This episode focused a lot on periphery characters and, as usual, unnecessary plot twists. YAY! Hey, kids ... can you spell implausible plot development?
The episode begins with a little boy and his father in a picturesque forest. They’re having a bonding trip and you know that someone is going to shoot Bambi’s mother. However, instead of an innocent hunting trip, these two men are hunting a poor defenseless woman in the forest with bad teeth and an unfortunate wig. However, if you’re a witch in the forest, where are you going to get leave-in conditioner? It’s revealed to be Hank Foxx (Josh Hamilton).
Meanwhile, back at Ryan Murphy’s version of Beauty Shop, Angela Bassett (Marie Laveau) is slumming it acting wise playing a racial stereotype. An immortal necromancer with untold magical powers, yet she can’t update her salon’s '70s décor. Shut your mouth, because she got the shaft, character-wise. Meanwhile, Precious Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) gives up the lap of luxury with her own, slightly racist, maid to run phones at a beauty shop? How is that in any way believable?
Meanwhile, back in the plot, Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) arrives at the salon to return the head of Madam Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) that was so rudely left on her doorstep. She proposes the two leaders combine forces to defeat the witch hunters. To which Marie replies with a stereotypical epitaph like “Nah, Girl!” or “Oh, no you didn’t!” She has Queenie take Delphine’s head to burn it. Instead, Queenie decides to force a reanimated talking head to watch Roots, The Color Purple, and old news footage from the segregation era.
Back at Douche, Inc., Hank shows up to report on his progress with the New Orleans witches. Apparently, his father is head witch hunter, has passed Hank over for second-in-command, and is running a company that is a smokescreen for a secret line of witch hunters. Also, he has no name. It’s revealed that the person who blinded Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson) was her own father-in-law, Random Unnamed Witch hunter aka Hank’s Dad.
Cordelia does her best attempt to set blind people back 50 years. She shows you that blind people can’t do anything without dropping things. Call me crazy, but wouldn’t she have some training or a nurse before she is set to try and make eggs on her own? Also, as the daughter of the Supreme, is there no way to give her some sort of superhuman compensation for sight besides unhelpful premonitions? Even Daredevil could smell and see things via sonar.
Frizzy Day Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) decides to make an elaborate meal for her old Witch Council pals, The French Teacher from that Richard Grieco movie (Robin Bartlett) and that little guy from Will & Grace (Leslie Jordan). She takes their eyes out with a melon-baller and has some sort of dance party while cutting up their remains. Myrtle and Fiona have a little tête-à-tête when Fiona learns about Cordelia’s new eyes. Then, Cordelia and Misty Day (Lily Rabe) have a little playtime with magic and make an elaborate potion to resurrect a plant. Isn’t that Misty’s pre-existing power?
In the worst use of a Tony winner storyline, Joan Ramsey (Patti LuPone) is resurrected while her son, Luke Ramsey (Alexander Dreymon), is in a coma. Why would Fiona have her resurrected? It makes no sense at all. Am I right? Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga) and Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) come to retrieve Nan (Jamie Brewer). However, she has not been able to see Luke. So they re-enact Ghost with Nan recounting secrets about Luke’s childhood. Suddenly, Joan changes her tune, literally, until Luke starts sharing secrets from beyond the grave ... like how Joan murdered his father. And yet, to review, who cares? LuPone is an amazing actress and singer but who cares if the witches’ neighbor has drama, too? These are periphery characters and there isn’t enough plot development in the stories that matter like back at the beauty shop.
After being threatened by his father and the Voodoo Queen, losing his wife, and having a verbal lashing by Fiona, Hank decides to kill all the witches ... in Marie’s beauty shop. He brings blessed silver bullets and takes them all down. He shoots Marie in the arm but before he can kill her, a wounded Queenie uses her voodoo doll powers to shoot him in the head. Marie shows up at the school ready to combine forces.
Ok, no lie, but whoever manages stories for American Horror Story is becoming a real son of a witch. Last season’s unnecessary alien, mutant, and Nazi doctor storylines are pretty unforgivable. Not providing a sufficient pay-off to said sub-plots is actually unforgivable. In this episode, we are getting precariously close to too many storylines.
It’s 1919, New Orleans is in the grips of a string of murders by The Axeman (Danny Huston). He gets cocky and threatens the entire city that whoever doesn’t play jazz will get the blunt end of a bad axe pun. Well this doesn’t sit well with Witch #3 (Grace Gummer). Not only does she hate jazz and love women’s suffrage but she is also the daughter of The Grand High Witch, Meryl Streep, and not to be trifled with. Coincidentally, Huston’s sister, Anjelica Huston, played The Grand High Witch in the popular children’s classic, The Witches. That piece of trivia is more entertaining than some of the derrivative "reveals" this episode.
Meanwhile, back in the present, Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) has Supreme powers developing at a very passive aggressive rate. One minute, she can knock Poetic Justice Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) on her ass and the next she is stumbling on random stockpiles of antiques. She finds a gun, Tate Kyle (Evan Peters) having a naked grunting meltdown, and a spirit board. She has a really crappy séance with a shot glass. She taunts the Axeman out of limbo and then continues making poor choices by having Misty Day (Lily Rabe) resurrect Madison (Emma Roberts).
Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) is dealing with her new contacts second sight and is bitching everyone out about her psychic flashes. Fiona realizes she has secrets to keep so she focuses on her nonexistant love life. Hank Foxx (Josh Hamilton) goes to Marie LaVeau because Cordelia might find out that...wait for it...he is working for Miss Hair Show 1998 Marie Laveau to kill witches. Remember, that girl he bang-banged then shot her down? It wasn't Nancy Sinatra. It was a witch. And the M. Night Shyamalan Award for most gratuitous reveal goes to...
Then in an even more disgustingly unoriginal fashion Predator Marie Laveau calls for the head of all the witches. The Axeman gets corporealized instead of exorcised and the attempt to ignore character and plot development continues.
The "Witch, Please" Moments of the Episode
How can Bassett allow an immortal super voodoo priestess and historical figure be portrayed as a ratchet hairdresser? Her character in Boyz 'N The Hood seemed more worldly and compelling...and she was in the movie for five minutes.
The Axeman? Really? We already have the mysterious acid thrower, Marie Laveau, Fiona’s cancer, two zombies, a witch hunter, a soon to be ressurected Myrtle, and all of humanity. Do we really need a serial killer that wants to kill the witches?
Let me get this straight. In a school that has housed witches for hundreds of years, having played host to the murder of The Supreme (Christine Ebersole), the most vengeful ghost in the place is a jazz-loving serial killer?
The character development is really lacking. Zoe went from an extra to the leader of the crew. Misty Day dances to Stevie Nicks and resurrects people with no real motivation, explanation, or backstory. Marie Laveau without her horrible racial stereotypes is really a flat character with no explanation for her beef with the witches.
Fiona getting chemo? Seriously, cancer seems like a cheap shot. It makes sense that the old Supreme dies as the new one develops. But did they have to give her cancer? It seems cheap. And for someone who would get monkey DNA injected in episode one why wouldn't she have decided to have chemo earlier?
Last week I wished for a dead body. This week? We received a dead body! Naturally, Pretty Little Liars had to keep the details a little nebulous, but a dead body is a dead body nonetheless. We also got the best work by the show’s hair & make-up team, along with the best scenes an actress has ever delivered on this show. Remember: going full crazy wins you awards. Or something. I mean, buckle up. However, we have to run through three Liars dealing with serious drama and one Liar being an absolute idiot before the goodies.
The episode begins right where last week’s left off: Spencer decides to tell the ladies that Toby is A, even though Hanna is missing from the briefing. Aria and Emily are completely shocked by the fact that Toby is evil, even though I thought it was pretty obviously that Spencer was dealing with much more than simply a horrible break-up. Especially since this was a severe break-up that she couldn’t talk to anyone about. Instead of talking, she stopped washing her air and started attacking people like she was off her meds. Hmm. Interesting. I mean, Aria has a lot on her plate with this baby and Emily is just straight-up dumb.
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Meanwhile, Hanna is dealing with her own secrets: Hanna and PornStarMom/Ashley are concerned about Creepy Detective Wilden’s missing body. Hanna and Ashley decide to keep the body a secret, as they don’t want to deal with all of the drama. It’s mainly Hanna who doesn’t want to deal with the drama, and Ashley lets her teenage daughter convince her into this sort of thinking. Great parenting. We get creepy police lights spinning outside, and it becomes clear that the Marin ladies are probably making an awful choice with this secret. However, they’re in this together. I adore this team. Why does everyone keep everything a secret? Why doesn’t everyone realize that every secret in Rosewood ends with a fire, a dead person, blindness, severe falls, everyone knowing the original secret, Spencer forgetting to condition her hair, and Aria wearing spike earrings with eyeball-enhancing contacts?
Spencer, Aria, and Emily discuss how Toby must be 100 percent evil, but Emily is not on board. You can see her attempt to harden and develop her own parallel explanation, but her features make you realize that Emily has no serious emotions or facial movement. It doesn’t hurt that Emily is still so damn beautiful. Spencer belittles everyone: “I am smarter than all of you, I have thought of every single possible scenario and there is no way Toby was ever good or ever loved me.” Sound reasoning, Spence. Spencer’s biggest piece of evidence is the fact that Mona is in New York for a smart people convention, so Toby had to be the one that locked her in the steam room/expensive suburban shower thing. He just had to be the one!
REAR WINDOW BREW. I love when we enter this outrageous coffee shop, I love when the coffee shop continues to grow, and I love when PLL decides to show us the front of the shop so we get the obvious Hitchcock reference. Emily decides it’s smart to give Toby a call, and thankfully gets his voicemails: “Toby, it’s Emily. I really want to talk to you. I need to talk to you.” Smooth, Emily. Very smooth. Emily steals the key to Toby’s loft, because Toby used to work at the coffee shop and therefore they still have his spare key in a glass jar. That seems unsafe but this is Rosewood and it’s not like anyone has ever been murdered, LOL.
