Pretty Little

I wrote a few paragraphs about Pretty Little Liars last year, mostly aiming to recommend it in a general way. However, I’m going to start from scratch with this entry, and won’t press you to read what I wrote before.

Pretty Little Liars is not the type of show where I go back and watch old episodes. I’ve seen every episode exactly once, with the exception of some special clips I’ve saved. I was the same way with Lost – I loved it, but it was all about moving forward. There’s a lot of red herrings, a lot of time spent on mysteries which are then solved and/or resolved, and eventually mean nothing. I will say this, though: Pretty Little Liars is one of the TV shows I most look forward to each week, and one of the shows where I whine and moan when the episode is over.

I’m at a disadvantage in writing about the show and speculating about the plot for having only seen each episode once. It began a year and a half ago, which means it has been a year and a half since I’ve seen the pilot. That’s a really long time, especially for me, because I’ve got a lot of TV on the brain and very poor memory to begin with.

But I’ll do my best. Bigger fans of the show, more knowledgeable fans, should feel free to correct my mistakes and uncertainties, because I would always desire accuracy.

I’m not going to waste any time, so please consider this your spoiler warning line. It’s a good show that moves rather quickly (in many though not all respects – cough-“A”- cough) – you’re likely to enjoy the mystery (and the hair porn)

even if the soapy high school drama isn’t your thing. More than any other show I’ve written about I really feel like spoilers will ruin your experience. I have not read the books, however, so do not fear too much spoilerage in that respect, however I do know a few things which I will bring up – for example a big thing hinted/teased at in the Halloween episode (wink, wink). So, last chance…go watch it.

I’ve even got links for you!

OK, that was your chance. Wave goodbye to it.

I’ve been wanting to write about Jason and Alison for months now, since the beginning of the second season when we actually got to see them together. But I think I was waiting for something a little bit bigger to happen first. What finally spurred me on wasn’t big exactly, but it was enough.

I want to give you another warning: my Pretty Little Liars ships aren’t exactly good ships. What I mean is that these aren’t exactly the healthiest of relationships. They’re quite twisted, in fact. I probably shouldn’t be shipping them, and that’s coming from someone who has a blog about incest shipping and clearly doesn’t give a f–k. But, well, I do ship them. And I don’t feel like keeping it to myself.

And another warning: there’s not actually any incest. I always want to state that clearly for you when that’s the case. I ship the brother/sister pairing I’m going to discuss, but it’s not canon and will probably never be. And me shipping it has a lot more to do with me than it does with them.

Unfortunately.

There’s a stepsibling pairing I will discuss which has a lot more to support it. But it’s not a horse you want to back. Because of the circumstances, this ship will never be endgame. It’s only fair you know that.

So, fair warning done. These are not good ships. Do not buy passage on these ships. Do not book your vacation on these ships. Do not allow tickets for these ships to be substituted for money in a poker game: you’re being cheated.

I’m going to summarize the show, and I will definitely be giving you more details than you need but I’m going for a well-rounded picture of the setting of the ships I’ll be discussing in detail, and having written that background-less Spartacus entry I have realized just how important the full set of details can be.

And another warning: this is going to be a scatter-brained, inarticulate (and sometimes possibly offensive?) post. That’s just how it turned out. I also say some stuff about Sasha that might land me in jail. Not sure where the law stands.

I’m joking.

I think.

So, Pretty Little Liars is about four friends:

Lucy Hale as Aria Montgomery on Pretty Little Liars

Aria Montgomery – who likes reading and writing, is kind and caring, lacks personality (but sort of in a good way?)

Troian Bellisario as Spencer Hastings on Pretty Little Liars

Spencer Hastings – intellectual, rich, smart, driven, snobby, caustic, stubborn, but mostly good

Shay Mitchell as Emily Fields on Pretty Little Liars

Emily Fields – quiet, shy, kind, studious, well-behaved

Ashley Benson as Hanna Marin on Pretty Little Liars

Hanna Marin – flippant, likes shoes/hair/clothes/accessories, drinks, given to rash behavior, loyal though

Sasha Pieterse as Alison DiLaurentis on Pretty Little Liars

They live in a town called Rosewood in Pennsylvania, and they are juniors in high school. A year before the main action of the show begins, their fifth friend, Alison DiLaurentis, went missing. Her body is discovered in the pilot, the victim of a murder.

And the four girls begin getting texts and messages from someone pretending to be her, calling himself/herself/themselves “A”. This “A” seems to know everything about everything, is able to see everything, and is able to do just about everything. (A’s pranks range from replacing the girls’ Chinese take-out with worms, to stealing stuff from their house, to writing on their mirrors, etc.)

At first A seems content to tease the girls with their secrets, but as the secrets become more and more serious, A becomes more and more malicious and dangerous.

So there are two primary mysteries (although the show keeps us on the hook with frequent smaller ones): the identity of A, and the identity of Alison’s murderer. It’s possible that they are the same, it’s possible that they’re different.

For me, the greatest mystery is A’s motivation. I’m far more interested in knowing what could possibly motivate a person to bully these girls like this than I am in knowing who is doing it. I honestly think when the writers reveal it, it’s not going to make enough sense to satisfy me. A’ing it up is a full time job. This person(s) is extremely motivated and the liars are too good to have believably made an enemy like that, in my opinion. And I could see a crazy person doing it, but A is going to have to be someone we met for the reveal to be any good, and I don’t think we’ve met anyone who is that kind of crazy.

Anyway…

Alison’s character – the type of person she was and the things she did – are extremely important and still being unraveled. She was very clever, and like A, knew many secrets. We’re told she had the ability to make someone feel very special, which is why the liars (aka Aria, Hanna, Spencer, and Emily) put up with her dictatorial and sometimes malevolent behavior. Alison had an extremely cruel side, and she was merciless, sometimes towards her friends, but always towards many others. And she was definitely on the flirty side. To put it simply: she had many enemies.

There are other characters in Rosewood of course.

Aria’s father Byron,

Chad Lowe as Byron Montgomery on Pretty Little Liars

her mother Ella,

Holly Marie Combs as Ella Montgomery on Pretty Little Liars

and her younger brother Mike.

Cody Christian as Mike Montgomery on Pretty Little Liars

Byron Montgomery macking on his student Meredith Sorenson (played by Amanda Schull)

The Montgomerys spent the year after Alison’s disappearance abroad in Iceland. Byron is a professor, and had cheated on his wife with a student. Aria caught him and kept the secret. But thanks to A it came out in the first season. Byron and Ellan split for awhile, but have since reconciled. Ella is a teacher at Rosewood high where the liars attend.

It’s almost a little strange to me that I don’t ship Mike and Aria more than I do, but I just don’t like Mike very much. He’s got a bad attitude most of the time, and even when it’s sweet how upset he is about his parents separating, he channels his emotions in very destructive ways and I don’t like that. Aria is a great sister to him, and he treats her like crap – he does not appreciate all that she does for him, and girl has a lot going on in her own life. This season he got caught stealing – not because he needed the stuff but just because he was acting out. He was diagnosed as depressed or something, and now he’s seeing a therapist and is doing a little bit better. It’s just not very appealing. He’s only a year or two younger than her. It could be great…but it’s not. Another factor in not shipping them is that he’s not on the show very much. But when he is on the show, there’s usually a little something special about his scenes with Aria: like I mentioned a year ago, Hanna thinks it’s odd that Aria is Facebook (or some other social networking site) friends with Mike, and Aria says that it was a moment of weakness. What does that even mean?

Aria, much like Elena with Jeremy, will get all up in his grill when she thinks he’s getting into trouble. Nothing beyond sisterly, of course, but still, a lot more than you might see from a lot of sisters. More recently, there was an incident with Aria’s boyfriend, and Mike punched him. He said he did it to preempt their father doing it, but maybe he just thought that up later. And even if what he said was true, it was still a nice thing to do for his sister.

They do have some cute scenes, but it has never quite been enough for me to ship it (except while actually watching one of those scenes). One time Aria had a date and had cooked something to take (and she was sneaking around with this guy so I’m sure it wasn’t always easy to arrange their dates), but Mike was upset about their parent drama and she stayed home and fed him the food she had made and they laid on her bed and watched movies.

And another time he’s really upset and comes to her for comfort, and they just hug and it’s really sweet. It really is. (I do ship them during these scenes, but out of sight out of mind with Mike/Aria.)And, well, I’d never hug my brother like that. She moves her hands all over him.But Mike just can’t compete. Aria’s real love interests keep me distracted enough:In the pilot, Aria met a guy in a bar (and grill? It was day and she’s only 16/17 after all), and they had a hot make-out session in the bathroom, and talked about books and their favorite bands (ugh, gag me), and it was all rainbows. Then she starts school the next day and discovers he’s her English teacher, Mr. Ezra Fitz.Oops.

Much bigger oops for him, of course.

Ian Harding as Ezra Fitz on Pretty Little Liars

He’s young. It’s his first year teaching, and he’s only just graduated. And Pennsylvania has some pretty odd laws, I’ve come to understand. Age of consent is 16, I believe, although there’s some sort of “corrupting of a minor” charge that might be applied. Anyway, it’s kind of a grey area legally, though I believe it’s technically legal for the two of them (especially since they’re not having sex). The greater issue lies in the fact that he’s her teacher, of course, and could lose his job and never teach again.

Well, Aria still wants to date him, and he still likes her but is firmly against it

…for a while.Aria and Ezra are the main couple of the show. The writer-OTP, if you will. It is unlikely that they will ever be parted permanently. They’ve had a couple of on-again off-again moments and silly little fights, but I don’t think they’ve ever actually wanted to be with anyone else.

Ezra left his job at Rosewood high to teach at Hollis, the nearby college where Byron is a professor, so he’s not even her teacher anymore.

At the moment, things are rough because they decided to tell Bryon and Ella about their little romance (the scene that resulted in Mike punching Ezra), and Aria’s parents are keeping her schedule strictly regulated so that she cannot see him. Teenagers are pretty tricky, though. Teenagers find a way. Like life.

(I tried to find a picture to visually represent that that was a reference to Jurassic Park, and I saw pretty disturbing stuff. I’ll leave it there.)

Aria/Ezra is an extremely troubled ship where viewers are concerned. Half of them are never going to see it as OK because he was her teacher.

The writers are so concerned with making Aria/Ezra seem OK that they’ve gone over-the-top with the cheesy romance – two kisses in the rain, one in front of stopped traffic, at least one slow-motion run-to-each-other, etc. You get the idea.

(And Aria and Ezra haven’t had sex yet, like I mentioned. Their hottest scene so far was the one in the bathroom in the pilot.)

Another fraction of the viewers say that Aria and Ezra shouldn’t be together because he was her teacher, but really they just think the relationship is boring and that’s why they want them apart. There’s also a group who don’t like the fact that the Ezra-plotline monopolizes Aria, and can render her, at times, a little single-minded. Yet another piece of the pie ships it because it’s canon and has no independent thought and likes the schmoopy-goopy romance. And another fraction don’t ship Aria/Ezra because of those shippers, and because they think it’s a bad influence on teenagers who see themselves as Aria and Ezra as the hot teacher they have a crush on, or something like that.

I belong to another demographic.

Firstly, I find it hilarious that anyone would call Aria and Ezra unhealthy or wrong given almost all of the other relationships on this show. They’re not even having sex! They met before he knew he was her teacher and he thought she was in college. He resisted adamantly at first (granted, that didn’t last too long), he tried to leave the school and failed once, then finally did get a job at the college. He came clean to her parents! They’ve been together for quite a long time (the timeline is a little wonky so it’s unclear exactly how long). They give each other love and support, make each other happy. They respect each other. They see plays and talk about books, for heaven’s sake. There was one time when he was angry at Aria and took it out on the class, and another time more recently when he was upset about being kept from Aria and judged a student’s paper based on that cynicism, but that’s more to do with being a bad teacher than it is to do with secretly dating a student. Ezra’s basically a pretty decent guy. He really is. And these two, they love each other. A lot. They just really do.But they’re so boring and so cheesy when things are going well!

I truly loved them in the pilot. It was hot and wonderful. But since then…

Basically, I ship them when their relationship is facing intense adversity – like right now with the parents thing. I can’t be against their relationship, but I also can’t call it riveting most of the time.

But sometimes they do get me. After they fessed up to Aria’s parents and couldn’t see each other for a long time, Aria called him on her phone even though she knew she shouldn’t because her parents would check the phone bill, but she said that she just had to hear his voice, and he said, “I know, me too,” and, oh, it got me. It did.

Exception: when that adversity comes in the form of one of them being stupid (usually some kind of misunderstanding), or a new love interest for Aria.

Aria has had two other love interests: Noel Kahn (the most popular guy at their school),

Brant Daugherty as Noel Kahn on Pretty Little Liars

and Jason DiLaurentis (Alison’s older brother).

Drew Van Acker as Jason DiLaurentis on Pretty Little Liars

Although these were never true love interests, because they were doomed to fail, because Aria loves Ezra and probably always will. But they were fun.

Noel Kahn has always been a very popular guy, and Aria had quite the crush on him back when Alison was alive.

Ezra left town to look for another job, without quite explaining to Aria. When he came back, he tried to shut their relationship down. Perfect timing for Aria to let herself be swept away by Noel’s charm, except even at the height of their fling, she was only trying to make Ezra jealous.

Then Noel found out about Aria and Ezra when Ezra came back, got very jealous and even more opportunistic, and blackmailed Ezra into giving him good grades. Ezra wouldn’t stand for it (so, not the worst teacher out there), and A ended up framing Noel for something which got him suspended and out of the way.

Sometimes A helps out, usually when he/she/they are about to lose some leverage over the liars. A couldn’t torment Aria with the secret of her and Ezra if Noel revealed it.

It turned out that Noel is much worse than just a blackmailer. I still don’t even know what’s up with him for real, but he’s majorly sketch. He’s always grinning evilly about something and carrying suspicious bags or acting like he’s going to beat you over the head with a hammer when really he just wants to talk to you. The man keeps odd company as well.

I’ll be talking about Jason a lot more later, but he flirted a lot with Aria and she liked it, and even had some vexing dreams about him, but she had to choose between him and Ezra and she chose Ezra, of course.

Most recently, Aria has been pretending to date a childhood friend, Holden Strauss, so that she can sneak away to see Ezra.

Shane Coffey as Holden Strauss on Pretty Little Liars

He sneaks off to compete with martial arts, something he’s not allowed to do because of a heart condition. Aria seemed to enjoy watching him compete. They’re cute, I’ll give you that.

Anyway, some people ship it. I don’t. I was all for Noel and Jason, but I’m not feeling Holden. Yet.

This might simply be because I’m rooting pretty heavily for Aria and Ezra at the moment.

Look at how cute Lucy Hale and Ian Harding are:Though it would seem that Lucy is cute with everyone:

On to Hanna!

Hanna’s got her mother, Ashley, who is probably the best mother on the show. She’s intuitive and caring.

Hanna’s father, Tom,

Roark Critchlow as Tom Marin on Pretty Little Liars

cheated on Ashley with Isabel Randall,

Heather Mazur as Isabel Randall on Pretty Little Liars

whom he just married after dallying again with Ashley for a period. Isabel has a daughter, Kate Randall, who is now attending Rosewood.

Natalie Hall as Kate Randall (2.0) on Pretty Little Liars

Ashley deserves better than Tom and she knows that, but I really wish the two of them would just get back together and be happy. He doesn’t love Isabel and she’s awful – why is he picking now to try and do the right thing?As for Kate, Kate is trouble. She’s so pretty though. I don’t mind when she’s on screen no matter what horror she is visiting upon Hanna, I just like watching her. She kind of reminds me of Tippi Hendren. Do you see it?For awhile the Marins were having some financial trouble, and Ashley, a banker, “borrowed” some money from work. A found out, and terrorized Hanna for a while. A took the money (it was cash), and made Hanna do horrible things in order to earn it all back.

Before that, Hanna got into a legal tangle after stealing, and Darren Wilden, a police officer (who was also in charge of the Alison case), was sleeping with Ashley in exchange for keeping Hanna out of trouble.

Bryce Johnson as Detective Darren Wilden on Pretty Little Liars

Hanna really hated, that, obviously. I could have hated it more. He was really hot, and I liked seeing him shirtless in front of the fridge.

If they would have made him less sleazy they could have gone great places with him! There was some great tension to be borne of his desire to convict the girls for Alison’s murder. Foe yay.

Hanna’s also had some drama with the fact that she used to be overweight.Alison was quite mean to her about it, and turned her bulimic. Literally taught her to start throwing up. Gotta love Alison sometimes. She had a pretty tight grip on poor Hanna, constantly rubbing in her face the fact that she would be a nothing loser if it weren’t for her.While the girls were dispersed in the year following Alison’s death, Hanna made friends with Mona Vanderwaal, a girl who used to be unpopular like her, only worse.

Janel Parrish as Mona Vanderwaal on Pretty Little Liars

Mona seems like an airhead a lot of the time – selfish, superficial, a mean girl. But sometimes she says something about her friendship with Hanna that makes you realize she actually does have a heart. Possibly. She’s an interesting character. Ambitious. She can be very smart sometimes. She just blackmailed the principal to get Emily back on the swim team, using information she divined and found evidence for herself by analyzing the school’s files. She’s also adorable.

Mona recently dated Noel for awhile, and then he broke it off and it upset her very much. Hanna suspects there’s more to it, but we don’t know what.

When the show began, Hanna was dating Sean Ackard.

Chuck Hittinger as Sean Ackard on Pretty Little Liars

They were the IT couple at the school – King and Queen of Homecoming.But things fell apart. She was kind of a crazy girlfriend, ignoring him to deal with “A” business, trying to get him to have sex when he didn’t want to, stealing his car and crashing it. You know, typical stuff. (That was sarcasm. You got that, right? I’m never sure.) He hasn’t been around too much recently, not since they broke up. In fact, he’s fallen right off the globe. (Which is actually kind of weird, because he was supposedly best friends with Noel, who’s on the show all the time.)

Hanna made friends with Lucas Gottesman, and it seemed like something might happen between them because he was obviously in love with her (a fact both A and Sean picked up on), but nothing did.

Brendan Robinson as Lucas Gottesman on Pretty Little Liars

He got a little angry when she maintained that they would only be friends, but he’s calmed back down and they’re friends again. Lucas hates Alison almost more than anyone that we know. She nicknamed him “shim” and called him a hermaphrodite, and it just never went away. He’s extremely unpopular. Mona likes to pick on him even though they were both victims of Alison back in the day. (It’d be cool if they were secretly working together – a popular theory for a while.)

