“Pretty Little Liars” recap (1.13): First Love, Last Dance


At the Montgomery’s, Ben weaves a yarn about how his new BFF Noel Kahn is going to bust some teacher tomorrow for having an affair with a student. The hoot of a barn owl. The caw of a crow. The screech of Aria’s chair. And like the Lady of Shalott, she’s out of there.

Gil’s place. He lights one of those three-foot candles in the wine bottle like something out of Lady and the Tramp, and tells Aria some really sweet — but barely believable — things about how she’s the truest thing he’s ever known. I mean, Ian Harding sells it and everything, and I’d like to believe it, but the only thing they ever did was make out at that pub and also snog each other’s faces off in front of the stained glass window at Alison’s funeral. Right? He says he’s going to resign the next day, take the power away from Noel, and they cuddle up on the couch and admire the candle she never even touched.

At school the next day, Emily is bereft. Maya’s parents — the hippies who met at a “no nukes” rally, remember — have shipped her off to Juvie Camp. I couldn’t even get in a good giggle in about Juvie Camp because there goes another lesbian character, into the ether. No circumstance. No pomp. No value in our life or Emily’s life. So long, and thanks for all the fish. (I was wrong. I’ve never been so glad to be wrong.)

Mr. Blythe is slow-mo turning in his resignation at Rosewood High, and juuuuuuuuust before he reaches the principal’s office, the law reaches Noel Kahn’s locker. The answers to three midterms are hanging out in there, and Aria looks at Gil like, “Did you …?” And Gil looks at Aria like, “Did you … ?” And “A” texts them all like, “Bitches, please. You can barely tie your own shoelaces.”

At home, Hanna’s mom tells her to find a safer place to hide their recovered wad of cash. A different pasta this time. Mac and cheese. Spencer’s sister tells her she and Ian are trying for a baby. She and Ian bounce, after she promises Spencer can keep a secret — “see that wocket in her pocket?” — and Spencer invites her buddies over for study group.

Emily arrives last. They smile at her, giggle a little. She says, “What? What?” And they send her up to Spencer’s room where Maya is waiting with a enough candles to fill a chapel.

Emily’s best friends broke her girlfriend out of juvie camp so her girlfriend could have one last shot at making Emily’s dreams come true. That’s not normal writing, my friends. The easy way out was juvie camp with no goodbyes. No more mentions of Maya. No loose strings.

Remember earlier when Spencer was so shocked to discover Emily is hopelessly romantic? They’d known her with boys, before; with a longterm boy named Ben. But they never knew her like this, because she never knew herself like this. No one ever forgets the girl who helped her out of the closet. No one ever for forgets her first love. Emily’s mother can take away her freedom. Emily’s mother can take away her car. She can withhold her approval, her affection, her attention. She can lock Emily away in her castle in the clouds for a thousand years. But she’ll never be able to take away this moment: Emily slow-dancing in the candlelight with the first woman she ever loved.

It doesn’t change the way I feel about her.

Emily and Maya say goodbye. A real, proper, you’ll-always-hold-my-heart-in-your-hands goodbye.

“A” is at the window. I thought s/he was going to axe-murder Maya. I thought I was going to punch my TV in the neck. But no. S/he texts the PLLs: “Don’t say I never gave you anything.” (Besides a broken femur, s/he means.) They crowd around Spencer’s laptop to watch Alison’s full murder video. She prances and dances and taunts and flaunts, and the camera turns, and it’s Ian. She falls to the ground, clutches at the dirt.

The PLLs gasp their best collective gasp yet. They hear a noise outside. They run screaming into the night, looking for “A.” They run and they run and they run and they run. They send up a howl like a flock of wild banshees.


I had to run out and purchase a brand new laptop in the middle of writing this recap. I don’t have any image-editing software on it yet, so once again, I am abject, pleading apologies for not being able to publish your #BooRadleyVanCullen Tweets. Next week. I promise.

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