The NAT Club, Page 5, and Creepy Dolls

Pretty Little Liars Season 2, Episodes 10-12
Troian Bellisario, Pretty Little Liars

These episode complete the first half of Season 2 and it definitely delivers. With Pretty Little Liars unconventional airing schedule there was actually a longer hiatus between the first and second half of a season than there was in between seasons. This means that their mid-season finales often have the same amount of punch as a season finale would. Episode 12 (“Over My Dead Body”) leaves viewers with a lot to think about while waiting for the second half of Season 2.

The Liars and Their Secrets

Hanna is reluctantly one of Isabel’s bridesmaids which means she has to deal with awful Kate, who like many others is recast from the first time we saw her. When Kate and Hanna happen to show up at their bridesmaid’s dress fittings at the same time Kate invites Hanna and Mona to go to lunch and then horseback riding with her snobby cousins. Mona is encouraging Hanna to try harder with Kate and keeps lying about her horseback riding skills to impress her. However it backfires when Hanna and Mona lose their horses and then Hanna goes on a long rant about how much she hates Kate, unaware that this conversation is being blasted over the loud speaker at the barn.

We discover that Kate is pretty devious herself and chooses to play the long game in getting back at Hanna. Instead of telling on Hanna to their parents, she tells her that she is going to break her like a horse. Hanna tries to make nice with Kate by bringing her some of Spencer’s old horse books (but pretending they are brand new). Despite Kate’s promise to destroy her, Hanna is pretty trusting of Kate when she is fake nice to her. At the rehearsal dinner Kate cons Hanna into getting drunk and then she throws up on Isabel’s wedding dress that Kate was supposed to be safeguarding. This is pretty bitchy of Kate not only because Hanna gets in trouble while she gets off looking like the good child, but also she intentionally destroys her mothers wedding dress just to get back at Hanna.

Meanwhile at the Montgomery household dark Mike is still around. Ella talks to Dr. Sullivan about getting Mike a therapist though he doesn’t seem interested in it. She and Byron are fighting over the best way to deal with Mike. She wants him to talk out his feelings and Byron wants to send him to a psychiatrist to see if he may need medication. Ella comes off like an anti-vaxxer in this episode. She doesn’t think that pills will solve his problems but really she is just scared. She doesn’t want to admit that Mike may be depressed or potentially even suicidal. After losing his brother this way Byron doesn’t want to take the chance. The show never actually says that Byron’s brother committed suicide but you get it from context clues. Ella can’t bring herself to admit that Mike could be going through something similar but denying it will only make matters worse. Mike seems to be getting scared of what he is feeling as well and he finally lets Aria in a bit. She tells her parents about Mike’s other break-ins because she doesn’t want there to be secrets between them anymore, but lol she is still dating Ezra.

Emily is having a rough stretch of episodes. After A pinpoints her as the “weakest link”, Emily is stressed out even more than before. Ashley gives her a coupon for a massage but when she goes A is the one who ends up giving her the massage, which she doesn’t realize until after they have gone. She can’t sleep and when she gets a message on her phone at 3 am that scares her she sneaks out of the house and goes for a run. She ends up at Dr. Sullivan’s a few hours later ready to talk and she finds that the other Liars are already there. How they knew Emily was going there is not really clear. The message she got was a picture of Aria and Ezra making out and the note “clue Ella in and I’ll let you out”. Emily would never actually do that but she is starting to crack. The girls decide it is time to tell Dr. Sullivan about A.

Mysteries and Shady Characters

While going through Ian’s things, Spencer and Toby come across his old yearbook. They discover that Ian, Jason, and Garrett were all part of the N.A.T. club, a club that isn’t listed. They also find a t-shirt that says “Nos Animadverto Totus” which translates to “we see all”. Spencer theorizes that it means that Jason and Garrett where in on Ian videotaping the girls and they made themselves a little pervert club.

This is just adding to Jason’s overall creepiness. Emily and Spencer tell Aria about the pictures they found in Jason’s shed and she is not so willing to believe that he is a creep. She asks him about the photos and he tells her that Ali is the one that took them. He found an old roll of film she never developed and he planned to frame the pictures and give them to Aria. This satisfies her so Spencer has to take some drastic measures to get Aria away from Jason. She decides that Ezra is the only person Aria will listen to so she recruits him after having to reveal that Aria told all of her Liar friends about them. I had kind of forgotten that he didn’t know that they knew but I am glad he didn’t because this scene was so delightful.

