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PRETTY LITTLE LIARS: “Who’s in the Box?”

2014 January 14

Photo Credit: ABC FAMILY/Ron Tom.

A very big welcome to Crissy Calhoun, who will be finding time in her busy writing schedule to recap Pretty Little Liars for us. Are we the luckiest, or what? Read on for Crissy’s thoughts on the season 4B premiere, and come back weekly for her reaction posts!

Hurray, Pretty Little Liars is back! I have missed writing about the show (after co-authoring a book on the first two seasons), and Lucia has kindly agreed to have me post recappy OMG-y reactions here to the insanity that goes down every week in Rosewood, PA. (Thanks, Lucia!)

On to the winter premiere!

We left the not-so-little liars at the end of the Halloween episode dealing with the epic confirmation that Alison DiLaurentis did not die. She’s alive! Which, points for the girls sanity: they were not hallucinating all those times they saw her, and she pulled them from blazing buildings, barns, etc. Amazing. In this season 4B premiere, we open with the girls totally puzzled by Ali’s reappearance: where the heck has she been? Who is she so afraid of? And if she’s not dead, then who is lying entombed at the crypt?

Hanna dons her Veronica Mars hat this episode, and aside from excellent and snippy banter, Spencer is duly impressed with Hanna’s theories, investigative techniques, and conclusions. (Though in the end, it turns out she’s been withholding evidence — Ali’s diary.) Of course, the PLLs have doppelgängers a few towns over: Amy from Parenthood (a.k.a. Skyler Day) and a girl not on Parenthood chat with Hanna and Emily about how having a missed bestie is the worst, and I actually found their parallel experiences super touching (if totally heavy handed). Later, when Amy from Parenthood shows up like a creeper at Emily’s workplace, she confesses that missing friend Sarah, like Ali, was actually a horrible person who she hoped would die. And Emily’s like, “Girl, I feel ya.” Bonus points also to Emily for bringing a pot of boiling water to the door for use as a potential weapon. [Editor's Note: For what other possible purpose would one boil a pot of water?] Emily and Paige also have a bit of drama, but Emily being the good girlfriend that she is only freezes Paige out for, like, one conversation before explaining the complicated feelings she’s having about Ali. (Well, explaining as much as she can without dropping the “Ali’s alive” bomb.)  

And speaking of complicated… Caleb returns! And then departs. I’ve always been fond of Caleb, but he has really come into his own over on Ravenswood, and as much as I hate seeing him and Hanna in tears over sad farewells, I’m glad he’s headed back to the spooky burg. Was this super confusing for those who don’t watch Ravenswood? If you know the backstory, it made total sense that (a) Caleb has to go back, and (b) that it’s complicated, Hanna, and you really do not want to hear him explain it. But hella sad. As much as she was pouting like a child during their first goodbye, Hanna stepped up and made sure she had a proper goodbye with him. Mature move, Hanna. And whatever the circumstances, I’m always glad to see some Marin bonding and “I’ve got a new job with Mrs. DiLaurentis” Ashley was right there for her daughter with unconvincing reassurances that not all guys up and leave.

I’m happy to see the Toby’s mom plotline get wrapped up — that was starting to feel a little dragggy to me. And of course, Spencer Hastings, girl genius, helps him get his mom’s name cleared. And Spencer’s dad makes a re-appearance! He is way too interested in taking Radley down. No way is he doing that only for Spencer and the other poor tortured souls who’ve walked the halls of the Radley Sanitorium. And what is his deal with Mrs. DiLaurentis? Is she a danger to Spencer, or is Mr. Hastings trying to protect himself? What we do know is that Mrs. DiLaurentis creepily changes the sheets (and comforter!) in Ali’s room, and dreams about her daughter giving her sage advice. Do you think she knows that Ali’s alive? Or is Ali sneaking in her mother’s bedroom at night telling her who to hire at the real estate office? Either way, this show is bananas. And I love it.

King of Creepy in this episode is hands down Mr. Ezra Fitz, English teacher, heartthrob, creeper, and (maybe) “Board Shorts.” The conversation between Mona and Ezra was epically full of obvious subtext and I adored it. Especially Mona’s comment about how Ezra’s reading list is, like, super obviously full of clues. And for those in the PLL Book Club, add to your reading list: Jekyll & Hyde and the Cornell Woolrich Omnibus (that’s the book Ezra has in his hand when Mona walks up) — Woolrich wrote Rear Window and a bunch of other noir suspense type stuff. Ezra’s probably taking notes from the master. [Editor's Note: Is PLL Book Club a real thing? And how do I join?] How creepy was it when he was watching Aria after their cabin hookup, and then he glances down at the extra creepy cellar door?? What is down there? What was the Gloved Wonder doing at the cabin?

While the hair and makeup and outfits were all exceptional, I have to give special shout-outs to the so very blue pants that Hanna was wearing most of the episode; there was a certain clownishness to them that made all her dramatic Haleb moments a little funny? And also Aria’s pastel explosion biker jacket at the very last scene in the crypt was amazingly Aria. As was her ruffled-sleeved black top that she was just casually wearing on a random day. That would be formal wear for me.

So good to have this show back!

Questions…

  • Who is in Ali’s crypt?
  • Why did Caleb mention missing watching Hanna walk barefoot on the kitchen floor? Was that the weirdest or what? [Editor's Note: SO WEIRD. THE WEIRDEST.]
  • What did Ali write about the girls in her diary?
  • Who is Ali so scared of?
  • Will fearless Mona back off after Fitz’s veiled warning or keep pushing him? Just how much does she know about Ezra’s secrets?
  • Why does Mr. Hastings want Radley shut down?
  • Whose creepy cabin is that? (Cmon, Ezra doesn’t have friends, you guys.) What’s in the cellar?
  • Will Aria dump Jake, or two-time him? Will she tell the girls she and Fitz had a romantic reunion? [Editor's Note: Still not convinced that Jake still exists. Or that he ever did.]
  • Were you worried that Caleb was going to crash his car the way he was just crying and crying and not ever looking at the road?

Crissy has written a number of books about TV shows, including ROSEWOOD CONFIDENTIAL on PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (co-authored under the pseudonym Liv Spencer), and she’s currently working on the fifth volume in the LOVE YOU TO DEATH series (LoveYoutoDeathTVD.com) on THE VAMPIRE DIARIES with Heather Vee. She tweets @CrissyCalhoun (often) and blogs at CrissyCalhoun.com (rarely).

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2 comments
emily3
emily3

Omg...best recap ever! I agree, the show is full on bonkers now. Ezra better be evil evil and not be a cop-out. THat scene with Mona was just the best!

Also, where is Jason??? Is he dead?

crissycalhoun
crissycalhoun

@emily3 thank you! you're so right: this show is BONKERS. In the best way. I hope Jason is still alive, so he can come back to Rosewood one day and brood brood brood. 

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