Unexpectedly Feminist Moments on Last Night’s Pretty Little Liars
11:15 am, July 3rd | by Grace Rasmus
Simply based off the name, Pretty Little Liars seems like a totally superficial TV show. Even the most devoted fans can probably admit that there are better things for us to do on our Tuesday nights than wonder how yet another Rosewood local managed to get murdered, who “Red Coat” really is, and how the girls all have SO MUCH free time before school every morning, but this is the life we’ve chosen to live. Besides, we can console ourselves with the notion that this isn’t just trashy TV — there are actually a surprising number of badass, feminist moments on the show. In this series, we will separate the PLL garbage from the PLL girl power. Here’s a recap of the 7/2/13 episode, “Face Time.”
Spencer – “Oh, so you and Wilden had the same costume? That must’ve been awkward.”
The good: Yaaaaay! Finally some real progress on the Melissa issue! Hanna was spot-on last week when she called Spencer “Nancy Drew” because that whole sleuth-y plan of planting the mask in Melissa’s bag was seriously genius. (And totally ‘A’-worthy, in a good way.) She also got a lot of great answers out of her sister: Melissa was on the Halloween train but she didn’t try to kill Spencer, Shana and Jenna didn’t start the fire, and she also thinks Ali might still be alive. Also, apparently Melissa’s “been protecting [Spencer] this whole time.” If any of this is true, whoa.
The bad: Spencer’s mom was a straight-up bully in this episode. After being absent from the show for so long, she decided to inform Spencer that Melissa is the best best favorite best daughter ever and ugh, Spencer, stop being so jealous of her all the time! Oh, and Hastings ladies all go to UPenn, damnit, SO LISTEN TO YOUR SISTER’S TRENCHCOAT WISDOM WHILE I VERBALLY ABUSE YOU IN A COFFEE SHOP. Yeah. Way to make working mothers look horrendous, ABC Family.
Aria – “It kind of sounds like a movie. Happy parts are in color, sad parts are in black and white.”
The good: Her participation in Spencer’s plan to trap Melissa was awesome and I always have to give these girls props for going into creepy places by themselves, which is something I would never do. Ever. Aria dove head-first into the mask-lair-thing and not only did she uncover dozens of creepy Ali masks, she also confronted creepy mask guy (Hector?) since he lied about destroying the masks. She also learned that the reason Melissa has a mask is because she traded her face for information (just like Emily did) and at one point he owed Ali a lot of money. Also, in significantly less badass news, Aria seems to be taking it slow with Jake, which I guess is a nice contrast to the ridiculous Ezria ridiculousness of seasons past.
The bad: Ugh, that quote above. Teen angst oozed out of her pores as she told Jake everything about her relationship with Ezra. Oh yeah, you know, Ezra? That teacher with a kid who Aria secretly dated for an eternity? Yeah, she’s clearly not over that whole situation at all, so Jake should probably just run at this point. He dropped a martial arts metaphor on her about being injured versus hurt. Paraphrasing here: “The first thing I ask my students when they fall is whether they’re injured or hurt. If they’re injured, I’ll just send them home. But if they’re hurt, I’ll tell them to just shake it off and get back in the game.” But the metaphor totally went over Aria’s head, probably because when Ezra was teaching metaphor in English class, Aria was too busy staring into his ~*dreamy eyes~* and imagining how perfect their life would be if he didn’t have so much baggage and oldness.
Hanna - “A big lie gives you something to hold on to. The trouble starts when you just shave the truth and it gets all twisted up.”
The good: Nothing. Sorry, Hanna, your popsicle shirt was too weird and you did nothing right in this episode. Moving on.
The bad: #CalebSavesTheDay!!! Hanna was dumber than usual and tried to go head-to-head with Lieutenant Tanner, the policewomen who clearly knows what she’s doing. I guess I give her some credit for kind of trying to manipulate the situation in her favor, but COME ON. Casually hinting that Wilden might have been a “dirty cop” is not smooth coolin’ at all and she should have stayed out of it. Oh, but not before #BoyfriendSavesTheDayAgain in order to fix Hanna’s screw-up about her mom’s car. TELL ONE MORE BAD LIE TO THE POLICE, HANNA, I DARE YOU. Jeez. She needs to get back on her game ASAP because Ashley probably didn’t even kill Wilden at all and this is just a big red herring.
Emily – “I don’t know if I can be one of those girls who sits up in the stands and watches you win. What if I can’t take that?”
The good: Here was another example of trying to go head-to-head with someone who knows more than you do. Emily tried to talk her doctor out of reporting her family for abuse. NOTHING TO SEE HERE, DOC. EVERYTHING’S DANDY AND MY SHOULDER ISN’T SUSPICIOUSLY BROKEN WITH NO EXPLANATION. Well, hey, at least she tried.
The bad: Emily torn the rotator cuff in her shoulder, which might require surgery and probably means she won’t be able to swim. “That sucks,” said Paige the Eloquent. “Extremely.” And her family is still in deep doodoo: after rumors circulated around Rosewood about abuse, Emily managed to get into a screaming match with her family and someone reported a domestic disturbance. But let’s be real here, Mr. Fields the Army Man — don’t tell me you couldn’t run faster than your injured daughter. He should’ve given her a real foot race. For feminism.