“Pretty Little Liars” recap (4.01): Unicorn Planet


One of the most fascinating things about PLL fashion is — well, I mean, obviously the most fascinating thing is that Mandi Line is a wizard. But i6 has been so interesting to watch how she has allowed each of Liars’ styles to evolve over the years while making very, very sure to keep their aesthetic as teenager-y as possible. The biggest transition from actor-to-character in recent years has been Shay to Emily, because every year of her life, that girl just gets sexier and sexier. So, they do the best they can. Ponytails and layers and vests and everything, but I guess sometimes there’s nothing you can do to combat the sheer power of her whole sexual deal, so you’ve just got to be like, “Fuck it, dim the lights and let’s hope the camera doesn’t catch on fire.” Which is exactly what’s happening right now as Emily and Paige lounge around in her bedroom talking about colleges. I mean, honestly, if you’re not legitimately hypnotized by that shirt and those shoulders and that collarbone and all that glorious, unleashed, disheveled hair, I think you’d better go with Jenna to the basement of Rosewood General Hospital and buy yourself a new pair of eyeballs.

So, Stanford has offered Paige a full swim team scholarship and Emily is very torn between doing the thing she knows she should do (congratulate Paige) and the thing she wants to do (fling her iPad across the room). Because California is halfway across the world and one time Paige was all bangs and cardigans and destructive, closeted rage and now she’s standing here wearing a unicorn t-shirt that she obviously cut the sleeves out of all by herself, smelling like coconut cupcakes and chlorine and exuding this quiet, magnetic self-assurance. Which is to say that her awesomeness is increasing exponentially by the day and Emily doesn’t want to miss a single second of the way she’s transforming into into a white-hot bundle of ever-glowing perfection.

Paige finally realizes that Emily’s not giddy with glee because she’s misundertanding the presentation. Paige isn’t talking about her future; she’s talking about their future, and she’s absolutely manic with hope. She says they’ll be safe in California, happy in California, sunkissed in California, and lezzerly-kissed in California, and there will be beach days and road trips and shared space where their books are combined and their legs are intertwined and when Emily goes out to pick up pizza and beer, she won’t get carjacked by a doll that wants to murder her.

God. GOD. Just look at this girl right here. She wore khaki shorts and a french braid and wrote a letter asking Emily if it really could be true that they were the same. She rode her bike to this house in the middle of the night, rain pelting her face and thunder clapping all around her head, to ask Emily to forgive her for not being brave. She sneaked into Emily’s car and stole a kiss and begged her not to tell. She stood in this very room as tears splashed down her cheeks and she said the word “gay” out loud for the very first time. She held Emily’s hand way out in the woods, away from prying eyes, and said she’d never be able to love her out loud. She’s been paralyzed by fear, blinded by self-loathing, stricken mute with insecurity, trying and trying and trying to stay on top of the water. She’s fucked it up, she’s fallen down, she’s very nearly drowned. And now she’s standing here in this bedroom, tall and proud and very nearly bursting with love, asking Emily to start a brand new life with her. She’s growing, she’s going to keep growing, she wants Emily to grow with her.

Emily flicks her eyes up and sees Paige’s face gazing at her like she’s Christmas morning. She says yes.

Paige goes, “Yes, as in ‘Yes, you agree you should stop getting killed’ or ‘Yes, you will make a home with me in California’?” It’s the second thing. And it’s the biggest commitment anyone on this show has ever made. Emily says, “I really love you. I want to be with you.” And Paige says, “I have used up literally every ounce of my willpower keeping my hands off of you in that shirt, so come here to me right now.”

They makeout while One Republic grins and sings: Take us down and we keep trying / Forty thousand feet, keep flying.

I’ll tell you what, Lindsey Shaw is a goddess among women and Paige McCullers is the best lesbian character in the history of television and I’m going to cry like a little bitch when she gets murdered.

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