Off to the Liar having the most boring week on record – while everyone else is dealing with the life-threatening situations, Aria is… babysitting. Malcolm and Maggie are in Rosewood because Maggie is obviously preparing to move to the World’s Safest City; I would never raise my toddler in that godforsaken town. Also, did Malcolm grow considerably? Like, what’s with the hair? I think this poor child was severely recast or I’m dealing with crazy memory issues. However, everyone on this show is dealing with crazy memory issues so maybe it’s not so bad. Everyone plays with Malcolm’s train set and looks cute. More on this riveting storyline to come! I know you just can’t wait!
Since Emily had Toby’s spare key handy at the coffee shop, she decides to go all Nancy Drew with Hanna in tow. Hanna doesn’t feel like searching for clues about Evil Toby because she’s too worried about Creepy Wilden and the fate of her mother; Hanna sits on the couch and watches the news. For a show about lying, all of the Liars are pretty awful at lying. Exhibit 9,432: Hanna telling Emily that she’s just watching the news because she wanted to check the weather. Wrong. Toby suddenly has parents (???), so Hanna thinks Emily should check in with them regarding Toby’s disappearance.
Aria is scared of the Maggie-Malcolm-Ezra dynamic. Aria is bad at pretending to act like she has a maternal bone in her body and instead seems like a fun-scared new babysitter. Aria is hired to watch Malcolm for an hour as a babysitter. Malcolm falls off the bed during that hour and must go to the hospital. Aria discovers that she is bad at being a “mother.” No one is surprised. Malcolm needs to toughen up. Like, Jesus H. Christ – why are we giving the worst subplot on any television show currently on air to the ever-disastrous Aria and Ezra? Babies on teen soaps are supposed to bring all the drama, not weak adventures in babysitting resulting in chin scrapes.
Remember how Black Gloves was building a “Deepest Sympathy” wreath at the end of last week’s episode? It turns out the wreath was made for Spencer: “Someone close to you will pay for your loose lips –A.” Spencer seems a little surprised at the gift/message from A, and it looks like these girls really aren’t learning from past experiences. Spencer should also stop taking random naps when someone tried to kill her in her home the day before. Literally. Stop napping. Spencer decides to wake up with a cup of coffee at the coffee shop, where Mona is picking up her pumpkin latte – time for Mona vs. Spencer: Vengeance.
Spencer accuses Mona of dropping off the flowers, while Mona oh-so-subtly threatens Spencer: “Make sure not the leave orchids in direct sunlight – I did once, they didn’t make it through the night.” Indirect threats about flowers are like scary Georgia O. Keefe subliminal messaging. Mona is clearly hinting that someone will pay before the night is through… or is she? Nothing about Mona makes sense to me anymore, to the point where I’m starting to feel like maybe I am Spencer! Or maybe I am A! I never know. Mona seems to be winning a lot of these arguments. If only Spencer would wash her hair…
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Emily goes to visit the Parents of Toby, but judging from the newspapers littering the porch, they were all killed when Jenna took off her sunglasses and discovered she was Cyclops in the new X-Men sequel; this is why Toby’s parents are dead and Jenna has skipped town. Emily runs into Toby’s “friend from work,” who would be cute if it wasn’t for his suspicious teeth! Weird Teeth Work Friend says Toby is gone for a couple of weeks. Emily’s new gumshoe skills tell her something is up, so she continues to sleuth. I’m feeling a Veronica Mars reboot, no?
Speaking of Veronica Mars, do you think that genius private eye show would have survived on the CW in 2013? I like to think that the show would thrive, but I also tend to forget that the CW ruined the structure of the show and tried to water down our favorite teen sleuth for mass consumption. But then I remember Cult. Bleck. I’m sure very few reading this have actually seen Veronica Mars, which means you all need to go out and buy Season 1 on DVD – it’s perfect. Okay. Focus. I’ll start calling Ashley by her given name (instead of PornStarMom) when I feel bad for her — Ashley sees Wilden hanging out in the door of the local pizza shop while wandering a parking lot on her lunch break, so she gets really paranoid that Wilden is alive and well. I don’t like this one bit.
Spencer continues to spiral, noticing that an “E” and the “M” in the “Deepest Sympathy” sash are matte instead of shiny; this clearly means that A is coming for Emily! I am definitely following Spencer’s logic, but Emily is acting like Spencer should be committed and that the girls have never dealt with bonkers conspiracy murder theories. Emily is forgetting the entire premise of the show. PLL is swinging this well – Spencer seems a little insane, but this isn’t too insane for A’s previous shenanigans. I’m worried for Spencer, but I’m also worried that Spencer found something. Emily is unfazed because she was swim practice.
Emily decides to visit her mother at the police station, where they chat about how Toby has always been a little Teen Wolf scary. Emily asks Mom if she can check her email on her mother’s police computer, which is the dumbest thing ever because Emily has an iPhone. Emily’s Mom needs to take a class in how 2013 works (I hope you all read the wonderful Entertainment Weekly article about Pretty Little Liars and the power of social media – if you can’t read, the pictures are hot fire). Emily obviously does not boot up AOL, but instead hacks into the police database – she’s looking for an image of E. LAMB, the name on Toby’s ID for the Radley Hospital for Crazies. E. Lamb’s pictures obviously takes 17 minutes to load, but Emily gets an important text before she sees a face: “Stop looking. I’ll meet you.” IT’S FROM TOBY. Emily is such a sneaky little detective.
