Texts From A: In Which Everything Gets Messed Up, For Everyone

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Hello, friends, and welcome back to Texts From A, where I’m watching Pretty Little Liars for the first time and telling you all about it. This post covers episodes 12 and 13 of season one, where so many of the side characters I’ve enjoyed seem determined to destroy my faith in them.

I miss the episodes in New York where Fitz was off finding himself. There was so, so much less of him, and these episodes are Fitz-heavy.

Let’s proceed.

Aria:
  • MIGHT AS WELL START WITH FITZ STUFF, I GUESS!
    • She tells him that Noel knows about them, but assures him that he promised not to tell and doesn’t want to hurt them.
      • Which was not the vibe I got at all, but, well.
    • Noel, in fact, starts blackmailing Fitz to get better grades on his papers.
      • I’m really torn here. Blackmail isn’t, you know, great, but Noel also sees Fitz as a predator.
        • Which he is.
      • So I can’t exactly blame Noel for feeling trapped by Aria’s promise not to say anything and getting Fitz to face consequences in some other way.
    • When Aria confronts Noel about the blackmail, he denies it. He blames Fitz for being the kind of person who would put a story like that out there.
      • So, gaslighting Aria is…wow, also not great.
      • Noel pls.
        • There’s also a point that we’ll get to during a party where Sean and Lucas fight, and Noel tells Sean “it’s like fighting a kid who needs a telethon”
        • Because what Noel needed in his path to non-redemption was a super ableist comment.
      • Noel is absolutely still blackmailing Fitz – and when Fitz decides he’s had enough of it, Noel says he’s going to go to the principal.
      • Aria sees Mike (her brother, yes, I’d forgotten he existed too) talking to Noel, and later asks him about it.
        • Mike says that Noel is spreading a rumor that Fitz is involved with a student.
          • NOEL I know you didn’t name Aria and that’s good, but also, these are just not…great methods you’re taking on.
        • There’s this moment where it really, really looks like Aria is about to confess to her dad that she’s the student Fitz is involved with…
        • …but she doesn’t.
          • Her dad kinda looks suspicious about it, though, so, we’ll see if that doesn’t come back.
        • Aria goes to see Fitz, who says that the hiding and sneaking around is over, because he’s going to leave before Noel can go to the principal and get him fired.
          • He throws in some truly classic abuser and grooming lines like “What you and I have is the most real and honest thing in my life” and “Even though this doesn’t look right, it felt right, and I won’t let him change this into something that feels wrong.”
            • SHE’S SIXTEEN, FITZ. SIXTEEN. JESUS.
          • The day Noel was going to tell the principal, he’s found with the answers to three midterms.
            • We see the principal saying something conclusive like “I could never believe you about anything again”
            • A text from A comes in: “A is for Alison not Amateur”
          • So also now we know that Noel isn’t A, because they all super still thought he was, and that A stopped him from outing Aria and Fitz.
          • Aria is really happy about this! Her relationship is saved, and by A of all people!
            • Hanna points out that A did try to kill her, though, so.
          • I have realized that all of Aria’s story these episodes revolved around Fitz.
          • The only other new information is that her mom (you know, Piper from Charmed) is seeing other people, and that in trying to figure out why Aria’s dad looks so much like Rob Lowe, I learned that Rob Lowe has a younger brother.
Hanna:
  • UGH AS IF RUNNING HER OVER WASN’T ENOUGH, “A” PUTS HANNA THROUGH SOME SHIT THESE EPISODES.
  • Hanna is home in a cast and wheelchair, and is understandably really paranoid ever since A tried to, you know, kill her. She’s jumping at shadows – and it’s hard to tell when those shadows are something worth jumping at.
  • Meanwhile, she’s also found the money that her mother stole from the bank.
    • Which she hid in a pasta box? Like, between sheets of ravioli.
    • For a show called Pretty Little Liars, people actually tell the truth a lot – and Hanna confronts her mother almost immediately.
    • Her mother says that okay yes she did borrow money from a client who doesn’t know it was borrowed but it’s okay, because she’s going to have it paid off before the client comes back for their…yearly…bank…visit?
      • I’m a little confused tbh but whatever, the banking of rich people is a mystery to me.
    • Mona throws a surprise party for Hanna, because that’s just what she needs.
      • (No it’s not)
    • Lucas is there and he gets drunk and picks a fight with Sean, and then yells at Hanna for being just like all of other Alison’s anointed.
