Pretty Little Liars 120 Recap: Someone to Watch Over Me As I Say I’m Gay

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This week on Pretty Little Liars, the following things do NOT happen:

1) When Hanna discovers Caleb had been working as Jenna’s poolboy, sweeping up the dirty lying algae from the deepest moldiest corners of Allison’s coffin via Hanna’s tonsils, and Caleb volunteers “she was asking me all of these questions-” AND THEN instead of taking the FIRST OPPORTUNITY EVER to waterboard a human with a direct pipeline to the deepest darkest not-blindest recesses of Jenna’s psyche, Hanna DOES NOT pry for clues but instead Hanna tells Caleb to LEAVE RIGHT THAT MINUTE even though he clearly hasn’t even brushed his hair.

2) When Hanna slaps Jenna’s face, knocking Jenna’s 3-for-1 Claire’s sunglasses onto the cool heartless bathroom floor, rather than sticking around to see if Jenna can SEE THEIR FACES which it seems like she can, the girls run out of the bathroom like Angela Chase skipping Geometry Review. THEY DO NOT LOOK FOR CLUES.

3) Brittany and Santana did not make out. WHATEVER.

But don’t worry, my little homosexual devilcakes, all is not lost. All is not lost because this week Emily Fields had a scene that lasted at least two minutes if not longer and continued to extrapolate on the thesis I first put forth in August which is “Pretty Little Liars Successfully Maintains a Lesbian Storyline for Entire Season and Maybe Longer”:

.… over the course of Pretty Little Liars‘ first season,which ended last night, Emily did say a lot of other very lesbionic things, providing a fairly compelling and relatively unrestrained lesbian storyline — almost unprecedented for a brand-new show as usually our lesbian storylines are reserved for Season 3 or 4 when the writers run out of drugs and miscarriages and need something to boost ratings (usually, obvs, during Sweeps Week).

In other words: the Show has not fucked this up yet. Thanks, Show!

This week on Pretty Little Liars, Aria was revealed to be a utensil-hoarding obsessive crushed-out wide-eyed bundle of compulsive romantic optimism when she was forced to hand over a designer bag chock-full of Ezra Memories after accidentally texting her Mom mushy stuff that was actually intended to travel back in time to seventh grade when that kind of language was appropriate I MEAN it was actually intended to go to Ezra and so now her parents are all up in her grill about who it is that she’s sexting, and, secondarily no longer interested in each other’s grills.

I care less about Aria and her parents than I did about Angus’s affair with the Russian Nanny, but I appreciated this quote, in a big fight between Aria’s Mom and Aria’s Dad (anyone ‘shipping these folks? Nope? Thought so):

Aria’s Mom: “You can’t even agree with me that we are fighting.”

Emily Unpacks the Contents of Aria's Heart/Bag

To me the most interesting aspect of Aria is:

1. When I went to Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp for Theater (which I hated, btw. The camp, not the theater), I lived in the “Aria” section of cabins

2. “Aria” is a Crossword Puzzle’s favorite word

Hanna‘s had a tough year: she’s being stalked by The Letter A, she got hit by a car, got dumped by her gay boyfriend for dancing with Lucas who has now completely vanished from earth just like Allison and also Hanna was only dancing in the first place to get the money for her Mom who was broke and stole money and put it in the lasagna instead of ricotta, and now it turns out that the boy she gave Her Number One Asset to (you know what that means ladies, her virginity) was spying on her for Jenna because he needed the money.

Spencer and Toby‘s romance intensifies as they are now both suspected murderers, and as Emily Fields could attest, you really only need one thing in common with someone to survive as a couple (for Emily, it’s “also likes girls”). But actually that’s not the only thing Spencer & Toby have in common — they’re both complicated and intelligent and probably own the Scrabble Dictionary. Also someone’s setting Spencer up to appear to be the murderer, Ian is getting creepier and telling her to leave town before she gets arrested, which makes me think Melissa killed Allison because of Allison’s relationship with Ian and then planted the sweater, also Spencer’s room got searched, and mayhem is likely to ensue.

Spencer: Maybe you should keep away from me.
Toby: People cross the street when they see me coming and they think you’re trying to frame your brother-in-law. Who else are we gonna hang out with?

Oddly, Spencer celebrates her newfound rep by sporting what could only be described as “jailbait chic” for two significant portions of this episode.