We get some answers about the feud between Jason and Peter Hastings. At least Peter’s probably sanitized version of it. Peter tells Spencer that a week before Ali died her grandmother changed her will to cut Jason out. This is something that Ali had been trying to get her to do and it seems to have worked. Spencer believes this is why she went to Georgia to visit her grandmother. After Ali died her parents asked Peter to change the date on the former will to come after the new one so that Jason wouldn’t look like a suspect. Why Peter agreed to do it is not clear, he refuses to tell Spencer that much. Spencer wants to go to the police with her newest suspect but Peter tells her they can’t because he would be disbarred for what he did.

Garrett and Jenna are still concerned about Jason talking about whatever it is they don’t want him talking about. Garrett goes to talk to Jason to make sure they are cool and Jason says “it doesn’t matter anymore, it’s over now”. To which Garrett responds “I’m a cop now, it matters more than ever”. Are they talking about Ali’s death? Pinning it on Ian? The N.A.T. club? Or something else entirely? Jenna goes to Spencer’s to tell her to stop digging, it is dangerous for both her and Toby. This seems like a desperate move for Jenna. She has to know that her saying that will only make Spencer want to dig more. Unless that is her plan?

After telling Dr. Sullivan about A, she gives an anti-bullying seminar at Rosewood High that is very pointed. After the assembly Dr. Sullivan gets another call that is just a recording of her session with the Liars, specifically the part where she said “and I’m the first person you’ve told about this?” playing on loop. She calls the cops again to have them look for bugs in her office but Garrett says they can’t help her if she won’t tell them who the clients were. Which seems unreasonable. However after going through her patient files, Dr. Sullivan realizes that A is another one of her patients and she figures out who it is. She calls the Liars and tells them that she knows who A is, while sitting in her office, which she knows is bugged. Of course, A cannot have Dr. Sullivan revealing their identity so they kidnap her and hold her for ransom.

Episode 12 (“Over My Dead Body”) is the mid-season finale and it is a big one. It starts with three out of the four Liars sitting in the police station, covered in dirt. Emily is the only one missing, though this just ends up being some misdirection. The rest of the episode then flashes back to show how we got there. Earlier that day, a big box is sent to Spencer with A’s demands for Dr. Sullivan’s return. These demands come in the form of some creepy dolls that match Hanna, Aria, and Spencer. Emily does not get a doll initially. I believe this is the first use of dolls by A but it becomes a big theme. All of A’s demands are things that ultimately the Liars want but the means will only end up making them look bad. Aria has to get rid of Jackie by blackmailing her with her knowledge that Jackie plagiarized a paper she is about to publish. Hanna has to stop her dad’s wedding to Isabel, and Spencer has to keep Toby safe and the only way she can think to do that is to break up with him.

All of the Liars are going to Tom and Isabel’s wedding but Emily gets sidetracked when her doll shows up in the backseat of her car. “A” was never going to just leave her out. Her doll makes her go to yet another barn in Rosewood where A tries to kill her via carbon monoxide poisoning. However someone saves her by pulling her out. While she is passed out she has a vision of Ali. Much like the one Hanna had in her hospital room back in Season 1, it feels real but she could also be hallucinating. Ali is as cryptic as ever and everything she says could have multiple meanings. This whole scene feels like it was put here to give fans something to obsess over during the mid-season hiatus. Ali tells Emily that she knows who A is but she can’t tell her because “two can only keep a secret if one of them is dead”. Is she saying that she can’t say because she is dead? Or that she can’t say because she isn’t dead? She also tells Emily that she has to make a choice to come with her or stay here. Again this could mean that Emily can choose to die and be with Ali, or it could mean she can go wherever Ali is hiding out in the mortal world.

Unfortunately Emily doesn’t have a lot of time to contemplate all of this because when she wakes up again the other Liars are there and A has given them a shovel and coordinates to find where she buried Dr. Sullivan. They go to dig her up and only find a mask along with Dr. Sullivan’s boots. But really this was all a set up by A to get them arrested. The shovel is what the police believe Ali was hit over the head with and finding the girls with it makes them look guilty in her murder. That is why they are in the police station.