Spencer thinks it’s a smart idea to start following Mona, which is an awful idea because MONA IS CRAZY AND TRIED TO KILL EVERYONE. I know everyone thinks Mona is “sweet” and wants to give her a “second chance,” but the Liars seems awfully flippant around the girl that won Lunatic of the Century last season. Here is Spencer’s thought process: “Mona? Oh, I can definitely follow Mona. She won’t smell the stench coming from my hair miles away. Oh, Mona is heading into the woods? That seems really safe! Let’s follow Mona off-trail into the woods!” Everyone is stupid. Everyone should invest in weapons. No one should enter the woods. I could quote Sondheim right here but I’m holding myself back. You’re welcome. I hope Bernadette Peters is A.
Hanna arrives home to find… Wilden’s police cruiser in the garage? With the video of Ashley and Wilden playing on loop? Hanna clearly watches the entire thing; while the video shows Ashley striking Wilden, it also shows Wilden being a creepy asshole and working far outside of his jurisdiction. Hanna probably has no idea what she’s watching – she probably thinks that the television inside Wilden’s car doesn’t change from the same episode of Cops (or is it COPS?). How did this car get from the middle of the woods to the Marin garage? What in tarnation? Help?
Back out in the wilderness, Emily is meeting Toby in a meat locker garage. I feel like there are giant meat hooks hanging from the ceiling of this place, with giant cows hanging around, but I’m making up my own scenery outside of the frame. Toby is supposed to meet Emily at 7pm; he’s a no-show. How surprising. Everyone on this show is clearly breaking out from their previous behavioral patterns and really bringing the shockers. I will say that this season has slowly but surely put Spencer at the center of everything – this season may as well be called PLL: Spencer. It certainly would get that subtitle if Ryan Murphy was running things and wanted the show to compete under the less-crowded miniseries category at the Emmys; I love hypothetical situations.
Spencer is literally trudging alone into the depths of the forest, acting like it is the middle of the afternoon and she is on her way to church to meet up with her super religious cousins and then grab cheap donuts in the rectory after mass. No, she is strolling through the thick of the forest in the middle of the night. Spencer loses sight of Mona, but finds a body – TOBY. TOBY IS DEAD. Mona kind of screams, “Toby is dead!” before running away like a madwoman. Excuse me – like the madwoman she is. Here’s the thing – we don’t actually get to see Toby’s face (Spencer doesn’t have time to take off his motorcycle helmet), so there’s no knowing that she entire situation wasn’t manipulated by Red Hood and her minions. We got a peek of a Toby waist tattoo, but there’s no saying that Wilden didn’t have the same tattoo due to the fact that they’re secret brothers or once joined a cult together. I’m guessing there’s some Toby-Wilden voodoo afoot, but for now I’ll just pretend like we have hard “Toby is dead” evidence to run with. Spencer has an emotional breakdown in the middle of the forest while the camera spins around her so fast that I vomited from motion sickness. All the Teen Choice surfboards to Troian, please and thank you.
Aria says something dumb about babies. The end.
Emily has been waiting in the meat hook garage for something like two hours, and Toby is still missing. Maybe that’s because Toby is dead! Joke sure is on you, Emily! Emily spots Red Hood trolling around in her rear view mirror, and decides to sneak around the meat hook garage. This place is actually the carpentry workshop where Toby works! At least, I think this place is full of carpenters. Emily is literally just spying around while a bunch of men doing things to wood. That sounds wrong but it’s so right. I don’t know anything about carpenters or whatever is going on here, I’m sorry. Emily spots Weird Teeth Work Friend hard at work! Weird Teeth Work Friend says Toby is not around, but also knows Emily’s name even though she never shared that tidbit – spooky. What a typical murderer tipoff, Weird Teeth Work Friend. Emily has the worst taste in men.
Emily turns to leave, but there’s a red package sitting in the car. Inside the package, Emily finds a little box shaped like a coffin; the note inside: “Toby is no more. –A.” The message is written in blood!!! Run!!! There’s also a pamphlet for Toby’s “funeral.” What histrionics you have, Red Hood. Can we get a scene with a wolf up in here? That’s what I want to see – Red Hood unleashing a wolf on the Liars. Boom. Hanna would punch the wolf in the face.
Hanna calls Aria for backup with the whole police car-video ordeal, and her ingenious solution is to push the car into the local lake. There’s a lot of drama – Aria doesn’t want to help, Hanna is strong enough to push the car in herself, the car won’t sink, the red light turns on during the sinking – but eventually the car makes its way to Davy Jones’ Locker. I think Davy Jones’ Locker is an ocean-only type of thing, but who knows how this will end up in a place like Rosewood. Rosewood might hold all of the answers to Lost at this point. PornStarMom (no more Ashley) noticed that Wilden’s car was no longer stalled in the middle of the forest, so she thinks everything is better. Idiot – that is why you will always be PornStarMom and never Ashley.
Ezra has on great plaid. Aria does not want to interrupt Malcolm-Maggie-Ezra time. Again, THE END. RESCUE ME.
