“Pretty Little Liars” recap (1.07): The devil has a name and it’s Boo Radley van Cullen


When last we left our PLLs, Boo Radley van Cullen was trying to explain to Emily that — much like Marsha and Greg Brady before him — he had partaken from the fruit of the tree of step-siblings. Unfortunately, the thumping of 2AM Club’s “Let Me Down Easy” had dulled her hearing, so when Boo Radley van Cullen ran after her and shouted, “Slow down, Emily, it’s only incest!” She heard, “Come back here, Emily, so I can murder you!”

Hanna, Aria and Spencer are frantically calling for Emily. Aria tells Spencer to stay behind while they go vampire hunting, but Spencer is a Hermione Granger-alike in book-smarts only. She’s a Ravenclaw. Not a Gryffindor. She is a coward, is what I am saying. And she refuses to stay alone. The chemistry classroom shows signs of a scuffle. Emily is not answering her phone. Where could she be, they wonder. Where could she be?

Why, she’s in the backseat of Boo Radley van Cullen’s car. And she’s bleeding. So is he, but it doesn’t matter as much because Emily’s face is prettier and Boo sleeps with a blind robot.

Opening credits. Have we talked about how much I love these opening credits? I love these opening credits.

Morning. Rosewood. The camera caresses the BEAUTIFUL TOYOTA, which has found its way to Emliy’s house in the middle of the night. (This town is FULL of DARK MAGIC.) Also at Emily’s house? Every able-bodied officer in the Rosewood Police force because in Pennsylvania, it seems, when a teenager falls down and bumps her noggin, the National Guard gets involved.

Aria and Spencer are explaining to Emily — again, apparently — about Jenna and Boo’s Oedipal love, and how the documented existence of such sexual shenanigans is proof that Boo killed A and buried her in Maya’s backyard. Emily is like, “I get that I’m concussed, but you know who solves crimes better than you? Inspector Gadget.” Spencer, who pings from sexy to shrill all over this episode, covers her ears and stomps her feet about how she’s right, she’s right, she’s right, she’s right! Boo is the killer, Boo is the killer, Boo is the killer!

Hanna hops up in there, all, “BEE-YOO-TE-FUL TOYOTA in your yard, Emily!” And she pulls Boo Radley van Cullen’s therapy file out of her bra while explaining that only half the town’s cops are outside of Emily’s house. The other half are at Boo’s therapist’s office.

Spencer looks at Aria’s big brown pleading eyes and goes, “OK, one more Scooby Snack.” She tosses it up affectionately. Aria nips it out of the air. And then they bounce to the Mystery Machine because they heard something creepy was going on up at Old Man Withers’ place.

Outside, the Rosewood cop explains to Emily’s mom that Emily didn’t go to homecoming with her boyfriend. At first Emily’s mom thinks, OK, it was a full moon; maybe Ben was out of Wolfsbane Potion. But then the cop is all, “The school’s guest list says she went with Boo Radley van Cullen.” Emily’s mom acts like he just said “Lord Voldemort” right out loud. Her eyes bug out of her head and she’s like, “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named must not be named in my yard! What will my neighbors think?!”

I cannot wait until Emily’s mom finds out it’s not Boo that Emily likes, but Boobs.

Inside, Hanna and Emily have the sweetest little coming out conversation.

Emily: Why did you think I would take Maya to the dance?
Hanna: What?
Emily: You thought I wanted her as my date. Why?
Hanna: “A” sent me a picture of you and Maya kissing. So, can I just ask — You took Toby to the dance, but then you took that picture with Maya?
Emily: I think I know what I want. But if I say yes to Maya, everything would change. You know it would.
Hanna: Yeah, it would. You wouldn’t have to pretend you’re someone you’re not.
Emily: But what if I’m wrong. What if I’m not … that person?
Hanna: Emily, you’re not signing a contract. You were Emily dating Ben and now you’re Emily dating Maya. We love Emily. No one cares who you’re with.

Dr. Seuss said kind of the same thing — Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind — and that’s a really cool sentiment, but also sometimes the people who mind are the people who matter most. And that’s hard.

Hanna tucks Boo’s file back down her shirt and says she’ll just stuff it into her locker until they decide what to do with it, which is almost as dumb as what they actually decide to do with it.

Emily’s mom comes upstairs, takes away her phone and is like, “I’ll just be sitting in this chair, watching you sleep.” Which: Alarmingly like a vampire, Mrs. Emily.

Where in the world is Mr. Gilbert Blythe? I don’t know and neither does Aria. We miss his pretty face. Aria calls and gets his machine. She leaves a message all, “Hi, this is Aria from second period English Lit. Also it’s Aria your girlfriend.” Ah, the things that are admissible in the court of law. In the middle of the brawl between her parents, someone sends Aria a package. I was kind of hoping it was from “A,” and that it contained, like, a package of replacement robot eyeballs or something.

Alas, it’s a box of flowers, and they’re not even from Gil; they’re from Ken Doll: Thanks for dancing with me at Homecoming while our significant others continued to work their way toward prison. Maybe we can hang out sometime and not have sex. Real Love Waits! xo, Ken.”

Aria accosts him in the hall the next day and tells him never to send her flowers again. “You don’t have genitals, Ken!” Then she breaks into Gilbert Blythe’s apartment and overhears a message that he has applied for a job in another school district. (OMG, just like in Anne of Avonlea!)

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