Read on for Crissy’s recap of Pretty Little Liars episode 4×22, originally aired Tuesday, March 4, 2014:
On the PLL Insanity Scale, “Cover for Me” ranks lower than the previous installments, but it’s a much-needed reprieve from the WTF/OMG/etc. of it all. Sometimes you just need to catch your breath with a fling in Syracuse, you know?
Spencer unpacks a million sweaters from a three-day stint in rehab, and she’s grumpy with her mother who demonstrates the patience of a saint. Irritable from kicking her drug habit, Spencer is also having flashbacks (audio! visual!) of the night Ali disappeared—chasing her with a shovel, the usual. Meanwhile, Aria is at a frat house, drunk, necking with a surprisingly handsome rock’n’roll college boy. (Side note: for a more realistic try-to-pick-up-at-a-frat-party plot, plz watch the latest Parenthood episode.)
The next morning, Spence finds her mother in the kitchen with “Dean Stavros” (whom she must’ve invited into the house): he’s a sober coach, Spencer isn’t going back to school, and she’s not allowed to have her cell or laptop or contact with her friends or BF. Best line: Dean hands her a urine sample cup, and Spencer says, “I will go upstairs and fill this with my dignity.”
Looking stylishly hungover, Aria calls Emily: she’s at Syracuse with her dad, pretending to check out the college. Enter Hot Guy from the Party, aka Riley, who wants to ditch the student tour and grab killer pancakes. At school, Emily and Hanna witness a fight between Mike and Mona, along with some significant glances between Mona and Fitz. Hanna can’t be in the same room as Fitz, and Emily’s pissed. She confronts him with the best death-glare of all time, and then dresses him down for betraying her: “Will you make sure a real teacher gets this?” Boom.
Hanna apologizes to Officer Handsome for the “accidental” smooching, and he asks her about the note he found in his car about Ali being alive. Hanna does an excellent job of not reacting like she knows Ali is alive.
In a hotel room full of empty booze bottles and condom wrappers—get it, girl!—Aria and Riley have a pleasant post-coital get to know each other. Even the part where his guitar is named Antonio somehow works: this guy is half cool, half nerd, and all handsome. On the other spectrum of things you want in your bed, Spencer, in her jammies post shower, gets into bed only to find it full of dirt complete with a note from A: “I know you dug her grave. Now I’m digging yours. Kisses, –A.” Really, Hastings fam, it’s time to install a security system.
In an excellent bejeweled dress and with perfect side-twist hairdo, Hanna tells Emily about the note: someone else knows Ali is alive. Em doesn’t spill that she spilled to Paige. Travis asks Hanna out on a date, and she totes says yes. Sober Coach Dean makes Spence an obnoxiously green smoothie (but doesn’t have any himself, hmmm), and she mentions her hallucinations—which he says is no big deal. As she goes through recovery, she’s liable to face things she’s suppressed (like, you know, murdering a best friend?). Spence steals the phone to call Toby, and Dean busts her. Oopsy.
The good-cop/bad-cop team confronts Hanna about the note, but Hanna proves to be “one tough little cookie” and she doesn’t reveal a thing (aside for a fondness for skinny lattes). In idyllic sunshiny Syracuse, Aria and Riley sit on a dock, throwing rocks into the water, bonding, snuggling. It’s kind of the best? Is this what it’s always like in Syracuse? Riley wisely says that it isn’t right that she’s the one in exile when Fitz is the jerk.
Mrs. DiLaurentis shows up at the Hastings house, looking for a donation to the bridal show fundraiser. When Veronica goes to write a check, Mrs. D and Spencer have a little heart-to-heart: Spence apologizes for being loco and grabby. In a creepy moment, Mrs. D makes mention of “fresh clean sheets”—does she know that Spencer’s were so recently dirt-filled? Or is this one of those innocent comments that just makes a PLL character look crazy and guilty?
Aria’s Handsome Stranger decides to leave early, with his guitar Antonio and the resolution to talk to his parents about going to the Berklee College of Music. They share a final smooch, and Riley gives her an adorkable handmade “free Beat Up a Jerk card” and Aria’s like, I got this. Mike shows up at Emily’s work, all in a tizzy over Mona dumping him, and he blames Aria. His little voice does this quivering thing and it’s really sad. Poor Mike. Em offers to talk to Mona to find out more.
Showing inhuman endurance, Dean makes Spencer run another mile. They happen to run past a shovel and Spencer flashes back to the night Ali disappeared. She’s chasing Ali, Ali falls, and Spencer whacks her with the shovel, blood spattering onto her face!!! Is that a real memory? Did Spencer whack Ali with a shovel?
