“Pretty Little Liars” recap (1.12): Meet the Fockers

Alex is waiting for Spencer after school. (He goes to poor kids school, remember. With the burlap sacks for clothes, and the Oliver Twist food situation.) He’s looking at a pamphlet for a tennis camp in Sweden, and Spencer is on the phone telling the maid to ready the Hastings chalet in Stockholm before he can explain that he wants to work as a mechanic this summer and save money for college. Spencer thinks about lecturing him about ambition, but remembers her crime-solving record is 0 out of 1,000,000; so she keeps her haughtiness in check.

Before we get into this Inaugural Lezzer Dinner happening at the Fields’, let us take a moment to appreciate Nia Peeples‘ biceps and deltoids. (Did you know her full name is Gwendolyn Peeples? Gwendolyn Peeples! When I see a name like that and say my epicly boring name out loud, I want to punch someone in the face.)

Maya is wearing a dress, as promised, and looking gorgeous. I’m going to drop a little spoiler here, so if you don’t want to hear it, skip ahead to the next paragraph. Maya and Emily’s relationship is almost donezo, and even though Pretty Little Liars is bringing on lots of other girls for Emily to date — Shay Mitchell told Trish Bendix that Emily gets more action than anyone else this season — I’m going to be sad to see Bianca Lawson go. This storyline is refreshing in a dozen ways, and one of the major ones is watching two women of color in a same-sex relationship. It’s a TV storyline that’s rarer than hen’s teeth (my Granny would say) and I’m really going to miss it.

Spoilers over!

Ms. Fields tries to serve Maya a salad with shrimp, and Maya says it’ll kill her dead. (“Shellfish, death. Noted.”) Prodded by Emily, Maya tells a charming story about how her parents met at a “no nukes” rally in California. They had a couple of kids, and then her dad proposed marriage by drawing a wedding ring on her mom’s finger with a Sharpie. When they had a little extra cash, Maya’s mom got the ring tattooed onto her finger for good. The idea of “California” is just too much for Ms. Fields, and she hops up from the table under the pretense of “checking the roast.” She sees Maya and Emily playing footsie under the table, which: Is that an actual thing people do? And the way she ducks into the pantry and starts clutching cans made me think she was actually going to poison Maya. Instead she sobs and sobs and sobs.

Outside after dinner, Maya and Emily make out a little, but are interrupted by Ms. Fields, who assumes that people who can’t afford wedding rings also can’t afford dinner. And so she packed up some leftovers for Maya’s family. And look, I know Ms. Fields isn’t taking this well. And she’s going to go way over the line at the end of the episode. But it’s almost a better story that she’s struggling so hard to accept Emily’s sexuality. Because the thing is:

A) She is trying to accept it. She’s going out of her way to understand Emily, to make her girlfriend feel welcome and accepted. She didn’t say, “Don’t bring your debauchery under my roof.” She stayed up half the night planning a menu. She packed up leftovers. She didn’t chop up crab meat into tiny pieces and sneak it into Maya’s mashed potatoes so she would keel over.

B) If we learn by seeing ourselves reflected in stories, how important is it for parents to have this one presented to them in this exact way? Watching lesbians on TV helped me know I was a lesbian. Watching homophobic parents on TV can help people know that they are homophobic parents. It’s not always that simple, but it could be the start of something grand. Emily’s mom will come around. And maybe so will your parents. And maybe this TV show is part of the reason why. I’m proud of Pretty Little Liars for the way it has handled Emily’s story. Really proud.

Over at Hanna’s House of Horrors, Mona springs the Surprise Spleen party on her. It’s just your general teenage hijinks, except Noel Kahn almost finds the moola-sanga when he goes looking for more plastic cups, and Lucas shows up to pick a fight with Ken Doll about how he doesn’t have genitalia, and Spencer and Alex break up because someone who wanted to make his life better submitted his tennis camp application to Sweden, and Emily is late because she stopped by Boo Radley Van Cullen’s house to give him a pair of sheep shears for his hair, and Aria has to leave early to go to her teacher/boyfriend’s house.

Aww, and look who came out to play: Emily’s BEAUTIFUL TOYOTA.

Hanna also flashes back to the time Alison Regina George-ed Noel Kahn and his girlfriend. So that means Noel has a vendetta against the PLLs, too.

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