A Funeral, A Fashion Show, and The DiLaurentis Family

Pretty Little Liars Season 2, Episodes 4-6
Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell, Ashley Benson, and Troian Bellisario, Pretty Little Liars

I loved these episodes. Season 1 moved fairly slowly compared to the later seasons and this felt like the first push to really elevate the show in terms of pace and complexity. We dive further into the mystery of Alison while the Liars have pretty much given up on trying to figure out who A is. Ian’s role in all of this is pretty much resolved and then the show immediately lets us know that there is so much more to the story. We also are learning more about the DiLaurentis family as the mother, Jessica, is introduced and is just as weird and creepy as her kids.

The Liars and Their Secrets

After setting Lucas up with Danielle, Hanna is then suckered into going on a double date with them and Caleb. She makes it clear to Caleb that this is not a date, but it obviously is the beginning of her warming towards him again. This plot with Lucas functions to both reconcile her with Caleb but also to give her a revelation about her friendship with Alison. Hanna had been putting off going to do a solo session with Dr. Sullivan but her mom finally forces her to go. Dr. Sullivan recognizes that the girls are still holding onto Alison, but she thinks it is just their grief. Of course she doesn’t know that they have someone stalking them and torturing them with clues about what happened to Alison. So of course they can’t let her go. Hanna admits to Dr. Sullivan that she had to become someone she didn’t like in order to be friends with Alison. She tells an imaginary Ali that she was her best friend and worst enemy. Hanna was drawn in by Ali because she had low self-esteem and being friends with someone like Alison made her feel special. She also thought Alison could help her and mistook Ali’s constantly putting her down as the honesty of a true friend. Even though Ali is gone, Hanna has still had her voice in her head, but in this episode Hanna realizes that she has the power to let that voice in or not. This is a great episode for Hanna as she is the first to kind of have her reckoning with what her relationship with Ali really was. With her death everyone has just wanted to memorialize her but as time goes on the Liars begin to see how toxic she was.

Aria is still dealing with a lot of family drama. She thought with her mom moving back in (and her dad making double berry pancakes) that all would go back to normal. Mike however is not convinced. Mike fought the hardest against Ella moving out in the first place, but her moving back in doesn’t make him happier. Aria is always trying to fix things with her family, but Mike knows that it is forever broken. They can’t pretend like Byron didn’t cheat on Ella and that she moved out. This leads to Mike acting out by breaking into people’s homes and stealing things. It was Mike who took the camping gear out of Emily’s garage and ran into Aria while he was trying to steal things from Spencer’s. He gets caught trying to break into Jason’s house, though Jason has a lot of sympathy for Mike and doesn’t call the police.

Spencer and Emily were both on the investigative team in these episodes leaving them less time for personal stories. Spencer returns to the pawn shop to get her sister’s ring back only to find a horseshoe instead. At the end of “My Name is Trouble” we saw A buy the ring from the pawn shop and it seems that they also replaced Spencer’s ticket with the horseshoe. Spencer tries to find another one online but obviously she can’t just replace her sister’s ring with another random one. They are also very expensive. At one point Spencer and Melissa are close to making up but then Melissa finds Ian’s phone in Spencer’s bag and thinks that it was Spencer who was texting her, pretending to be Ian.

Emily gets help from Samara in getting out of the Danby lie. She doesn’t fully get out of it but Samara convinces Pam to hold off on her Danby excitement and let other schools express interest as well. Emily is only a junior and she will be hearing from other colleges. This is great work by Samara because not only does it get Pam to stop obsessing over Danby and give Emily time to get a real scholarship, but it also is actually good advice. Pam also expresses that she is missing Wayne and so Emily convinces her to stay in Texas for the rest of the school year and Emily is going to move in with Hanna. I’m so excited.

Mysteries and Shady Characters

The Ian storyline gets kind of wrapped up, and kind of more complicated. Melissa believed that Ian was alive, but it was really A that was texting her. “A” then leads Melissa, Wren, and the Liars to Ian’s dead body where he had clearly been decaying for some time. They also find a “suicide” note from Ian saying that he killed Alison. This is enough for the police and the rest of Rosewood to pin the murder on Ian and begin to move on. The Liars are even able to breathe for a second before A continues to torture them with information. Emily ends up being MVP of this investigation when A gives her a clue that the suicide note is a fake. Emily realizes that the note is comprised of previous A messages and thus not real.

Emily is realizing that all of the clues that led them to believe Ian killed Ali were given to them by A. That A likely set him up. Now that Ian is dead, A is once again leading them to find out that he didn’t do it. “A” loves to send these red herrings to the Liars and then reveal them for what they were. It keeps them in a constant state of not knowing what is and isn’t real. “A” sends Emily to the graveyard and then shows an even more extended version of the kissing rock video, this time showing that Ian left Ali alive.

