SATs, Alison’s Memorial, and Jason #1

Pretty Little Liars SEason 1, EPisodes 7-9
Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Sasha Pieterse, Shay Mitchell

This first season of Pretty Little Liars takes a while to really ramp up. We have got some good mysteries set up already but they don’t want to reveal too much too soon. This stretch of episodes felt very much like filler where not much happened to advance these mysteries or set up new facets of them. Not that these episodes didn’t have some important content, they just didn’t do too much to advance the important parts of the story.

The Liars and their Secrets

Aria is dealing with her parents separation and is being really immature about it. For someone who prides herself on being an adult, she is never more clearly a child than when it comes to dealing with adult things. She thinks that she gets a say in whether her parents separate or not and blames her dad for not fighting for her mom. Byron tries to tell her that she is too young to understand, which we know is never something Aria wants to hear. She thinks that college students are fully formed adults. Mike too is struggling with their parents separation and makes their fighting about him. He then starts getting in fights at school and is just in general very angsty.

Hanna continues her personal growth by befriending Lucas and actually standing up for him when Mona is really cruel to him. Lucas introduces Hanna to YouTube and helps her sell her purses online when Hanna finds out that single parents don’t make that much money. Ashley is struggling to keep up with the bills now that they are living just off her paycheck. She and Hanna both want to keep up appearances.

Emily and Spencer didn’t have much in these episodes as far as personal stories outside of their romantic interests. Emily is slowly starting to accept that she is gay. She officially comes out to Hanna first, and then is later outed by Wilden to her other friends which is rough. We also learn that Emily’s dad is coming home from Afghanistan soon.

Episode 8 (“Please, Do Talk About Me When I’m Gone”) heavily focused on their individual relationships with Ali as they planned the memorial they made for her in a park in town. It is mentioned multiple times that Spencer was the only one to ever really challenge Alison, and she made sure that was known to both her older brother, Jason, as well as Jenna. She even told Jason that Spencer was the one who threw the stink bomb into Jenna’s garage. Hanna was willing to sell her soul a bit in order to be accepted by Alison, something that she is now trying to reverse. We already knew that Emily was in love with Alison but we see in Episode 9 (“The Perfect Storm”) just how much Ali used it to manipulate her. She encouraged her just enough to keep stringing Emily along, but then snapped at her when she tried to actually act on her feelings. The show does a good job setting up the relationships of these three with Ali, but Aria’s is less clear. Why exactly Aria would have been friends with Ali is never really developed. For someone who is very individualistic it is surprising that she would have been swayed by someone like Alison. The show shaped these four characters to have four girls who were very different but united by a single person. It just fails a bit to illustrate how Aria became a part of that.

Mysteries and Shady Characters

‘A’ is kind of taking a back seat in these episodes. They are certainly still a presence, but the mysteries are more focused on Toby and Ali’s murder. Toby skipped town after dropping Emily off at the hospital which makes him look extra shady. The other girls are convinced still that Toby killed Alison and is probably A, but Emily is less sure. He could have killed Emily but he instead brought her to the hospital. When they get a text from A thanking them for getting Toby out of the way, the others are less sure that it was Toby. The police however are all in on finding Toby, especially when Ali’s brother Jason returns to put some pressure on them.

Jenna knows that the Liars stole the file from Toby’s therapist and wants it back. She is really pissed when she finds out they dumped it. The girls can’t agree on what to do with the file and Aria ends up throwing it in a river, as if that makes it go away forever. But we see A fishing it out of the river at the end of Episode 7 (“The Homecoming Hangover”). At this point the Liars are still amateurs at dealing with A. Jenna gets even more shady in these episodes as it is revealed she and Ali spent some time together after Jenna’s accident. She speaks at Alison’s memorial dedication saying that Ali was the strongest person she ever knew. Jenna thinks Spencer killed Alison.

The memorial gets destroyed almost immediately after the dedication, giving Wilden another thing to interrogate the girls about. He takes it too far and questions them at school without any adults present and goes through Emily’s bag. Thankfully Veronica Hastings shows up to put him in his place. Emily looks very guilty when she comes to the SATs with her shoes covered in mud and there are pictures of her in the ruins of the memorial. But really she just found it like that and took what she could salvage from it. Why she felt the need to hide that information is unclear. We don’t officially learn who destroyed the memorial, but Lucas also shown to have muddy shoes the next day.

We also learn that Alison’s bracelet they found in the woods is a copy and someone, A, planted it there. Episode 9 ends with the first glimpse of the infamous “I know you want to kiss me” video of Alison.

Romance

After his conversation with Aria at Homecoming, Ezra just like skips town for two episodes. Aria isn’t hearing from him and breaks into his apartment to discover that he is interviewing at another school. Hanna still thinking that Aria is hung up on a guy in Iceland pushes her to go out with Noel Kahn, so Hanna and Sean can go to a Band of Horses concert. At first Aria is against it but remembering that it is Noel Kahn she agrees. And then is a total buzzkill the whole night. However, Noel continues pursuing her and she sees him as an opportunity to make Ezra jealous. They also have a very weird jam session in the music room. When Ezra finally does come back and tries to talk to her she refuses to let him finish sentences. Aria seems to be using the tactic of making him feel like a terrible person for hurting her to make him realize what a mistake he has made. Ezra gets some insight from a clueless Ella that Aria is moody and that she shuts people out when she is hurt.

Spencer is able to salvage her relationship with Alex after ditching him at Homecoming when she helps him with his overtime work at the club. Things are going well but she is afraid that her parents won’t approve so she tries to keep it from them. But when Veronica realizes that the guy Spencer went to homecoming with is a club employee that she has some “history” with, things are awkward. Until Spencer makes her mom confess that she got drunk at the club one day and kind of embarrassed herself. Alex listened to her vent and helped her get a cab but promised not to ever talk about it. Veronica had just had a lump removed from her breast, something she never told her family about. After coming clean about this, Veronica gives Alex the stamp of approval.

Emily goes on her first real date with Maya which seems to have gone well. When Emily tells her that her dad is coming home from Afghanistan, Maya is like do I get to meet him? Again Maya has no boundaries. This is their first date and she is already asking about meeting her parents, who she hasn’t come out to yet.

After Homecoming, Hanna and Sean are also on thin ice but Aria mends that by reassuring him that Hanna loves him. Hanna then really pushes Aria on Noel so they can all double date.

Miscellaneous

  • We meet Jason DiLaurentis in Episode 8, but it is important to note that this is Jason #1 who is a total opposite vibe of Jason #2, the more important Jason. I took very little notes on Jason because he will not only be recast in Season 2, but he is also given a completely different personality and background. So I didn’t want to put too much importance on anything said by Jason #1.
  • Melissa’s ex-boyfriend Ian returns during Ali’s memorial dedication. The other boyfriend of Melissa’s that Spencer kissed.
  • Byron and Ashley bond over being single parents and almost have a moment before they are both grossed out by the idea.
  • Sean sends Aria flowers as a thank you/fuck Hanna to which Aria makes a great face.
  • Ezra has a sub while he is away who is played by Sara Shepherd… the writer of the PLL books.
  • Notable Quotes:
    • Alison: “That’s immortality my darlings”
    • Hanna: “You get the whole package with Noel Kahn”
    • Aria: “You’re great, I mean your Noel”
    • Hanna: “Don’t you want someone real? Someone you can I don’t know, scratch and sniff?”

Fashion

It is all Aria these episodes. She has suspenders that aren’t even attached to anything. And girl can’t even do casual to take the SATs.

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