Like every other character to have ever been on the show, Spencer was sure that Lucas was Alison’s killer and/or A for a brief period of time. They don’t have anything on him at the moment.

Hanna’s love interest for a while now has been Caleb Rivers.

Tyler Blackburn as Caleb Rivers on Pretty Litle Liars

I like Caleb well enough, but I’ve never warmed to him and Hanna, cute as they are.I’m still rooting for Hanna/Lucas.

Caleb has been in the system for a while, with a sucky foster mom. He ran off and lived on his own – squatting in the school, then with Hanna for awhile. He has found his birth mother. She lives far away, and he wants to move out there, which will soon put some stress on him and Hanna, no doubt. He’s been living with Lucas recently. (Lucas, who selflessly went after Caleb and brought him back to Rosewood because he knew Hanna loved him and would be happy with him.)

Caleb is handy with technology – especially phones – so that has been helpful. Hanna wants to do whatever A says in order to protect him, but he, like the other liars, wants A’s blood. He’s the first person (aside from a misadventure with a therapist) that they’ve let in on the secret of A. I like having him around for that reason.

So, Emily Fields. Her main storyline when the show began was that she was a lesbian. Her first love interest was Maya St. Germain, a girl who moved into Alison’s old house. Maya went away for a while, and then came back. She and Emily got pretty serious, exchanging I Love You’s, but they seem to be on shaky ground again. Maya’s parents want to send her to a camp for wayward youth, but she wants to run away. And even though she loves Emily, she doesn’t feel like she fits into Emily’s life.

Bianca Lawson as Maya St. Germain on Pretty Little Liars

I don’t really like Maya – she smoked pot the first time we met her, and was smoking pot in the last scene I just saw her in, and she’s kind of bitchy and weird sometimes (I realize that’s not very specific). Emily had another love interest, Samara, who A dispatched with some confusion over exclusivity (if I recall correctly).

Claire Holt as Samara Cook on Pretty Little Liars

Samara was a bit loose for Emily’s tastes, I think. She had been out for a long time. She was OK,  but there wasn’t anything special about the relationship. It’s just as well, because Claire Holt is needed on The Vampire Diaries.Emily had another love interest, Paige McCullers, who did that cliché thing where she can’t admit she’s a lesbian so she bullies Emily.

Lindsey Shaw as Paige McCullers on Pretty Little Liars

I mean, girl was crazy. She held Emily’s head under water. She was too scared to come out, especially because of her father. And then she went away. Apparently she’s still around, just no on screen. She’ll be back, I’m sure. (They always come back… except for Sean.) I don’t think I really like her either, but I prefer her to Maya and Samara. I think.

Emily had (sort of) another love interest in Alison. She was in love with Alison. If Alison had been introduced as a love interest for Emily and not as a main character on her own, then she would be my first choice for her. That would be far more entertaining that Maya, Samara, or Paige. As it is, Alison was straight, and I’ve got plenty of ships for her. But she did like to tease Emily. I mentioned that Ali really had her hook in Hanna, but she had Emily just as much under her control. She used Emily’s love for her to manipulate her. Aria and Spencer were the only ones who ever really stood up to her.

Emily’s parents are sort of out of the picture. Her mother, Pam, was a great character while she was, with some difficulty, coming to terms with Emily’s lesbianism.

Nia Peeples as Pam Fields on Pretty Little Liars

But she has since moved to Texas, leaving Emily behind to live with Hanna while she finishes school. Her father, Wayne is in the military.

Eric Steinberg as Colonel Wayne Fields on Pretty Little Liars

Emily also does swimming, and that’s important to her. But you can only do so many stories about her being on the swim team, right? That can only be so interesting.

Emily had another love interest , Toby Cavanaugh.

Keegan Allen as Toby Cavanaugh on Pretty Little Liars

Yeah, a guy. (Definitely a guy.) It was before she came out. Apparently book Emily is bisexual, but I don’t think TV Emily is supposed to be, even though she and Toby were really great together and she really seemed to like him.

Emily had a boyfriend, Ben Coogan, when the show started. He was friends with Sean and Noel, I think. (Emily by far wins the award for most love interests; what a little trollop! Hanna’s the one who seems like she would have the most, but really she has the least. Spencer seems to be the one who falls hardest the most often.)

Steven Krueger as Ben Coogan on Pretty Little Liars

Ben got a little rough with her and Toby saved the day, which sort of got her and him started. (Of course, Emily was already dating Ben in the episode which flashbacked to two years before the incident in question. She dated Ben for A REALLY LONG TIME. He sure was patient, only to get impatient so Toby could rescue her.)

Toby and Emily…ah, those were the days.

I shipped Toby/Emily pretty hard back then. I’ve given up, of course. On endgame. I’m not a fool. I’ve got plenty of ships for Toby, anyway.(Although, a small part of me will always ship it. When I go back and watch some of their first scenes together…oh so good. )

Toby and his stepsister Jenna Marshall live across the street from Emily.

Tammin Sursok as Jenna Marshall on Pretty Little Liars

Jenna’s my girl.(We found out not too long ago that she moved to Rosewood about a year before Alison was murdered. I think that might be a continuity error or a retcon, because I remember strongly having the impression that she had lived with Toby and in Rosewood for longer than that. In fact, I think she even shares Toby’s last name in one of the episodes, though her last name is Marshall now. Her name is Jenna Cavanaugh in the books, but I’m still fairly certain the show gave her that last name at first.)

So, for some reason, Toby had a reputation for being weird or off or dangerous or a freak. A pervert. And Alison saw someone spying on her and the girls when they were in Emily’s bedroom, and declared it was Toby. Which the others girls didn’t have too much trouble believing because, for some reason, he had a reputation for stuff like that. I say for some reason, because now that we know Toby, we know that’s not him. He wouldn’t have spied through their window. The only thing “off” about him is that he’s shy and he doesn’t talk very much.

Angry Alison wants to go do something to him. So they go to his house, and she looks through the window of the garage which was, apparently, his space, and sees – gasp! – Toby and step sis Jenna getting it on. Alison throws some sort of smoke bomb thing in there, but it goes wrong, starts a fire, and Jenna ends up in the hospital, and blinded.

Alison made a deal with Toby not to tell what she saw if he took the blame. He went to some sort of juvenile penitentiary/reform school for the year between Alison’s death and when the show begins.

It’s unclear exactly when “the Jenna thing” takes place with regard to Alison’s disappearance, but it seems to be only a matter of weeks before as Alison visits Jenna in the hospital the day before she goes missing. The real point I’m getting at is that Jenna had been Toby’s stepsister for less than a year. I just find it hard to believe that Toby would be willing to get into so much trouble just so that no one would know he was involved with his step-sister of only a few months. I just don’t think anybody would care all that much! Like whoopty freakin’ do, you know? Look at Gossip Girl: you need a map to follow all the step-sibling shenanigans, and nobody really cares.

Then the liars find out about Toby and Jenna and they actually think that this gives Toby motivation to kill Alison! It’s kind of a paradox – because the girls think that hiding that secret is motivation to kill Alison, it becomes such a shameful secret that it really is worth killing Alison to keep. (That’s not what happens, but I did think of it and wanted to share.)

Here’s the thing with Toby and Jenna: it began consensual (I gather), but he, I guess, didn’t want to do it anymore – whatever, Toby: she’s totally out of your league, but OK – and she didn’t want to stop. So she told him that she would tell everyone he was forcing her if he didn’t continue. Apparently she’s sort of the darling of the parents. (We know absolutely nothing about them.)

So, yeah, she was extorting sex out of him. And that’s not OK.

But I ship it.

SHIP ALL THE CREEPY SHIPS!Jenna still comes on to him sometimes, when she feels like it. But they’ve stopped, and he’s kind of found his backbone, unfortunately. I really liked it when she could push him around. I realize that sounds horrible.

I have this shipping problem where I just love love love when the good guy can’t resist the evil temptress. No matter how good he is, or how evil she is, or how little he wants her – I will always ship it. I will always want him to want her and to choose her. I don’t know where this came from. I don’t know how to make it go away. It plagues me.

But I want to make it clear: Jenna cares very much for Toby. She gets very angry when the liars put him in danger, very concerned when he gets hurt. She likes to think of them as family, and it sounds creepy when she says it because you know what she’s done, but she loves him. She really does.

I don’t want you to think that just because he’s a guy I don’t think he can be sexually mistreated by a woman. I don’t want to belittle the unhealthiness between them. Well, I do, actually, but not by ignoring it. I don’t want you to think that I’m unaware or ignorant or treating them with a double standard because of their reversed genders. Toby is a victim and I recognize that. What Jenna did is not OK.

And I don’t want to trigger. I’m a coward – I avoid confrontations and uncomfortable topics. But I do think there is a distinction to be made between physically forcing yourself on someone who absolutely does not want to have sex with you – the terror, and emotional/mental trauma, and physical/health harm resulting from such an act – and what Jenna has done here. She has essentially purchased his consent with her silence. He could choose not to have sex with her, and he could deal with those consequences instead.

Of course, if she were to threaten to kill his father if he didn’t have sex with her – that’s worse, obviously. Closer to absolute duress, while still being, in my mind, technically different.

But that’s my point, I guess. Degrees.

Some people think there shouldn’t be degrees, but that’s not my opinion. I think there are always degrees. About everything, not just rape.

Anyway…

Toby was suspected of Alison’s murder for a significant period of time – by the liars and the police – but he’s been largely cleared, I believe. He was framed by A. At this point, I doubt the writers would make him guilty.

Keegan Allen plays Toby, and he really is the weakest actor of the bunch, but that doesn’t stop from Toby being my third favorite guy on the show. I especially loved before when he was all misunderstood and persecuted and unhappy during the first season. He’s all normal now. Even smiling sometimes. Nobody blows up his mailbox, or stares at him when he walks into the room, or anything fun like that. I really enjoyed being protective of him: “No, don’t you dare treat my Toby like that!” That’s all done now.

Jenna is badass. Even though she’s blind, she always knows what’s up and who’s around. Even though she knows to blame the liars for her blindness ( she knew Toby didn’t do it: he had an alibi – in her pants), it’s hard to understand why she hates them quite as much as she does. But they’re pretty much full on enemies.

Jenna accidentally showed some weakness to Aria when she didn’t know it was her, and it was very poignant. They were in a ceramics class together at the university, and Jenna made this gorgeous candle holder that rotated and made shadows and stuff, and she was crying about how she couldn’t see anymore and it was so sad. Jenna’s not a nice person, but she’s so strong and there’s some vulnerability in there that really makes me feel for her. She’s made blindness her bitch. She is fierce.

Jenna had a boyfriend, Garrett Reynolds, who is a cop.

Yani Gellman as Officer Garrett Reynolds on Pretty Little Liars

Garrett is my baby.

It was love at first sight, and he’s only gotten better. He’s good looking, and I’ve got a pretty obvious thing for cops, so it was a foregone conclusion. But I just love Garrett, I do.

He’s a little sketch sometimes. He’s working against the liars, so of course he doesn’t always come across as nice.

It seemed like Jenna and Garrett had only gotten together recently, but we’ve seen footage of her and him together on the day of Alison’s death, which was well over a year ago. We’re always learning new things. Even things that don’t seem to make any sense.

Jenna broke up with Garrett a few episodes ago, no explanation.

And he was heartbroken.

It’s really sweet. He loves her so much. He was her slave. I will always ship Toby/Jenna first, but I ship Garrett/Jenna as well.Now Jenna is dating Noel Kahn. Dude gets around. I’d say they merely had an arrangement, but they’ve been laughing and flirty, so I don’t know. And Noel seemed pretty interested when he met her after she first moved to town:But they’re up to something. They’ve got to be. I don’t know how in the world Noel got involved in this tangled web, but there’s no way he’s just some random jerk who flirted with Ali, and then dated Aria, and then dated Mona, and then dated Jenna.

In the episode before the most recent one, Noel was talking about how guys might throw a punch when they’re angry, but girls plot and lie. You see his face, right? Dude’s bitter about something. I’m officially even more suspicious than I already was.

And I was just reminded that Alison sabotaged his relationship with a girl he was dating. He knew it was her. I think there was more between him and Ali than we’ve seen.

Jenna supposedly had some kind of eye surgery a few episodes ago, but it has not been addressed since. Will she soon be able to see again?

In the pilot we see Toby escorting Jenna to a car from Alison’s funeral. He was recast after then. I’m so funny, I crack myself up. I was watching that episode for the first time, all excited about this new show. And I see just that five second clip of a guy walking Jenna to a car, and I thought, “Ooh, an involved brother, I’m going to like this.” And then it turned out that they were together together, even though he was a stepbrother in the end.

The first real scene we see between the two of them is in 1.03 To Kill A Mocking Girl.

Jenna spends a lot of time sitting creepily on her porch, sometimes playing the flute. She’s in a chair up on the deck, and he’s sitting on the stairs doing something handy. And Emily comes over and thanks him for intervening with Ben. Then she leaves. And Jenna says, “Why was she thanking you?” in a very accusatory tone. Of course, at the time you just think she’s angry that he’s fraternizing with one of the girls involved in the accident that blinded her, but later on you realize she’s also being jealous.Toby replies, “It’s not what you think.” I’m not sure what he thought she thought, but it was absolutely everything that it could have been, so he was definitely lying. His tone is a little resentful, a little submissive…a little guilty.But I like the fact that they’re just sitting there, outside the house. Either one of them could have been elsewhere. But they were chillin’, together.

Toby has this tattoo – 901, Free At Last, which is the day Ali disappeared, so the girls also think that’s more evidence that he’s Ali’s killer, but it’s actually to do with the day he ended things for good with Jenna. You’ve got to hate someone a lot to get a tattoo commemorating the day you broke up with them. He’s going to have that tattoo FOREVER.

Also: what a jerk and a coward. We know Jenna was in the hospital the day before Alison disappeared. Stands to reason she was still there the next day. He ends things with her in the hospital, after she’s just been blinded?

In 1.06 There’s No Place Like Homecoming, Toby walks outside at the school and Jenna is sitting on the benches. They’re alone. He says, “Hey.” And there can be a lot of meaning in the word hey. (“Marty said ‘hey’?” – that reference would have gone over much better if anyone had actually seen The House Of Yes.) What I want to point out here is his tone. It’s rather friendly given what has gone down between them. Of course, as viewers, at this point we know very little.

Then he says, “Sorry I’m late.” Again, you don’t apologize about being late to someone you hate, right? Unless you forget to hate them. That happens, you know.

Jenna asks if he was talking to her. “Who?” Toby returns. Whatever, Toby, everyone knows who. “Emily,” Jenna answers.And Jenna can be very bitchy and snappish, but she sounds pretty vulnerable in this scene, like he’s really hurting her. Damn it, she makes me care!

Then Toby looks guilty.Rather strange; it’s not like he needs to appear contrite for Jenna’s sake. So maybe it’s genuine!

I’m sure he feels bad that she’s blind, but it’s not his fault, and he knows Emily didn’t do it. This was a guilty, not a sympathetic, expression.

I said Keegan Allen wasn’t the strongest actor on the show, but he was much better in these earlier appearances. He’s really only good in his scenes with Jenna and Emily and Alison – funny, all the people I ship him with. Yeah, I’m partial. Doesn’t mean I’m not right. And in scenes where he’s talking about those characters.

“Why are you doing this?” Jenna asks.

“What are you talking about?” Toby replies.Jenna laughs. “You know you’re only fooling yourself, right? I mean once she finds out the truth about you she’ll hate you.”

Toby finds the turn the conversation has taken displeasing.“Who’s gonna tell her?” Toby challenges.I like it when he banters a bit with Jenna. I don’t mind him having some backbone, I just don’t want him sinking my ship.

As for what Jenna has said here: geez. So he got it on with his stepsister. So what? I don’t see any reason to hate anyone for that. These people! (Of course, at this point they’re still teasing the idea that Toby murdered Alison.)

Jenna doesn’t have an answer. She holds out her hand for him to guide her.He stares at her with some pretty sexy mistrust and loathing, then steps forward.

He doesn’t take her hand, but she grabs his arm, and then they walk away.

I’m pretty sure Jenna just makes him do this, because she doesn’t need a guide. She’s got her walking stick, and she can do just about everything. And I feel like Toby probably knows that she doesn’t need him.This is the episode where we find out exactly what went down the night Jenna was blinded.

Hanna steals a file from a psychologist’s office. They thought it was for Jenna, but really it was for Toby. The psychologist had Jenna come in for one session to see how she felt about Toby returning to Rosewood (from his year away because of what he supposedly did). But Toby, I guess, was her regular patient. And it would seem that he told her everything, because it’s in the file. I’m surprised he didn’t keep it to himself since it’s such a terrible and ghastly secret, but OK.

They reveal the info to us through a flashback of Alison negotiating with Toby.

“It’s not what it looked like,” Toby argues. Like anyone ever believes that.

“Maybe not to you,” Alison replies. I don’t even know what that means.

Toby: “What were you doing here, anyway? What the hell did I ever do to you?”Alison: “You’ve been peeping in my window for years.”Toby: “Never. I’ve never looked in your window.”

(He’s so cute when he says that. I really miss old Toby. Hee, isn’t that the name of that weed from the Shire in Lord of the Rings?)

Alison: “Well I’ve looked in yours. And we’re not taking the blame for this.”Toby: “Oh yes you are.”Alison: No. Not unless you want the whole world to know how close you are with your stepsister. You talk, and I’ll make sure everyone knows you’ve been doing it with her.”

From this, it sounds like Jenna and Toby were having sex and not just fooling around. She would have been pretty young – only 15 probably. Not that it seems like it when the actress is 27. (Tammin Sursok is gorgeous, but she’s got these lines around her mouth that make her look like she’s in late 30s.)Though, she can look quite young sometimes as well:Toby’s just getting blackmailed left and right!

You can see how much he would hate hated Alison. Totally why I ship it.This conversation with Alison is super interesting but it’s more to do with her than Toby and Jenna so I’ll save my discussion. Though I do wonder why she made so many assumptions about it being Toby that has been spying on her. Why poor Toby? (Why poor Mona? Why poor Lucas? I guess that was just her way.)

Toby takes off on his bike after the liars freak out on him, and ends up in an accident. All we see is the damaged bicycle, some congregated police, and Jenna bawling her eyes out on the steps to the porch. See what I mean? She really cares. She loves him.

