Texts From A: This Show Keeps Giving Me Genuine Emotions And Idk How To Deal With That


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 a chunk of episode 8 and all of episode 9 of season 1.

I covered part of episode 8 last week, but about half of that episode was Alison’s memorial and flashbacks to a day at the lake. I wanted those scenes to have their own section, because they intertwine the characters so much and are all pretty important.

  • Spencer primarily plans Alison’s memorial, until Alison’s brother, Jason, steps in.
    • I can’t tell if the actor is making weird choices, or if the character really just behaves that suspiciously all the time.
  • The memorial includes the dedication of a bench in Alison’s name that’s surrounded by art, including several small metal girls meant, presumably, to represent our group.
  • Oh also Jason drops the bomb that Jenna wants to speak at the memorial, which gets everyone freaked out about what she’ll say.

But before we can get to the memorial, there are flashbacks. So many flashbacks.

Picture this: Our five girls, in a line of beach chairs, sitting at a lakefront. Alison is in the center and sits in that chair like it’s a throne – and it’s clearly meant to be. She’s even placed a little higher than the other girls. Even if we hadn’t known that Alison was the Queen Bee, it would be clear from this picture that she is.

  • The first flashback has Alison talking about how she wants to die – young, in a tragic and mysterious way. She says, “That’s immortality, my darlings.”
    • It is at this point I decide that if a major twist in the show is “ALISON WAS ALIVE THE WHOLE TIME”, I’d buy it.
  • The flashbacks are from Hanna’s “fat” years, which we know less because she actually looks fat and more because she’s wearing a T-shirt while all the other girls are in bikinis.
    • I have a lot of issues with that Hanna-was-fat arc, but the whole T-shirt-while-everyone-else-is-in-swimsuits thing is…painfully real.
  • These flashbacks also tbh make me feel a lot of conflicted feelings about Alison.
    • She’s horrifically mean to Lucas in one of the flashbacks, she makes passive aggressive remarks to almost everyone,
      • but she also pushes all of her friends to be fiercer, better versions of themselves. She wants to have control (as we already know, her primary means of control is knowing secrets) but she also seems to want them to be stronger.
    • Don’t get me wrong, I don’t Suddenly Love Alison, but I do love watching her get to be a more layered character.
    • I didn’t understand before why the other girls were so fiercely loyal to her with all the shit she did, but I’m starting to get it.

Back to the memorial,

  • Spencer gets a text from A saying that they’ll be at the memorial – “just like Tom Sawyer”.
    • Tbh just adding credibility to the Alison-is-alive theory.
    • Also this adds extra stress on everyone. Between that and Jenna, they’re expecting a shitshow.
  • Spencer also confronts Jenna, and tells her not to the turn the memorial into a stage for her revenge.
    • Jenna claims that Alison was done with Spencer, because she was scared of her.
      • (Possibly she meant Alison was done with/scared of the group as a whole? The pronouns are a little confusing here.)
    • She also HEAVILY implies that Spencer (or, again, someone in the group) killed Alison.
      • I can’t tell if Jenna is telling what she thinks is the truth or just messing with Spencer! I lean towards the former, which makes Jenna a more interesting character in general.
    • But the dedication itself…
      • …is really lovely.
      • The girls all speak about why they loved Alison, and how she’d have loved the attention.
      • Even Detective Creeper looks strangely emotional and touched by it.
        • Not that he’ll probably, you know, take those emotions and be kinder – or even act legally – towards this group of teenagers that lost their best friend, but, you know.
      • And when Jenna speaks?
        • The show is called Pretty Little Liars so I tend to assume everyone is lying, but when Jenna talked about how strong Alison was and how much she touched everyone around her,
          • I believed it.
        • I think Jenna genuinely loved Alison and thought of her as a friend.
          • (Makes me wonder what story she actually heard re: the accident that caused her blindness.)
            • (Though also still suspicious about if she’s actually blind.)
          • I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO FEEL.
        • Which isn’t to say the memorial/dedication goes off without a hitch.
          • For one thing, there’s a guy there that gets the girls all in a tizzy. His name is Ian, and I have no fucking idea who he is, but they sure act like I should.
            • My boyfriend is named Ian but I don’t think they’re the same guy, probably.
          • But, uh, in bigger news, what we see next is someone utterly trashing Alison’s memorial-bench and the art around it. Just really hecking it up.
            • Normally I’d suspect it’s A, but, well…
              • Let’s get into episode 9 and you’ll see.

Episode 9 is all about the group going to take the SAT, but it’s interrupted by a severe storm-turned-tornado watch/warning.

The only scenes in this episode outside the school are a study session at Spencer’s house that Emily didn’t make it to, because, uh, well, she was too busy being out in the rain and returning home covered in suspicious mud! She’s clearly hiding something, but all we get is her in her dark bedroom, ripping off muddy clothes, and crying.

Also, Hanna’s divorced mom and Aria’s separated dad are getting really flirty. So that’s…sure to be fun to watch unfold.

So, what was Aria doing for episode 9?

