Texts From A: Pretty Little Liars Unexpectedly Models Super Healthy Friendships?

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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 7 and 8 of season 1.

We left off last week rather dramatically. It was homecoming. Toby, who may have murdered Alison (imo, he did not), chased a scared Emily through the dark halls of the school until she fell down some stairs. We saw the mysterious gloved figure of A paint over the population number on the town welcome sign, indicating that Rosewood had lost one of their own.

First, good news: Emily is fine. Toby dropped her off, unconscious, at the hospital, and then ran off.

I really want to believe Toby is ultimately good but hooboy sometimes he does not know how to act like anything other than a murderer.

Obviously, the police are all over this, and the other girls think Emily was attacked, but she insists she tripped. Which is true. She just leaves out the part where Toby was chasing her when she did that.

That brings us up to speed, so let’s keep going. There’s a lot to get through.

Here’s what Aria’s been up to.

  • Her parents’ situation is not going great. They’re avoiding each other, sending messages to each other through Aria, and I long for her to whip around and yell, “I’M NOT AN OWL!” à la Hermione in Goblet of Fire.
    • Her brother is feeling the pain, too, and starts getting in fights at school.
    • Then it’s decided that her dad should move out – but he doesn’t want to.
    • So her mom (Piper from Charmed) ends up moving out.
  • She danced at homecoming with Sean, Hanna’s boyfriend – I remind you of his name because I keep forgetting it – which I thought was super sweet friend dancing time.
    • So Sean has to go and ruin it by sending her flowers.
    • But Aria doesn’t just let it fester, which is also refreshing. She confronts him at school. He tries to act like he just wanted to send her flowers, but she makes him admit that it’s because he was mad at Hanna for missing their crowning moment at homecoming.
    • Aria tells him that Hanna loves him and he’s acting like a dick, and he agrees that he needs to do better.
    • This is a great example of what I love about arguments in Pretty Little Liars – people do keep secrets in this show, that’s for sure, but the friends actually talk to each other, own up to their mistakes, and learn from them.
    • Unexpectedly Pretty Little Liars models healthy friendships really well.
      • So far. I’m really worried that it ruins this later on, just because I’m always worried a show I like will ruin the best things about it.
    • And what’s going with Fitz, you know, my super favorite character that totally doesn’t make me scowl like this cat every time he’s on screen?
scowlcat
  • Aria mostly calls him Ezra now and I’m trying to decide if this means I have to call him Ezra.
  • He’s not answering her calls or texts, so, naturally, she uses the key that he hides under his doormat to get into his apartment. He’s not there, and she hears a message on the answering machine about an interview at another school.
  • He also leaves her a copy of Winesburg, Ohio with the note “for when you need to leave Rosewood”, which is frankly exactly the kind of nonsense fake-deep gift I’d expect a young male English teacher to dramatically leave the underage student he’s trying to bang.
  • In episode 8, Aria spends a lot of time staring soulfully and eyebrow-raised-ly into the distance while thinking about her fight with Fitz at homecoming.
  • In episode 8, we also more officially meet Noel. He’s a friend of Sean’s who she technically went to homecoming with, and now he wants to go to a concert with her, Sean, and Hanna.
    • Hanna convinces Aria to do it, and Aria broods about Fitz through the whole dang date.
    • Until Noel talks to her, and he makes her laugh and basically says that he knows she’s getting over someone else (who he and Hanna both think is a random boy in Iceland), but that he’ll be around and he hopes she gives him a chance.
    • Noel seems really nice and I wish Fitz would disappear so Noel and Aria can have a sweet age-appropriate relationship.

My sweet, darling Hanna has continued to be both sweet and darling.

  • She tells Emily that she saw the pictures of her and Maya kissing.
    • She’s super supportive and encouraging.
      • In a million little ways, Hanna is generally the most emotionally supportive person in the group. They all are, but Hanna’s very open to everyone having their own ways of handling their own lives and supporting them through it.
    • There’s a part where Hanna and Lucas watch funny internet videos together, and it makes me feel like I’m dying of cute.
      • I like Sean, I do, but Hanna and Lucas are so good together, too!
        • The main divide is that Lucas thinks Alison was evil – with good reason, she bullied him for years – and Hanna still wants to believe that Alison had good in her.
      • Sean and Hanna fighting after homecoming also super makes my heart hurt! And it makes me happy when they make up! But Sean doesn’t appreciate the funny internet videos – like he’s just not compatible with Hanna’s really goofy side – and UGH.
      • MY HEART IS TORN.
    • We also find out that Hanna’s mom isn’t doing so great financially after losing her ex-husband’s income.
      • She hides the worst of it from Hanna (though Hanna does find out – she redials the phone her mom was using at one point to discover she’d called a mortgage company’s foreclosure department).
    • Initially, Hanna kinda freaks out about the money-tightening.
      • With Lucas’ help, she sells a bunch of the designer clothes and accessories she didn’t want anymore.
      • And uses it to buy groceries!
      • Her mom is dealing with feelings of being an inadequate provider and gets upset, but Hanna perseveres in saying it’s really okay. And you can tell, to her, it is.
      • Hanna likes helping. It’s her nature.
    • But of course, things can’t all go well for Hanna.
      • Creepy Detective Man is back, the one who dropped the shoplifting charges after Hanna’s mom slept with him? Yeah. He’s also the one working Alison’s murder case.
      • Alison’s brother is back in town for Alison’s memorial, and he’s been making noise at the police department about how the investigation isn’t being handled well enough.
      • And like any good cop, Creepy Detective Man takes that as an excuse to…surprise Hanna in a dark classroom, interrogate her, a minor, without a guardian present, and blackmail her with revealing embarrassing information about her mother if Hanna reveals embarrassing information about him.
        • Hanna isn’t scared of him. Hanna blackmails right back.