      • Which – Alison was objectively terrible to him, but his definition of Hanna being “high and mighty” seems to mean “not wanting to date him”.
      • Lucas is acting like an incel and I regret every good thing I’ve said about him.
      • He also admits to destroying Alison’s memorial because of how much it was hurting to see everyone deifying his lifelong tormenter.
        • I still can’t blame him for this, tbh, even if he does need a better outlet for his anger.
      • Hanna asks everyone to leave, and then we see her cleaning up! Because a good way to treat your friend who was just hit by a car and is in a wheelchair is to throw a giant surprise party she didn’t want and then leave her to clean up after you.
      • …Aaaand her mom gets back and they discover that someone at the party stole all the money from the lasagna box.
        • Guess who!
        • “You’ll get your money back if you do what I say -A” is the fun note left in one of Hanna’s pill bottles.
      • Between the end of episode 12 and episode 13 – which, as far as I can tell, are less than a day apart – Hanna has transitioned out of a cast and wheelchair for her broken leg and ankle, and is walking around in high heels.
        • This is explained away by “physical therapy”
      • Here’s where A really starts screwing with Hanna, and warning: It all plays on Hanna’s eating disorder that’s been implied but never been explicitly discussed.
        • It starts with a $100 bill and a note in her locker: “Go to 21 Main St. Ask for Hefty Hanna’s order”
        • The order is a box of six cupcakes with pigs on them. The next text? “Want the money? Sit there and eat every one.”
        • Hanna flashes back to binge-eating a pie (this is also one of the few flashbacks where she actually looks fat, so…whatever).
          • Alison comes in and appears to comfort her. She says, “You don’t have to feel this way. I can show you how to get rid of it.”
        • Back in the present, Hanna eats every cupcake – with football players at the next table watching her and laughing.
          • Another text: “You know how to get rid of it”
        • Aria finds Hanna, and they talk about how Alison taught Hanna to throw up. So, Alison taught Hanna how to take her binge eating disorder into bulimia territory.
          • Aria knows that the purging is really dangerous, and says so. She’s also proud of Hanna for having recovered.
            • I wish I didn’t have my doubts about Hanna having recovered, but I do. Even if she doesn’t binge and purge anymore, there’s long been hints of her restricted eating.
          • Hanna goes into the bathroom of the cupcake shop and, thankfully, does not give in to the urge to throw up. She washes her hands, goes to the paper towel dispenser –
          • – and the first one says “Oink oink -A”
          • “A” LEFT A NOTE FOR HER IN A PUBLIC BATHROOM.
          • HOW COULD “A” KNOW NO ONE ELSE WOULD SEE IT.
          • A also left several hundred dollars taped to the paper towels.
Emily:
  • Emily also doesn’t have it great in these episodes, but that’s because of her mother.
  • In the beginning, her parents seem to be trying to accept this whole gay thing, and are having Maya over for dinner.
    • The dinner starts out awkward because Emily had told her mom that Maya will eat anything, but her mom made seafood, and Maya can’t eat seafood.
      • Which Emily’s mom seems to take kinda personally.
    • And then Maya tells this cute story about how she was the flower girl at her parents’ wedding, and how her dad proposed by drawing a ring on her mom’s finger with a Sharpie and it was later replaced by a tattooed ring,
      • It’s all very charming and Emily’s mom hates it.
      • Emily’s dad, less so. He seems to really like Maya.
    • But Emily’s mom spends some time in the pantry quietly sobbing.
  • There’s also a lot going on with Toby.
    • Emily sees him back home – with an ankle monitor – and tells him that she wasn’t the one who called the cops.
    • Jenna never told Toby that Emily was trying to see him, but Toby doesn’t seem super concerned or necessarily believe that Emily didn’t call the police. He mentions he’s been getting death threats. Things are just not going great for Toby.
      • They go even less great when Jenna tells him that she called the cops to get him home. And yet again less great when Jenna tries to kiss him, and slaps him for rejecting her.
        • I’m worried about Toby.
      • To make matters even better for Emily, her dad is apparently being shipped off by the military again.
      • Emily and Maya are super cute! And Emily’s mom hates it. She finds them in Emily’s bed studying, but their bare calves are touching, so…you know. Basically sex.
        • Emily’s mom says that she “can’t live like this”.
        • Maya leaves and when Emily’s mom tries to say something, Emily says, “For the first time in my life, I am ashamed that you’re my mother.”