Over tea, Spencer talks to Dean about how other people see her more clearly than she sees herself and about using someone else’s memories to fill in the blanks her own memory. She won’t fess up about what she thinks she did, but she does want to find out what she did and take responsibility … somehow. He gives her a letter from Toby, postmarked from London, England. (Isn’t that where Melissa is?)
Hanna and Travis go on a date, and Mrs. D walks by, says hi, and is then confronted by the cops. Is it about the note? Hanna is super duper distracted and is a terrible date. Meanwhile, Emily nearly gets run over by Mona as she confronts her for some real talk. Mona reveals that she knows about Fitz’s book, and that she was working with him in order to prevent him writing about the things she’s done that were criminal. Mona’s relationship with Mike was about getting info on Aria, but she fell for the kid and dumped him in order to protect him from her mess. (Mona doesn’t seem to know that Ali is alive, but you never know with Mona.) Mona tells Em that Ezra thinks he knows who “stole the game” from Mona. read more…
Read on for Johnni’s recap of Nashville episode 2×15, originally aired Wednesday, February 26, 2014:
Nashville is back and, as you may have guessed, Lamar is dead! This week’s episode is all about death and how it affects Rayna and her family, and it’s a good one. Plus, there’s lots of music!
After discovering that her father is dead, Rayna puts her bitch armor up and refuses to let it down. She doesn’t cry or talk to her sister, and she barely even speaks when it comes to the funeral. Her father’s death brings out the worst qualities in Rayna, but who would blame her? Her father lied about her mother’s death and their last words were hurtful and depressing—yikes.
As Rayna is trying to be strong, Scarlett is continuing her musical journey with Liam. Her album is coming along great, which is awesome, but her relationships with her family and friends are almost nonexistent—not cool. After a night out with Liam, he tries to kiss her, but Scarlett turns him down. Score one for Scarlett! Unfortunately Scarlett has a change of heart after she sees her friends moving on and kisses Liam in the recording studio. This is not a good idea in any way and let’s face it, Rayna is not going to be okay with this. read more…
Read on for Crissy’s recap of Pretty Little Liars episode 4×21, originally aired Tuesday, February 25, 2014:
It’s official: we’re in the season-finale lead-up insanity! This episode is hardcore. I have to applaud the writers for going there with the Aria-Fitz relationship; this fallout is serious and irreversible, and a turning point for Aria and the major romantic cornerstone of the series. I love this kind of shake-up four seasons in—the stakes are so high, we’re all so deeply invested in the Aria-Fitz dynamic (whether we ship them or not), and to see Aria go through this total freak-out is amazing. And so majorly justified, given the situation. And there was so much more in this episode! To the recap!
The girls gather at Aria’s to hear the Fitz story, and while Aria doesn’t think that Fitz tried to kill Alison or that he’s A, she’s pissed. And Ezra’s theory is that one of the girls killed Ali. Lucy Hale does an amazing job here, looking simultaneously broken and blazing with fiery rage, tears escaping. Emily asks the question: how could he not help Aria, knowing about A? And Aria says it’s simple: he never really loved her. (Shippers, are you OK out there?) The next morning, Aria flashes back to when she first met Fitz (and they both look so young!), and the memory makes her literally sick.
At Casa Hastings, Spencer awakens to her parents—both parents in the same room!—ready to ship her off to rehab. Spence argues, successfully, for one more chance to kick the pills herself.
At school, jumpsuited Hanna finds out that Travis’s dad is on trial for the Thing With Wilden. She feels guilty even though Travis insists it was his own decision that got her mom out of hot water and his dad into it. Emily reveals that she got a call from Shana: urgent money-drop for Ali required after school!
In a skull-print top, Aria arrives at school looking a little bit crazy and marches straight to his classroom; the girls try to stop her, but there’s no need to. The “liar and the coward” Mr. Fitz took time off for a family emergency. After freaking out, Aria agrees to let Emily take her home.
Wearing the Scrabble-piece necklace (aw!), Spence drops by Toby’s with apology cronuts. He declares them “disgusting” in a really charming way, and tells Spence she looks like crap in a really caring way. Also his hair looks good in this scene—not so much later (spoiler alert!).
Paige gives Emily a hard time about never seeing her and spies the envelope of cash in her purse. Em lies about it, but Paige doesn’t buy it.
