Community Service, Fake Villains, and A’s Cellphone

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS SEASON 2, EPISODES 14-16
Troian Bellisario, Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson, Pretty Little Liars

THE LIARS Try to Outdo ‘A’

Without page 5 of Alison’s autopsy report the police couldn’t charge the girls with more than tampering with evidence and the Hastings get them community service. Episode 14 (“Through Many Dangers, Toils, and Snares”) picks up one month after the events of Episode 12. The Liars are almost done with community service but there is dissent within the Liars, primarily Emily. It turns out that they are staging a fight to make it look like to A that the weakest link has finally broken. Emily says they found something in the box that Jason gave Aria that is of interest to A. She wants to turn it over to A to make a deal but Spencer and the others don’t. This is all a fake fight to lure A to them and potentially discover A’s identity. It works enough to get A to meet Emily but they fall short of finding out who A is. They do however get A’s cellphone when Hanna accidentally hits A with her car. Which is some great irony.

Spencer wants to enlist Caleb to hack into the phone which Hanna is reluctant to agree to but ultimately the other girls force her. So Caleb finally shows his true value on the show. He doesn’t ask as many questions as he should. The first file Caleb is able to recover is a picture of their four creepy look-a-like dolls which they are disappointed by. Spencer later realizes that the wallpaper behind the dolls is from the attic of her lake house, meaning A was there. I don’t know why this is shocking at this point. ‘A’ can literally get in anywhere they want.

The Jenna Thing

Alexander Nifong and Troian Bellisario

Also in the attic, Spencer finds some burner phones and a receipt. She and Aria go to Philly to check out the address on the receipt and find that it is just a magazine stand. After Aria leaves, Spencer realizes that the magazine stand is next to a school for the blind. She tries to determine if Jenna went there but the receptionist obviously can’t give that information. Another student though overhears here and tells her that he knew Jenna. This conversation is fascinating because this guy had only glowing things to say about Jenna. How she helped him come to terms with being blind. He really admired her and felt like she saved him. Though Jenna is probably not innocent, we are once again reminded that all of Jenna’s creepiness is aimed at, and perceived by, the Liars. Just as we saw in “The First Secret”, Alison poisoned the Liars against Jenna from the beginning, and she has been paying for that for a long time.

On her way out Spencer steals the visitor sign-in book from around the time Alison disappeared. She finds that if Alison did visit Jenna the day she disappeared, as Jenna claims, she didn’t sign the book. Garrett however did visit Jenna that day and checked her out that night. He never checked her back in which means they both could have been in Rosewood the night Alison disappeared.

Speaking of Jenna and Garret they are suddenly on the outs. Jenna is pushing Garrett away. Does she no longer have a use for him now that they got rid of page 5? Or is it something else?

Lucas is a Terrible Fake Villain

Brendan Robinson

This show loves its red herrings. How else are they going to keep these mysteries going for multiple seasons? But usually these side tracks the plot takes have some connection to the greater mystery. Unfortunately this was not the case with the Lucas side plot in these episodes. He is acting super shady as soon as Caleb comes back in town. Hanna had been using him to fill her afternoons while Caleb was away and at first it seems that Lucas is acting weird because he liked Caleb being gone. As in he might have a shot if Caleb just never came back from California.

Hanna enlists Lucas to help throw Caleb a surprise birthday party (“I bet Caleb’s never even had a birthday party”). Lucas is acting really weird and calls a crisis hotline multiple times, which Emily just happens to be volunteering at. He basically makes it sound like he is helping A and that he is freaking out that he lost A’s cellphone. He tries to talk to Hanna about his shadiness when they take a row boat to set up fireworks on the other side of the lake. But he freaks out and Hanna, though hard to initially convince that Lucas could be helping A, starts to get suspicious and knocks him overboard. Hanna swims back to shore but Lucas does not come back.

Then we get a whole episode of Hanna having conflicting feelings about finding Lucas. She gets into a fight with Caleb, who is more concerned with his whereabouts than Hanna. Hanna is afraid to see him again. Eventually though he comes back and finally comes clean that he gambled away Caleb’s money from his cellphone business when he got into betting on basketball games. That was his big secret and why he has been acting so weird. He hoped he would have the money before Caleb came back and he didn’t.

Like I said this whole storyline was pretty pointless. I’m not sure what the point of it was other than to remind us that Lucas is not exactly trustworthy. Hanna finally tells the other Liars that it was Lucas that destroyed Ali’s memorial. Initially it felt like Lucas existed to show Hanna how terrible Ali was and that she wanted to be different from her. Their friendship showed us that Hanna is a good person. But he also has a dark side and when pushed too far he can retaliate, as we saw in “The First Secret”.

