and to consolidate her power she has to make sure that the girls get less trusting of each other.

What do you make of Maggie, Ezra’s baby mama? And the new team of Aria + Wes (Ezra’s little brother)?

Phoebe B: So Maggie seems great! Unlike Jackie, Ezra’s last girlfriend pre-Aria, who was clearly evil. But why didn’t she tell Ezra about the baby? Do you think Wes’ is right that their mom paid her off to keep quiet? Or was she supposed to have an abortion and didn’t? Then there’s this new Aria + Wes situation and he seems super into her and I feel a love triangle afoot and I do not like it one bit. Although, as Ezra noted through his music choice (oddly old for a 26 year old, no?), the duo are closer in age.

Sarah T: I am having a hard time caring about the Aria-Ezra storylines, since they’re always so fractured from whatever’s going on with the rest of the cast. I don’t know what the point is of keeping them cut off from the rest of the action. The other PLL boyfriends and girlfriends get all enmeshed with both the mystery and your everyday mischief constantly, and it’s not even an age thing that’s making Ezria so hard to incorporate — Wren and the moms all manage to get involved! Anyway, I kind of like Wes better than Ezra (not hard, I’ve never been a big Ezra fan and he’s been a major juicebox lately). So I am rooting for this love triangle to get lopsided in a more age-appropriate direction.

Jenna’s slightly edgy about the reemergence of the thumb drive of blackmail, but far more concerned about the danger of “Emily’s friend.” Who do you think she was trying to warn Emily about, and why do you think she’s getting out of town?

Phoebe B: So I think we are supposed to believe it is Paige. But I also thought maybe Jenna was talking about Spencer. Or maybe Cece?! I don’t know. That was so cryptic and intriguing. But also where is Jenna going now? And why is she always going out of town? She seems really scared and creeped out. Lastly, the key hand off at the end coupled with Jenna’s taxi departure made me super suspicious of her.

Sarah T: I think Jenna was talking about Nate — particularly given Nate’s earlier freakouts at both her and Emily. Sidebar on Nate’s aggression. I think what we are seeing here is a case of a dude who thinks that girls owe him their attention and affection. He feels entitled to Jenna and Emily, which is why he completely flips out at them when he feels rejected. In his mind, they’re the ones being “reckless” and misleading and playing him. But they’re not doing any of those things; they’re simply being individuals with free will who get to make up their own minds about whether or not they want to date him. He doesn’t get to have a say, and he doesn’t know how to deal with that. Watching this dynamic play out is really getting under my skin, because Nate’s mindset is a very dangerous one. Props to PLL for getting his entitlement complex down to a T.

What are your thoughts on the A tag with 2 A’s? And a key hand off?

Phoebe B: So I think this is mostly confirming that A is many people! And also maybe subtly suggestion that Jenna is on the A-team!

Sarah T: I like the A-team’s jukebox taste.

Lastly, Mona in a nursing costume! Mona in a nursing costume!

(This is not a question, just a statement of excitement over the preview for next week’s season finale.)

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