Aria goes to Fitz’s apartment but he ain’t home. So she does the logical thing: engages in a massive snoop-and-destroy mission that is just the absolute best. [Editor's Note: THE ABSOLUTE BEST.] This has gotta be my favorite Aria sequence of all time. And she finds so much stuff. Including a diary where Fitz made notes about the secrets that Aria revealed to him—it’s a day-by-day chronicle of his lies and betrayal. So Aria smashes all the things. (Hanna would’ve torched the place.)
Hanna tries to convince Officer Handsome not to testify against Travis’s dad, and it seems like he’s not swayed.
At school, Spence finds a bottle of pills from A in her locker, and Emily lets her keep them (C’mon Emily!). The girls realize Aria isn’t at home, and they head to Fitz’s apartment where they find her in a little ball, like a tiny sad peanut. Heartbreaking. The girls get Aria out of there, but Spencer wants to collect a few clues. (I’m with ya, Spence—valuable info all over the place there!)
At the post office in Some Other Town, Emily very obviously puts a pile of cash into the envelope, while someone watches on. It’s Paige! Her girlfriend followed her there, thinking A is making her do something again. Paige snatches the envelope and refuses to return it until Em spills her secret. She does. Paige is anti-Ali, calling her manipulative and sick and threatening to expose her secret to Ali’s family or to the cops. The two have it out, and I’m sorry I am 100% on Emily’s side here. I don’t like ultimatums either. Emily’s coldness to Paige? Totally justified in my book. Paige dropping a note in the cop car? Terrible move!
At the courthouse, Hanna finds out that Travis’s dad got a really light sentence thanks to Officer Handsome. Hanna and Travis have a nice/slightly awkward moment.
Withdrawal-Symptom Spencer goes through the clues she collected at Fitz’s, finding a business card for a P.I. that Fitz suspects was hired to follow her. Feeling too crappy to resist, she takes more pills. No, Spencer, no! Spencer later finds a note from Ezra detailing how both CeCe and Mrs. DiLaurentis witnessed Spencer and Ali’s fight the night she disappeared. Spencer confronts her dad: does he think that she had something to do with Ali’s murder? He avoids answering and she feels crazy.
With Hanna, Aria burns the pages of Fitz’s diary, feeling awful and guilty. [Editor's Note: Hanna and The Destruction of Evidence is my OTP!] Hanna leaves for something to eat, and runs into Officer Handsome who compliments her for always helping her friends. She counters with a compliment of her own, and then totally surprise kisses him. Ha ha, Hanna, never change. They’re flustered and awkward and she jets.
Spencer ditches Toby and heads to Mrs. DiLaurentis’s to ask her if she thinks Spence hurt Ali. Spence is on the edge, grabbing her and yelling. Spencer returns home to find Toby and her parents waiting for her; instead of accepting the offer of help, she retreats to her room where she quietly cries.
Aria finds a letter: Fitz has a book deal for the Ali/PLL story, and he’s meeting with his agent right this second. Not to be outdone in the crazy department, Aria speed-walks to the principal’s house to tell him everything about her relationship with Ezra. Hanna wants her to be clear about what will happen if she spills her secret: Ezra would go to jail, Aria and her family would be affected too, the secret splashed all over the Rosewood newspapers. Aria decides not to tell, and then freaks out on her: she wants to be left alone. Hanna obliges. Emily shows up at Aria’s to find her packing. Aria pushes away Emily’s help and leaves, no destination in mind.
Sad times in Rosewood!
- How did Fitz get the Grunwald tape?
- Who should Hanna date: Travis or Officer Handsome or No One, since everyone is a sneaky liar on this show? [Editor's Note: No one because Hanna is too busy destroying evidence to date! My OTP 4eva!]
- Was Paige right to give Emily an ultimatum or to leak the info that Ali’s alive to the police? Will Emily ever forgive her when/if she finds out?
- Did Emily look even more like an insanely gorgeous supermodel than usual in this episode?
- Will Ali get the money?
- On a scale of 1 to infinity, how evil do you think Ezra is?
- Will Aria change her mind about reporting Ezra? Where is she headed?
- Will Ali return to Rosewood before the season ends?
Happy Oscar Sunday! It’s the 86th annual Academy Awards today, and what better way to celebrate than to talk movies? My friend Kyle joined me on Friday night to discuss the Oscar nominees that we’ve seen. Update: Kyle has now seen Dallas Buyers Club and loved it, and I am about to put Nebraska in the DVD player as soon as I push publish on this post. You can listen to the podcast on the player below, or download the MP3. Also, you might want to consider subscribing on iTunes. Enjoy! And let us know your thoughts in the comments! (Fingers crossed for Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong’o!)