Emmys for Hair & Make-Up, here we come: the next morning, Spencer is catatonic in the middle of the forest. She spent the entire night stumbling around like a lunatic. Her hair is massive. Her face looks dead. Tears are stuck to her cheeks. This is maybe the worst anyone has ever looked on television; the exception is maybe the time when that thing happened to Gus Fring on Breaking Bad and his face looked rough. (I don’t want to spoil this if you’re marathoning the entire show for the upcoming final summer mini-season.) The police/forest rangers will need a psych evaluation on this poor girl. Spencer is broken. Spencer has hit the lowest low. There is nowhere to go after you have been betrayed by the love of your life and then (presumably) find his corpse. That is actually the scariest, most emotionally exhausting experience on the planet. I am presuming all of this, because I have no lived such a situation. Yet.
THE EPISODE ENDS WITH SPENCER IN RADLEY. THIS IS NOT A JOKE. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. I NEED TO DO THIS ENTIRE PARAGRAPH IN CAPS LOCK BECAUSE ALL I WANT TO DO IS SCREAM FOREVER AND EVER UNTIL THE END OF TIME. THIS IS HUGE. THIS IS HORRIFYING. THE LAST TIME WE VISITED RADLEY WAS FOR MONA, AND EVERYTHING SHE WAS EXPERIENCING WAS JUST A GAME COMPARED TO THE UNFORUNATE EVENTS OF SPENCER HASTINGS. I AM SOBBING. I AM RIPPING MY HAIR OUT. SPENCER IS MUTE. TAKE ME TO RADLEY. I NEED HELP. PAGING SISTER JUDE.
The episode’s weird clue shows how Hanna could come up with better plans in the future, as someone goes fishing at her handy pound and brings up Wilden’s old police hat. Dumb girl. Hanna, stop trying to protect your mother and realize that you both need to get the hell out of Rosewood. Last time Hanna helped her mother she was forced to eat a bunch of piggy cupcakes in public; while that was humiliating for Hanna, it is a high point for PLL and one of the early examples that this show would be a roaring success. I’m too exhausted to figure out how to end this recap. I want to give Spencer a hug. I’ll probably take some medicine for insane people and sleep for the next 4 months to recover. Goodnight.
[Image Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC Family(2)]
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Annndddddd we're back. It's only the second week of Nashville, but I have to say it feels like this show has been on for years. The amount of drama and plotlines broached in last week's episode alone could have been enough material for the entire season. But that can only mean it's about to get really good. If you didn't already READ MY RECAP, let me catch you all up to speed. Tami Taylor Rayna James (Connie Britton) is the queen of country, you see, but suddenly her producers found some wrinkles on her face and discovered Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), a pretty young (blonde) thing, and decided it was time to give RJ the boot. Well, they gave her the option of co-headlining with Juliette, but HA, as if. Rayna's dad is some big-time politician in Nashville (he even had a whole day named after him! Yep!) and let's just say they don't meet eye to eye. Her band leader Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten) is also her one true love, but of course it couldn't work out the way they both dreamed it would. And as if Rayna didn't have enough to deal with, her shady-ass husband Teddy Conrad (Eric Close) is now running for mayor under the wing of his controlling father-in-law. OH, and young, perfect, smiling, wide-eyed hopefuls Scarlett O'Connor (Clare Bowen) and Gunnar Scott (Sam Palladio) just so happened to take the stage at The Bar, Bluebird, and wow everyone (including RJ's old-timer producer Watty White) with their money-making melody. There was SO MUCH more because, again, it was essentially four series melded into one 40-something minute episode. But I'm just tired, I can't do all the work for you. SO I'M MOVING ON NOW. Are you ready for more cliches?!
Spoiled Young Star
Juliette Barnes is filming a music video in a white pleather number that looks straight off the Strawberry racks when she hears a PA saying her songs are for 12-year-old girls. OH HELL NO. She is so appalled by this comment she demands he be fired. Immediately! "And where is Deacon Claybourne?!" she shrieks. (Isn't it just awesome that his last name is spelled like Jason Bourne? Note to self: Watch that after this.) She's no better than Taylor Swift. Oops. Rating: 3, because there's no way "Juliette Barnes" would agree to wear that sticky, tacky mess of an outfit. Not even Britney Spears would do that.
Back to Your Roots
RJ meets with Old Man Watty for a touch base on Scarlett and Gunnar's mind-blowing performance. "I haven't seen that kind of chemistry since you and Deacon," he says through wise, grey eyes. "You should get back on the road. Just the two of you." RJ flicks her strawberry locks and coyly says that it's a crazy idea, although deep down she's picturing the two of them whispering lyrics to each other in the van, napping against a warm window, watching the scenery pass by as if nothing had changed at all. She's intrigued. Rating 8.5, because I can't think of one country song that isn't about getting back to your roots.
Jealous (But Probably Right) Husband
Not that he doesn't have a reason to be, but of course when RJ brings up touring with Deacon to Teddy he rolls his eyes, doubting his smokin' hot wife. He goes into his campaign trail and how he'd love to have his wife by his side, which is, OKAY, understandable. Actually, RJ is acting a little cray. I mean, she is married with kids and living with a husband going into politics. Is it really her time to hit the road, playing in honky tonks? Maybe, maybe it is the perfect time. Rating: 1, because when is the husband actually right?
