thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Pretty Little Liars Recap: “Mona-Mania” (Season 3, Episode 15)

In Pretty Little Liars, teen soaps, Television on January 19, 2013 at 12:50 pm

This week on Pretty Little Liars, Spencer and Mona went head-to-head in the Ultimate Combination Quiz-Off and Bun-Off (Updo versus Half-Up). Lucas told Hanna that he’s been an A-team middle man ever since Mona caught him selling off test answers. Among his A-team duties: visiting Mona back when she was in Radley to pass on secret envelopes from Jason DiLaurentis. Meanwhile, Aria and Meredith teamed up to investigate the unsavory dealings of Lord Byron, and Emily and Paige dealt with post-traumatic stress disorder with a soothing trip to the woods in the middle of the night. Read on to parse the details of this week’s episode.

I think she means a bildingsroman.

What do you make of Lucas’s blackmail story and his new plan to get homeschooled as a way of avoiding Mona’s wrath? He seemed legit terrified.

Sarah T: I believe him–I never bought Lucas as the dastardly type–but I hope he doesn’t go through with homeschooling, because I don’t want any more of my favorite second-tier characters getting sidelined! (Miss u, Jenna-Thing.) Also, why did Hanna not seem to care about that Lucas was delivering messages from Jason to Mona in Radley?? That seems like a big deal to me.

Phoebe B: Agreed on ALL counts. I totally believe him but I also always thought he was a lovely character. I also didn’t buy the whole gambling debt and I’m going to hit Hanna with an oar then disappear situation. Also, I am super confused that Lucas A) did not say more about the letters he was delivering to Mona and B) annoyed that Hanna didn’t ask. Then again, it is a classic PLL mystery move just to keep us all entangled!

Why is Mona suddenly so interested in the academic decathalon? So much academic sporting! Is she just doing it to mess with Spencer, or does she have another motive up her sleeve?

Sarah T: I definitely think she did it partly to throw Spencer off her game, and partly because she really doesn’t want to play dumb anymore, and partly for image-reform purposes. I think the trick with Mona is that the hurt-puppy act isn’t really an act at all: She really does feel persecuted at school and ashamed of her past and in need of emotional support. She really did go crazy when she thought she lost Hanna, and she really does want Hanna’s friendship back now. But all that doesn’t mean she’s not also a scheming super-villain. Like Che Guevera with bling on, she’s complex.

Phoebe B: She is so very complex and I’m so glad she is back on the show … And I do agree that she was trying to throw Spencer off her game while also doing a little image makeover. Also, now we know why that poor guy with the bike had to have an accident last week…

Thoughts on Hanna’s confrontation with Mona? Gutsy? Ill-advised? Awesome?

Sarah T: All three! I think Hanna’s right that there’s no need to skulk in the shadows when it comes to Mona’s nefarious plots: they know what Mona’s really about, Mona knows they know because she told them she was A herself, they might as well have it out in the open. But on the other hand: pissing off an active member of the A team is probably not the most strategic move I’ve ever heard, plus we already know that Mona is… sensitive when it comes to her friendship with Hanna in particular? So getting cut off probably isn’t going to do wonderful things for her mood and mental health.

Phoebe B: Yeah I was thinking it was super gutsy and Hanna was totally right about the PLLs not needing to pretend that Mona is a sweet and harmless puppy. But also! I feel like given Mona’s particular sensitivity to her friendship with Hanna … the confrontation might push Mona further into evil land. Then again, I feel like she really already has her heart set on destroying the PLLs and everything they hold near and dear. So perhaps it won’t actually be terrible. Also, in other gutsy news … Emily chasing Toby through the woods = bad ass! I think and am hoping that the PLL’s are finally going to start fighting back. Lastly, I feel so bad for Paige … She is so stressed and rightly so but I thought her talk with Emily was super sweet and I liked how supportive and awesome Emily was.

Did Byron hurt Ali, or is he just a good ol’ PLL red herring? Discuss.

Sarah T: You know, I think he did hurt her. I actually think he may be one of the people who fake-murdered her that night: not the ultimate evildoer, but maybe the one who buried her alive. (Shudder.) He’s been gross from the get-go, and implicating the father of the one of the PLLs in the murder of their best friend is just the kind of dark, screwy route this show would take.

Phoebe B: Agreed on both counts. That would totally make sense if he’s the one that buried her alive … because then he probably thinks that he did kill her given that Ali’s body was indeed found in the backyard where he may have left her. Then too, it seems like Aria’s family move to Iceland (right?) makes even more sense if Byron was trying to avoid suspicion or whatever. He is truly just so creepy. But I’m curious too now about Meredith … Like can we trust her? Or is she playing both Byron and Aria? So many mysteries!

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