Also, this is like Where’s Waldo, but for girls:

I Am the Waldress

 

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Shay Mitchell made overtime this week on Pretty Little Liars, as she seemed to appear in every single scene. Unfortunately she did not spend every scene talking about her favorite Shane-Carmen makeout scene, nor was she stowed away in the boiler room telling Paige her fingernails look like little moons.

Here’s Emily in a denim mini-skirt with Spencer, Spencer’s Mariska Hargitay Lookalike Mother, and some crap cop from West Baltimore rummaging around in all of Spencer’s fancy clothes and secret notes:

In the (coffee shop?) Emily & The Liars (wouldn’t that be a good band name?) spy Paige smiling/laughing with Hanna’s ex-boyfriend, Sean, who I think is also gay, but for the purposes of this show is not supposed to be gay. But he’s about to eat applesauce out of a mini-cup, too. So.

Hanna tells Emily it’s okay for Paige to ride the pony with Sean ’cause Hanna’s totally TOTALLY over Sean. I don’t want to be the What Happened to Mark/Papi Police for this show, but what happened to Lucas? Anybody?

Sean: You’re teammates with Paige McCullers, right?
Emily: Right.
Sean: Is she seeing anybody? Because I like her, she’s fun but I don’t want anything complicated right now.
Emily: I don’t know Sean, Paige isn’t really my friend.

via sassyanddelightful.tumblr.com

Sean: Oh, oh I get it. I shouldn’t be asking you — you’re Hanna’s friend. I was way out of line.
Emily: No, Sean, it’s okay. Hanna saw you at the table with Paige. She said you’ve got every right to be happy.
Sean: She said that?
Emily: I think she meant it.
Sean: Wow.
Emily: As for Paige, we swim on the same team, but I don’t know her that well.
Sean: Gotcha, thanks.

Get it. “Same team”? I wish they hadn’t left out the scene where we actually see Emily falling for Paige, because I’m inclined to suggest that she’s interested in Paige by default. Though you know, she does like ballsy women. Someone on this show’s gotta have a type besides “will require a secret and lying.”

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Emily’s so badass and nonchalant, I never even see her eyebrows move. Oh – hey — there’s Paige. I feel like actors get better stylists when they get upgraded from guest star to regular. I’d expect Paige to get an alternative lifestyle haircut of some sort, but instead she seems to be wearing more makeup and less BangsAttack.

Emily: Hey, I saw you talking to Sean the other day —
Paige: Yeah, he’s nice.
Emily: Nice?
Paige: He makes me laugh. I know it might be weird — you being friends with Hanna and Hanna being his ex —
Emily: That’s not really the weird part, is it?

Emily: 1, Paige: ZERO

Emily: Sean asked me about you. He wanted to know if you were seeing anybody.
Paige: What did you tell him?
Emily: I told him as far as I knew, you weren’t. I think he wanted me to talk you up about him. I’m pretty sure he’s gonna ask you out.
Paige: He has.
Emily: And what did you say?
Paige: I said yes.
Emily: [Sadface]
Paige: It’s not really a date, we’re going with a bunch of other people. No big.

You know, like they used to do at that place in Manhattan, that Plato’s Retreat or whatever, with the mattresses and everyone just fucks everyone and everyone gets crabs. THAT KIND.

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Anyhow enough of this romancing! Emily and Aria are walking through the set of Kids Incorporated when they overhear Caleb talking on his cell-phone saying suspicious things like that Hanna “isn’t who you think she is” and that he likes Hanna and therefore cannot continue to secretly spy on her. It’s like a conflict of interest or whatever.

The duo re-routes to their 7th osmosis meal of the day (they don’t eat, they just sit around with trays a lot). Did you notice that Spencer looks progressively to’up in the classiest way possible during this episode? Like they want her to look tired or something. Like “Spencer will be the best-dressed lady at the retirement home.”

Anyhow, Hanna won’t believe it — that is, until Jenna, doing her daily Creepster Laps, rounds a corner in the cafeteria, ominously passing the girls with a crutchcane, and they look up to see Jenna’s got the ugly owl pendant bouncing between her not-blind breasts. THE VERY SAME OWL PENDANT HANNA THOUGHT WAS A GIFT TO HER FROM CALEB.  You too can turn a jump drive into a pendant for less than $15!

Hannah tries to get ahold of Caleb while the Three Not-Blind Mice look on.

Spencer: “Either it’s exactly what it looks like, which is bad enough, or it’s something worse.”