Read on for Crissy’s recap of Pretty Little Liars episode 4×20, originally aired Tuesday, February 18, 2014:
The moral of this week’s PLL is never trust anyone, and being a pill addict really undermines your credibility when it comes to conspiracy theories about diabolical tormentors. Spencer is in a tough spot right now; her secret is out not only to the girls, but to her mom and Toby–mostly thanks to that meddling writer/liar Ezra Fitz.
I loved the opening scene in this episode: Spencer wakes up with her head on Fitz’s desk in her pajamas and robe, shoeless. Before she can get her bearings or get out of there, in walks Mr. Fitz with some vaguely threatening/vaguely caring-teacher type words for her. She bails and meets up with Emily and Hanna in the girls restroom (aka PLL headquarters). More important that deciding when to tell Aria about Fitz is Spencer’s gym locker outfit. “Did you have an accident?” Spencer wants to tell Aria right away, while Emily cautions that the big talk will be difficult.
Fitz intercepts Aria in the hall and spills the beans: Spencer’s on drugs. He gives Aria Spencer’s confidential school file to prove that she has a history of pill problems. Spencer emerges from school wearing Hanna’s Popsicle shirt (best!) and has lunch with Toby. (Well, she picks at a salad and avoids making plans.) He explains why he took the settlement from Radley. Hanna stress-eats Emily’s string cheese, and the girls prepare for things to get ugly with Aria. Aria lands at the table and tells them that Spencer is strung out! read more…
Read on for Crissy’s recap of Pretty Little Liars episode 4×19, originally aired Tuesday, February 11, 2014:
This week on PLL, Spencer stood in front of her kitchen sink. That’s it!
Unless you include the amazing, dream-like trip into the world of film noir that was “Shadow Play.” As a way to see Spencer solving the mystery that surrounds her, and a clever way to both pay homage to the cinematic tradition that’s inspired the PLL creators while giving fans so much awesome, this episode gave us a detour from the go-go-go plotting of PLL in the very best and most imaginative way.
We begin in boring old Technicolor: Hanna, Spencer, and Emily investigate Fitz’s office, and Aria’s still not answering her phone. While Han only finds coffee mugs, Spence stumbles upon Ali’s diary in his desk drawer. As the girls sneak out of his office, they see Mona sneak in (as they do the hilarious peek-around-the-corner Scooby Doo thing) and leave with piles of paperwork.
Over at the Hastings’, Spence grosses out Hanna with her relentless sniffling (“Allergies.”) but makes up for it with the best fox sweater. The diary doesn’t seem to be missing pages. Spencer and Hanna want more info on Shana’s time with Paige (but not “those kind of details”), and Em’s reluctant to interrogate her girlfriend. With all brains too full to strategize properly, the girls decide to regroup later. Em realizes that they found the diary too easily: was it someone else who planted it? Or was it “all about the A-ness of things”? (Hanna, never change.) read more…
Happy Galentine’s Day! To celebrate the lady-appreciation occasion, I joined in on an episode of the Secret Lover Podcast, which was super fun. I’ve been listening to Lenny and Katie and all their awesome guest co-hosts loyally for the past year, as “the podcast for people who love TV too much” is definitely something made for Lucias.
Joining longtime host Lenny (@lennyburnham, SpunkyBean.com), my friend LaToya (@lafergs, TheTelevixen.com, Pretty Little Liars Annotations) is the newly minted co-host. They invited me to join in, along with Kayla (@KaylaUpadhyaya, Pretty Little Liars Annotations), for the Second Annual Galentine’s Day Episode. The theme of the episode was female characters on TV and topics of discussion included our love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Paris Geller’s perfection, missing the early years of Gossip Girl, hating Fitz on Scandal, and other lady stuff. You can listen via iTunes or on the Secret Lover blog. Enjoy!
Read on for Johnni’s recap of Nashville episode 2×14, originally aired Wednesday, February 5, 2014:
Attention all Lamar Wyatt fans (if there are any out there): he’s back! This week’s episode is strongly centered on the crazy, political tycoon and former member of Nashville royalty, also known as Rayna’s father. As Lamar is released from jail, tensions within his family increase and, by the end of the episode, come to a boiling point.
