Pretty Little Liars Episode 613 Recap: Creative Writing On a Cruise Ship

Previously on Pretty Little Liars, the Liars returned from their lucrative*, fresh-from-college careers to their hometown, the murder capital of the United States of America, the place where they grew up getting perpetually murdered while also standing trial for doing murders, during which visit one of their murderers was herself murdered, and also during which visit they became suspects once again for the murder of their murderer.

(*Except for Emily, who is too broke to park her car, due to not having a career, due to dropping out of college in a cloud of debilitating depression, due to her father — the only honorable adult male in Rosewood, PA — dying.)

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The One With the Cucumber Threesome

Radley Sanitarium may no longer be the world’s worst mental health treatment facility, but one thing remains the same: Those sapphic vibes! Rather than doing the lesbian ghost waltz and whispering about how “practicing” kissing girls is better than kissing boys, like the days of yore, the Liars have opted for a couples massage. Sara Harvey is there, too, and she’s blind because of some mystery they were involved in, but is she really blind? Wait, no. It’s her hands. Her hands are covered up because of some mystery they were involved in, but is she really fingertip-less? Emily wants to know what the heck Sara was doing in the cemetery the other night, and Sara says it’s none of her beeswax, she was communing with a dead friend, deal with it, do you want her to take her gloves off, Emily, huh, is that what you want? IS IT?

That is not what Emily wants.

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Misandry gets on my nerves.

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Rejecting the use of hyperbolic anger as a coping mechanism for dealing with a privileged, oppressive majority group gets on my nerves.

And nobody is getting what they want today! For example, do you think Ashley Marin wants to spend her days trying to explain away this or that crime committed by her daughter? No, she does not. But that’s what she’s doing. Instead of shoplifting, instead of renting a storage locker filled with killin’ tools and decomposing bodies, this time it’s deleting hotel security camera footage. Ashley tells Lorenzo she doesn’t know why the homicides started up again and why the evidence of the homicides started disappearing again when Hanna swooped back into town, but let her observe, let us all observe, that Spencer Hastings arrived at the exact same time, okay? And Ashley doesn’t want to point fingers, but there’s never been a dead body in her yard. Hanna may have buried a gun in a frat house garden one time, but she never got addicted to Study Drug. She never got admitted to an institution known for housing criminally insane people.

Ashley: Hello, Detective Lorenzo just realized the hotel lobby security footage from the night of Charlotte’s murder is missing.
Hanna: Well, don’t look at me. I haven’t tampered with evidence in a murder investigation since the third year of senior year.

Hanna, you’ll remember, spent the majority of her high school days with a hacker who was so good with computer stuff that he one time wiped a hard drive clean with his mind while he was in police custody. So who does she turn to for help with this security footage debacle? Lucas Gottesman, obviously. This 23-year-old “game app” maker rolls back to Rosewood in a “silver Jag,” just enjoying a little downtime between decorating his town houses in Los Angeles, New York, and Tokyo. Just hanging out and remembering the time Hanna pushed him out of a canoe in the middle of a river in the middle of the night. That time Hanna danced with him at homecoming for a hundred dollars a jig. That time Mona blackmailed him into doing A stuff and Toby, who was fake-dead at the time and also working for Mona, almost ran him under with an SUV. Good times, good times. He’s back here remembering those times.

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Hey, it’s me, Mr. Cool Chill Guy who hasn’t been stalking you on Facebook for five years.

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Just kidding, it’s Lucas.

He agrees to be Hanna’s alibi for the night the security footage was deleted and gets off on weaving this elaborate yarn about how he brought in greasy food and then served her the most ice cold iciest ice champagne from the ice machine that didn’t exist on the third floor and then they had sexual intercourse. Hanna stops him at that point in his deposition to say they just talked, no intercourse, but Lorenzo doesn’t believe any of it.

Melissa has returned home from jolly old England because she’s helping her mom get elected to the state senate. She tries to coach Spencer about how to give an interview to FuzzFeed Wesbsite Page, but keeps getting distracted by the way Spencer and Caleb are flirting with each other. Melissa assumes that when Spencer tells Caleb she wants him to burn her toast what she really means is that she wants Caleb to put his P in her V. She also assumes that this potential consensual sex act between two single adults is the same thing as when her grown-up boyfriends seduced her underage sister and filmed her and her friends at their slumber parties. “Shopping in other people’s carts” is what she calls it, as opposed to the thing I’ve always heard it called, which is “being the victim of a felony.”