Emily says if Caleb does anything to hurt Hanna then he’s a “dead man.” Not literally. Emily doesn’t believe in capital punishment, she’s much more into rehabilitation & second chances.

This whole situation eventually leads to Hannah cornering Jenna in the girl’s bathroom — as Aria and Emily look on — and slapping her in the fucking face. It’s triumphant.

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Also in “Hallway Events”? This:

Aria: “I should just pick a boy, someone nice, and tell my Mom that’s who I’ve been texting. That would be the simple solution.”
Emily (glaring at Paige’s closeted ass): “There’s nothing simple about lying.”

It’s not just that being with Paige would make Emily feel ashamed of being gay again — Emily’s probably similarly sick of having ANY secrets at all. She’s the least dramatic of the four and probably would prefer calm over storm. Interesting that Emily was the first of the four to unload the secret she had in the beginning. Perhaps that’s because Emily’s been keeping her secret all her life.

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Later that fine evening, Emily is lounging in her bed, debating if she should get tickets for Girlbar or Club Skirts, when she gets a text from Paige. Obviously this is the “I just had a bad boy date, can you confirm for me that I def like girls before I go public with this ish?” visit.

Emily: You had your date with Sean.
Paige: Yeah. That’s where I was tonight.
Emily: How’d it go?
Paige: Great! Good. He’s an nice guy, yeah it went okay.
Emily: Good.
Paige: Yeah. Until he kissed me. He took me home and kissed me goodnight and I don’t know, the date — the whole night — just felt — phony all of a sudden, like it wasn’t me, it was somebody I was watching but not me. He went home and I texted you.
Emily: Sean’s a nice guy, and if he’s interested in you as more than a friend, you have to be honest with him.
Paige: You’re saying I should dump him?

Paige Paige Paige. Just ’cause you’re a lesbian doesn’t mean Sean’s a lesbian. You cannot dump someone unless you’re already going steady and one date does not a partner make. Men don’t move like that. Life is not a people-mover. Life doesn’t just lift you into a ski lift and drop you into a pit of lesbians. I could just keep talking nonsense and how long would it take you to realize it’s never going to relate to the topic at hand.

Emily: I’m saying you shouldn’t lead him on, you have to be honest.

Yup! See Paige, this sitch doesn’t work out for Sean, either. Likely it’ll make him feel strange and insecure about his GF never wanting to play hide-the-salami and then he’ll take that insecurity out on his next girlfriend, and that’s mean. It’s International Women’s Day, for Chrissake.

Paige: “That is so easy for you to say, you’re fearless.”
Emily: “I am so not fearless.”

Considering Emily’s Mom has vanished into the ethers of homophobic isolation and Emily’s now taking guests at all hours of the night, it may seem easy! But back when Nia Peeples was still on contract, it was HARD she could not even play FOOTSIE without getting girlfriend shipped off to rehab, never to be heard from again.

wherefore art thou maya

 

No but really, Emily admires Paige for being ballsy and Paige admires Emily for being fearless. This is a perfect lesbian relationship — your girlfriend loves you for being something you don’t think you are (pretty, brave, smart) and you love her for something she doesn’t think she is (pretty, brave, smart) and together you form at least one confident human being. Such is the state of womanhood. Where was I?

Paige: “You came out!”
Emily: “I didn’t come out of the closet, I fell out on my face. But I’m out, and whatever else happens, I don’t have to worry about it anymore.”

Paige: “If I say it out loud, if I say — “I’m gay” — the whole world is gonna change.”
Emily: “Yeah, it will.”

The ladies relocate this touching moment to the window area.

Emily: “You wanna hear something funny?”
Paige: “I would love to hear something funny.”
Emily: “When I was trying to talk myself into being interested in boys, I would look for guys like you.”
Paige: “Like me how?”
Emily: “The kind that would pull me up on stage, and get me to sing, because I would never do that on my own.”

 

I bet you’d like to see that in video, wouldn’t you?

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Next week more scary stuff is going to happen. But let’s not think about that, let’s think about this:

Not that I knew anything about Maya besides that she was a total DRUG ADDICT in need of Intervention, but Emily and Paige together seems … cute. Maybe because they’re both swimmers. There’s probably some porn on that topic. Deep Sea Muff Divers, or something.

Riese is the 38-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2843 articles for us.

37 Comments

  1. I just realised that Jenna used to be in Home and Away, that’s a blast from the past! Also although you didn’t mention it I, like Paige, also wanted a window seat when I was younger. I think it was because Clarissa Explains It All had one. Or some other Nick star.

