thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Pretty Little Liars Recap: “Out of the Frying Pan Into the Inferno” (Season 3, Episode 17)

In girl culture, Pretty Little Liars on February 1, 2013 at 6:01 pm

This week on Pretty Little Liars, Spencer was brittle as recently betrAyed glass. She’s not telling her friends that Toby is a member of the A-team, and in the meantime she is out for blood. Detective Wilden showed up to announce that he once shot a man in Reno just to watch him die (or “self defense,” he claims).  Ezra found out about his secret son, and left Aria standing out in the cold. Emily discovered a clue that led her back to CeCe Drake, who revealed that Ali thought she was pregnant right before she died–and then stumbled upon a photograph that suggests the beach hottie who knocked her up was none other than Wilden himself. Also, Hanna had a fun night out, and her mom wondered–not unsympathetically–whether “pink drink” was code for something gay.


Spencer is heartbroken, but she seems–rightly so–out for revenge. What do you make of her hiring a P.I. and not telling the PLLs anything? What is she up to?

Sarah T: First of all, that long sequence of Spencer sobbing in the car while applying her makeup killed me. The way she kept pulling it together long enough to daub on mascara or ruffle her hair, then breaking down again–I was having flashbacks to every breakup ever. Not just mine, all the betrayals and heartbreak in the world. The whole episode, actually, Troian completely nailed that scary, empty, PTSD, Dark Phoenix version of Spence that’s emerging since she found out that Toby was A. I think she’s not telling the PLLs about it because she’s still in shock herself, and also (maybe) because Toby’s betrayal has made her trust no one at all, at least for now.

Phoebe B: Me too! Aaah it was so sad! And agreed on all counts. Also, I must admit that I thought (perhaps wished) that she was off to meet Toby (rather than the P.I.). I do like this dark and vengeful version of Spencer … I feel like she might be unstoppable now (she has always been badass) in the hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn way. But I am still sad about the Toby situation as I really had held out hope that Spencer wouldn’t love her virginity to someone so evil.

Detective Wilden is back (and still creepy). Was he Ali’s secret lover/beach hottie? Is he evil or just icky?

Sarah T: Totally he was Ali’s secret lover and beach hottie! One, he’s always been way too personally invested in the murder case. Two, he’s  shady and manipulative and without morals, which three, makes him Ali’s type to a T. On a different note, not to nitpick with Show of My Heart and Soul, but why would the police station have a picture of Wilden with his buddies on a fishing trip in the lobby? That… is not something police stations do, I don’t think. It would be another matter if it was in his office. But whatever, I’m thrilled that a new suspect is now in play, because with Garrett dead and Jenna and Melissa MIA we needed some new blood, and also I will not be satisfied until each and every citizen of Rosewood is a potential murderer.

Oh, which reminds me–looks like next week Emily becomes a potential murderer upon entering a deep hypnotic state! Wonderful.

Phoebe B: I too think he was Ali’s lover/beach hottie! And it does make sense now why he has always been WAY too invested in the murder case and extra weird with the girls. Do you think he knew Ali’s secrets about the PLLs? I too think Wilden will be an intriguing suspect but also I am hoping for some Emily’s mom double agent in the police stuff. Also, I want Melissa to come back! I also want to know exactly what she was up to talking on the phone on that porch the night Ali died.

Ali was pregnant. Discuss.

Sarah T: Ahh I was nonplussed by this turn of events because it just felt kind of ordinary. I guess I don’t want Ali to have been murdered by an angry boyfriend because she was pregnant (although the horrible truth is that in the real world that would have been a very probable resolution to the murder case–the third leading cause of death for pregnant women is homicide). But this isn’t the real world, this is our weird and wonderful dream show, and I want an explanation that’s much more convoluted and interesting. However, I will say that I am always interested to see the vulnerable side of Ali–since she showed it to the world so rarely–and that the flashback with her and CeCe was helpful in developing their friendship. It seems like Cece was kind of a big sister figure to her; heaven knows Ali needed a friend  she couldn’t control, and with Cece it looks like she didn’t try to.

Hanna’s undercover mission to trail Paige resulted in many hijinks (and pink drinks). Let’s talk about how hilarious it was, but also–is Paige really two-timing Emily?

Sarah T: This was my favorite part of the episode–Hanna storylines are always the funnest. I just really enjoyed the way she kept rolling with the punches. Free raspberry flirtini? Sure, she’ll drink it. A hot lesbian wants to dance with her? Why not, that’s fun. Busted by the cops for underage drinking? Cool, free ride to the police station. What DID faze Hanna was the sight of Paige flirting with a girl who is decidedly not Emily. It doesn’t seem possible–Paige loooves Emily!–but what was going on at the club seemed hard to misinterpret. And now Hanna’s got a secret to keep from Emily; meanwhile Emily isn’t telling the other Liars that Spencer broke up with Toby, and Spencer of course is keeping the biggest secret of all from her friends. This spells trouble for our core four, I think.

Phoebe B: SO many secrets! But also, I think maybe Paige was meeting this other girl in order to help Emily. Remember when she said to Caleb on the phone that she would do it (whatever it was) … So I’m thinking maybe that it was getting in touch with an ex-girlfriend for some reason. I can’t imagine how this would help the PLLs, but I’m holding out hope because I think Paige and Emily are adorable.

Ezra finally knows he has a son–and that Aria’s been keeping it a secret for a good long while. Are he and Aria donezo?

Sarah T: I’m sure not in the long run, but it looks like temporarily he’s out of the picture. Yay! I hope they bring back that cute guy with the heart defect and the secret fight club, remember him?

Phoebe B: Agreed. Oh I do remember him! He was great … I hope he comes back too. He and Aria totally had more fun chemistry. I do think Ezra is gone for a while though and that absurd close-up of his face as he thought about whether Aria could call him. Ridiculous. Also, I’m confused if his ex told the truth, then why is he still so mad at Aria. I mean I get that he is frustrated she didn’t tell him and all that but, I feel like he is being fairly harsh. But maybe that’s just me.

Did Caleb really put the brain in Mona’s locker? Has he been avenging Hanna in secret this whole time?

Sarah T: I think he did! And I bet he’s been protecting Hanna at least since Mona got out of Radley. Maybe he’ll stumble upon the Toby secret himself in his investigations! That would be a fun development. Also Caleb, please don’t die.

Phoebe B: Agreed on all counts. I ❤ Caleb and Hanna.


Sarah T: Hahahhaha I forgot about this part until now, this is my second-favorite part after Hanna’s lesbian bar adventure. Rough and tough Toby is ridiculous, and also seems like a character from a different show. But anyway, I was interested to see that we’re going back to Toby’s bad b0y past–it kind of got dropped as PLL portrayed him as the misunderstood, gentle Boo Radley of Rosewood. Now it’s looking like that may have been a pose all along, and the real Toby is street-style.

Phoebe B: it was so horrible! And absurd. I couldn’t even handle it and could barely watch that scene. I do think we are learning why he was feeling so vengeful at the PLLs given that he got sent to jail/boys’ home place and they got to roam free. Also, didn’t it seem like Ali totally gave up the PLLs when she suggested she wasn’t the only one there?

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