I’m sure you’re wondering how Emily’s doing.

  • Physically, Emily is fine.
  • Her mom is acting kind of weird after finding out that Emily went to homecoming with Toby – lots of “do you know his REPUTATION do you know what the NEIGHBORS WOULD THINK”
  • So it’s kind of not surprising that Emily is hiding her relationship with Maya?
    • Because OH YEAH Emily tells Maya that she wants to make it work between them.
    • They go on a date to a movie and they make out and it’s WONDERFUL.
    • But also there’s some awkwardness.
    • Emily’s dad is coming home from Afghanistan (where I didn’t know he was! I kind of thought that he was just off-screen all the time, like Mr. Kim in Gilmore Girls) and that’s wonderful…
    • …but Emily is hedging a lot about if Maya will get to meet him.
    • She’s not out to her parents and it’s bumming Maya out to keep it all hidden.
  • Jenna visits Emily to talk about Toby. She says she’s worried.
    • She knows that they stole Toby’s file, and she wants it back.
  • Emily calls Hanna to tell her not to destroy the file, as they’d talked about doing to avoid being connected to its theft, but Hanna doesn’t answer.
    • We see Hanna, Spencer, and Aria in the woods, arguing about just that, until finally Aria just grabs the file and throws it in the river.
      • …And then sees the text from Emily that says “WHATEVER YOU DO DON’T DESTROY THAT FILE”
        • Whoops!
      • Emily tells Jenna the file was destroyed, and Jenna says that she hopes Emily isn’t lying to her.
        • Jenna is hard to read. I can’t tell if she’s genuinely worried about Toby, or about what he’ll do, or if she’s worried that he’ll reveal her secrets.
      • Which, speaking of Toby…at the end of episode 7, Emily sees his totaled bike on the back of a tow truck and Jenna sobbing.
        • We don’t know if he’s dead or just missing.
      • Oh, also, the file definitely wasn’t destroyed. We see that gloved-up A collecting the papers from the river.

Okay. Finally, here’s Spencer’s section – most of it is episode 7-related, because the bulk of her time in episode 8 is spent on Alison’s memorial. That event needs more room, like homecoming did, so I’m going to shift it to the next post.

  • Most of episode 7 for Spencer is focused on her relationship with Alex.
    • He’s feeling all weird about Melissa saying Spencer was only dating him to Date A Poor and Piss Off Her Dad.
    • Spencer wants him to trust her, and he agrees to another date if he gets to plan it.
    • …But then he cancels that date and says he has to work.
    • Which Spencer doesn’t believe, because the club is closed on that day.
      • My first thought is that, well, Spencer, sometimes poor people have two jobs.
      • …Actually it’s just that he IS working at the club to prepare for a special event.
    • Everything is going fine, she’s hanging out with him while he works, but then she finds a collection of pictures of club members that the staff writes and draws on to blow off steam.
      • Which is legit, like, it’s a bunch of people who are probably barely making ends meet serving rich people – and not a lot of them are nice.
      • The problem is that there’s a picture of Spencer with devil horns.
        • Alex doesn’t remember it being there, so I kinda wonder if A planted it. We don’t find out for sure.
      • Spencer storms out after that, but eventually returns.
      • She and Alex make up and dance in the kitchen and kiss and MY HEART IS FULL because Spencer is an anxious control-freak marshmallow who deserves happiness, and Alex is good for her.
    • There’s not a lot from episode 8 I can tell you about Spencer that doesn’t involve Alison’s memorial.
    • Except that Alison’s brother, Jason, is in town for it, and he kind of takes over planning.
    • He also flat-out tells Spencer that Alison told him Spencer planned The Jenna Thing. Alison said Spencer convinced them all to go along with it and that she’s the one who had the idea for the stink bombs.

Over the past few episodes, it had been kind of easy to forget about Alison as a character. “A” was always there taking up the space instead. Alison was just the dead girl for a little while. The memorial – and the many flashbacks around it – remind us and drive home how important Alison was in all of their lives.

It lets us know, as Spencer says, “This is still Alison’s movie and we’re just filling up the screen.”

Screenshots from prettylittleliars.fandom.com

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