In 1.08 Please Do Talk About Me When I’m Gone, we get a flashback to some sort of picnic. Jenna is there with her eyesight, and Ali is saying bad things about her. Emily wonders, “Jenna is here. Where is Toby?” Could a more wonderful line have been spoken? We’ve got Emily’s interest in Toby, and then the implication that Jenna and Toby are usually together.

In 1.10 Keep Your Friends Close, Toby returns. He was OK after the accident, he ran. He tells Emily the significance of the tattoo. He says, “I knew what we were doing was wrong, but I didn’t know how to stop it.” I’m not even sure what to do with that sentence. “Jenna told me that she’d tell people that I forced myself on her. She didn’t want it to stop.”

Emily frowns: “Jenna wanted to be with you?”

If I was Toby, I’d be insulted. You could knock Emily over with a feather here. Granted, this is a twist. But still. Emily, you’re a lesbian and you went to homecoming with him – he must have something going for him. You shouldn’t be this surprised.

“Jenna was in love with me,” Toby answers. I kind of want to smack him when he says it. I don’t know why. He doesn’t have a tone or anything. “She’s still in love with me,” he continues.Yeah she is.

Even though I ship Toby/Jenna, I do feel bad for Toby. I do have that much decency. There’s this girl who’s in love with him and he doesn’t love her back. That sucks enough. But she lives with him. That sucks even more. Now add in the fact that she’s kind of psycho. That’s a shitstorm.

Part of the reason Toby was suspected of Alison’s murder was the fact that he met with Alison on the day she died, and she had his sweater. Toby tells Emily that he met with Alison to thank her, because she got him away from Jenna. (Because he was being sent away to reform school. By the way, that seems awfully harsh for one prank that went bad.)

I’m all for clearing Toby’s name, but I seriously doubt that would have ever happened. Like he’d ever thank her? Like he’d give her his sweater because it was cold (her house was a block away)? Who wrote this crap?

Toby gets picked up by the police at the end of the episode. Duh Duh Duh.

In 1.11 Moments Later, Emily calls the police station hoping to talk to Toby or to find out if she can visit him. Jenna overhears the phone call. “He doesn’t want to see you,” she says. This is probably in reference to the fact that by all appearances it was Emily who called the police on Toby. “And even if he did, I wouldn’t let him.”

Jenna Marshall/Cavanaugh, staking out her territory.

“He’s been hurt, Emily,” Jenna continues. “You should be able to understand that.”

Emily: “I didn’t tell the police where he was.”

Jenna: “But look what you’ve done. You’ve made him run away. The police came to our house because of you. They found that sweater because of you.”

Emily: “Let me talk to him, please.”

Jenna: “No, I’m not going to let anyone come between us again.”Emily: “Somebody should have come between you two a long time ago. Maybe a social worker with a bucket of ice water.”Kudos to Emily. She doesn’t usually have that in her. I love the image of cool, collected, maneuvering Jenna so hot for Toby she needs a bucket of ice water thrown over her head.

In 1.12 Salt Meets Wound, Toby is released to his parents with an ankle bracelet. Emily visits him and tells him that she didn’t call the police. He’s surprisingly (in my opinion) reluctant to believe her. A few minutes later, Jenna comes out and sits beside him on the steps. It’s fairly obvious at this point that they didn’t have a set for the interior of the Cavanaugh house. He says, “You never told me that Emily tried to talk to me.”He’s surprised about this?

“Why would I?” Jenna asked. Exactly. “What could she say now that’s gonna make it better?”“She wasn’t the on that turned me in,” he replies.“I know that,” Jenna responds.Toby finds this to be a very interesting development. “How?”

“Because I did.” Bam!

Toby’s not quite sure what to do with that.“Look, Toby,” she continues, “if you’re running around like you’re some kind of fugitive, how are you going to prove that you’re innocent.” She puts her hand on his leg and leans in. “You need to be home.” She lifts her hand to his cheek. “Where you’re safe.”

“You could chain me to this porch and I’d still never touch you like that again,” he says, removing her hand.

Toby, why you gotta be lame like this? I’ve got shipping needs.

She slaps him!“Who do you think you’re talking to?” she asks, and she’s either wildly furious or about to cry.

I love how Jenna never lets having the moral lowground bother her. Or stop her from pretending otherwise.She storms away (but she’s blind and isn’t very fast), and Toby sits there, thoughtful. What are you thinking about, Toby? Probably that Emily is innocent, but let’s just ignore that very realistic possibility.

So here’s the thing: Toby is not that bright. I love the guy, but he’s just not that smart. And Jenna is brilliant. And I think she’s absolutely right about everything she said: he shouldn’t be on the run, he should stay at home, he is safe there. Alison was murdered – this is not a game. And Jenna knows more about it than almost anyone else. Maybe he should listen to her and do what she says. She might be creepy, but she doesn’t want him hurt. She doesn’t want him in jail for Alison’s murder.

And I LOVE that she called the police on him. It’s so sneaky. And now he can’t leave the house. She got exactly what she wanted.

What Toby said to her sounded pretty definitive – but he just found out she called the police on him. Think about how angry he must be.

I love that she slaps him – she was the one who was hitting on him! I guess the girl always gets to slap, no matter what.

I’m going to return to more details about Toby and Jenna, but I want to talk about Spencer first.

So, next we’ve got Spencer Hastings. Spencer’s family has money, and she’s a very driven, intellectual person. At first I didn’t care for her – you’ll see that if you read the other entry I wrote. I’ve warmed to her in that I like how motivated she is and how gloriously intense she can be, and how sad she looks when she’s sad (Troian Bellisario is a fantastic actress). But she has a very bad habit of leaping to conclusions and making assumptions. She always thinks she knows who A is or who killed Alison, and she’s never right. But she’s also trying harder than anyone else to solve those mysteries, and I like that about her.

Spencer’s mother Veronica

Lesley Fera as Veronica Hastings on Pretty Little Liars

and her father Peter can be very cold and absent sometimes.

Nolan North as Peter Hastings on Pretty Little Liars

Her older sister, Melissa, can be quite a bitch.

Torrey Devito (Wasilewski!) as Melissa Hastings (Thomas!) on Pretty Little Liars

I wouldn’t want to be in her family, for all their money.

Spencer’s first love interest on the show was Wren Kingston, Melissa’s boyfriend (fiancé?).

Julian Morris as Wren Kingston on Pretty Little Liars

They kissed,and then they kissed again,and Melissa caught them. Melissa was pretty angry with Spencer (you can probably imagine), so some of the tension between the sisters is understandable.

Wren then departed, but he works at the hospital and is seen from time to time. He has never wavered in his interest in Spencer. Yeah, he’s a doctor. A resident or something. That places him firmly in his mid to late 20’s. No one’s making a stink about him and Spencer, are they? He’s way older than Fitzy. And he actually cheated on someone in order to be with her.

Spencer’s next love interest was Alex Santiago, the ball boy at the country club.

Diego Boneta as Alex Santiago on Pretty Little Liars

Hastings’ don’t date the help! So they went out for a while, and then he left, and I don’t even remember why.It was a brief, uninterested affair. Maybe he’s A? He’s disappeared like Sean and Ben. Maybe they’re all A?

Around this time we met Ian Thomas.

Ryan Merriman as Ian Thomas on Pretty Little Liars

Melissa and Ian had been together before, but then they broke up (He left her, but I don’t remember why! Curse this memory!)

Ian was friends with Jason. Jason had a reputation back when Alison was alive for drinking and smoking a lot of pot and just being a slacker like that, and sitting in his room and being a creep, and Ian used to sit up there and do it with him. And, it would seem, they liked to videotape people around town. They called it the N.A.T. club – nos animadverto totus (“we see all”). Garrett was in it, too, and one would now assume Jenna as well.

So, here’s the thing about Ian. We find out first that he kissed Spencer. Tsk Tsk. Spencer likes her sister’s boys, and Ian likes little girls. Because then we find out he was also sleeping with Alison. Alison gets jealous of Melissa and Spencer, so I think it’s pretty clear that her feelings for Ian were strong and genuine.

Once Spencer and the liars found out about him and Alison, and saw a video which made it look like he killed her (although it was actually just an edited clip of them having sex on the day she died), she got pretty freaked out. Melissa and Ian got engaged, and then eloped, and Melissa was pregnant, and he was living in the house, and he was up drinking milk in the middle of the night, and Spencer was terrified, especially after he found out what she knew and stole her laptop. This was when her parents looked really bad – Spencer was telling them she was scared, and they were ignoring her and telling her to stop trying to get attention. Spencer even confesses/proves that Ian had kissed her and had an affair with Alison, and it changes basically nothing.

Well, Ian and Spencer wound up in a bell tower – the details escape me now – and it seemed like he was going to kill her, but A came along and pushed Ian. Killed him, as it was. In a whodunit, the second murder usually helps you narrow things down, but not on PLL. The liars continued to suspect Ian of Alison’s murder up until that point, but our smart little Spencer can tell he’s lying – he tries to take the blame for the murder, but he thinks Alison was bashed over the head, when Spencer knows that actually she was asphyxiated. The obvious conclusion is that he was protecting Melissa and their baby. He says he’s doing this because he loves Melissa, and he sounds sincere. But us viewers know there’s no way it’s that simple.

Spencer has been in a relationship with Toby most recently. When I was looking back through the episodes, I was surprised to see that their relationship storyline has lasted almost a full season’s worth of episodes.

This is the main reason why I’m certain that Toby isn’t A or Alison’s killer. Spoby, as it’s called, has a lot of fans. The writers seem to favor it as well, given how long it has lasted with little internal conflict. They wouldn’t kill it now by making him evil.

It was kind of cute and exciting while she was falling for him – she seemed sort of drawn to his darkness but surprised by the real him. I did like that.

But I haven’t been a fan of it since two episodes or so after it began. And even while it was happening, I still prioritized Jenna and Emily, and resented a new love interest for Toby. Which I continue to do. Considering the look on my face while I look at pictures of Spencer and Toby together, I can only conclude that whatever little bit I did ship them at first is now completely gone.

The thing is, it just sort of felt like the writers decided, “OK, let’s hook up Spencer and Toby now.” It never felt organic to me. And Spencer likes the forbidden fruit – Ian, Wren, Alex, and now Toby – four love interests, four boys she wasn’t supposed to be with. (Remember Toby’s reputation, and the fact he was a suspect for Alison’s murder – the kind of suspect that actually gets arrested.)

I just don’t like them. OK?

At this point they’re pretty serious about each other, but Spencer knew her relationship with him was putting him in danger – A hurt him by weakening some scaffolding he was working on – so she lied and told him she was dating Wren, and he took off.

Come back, Toby!

Also: stop running away!

My first choice for Spencer is Wren. Julian Morris is REALLY hot, and Wren and Spencer have so many sparks. It’s like two flints. I don’t think he’s a great guy – he really doesn’t seem to think much of fidelity. But nobody in Rosewood is all that great. So really he’s average. And I think he and Spencer look right together in a way that Spencer and Toby never did.All right, I think I’ll swoop in right here and finish up with the Toby/Jenna stuff.

So, episode 1.16 Je Suis Une Amie is the beginning of Toby and Spencer’s relationship. She volunteers to tutor him in French, hoping it’ll give her the chance to ask him some questions. I just love investigator Spencer. The main reason Toby was in such serious trouble with the police was because he was actually framed, probably by A. A likes to frame. I believe he was framed because they put his sweater (the one Alison had borrowed) back into his room, and it had her blood on it.

So, Spencer shows up at Toby and Jenna’s house and knocks on the door.

Toby opens the door, but only as far as the chain will allow. He’s a little belligerent, because Emily is the only one of the liars who has ever treated him with anything approaching civility. Spencer practically rode around town on a float with a bullhorn proclaiming him guilty. He knows this.

He’s not sure he wants to be tutored by her – she begins explaining her plan, and then they hear a noise in the house and Toby gets a little skittish. He moves out onto the porch, closing the door behind him. “You-you can’t come in,” he says. “Jenna’s home.

More like: “You can’t come in; there’s no set for the interior of my house.”

I kind of wonder what Jenna’s gonna do if Toby does invite Spencer in. Maybe just freak out. She’s scary when she yells. And she slaps!

Remember: this isn’t just Jenna being controlling about Toby. She HATES Spencer and the other girls for reasons that have little to do with him.

Spencer wonders if there is somewhere else they can go.

Nope. Toby’s got an ankle monitor.

“Well, will Jenna mind if we sit out here on the porch?” Spencer wonders.

Toby shrugs.

And they end up sitting on the stoop. Big surprise there (!)

I think this is good. Jenna may not want Spencer in the house, but this isn’t about Jenna forbidding Toby from spending any time with these girls. She may snap about it, she may fail to deliver messages, but Toby dated Emily, and then he dates Spencer, and it’s not like Jenna does anything about it except say stuff.

Toby cuts through the shit – he knows Spencer’s not tutoring him because she just loves French that much. She admits that now that she’s being framed (I didn’t really go into that – her lawyer Mama got her out of most of that trouble), she thinks he might have been as well. He suggests that maybe she knows something she’s not supposed to know.

For once Spencer admits that every time she thinks she knows something, the rug gets pulled out from under her and she ends up on her ass. Now, if only she could REMEMBER THAT.

Toby’s theory is interesting – what might he know?

Spencer begins interrogating him about the sweater – he’s not supposed to be talking about that, for legal reasons, I suppose, although he’s looking back at the house which makes us wonder about Jenna and her wolf-like hearing.Then we see Jenna’s shadow in the window. Toby freaks out, begins collecting his books, and tells her that he has to go.

Toby ends up slipping her a message. She goes back to see him, because she doesn’t understand it. Toby tells her that it’s not going to work out. But he gives her another message – a rubbing of some braille from Jenna’s room. Toby’s been rubbing in Jenna’s room. Do with that what you will.

Things continue in 1.17 The New Normal. Spencer goes over to Toby’s house while Jenna is at her flute lesson. They go inside! Revolutionary. Spencer is her typical nosy self, and goes and noses around in Jenna’s room.Jenna’s room – aside from being huge – is rather normal. Some dolls and some snowglobes though – both which end up being involved in the mystery. The girls get sent dolls in the second season, telling them horrible things that they need to do in order to save their therapist (the one whom they sort of confided in, and who was then kidnapped – or so it seemed). And Alison gives Emily a snowglobe, and it has a secret in it which Emily finds at a random time – the location of a flashdrive that Ali had been hiding.

Spencer picks up one of the snowglobes, and Toby comes up to the door and tells her to put it back where she got it or “she’ll know you were in here”. Got some experience with that, Toby?

Toby tells her that the DA is dropping the charges against him – yay! – and Spencer almost drops the snow globe. Smooth, Spencer:  don’t quit your day job. Toby helps her catch it and they share like a moment or whatever – in Jenna’s room! Keegan Allen is just no good in these scenes with Troian. He’s trying to smile – and it’s creeping me out. I like no-smiling Toby.

As he and Spencer are leaving the house, going to the courthouse to have his ankle bracelet removed, Jenna comes out of a taxi.

“Toby?” Jenna asks. Then she asks him if he heard the good news. She’s smiling.

“He told me,” Toby says. And he’s pretty nice here.

“We can get that awful thing off your leg right now.” She suggests they take the cab. I think this recommends Jenna – after all, it would be in her favor to keep Toby securely in the house, unable to leave.“That’s all right, I’ve got a ride,” Toby responds. Again, he’s being really nice. I’d be willing to consider the possibility that he’s only nice/polite to appease her, except that he broke up with her, has been rude and mean to her, etc. He really doesn’t let her push him around anymore. And the fact that she lets him have his independence makes me wonder how much she would have gone through with in the first place. Think about it: if she had told their parents, police, whoever that he had forced himself on her, they would have separated them – the last thing she would want.

Jenna looks very disappointed. Not angry – like sad disappointed. I’m such a sucker for her! “Emily?” she asks. Spencer corrects her.

Jenna seems amused. “It’s really very nice of you, but I’m here now,” Jenna informs her. Uh-oh.

Toby seems a little unsure at first, then he grabs Spencer’s hand and says, “I’m going with Spencer.” He pulls her down to the car.Spencer looks terrified this entire scene.

“I see,” Jenna says to herself. The irony of her word choice is not lost on us. Speculation that she’s not really blind has been around for a long time, but personally I hope she is and think she is. Though maybe this whole eye-surgery thing is just her excuse to pretend to start being able to see again. But I can’t forget when she cried with Aria. And then how angry she got when she figured out that it was Aria. And how angry she is at the liars and Ali in general. I’m almost 100% confident that she can’t see.

Jenna no longer looks amused.

Toby heard Jenna on the phone with someone, and they were talking about Spencer. She printed something out – that’s what Toby made a rubbing of. It turned out to the be the numbers 214. Toby says, “We have to figure it out – for both our sakes.” I bring it up because what the hell is Toby thinking here? That Jenna is involved in framing him? Framing Spencer, sure, yeah, but him? “For both our sakes“?

“Are you afraid of Jenna?” Spencer asks. She’s heard everything from Emily, of course, but still she doubts it.“I was,” Toby admits.He’s thoughtful and slow, careful about what he says and how he says it. “I still have to be careful not to cross her. She’s got the power in that house.”“But I’m not afraid of her the way I used to be. That makes her nervous. You make her nervous.” Toby says he thinks she’s afraid of everyone who was there the night of the fire. I’m honestly not quite sure what he’s getting at. The night of the fire seems pretty straightforward – at least the Jenna angle. Unless she was the one who was spying on Alison, or knows who was. Hmmm…

I told you how much I like it when the guy can’t resist, but I’m glad that Toby isn’t afraid of her anymore because that means they can get out of that bad dynamic where she has the power to be abusive.

Well, Jenna has a tryst that night in motel room 214 with Garrett. I might be jumping ahead, but that’s what’s going on. Back then, they didn’t know she was seeing him.

1.18 The Badass Seed is kind of a silly episode. The school is doing a play – Ezra is in charge, and Aria insists on being stage manager, which is a really bad idea, made worse when she calls him Ezra in front of everyone. Ezra is an awful name, I wouldn’t even call him that in private. Jenna and Ezra really bond in it, which is mostly what I remember. She’s very intuitive about the play – very smart in understanding its complexities. Ezra admires her, which makes Aria gag a little.

Spencer and Toby are on the verge of something, and Emily gets a bit jealous. I think they’re trying to pass if off as her just wanting to be friends with Toby – they should have told Shay Mitchell that. She makes a breakfast date with him, to catch up. They haven’t really talked since she tried to tell him that it wasn’t her who told the police where he was.