ROMANCE

Ian Harding and Lucy Hale

Aria and Ezra lose their minds when they decide it is time to tell her parents about them. They seem to believe that it is the only way to save their relationship from the Jackie threat. They also go about it in the absolute worst way the could. Ezra comes over and like sits the whole Montgomery family down to declare his love for Aria. First, why is Ezra telling them alone? Why is Aria in the audience? There is no good way to tell your parents this but maybe Aria should have done it alone. Coming directly from Ezra was probably not smart. Second, and most important, WHY did they tell them the true story? Ezra has been working at Hollis for a while and Aria has been taking classes there. Just say that you started dating after he started at Hollis. Maybe they are afraid it will come out anyway so they want to be as honest as possible?

Obviously Byron and Ella are outraged and Mike ends up punching Ezra just to keep Byron from doing it. Mike for what its worth is not as weirded out by this relationship. This gives Byron and Ella something else to fight about. Byron is mostly concerned with turning Ezra in and placing the blame on him as the adult. Ella is more concerned with what this says about Aria. She also reminds Byron that he too had an affair with a student (though not a minor) and that might be why Aria thought it was okay. Aria takes Ella’s relative calmness as a sign that she might be persuadable. But girl is probably getting ahead of herself. She thinks it will just blow over in time…

Byron goes to see Ezra and has one of the grossest conversations. Basically he tells Ezra that he sympathizes with the difficulties of navigating student-teacher relationships. As someone who has taught students that were only a couple years younger than me, I can say it is NOT hard to navigate. You just like don’t date your students. It’s easy. This does not mean that Byron thinks any of this is okay, because it is his daughter. Which seems to be the part he takes issue with.

Aria though will not give up on them. Even when Ezra tries to break off contact with her. Conveniently some old family friends return from a sabbatical in Portugal with their son Holden who Aria was friends with as a younger child. Byron immediately starts pushing them together and even allows Aria to hang out with him despite being grounded. Byron seems to have a very high opinion of Holden. He asks Aria out and she uses him to go to a play that she knows Ezra is also going to. However her dreams of a big romantic reunion are squashed when he bails after seeing her there. Holden figures out what she was doing but doesn’t seem to mind being used. Turns out he too could use a decoy so they will be using each other to lie to their parents.

Spencer is having trouble convincing Toby that they are really broken up. He makes her a rocking chair. Spencer sends him a lot of mixed signals, saying they can’t be together because she can’t be honest with him and then making out with him.

Emily and Maya are back together but there might be some competition. Maya hooked up with someone at True North, like immediately after getting there, and its over but he won’t accept it and keeps calling her. Emily mostly only hears the part where she says “he”, not previously realizing that Maya is bisexual.

Caleb returns from California and things are mostly fine but he is getting frustrated with how much Hanna is keeping from him. He doesn’t ask a lot of questions about the phone they have him hacking into. He asks to be inducted into the Liar’s club but his time has not yet come. Also he can never truly be a member. But they will exploit his hacking skills.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • A offers up a deal to Emily and she agrees to it by circling the word “yes” on the chalkboard at school. Have their classmates just given up on questioning their weird behavior?
  • Tom and Isabel got married in a courthouse after Hanna ruined their wedding. He then announces that he, Isabel, and Kate are moving to Rosewood. Tom claims that him being near will help him to be a better parent to Hanna, but even Ashley seems to think that he might just be trying to punish her.
  • Emily lets it slip to Spencer that Hanna and Caleb had sex at her family’s lake house. Both Troian Bellisario and Shay Mitchell show off their comedic chops in this bit.
  • “That was my nana’s couch”
  • Mona and Noel invite themselves to Caleb’s surprise party. “Surprise! He and I are friends now.” Are they though?
  • Coming back from Philly, Spencer runs into Mona at the train station, she was doing some retail therapy. She unloads on Spencer about her Noel heartbreak. Spencer is actually nice to Mona which she appreciates since Hanna is ignoring her.
  • A replaces all of their takeout with dirt and worms. Amazing.
  • The principal is very concerned with the Liar’s reputation now that they have been arrested. They are keeping Emily from rejoining the swim team despite her clean bill of health and orders Hanna’s Homecoming queen photo taken down.
  • In the A-tag for Episode 16 (“Let the Water Hold Me Down”) A is seen loosening the bolts of some scaffolding at Spencer’s barn.

FASHION

Aria wears a gigantic necklace that looks like a gold kiss? Then her post “I’m dating my teacher” outfit is absurd. Like she has to know that is super inappropriate for school. Or a 16 year old. It also includes a huge spider necklace. And then she wears a beanie with a furry vest.

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