Playing Hard to Get
Old Man Watty ain't waiting a second longer before booking Scar and Gungun. He wants them HOOKED. Hell, he even offers to pay for their demos! GG is all like, "OMG, really? That's awesome!" Meanwhile, Scar runs away like a scared little kitten — like he's just asked her back to his hotel room. This is not going to be easy. Nope. And that's just how he likes it. Rating: 5.5, because it's a Goddam singing deal. AND YOU'RE A WAITRESS. Can't think of anyone who wouldn't jump at the chance.
I mean, REALLY, Juliette is young enough to be RJ's daughter. And now they're both after the same guy. DEACON, of course. Aren't you guys paying attention? RJ and Deacon are about to record a song when Juliette pops up and makes some suggestive comment about finishing what they started. He brushes it off in front of RJ because he wants us all to think he's a true gentleman. But no. Juliette sits out back in her teal pick-up truck, listening to her own songs and crafting a Rayna voodoo doll, patiently waiting for Deacon to exit the studio. And as soon as he does, she pounces. It's time for an adventure, apparently, and Deacon is so stoked he forgets RJ is a mere 4 inches away, then hops into her car like a horny teenager. I mean, honestly D? We want to like you! We're rooting for you! ANYWAY, she drives him up to some large plot of land and talks about fairy tales of building a home there, a place where she can be herself. It's all very Notebookesque, only she's Ryan Gosling's and Rachel McAdams' unborn child, not one of the actual characters in the love story. Because, again, she's a baby. "Ready to get started?" B asks, and that's all Juliette needs to hear as she wraps her lanky arms around his neck and gets right to it. FRENCH KISSING. Just like she learned in the basement party she was at last week. He finds it adorable. Rating: 9.5, because this exemplifies all that we hate, but love at the very same time.
Snooty Southern Moms
What's the point of setting a show in Nashville if you can't stereotype passive aggressive women with accents? No point, no point at all. So, it's only natural that when RJ comes to some political gathering of sorts, she run into the polished women of the town. "You should really put out another album," one of them says to RJ. She shortly replied, "It's out." Mom No. 2 innocently asks, "Do they have it at Starbucks?" at which point RJ whips her perfect ponytail around and walks away. Rating: 7.5, because Starbucks, really? That can't be right.
Juliette and Deacon. That's all. Rating: 10, because.
Some lawyers in matching suits and ties are cornering Teddy in an office about some sort of money shadiness. It's all very brief and confusing, but something is sketchy. And that can only mean one thing: corruption in politics! How unusual! He's got secrets all right, lots of them. And he's quite handsome, so, well okay, no real point there. Back in the big office with Lamar Wyatt, he explains that his main message to the people who have worked under him is to not mess with him. Man, he is one scary wolf-like creature. He's talking to a man who's presumably been working with him (and if I should know his name, I'm sorry! THERE ARE SO MANY STORYLINES IN THIS SHOW BAHHHH) and he counters that Lamar's main message is that, "Loyalty is a one way street with you. Whatever you give, you're gonna get back." Touche? Rating: 8.5, because where there's country music, there's shady biz.
Juliette casually has a messenger drop off a gagillion dollar guitar as a gift for B while he's working with RJ, and he's all, "Oh, it's nothing!" And RJ's all like, "Stop hanging out with Miss Sparkly Pants!" And now they're in a fight. She makes a dramatic exit — trying to emulate Juliette's high school behavior, perhaps — and slams the door. Rating: 9, because girls will be dramatic no matter how old they get.
Was waiting for this one to come out. So, RJ almost absurdly opens up about her past and current relationship with D. She says he's still in her life, very much so, but romantically, things ended when he went to rehab. OF COURSE HE WENT TO REHAB. This explains everything, right? Right? And now he's sober. But is he? IS HE? RJ looks out into a dark cloud and says, "If he hadn't gone to rehab, he probably would not be with us today." And guess what? She paid for his treatment. So it's like she was bribing him, too. For his love, if you didn't get that. She swears she didn't continue sleeping with D while he was in rehab. But she is an awful liar. Oh, such an awful liar. Rating: 9, because drugs, alcohol, country, of course!
Back at the Bluebird (where else), D is strumming and singing along with a huge crowd. RJ and Juliette are both sitting in the audience, dreaming of him playing there naked, looking into their eyes. D's song is over, and he introduces a very talented singer up to the stage with him. Only it's not Juliette. NOPE. She looks as crushed as a 17-year-old boy being turned down by his crush at the school dance. I really almost feel for her. She's trying to be "Cool Girl," but she's not. She's just "Girl." A girl looking for a little country love of her own. Anyway, RJ hits the stage with D and they say they're going to sing a song they performed nearly 20 years ago. Only they don't sing, they just eye-f*** each other for a solid four minutes, and it's quite erotic. It even turns Scarlett's mind around about singing with Gungun, because she sees what they could be. Hell, even Old Man Watty is getting turned on in the corner. EVERYONE IS RED IN THE FACE. Jesus, is this Rated R? Rating: 9.5, because Juliette being so jealous she runs out of the bar is a memory just about everyone can remember from high school. Also, young love never dies.
