“Pretty Little Liars” recap (3.08) — Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized

At the Fitzgerald Gala, Ezra and Aria are better than they ever have been. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The writers’ decision to put external pressure on Aria and Ezra, stuff they can face down together as a couple, as opposed to internal pressure about will-they/won’t-they, is one of the best decisions this show has ever made. It frees them up to interact with other characters, worry about other things, and, apparnetly, team up for awesomeness.

Ezra tries to convince Aria that they’d be much better off going home and spooning and watching a movie instead of hobnobbing with a bunch of socialites. At first Aria thinks the problem is that he hasn’t come out to his mom, but really the problem is his family is rich-rich, and he’s afraid they’re going to take a hit out on Aria and force him to marry the princess of Genovia.

There’s a really solid moment of acting right here when Ezra asks Aria if she’s angry because he hid his wealth from her, and she goes, “… no. I don’t think so. But I think you owe me something for all those Ramen noodles.” And the delivery is so Holly Marie Combs you can actually finally start to believe that Aria might be amazing enough to be Ella’s daughter.

Emily has wandered back up to the boathouse to do some thinking and stuff, but she’s interrupted by Cousin Nate bumbling around inside there, doing some measurements and dropping off a chainsaw. He’s like, “Oh, sorry. I didn’t know you’d be up here at night time. I was just setting up a murder room. Er, I mean, I came to do origami.” Emily asks him a very weird question about how much of who you are is who you really are when you’ve been poisoned with a cocktail of vodka and rohypnol. Nate’s like, “Well, in vino veritas, so probably about 70 percent is for real. Why, are you drunk? Do you want to makeout?”

And reader, no she does not. She does not. I’ll be honest, I thought this episode, “Stolen Kisses,” was going to be about Nate and Emily stealing some confused kisses, and oh, I was dreading it, so when the camera cut away with nothing more than him giving her his jacket, I got such a headrush I nearly fell over.

As expected, Ezra’s mom corners Aria the gala and throws down a gauntlet: “Let me be rightly understood. This match, to which you have the presumption to aspire, can never take place. No, never. Ezra Fitzgerald is engaged to one of the finest members of the royal family of Genovia. From infancy, they have been set apart for one another, and I will not allow you and your philandering father and your pottery-thieving brother and your … outfits to derail his regal destiny in the name of ‘love.’” Having never been spoken to thus — nor encountered real adversity of any kind — Aria runs out of the museum in tears. (Ezbian’s mom, why have you been hiding your light under a bushel? Come back any time.)

At Radley, Hanna gives a fine speech about why Mona shouldn’t be shipped off to a Gotham City prison. She starts by reading some medical terminology she jotted down from Wikipedia, but quickly stashes her index cards and explains, quite truthfully, that in Mona is kind of the love of her life, and no one else in the world is ever going to care about her the way Hanna does. At Radley, she’ll always have Hanna’s affection, but literally anywhere else in the world, she’ll be left out in the cold. Gryffindor Head Girl. Dumbledore’s Army, through and through.

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