Pretty Little Liars. . . At Every UGHccasion, I’ll Be Ready For the Funeral

This week’s episode of Pretty Little Liars did not live up to the homecoming excitement of the last two episodes. Lots of flashbacks, a few new characters, and my attempt to place actors from Disney Channel movies slowed the pace and did little to clear up what is going on with this show.

Flashbacks tell a large part of the episode’s story. Most of the flashbacks feature the girls in swimsuits. I have no idea what demographic Pretty Little Liars is trying to attract with this. Is ABC Family approved for viewing in prisons? In that case, I have an idea of what demographic the show is trying to attract.

Many people have toxic friendships and part of life is trying to reconcile  admiration for people with their real faults, but Ali is so mean in the flashbacks! I don’t think we’ve seen a flashback where Ali has been kind, friendly, or not terrible. This episode introduces Ali’s brother Jason, who is also crazy. Jason micromanages his sister’s memorial service like a character from a Bret Easton Ellis novel. He adds potential criminal Jenna to the list of memorial service speakers, much to the dismay of our heroines. Her presence at the service concerns the girls, as if Jenna were the drunken uncle at Thanksgiving who usually just says whatever is on his mind after three beers and a half bottle of red wine.

Emily asks Maya/ Kendra the Vampire Slayer out on a movie date as a potential result of her male love interest dying last episode. Emily moves on very quickly. Her dad is also returning from a National Guard tour of duty in Afghanistan. Topical.

Hanna’s mother continues to not make ends meet. Her household is going to have to cut down on the artisanal cheeses. Her household will also have to cut down on making my brain hurt. School brightens Hanna’s day as she shares tender moments with her boyfriend Sean. Her nerdy admirer Lucas tells her about the joys to selling things on the Internet. Next week, on a very special Pretty Little Liars, Hanna becomes a cam-whore.

Spencer has some boring, swimsuit-clad flashback memories. Then, she gets a message on her phone.

First of all, A must have broken the cap-lock function on his or her phone. Secondly, with girls so literary and mature (the italics imply sarcasm, duh) they must recognize A’s reference to a scene from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer where Tom attends his own funeral. Unless, A is referring to Rush’s conception of today’s Tom Sawyer whose mind is not for rent and whom you should not put down as arrogant. Perhaps, A’s reserve, a quiet defense? The river!

Lucas helps Hanna sell her old clothing online While he seems nice enough, something is off about Lucas. He claims being a card-carrying nerd but makes an inordinate amount of Star Wars episodes 1-3 references. Either the writers for Pretty Little Liars need to step their nerd game up or Lucas has a secret.

Detective Sweet Balls is back doing his brand of small-town detective work. He clashes with Jason when accused of not handling the investigation well. The detective reveals that on the night of Alison’s disappearance, recently deceased Toby Cavanaugh called her on the cellular telephone.

Emily’s flashback memory of Alison is very confusing. Actually, it is not confusing; it is just told outside of the phallogocentric language system the world has adopted. The message of acceptance on this show is refreshing in light of vapid and damaging other messages

Aria and Hanna eat some pizza with Sean and a guy named Noel before a Band of Horses concert. Eventually, Noel encourages Aria to keep romantically pursuing her English teacher. Ew, new guy.

Spencer and Jason meet to make some last-minute preparations for Alison’s memorial service. Just a reminder: Jason did not attend his sister’s funeral. During this meeting, Jason confirms that Alison was an awful person who tells awful lies. In this case, Alison lied to Jason and told him that Spencer convinced the girls to mislead the police about the fire they started that blinded Jenna.

The memorial service starts. A man named Ian,  shows up. Ian used to date Spencer’s sister. The girls act as if we should care about whoever he is. He is this guy.

He’s from Smart House!

Each girl phones in her memorial speech, except for Jenna. Way to be good friends, people Alison didn’t blind with fire.

Jason thanks the girls for helping with the service. He gives them Alison’s bracelet as a token of his appreciation. This bracelet freaks the girls out since A planted a bracelet that was thought to be Alison’s. A is a master-level lanyard forger.

Someone smashes Alison’s memorial. Good for that person! Alison was really mean to everyone.

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