Emily also finds Logan Reed, the guy that Ian hired to do the exchange for the videos. Logan tells Emily that it was a woman who hired him, but he never met her. She tries to tell both Spencer and Garrett this but neither seem interested in going down this rabbit hole. We later see Garrett paying off Logan for not saying anything and then making a call to Jenna to say that it was dealt with. So did Jenna hire Logan? Was Garrett behind Logan Reed from the beginning?

Ian’s death however gives the rest of Rosewood relief, especially Jason. He has always thought that he might have something to do with Ali’s death since he was high and can’t remember anything. He also woke up the day after Ali’s disappearance to find a note saying “I know what you did”. Who wrote the note and what did Jason do?

Adding to Jason’s sketchiness is a mystery fight between Peter Hastings and Jessica DiLaurentis. Peter is upset that Jason is back in town and keeps telling Jessica that she can’t keep it under control. Spencer keeps asking him about it but he just lies. He tells Spencer to stay away from Jason.

Jessica DiLaurentis returns to Rosewood and is delightfully creepy as well. She is a board member for a charity fashion show that all of the Liars are participating in. She gets the girls to do a tribute to Ali at the end of the show with a slide show and some music while wearing some of Ali’s dresses. The girls are beyond creeped out by this but don’t feel like they can say no. They put together what was going to be a nice tribute only to have it sabotaged by A who replaced the slideshow with pictures of Ali as a devil and the line “wake up everybody, because the bitch is back”.

Finally, A has a lot of great moves in these episodes including sending Emily a box of Danby paraphernalia, planting Ian’s phone in Spencer’s bag, making the “A” out of candles at the fashion show (which no one notices), and breaking into Dr. Sullivan’s office, trashing it, and writing “nosy bitches die” on the wall.

Romance

These episodes probably contained some of the least amount of romantic plot in the series so far. Considering how jam packed they were with mystery though it makes sense.

Aria and Ezra are realizing that just because he is a professor now doesn’t mean they can just start openly dating. They are frustrated that they are still having to hide their relationship but also don’t really know how to move forward. Meanwhile Aria has a bit of a flirtation developing with Jason who is clearly into her. She doesn’t like overtly flirt with him but she hasn’t told him she is dating anyone either. At this point it feels like he is interested in her and she knows that and is using it to find out what he knows about the night Alison disappeared. And to keep her brother from getting into trouble for breaking and entering.

After their fake date, Caleb is popping in on Hanna a lot to “check on her”. I think he hopes that if he is just around enough she will eventually date him again. Which seems to work. She helps him get money from his foster mom and then kisses him. The next episode she is trying to act like they aren’t back together but the rest of the Liars aren’t convinced. When he shows up to the fashion show of his own accord that pretty much seals the deal.

Emily and Samara have been hanging out a lot but have yet to have the conversation. Samara comes to the fashion show with her friend Quinn who she is very touchy with. Emily gets a little jealous and asks her about it. Samara says they are just friends but also that she and Emily aren’t really a couple, and Emily specifically asked to take it slow. So they are still in a bit of an undefined area.

Spencer just uses Toby for his carpentry skills.

Miscellaneous

  • Hanna’s dad is still in town and hovering around the Marin household. He pretends he is there for Hanna, but she knows he is there for Ashley. It is not making Hanna happy though because she knows that her dad will just go back to Isabel when he feels like it.
  • The Liars are the ones to throw handfuls of dirt into Ian’s grave which felt like a weird choice. I did like the imagery of them washing their hands of him though.
  • Mona is fantastic throughout all of the fashion show episode. She has taken over as committee chair since Spencer has been preoccupied, and she is driving Spencer crazy.
  • She also hires Noel as the DJ and he is just as sinister as ever.
  • Notable Quotes:
    • Spencer to the nurse who can’t take a hint: “Could you… like not be here right now?”
    • Mona: “People thought you were…. going to jail”
    • Mona: “Are your legs always that short?”

Fashion

There is A LOT of fashion in these episodes between the funeral attire and the fashion show outfits. Before all of that though Aria wears a pink/silvery top with huge sleeves underneath a jumper. Hanna wants to wear a sexy red dress to Ian’s funeral but then settles for something just as inappropriate. Aria wears a cocktail dress and Spencer looks like a witch at the funeral. Emily might be the only one dressed appropriately. Each funeral on this show attempts to one up the previous one for the Liar’s inappropriate outfits. And finally the fashion show is a mixture of beach wear and steam punk. The dresses of Ali’s are actually not bad.

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