Maybe that’s what I’ll call victim-blaming from now on. “Shopping in other people’s carts.”

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Caleb is all yours. Emily and I have been together since 2011.

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Spencer asks Hanna if she can get with Caleb, and, like, this will be the first time for them, in terms of getting with it, because she definitely would not have gotten with it with him in Europe without consulting Hanna first because ovaries before brovaries. Hanna grimaces and turns it into a smile and says Spencer should go for it.

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. I work in crime statistics and one time calculated the murder rate for Rosewood based on that population sign that appeared in the Prom episode in S1.

    I don’t have it on me right now but Rosewood is not only the murder capital of the US, but the murder capital of the world. Like legit has a higher crime rate than any country where statistics are recorded/published.

    Well done Rosewood.

  2. I’m so glad these exist so I can get back into my Natural State of reading recaps of shows I don’t watch anymore

    (RIP TWoP Gossip Girl Recaps)

    I feel I am my Truest Self when reading snark about shows I haven’t seen

  3. I feel like after 2 endless years of high school being tortured by 2 different A’s, being arrested, being kidnapped, being run under, being gassed, destroying evidence only to have it come back on them or a loved one, blaming everyone in town except the ones who were actually guilty, having 5 years to reflect on the mistakes made due to constantly lying to everyone and each other, and barely making it out of high school alive would have taught them to not go down the same road.

    Even Hanna says she feels like she’s in 11th grade all over again.

    The Jenna Thing is now the Sara Thing.
    Aria is in a relationship that she has to hide, again.
    Hanna is deleting video because there wasn’t a blender or garbage disposal or lake around to destroy the footage.
    Season 1 was who killed Alison.
    Now it’s who killed Alison’s sister.
    Lorenzo may be a hybrid of Wilden and Holbrook.

    I feel like I’m watching season 1, all over again.

    I get that the shows called Pretty Little LIARS but these poor ladies haven’t learned a thing. The writing seems to be…lazy. It’s shaping up to be an entire half season or more of what Marlene calls ‘callbacks’.

    And I don’t feel sorry for Ezra for most things, the things he did to himself (preying on Aria and others).
    I DO feel sorry for that poor girl who was kidnapped by armed men who probably didn’t take her for afternoon tea.

    • Oh yeah I feel bad for Nicole too. But Ezra’s making it all about himself, like he does with everything. And prioritizing it like its SO MUCH WORSE than anything the liars went through.

  4. I have to give it up to Lucas saying he was trying to sleep with Hanna was a really good reason. Why else would he bring her food at 3am? Unfortunately call logs exist.
    Also $10 lucas is running a ponzi scheme.

    • I thought about that too! He wasn’t even saying they slept together, or were going to, but that he had hoped for it. Which, duh. That is pretty believable.

    • I’m just disgusted by his fake alibi. Completely sober, having sex with a drunk woman who is engaged.

      • Making himself look sleazy in the alibi he gave her was exactly what would have made it more believable.

  5. Ehhhh. While I’m really glad that Emily isn’t dying from Generic Lesbian TV Cancer, I’m now filled with dread at the prospect of her having a drunken one night stand with Toby and becoming pregnant (made easier because she’s just so fertile right now!) I really, really hope I’m wrong, but I know there have been whispers of her and Toby potentially hooking up this season, and I’ve also heard that at some point in the books Emily gets pregnant as well, so this might be a way for the writers to add in that plot line.

    I’m sure if they did do it, it’d be a one-time drunken thing, because they were both super sad because Emily’s life is terrible, and Toby is building a house for someone who doesn’t love him anymore (I’m not sure if that person is Spencer or Caleb), and the show would still insist that Emily is still 100% super gay…. but honestly it would be the worst fucking thing. They’ve already committed one terrible LGBTQ TV trope with the A reveal, and a “lesbian sleeps with man/pregnant lesbian” storyline would just be another body blow for me as a fan.