But…Toby meets up with Spencer instead and forgets about going to breakfast with Emily. It’s easy to forget things in the morning, though. I have some pretty stupid ideas if you call me on the phone and wake me up. First of all: you’re lucky if I answer. But if I do – do not expect sense.

Emily goes to meet him, and Jenna is playing her flute on the porch. Creepy people are good at being creepy on this show. There’s something very Psycho about Jenna playing her flute. Ian drinks milk. Noel flirts. It’s all frightening. Of course, Jenna’s song sounded like a dirge. I’d be getting my Jethro Tull on, or “Appalachian Spring”, or something.

“Toby’s not here,” Jenna informs her. “Or are you here to see me?” she laughs. Good one, Jen.

Jenna rubs it in Emily’s face that Toby is off with Spencer.

“It sucks, doesn’t it?” she asks. “Feeling like you’re second choice.”Emily walks away, a little perturbed, slightly more so after Jenna begins playing her flute.

Awwww, poor Jenna. No matter what anyone has done, unrequited love is always sad. My inner pool of compassion is bottomless if you open the right door. Make a sad face for the right sad reason with some sad music in the background and I’ll feel bad for anyone. AND I MEAN ANYONE. This is a quality in myself that I am unsure about. Is it good? Is it bad? I don’t know.

And we now know that Jenna is seeing Garrett – has been, one might assume, for a very long time – but she’s still very hung up on Toby. And, honestly, it’s hard to see why. He really doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that Jenna would be attracted to. Although I do think in complementary terms that they’re a good match. She’s smart where he’s stupid, he’s good where she’s bad, he’s able where she’s unable, she’s fierce where he’s meek.

He has overcome his meekness a little – at Spencer’s request he steal’s Jenna’s phone for Caleb to crack. He’s shaky the whole time, wondering when he can get it back.

Toby seriously looks like he’s tweaking here.“She goes ballistic when I touch her stuff,” he explains, totally ignoring Spencer as she tries to ask him how he likes his toast. Her family is rich and all she’s offering him is toast?

I feel like I should say something about this sentence, but I don’t know what to say.

Spencer takes this opportunity to ask a question I’ve long wanted to: “Why was Alison so sure it was you spying on us the night of the accident?”Toby seems kind of embarrassed at first – and it makes him look guilty of something. But then he starts up with a very genuine and sincere denial. “I never spied on anyone. I never looked in anyone’s window. Your friend Alison made that up.”

Your friend Alison? Yeah, Toby, we know who Alison is.

“But why?” Spencer asks. “Why you?”

“She thought she had something on me. She never understood what was really going on and she used it against me anyway.”

None of this really makes any sense. Someone was spying on Alison – her outrage was real. (And as we’ve come to learn, poor Ali was taunted by an A of her own – possibly though not necessarily the same one(s), which means she was very much the victim of tompeepery.) But if she knew it wasn’t Toby – why throw a smoke bomb into his garage? I might even venture that she knew Jenna was in there and was making an attack on Jenna, but when Jenna gets carted off in an ambulance Alison seems genuinely freaked out. Even if she wanted to attack Jenna and make Toby take the fall for it, she didn’t need to make a fuss about him spying on her or create his reputation for being a pervert and a freak (something for which I think we have mostly her to thank) – all she needed was the blackmail. Also, where does Ali get off yelling at people for spying on her? She as much as confessed to spying on Toby – looking through his window.

Well, this saga continues in 1.19 A Person Of Interest. Jenna freaks out about her stolen phone, and suspects Toby. I’m not even sure exactly what happened, but he flees to a motel until their parents return. He says the parents are usually a “decent buffer”.

Spencer tells her that if Jenna had anything to do with her being framed, that he would do whatever he could to help her. I think this is more to do with the foundation of Spencer and Toby’s relationship than Jenna and Toby’s.

Jenna has had Caleb spying on Hanna. When Hanna figures this out, she confronts Jenna in the girls’ bathroom and slaps her, and Jenna cries. Jenna’s human, it turns out.Spencer and Toby are in a bit of a situation when neither family approves of the association. The Hastings don’t think much of Toby in general, and Mr. Cavanaugh doesn’t want his recently freed son associating with Alison’s new murder suspect (though I’d imagine he had Jenna whispering in his ear). Jenna’s very eager to carry this news to Spencer:In the season finale, and the end of the penultimate episode, the girls are dealing with the flashdrive of Ali’s that they found, thanks to Emily finally deciding to investigate the snowglobe she’d had in her room for over a year.

The tape shows Jenna’s manipulations with Toby. Ali came to the hospital and played it for her. Threatened to expose it if Jenna ever told the truth that Alison had been the one who started the fire. And told her she would bury Jenna if Jenna ever came back to Rosewood.(Jenna went away to a school for the blind where she kicked ass and became a champion blind girl.) Ali had stolen the videos from Ian. So both Ian and Jenna (and Jenna’s boyfriend Garrett) are desperate to get a hold of it, and both had something on each other and a reason to hate Alison.

The flashdrive is reclaimed by A in the bell tower.

The video of Jenna and Toby is kind of hard to watch.

Jenna is alone in her room. Then Toby walks in, and she chides him playfully for being late.

Toby says, “It’s not right.”“There’s nothing wrong about us, Toby,” Jenna replies, and I quite agree, except for the extortion part. “We’re not really related,” she finishes. She laughs. “It’d be so easy for me to convince your daddy and my mommy that you’ve been forcing yourself on me. You have no idea who you’re dealing with.”

Although, I think it’s very interesting that Toby keeps saying, “This is wrong,” rather than, “Jenna, I’m just not that into you.” I mean, it’s obvious that he doesn’t feel right about what’s happening and doesn’t want to be doing it. But I can think of a billion things he might have said to her to get her to stop, and he doesn’t say them. Instead, to her and to Emily and Spencer later, all he says is, “I knew it was wrong.”

What sucks most is we never even got to see them kiss. Spencer orders the video turned off before things go any further. Damn you, Spencer.

A long stretch of absolutely zero interaction between Jenna and Toby begins at this point.

In fact, it isn’t until 2×11 I Must Confess that we have anything. Toby is out in the wooded area around Spencer’s house and Ali’s old house – Maya’s for a while – now belonging to Jason once again. He sees Jenna sitting in a car parked on the street. She’s listening to some rockin’ music and eating cherries. It’s all very sexy – you know how women can be with fruit.

He’s frowning – in confusion, I suppose. Toby comes right up to the car and looks in the open window.So then Garrett comes out of his house, and gets in that car with Jenna. Toby runs and hides. And Garrett kisses Jenna. As an audience, we’ve known that they’re together since the season finale, but I think this is the first time that the liars get an inkling.I like the way they kiss. He has to guide her mouth to his.

Toby looks very distressed.this one is mine I actually made this oneGranted, the liars had trusted Garrett at one point, and Jenna with a cop by her side is trouble. But one could interpret his look as jealousy. I don’t actually think he’s supposed to be jealous, but I’m pretending. And Keegan’s Allen’s acting here invites me to do it.

2.13 The First Secret is the flashback Halloween episode I alluded to. It takes place Halloween of 2008, during the year before Alison disappeared. She disappeared on September 1, 2009. The present action of show begins one year after that in September 2010.

While the episode is excellent, full of fun teases and chances to see the characters act very differently, it is slightly troubled. It gives this as the time when Jenna moves to town, with Toby’s mother only having died a year before that. And again, I have to protest. I was very strongly under the impression that they had been step siblings for much longer than that. (Of course, I should be the opposite of bothered by the fact that they don’t share a last name and haven’t been stepsiblings for very long anymore, but we all know me.)

Emily sees Toby outside with a moving van and asks him if he’s moving. He tells her about Jenna.“What’s she like?” Emily asks.

“She gets what she wants,” Toby replies ominously.Jenna has always been badass. Her wit and her competence in her blindness have made sure of that.

But what I love in this episode is that when we first meet her, without having the benefit of impressing everyone with how strong she is, with how she has conquered her very-new disability – she’s still badass. I mean, maybe it’s just me, but it’s really hard not to root for Jenna in this episode: she shows up in town, she doesn’t let Alison push her around, she tells Alison that she likes to choose her own friends, and then she makes friends with Mona, whom Alison has been an absolute witch to. She and Ali both come to Noel’s Halloween party dressed as Lady Gaga, and Alison looks like something a cat coughed up, while Jenna looks magnificent. And everyone (i.e. Emily) is staring at Jenna while she dances. And Alison is just getting jealous and angry. I mean, Ali’s just such a bully, so it feels good to see someone stand up to her, even though we know that Jenna bullies Toby.

And that’s the other thing. That brief scene with Toby – he’s just this timid dork with a dorky haircut who can barely say two words to Emily, and Jenna is just this sexy beast. This whirlwind of glamour.I wish we could have seen her and Toby interact in this episode.

To be fair to Toby (and Keegan), he can look quite good:But Tammin, though…I bet Emily became a lesbian the second she saw Jenna:In 2.14 Through Many Dangers, Toils, and Snares, Emily is at school and she sees Garrett, and Toby comes up and sees her watching him. He says, “He follows her around like a trained monkey,” with absolute disdain. Somebody’s getting too big for his britches. Wasn’t so long ago you weren’t much better. Of course Garrett loves Jenna, truly. So two totally different kinds of trained monkey. Right…?

And again, maybe this is my bias, maybe it’s Keegan Allen’s deficient acting (sorry honey I don’t mean to pick on you), but his manner here could totally be interpreted as jealousy once more. 100% possible interpretation, expressionally and tonally supported. Without background information, I bet you’d be certain of it.

“It’s worse when he comes to the house,” Toby finishes.

I don’t see how it could be worse. Besides, of course they’re together when he’s over at her house to visit her.

Methinks you’re jealous Toby, because you’re not making any sense.

Sure Jenna’s enemies don’t want her to have allies, but I doubt they’d expect her not to. And I can see Toby being a little disgusted that someone would love Jenna when Toby knows just how horrible she can be. But I think his negativity here is a little out of hand. Toby has Spencer – they’re happily dating. He’s in a pretty good place to be feeling so resentful. His life is probably better now than it has been since his mom was alive.

“I didn’t see Jenna,” Emily points out. “Is she here?”

“Must be in the girls’ room,” Toby answers. I know this seems like nothing, but the fact that he speculates about her location – it makes me think that he’s usually pretty aware of where she is.

There’s a meta reason for the line, though. This episode is the show’s winter premiere, and Jenna doesn’t appear in the first batch of episodes. Tammin must have been occupied somehow.

And then Garrett is standing across this crowded room, and he’s snacking, and he and Toby just kind of stare at each other. And I don’t even know what’s supposed to be going on BUT I LOVE IT. Garrett looks a little smug. And then Toby looks down and away, like he’s lost the staring contest, or like he’s embarrassed. It’s really like Garrett has stolen Jenna away from him. That’s how they’re behaving in this scene.

In 1.15 A Hot Piece Of A, Garrett is on the phone with Jenna. He’s talking to her and getting out of his car. He’s saying he doesn’t understand, and he wants to talk to her in person, and he wants her to stop punishing him. Toby and Spencer are sitting in Toby’s truck outside his house and they’re listening.Garrett begins knocking on the door angrily.Spencer wants to know what’s going on. Toby tells her, “It’s been like Fight Club since last night. They were arguing on the porch – she slammed the door in his face. I think it’s nerves. Jenna plays it cool but she’s freaking about having the eye operation.”

(Toby sounds a little amused at the thought of Jenna slamming the door in Garrett’s face.)

Garrett’s side of the conversation reveals that something went wrong, and he blames the fact that they pulled in a third guy to help them. Obviously it’s all very cryptic. But this comes in the wake of the liars managing to steal A’s phone the night before, and Spencer is highly susceptible to assuming that Jenna is A. (Of course Ali was getting messages from her “A” the same day she first met Jenna. Seems unlikely when you think about that.)Spencer is listening to the conversation doggedly for clues, but Toby, while definitely not uninterested, seems very different in the way he feels about and approaches the eavesdropping. You know how silly I am, but Toby is very reluctant to speculate. He’s a little weird about it. He seems…I don’t know. He rolls his eyes at least once while listening to Garrett’s side of the conversation. And I think there’s something to the fact that he realizes that Jenna is nervous about the surgery, especially when she’s trying to hide it.

Jenna doesn’t open the door, and hangs up on the phone.

“Damn it!” Garrett shouts, and he walks away.

Spencer ducks down quickly, but Toby stays sitting up.

Garrett turns to look at him, and we have another showdown at the OK Corral.I’m serious, I’m hearing Ennio Morricone’s dueling score from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Toby’s look is very defiant.

Garrett looks a little taken-aback, though I wouldn’t say he looks afraid that Toby might have heard what he said.

I think it’s significant that Toby didn’t hide like Spencer did. Toby wanted Garrett to see him. I think Toby wanted Garrett to know that Toby had seen him losing his girl. No more smug stares from him.

Later in the episode, a black car pulls away just as Garrett pulls up. Toby is standing on the porch.“Was she alone?” Garrett asks. “Was there anyone else in that car going to Boston with Jenna?”Guess this third guy helped out Jenna more than he did Garrett. I suppose we can assume it’s Noel, having the future knowledge that we have.

Bucket of ice water indeed.

“I have no idea,” Toby proclaims. Seems doubtful since he’s been standing there and the car was opened so that Jenna could get in.

“That was supposed to be me in that car with her,” Garrett complains.“What happened?” Toby asks. Toby really doesn’t like Garrett. That’s pretty clear at this point.

“I don’t know. She turned on me, Toby.”

Toby nods knowingly. “She does that.”WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Jenna has certainly never turned on Toby, though I can see how he might consider certain things she has done to be a betrayal. Jenna’s actually been fairly consistent, if you ask me.

“All I ever did was everything she ever asked me too,” Garrett continues. “And one day she decides that’s not enough.” Poor Garrett, looking for comfort from Toby!

“When Jenna doesn’t need people anymore, she gets rid of them,” Toby replies. He actually almost seems sympathetic now. He even sits down. But again, I don’t think we’ve really got much evidence of this alleged trait of Jenna’s. Unless she killed Ian and/or Ali. Because she definitely didn’t get rid of Toby.

“All I said was this town is not good for her,” Garrett explains. “And I just wished we could get out of here. You know, move on.” Now, I’m not surprised that Jenna didn’t respond well to that – I’m sure she’s got big plans and she’s the type to hold a grudge and not let go – but I doubt she’d break up with him because of that. It’s obvious he’s a good guy who loves her and wants what’s best for her and probably doesn’t want any more Rosewood dirty dealings.

I’m surprised by how open Garrett is here. He’s truly looking to Toby for an explanation, which makes me wonder whether whatever Jenna’s up to really had anything to do with their breakup, because Garrett clearly doesn’t seem to think so.

“Maybe she’s having too much fun settling scores,” Toby responds. Well, we know that’s true, although we also know it’s not all fun and games for Jenna. He clearly knows her well, though.

“Hey, your stepsister’s been through a lot, all right,” Garrett says defensively. Awww. He’s defending her honor. Against Toby! “If it were me, and I had to learn everything all over again I’d be curled up in some corner. She makes the rest of us look like cowards.”  Yani Gellman is a good actor. He’s so good with these lines. Let me love you.

“I never questioned her strength… just how she uses it,” Toby replies. It’s a perfect response. He acknowledges Jenna’s strength and repudiates Garrett’s accusation that he is unaware of it. Keegan delivers the line well – like always his lines to and about Jenna are the ones done best. You can hear the reluctant praise, maybe even the reluctant admiration, but without denying the reprehension.

“Yeah? Well you don’t understand her,” Garrett challenges.

“Right, I don’t,” Toby humors. “But it looks like she’s found some new friends who do.”He might have said it like, “No, I don’t understand how she can do such horrible things,” but he doesn’t. This line is all about making Garrett feel bad. A retaliation, one could suppose, for Garrett presuming to understand her better. Maybe Toby didn’t like that?

“Oh yeah? Who are her friends?” It seems like Garrett is going to get angry and be mean, but he just gets sad and weepy and jealous. You gave him this ammo, Garrett!

“You could just walk away, Garrett,” Toby suggests. “I did.”I love this. Toby is the one who chooses to compare their situations. He’s telling Garrett that walking away may be better like it was for him, but that implies that there was something still drawing them to her. Some reason to go to her. And the extortion thing just doesn’t fit into the parallel. Toby’s the one who says he and Garrett are the same!

“The difference is I’m in love with her,” Garrett replies. “And if I have to keep proving that to her, I will.” Awwww. You can why I ship them too. It would also seem Garrett knows most of the story of Jenna and Toby. He doesn’t seem to give a fig newton.

Toby swallows, and watches Garrett walk away.

Nothing to say, Toby? Why so quiet?

There’s a lot of lines Toby could have said to stress how much he wasn’t in love with Jenna. I mean, the first time I saw the scene I was white-knucked just waiting to hear what awful ship-sinking response Toby had.

But he didn’t say anything.

And he seems peculiarly disturbed by the ending of the conversation. Why even do a reaction shot of Toby’s face after Garrett leaves? What does Toby’s reaction matter?

I hope Garrett wins Jenna back.So, 2.17 Blond Leading The Blind, Toby gets hurt in that scaffolding accident I mentioned. He’s in the hospital. He wakes up, and Jenna is there.

“Why’d you go back to that house?” she demands.

“What? I…” Toby is confused.“You were never supposed to go back there, Toby. It is not safe with those girls, with Spencer.”The liars had been accusing Jenna of the act that got Toby hurt (knowing it was A, and assuming Jenna as A). And I was yelling at them, “Jenna would never hurt Toby!” And in this scene we can see that she’s pissed he got hurt. She certainly doesn’t sound uninvolved entirely, but clearly whatever happened to Toby was an accident in her book.

“Don’t talk about her,” Toby interrupts. “Don’t mention her name.”

Jenna sits on the edge of the bed. “You need to be stronger,” she says.“I don’t want any advice from you,” Toby snaps.STUPID, TOBY, REALLY FREAKING STUPID. I mean, I’m pulling out my hair right now. Jenna loves Toby. She doesn’t want him hurt, she doesn’t want him in jail. He should know this. And he may not trust her motives where his girlfriend and her friends are concerned, but the fact stands that Jenna knows more about what is going on than anyone else we know of, and maybe if he would shut up and listen to her, he would know more and be safer. God!

