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Pretty Little Liars: Mona in the Nuthouse, Jenna in the Hot Seat

Pretty Little Liars: S03E02: "Blood Is the New Black"

At the end of last week’s episode of Pretty Little Liars, the new “A” left the girls with a threat—“Mona played with dolls. I play with body parts.” It reflected a darker “A,” if not a darker series as a whole. We’re still early in the season, but this week's episode, "Blood Is the New Black," seemed to live up to that promise.

We got some of the series' most unsettling images yet: a bracelet with (presumably human) teeth spelling out “DEAD GIRLS CAN’T SMILE”; a mostly catatonic Mona cutting herself with a pair of tweezers; Aria and Alison violently trashing Byron’s office. Yes, this has always been a show about a teenage girl’s murder, but it does feel as though we’re entering even murkier terrain.

But creeping horror aside, Pretty Little Liars continues to show other signs of improvement, with better pacing—we’re really moving along now—and stronger character development. I dig this show even when it’s not firing on all cylinders, but I’m so much more engaged now: This season feels like it’s going somewhere, even if the result likely won’t be another huge reveal. (We can’t unmask a new “A” every season, can we?)

Let’s talk about the pacing first: This show is not exactly known for speedy resolution to its mysteries, but it seems as though we’re finally moving forward at a steady rate. I assumed Jenna’s fake blindness would drag on for a while, so imagine my surprise when Emily regained an incriminating memory—it was Jenna who drove her to Alison’s grave when she was blacked out—and the girls quickly caught Jenna in her lie.

The fact that they didn’t immediately call her on it was an interesting twist, in that it gives our core four the upper hand for the first time in...well, ever. When have they ever known something Jenna didn’t? This again feels like a step forward for the series, a chance for Pretty Little Liars to play with its formula of our heroines terrorized by mysterious outside forces. We know Jenna’s involved—Emily’s recovered memory only confirms what we’ve suspected—and now we get to watch her get manipulated for once.

Rest assured, the girls are getting played, too. While Mona’s fragile mental state can’t all be an act, she must be holding back. “You’re getting them again, aren’t you?” she asked Hanna. “The texts.” Breaking her silence may have been a fluke, but Mona has always been a pawn, and she’s certainly aware of a larger scheme at play. Whether she’s keeping quiet out of loyalty or insanity is still up in the air; my guess is that it’s a little of both.

And what does Garrett know? Whatever it is, he’s unlikely to reveal it at his trial. Now that he’s lawyered up (with Spencer’s mom, naturally), he probably won’t be saying much of anything at all. It’s easy to assume that he was referring to Jenna when he said someone close to Spencer was fooling her, but on this show, things are never that simple. We haven’t heard from Melissa in a while. Anyone else still think she’s somehow involved?

One more thing to ponder as we wait for next week’s episode: Whose earrings did Alison find in Byron’s couch? At first, I was inclined to believe Ali dropped them there herself, just to stir the pot—or at least give Aria an excuse to trash her dad’s office. But maybe there’s more to it than that. What if Meredith wasn’t the only other woman in Byron’s life? Even that seems too easy—this is Pretty Little Liars, after all.

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I am loving it and this episode was much better. When the found out about Jenna I loved it. "Do I get to slap her again"/ "Bitch can See" those two had me cracking up. It was a great episode
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I don't take this show seriously and have a hard time understanding how anyone else does. i found it interesting enough the first season but with the second everything was either convoluted or transparent. I still watch the show against my better judgement but that may just be because of the 'pretty' in "pretty little liars."



the total ramp up on kissy-face-relationship-ism is a major turn off too. i liked when the couples seemed to have legitimate bonds and not just a fondness for one another's bods (see spencer and toby.)



like "missing" i feel like the show would have made a better mini-series or movie than it will have turned out to be as a multi-season-er.



whatever garrett knows doesn't warrant him having three scenes of him shrugging off spencer's questions.
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Two episodes of Spencer being interested in Toby's body is part of a story line that obviously ends with the two having sex. It's a legitimate storyline for a teen drama/drama about teens to do. Toby was shown having real bonds to Spencer this episode - the eye drops, remember? It's a demonstration that he listens to her, and takes her seriously. Finally, what teenagers aren't obsessed with sex and the bodies of their significant others???
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Agreed, this show is getting a really dark edge to it! I have a feeling Mona is just faking her catatonic state, they did say she is a genius and she's slowly gathering up items Hannah has left behind - the tweezers and the visitors pass, I have a feeling she's planning her escape.



Jenna continues to bug me, I'm happy they finally have the upper hand but I have a feeling it won't last long. Meanwhile Garret is also being annoying, but hopefully he'll want to get some revenge on Jenna for setting him up.



Looking forward to next weeks ep!
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Shut up.
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...I hope this shit follows them to college! :)
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Well on the Melissa front at least. The actress was probably in Atlanta filming for The Vampire Diaries, so they're probably just writing her character as away until Torrey returns.
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I'm glad the liars figured out Jenna is lying this soon, I too thought it would drag on for a lot longer. I agree that this season feels like it has a direction and is building towards something rather than season 2 which felt all over the place. P.s. anyone else noticed how amazing Aria's hair is looking so far this season, I mean, I'm so jealous. It always looked great but looks even better this season. Okay, I'm leaving now.
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Great episode. Love toby and spencer. Can't wait to see how this season progresses. Looks like they've found some good footing.
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It's obvious that toby and spencer are soul mates. glad that they got back together.
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