    I’m really hoping I’m wrong about this, because the show has been so good, for so long on so many things. (Those things do not include Ezra.) It’s basically the only reason I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt with Charlotte’s storyline. But I’ve got to say, I’m a little nervous about where things are headed this season, and I really don’t like that feeling.

    • In the books, Emily is bi, and in the show she did makeout with a guy (Lyndon). She was in love with Paige at the time, though, so she wasn’t interested in putting much thought into the makeout sesh. In the books, Emily got pregnant from her boyfriend and put the baby up for adoption so that a lucky childless family would have her baby. She was having trouble choosing between her boyfriend and Maya, so she didn’t want her baby to grow up in a probably-soon-to-be-divorced household. Personally, I think the fertility treatments are the show’s substitute for the pregnancy story. Like how in the books Zack hits on Aria but in the show they changed it a little so that he hit on Hanna instead. However, in an interview earlier this month, Shay Mitchell and Ashley Benson said they think it’s really cute that Emily got pregnant in the books. Random fun note – in the books, Radley Asylum really was turned into Radley Hotel. I would make a Bates Motel joke, but Rosewood already has one of those.

    • That would definitely be the (fourth or something*) worst thing ever.

      *Right now fourth sounds about right actually.
      1. The Charlotte thing.
      2. Ezra. Fitz.
      3. Having all of Emily’s love interests be boring and fucked up or die or disappear, etc etc etc.
      4. Emily becoming pregnant with Toby’s baby.

  6. I just want to know why Emily is currently the only Liar in the history of Liars to not have at least one love interest. I get she has her drama going on, but I feel like the writers are doing nothing but sh*tting on her, storywise. I’m so disappointed with the way they’re handling her character.

    • I think it’s because the writers want it to be an epic love story where Emily and Ali end up together, with music swelling and the wind blowing through their shiny hair as they kiss. But I hope they don’t. Ali was emotionally abusive towards her. Then again, Paige and Lyndon tried to kill her.

    • Yeah, ever since the whole back and forth between Paige and Alison storyline Emily has had nothing in the way of a serious romantic storyline. Talia was….there, for like 4 episodes, and then Sara Harvey was a lame, well-showered plot device.

      My guess is there is some ambivalence in the writer’s room about whether they still want to push an Emison endgame, or whether they should bring Paige back, or find someone totally new. It kind of seems like they’re using Twitter fans to guide this decision, and in the mean time decided to just kill her dad, and possibly get her pregnant. You know, to pass the time until they figure it out…

  7. Here is a real question that keeps bothering me when I watch the show: How are we 1,000% sure that Sara “Shower” Harvey isn’t Bethany Young? Am I missing a key detail that proves that Bethany is in fact dead and Sara is in fact that kidnapped girl from the town over? If someone could lay it out for me, I’d be eternally grateful.

    Maybe I just don’t want to believe the bad writing, but I can’t shake the feeling that there has to be more to the Sara character. Because otherwise, why the hell does she exist? Being the Jenna Thing 2.0 seems like terrible motivation on its own. There has to be something else there? Right? Or am I giving the writers too much credit?

    The description of Ezra as a toddler throwing a tantrum is spot-on perfect.

    • Bethany is most likely dead. There are human remains in her grave and Melissa and Mona jointly killed someone they believe to be Bethany. They never met Bethany, but Bethany had long, blonde hair (like the girl they killed) and stole CeCe’s clothes. CeCe hated Bethany, so CeCe would never knowingly work with Bethany.

    • Claire showed up last season and confirmed Sara Harvey’s identity. Presumably the hospital contacted Sara Harvey’s mother who also confirmed it.

      • Well yeah but in high school Bethany could’ve used the name Sara Harvey, sneaking out of the asylum pretending to be a student, like CeCe did. I highly doubt it though.

  8. – Excuse you, the murder capital of the US is Cabot Cove, Maine.
    – Spencer finds out that Mona is on the other side. Lannisters vs Starks.
    – Hanna gets her boss a cat munchkin, and herself a hobbit munchkin.
    – Tell me that I’m not the only person that was hoping that Emily would go all Wendy Hogarth on Ezra.
    – Jesus, Aria, let it (him) go.
    – Okay, I am NOT okay with Spencer and Caleb.