“Who else is there?” she asks. “Hmmm? That knows you as well as I do? That cares about you as much as I do?” She begins stroking his leg – hopefully not the broken one. He pulls his leg away, though not exactly immediately. He probably could have kicked her off the bed, but he’s too good for that. She is blind, after all.

“Spencer,” Toby posits. I really can’t argue against that. Spencer and Jenna are a lot alike. Spencer probably does know Toby pretty well, and cares about him enough to be equivalent in that respect. She can’t protect him as well as Jenna can, though.

“You know you’ll never be happy with her; you’ll never be at peace.”

Toby doesn’t respond.

Jenna leans in. “She’s haunted, Toby. I know a little bit about that.”Toby doesn’t speak at first. Then he says, “You shouldn’t be here.” I think Toby not liking what Jenna has to say has a lot more to do with him wanting her to leave than it does with him just plain old not wanting her around.

“I’m the only person who should be here,” Jenna argues. “We’re family.” She smiles.

Toby doesn’t smile back, but he’s very passive in this scene. He could be a lot more objectionable. That word doesn’t work right, does it? He could be a lot more…contentious. “Whether you like it or not,” Jenna adds. She’s got a point.

Jenna may have made up some leverage to use against him, but their parents are the ones who threw them together.

Toby has nothing to say to that. One supposes she stayed for a while. Maybe they played cards.

She runs into Emily later and yells at her for putting Toby in danger. She points out that everyone around the girls gets hurt. That’s not really true – well, it’s definitely an exaggeration. The girls are stupid if they don’t see that Jenna didn’t hurt Toby. At the end of this episode is where he runs off after Spencer lies and says she’s dating Wren. Toby’s an idiot for believing it. But that’s nothing new. I’ve heard he won’t be back until the season finale. Sucks.

I’ll leave off with this graphic I made of Keegan Allen and Tammin Sursok using pictures I didn’t spam you with yet:I obviously didn’t study graphic design, but pretty subjects make for pretty art, no?

Continuing:

I’ve mentioned both Jason and Alison already because it was necessary to round out the descriptions of the other characters and storylines. I want to talk about them now as if this is their story. Finally.

I had more material for Jenna and Toby, so I’ll have spent more time and space talking about them when this entry is over, but I ship Jason/Alison with the fire of a thousand suns and this entry is truly for them.

But first: the Jason/Alison ship is a very odd ship to have for a number of reasons, even forgetting that they are brother and sister (which, on this blog, should NOT come as a surprise).

I suppose the main reason is the fact that she’s dead.

But is Alison really dead? I’m not going to say that I am 100% sure that she is. It’s not easy to fake a dead body in this day and age. There would have had to be an inside man with the police department and some sleight of hand with the CSI stuff – switching samples, etc. Not afterwards, but before it was analyzed. And that’s assuming the body wasn’t visibly identifiable, and I’m guessing Ali’s was, even after a year. I mean, it’s nearly impossible. But I could wrap my mind around the possibility.

And there’s also the possibility that Alison had a twin, which, apparently, was a storyline from the book. I don’t know much about that because I don’t want to be spoiled. But Alison told a story about twins in the Halloween episode which either teased book fans or opened the door for it. The twin could be the one who’s dead or the one who’s alive. I’d like Alison to be alive, even if it meant she had killed her own twin. I really hated her at first for the way she treated people and what she did to Hanna and Lucas and others, but I’ve really come to admire her mind and her cunning.

And I’m absolutely enraptured with Sasha Pieterse. I could just watch her all day. She’s just unbelievably gorgeous. I saw her in The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl (Don’t judge: I saw it while baby sitting. Then I watched it again with my friend because I liked it. Fine, judge away.)She’s a sweet and innocent child in that (like Taylor Lautner), but still very stunning. It was weird to go from seeing that, then a couple of months later to see her playing such a lascivious teenager on PLL. And truth was, I was totally enchanted by her in The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl too.

She was just a baby when she started out on Pretty Little Liars – only 14. Much younger than Troian’s 25 or Tammin’s 27. Just look at young Sasha Pieterse:

I don’t think it’s fair to make people that good looking. I bet she didn’t get invited to anyone’s birthday parties: no one wants to be shown up on their birthday.

Of course, I also wouldn’t mind if Alison was alive so I could ship her with Jason in more than a nostalgic way.

A hit Hanna with a car, and while Hanna was in the hospital she saw Alison. It was probably a dream or a hallucination, but there’s still the possibility that it was real. Emily had a similar hallucination while she’s in danger and almost out of air. Hers, if I recall, leaves some unanswered questions. It’s likely that someone intervened to save her, though not necessarily Alison.Anyway, I’m going to continue to operate under the assumption that Alison is dead, but I’d love it if she was alive. At first I thought it would be a cheap twist, but now I’m dying for it.

So, there’s that.

Another reason why shipping Jason/Alison is odd is the nature of their relationship. Without going into detail: they weren’t…close. Aside from the bias shipping them gives me, I’d question at times if they loved each other at all. They’ve never had one sweet interaction between them that we’ve seen.

But you’ve come to understand the type of person Alison is. I’d question if she loved anyone at all. Even what she felt for Ian I would chalk up to little more than lust and possessiveness. Alison was a very possessive person. And whether she loved Ian or not, that he was hers was important. That the liars were hers was important.

As to how all these games begin, I think she was just too smart for her own good. I think dealing in secrets became second nature, but I don’t think she just set out to do it one day. I think she got embroiled, somehow. And she wanted to give back what she got. That’s the thing about Alison, she can dish out. Every horrible thing Alison ever did is equally matched by some way she can impress you, is equally matched by something bad that happened to her and how much she deserved it. I’m not going to say she deserved to be murdered, though. Not my place. But the world is better off with out her, I’m sure.

But Alison had her good traits – she was funny, even if it often came from being cruel. She was beautiful and popular. Magnetic. She made these girls popular, and she could fill them with sunshine when she felt like it. I think that she forgot how to be kind and how to be honest, and maybe sometimes she wanted to and just didn’t know how to do it anymore. And I think the way she viewed the world – which wasn’t always her fault because she was a victim from time to time – distorted her. When she turned Hanna bulimic, a part of me believes she really was trying to help her, though her solution to Hanna’s problem was not a healthy one. Maybe Ali was too far gone to remember that. When she gave Emily the snowglobe, maybe she was sad to be saying goodbye to a friend and not just looking for a hiding place.

Jason is hard to describe, because he hasn’t been very consistent. And parts of his story don’t reconcile.He was recast for the second season, and his personality quite changed as well.Jason (played by Parker Bagley) makes his first appearance is in 1.08 Please Do Talk About Me When I’m Gone.Discussion of him and Ali’s parents has been limited. We learn that he was more than a bit of a stoner. Alison’s brother was basically some guy who just sat in his room all day and smoked weed.

In the episode, a memorial is being dedicated to Alison, and Jason has come for the ceremony. Spencer is planning it, but a very-changed Jason comes and sort of tries to take it over. He wants the final say on everything. He also gets the lead investigator (Detective Wilden) taken off the case.

The liars are surprised – this is not the Jason they remember. He has cleaned himself up. Apparently he even went to college. I don’t know how he fit four years of an Ivy League school into the one year since Ali disappeared, or how he even got into an Ivy League school, but the wiki doesn’t lie. OK, OK, maybe he didn’t/hasn’t graduated, but still. (He either quit school or did magically finish it, because he’s a resident of Rosewood in the second season, and only a few diegetic months have passed since the show started.) New Jason wears suits. New Jason intimidates people. New Jason gets what he wants. He’s articulate and clever. He’s just very powerful – these suits, and this demeanor. I mean, dude’s scary. And hot.

Jason can tell that the girls are feeling some tension towards him, so he asks them what’s up. Then he gets going about “the secrets of the girls, curled up in Ali’s bedroom” and says, “Do you think that means you knew her better than I did?”For anyone else, I’d say almost definitely. My friends know me better than my brother does, though I certainly love my brother infinitely more than I love them. For someone with Alison’s personality, I’d typically say that probably no one really knew her. But with Alison and Jason, I feel like he did know her as well as her friends did, and they all knew her pretty well. Well, they have to, because we only know her through their flashbacks.

I like that Jason gets defensive about this. He’s all, “She my sister. I know her. I want to pick the cello player.”

Later Jason tells Spencer that Jenna told him that Spencer had done what, in truth, Ali had done. That the accident that blinded her was Spencer’s fault.  He and Jenna are all buddy-buddy in this episode. Jenna even speaks at the ceremony, and says some nice things about Alison. I don’t know how she managed it, because there’s very little you could say about Alison that’s nice. And those two hated each other. (If they’d had a mutual interest and teamed up – I would believe it. But that never happened.)

In retrospect, one wonders what Jason knows about Jenna. Because she was definitely involved in the N.A.T. club stuff before the end. (And by end I mean Alison’s murder.) Somehow, with all we’ve learned, I doubt that Jenna and Jason’s first conversation after he came back to town was about her accident.

Spencer asks Jason if he believes that, and the face he makes in response is sort of ambiguous. I think he knows it isn’t true. Then she says, “You’re just as bad as Alison, aren’t you?” And he says, “In some ways, I’m worse.”

I was pretty tickled by shipping Alison and Jason at this point. Two evil peas in a pod. But with her dead – and him only appearing in one episode – well, that’s not the type of thing to keep one interested.

He appears again in 1.15 If At First You Don’t Succeed, Lie, Lie Again. A gives the liars a photograph of Ali with a shadow following her which appears to have been taken from Ali’s bedroom window the night she was murdered. Spencer wonders if Jason took it and goes to ask him. He says that he received similar photographs, and they were found to be fakes. Then he apologizes for being such a jerk during the memorial, explaining his behavior away with the fact that planning the memorial was the hardest thing he had ever done. (Awwwwwww)He and Spencer have a lot of great chemistry in this scene (partly because he’s shirtless), and it spawned quite a few shippers. Hee. You’ll soon learn why that might amuse.

Jason admits that because of his drug abuse, he remembers very little about the night Alison disappeared, or the entire summer. I remember the summer before I went to college – you didn’t see me going to Princeton.

Jason’s PI finds that the photograph is genuine. Spencer confesses that she’s the sinister shadow following Ali, but the identity of the photographer remains unknown. Jason admits freely that he might have taken it in an ill-remembered, drug-hazed stupor – either from his own bedroom window or from Alison’s. Did he often go into Ali’s bedroom while high? (It would seem yes, we learn.)I’m sure he’s feeling really guilty. He was high while his sister was murdered! (Of course I chose to say that after posting a bunch of pictures of him smiling and looking goofy. He’s hurting on the inside, I’m sure.)

Well, Jason moves back to town for the second season. Yay! And he was recast – Drew Van Acker is our Jason DiLaurentis now.I liked the other Jason, too. I wish they’d just made it so that Alison had two brothers, because I like each Jason for different reasons. They don’t just look different – they behaved differently as well. Old new Jason wore suits, and was very commanding. Probably why he and Spencer were so electric. But new new Jason is just so.damn.fine. Drew Van Acker, where have you been all my life?(Apparently in underwear catalogs)My God. Rawr. And I find new new Jason has a certain charisma. Against all better judgment, one likes him. One forgives him. One wants to trust him and believe him. He’s much softer than old Jason. The fling with Aria would not have been as believable with old new Jason, that’s for sure. I can’t see new new Jason saying, “In some ways, I’m worse.”

Well, new new Jason may be super hot, but he’s certainly suspicious. He covers all of the windows with newspapers, and begins building a fence around his property (he was lucky he got his old house back from Maya’s family). The liars believe for a period that Ian may be still alive, and that Jason is harboring him. But Ian is dead as a doornail. Kind of too bad – he was a fun creeper. Spencer tries to question Jason and offers to help with the move, but he declines. He wants to know if Ian actually admitted to Alison’s murder and Spencer wants to get answers, not give them.

Jason flirts with Aria a little. She runs into him playing basketball (Shirtless. Score!) and he tells her that he liked her pink hair from back when Alison was alive. He says he doesn’t remember a lot, but he remembers that. Who wouldn’t be flattered? And she’s going through a rough patch with Ezra.

And when Jason catches Mike stealing from him and promises Aria he won’t turn him in, not only is she grateful to Jason but they share a secret. He stands up to Noel later, who is bulling Aria a bit, further winning her over.

They have a big moment at Ian’s funeral.

She asks him why he’s willing to give Mike a free pass. He says, “I don’t know. Maybe because Ali was always threatening to turn me in.” He likes the way Aria is a sister to Mike. I’m sure he wishes Ali could have been more like that towards him. (That’s not what he says, that’s my interpretation.) Aria asks him if Ali ever turned him. Jason shakes his head: “Ali was too smart for that. Even as a kid. She was fearless. She needed to be. I was always jealous of that. Of her.”This image of his jealousy is a different picture than what we’ve seen so far.

I do wonder about him saying that she “needed to be” fearless.  Whatever for? Around the time she died we can understand why she might have been facing adversity, but from childhood? I really don’t understand.

When Ian’s body is found, everyone is very happy to pin Alison’s murder on him (especially after “A” fabricates a confession note), but the girls, led by Spencer, now know better. Kind of bitter pill for them to swallow after trying so hard and so vainly to convince everyone that Ian was guilty.

With Ian’s guilt almost assured to the general public, Jason feels free to admit to Aria that he had wondered whether he had killed her. He doesn’t remember the night she died. And he woke up with a note in his pocket saying, “I know what you did.” He says not knowing nearly killed him this past year. Jason was jealous of Alison. She was favored by their parents, and has often felt that they felt they had lost the wrong child.He spent a lot of time thinking that he should have been the one who died as well. And he knew he could be violent when “loaded”. So his fears were reasonable. Aria doesn’t quite know what to say to that, seeing as how she has reasonable doubt about Ian’s guilt.

The alert level of Jason’s suspiciousness goes up to orange when Toby finds the hockey stick buried in the ground while working on Jason’s fence. Spencer becomes convinced (in her way) that it’s the murder weapon, and is furious when her father burns it. (That’ll make a bit more sense once you hear more further down.)

In 2.06 Never Letting Go, Aria wants to ask Jason some more questions, so she invites him to help her choose some pictures for another memorial thingamabob for Ali. There’s one of her smiling, and Jason tells Aria to use it; “she looks happy there”. Awwww.

Jason then goes to the school and begins a big-brother thing for at risk youth. He wants to counsel them. This I find strange. Is he really that good? Is he really that changed? I don’t know. I doubt it. I’ve seen people change like this before, but I don’t know. Maybe they’re just trying to make Jason good enough for Aria. A viable love interest. Ella is moved, and invites Jason to join Ezra at the awkwardest dinner ever.

Jason brings Aria flowers when he comes over for dinner.Like I said: awkward.

Jason also has a suspicious shed. Spencer breaks in, and – eek! – it’s full of pictures of Aria sleeping and other creepy stuff like that.

Also very awkward.

The next day, he clears out the shed completely, noticing it has been broken into.

Jason kisses Aria before she learns of the stalker shed. She’s had some sexy time dreams about him (Aria always has been the luckiest liar),but she still pulls away from the kiss (after enjoying it for a little bit). But she’s got Ezra. She’s being blackmailed to stay away from Ezra by his crazy ex-fiance Jackie Molina, but true love wins when Ezra catches Jackie in the act, and he and Aria get back together, to Jason’s chagrin.

Aria confronts Jason about the pictures. Pretty brave and enterprising for Aria. Usually it’s Spencer on the frontlines. Jason explains that he found the roll of film in a box belonging to Ali. He only knew what the pictures were once he had developed them – his shed was a black room. He cleaned it out once it had been broken into – not because he was hiding anything – but because his photography equipment was very expensive.

Likely story.

Not that I don’t want it to be true.

I remember wondering how the hell they were going to explain away the shed o’ creepiness. But they did it. They managed it.

He gives Aria the box of Ali’s stuff that he found under her floorboards while renovating her old room.

So, now we wonder who took all those creepy pictures. Aria must feel so violated. I don’t think watching someone sleeping is creepy – when you’ve been invited! The thought of someone sneaking in like that – ew! It was probably the work of someone in the N.A.T. club. Probably Ian. Ali probably stole it along with the flashdrive. (Or maybe Ali did have it, but she stole it from Jason during one of her raids of his room.)

Well, Jason’s not totally in the clear. Garrett comes to see him, and they’re as friends. Jason turns down a beer – he really is on the straight and narrow. Garrett is worried about a secret – his “reputation is on the line”. It would seem the secret is safe.

It would seem that Aria and Jason are done for the time being. Too bad:I could cook bacon with that sizzle.

This might be a good time to introduce Alison and Jason’s mother:

Andrea Parker as Jessica DiLaurentis on Pretty Little Liars

We haven’t met the father.

We find out that Jason bought the house in the spirit of Alison, who was “great at keeping secrets, and great at punishing people with the truth”. There’s something between Jason and Peter Hastings. Some reason why Jason bought the house to be near him, why Peter was protecting him. And then the truth was exposed in this week’s episode: Peter Hastings is also Jason’s father – he had an affair with Jason and Alison’s mother. But they’ve been hinting at it for a while, obviously – I’ve been 99% convinced since 2.11 (you can see why) which aired in July, so it certainly doesn’t feel like new information to me.  (Before then it seemed like the DiLaurentis’ just had something on Peter, and were blackmailing him to help Jason.) (I am in no way bragging. I kind of feel like if you didn’t figure it out already, you’re either an idiot, or you weren’t watching very carefully.) It’s relatively new information to Jason as well, though Alison – unsurprisingly – knew it for a while now.

(This is kind of a shallow note, but Peter Hastings is way hotter than Jessica DiLaurentis.)(Or I don’t know, maybe he just does it for me.)

I was disappointed that Jason and Alison were only half-siblings.  From what Spencer’s father said to her, it seems almost impossible that he is Alison’s father as well, although in the books he was. I’m just going to pretend that he is her father too, because I need that.

It does amuse me that Jason and Spencer are brother and sister. Spencer was convinced for a while – the way that she does – that he had killed Alison. She might still think so. And a lot of people (me included) shipped the two of them during the first season. Parker Bagley and Troian had a lot of chemistry, like I mentioned.

Oops.

Well, not oops for me. Like I care.

Some people are only shipping it now, because Jason and Spencer’s scenes have been, understandably, very emotionally charged.

Jason was the one who confirmed the truth for Spencer after she asked if her dad was his dad too. I’m actually not crazy about dealing with all of Spencer’s drama after learning that her father had an affair. Hanna’s father and Aria’s father both had affairs as well – it’s kind of been done.

