Pretty Little Liars

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Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
Like Every Week is Shark Week

Spencer has brought for Toby's practice a copy of L'Attrape-cœurs, lit. The Heartcatcher, trans. Catcher in the Rye, because she knows he's already read it in English, because she saw him once reading it at the Apple Rose Grill, where les jeunes go to read the literature, when they're not smoking cigarettes or writing poems or boning teachers.

It's an incredibly sweet gesture, but you have sort of an irresistible v. immovable thing going on here where Spencer is terrifying to everybody and Toby is terrified of everybody, so he looks that giftcard in the mouth straight away. "What are you doing here?" French lessons, silly billy! "No: What do you actually want?" Spencer tries a game version of "Can't a sister just teach French to the guy she's irrationally persecuted for the last fifteen weeks?" but he's not buying.

Okay, fine. You're right, I have a secret thing and I never do anything without planning it five steps ahead, so here's the deal: You are maybe being framed for murder. Although I still think you did it, possibly, which is why I'm acting so guarded and weird. But as a person who is also the subject of a wide-arching conspiracy, I feel we have things in common. Toby's like, "And how does that feel?" Good question. "Not good. Scary."

To keep the heat off him, Toby asks why on earth she would be under such intense scrutiny, and says something that I think will begin to matter more even than it sounds, because it sounds like such a clue, and he says it so sweetly and sadly: "Maybe you know something you're not supposed to know." She's like, "Every time I figure something out, the rug goes out and I'm on my ass." And they actually smile! "C'est dommage!" he says, and she nods: "C'est la guerre."

The most Spencer sentence ever spoken, in any language at all.

Ice broken, she apologizes finally for hounding him to the ends of the earth, and -- once that's checked off her list -- goes back to interrogation. "The sweater with Alison's blood: You said that you gave it to her that night. And then she got into a car." Yeah, with Ian although he didn't recognize him... And then Jenna goes bumping into more shit and he whispers, like a little boy, "I'm not supposed to talk about this."

I always thought I cared about Toby because Emily needs us so desperately, but seeing him in a scene with somebody else, it occurs to me that you should probably just care about Toby period. Poor freakin' kid. Spencer starts in on how the sweater could possibly have gotten into his house after it was bloodied, and he gets very shivery and runs back into the house, thanking her over his shoulder for the book, before Jenna bumps into a gun or a bomb or something and we all die.

Back at Emily's, they have this awesome conversation where everything Emily says is a homework question, and Spencer's replies are mixed in with the conversation she actually wants to talk about, and the whole thing is just effortless and funny and comfortable and sweet and real. I don't know that it would be as cool on paper, so we won't go into it, but as a writer I'm pretty impressed at the way they play this out. So Emily's asking questions about genetic modification and artificial selection, and the whole time Spencer's juggling her answers with also talking about how Toby is different than she'd always assumed, and actually kind of sweet and smart, in his quiet damaged way.

"I keep trying to find a connection. To Alison and Toby. Me and Toby." And the hilarious kicker: "We're pretty sure he didn't do it, right? And yet somebody found a way to make him look extremely guilty." Emily tries to explain how teaching him French isn't going to solve the problem, but of course Spence doesn't buy that, because she knows no conversation is ever about what it's about.

"If he didn't tell you the first time, he probably can't. Are you sure he even wants you to come back?" Spence thinks about it for a second, but she already knows he does. It's not that she's not compassionate or empathetic -- Spencer sees the brightest sharpest things in everybody, it's why she was the only possible match for Alison -- it's just that there's no use talking about it. You don't talk about tools, you use them. Toby's lonely. She can help him with that, do her penance, and still use it.

Yep, Byron's headed into the school. Hanna assumes he's going to see Ella, and Aria says that's ridiculous, but Hanna makes a gesture that manages to take in not only both the girls and both parents, but also somehow the entire narrative universe: "People lie. I mean, Hello?"

Finally Hanna suggests the obvious, which is to call Ella and see if she acts totally sketchy... Check. And inside they are all over each other, and it's great because they're giggly-naughty, but also have the rich history of being married so a lot of it's in shorthand. Hanna and Ella arrive somewhere between the neck-biting and Ella going, "This is actually super gross because we are lying to our family." Byron's all about telling the kids immediately -- all he ever wanted was to pretend he never fucked around -- but Ella's not so sure. Aria stares and stares! "My parents are having an affair with each other!"

The Montgomerys take off and Hanna... Wanders over to an AC duct, where something is sticking out. Presumably, she thinks it is a wallet. But up in that little cranny, there's so much more: Cell phones, wads o' cash... Clearly, what with people's shit appearing and disappearing willy-nilly, they have located A's hideout. Because A is a capuchin monkey that lives in an AC duct the size of a microwave oven.

Caleb, obviously, watches from some other tiny hidey-hole as Hanna sure enough grabs that wad of cash and prepares to take off. "A owes me! Hospital bills! Pain and suffering! Tire marks on my cleavage!" Aria's appalled, but not I think because you shouldn't steal -- just because A will fuck you -- and then the lights go out, and a scary young fellow in a hoodie appears, and chases them through the school with that fantastic PLL cheapness of sudden slo-mo that makes you feel like things are actually happening instead of just pretending to happen, like the hilarious car accident all over again, and then Hanna pulls something out of her purse and sprays it in Caleb's eye.

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Pretty Little Liars




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