  9. When Pam asked Emily if she bought her graduation get-up at a COSTUMESHOP, I couldn’t help but think back to our old friend and dead lesbian of Rosewood, PA, Shana Costumeshop. Was she the only lesbian/employee of said costumeshop? Has another lesbian taken her place? Do they still sell (horrific) baby ghoul costumes?

    Questions. Questions that don’t (really) require answers.

    • Maybe! When Shana worked at The Rosewood Halloween Spooktacular, the store’s voice mail message was recorded by a different woman.

    • Kind of for obvious reasons, but Nicole was always age appropriate and not petite (she is/was strong enough to build houses as a Habitat For Humanity supervisor), so the statement isn’t vague or open to interpretation – Nicole is exactly the same height as Aria.

        • Well, yeah, although the conversation was about Nicole specifically. Ali thought Ezra got her pregnant so I’m sure Aria has thought about that a lot.

          • According to Ali, she and Fitz never slept together. So it was someone else that gave her the pregnancy scare, or maybe Cece just made up that story and Ali never had a pregnancy scare.

          • I thought Ali lied about not having sex with Ezra to spare Aria’s feelings (Aria had just broken up with Ezra and was depressed), because Beach Hottie/Board Shorts (who Ali admits is Ezra) is the person she thought got her pregnant. But you’re probably right that CeCe made the story up.

          • When Marlene was asked if Board Shorts and Beach Hottie were different people she just answered with a cryptical “maybe.” I do think they are different people and why Ali didn’t tell who, or why the liars haven’t asked her, may have different reasons, there is like you both speculated in earlier the possibility that Cece just made it up, there is the possibility that the writers just overlooked it and doesn’t consider it important, or perhaps they are intentionally waiting to reveal it because beach hottie may be the threat Ali is facing in that flash forward we got in the summer finale.

  10. I was surprisingly OK with Spencer and Caleb hooking up. If she can’t be with Aria or Emily, she might as well be with the only decent living male human in Rosewood. I am glad they had her talk to Hanna about it first though.

    Everything with Ezra, just, UGH. Why is this the fucking Ezra Fitz Manpain Show all of a sudden? I do not care about Ezra’s drinking problems, sorry. But did anyone else notice that he never actually denied murdering Charlotte? As I said last week, I will be pissed as hell if it turns out he killed her – he has NO right to be mad at Charlotte after what he did to the Liars.

    Can someone make sense of that A tag (or should I say, devil tag?) for me? Charlotte took over being A from Mona when Mona was sent to Radley, so now has someone taken over being A from Charlotte? That was very confusing.

    • I love Manpain Ezra. I want the world to see his awfulness. As for A, I think Demon Emoji is A’s boss-Mona’s boss and/or CeCe’s boss-because he/she has all of A’s Lair decor. It could also be a copycat stalker that heard about the A story in the news and stole A’s stuff from the cops.

      • Oooh the copycat stalker thing is a good idea. I wonder if “demon emoji A” is the same person who killed Charlotte? I really hope not. My money is still on Mr. Dilaurentis being the murderer, and I can’t really picture him hanging out with dolls and masks in the lair.

        • I don’t think Kenneth is Demon Emoji A, but I think he did something bad. Maybe killing his wife. Demon Emoji A is probably either a woman or a man who is/was dating a woman who collected dolls. My guess is that it was a guy who was dating CeCe and told her to do things for him to win his affections.

    • “If she can’t be with Aria or Emily, she might as well be with the only decent living male human in Rosewood. ” <— This was my EXACT thought as the hook up was happening, in fact. If Spencer has to be with a guy, it might as well be Caleb. He's the only decent one.

  11. I just want to say that this recap was once again a writing masterpiece. SHINE ON, HEATHER.

    Also Hanna deleting the security footage was the end of me caring about anybody on this show except Emily if she sleeps with a guy so I can be mad about it. Also I care about you, Heather. That is all.

  12. Oh my god, that picture of Ezra is hilarious! He looks like an angry cartoon character. Like, the top of his head is probably about to pop off and steam will shoot out of his skull.

    Also, I miss Cheetos Raccoon.

  13. Aria ghostwriting Ezra’s novel without pay is one of the most soul-crushing moments in PLL, for me. She doesn’t want to lose her job so she has to do a lazy man’s work for him, without getting any credit for it. That’s heartbreakingly real.