[Image Credit: Katherine Bomboy-Thorton/ABC/KATHERINE BOMBOY-THORNTON]
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The episode opens with Aria’s Mom teaching Hedda Gabler to the Liars. This is a really highbrow metaphor for the girls, but it makes me expect great things. Like, Hedda Gabler on ABC Family? Maybe just a desperate plea for Emmy attention, but I’m on board. Also, this high school doesn’t only teach To Kill A Mockingbird! I feel like the Liars probably didn’t read Hedda Gabler. Whatever. Aria’s Mom also thinks that people dance for the security cameras at Wal-Mart the night before an exam. Which is a lie — everyone dances for the security camera at the closest grungy supermarket these days. Ugh. Aria’s Mom is always behind.
Emily receives a necklace of teeth that reads DEAD GIRLS CAN’T SMILE. But dead girls CAN smile, if you turn their mouth that way. However, they will look bad if you pull out all their teeth. Emily has a panic attack, everyone runs out after her to have a bathroom powwow. If my memories from high school are correct, you are not allowed to do that. I feel like our four Liars are in charge of the school, you know? The necklace falls into the toilet because everyone is being stupid, and Spencer does the most stupid thing because she triggers the flusher sensor thing. Spencer messes up even after Aria warns her about the sensor. Is Aria passing Spencer for smartest Liar? Probably not, but anything can happen on this show...
Aria’s hair looks better when she puts it in a ponytail and lets her top mom layers frame her lemur face. Yes, I am still obsessed with Aria’s hair because it looks the worst. After the necklace of human teeth is lost forever into the Rosewood toilet system, our ladies decide to double attack Mona and Garrett to get more information. Suddenly, a wild Jenna appears wearing a RIDICULOUS voodoo necklace and still pretending she is blind! The most blind ever, because she is running into people now. Oops. Aria is the only one that realizes how Jenna is now the blindest, further solidifying her smart status. Gold star, Aria!
Emily was absent from school all of April. Was she drunk? How did she miss every day of school in April? Didn’t her friends say something? Was it because of Maya? Couldn’t they help out the token lesbian with good hair? Aria thinks it’s really smart for Ezra to be Emily’s tutor on the English exam — another smart move for Aria. AND THEN BIG SOMETHING HAPPENS: MEREDITH ARRIVES. Meredith as in the graduate student that Aria’s Dad slept with! She is actually Jody Sawyer from Center Stage disguised as a crazy home wrecking bitch, which means I like her and hate her at the same time. Meredith wants a teaching position at the high school, and says she won’t put Aria down as a reference. That comment is not even funny/cute/scary, only dumb. Meredith is hot and dumb.
NEXT: Do you suffer from Ambiguous Loss?
Hanna is still visiting Mona in the loony bin, and Mona still looks dead. Remember that weird Halle Berry film, Gothika? It is really bad. Do not watch it. But I think of it whenever I see Mona. Hanna is sharing the latest gossip with Mona, and then she SNAPS. Like, Hanna starts screaming about peach pie and braiding back hair and she throws a chair. Mona sits as stone cold as ever.
Hot British Doctor is lecturing Hanna about crazy people, which is weirdly sexual. (They should bang?) I know Hanna is with Caleb, but Hannah and Caleb have the same haircut now and that’s weird. Basically everyone should be in love with Hot British Doctor (HBD, from here on out). HBD mentions this thing called “Ambiguous Loss,” in which something is gone but yet still here. Sounds very medical, and by that, I mean it sounds like he made it up.
Spencer is hanging out with Toby and notices that Jenna’s life as a blind person is questionable. Duh. Spencer thought to use a search engine (probably Bing), and realized that Jenna’s camp ended Aug. 23. Where’d she go? Clearly Spencer is the one closest to the Nancy Drew here and solidifies her status as Smart One! Toby suddenly tries to have sex with Spencer. As in, he starts giving her a massage and then pulls her shirt up to expose her entire back and starts kissing and Spencer is not wearing a bra and vigorous making out and we see Toby’s weird hip tattoo again and is this show Fifty Shades of Grey? I forget how to use periods/punctuation when high schoolers have almost-sex on television! Mariska (Spencer’s Mom) comes back and it is over. Mariska’s hair looks bad. Mariska sucks.
Back at school, Aria finds a weird earring in her locker. We flash back to when Ali was alive, which means we see my favorite Aria: Rebellious Aria with the pink extension! Ali looks like a midget hooker, and the two are hunting for evidence of Aria’s Dad having an affair with Meredith; Ali finds an earring, so the two decide to trash everything and make it look like Meredith wants to ruin Aria’s entire family. The trashing looks like so much fun, because Ali and Aria write on the walls with lipstick and throw papers. This is one of the best things PLL has ever done. It is like a food fight but with actual damage. Ali also calls Meredith a “vindictive home-wrecking bunny boiler,” which is a burn I am using every day for the rest of my life. Anyhoo, flashback ends and Aria reveals that the earring is the keepsake Aria dropped in Ali’s casket. GRAVE ROBBING.