Jason tells Spencer that he learned of the affair because of letters that he found in a hiding place of Alison’s in her bedroom at their grandmother’s house. He was renovating. (Or he was looking through her stuff. He seems to be using this renovating excuse a lot. It’s like all this guy does is fix up Alison’s bedrooms.) He also found a lot of money in the box. 15 grand. It makes me think Alison’s dead, because if you knew you had that kind of money hidden, wouldn’t you go get it?

Jason and Spencer jump to the understandable conclusion that Alison was blackmailing Peter Hastings.

Spencer is pretty disgusted. Jason as well, though slightly less so. Spencer remarks that it’s a pretty awful thing for Alison to have done and Jason says, “I know. It’s hard to believe when you say it out loud.” Is it? Am I the only one totally unsurprised here?

Spencer confronts her father, and she, like me, decided he had not been blackmailed by Ali. She got the money somewhere else. Jason doesn’t want to believe it – it’s easier for him to hate Peter Hastings. At least, I think that’s what he said. He was speaking, I think, or something. I don’t know. I find his face distracting.

But I do remember when he said, “You know why we act like this, right? Why we always seem to be facing off?” And Spencer says, “Because we’re wired the same.”

DO. NOT. LIKE.

I am not interested in seeing brother/sister relationship Spencer/Jason. I don’t want them growing close, or bonding, or working together, and that seems to be the direction things are headed.

Ali is Jason’s sister. Melissa and Spencer are just two girls that share his bio dad. That is what I want.

Before I forget: We also find out in 2.12 that Jenna and Garrett wrote the note that Jason woke up with – ostensibly to keep him quiet about this secret they all share.  Garrett says, “He knows he didn’t kill her, but he’ll never figure out we’re the ones who wrote that note.” Clearly Jason knows something that could get them into trouble. Garrett stole page five of Ali’s autopsy report and some evidence. There was something on the body that led back to him and Jenna, though we don’t know what it is. It’s definitely not an admission of guilt – in fact it’s practically the opposite, because the writers would never make those two look so guilty and then have them be the real killers.

The real murder weapon was not the hockey stick but a shovel. Ali was bashed over the head with it, although she died from being buried alive. Though, presumably, the shovel was used to bury her, so it’s like the murder weapon x2. It would appear from 2.12 that Jenna and Garrett orchestrated some of the events that led to the girls finding the shovel, thereby framing them to a certain degree when they got caught with it. It’s still unclear at this point. Because most of what brought them to the shovel was done by A, and how did Jenna and Garrett know where the murder weapon was? So many questions. That’s what they should have called this show. That, or Hair Porn.

So I mostly just covered the present day stuff. Let’s delve a bit more into the flashbacks:

The first flashback where we see Jason and Alison interact comes in 2.02 The Goodbye Look, the episode where Jason moves back to Rosewood.

Alison comes whipping around her house from the backyard, and we see the four liars sitting on a blanket in the lawn in the front. Jason comes running up behind her, yelling her name. She ignores him. He grabs her arm, but lets go as soon as she stops.You can see how she ignores him until he touches her.

“Stop messing with my stuff, all right? You and the Powerpuff girls just stay out of my room.” Tell us the truth, Jason? Are you watching Cartoon Network in your room? Is that what you’ve really been doing? There aren’t really any drugs, are there?He begins walking back into the house through the front door.

Alison’s not going to let that happen yet: “What are you afraid I’ll find in there?” she teases, though not kindly. Her tone indicates that she thinks whatever he fears she’ll find is not something fun or amusing, it’s something bad. And that she’s pretty sure she knows what it is.

Jason stops on the stairs and turns back to her. “Look, just stop messing with people.”“No challenge with you and your little stoner buddies. All you need is something shiny on a piece of string,” she taunts, never taking her eyes from him even though you can hear the girls laughing in the background.Jason glares, but doesn’t take the bait. He continues on towards the door.

Ali turns to her friends: “Watch him, ladies. He’s got trouble with doorknobs.”Jason hears this but he goes inside.

I really like that motion he makes. He stops at the door, and turns his head towards her, though not quite enough to look at her. (When I’m writing, I always want to describe a motion like that, but I never feel like I’m getting it quite right. It’d be so much easier if there was a word for it.)

It’s almost as if he’s going to speak to her, but then thinks better of it. I wonder what he would have said?

Ali comes and sits down with her friends. They’re laughing, so I feel like they must be used to this. I’d be looking for a way to change the subject.

“What’s wrong with Jason?” Aria asks.

Ali laughs it off. “He just thinks I stole one of his Japanese cartoon porn books.”

It’s official, Jason: too many cartoons!

“Did you?” Hanna asks.

“Of course I did,” Alison replies. The girls laugh.“Aren’t you afraid he’s going to rip apart your room?” Emily wonders.

“Wouldn’t do him any good.” Ali tells them that she’s got a lot of good hiding places – her stuff stays hidden.Then there’s the sound of something breaking in the house, and all the girls turn to look.One supposes Jason has angrily broken something that belonged to her. Whether it was in her room or not, I don’t know.

I like that he retaliates. Not a lot of people retaliate again Ali. And those who do, do it anonymously.

You can see why just one short scene can do so much. Ali admits freely to going into his room and taking things. So Jason’s beef with her is totally legitimate. She may have stolen his porn, but I’m fairly certain she was avoiding the truth. It sounds like she didn’t actually find what she was looking for. I think Jason would have been a lot more furious if she had. I also doubt he would have harassed her about it in front of her friends and the entire neighborhood if they were going to be discussing a sensitive subject.

Of course, her doorknob comment implies that Jason has entered into her room as well, or possibly anyone’s. The most logical conclusion is that all of this has to do with the N.A.T. club.

I mentioned that we saw some video recently that showed Jenna and Garrett together on the day Ali died. The video was on A’s phone, which the liars managed to steal (the night when Jenna dumped Garrett) and Caleb partially cracked. Ian made the video to protect himself, since it implicated Jenna and Garrett. He hid the video camera before they arrived. He tells them that Ali has stolen from him – the flashdrive! – and he needs their help to find it. So they search Ali’s room. Garrett tells Ian that he knew something like this would happen, that’s why he bailed out on “this messed-up club.” I should have mentioned that earlier, so that you would know Garrett is better than creepy Ian. They were probably having fun just spying on some people around town, and then Ian started sneaking into people’s bedrooms and taking pictures of them sleeping, and Garrett wanted out.

Garrett asks where Jason is – Ian says he’s passed out. I might be giving Jason too much credit, but I think Ian might have helped him along a little. Jason might have objected. And this is the night that Jason doesn’t remember – he’s blacked it all out. Maybe that was convenient for somebody. And we don’t know if Jason knew about Ian and Alison then, although he must know now if he believed Ian guilty of murdering her.

The fragment of the video we saw ends with someone coming. Jason maybe? We’ll have to wait and see, I guess.

When Ali steals the flashdrive, and for an unknown amount of time before, she realizes that Ian likes to “make movies”. She tells Jenna that she thought they were just of her, but now she knows better. This pisses her off. I don’t know if she’s jealous, or just disgusted. But she knows that Jason is involved, to whatever degree. This flashback indicates that she knew Jason was doing the same thing as Ian.

In 2.03 My Name Is Trouble, Alison and Jason don’t have a scene together, but we do have her fleeing to Spencer’s house during one of Jason’s parties. Spencer tells us that when the DiLaurentis parents go out of town, it becomes party central. We can hear the music, and Emily is wondering if the neighbors will call the cops.

Alison knocks on the door and storms angrily in. She’s in a Letterman jacket – but whose? I seriously don’t know. Jason isn’t associated with any sports, but it makes the most sense that it’s his. It couldn’t be Alison’s – she’s only a freshman. No one seems to wonder whose jacket she’s wearing.

Ali: “There’s not enough locks on my bedroom door.”Spencer: “Are Jason’s friends hassling you?”

Ali: “Jason doesn’t have friends. He has idiots who use him to get wasted, and act like Animal Planet.”Emily: “Were you the only girl?”

Ali: “Of course.”Emily wouldn’t like this party very much.

In Jason’s defense, his party may be not “boy-girl”, which isn’t a good sign at his age, but it’s not like he’s throwing a lame party. The place sounds crowded and rambunctious. And from what Spencer said, it sounds like they keep coming back.

“What I should do is call my grandma,” Ali says. “He’s been counting on the money. All I have to do is say one word about him and his loser friends and she’ll write him out of her will so fast.” Ali tries to laugh at the idea, but she’s clearly too upset. “He makes me sick,” she utters.Spencer’s a little taken aback, which tells me that this is abnormal behavior. I don’t know if Spencer is responding to the ruthlessness of Ali’s plan to get Jason disinherited, or her extremely unusual emotional state. Or to her disgust with Jason.

She looks out the window at her house and then starts to cry, but wipes her eyes when Spencer comes over.Spencer remembers this, and then calls Emily, saying that she thinks something really ugly went down between Ali and Jason that night, and wondering if she was blackmailing him and Ian, and then wondering if Jason might have killed her over it.

This scene is probably the most upset we ever see Ali. We see her serious, thoughtful, angry, and scared (especially in the Halloween episode), but for such a minor event her emotional response is overwhelming, and confusing (which makes it all the more interesting).

Now, we know that she has emotional investment in Ian, so one could suppose something bad went down between the two of them at the party. But Alison mostly talks about Jason. (Spencer picks up on this – remember her theory!) And her talk of the will definitely points towards Jason upsetting her.

I seriously don’t know what happened this night, and nothing we’ve learned since has illuminated it. I have a number of guesses, a number of delightful ship fantasies. But I think my best guess is that some of Jason’s friends were being rowdy and invasive towards her, and she looked to Jason for some help and he did nothing.

I mean, she cries. Alison cries! She pretends to be angry, but it would seem that she’s sad more than anything.

Considering the fact that Ali is “in love” with one of Jason’s friends, she sure seems to hate them a lot, and hate him for having them. Remember her comment about the shiny thing tied to a string? She has A LOT of contempt for Jason’s stoner way of life and the person he has become. The only thing that makes sense is that he has been hurtful to her in some way, because I doubt she’d get this upset about him throwing his life away. She just doesn’t care that much about other people. He would have had to have hurt her. (I don’t mean hurt physically, although that’s certainly a possibility, and it wouldn’t surprise me that anyone would consider that possibility.)

Like I mentioned, most of their interactions are on the conflictual side. In 2.07 Surface Tension, we get a fairly charged flashback. The girls are in Spencer’s yard, and Spencer is showing Alison how field hockey is played (Spencer is on the school’s team).

(Ian is the field hockey coach at Rosewood High when he returns after Ali’s death. We know this is why Ali is interested in it in this scene, although the girls are confused. Ali implies she might like a guy who has an interest in field hockey, but she’s “considering” her “options”. Curious wording. Did she have other suitors? We’ve really only seen her flirt with Noel.)Jason comes to find Alison – bid by their mother and resentful about it: “I’ve got better things to do than hunt you down.”

Well, he’s just asking for it. “Like what?” Alison challenges. She’s got a point – and he could probably use the fresh air. Her disdain continues. I’m surprised by the continuity of their dynamic in these flashbacks, especially given how much mystery there is, how much the writers have to keep in the dark, how much the writers don’t even know yet, and the fact that they can’t make Jason too bad or he won’t be a viable love interest for Aria, but they still have to maintain his suspiciousness.

He yanks the hockey stick out of her hands. “What’s this for?” he asks.

He could have just walked away – his task was done. But I think he and Ali really like getting under each others’ skin. Ali especially likes to needle him. But she’s clever – good at wordplay and humorous insults.

“It’s for me,” Alison replies, her demeanor entirely changed. She does not like that he’s taken the stick, and she’s inclined to be slightly more cowed than usual in order to get it back. “Give it back,” she requests, reaching out for it.

He pulls it out of her reach. “Yeah?”“Give it back, Jason,” she pleads again. She’s not exactly begging, but there’s a definite tone of “please just be nice this once and do what I’m asking.”

“Or what?”

She reaches out for it for a third time, and he practically puts it behind his back, so they’re right up in each others’ space.Then he brings it forward quickly like he’s going to hit her with it.Alison gasps and starts, but she doesn’t back away very much. And once she has recovered from the initial shock she’s very determined in the way she stands unmoved, her expression defiant.

“Be careful!” Spencer calls out lamely.

Alison glares at Jason and puts her hand on the stick. He lets go, and allows her to take it back.The girls aren’t laughing this time.

Then Alison moves to hit him with it, but Jason catches it. And although I do think she was actually going to hit him, it honestly didn’t look like there was a lot of momentum. (The GIF is a little fast – it’s misleading in that respect.)

She’s quite shaken when he stops her from hitting him, especially since he’s smiling:He shakes his head at her. “Too bad. You’re not going to get a second chance, Ali.”He’s smug, and she looks, not quite scared, but…unsettled.You have to remember that this is while Jason is a primary suspect for the liars, so he needs to look like he might have murdered her.

It’s an ugly scene, but really hot. Just really hot. And beautiful.

I’m horrible.

But I don’t see Jason as being the one in a position of power in their relationship – Alison’s personality and intelligence almost makes that impossible. The fact that she was going to hit him with the hockey stick just goes to show how she is and what she won’t take sitting down. They’d just be a kiss with a fist couple. And Jason was a douche for acting like he was going to hit her, but it’s not like he was actually going to. She’s the one who was actually going to do it. He might be older than her and stronger than her – but that just doesn’t give him any advantages against Ali.

And Ali might be younger, and she might be less strong physically, but Jason is probably the better person. Ali is cruel to her schoolmates – even worse, she’s cruel to her friends. And in one of the flashbacks they all go to a frat party. Ian was going to “have relations” with a really drunk girl. Ali was jealous. And someone how the girl ended up at the bottom of the stairs, dead. The liars don’t know if Ian pushed her, or if Ali did, but they were are perfectly willing to consider either possibility. And even if Ali wasn’t the one who pushed her, she’s totally flippant about the death, like nothing had happened.

2.11 I Must Confess revisits the question of Jason and Ali’s grandmother and her will. The grandmother died a few months after Alison went missing. But she had changed her will to leave everything to Alison. Not good for Jason, because it sure makes it look like he has a motive for killing little sis because all of the money passes to him if she’s dead. Spencer’s father confesses to her that he did some illegal tinkering and got the grandmother’s will changed back to the original so that Jason would not look so guilty. It’s apparent now what his motive for that and for burning the hockey stick were.

Spencer flashes back to when Hanna’s grandmother was visiting. Ali plagued her with questions about what it would take for her disown one of her children. The implication seems to be that Ali did go visit her grandmother, and convinced her to cut Jason out of the will. All the more motive for Jason to kill Ali, since she probably taunted him with it. And now Grandma is dead too. If Jason did kill Ali, I wonder if he killed poor Grandma.

If only she had known that Jason would be the one counseling at risk youth, while Ali was sleeping with engaged older men and blinding and blackmailing girls from her school. And maybe pushing people down the stairs.

I don’t know if Ali had a reason for needing the money (she was doing OK with that 15 thousand), or if she did it just to piss Jason off. Either way, Jason’s got it all now.

In 2.12 Over My Dead Body, Toby remarks to Spencer that Jason spends a lot of time in Alison’s room. Later on, Toby says to Peter Hastings that he knew exactly what he would find at the house. ??? What did you find, Jason? Was it in Alison’s room?

I just realized that Maya totally should have taken Jason’s old room instead, because then she could blame the smell of pot on him. (Maya smoked pot – I mentioned that because it turned me off to her about five seconds after we met her. Her and Emily’s first break-up happened when she got sent away to a camp for bad kids who smoke pot. Looks like it might cause their second break up as well.)

Jason and Alison only have one scene together in the Halloween episode (1.13), which is such a waste. In fact, Jason only has the one scene, although for the first time it’s not anyone’s flashback and that’s kind of cool. But why isn’t he at Noel Kahn’s party? Ian was there. Why does Jason disappear? There were so many fun things that could have happened with him at that party.

So, Alison is on her bed writing in a notebook. (I really like her room, by the way. It’s very pink. She’s got jolly monkeys embroidered on her pillows, and there’s some kind of leafy jungle design on her wall. I like it.)The door is ajar. Jason strolls right in.(And, this is so totally nothing, but she’s got this sexy, lacy tanktop hanging on the back of her door, and so it’s in the same frame as Jason when he enters the room, and just…associations! This show can be very playful visually. In the episode where we learn that Spencer is the shadow in that picture of Alison, they film Spencer’s shadow first against the wall and then have her walk into the frame. Or in the episode with Ian’s funeral, the girls put dirt over his coffin, and they mimic their actions in the title sequence.)

Ali shuts her journal closed. “Ever heard of knocking?” she demands.

The door was open, sweetling.

Jason glances around the room (admiring the décor, like me?) after frowning at her having quickly closed her diary, and then snidely remarks, “Want to keep me out? Put a lock on it.”Again, I feel the need to remind them that THE DOOR WAS OPEN!

So, what Jason has just said isn’t really good, but…it makes me want to fan myself.

Maybe he didn’t mean that in a bad way. Maybe he just likes to come in there and admire her interior design.

Jason and Alison seem a little old for this “Mom, he went into my room!” crap, but we know that they both like secrets, so they have an understandable if not exactly moral rationale for not respecting each others’ privacy.

Of course, someone who hadn’t seen the show before might be thinking of that scene from Gone With The Wind when Scarlett tells Rhett that she plans on locking her door that night, and Rhett says, “Why bother? If I wanted to come in, no lock could stop me.”

“What are you and your stoner buddies doing behind your locked door?” Ali asks.

Jason: “You really wanna know?”Ali makes a face that tells him that she really does want to know.

Jason: “Give me twenty bucks; I’m buying the beer tonight.”

I guess Jason’s friends don’t always use him to get wasted – sometimes they have to buy.

Ali: “Twenty bucks for a secret? You’re so cheap.”She hands him the money.

Jason: “We’re making a movie.”

Ali: “What kind of movie?”Yeah…I’d be asking the same question. A bunch of guys spending all their time together behind a closed door…

Jason: “If I told ya that, I’d have to kill ya.”Ali laughs.

In fact, this is all very sinister, what with her having been killed and him not being totally cleared of guilt. But actually, this is probably the nicest seen between them, because they seem to be getting along pretty well, his teasing genuine, his manner relaxed and hers as well.

Jason has been holding a package this whole time. He tosses it onto her bed in front of her. “This was on the porch.”She sits up and grabs it.Then she looks back up at Jason: “Goodbye.”