    • And also we KNOW the climax of this storyline is going to be Aria getting in trouble for it. And everyone being mad at her and no one caring that Ezra is a lazy SOB (when it comes to doing, you know, his actual job- not when it comes to stalking underage girls.)

  14. This recap makes it all worth it, every moment of creepiness and manpain. This recap is six kinds of genius. ???

  15. I’m not caught up,yet, so all I have are your recaps atm.
    These bring forth an honest question:
    They really, literally burned off the evil Lesbian’s Fingertips? Like, really? Wow.
    I mean, just imagine Sara Harvey burns her tongue on a cup of too hot coffee,next.
    The particular tragedy of such a common occurence!

  16. Did anyone else find it disturbing when Spencer told Ezra to just admit to killing Charlotte because “you can say it was self-defense”? Spencer adds that this is because Charlotte was known to throw the first punch. However, to even bring up self-defense as a reasonable excuse for murdering a trans person, particularly a straight man murdering a trans woman, is harmful and irresponsible of the show.

    • To be honest, I didn’t see it as disturbing… I mean, in my world, self defense is always okay. No matter what gender, sexuality, religion and so on your attacker have. If it’s a matter of life and death, a straight male have every right to defend himself against a transgendered woman.

    • But however, if you interpreted it as Spencer believed that Fitz killed her premeditatedly and just suggested that he should just make up a story about it being self defense, then yes, that would be disturbing.

  17. I think my favorite moment was when Aria said “That was high school!” and Emily instantly responded with “It wasn’t for him!” like THANK YOU EMILY. I’ve long been extremely frustrated by the fact that none of the girls had a problem with Ezra especially after the whole stalker reveal, but this makes it a *teeny* tiny bit better.

    A+ recap.

  18. I am a male. I am glad you increased the amount recapping in this recap. The last several recaps have so much political ranting, that there wasn’t much room for recapping. while I agree with most of your ranting, these recaps are one of best way of following the show. I do not have cable. I do not like paying $40 for a season episode DVD

  19. I support Spencer and Caleb 100% Caleb is the only decent male on the show. I missed seeing Ali in the episode and it doesn’t look like she will be in the next on either ? I want to know where Mr. Dilaurentis and Jason are… Has it been mentioned? Ali appears to have the house to herself. Also why do the liars immediately suspect Ali of being the new stalker? I understand she has a motive because she wants to know what happened to Charlotte but that doesn’t seem like her style.

    • There was only a mention from someone (possibly Ali, but I’m not sure) that Jason didn’t want to be at CeCe’s funeral, but no further elaboration of why…

      Since this new person (red devil would probably be the most obvious nickname) seems to target the liars because s/he thinks they know what happened to Cece but are keeping quiet about it, it’s not such a reach that the most obvious suspect would be Ali. So that’s likely why they’re speculating that she may be behind it. Who else would be so determined to find out what happened to Cece, and punish her killer(s)…

      But it seems like they won’t suspect Ali for very long. The press release for episode 6.15 (in other words the episode that airs on February the 9th) says that they will turn their attention towards Sara as a suspect for this new threat, and that “Ali comforts Emily in her time of need.”

    • At the moment, the Liars don’t trust Ali and vice versa. When they got back to Rosewood in 6×11 they were planning on freezing out Ali and CeCe anyway. They were going to give their statements in the hearing, for closure and for the good times they had with Ali, then leave Ali and CeCe to their games and lies. Jason and Kenneth don’t seem to be home because the Liars said Ali and CeCe were going to be all alone in the house. Jason and Kenneth weren’t on-camera at the funeral; Ali sat with Dr. Rollins. Jason and Kenneth were on really bad terms with CeCe, so it makes sense that they left before her potential release. I’m guessing they went to live in Aunt Carol’s house. Carol Ward, who died the same year Ali and Sara went missing and the same year Bethany died. Before A was revealed and after Jessica died, I think Kenneth announced that they’re moving, which Ali didn’t want. So maybe Ali bought/is renting the house like Jason used to.

      • I see what you mean about how Ali and the rest of the liars pretty much have moved on from each other and how Ali is “team Cece” and the rest of the liars are “team each other”. Emily never could abandon Ali in her time of need, like we saw in the winter premiere when Cece died, and apparantly vice versa is true as well since the press release for episode 15 says that Ali will comfort Emily in her time of need.