Aria passes Jenna on her way out, and Jenna says that she recognizes Aria because of Aria’s ringtone. ARIA’S RINGTONG IS RANDOM BEEPS. Jenna, try harder. Jenna wants Aria to play in a recital with her? What? That doesn’t make sense. Jenna is arranging pistachio shells in a weird crop circle. Aria blatantly lies and runs away. Jenna lowers her sunglasses — the universal sign that her eyeballs work — and starts casting an evil spell on Aria. I love Jenna.
NEXT: Where’s Hanna’s Mom?
Mariska bans Spencer from the jail! Garrett is bad! Spencer is wearing an ugly tennis dress! Garrett has evidence that proves… stuff? He says he is innocent! People lie! Medial records don’t! I believe most of this, but I also feel like someone on this show (umm, A) could 100 percent forge medical records. Garrett gives nothing up. Mariska is now Garrett’s lawyer. Something is fishy. Spencer is frazzled.
Everyone’s mother is being really rude this season and we are already two episodes in! Is that the theme for this season? Maybe all the moms are A? Hanna’s Mom is absent the entire episode, which means she is either filming porn somewhere or having sex with that police officer the entire week. Caleb thinks that Mona spends her time in the psych ward “making ashtrays and pooping in a stall without a door,” which sounds mildly boring but not that awful. Hanna mentions that she needs to see Mona because she is suffering from Ambiguous Loss! HBD! Hanna is like a doctor now. Hanna does Mona’s makeup at the hospital/jail. It is really sweet. Hanna deserves a pig cupcake. Mona also whispers her first line from the crazy house: “You’re still received them, aren’t you?” A!!! Mona also steals tweezers from Hanna and pulls something out of her finger. We’re crossing over into Black Swan territory!
Back at the hospital, HBD and Caleb are having a pissing contest over Hanna. HBD mentions Ambiguous Loss, and Caleb realizes that Hanna lied to him. Caleb is a really good boyfriend and Hanna is a bad girlfriend! Ambiguous Loss is everywhere and A is kind of M.I.A.ish this episode. I like the flip, because I learned about Ambiguous Loss and Ambiguous Loss can be used as an excuse for almost anything. I think.
Aria’s Dad is the worst character on this show, taking the spot left open from when Emily’s Mom used to cry in the soup cabinet about her daughter’s lesbian tendencies, when he forces Aria to apologize to Meredith about the office trashing. STUPID. Meredith is a blonde whore! She has evil eyes. Aria confesses because A sent her the worst A text ever, and it wasn’t that hard to tell the truth. Meredith hangs out in a Rosewood coffee house that has not existed before this very day, which makes sense because Rosewood just invents new stores when characters need a new meeting place. Aria finds out that the earring from her dad’s office does not belong to Meredith. That is not a mystery but more just Aria forgetting about the manipulative character traits of her evil dead friend.
NEXT: Jenna has eyeballs!
Emily is listening to pump-up jams before her exam… and… touching herself? She makes a scary orgasm face and then the exam starts. Emily sees the first page and does the classic “I KNOW EVERYTHING” face. She’s enjoying herself. However, as the exam nears the end, Emily has a flashback to the blue car that has been haunting her since… last episode. The flashback comes because some girl in the classroom acts as a trigger. At first, I thought Emily was going into a hazy lesbian fever dream. However, the woman driving the creepy car was JENNA!!! WITH EYEBALLS!!! NO SUNGLASSES!!! BLACK GLOVES!!! Again, Jenna is the best. Emily doesn’t finish the test. But she only had like seven minutes left when the flashback arrived, and she still had roughly 28 questions left. So… I don’t know if she can blame the car kidnap memory returning, you know?
Aria’s Mom sees that Emily is going to flunk, so she decides to fill in the answers for the questions Emily missed. Amazing. Ezra, as Emily’s concerned tutor, comes to talk to Aria’s Mom about the exam. Aria’s Mom gives the wink treatment to Ezra, basically saying I WILL DO ANYTHING SO SAVE EMILY. Ezra and Aria’s Mom have secrets now. Adults lying along with the Liars is perfect.
The episode ends with the girls having another bathroom party and screaming about everything that has happened this episode. They’re all talking on top of each other and no one is listening. Aaand then Jenna stumbles in! The girls hide in the stalls. Jenna fills up a water bottle. Jenna finds Aria’s evil-not-Meredith earring on the bathroom sink. JENNA TAKES OFF HER SUNGLASSES BECAUSE SHE CAN SEE. The Liars see everything from the slits in their bathroom stalls. Brilliant.
Aria is “ready to hang a sign: ‘Bitch can see!’” Spencer decides to wait because they can use the information to their advantage. Spencer is the smartest. Spencer wins. Aria gets close because that is a good sign.
Ultimately, I really hope A is controlling everything that ever happens in Rosewood and it ends up that A is the Mayor from Buffy. Like, the same actor that turns into the giant worm during graduation. This IS season three, and I like the parallels. Little Red Riding Hood is shown in a hunting shop with a lot of knives at the standard “clue” to cap the episode. What will happen with those knives? Are their knives in Hedda Gabler? Would you do the makeup for your crazy friend that tried to murder you and probably had a lot of knives? Are any of you readers suffering from Ambiguous Loss? Don’t play with sharp knives. See you next week.
[Image Credit: ABC Family]
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