He rolls his eyes and leaves.

She waits until she hears the door close to open it.

(The package was a doll, and a note saying, “It’s my turn to torture you.” She gets several other ominous notes and texts in the episode, and in a very recent episode we flash back to Halloween night, and one of the notes is signed “A”. This means that A was plaguing Ali first, and that A considered himself/herself/themselves victims of Ali. Something easily guessed, but for the first time confirmed.)

OK, can I just say, I don’t even know how they made it through this scene without jumping each other. Not Jason and Alison – although them too – but Drew and Sasha. I mean, I’m not sure how they finish any scene with each other. But this one didn’t have any other actors in it, AND THERE WAS A BED. If I was either one of them, I would said maybe the first line, and then I would have flung myself at the other one. There would have been a flash of yellow, then a lot of pink, and then some pretty heavy moaning. (And then some sirens?) Everyone on set would be used to it – they would just shake their heads and be like, “Drew and Sasha, at it again.” Take 2. Take 10. Take 20. And the director would lament the fact that PLL wasn’t on HBO because this footage was SO GOOD. And the make-up and hair people would always stay close to set when Sasha and Drew had a scene together because they knew they’d be needed again. And again. And again. And again.

If I was them, I would just have sex with each other all day. That’s all I would do. Why do anything else?Maybe this is why there aren’t more scenes with Jason and Alison – because they’re just too hard to film. They just take too long, because Sasha and Drew can’t finish a scene without banging each other.

Real life head canon.

That’s about the time they could initiate me into the N.A.T. club. I would want to see all.

Now, in all seriousness, I do know that Sasha is only 15 (so inconvenient!). And was probably even as young as fourteen when they began filming the second season. And Drew is 25 or 26. Ack! So ignore everything I just said, or pretend that Sasha is more like 18, which is easy, because she seems like it.

Part of the reason I can’t resist shipping Jason and Alison is because of how good looking they are, and how good they look together. And would look in a different kind of together.

And the other reason why I ship them pretty hard is because he seems like one of the only people able to really rattle her. At every turn it seems like she has the upper hand, but the way she looks at him…he unsettles her.

She’s even afraid of him sometimes, which I shouldn’t like, but I do. I mean, I don’t think she’s afraid he’d kill her, and I don’t think he killed her. But he can knock her right out of her smug, snotty, unflappable cruel humor, and not everyone can do that. With other people, sometimes what they say can throw her a little. Of course she’s going to be scared of someone threatening to torture her. But with Jason, it’s just…him. It’s not anything particular, anything one could articulate, it’s just him.

And that all could go to a bad place where he abuses her… or it could go to a much better place, a shippy place that’s just angsty and complicated, but not violent or abusive.

All that tension could be bad or it could be good, and I enjoy very much thinking of it as good.

And, well, look at what she’s done to him: she got him disinherited, she steals stuff from his room, she insults him relentlessly, she tries to hit him with hockey sticks. The only thing we’ve known for sure that Jason did was have friends she didn’t like and feign hitting her with a hockey stick. We know he spies on people because we know he’s in N.A.T. club and made “a movie”, but we don’t even know who he spied on. Jason is curiously uninvolved in the whole flashdrive business. He’s not there the night Ian, Garrett, and Jenna are searching for it after Alison has stolen it, and he’s not part of the effort to recover it when the liars get a hold of it. And yet, one would suppose he might be implicated along with the others if he had indeed been involved at that stage.

So in 2.19 The Naked Truth, Spencer flashes back to a time when Ali was over at her house. They were up in Spencer’s room, reading magazines (Well, Spencer was studying), and Spencer’s parents were fighting.

Alison talks about an article from her magazine about a guy who posted online for someone he could kill and eat. It got over 200 responses. “Why does every woman think she can change a guy?” Ali asks. I’m sure this is supposed to mean something. She certainly should look to her own advice where Ian is concerned. Though it seems clear Ali wasn’t fully aware of Ian’s lesser qualities when she first started with him, she knew at the very least that he was cheating on Melissa.

Ali seems very curious about Spencer’s parents’ fighting habits.

Spencer says they don’t usually fight. “My dad’s just upset. Jason gave Melissa a ride home from Philly, and they got caught making out.”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Alison is as amused as I am.

“Seriously?” she asks, sitting up. “Open the door!” Ali wants to hear more. “Jason and Melissa? That’s juicier than the guy that eats his dates.”“Dad’s freaking out over nothing,” Spencer complains. “Melissa is obsessed with Ian. She doesn’t even like Jason.”

“She better not,” Alison replies.

Spencer: “Why not?”

Alison smiles. “Let’s just say it’d be a match frowned upon by the gods.”I don’t know what gods she’s talking about, but obviously whatever she said had to be ambiguous enough that Spencer didn’t realize what it meant for a year and a half.

This was the scene that put me over the edge and made me decide to finally do my PLL entry. Obviously, it’s not much. But there’s a lot of little stuff.

1)      Alison is amused, not disgusted. She does compare it to the cannibal dude, but she compares its “juiciness”, not its nastiness. She thinks it’s hilarious that Jason inadvertently made out with his half-sister.

2)      Jason made out with his sister! Granted, it wasn’t Alison. But, well, there’s still something in it, don’t you think? He was drawn to his flesh and blood. GSA. And it’s not like he’s just met Melissa. He’s lived next door to her since he was a kid.

3)      Knowing that Jason made out with Melissa has got to make Alison think. Even just a little. Make her wonder.

4)      Ian cheats on Melissa with Ali, Melissa cheats on Ian with Jason. Sexy partner swap! And this seems like a good time to bring up the sexy friend swap, which resulted in Ali going after Jason’s friend Ian, and Jason going after Ali’s friend Aria. It seems like there are an awful lot of parallels and approximations going on here.

I also have a good laugh thinking about Spencer’s pattern of kissing all of her sister’s boyfriends. That would have been great. Then maybe Jason could kiss ALL OF HIS SISTERS. (I would NEVER ship Jason/Spencer over Jason/Alison, but if PLL went for it and made them a couple, I’d quite enjoy it. Spencer likes her forbidden fruit.)

So, I was expecting to find at least one or two stories that were Jason/Alison – even if they were abuse stories. No such luck. I’ve come casually across at least one other person who ships it though. There was one fanvid, though hard to tell if it was a shipper vid. Toby/Jenna is a bit more popular. There were a couple of vids. I didn’t check for fanfic, but I would be surprised if there wasn’t at least one story in favor of them.

Sure, not everyone is going to ship it. But I know some people do. If they want to keep it to themselves, fine. They can be a

I don’t think I’ll be writing anything. I don’t have the energy. It’s especially hard with this show, because you don’t know what you know, or what you don’t know, and what you know you may not know, you know?I can’t leave you without more pictures of Drew and Sasha:/sexual frustration post

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8 Responses to Pretty Little

  1. Beast of the Sea says:

    “Do not allow tickets for these ships to be substituted for money in a poker game: you’re being cheated.”
    That’s never stopped fandom! 🙂

    “This person(s) is extremely motivated and the liars are too good to have believably made an enemy like that, in my opinion. And I could see a crazy person doing it, but A is going to have to be someone we met for the reveal to be any good, and I don’t think we’ve met anyone who is that kind of crazy.”
    *raises an eyebrow* You’re missing the easiest possibility – A is one of the girls. She’d ‘prank’ herself to cover her tracks, of course – that would be a recreation of the twist of Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie, right? Think about it – it gives her access to knowing what the girls are doing when, possibly knowledge of how to get into their homes, etc. If so, I’d bet on Emily for the It’s Always The Quiet Ones cliche (what’s the TV Tropes formal name?), with the reason being that the girls bullied her hideously in elementary and middle school, she snapped, and she worked her way into their inner circle in high school, plotting to learn all their secrets and blackmail them all the while. Either that or, if she’s Alison’s murderer, she honestly meant to be their friend, but Alison did something to her that made her snap, murder Alison, and turn against the girls for good. For the added scandal, I’d pick a secret relationship that went sour, with Emily pleading Alison to stay with her, Alison laughing in her face, telling her that she never loved her, it was just for entertainment, and she’d ruin Emily’s reputation if it ever got out, and Alison flouncing off cheerfully… the next morning, dead Alison.

    Could be any of the other girls, too, of course… *reading* or it could be Mike. Again, access to the girls’ homes and has the opportunity to eavesdrop upon his sister. He’s also showing signs of instability, which could be just the surface of his deeep problems.

    “(I tried to find a picture to visually represent that that was a reference to Jurassic Park, and I saw pretty disturbing stuff. I’ll leave it there.)”
    😄 Ah, the internet!

    Ah, another idea – if being A is a full-time job, A could be multiple people. Yes, Alison made THAT many enemies. Hmm…

    “Emily had (sort of) another love interest in Alison. She was in love with Alison. If Alison had been introduced as a love interest for Emily and not as a main character on her own, then she would be my first choice for her. That would be far more entertaining that Maya, Samara, or Paige. As it is, Alison was straight, and I’ve got plenty of ships for her. But she did like to tease Emily. I mentioned that Ali really had her hook in Hanna, but she had Emily just as much under her control. She used Emily’s love for her to manipulate her. Aria and Spencer were the only ones who ever really stood up to her.”
    What? She IS a lesbian? And she WAS in love with Alison? AHAHAHAHA! For once, one of my crack theories may turn out to be correct! (I swear I had no idea about this when I wrote my above theory! Good heavens, that’s a lucky guess!)

    “I have this shipping problem where I just love love love when the good guy can’t resist the evil temptress. ”
    Probably the same thing that makes people enjoy the dubious consent common to many a trashy romance novel (and fanfiction): the idea of being so overwhelmed by passion/desire that one literally cannot control oneself. [To be fair to trashy romance novels/trashy romance fanfics, a similar idea recurs in action shows/video games/etc. – namely, the berserker rage.] I think the reason why this is more popular than overwhelming fully-consensual passion is that if you want to do it, then, well, how can you know if it’s really overwhelming? Maybe you just have poor impulse control. But the more you resist (and fail), the more potent it must be, right? Kind of like how villains get built up as super-powerful so that the hero defeating them means he/she must be even more powerful. And, besides, it gives the romance-novel protagonist a temporary-insanity defense if the author needs an Idiot Plot for any reason (‘Yes, I fully knew how stupid it was, and in fact I enumerated all the reasons why this was an incredibly stupid idea on pages 47-49, but at long last, I could no longer resist my feelings’) or if the reader needs an excuse to feel less guilty about self-indulgence (‘Well, she TRIED to be a good girl for Chapters 5-10, but then she gave in… It really wasn’t her fault, right?’).

    As far as I’m concerned, the loss of control is probably the appeal, but people may differ. (To go on a brief tangent, I’m having to use a temporary-insanity defense for an Idiot Plot section of a Harry Potter darkfic I’m writing right now, although not with respect to romance. *sigh* I had to explain why a severely injured character was not immediately hauled to St. Mungo’s, especially while the character treating him kept repeating in her internal monologue that she wasn’t a Mediwitch. Suffice to say, I have never been so relieved that the character I picked for that role also happened to be not in her right mind, but I just cringe thinking of what the reviewers will say whenever I finish this chapter and post it…)

    “it’s hard to understand why she hates them quite as much as she does. But they’re pretty much full on enemies.”
    She might have interpreted it as a murder attempt. And considering how visual society is, especially these days, she’s probably not too happy about the blindness, either. If she turns out to be A (or AN A), the writers will probably put in Freudian Excuses like ‘Before the accident, I wanted to be an artist. My world was art. I lived for beauty. [Well, that and screwing my stepbrother.] But then YOU little shits…’

    Maybe Jenna and Noel are A together?

    “Maybe they’re all A?”
    AHAHA! 😄 At this point, it would almost be passe if it turned out to be Alison’s ghost possessing everyone and making them be A. I mean, cop-out supernatural endings are nothing new in TV shows…

    “They wouldn’t kill it now by making him evil.”
    *cough* Wanna bet? *cough*

    “I’m honestly not quite sure what he’s getting at. The night of the fire seems pretty straightforward – at least the Jenna angle. Unless she was the one who was spying on Alison, or knows who was. Hmmm…”
    Possibly because she’s paranoid that they somehow knew she was the blackmailer in the Toby/Jenna relationship, and she could get sent away for it? But yes, perhaps there’s something more…

    “Why even do a reaction shot of Toby’s face after Garrett leaves? What does Toby’s reaction matter?”
    Maybe because he’s supposed to be the one saving Garrett from her? (Or maybe, if they wanted to go for the crack, Toby’s into Garrett. ‘Surely we can both bond over being manipulated by the witch?’ ‘NOOOO I AM HER KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR’ ‘…Damnit.’ :P)

    “But is Alison really dead? I’m not going to say that I am 100% sure that she is. It’s not easy to fake a dead body in this day and age. There would have had to be an inside man with the police department and some sleight of hand with the CSI stuff – switching samples, etc. Not afterwards, but before it was analyzed. And that’s assuming the body wasn’t visibly identifiable, and I’m guessing Ali’s was, even after a year. I mean, it’s nearly impossible. But I could wrap my mind around the possibility.

    And there’s also the possibility that Alison had a twin, which, apparently, was a storyline from the book. I don’t know much about that because I don’t want to be spoiled. But Alison told a story about twins in the Halloween episode which either teased book fans or opened the door for it. The twin could be the one who’s dead or the one who’s alive. I’d like Alison to be alive, even if it meant she had killed her own twin. I really hated her at first for the way she treated people and what she did to Hanna and Lucas and others, but I’ve really come to admire her mind and her cunning.”
    Aaaah, I was going to ask you if 1) everyone was certain she was dead or 2) if she had a twin! Oh, that’s wonderful. Okay, this ought to be interesting.
    Alison comes across to me, just from the description, as a sociopath, so I was actually wondering if she’d faked her own death by killing someone and using her corpse as a substitute. That’s… interesting. Wouldn’t be surprised if A was Alison by any other name, especially since she took back the flash drive. Why would A want to do that, unless she was either Alison or someone whose blackmail material was on that drive – and if the latter, how would he/she know that was the purpose of the flash drive? [Unless, again, she was one of the girls…]

    “Emily had a similar hallucination while she’s in danger and almost out of air. Hers, if I recall, leaves some unanswered questions. ”
    *frowns* …Drat, she’s not A, then. …What are those “unanswered questions”? Hmm…

    “but from childhood?”
    With both siblings being dysfunctional (Jason a druggie and Alison a borderline sociopath, with Jason saying he’s in-some-ways-worse), I’m suspecting there’s either a f***ed-up childhood, history of mental illness in the family, or both waiting in the wings. For the drama, y’know…

    “So his fears were reasonable. Aria doesn’t quite know what to say to that, seeing as how she has reasonable doubt about Ian’s guilt.”
    …Either that, or he’s faking. Remember the “in some ways, I’m worse” comment? It could be new!Jason is an act to lure the girls in… and Alison, if alive, could be doing puppetry behind the scenes. Or something else. Agh, mystery shows bring all my crack-theory abilities to the fore…

    “Alison smiles. “Let’s just say it’d be a match frowned upon by the gods.”I don’t know what gods she’s talking about, but obviously whatever she said had to be ambiguous enough that Spencer didn’t realize what it meant for a year and a half.”
    Until I realized that, oh yeah, Melissa is his half-sister, I thought that was blatantly referring to Alison’s disapproval. “The tribal council frowns upon your actions, Jason. Do you have a good excuse, or shall we vote you off the island?” 😛

    Well this was a fascinating entry, so thanks for posting it! Keep up the good work this month. 😀

    P.S.
    Not really into Jenna/Toby, because it’s abusive. Now, on the other hand, Jason/Alison? Yes, I can see that. *itches* I am SO tempted to look up the book plot. But then again, they’ll probably have changed the identity of A just for laughs… Bah. Anyway, thanks for telling me about this show! It ought to be… very interesting, all right.
    [And hey, if Alison is somehow alive, she could have been conspiring with Jason all the while! Unholy Matrimony/Mind Game Ship/etc. With the up-to-speed Jason, I think they’d make a great sinister couple…]

    So, how was the Spartacus episode? 🙂

    • Shipcestuous says:

      If Emily was A or Alison’s killer, that would be the best. The one you never suspect. And that’s hard to do these days.

      However, I don’t think it’s possible for any of the four girls to be “A”. I’m almost 100% certain that we’ve seen each of the four main girls get a text from “A” while completely alone and be totally freaked out. And I’d even consider some kind of multiple personality deal, but sometimes things happen to the girls when all four of them are together.

      I probably should have gone into that in the entry, because an investigative mind would want to consider every possibility.

      However, I wouldn’t count any of them out for Alison’s murder, at least not with certainty. I don’t think any of them did it, but they were asleep while it happened, which means none of them have an airtight alibi. Emily definitely had a motive since she was in love with her. (Great guess, by the way!)

      I actually thought it would be pretty cool if all the parents, or the mothers, got together and killed Alison because she was such a bad influence on their daughters. But we’ve seen the mothers together, and they’ve not acted very suspicious. And it does seem like a pretty severe course of action – they could have just moved. Or even gotten Alison sent away somehow.

      I still suspect Spencer’s mother, though. She knew Alison was bad news. Maybe she even knew about Alison and Ian. Or maybe she had a reason to protect Melissa.

      Mike’s an interesting guess. We don’t know what he’s up to most of the time, and we’ve seen him with Noel. Maybe he had a crush on Alison?

      I do think at this point that A is two or more people working together. A has just done too much, seen too much, been in too many places at just the right moment for it to believably be one person. Of course, “believable” isn’t a good reference, especially for this show. I mean, it’s a good show, but it does stretch.

      (I loved hearing about your writing your Harry Potter fic. Since I write myself I just love hearing about the internal workings of a writer’s mind and how they try to make things work. Not in their “right mind” is a great go-to. Of course I have to wonder how much it exists for the average person, never having experienced it myself. Well, unless I’ve just woken up.)

      Cop out supernatural ending with Alison’s ghost possessing everyone? Love it. I mean, I’m laughing. I, of course, would never want that to happen. Although, Alison walking again – I would like that.

      “They wouldn’t kill it now by making him evil.”
      *cough* Wanna bet? *cough*

      If it was a book, I wouldn’t count Toby out. But for a TV show that’s coming back for a third season and counting on its primary demographic of high school girls with big shipper hearts and crushes on Toby – I find it hard to believe the writers would alienate them. Of course, I WOULD LOVE IT.