        I am not really sure of how Jason feels about all this though. Yes, he skipped the funeral, but if you remember a sneak peek that was released months ago it showed both him and Ali visiting Cece at the asylum she was staying in, and they both hugged her. I don’t know if that clip was discarded or if it will show up as some sort of “in between”-flashback, but Jason didn’t seem to hold any grudge against Cece, at least not at that point…

        • It definitely makes sense that Ali and Emily will always put their differences aside to help each other in dire situations. Jason remembers young CeCe fondly as his ‘imaginary’ friend and as his cousin. His real dad, Peter Hastings never spent time with him, so he was willing to risk his life just for some long-lost male bonding when he agreed to meet his ‘brother’ in secret. CeCe clearly knew that would get to him so she could inject him with Serum or possibly have an honest conversation with him. In the bonus scenes for 3×13 (when CeCe had just recently become A), she tried to have a heart to heart with him, as his ex-girlfriend who dumped him right after Ali went missing, but he wouldn’t hear it because he was still heartbroken. Jason loved her as a cousin and as a girlfriend, so it wouldn’t be stretch for him to love her as sister if he did indeed forgive her.

          • It still doesn’t really explain why Jason at first visited Cece together with Ali at the asylum after the truth was revealed, and seemingly being on good terms with her, only to later on refusing to go to her funeral. But I guess that we will see a lot of “in between”-scenes that took place between Cece being revealed as A and getting released and murdered.

          • Without context, it doesn’t make sense, but it won’t take much to reconcile the two. Maybe he murdered her, maybe going to her funeral would be too painful for him, maybe he felt like she wouldn’t have wanted him there, maybe someone attended who he didn’t want to face for some reason, etc.

          • Yeah, since almost five years went by, there’s like a million possible scenarios that would explain why CeCe and Jason started to dislike each other enough for Jason to refuse to go to her funeral. Hopefully they will let us know soon. And I’m quite hopeful. They didn’t drag the “what happened to Sara’s hands”-storyline out for very long.

  20. I know I’m late to the party but I’m finally catching up on this season and just had to say something.

    Did anyone else notice how, in his poor-me-and-my-manpain-because-of-what-Charlotte-did-to-you-so-I’m-not-sad-she’s-dead rant, Ezra refused to actually gender Charlotte correctly? A couple times he refers to her as “this person” and once he refers to her as “they.” I can’t help but wonder/hope if this is a deliberate choice on the writer’s part to actually make some form of pro-trans statement and to actually start pointing out Ezra’s awfulness.

    It actually made me think that the only way I’d actually be okay with the Ezra-as-Charlotte’s killer storyline would be if it was really a complete and total take down of Ezra in all his awfulness, starting with him killing Charlotte as a hate crime against her as a trans woman and then further delving into all of his other awfulness as the king of all things white and male and privileged, stalker, predator, asshole.

    That all being said, it’s probably much more likely that Ezra’s language here was either just sloppy writing or them just using it as a way to point out that Ezra didn’t have any sympathy for Charlotte, with no deeper message about the shittiness of such language being conveyed.

    • I noticed this as well and when I pointed it out to my husband, he speculated that (if the show ever re-confirms that Ezra is the total garbage person we all know he is) maybe he’s not just a transphobe but a homophobe as well, and that’s why Emily always seems to get the worst of it.

      Heather, my husband is a straight, white, cis man who has learned SO much from your reviews. Sometimes he gets a little eye rolly in the middle of some deeper social commentary (we read the reviews out loud to each other after watching or rewatching an episode) because he’s focused on the humor, but we always go back and discuss the issues in depth. I’m a queer woman and he’s always been a moderately good listener where I’m concerned and has been not quite *insensitive* to various issues when they’re pointed out to him, but since reading your reviews he’s been noticing things on his own and is understanding concepts like privilege, representation, and microaggressions better than I could have hoped. Whereas he used to kind of think I was being too sensitive to certain things he’s now running around exclaiming things like “She has no agency!” before I can say anything, and is horrified by the portrayal of women in most media and our treatment just in life and history and the empathy and awareness has bled over into issues of race as well. So, thank you.

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