After Teddy plants the seed in Rayna’s head about Tandy’s involvement in her father’s trial, Rayna asks the tough questions. With so much scandal surrounding their family, it’s about time that Rayna got to the bottom of it! In a ballsy move, Rayna asks both Tandy and her father what secrets they’ve been keeping from her. Lamar finally opens up about his wife’s death (spoiler: he didn’t kill her but he saw the whole thing!) and actually feels so guilty that he begins to cry. Rayna stands her ground and manages to trap her father into admitting he ordered the hit on Teddy that killed Peggy! Rayna is livid, as she should be, and tells her father to stay out of her life forever—super intense and well overdue.
Scarlett’s storyline continues to take a downward turn throughout the episode. Her drug use is becoming more and more obvious and frequent, as she tries to record her album on little sleep. Sooner or later the drugs are going to catch up with her and, for her sake, we hope it’s sooner. What would uncle Deacon say if he knew about her new habit? I’m sure he would have a lot to say (and it wouldn’t be nice), especially since Liam is the one who got her hooked! read more…
Read on for Crissy’s recap of Pretty Little Liars episode 4×18, originally aired Tuesday, February 4, 2014:
A slightly less terrifying episode than last week’s, though it did leave my brain, like Hanna’s, feeling like it was full of hot ice cubes. Let’s relive “Hot for Teacher”!
Alison DiLaurentis finds the last payphone in America to call Shana with very specific and very shady instructions — and Ali does not look as cool and calm as we’re used to seeing her. Girlfriend is freakin’. The four PLLs are similarly freaking out: Hanna is determined that the foursome stop looking for Ali (“A gave us an order — in my mouth”); Spencer is jittery and high from all her “study aids”; Emily’s determined to chase down Ali through Shana; and Aria? Well, she’s keeping secrets on all fronts and dating the shadiest guy in Rosewood. (And there are a lot of shady guys in Rosewood.)
Feeling isolated by her millions of secrets — she lies about her weekend plans to Hanna, she lies about the cabin break-in to Fitz — Aria turns to the new school counselor, but finds she can’t tell him anything without telling him everything and as “safe” as the space may be for regular kids, it’s not safe enough for Aria to spill the beans. read more…
Before the Ravenswood finale aired last week, I had the chance to participate in a Q&A conference call with Nicole Gale Anderson, who plays Miranda Collins on the ABC Family series. She discussed the show and her character, and it made me super excited for more Ravenswood. Fingers crossed that we hear favorable renewal news soon!
Check out the interview below, which features questions from a variety of media outlets. Thanks so much to Crissy and Tash for helping me come up with questions. Some of the excellent questions they pitched ended up being asked by other press. I only had a chance to ask two, and I labeled those. (I asked about ghost fashion and ghost sex, because I’m sophisticated like that.) Read on for some insight into the supernatural drama that has come a long way from its spin-off pilot.
What are your hopes for Miranda in the second season?
Nicole: I would like to see maybe more of her connecting with her uncle again, maybe he’ll be able to start seeing her. And then maybe something like, I don’t know, a ghost companion.
Did you know before you got the role of Miranda that you’d be playing a ghost character?
Nicole: I did. Yes, I found out during the testing process. So during the original audition I had no idea, during the callback I had no idea, and then when it came time for me to go to studio network and have my chemistry reads with Tyler. The new scene that they added to the audition process was the scene where Caleb sees Miranda for the first time as a ghost. So I was going through it, preparing for the test, and I was just like, “Whoa, wait. What? She’s a ghost?” And then my next thought was, “Oh, wait, so if I get this and then I die I have to make sure that I die in a really comfortable outfit.”
Did you have to do any research about ghosts or the paranormal for your portrayal of Miranda?
Nicole: I did a little bit just for fun. I watched a couple of movies, like Ghost with Patrick Swayze. Yes. But it’s an ABC Family ghost, and I think at the end of the day, Miranda, even though she is a ghost, she still is Miranda and she still was the girl that she was before all of this. She just has a lot of other problems in her life now. But, yes, I have fun with it.
Were you excited to learn that your character was killed in the first [episode], since it’s something you’ve never really done before?
Nicole: Yes, I think that with the ghost component of Miranda aside, Miranda as a character in itself is just different than anything I’ve played before. I’ve played the hyperactive, bubbly Macy and I’ve played a lot of mean girls before, but never really played a “bad ass,” if you will. And even though Miranda has a sweet side, she definitely is, I think, stronger and more outspoken than a lot of the other characters I’ve played. So, yes, I think I’ve really just been enjoying playing that kind of role. read more…