    I really like Emily/Paige. I think Emily/Maya seemed too different

  2. I don’t know where Lucas went just as long as he stays gone. Felt empathy for Jenna because well she is blind and last night showed she has been operating under a facade all along. Her crying was so pathetic and all alone. Awesome scene because one is hoping for it only to feel not so satisfied when it happens. Part of the fun is watching what Spencer dresses in next.

    Amazing that ABC Family, staying away from tv stereotypes, has created the best and most beloved teen lesbian on American tv in years while the “daring” Skins US. embracing every stereotype, has created the worst and most hated teen lesbian on American tv in years. Who would have thought that ABC Family’s Emily would show no interest in boys while MTV’s Tea would show little interest in girls. Thanks Marlene King!

    • Agreed agreed. my gf and i watch skins on the edge of our cringe-worthy seats just waiting for tea to fuck one of the other (total, asshole, loser boys) that she hangs out with while simultaneously trash talking the entire female species. the only boy i like is chris, and that’s because he’s a goofball and is sleeping with a teacher. they really can’t get enough of that trope can they?

      i second the props to Marlene…she’s amazing! i’m sensing some competition for ms chaiken…

  3. Aw. The plot might be hilariously bad, but the swimesbians are quite cute.

    There is a town in Ireland called Muff. And it has a diving club. Called the Muff Diving Club.

    TRUE STORY.

  4. Emily’s face as she got Paige’s text made me lol for reals…I don’t even know.

    But damn that kiss was cute.

    #secretlytotallyrelateto”thewholeworldisgonnachangeifisayit”thing

  5. Okay so since y’all are not covering Skins anymore, I would like to point out that there’s some serious renigging on the lesbianism of Tea. She has gone from cool lesbo girl to confused homoflexible Chlamydia* machine.
    This is a travesty.

    *This word even looks confused

    • Tea’s character has it’s flaws, but can we please not be so quick to kick her out of the club for sleeping with a guy. The girl is what, 16? She’s allowed to experiment with her sexuality. In some respects, I think it’s positive step for the show to address how confusing the nature of attraction can be. Some people come out and never look back. But it’s also possible to come out and accept yourself as a lesbian, sleep with a man, and still identify as a lesbian.

      • See, here’s the deal. I agree with you.
        I just feel like they named her Thee Lesbian but barely went into her character development on that tip. She sexes Betty up once but states she doesn’t want a relationship and avoids her and by the next episode Tony has some invisible forcefield that’s pulling her in (she says something like this in this week’s ep), so she fucks him. Wut
        Maybe if they hadn’t made her Thee Lesbian than I wouldn’t be so bewildered… but she went from self-assured (if bored) lady dater to best friend’s boyfriend-fucker with the clap.
        Not a good look.

  6. also…when sean reappeared on my teevee i said to my girlfriend “he looks…older? like he’s had a facelift/botox? more foundation? shinier? …..gayer??” thanks for corroborating. i very much second this theory

  7. Awesome turnover time Riese. Thanks for that!

    Oh this episode was fantastic – and I’m not just saying that because of the lesbian stuff. But I should have commented before I watched Glee because that’s all that in my head right now. OMGlee!

    Right, but Emily is seriously the best ever. Actually I was thinking during Glee that I wish she could show up and have a talk with Santana. She’s so awesome she fixes everyone around her. (I also wish A would show up and do something about that damned Artie but I digress.)

    I have to say though, that slap was kind of awesome but also kind of icky. I mean, they did blind her. Well, they didn’t, but they were there. If they’re snooping around her, which she can clearly see they are, it’s fair for her to worry a little about what the hell they’re up to.

  8. The USA Skins is so annoying, it has caused me to go back and watch Season 3 of the UK version. Also, they have turned Tea into more of the male ideal of a lesbian. She hooks up with chicks and guys.
    Thank goodness for Emily sticking to her guns and letting Paige know that she needs to be truthful to herself and to Sean.

    • I’m scared of what Commander Trip McCullers will do if he finds out Paige is gay. Unless what he does is kick her out, forcing Nia Peeples to reluctantly allow Emily’s love interest to move in.

      (Unless he already knows or suspects, and his extreme and public homophobic rantings were a conscious/subconscious reaction and attempt to bully his daughter into remaining closeted.)

      I love PLL.

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