  • In part, being dressed ridiculously nicely for the SAT.
    • Do people usually dress that nice for the SAT?
    • At my school, the main SAT date was the Saturday of prom, so many of the girls taking it were practically in pajamas and had their hair in curlers.
  • And, of course,
    • You know,
    • [vague, impatient waving]
    • Fitz
    • Who was ignoring all her calls and emails because he was in New York to Deal With His Issues.
  • I really want her to just be with Noel! He’s nice! They go sit in the music room and he plays the guitar and she sings and it’s a super romantic moment where they almost kiss until SOMEONE interrupts them.
  • Aria’s mom is there! Aria’s been avoiding going over to see her at the new apartment 🙁
    • But do not worry, by the end of the episode, Aria has made plans to have dinner with her mom AND to go on a date with Noel!
  • Oh ALSO, let’s go ahead and put this in Aria’s section because it deals with Aria’s mom,
    • Aria’s mom talks to Fitz, but obviously she doesn’t know this grown-ass man is mooning over her teenage daughter, so she just talks to him about how things haven’t been going great at home and wants to know if Aria has been acting differently.
    • She tells Fitz that she’s SO HAPPY Aria has an adult to look up to!!

Okay. Deep breaths. Let’s talk Hanna.

  • Hanna doesn’t get a LOT in this episode.
    • It’s mainly her struggle to stand up for Lucas.
    • She stands up for everyone else, but whenever someone – mainly Mona – is mean to him, she freezes.
    • She tries so hard to escape the idea of being friends with the wrong person bringing your social status down, but Lucas still trips her up.
  • But!! By the end of the episode, she does successfully defend him against Mona.
    • …Who is not happy and says ominous things about Hanna destroying her popularity, but Mona won’t let Hanna take her down, too.
  • When Lucas thanks Hanna for standing up for him, and she says that he doesn’t have to thank her because he’s her friend.
    • Which has him looking kind of sad and listen, guys,
    • if they turn Lucas into a typical Friendzoned Nice Guy I’ll be SO UPSET.
  • Oh and uh Lucas’s shoes are muddy. Did HE destroy the memorial?
    • Considering how cruel Alison was to him for most of their lives I kind of…couldn’t…super blame him?
    • Like find other ways to take out your anger, dude, but also I get it.
    • Watching someone who bullied or abused you be venerated after death is a really hard thing to go through.

Emily, of the also suspiciously muddy shoes, has a much larger part of the episode.

  • She lies to Detective Creeper about being with the others studying for the SAT, and won’t tell her friends why she lied.
  • She gets a text from A that directs her to the library’s copy of Great Expectations.
    • And in that book is a letter that Emily wrote to Alison.
    • We only see snippets of it – “you may not like what I have to say”, something about Alison laughing in her face.
  • Emily has a bunch of flashbacks about Alison.
    • There’s a really sweet one where Alison reads to her from Great Expectations, and they KISS!!!
    • …But then there’s a really upsetting one where Emily kisses Alison’s shoulder in the locker room and Alison says many shitty things about how she’s into boys, and if she’s kissing Emily, it’s “practice for the real thing”.
  • Emily thinks she hears someone in the stacks with her. The lights go out! Books start falling! Emily is running around trying to find the person!
  • She doesn’t, but when she gets back, her bag is gone, along with the letter.
  • Detective Creeper gets all the girls alone in the library while everyone else is sheltering in the locker room and does what he does best:
    • interrogating a minor without a parent or guardian present.
  • He has Emily’s bag, which he has gone through in what is surely a VERY LEGAL MOVE.
  • There’s photos of Emily at Alison’s destroyed art/bench memorial, holding the little metal girls,
    • which are also in her bag.
  • She says that she didn’t do the vandalizing – she FOUND it vandalized, and rescued the metal girls.
  • Detective Creeper whips out the letter Emily wrote Alison, and accuses her of murdering Alison for rejecting her.
    • So, you know, add “outing a queer minor without her consent” to his crimes.
    • I mean her friends are all cool with it but they might not have been!
  • Emily admits to loving Alison as more than a friend and says she went back to the bench to apologize for all the mean things she said in the letter.
  • Spencer’s mom SAVES THE DAY by walking in on them and going full-lawyer on this shitty cop.

Speaking of Spencer,

  • She and Alex are really happy together and that makes ME really happy!
  • But then when Alex and her mom see each other, there’s a clear moment of recognition, awkwardness, and avoidance.
  • Spencer suspects that her mom did something really shitty to Alex at the country club,
    • but Alex refuses to tell her! He just says it’s her mom’s story to tell.
  • After her mom saves them from Detective Creeper, Spencer asks her mom what happened.
  • Apparently, one weekend when the rest of the family was on a trip, Spencer’s mom had a lump removed from her breast.
    • Afterwards, she got…super, super drunk at the country club and spilled out her guts to Alex.
    • Alex got her a cab and made sure she got home safe.
    • So really it’s just that she was embarrassed, and didn’t want people to know that she’d had the lump at all.
  • She says, “Our family doesn’t handle imperfection very well.”
    • And Spencer replies, “Being sick is not an imperfection.”
      • AND I SOB.

This episode made me really emotional! It had a lot of lovely little character arcs – Aria deciding to go out with Noel and have dinner with her mom, Hanna finding the courage to stand up for Lucas, Emily dealing with her feelings for Alison, and Spencer having an honest conversation with her mother.

But it can’t all end on sunshine and rainbows and healthy communication. No. Because we’ve still got Lucas’ unexplained muddy shoes, and we have a scene with A. They’re watching a video of Alison – all we see is a clip where she says to the person holding the camera, “I know you wanna kiss me.” A takes a jump drive out of the laptop and puts it into an envelope addressed to the police department.

They also put “ANONYMOUS” as the return address which…you could have just left it blank, but okay.

UGH. It’s so hard to stop watching this dang show! It’s so hard not to write a dissertation for each one of these posts!

But for now, we must stop here. I’ll see you next week.

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

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