      • And god, it doesn’t get better. Maya left her bag at Emily’s house, and guess who finds it?
        • There was literally nothing Emily’s mom could find in that bag that she wouldn’t use to turn against Maya, but she finds the dreaded M A R I J U A N A so it goes about as bad as it could.
        • She heavily implies that Emily is only gay because of drugs – which Emily isn’t even doing!
        • She tells Emily not to bother calling her father, because he’s also disappointed in her.
          • But idk something about that seems off. I wonder if it’s more that she doesn’t want Emily calling her dad because he isn’t
        • Did you think that was the end? OF COURSE NOT.
          • Emily’s mom tells Maya’s parents and they decide to ship her off to some juvie camp for three months.
          • Emily comes to school crying because she didn’t even get to say goodbye.
        • But then!! OH MY HEART!
          • Emily meets the other girls at Spencer’s, where they surprise her with Maya. Maya and Emily get time alone in Spencer’s room to say goodbye, and this may or may not involve sex. The sex is sure implied.
Spencer:
  • A big part of Spencer’s life right now is that Ian is taking over. He’s had all his stuff shipped out of storage to their family house, which kind of makes me think that he might be in some kind of big debt?
    • Why else would he suddenly hit up his rich ex and elope with her?
    • ..maybe to cover up murder.
    • We already know that Ian and Alison were together in some way, but it also turns out that they were at some golf resort the weekend before Alison disappeared.
  • Spencer’s parents don’t seem to like Ian that much either, but her mom – who I LOVED after they had all of that emotional honesty together and after she saved them from Detective Creeper – tells Spencer “you were a big part of your sister’s rough year”.
    • At which point I had to scream into a pillow.
  • Spencer sees Ian and Melissa having some hushed conversation that they definitely didn’t want overheard, and A emails her: “Married for love or an Alibi?”
    • So now Spencer has Ian very high on her suspect list.
    • Which gets super awkward when she discovers that Ian and Melissa are trying to get pregnant.
  • There’s also drama with Alex. I hate when there’s drama with Alex. He’s a good boy.
    • He got referred to some big fancy international tennis camp that can practically guarantee a chance at going pro.
      • Spencer encourages him to go, but he says he’s staying home to work for his uncle.
      • Spencer backs off – but then A electronically sends in Alex’s application to the tennis camp, which frames Spencer, and Alex is pissed.
      • He thinks Spencer is trying to make him into something he’s not – someone who’d be playing tennis at the country club instead of working there.
      • Spencer denies it, but Alex tells her not to apologize for who she is and what she wants – because he’s sure not going to.
    • There is one small breakthrough for Spencer. Even while suspecting Ian might be involved, she also suspects Toby – apparently there was blood on a sweater in his possession that was positively matched to Alison. He’s basically a shoo-in for conviction.
      • At one point she follows him through town, watching him get harassed, until he ducks into an alley and behind a dumpster.
      • She sees him having a crying breakdown and I think it starts to give her empathy for him.

“A” has been super involved in these episodes – more than usual. They’re really working to manipulate these girls’ lives, and they’re also starting to blur the line between friend and foe. At one point, the girls even wonder if A wants to help them catch Alison’s killer.

Episode 13 ends with A sending them the same video the FBI showed them – of Alison talking to someone off camera. But this is the cut that shows Ian. We’d seen it, but the girls hadn’t, and they understandably freak out. Even moreso when the camera is dropped to the ground.

At first, nothing. Then, Alison, making noises that…if I’m honest, could be from pain or pleasure. Her hand slaps into view, digging into the dirt before going still.

…This could still be a sex thing. But obviously A is trying to make them think that this is a video of Alison’s death, which, it might be! If it was, it would prove that even if Ian didn’t kill Alison himself, he was sure there when she died.

The whole time, they’re being watched by someone outside. They finally catch a glimpse of a shadow, and chase the person out into the woods around Spencer’s house…but don’t find them.

Still no clue who A is, but they sure are stealthy as heck.

Things are heating up, and these posts are getting longer, try as I might to keep them short. I’ll see you next week.

Screenshots from: https://prettylittleliars.fandom.com
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