Pretty Little Liars: Surfing the Tangled Web

Pretty Little Liars S03E08: "Stolen Kisses"

Just because Maya’s dead doesn’t mean she’s stopped being a major presence in the Pretty Little Liars universe. "Stolen Kisses" placed her front and center—to the extent that Ali was almost a complete non-entity. Their murders may be linked, but Maya’s mystery is just as convoluted as Alison’s, and it’s a nice change of pace that we’re getting a new tangled mess to unravel.

It’s long been clear that there was more to Maya than met the eye—she was a noticeably enigmatic character on a series where everyone has secrets. I never really thought her relationship with Emily would work out, because as cute as they were together, you could tell that Maya was holding back. Her behavior was erratic and sometimes inexplicable, not even a little bit justified by the fact that she allegedly enjoyed a joint from time to time.

The reveal of Maya’s website, which seems to be some sort of online scrapbook, is a great way to let her communicate even in death. With Alison, we get flashbacks, but Maya’s relationship with the girls was more limited than that. I like the idea that she’s left these clues behind, whether intentionally or not, and it’s up to the girls who are still living to piece it all together. One of the recurring themes on Pretty Little Liars, perfectly reflected in Maya’s video diaries, is that the dead never shut up.

It was also convenient that Maya’s site brought Caleb back into the fold, as his hacking skills were once more required. Not sure how I feel about his friendship with Spencer—too many significant glances, if you ask me—but it was nice to again see an unlikely pair interacting. More to the point, Caleb is a useful ally: It seems silly not to employ his skills when none of the main girls are nearly as computer savvy.

Aside from the website, the presence of Maya’s cousin is also significant: After all, he’s our last remaining St. Germain. I’m still not sure what Nate is doing; I don’t buy that his only purpose is to hang out and glower in Garrett’s direction. And there’s something unsettling about him, not just because he paired so well with Jenna. He’s keeping Maya’s memory alive, sure, but he’s confused and angry and—something tells me—not to be trusted. I just don’t think it’s a good idea to let your guard down around someone who lurks like that.

The rest of the episode wasn’t nearly as strong. We were promised a big reveal about Ezra, but all we learned is that he comes from money. The news just doesn’t feel shocking or important: Ezra has purposely distanced himself from his family, so the fact that he was born into wealth doesn’t really change anything. Yeah, he and Aria were eating instant ramen and worrying about money when they could have been spending Ezra’s family fortune, but that clearly wasn’t an option for him. He wasn’t hiding anything from Aria so much as he was asserting his independence from the Fitzgeralds.

I also hated his mother, and not in the way we were supposed to hate her. Diane was just too cartoonish, even for a show as over-the-top as Pretty Little Liars—but mostly I loathed the way she was introduced to once again try to force some conflict into the series’ most stable relationship. I have no problem with conflict between Aria and Ezra, if it feels natural. Week after week, though, we get these non-issues. Diane trying to sabotage the relationship might be interesting if Ezra gave even the tiniest crap about what his mom thinks. As it stands, she’s easy to ignore.

In other relationship news, Emily and Paige are apparently a thing now. I don’t know. I don’t begrudge Emily moving on from Maya, but Paige still feels like the girl Emily goes for because she’s there. Paige and Emily made out when Emily was drugged, and that somehow helped Emily realize she was into Paige all along? Oh, well. With Maya’s presence hanging so heavily over everything, it’s nice Emily can get some breathing room at all.


– Were Spencer and Caleb flirting, or am I imagining things?

– Does Nate have a hidden agenda?

– Has your opinion of Ezra changed now that you know more about him?

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