      I could definitely see Ali faking her own death by killing someone. Never in a million years would I say I didn’t think her capable of it. And she was certainly smart enough to come up with a solution like that to her problem.

      I’m definitely not excluding Jason as a suspect, although he seems less like one than ever before with him and Spencer sort of bonding over their siblinghood. But he still has a creepy vibe. Personally, I would love if it if he was involved in this A stuff, though I obviously don’t want him to have killed Alison, especially not if it was for money.

      The writers have said that they are diverging from the “A” of the books. But I’m thinking it could still be the same person (I know who it was), there could just be a twist – a different motivation, or, what I’m really thinking, is a partner. I’ll tell you who A is from the books, so skip the rest of the paragraph if you don’t want to know: it’s—— ——- ——— Mona, Hanna’s friend, who made friends with Jenna in the Halloween episode, and who recently dated Noel. She’s got more motivation than anyone alive aside from Lucas, Jenna, and first season Toby. But since it was her in the books, it probably isn’t her. Or she’s not working alone. She could be working with Jenna, Lucas, Noel, or anyone, really. Mona does seem to really care about Hanna, but I could see her faking it, trying to get an “in” with the girls. How means he is to Lucas would be a great cover for them working together. But I don’t want Lucas to be “A”, because I want him with Hanna. I could see him trying to pull out when they first became friends, but then getting back into it after she didn’t want to be with him. Apparently after Mona is discovered to be “A” in the books, there’s another A who takes her place. I don’t know the identity of that person.

      I can see you like the mystery – I loved considering all your theories. Even though I clearly have my ships, the mystery is definitely the best part of the show. I just hope the writers know what they are doing and aren’t just making it up as they go along. With the books as guides I’d like to think they’ve had it all planned out. But I am not confident of that. We’re supposed to find out who “A” is before this season is over. There are only three more episodes left, so the suspense is starting to kill me.

      I was working on this entry, so I put off watching Spartacus until I could watch it without being distracted. I actually only watched it a few hours ago. Unfortunately there’s nothing to report. Seppius and Seppia did have one scene that they were both in, but they didn’t exchange a single look or line of dialogue with each other. (They were in the pulvinus at the arena with about a dozen people present, although they did sit next to each other.) It really sucked. They were there, sitting right next to each other, and they didn’t even look at each other once!

      Seppius exchanged a couple of lines with Glaber, but they were all about Spartacus.

      Seppia spoke with Ilithyia, though. Ilithyia was saying that expecting a child was the best thing in the world, but Seppia seemed to think that being desired by every man was surely better. Lucretia told her that was only good for getting a good husband. And Seppia said she might consider marriage acceptable if her husband was rich and crazy about her. It was basically the same discussion they had last episode. In retrospect, both conversations seem to be more about exposing Ilithyia’s insecurity in her own marriage than anything to do with Seppia.

      Seppia did make eyes at Varinius, though, the Praetor in Rome who seems to be Seppius’ benefactor or some such thing. It’d probably be a good match for Seppius to make, if he needed to secure Varinius’ support, though it seems like he has it right now. However, Varinius keeps flirting with Ilithyia. Hmm…

      Another dud, it would seem. It was a pretty good episode, just not for Spartacus/Ilithyia or Seppius/Seppia.

      Well, just a few more days until the next one, at least.

      Thanks for commenting. I needed to get Pretty Little Liars out of my system, even though it definitely didn’t make for the ideal subject.

      • Beast of the Sea says:

        *laughing uproariously* I just looked up a plot summary on Wikipedia, and… Oh, good Merlin! (The book you want to pick up, if you want to find out the identity of the second A, is Wanted. As for the current state of the plot, they’re either on a third A by now, or the second isn’t as dead as she seemed.)

        Uh, suffice to say, if the books were that bizarre, the TV show could have ANYTHING. Ye gads, the sheer melodrama of that plot!

        Incidentally, found a nice half-dozen Alison GIFs on Tumblr:
        http://harmons.tumblr.com/post/16586199405/favourite-lines-of-alison-dilaurentis

        ==

        So, unplanned fanfic below – I just banged it out in an hour or two. (I’ve said I’m a slow writer.) The quote at the beginning was planned to be incorporated into the fic, but I didn’t manage. (I tend to miss half the things I want to put in a given story, and shoehorn in half the rest.) It fits Alison’s personality, though, and I planned to have her recite it with pride at some point… Anyway, um… enjoy?

        Possible AU, very likely OOC out the kazoo since I’ve never watched the show, assumes Alison secretly alive, not-good!Jason, Jason/Alison.

        —-

        Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select – doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors.
        – John Broadus Watson

        “Like ’em young, do you, Jason?” one of his classmates teased.

        Jason coolly looked at him and took a sip of his soda. “Whatever gives you that idea?”

        “Saw you with a girl the other day,” the young man – he was an irrelevant fool, Jason could not even remember his name – said, lowering his voice in a dramatic whisper and leering. “And you’re not telling me she wasn’t a high-schooler – I know some chicks look young in college, but not that young. Pretty little thing, wasn’t she? Incredible face. She looked like a doll.” Jason took another sip of his drink, his eyes narrowed. “Aw, come on, you’re going to tell me you don’t remember her? How many of them do you go through?” The classmate roared with laughter, his face already flushed after a few beers. “Just make sure to steer clear of those statutory rape laws, man-”

        “I don’t know what you’re talking about, and I would advise you not to repeat such silly rumors.”

        The man laughed and begun to say something coarse, but Jason drew himself up to his full height and advanced upon him, all but pinning his unfortunate classmate to the wall with his sheer presence, without even lifting a finger. “Do you understand me?” he said, not needing to lean closer; controlled intimidation, properly managed, was twice as effective as its more brutish twin.

        The tipsy student, terrified, nodded. He smiled slightly and stepped away, strolling off and finishing off his soda as if nothing had happened.

        “Jeez,” the man muttered, thinking Jason had gone, “what a -” Jason turned around, raising an eyebrow, and he shrieked like a little girl. Chuckling, Jason headed off to his next class.

        The DiLaurentis family always had prided themselves on their excellent hearing.

        After a long, tedious, and borderline-disturbing day, during which he had indulged in hefty amounts of every college student’s favorite drug (caffeine – bloody hell, he never would have lasted a single class back when he was on weed), Jason headed down the hallways of his apartment complex, looking forward to an hour or two of brainless TV watching before settling down to his homework. Old habits, if much reduced. Once a slacker, always a slacker, he thought with wry amusement, a lopsided smirk pulling at one corner of his mouth. All work and no play made Jason a dull –

        To his surprise, his door swung open before he even had a chance to get out his keys. “Oh, it’s you!” the occupant of his apartment gasped with surprise that he knew was faker than the late Michael Jackson’s face, but sounded absolutely flawless. “Mr. DiLaurentis! Please – I mean, um – come in -”

        She ushered him in exactly as a flustered high school girl or college student might, pulling up a chair for him with calculated clumsiness. “So, what made you decide to drop in?” she asked, averting her eyes but letting her mouth curl up in a slight smile for a shy-but-pleased look. He inwardly rolled his eyes as much as she must have been doing in her own thoughts, but gave her an almost sinister smile in return, leaning forward and resting his folded arms on the small table.

        “Why, I just wanted to see you,” he said smoothly. “A guy should always make time to see a pretty girl like you.”

        “Me? Pretty?” He really had to admire her acting ability; she mimicked the insecure modesty of so many women and girls perfectly. If “extenuating circumstances” hadn’t come up, she would have had a dream career right out of high school in acting, he was sure of it. Hell, she could have acted in one of those teen sitcoms as it was, and stolen the spotlight from every single over-aged actress in the cast. Any formal training in drama would just be gilding the lily. “Oh, you’re just saying that -”

        “You’re right, I am,” he said, letting his teeth show in a relaxed, “natural” smile as he propped his chin up on one hand in a relaxed, “natural” pose. “‘Pretty’ is the wrong word. ‘Lovely’? Is that better? Or ‘beautiful’?”

        “Mr. DiLaurentis -”

        “Call me Jason,” he said, standing up and coming around to her side of the table, reaching out with one hand and tipping her chin up with one finger to look him in the eyes. “I haven’t been able to keep you off my mind from the first time I saw you. From the start, I knew you weren’t like the other girls.”

        “But I’m not special,” she said softly, lowering her eyelashes.

        “You are to me.” And with that, he bent down and she stood up; their lips met in a passionate kiss, feigned reluctance on her part giving way to honest lust, and their hands traveled all over each others’ bodies; as her hands squeezed his buttocks, his hands crept up her skimpy blouse and began undoing her bra –

        She pushed him away, shaking her head and smiling. “Oh, dear. I’m afraid I’ll have to fail you on that exam, Jason. And you were doing so well, too.”

        “What? Aw, come on, tell me what I did wrong, Alison,” he complained, slipping back into old speech patterns in his frustration. “If you’re going to claim you were still in-character, your character was obviously pretty damn easy-”

        “Sometimes it’s the easiest girls who get offended the most if you go too fast,” Alison said silkily, leaning her left elbow on her chair. “It shatters their self-delusions of chastity. You shouldn’t be surprised, Jason; don’t you know of all the womanizers who say that any girl with a sex drive is a whore?”

        “I thought girls were obliged to say only men did that sort of thing.”

        Alison cheerfully shrugged. “I’m not a feminist, I’m a realist. Go slow. Be ‘considerate of their feelings’ and ‘respect their boundaries’. Don’t just wait until the fish is hooked – reel it in slowly enough that it doesn’t even think to struggle before it’s off the hook and in your bucket.”

        “You would know,” Jason said, giving a slight mock-respectful bow.

        She laughed, resting her right hand on the table; somehow, something about the change in her posture accentuated the gracefulness of her youthful body, as perfect as something any Greek sculptor might have yearned to carve. Her golden hair tumbled over one shoulder, and her long, dark eyelashes shadowed her eyes; she looked up at him through them and smiled.

        “And sometimes the fish makes the leap into the bucket itself.”

        Afterwards, lying in bed with her arms crossed behind her head, she commented, “Very good, Jason, very good. I do believe you’ll keep any girls who make it this far.”

        “Is everything an examination with you?” he asked, rolling over to face her and hugging a pillow. She smirked at the ceiling.

        “I’m teaching you how to have any girl you desire or need to use,” she said. “And by now, you should know that no course lacks examinations.”

        “I’m beginning to suspect this professor only hands out B’s.”

        “Nonsense,” she said, her eyes tracking a crack in the ceiling. “I remade you, Jason. Who you were a year ago was nothing like who you are now. If you went back to Rosewood now, no one would even recognize you. You don’t even look like the same man.” She reached out with one arm and stroked his cheek affectionately – or with an artist’s pride in her own creation. “Good teachers don’t coddle their students. They push them to be all they can be.”

        He bit his lip suddenly, his eyes going past her to the stain on the wall left by a previous resident – his landlord went by a strict policy of “Don’t Even Fucking Ask, Don’t Tell Or I Introduce You To My Cousin In The Mob”. After taking a deep breath, he burst out, “About Rosewood – Mom called me earlier today. The body’s been found.”

        What?” Alison sat bolt-upright in bed, her huge, cerulean doll’s-eyes growing even larger. “Fuck! Why didn’t you tell me?”

        “Because you started playing Seduction as soon before I even came through the door-”

        “You should have interrupted me! Damn it!

        “We have some time,” he said, propping himself up on his pillow. “She wasn’t sure it was ‘you’ yet, just that it might be. I pressed her for as much information as possible under the guise of a shocked, emotional loving brother begging to know all he could, so I don’t think she knows much.”

        “Well, isn’t that a comfort,” she said sarcastically. “I wasn’t expecting them to find it this soon, I haven’t even thought up who I wanted to frame… Jenna? I did tell her I would bury her, she has plausible motive… But the bitch is blind. Damn it!” She got up and began to pace around the room naked. “With my luck, my old friends will probably try to play Scooby-Doo over my death… I wonder who they’ll cast as the dog. Probably the hermaphrodite.”

        “Relax,” Jason said, watching and appreciating the rare sight of his younger sister agitated out of her wits. “They won’t even know what hit them.”

        “I can’t show up, you idiot, not when I’m supposed to be dead!”

        “I’m not talking about you,” he said coolly. “I’m talking about me.

        She stopped dead in mid-step, turned to him slowly, her eyes wide – and smiled.

        Jason sat up straight in the taxicab seat, looking, as he always did these days, very serious and proper. Back in the old days, he remembered, he would have been spread out across the seat, probably with his sneakers pressed against one of the windows… Alison was right. When she had taken him on as her newest project, in the absence of her usual toys, she had changed him beyond what anyone could have imagined.

        Meanwhile, on the other side of the backseat, Alison sat slouched over her new cellphone, a cap pulled low over her eyes as she chewed some gum and fiddled with the buttons. Apparently, when it came to switching identities, she was even better at making herself unrecognizable than changing other people. Her bra was padded, her clothes were some ridiculous goth/punk pastiche recruited from the local Hot Topic, and her carefully-calculated mannerisms epitomized sloppiness and carelessness in the way, as people said, that speeches could only be truly spontaneous if they had been endlessly rehearsed… Her best friends wouldn’t recognize her if she sauntered past them in the hallway wearing a flashing neon sign around her neck reading “HELLO, I’M ALISON.”

        “What are you doing?” he asked, trying to get a better look at her screen.

        She pulled her cellphone away from his view and smiled brightly up at him. “Oh… just planning a little text or two…” She blew a perfectly round, pink bubble and then popped it. Chuckling a bit and chewing her gum meditatively, she added, “I was quite worked up about it all earlier, wasn’t I? But you know something? I think I’m going to enjoy being back in Rosewood.”

        =END=

        • Shipcestuous says:

          I LOVED IT.

          That was perfect. Evil Alison and Evil Jason in cahoots. If only this had been a scene from the show. I would die. I loved not-good!Jason.

          Perfect fanfic is perfect. It totally made my night.

          THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

          Alison was just right – she would love that quote. And she’s got Jason doing her bidding, though obviously not minding his company herself.

          I think I’ll read the books when the show is over. I’ve heard they’re a little crazy with the melodrama. Worse than the show, and that’s saying something.

          • Beast of the Sea says:

            *extremely belated reply* You’re quite welcome! 😀 Glad you liked it! 😀

            Oh, yeeees. Even the plot summaries were unintentionally hilarious. Anagram names! Secret pregnancies! Ridiculously ineffective assassination attempts! Heaven only knows what the author’s smoking, but I think I want some of it… 😉

            Anyway, congratulations on today’s episode of Spartacus – I just read a plot summary of it on a blog I randomly stumbled upon. Hooray!
            (The summary is here: http://popclassicsjg.blogspot.com/2012/02/spartacus-vengeance-empty-hands.html For clarification, the author seems to have devised several interesting nicknames for the characters – Ilithyia is called “Paris Hilton”, for instance. 😛 She’s not an incest shipper, though she notes she’s surprised it took the show so long to go in for the incest angle. Considering that two of the other major shows she’s covered, Rome and I, Claudius, went in for the incest, that’s fairly reasonable. [The TV show version of I, Claudius went in HEAVILY for the nausea factor…]

            I did find these lines from her summary particularly amusing:
            “Slow-motion feet stepping in a puddle are Dramatic. Slow-motion soldiers wandering through the woods like lost extras from Lord of The Rings are even more Dramatic. “)

            Anyway, looking forward to your recap! And thank you again for your compliments for the fic! 😀

            • Shipcestuous says:

              My reply is also belated. I forgot to say that you should definitely post the story, if you haven’t already. On FF. net or archiveofourown. Not only because it’s so good, but also so other shippers can find it.

              Yes, we did get a small prize on Spartacus. I’ll get around to that entry. I’ve been preoccupied for the past two weeks. But I need to set aside some time and get that done.

  2. Twincest says:

    I’ve been planning to watch Pretty Little Liars because of how similar it seems to shows like Gossip Girl and other modern teen dramas about “pretty rich kids” that I love, but because of how far behind I’d be in the series and how busy I am watching other shows I’ve been holding off on getting into it. I have to say judging from the pics/gifs and the storyline you put up here I see why they got the new actor to play Jason because he looks way better in the role, he and the actress who plays Ali really look like brother and sister and are both stunningly beautiful blondes who just fit perfectly together.

    Honestly it’s like they were made in a lab somewher those two are gorgeous with a classic sibling Tarzan/Jane Greek God/Goddes quality to them that makes them go together so well, they’re basically physical matches for each other to the point that it should be a crime for them not to procreate and if you made a male version of him it’d be her and vise versa. Given how aesthetically pleasing those two are and the whole angle between them it’s seriously making me want to just jump right into this show, but I know if I start watching I’ll want to do a marathon and watch all 4 seasons.

    • Shipcestuous says:

      “it should be a crime for them not to procreate”

      LOL.

      This is my favorite comment now.

      I feel the same way about Jason and Alison/Drew and Sasha – they’re too good-looking to actually be real and they look even better side by side. I love the Greek god/goddess comparison because it’s accurate. They’re not just good-looking: they’re perfect-looking.

      They’ve definitely got a book Jaime and Cersei thing going with that whole “if you made a male version of him it’d be her and vice verse”. But I just have to agree – they are perfect male/female complements. Half of what I love about Jason/Ali is the aesthetics, but they’ve also got fantastic on-screen chemistry and with her personality they’ve also got great tension.

      But Jason/Alison is only a very small part of the show – neither of them are main characters. When they are around, only a fraction of their stuff has to do with each other. It’s a real shame.

      Here’s my run down on PLL: you can’t just pick it up in the middle – you definitely have to start at the beginning. There’s a ton of filler but they keep the mysteries alive well enough that you’ll always be craving the next episode, which means marathoning it will be pretty easy. But 3+ seasons is a lot of episodes so it’ll probably take you a while all the same. The show has already been renewed for a 5th season the showrunner talked about having plenty of stories to tell for a 6th season at least, so I imagine it’ll keep going for a while. Unfortunately it’s sort of floundering. I won’t stop watching it but I have grown beyond frustrated with the pacing of the mysteries. Basically it’s just more and more and more questions and plotlines that go nowhere and characters that disappear. It’s just this endless circle of red herrings and rotating suspicion. That Marlene King (the showrunner) wants the show to go for two more seasons actually makes me see red. If I had confidence in her plotting about still found each episode riveting and not just confusing then I would be excited but as it is I think they should have picked an end date and been working towards it all along.

      I really loved your comment! Feel free to ask me questions about PLL as you try and decide what to do.

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