It is implied though that maybe Garrett and Jenna set this up. They look like evil super villains in this episode. Garrett brings Ali’s autopsy report to another officer and tells him that page 5 is missing, which happens to be the page that contains all of the physical evidence, like the shovel. Turns out that Garrett is the one that stole page 5 and that he basically became a police officer to cover up his own crimes. They are the ones that wrote the note that Jason found. This whole bit makes it look like they are both A and the ones who killed Ali, though it should be noted that they never actually say any of that. Just that nothing is left to link them to that night.

Finally Detective Wilden returns! After the girls were arrested his theory that they killed Ali holds some water so he is reinstated in the investigation of Ali’s death.

Romance

Aria and Ezra start contemplating telling her parents about them. Which is a TERRIBLE idea. Aria is afraid that keeping their relationship a secret is tearing it apart. Jackie is hitting on Ezra because they think she doesn’t know that he is dating anyone, though she definitely knows about him and Aria, but really she just doesn’t care. Aria accidentally tells Ezra about Jason kissing her and blames it on the fact that she can’t tell anyone she has a boyfriend. They are really starting to feel like they can’t keep it a secret anymore and they make a tentative plan to tell Byron and Ella. But when Ella sees Spencer get in Ezra’s car she gets the wrong impression and thinks that Spencer is dating Ezra. When she asks Aria about it she tells her that she would feel disappointed and betrayed if she found out hat Ezra was dating one of his students. So telling her is probably not the best idea. However, Jackie is still a problem. After Aria blackmails her over her plagiarism, Jackie turns around and blackmails Aria too saying that if she doesn’t break up with Ezra, or tells on her, that she will tell on Ezra which mostly hurts him but Jackie doesn’t care. She would rather Ezra be run out of town than have him be with Aria.

As usual, the other Liars love lives are a bit less complicated. Spencer is forced to break up with Toby but she can’t really tell him why. She is very cryptic and then just runs away from him. Literally two seconds later Wren sees her crying and drives her home, continues to flirt with her, and even gives her a very chaste kiss. Toby doesn’t seem like he is going to give up so easy though.

Maya returns from druggie boot camp but is not living in Rosewood anymore, though she is nearby. She and Emily reconnect but Maya tells Emily she just wants to be friends for now. They have both gone through a lot since they last saw each other and both have changed. She wants to make sure they still want to be together first.

Caleb is mostly in California in these episodes but he returns for the wedding. He seems to have gotten a haircut, it is a little shorter and layered. Not sure how I feel about this. Kate hits on Caleb at the wedding and he tells her that her dress gives her back fat, which is very mean but it is a callback to Hanna’s rant earlier about the dress.

Miscellaneous

  • Hanna literally just has a contact in her phone called “swimmer”
  • If Aria is still hiding her relationship with Fitz from her parents why does she have his name and photo in her contacts? Shouldn’t she have come up with a code name?
  • Hanna’s bridesmaids dress is awful – it is like a poopy brown and a really unflattering silhouette.
  • Hanna’s grandma is in town for the wedding. She is A LOT. She is like an old Southern lady with no filter. She also hates her son but loves Ashley. She even stays with Ashley, her ex-daughter-in-law, while in town for her son’s wedding to someone else.
  • Hanna puts off her doll’s demand until she can’t anymore and literally interrupts her dad’s wedding to tell Isabel that Tom slept with Ashley while he was visiting them.
  • Replacing all of the letters with the letter ‘A’ in the alphabet cereal is one of my favorite A moves.
  • Notable Quotes:
    • Jackie: “College will be a great experience for you. It really helps you grow up.”
    • Mona: “Seriously, I’m like the horse whisperer”
    • Grandma Marin: “I just need to wipe the dew from my lily”
  • A-Tags
    • A goes to see Dr. Sullivan, and apparently turned down the thermostat. A gotta stay comfortable in that hoodie
    • A meets with Dr. Sullivan in a diner – says she did everything she was asked to do. The waitress calls A “pretty eyes” which is the first mention of A having pretty eyes.

Fashion

There was a lot of fashion in these episodes, especially for the wedding. But first Spencer wears a denim shirt with cutout sleeves. Aria a mouse shirt with a very high waisted skirt and black pearls? Hanna wears a shirt with the necklaces built in. Spencer wears another horse sweater. Aria wears an outfit in Episode 12 that might be her crowning achievement so far. There is a lot to unpack. And then all of the girls wedding outfits are odd (except Spencer’s). Hanna’s bridesmaids dress is extremely unfortunate, Aria wears a very Aria dress, and Emily is dressed for the wrong decade.

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