pretty little recovery: catching up on season 4b

4.14 - 4.20
Hello fellow PLLers! It's been a while, but there have been many episodes of PLL that I'm all caught up on and it's time to do a catch-up recap! I recently shared my thoughts on the PLL spinoff here, and well, let's kick things off by addressing the dead black bird-shaped elephant in the room. Ravenswood has officially been cancelled. Obviously I feel a bit bad that Tyler Blackburn's show didn't make it to a season two... And I'm never a fan of when a show ends with a bunch of dangling cliffhangers and unresolved plots... But overall, am I sad about this news? Hells no. I want Hot Caleb back in Rosewood stat! The possibility of that not happening (there is no confirmation yet that he's returning, at least that I've seen, but come on! They'd be stupid to not bring him back!) is something I don't even want to think about. But enough about that, we're here to talk PLL!

These girls know how to do edge-of-your-seat TV. And look totally fab while doing it. Photo credit: ABC Family

Pretty Little Highlights

1. Everything Hanna says/does. It's not secret that I love the girl, but losing Hot Caleb to Ravenswood has done nothing to slow this girl down when it comes to one-liners and being the hottest little liar in town.

2. Last week's black and white noir homage episode. I didn't think they could pull it off, but they totally did. I'm generally not a fan of dream/drug-induced haze episodes, but it was entertaining enough that I let that aspect of it slide. The hair! The clothes! Even Creeper Toby played his role well.

3. Minimal Creeper Toby. Or maybe I've just been ignoring him (aside from the above mention). The only downside is that the times we do see him, he's still drawing out the Creeper Toby's mom storyline (see below). I will give him the exception of this week's episode though. I actually felt kinda bad for him.

4. I feel weird typing this but... Aria! Yes, I'm as shocked as you are. Maybe it's the fact that she's been the unknowing prey (until recently) to Ezra's hunter, but I've actually been enjoying Aria's storyline this half-season. Yes, she still dresses like a crazy person who tripped and fell into a dumpster full of designer rejects, but I've barely been annoyed by her at all during these six episodes. And the ski lift scene between her and Ezra in this week's episode was chilling, revealing, and so good! This is why I love PLL!

5. Ezra's cabin/lair. It's isolated and spooky and has made for some seriously tense scenes during these episodes. I can't help but think the whole thing is going to go up in flames before the season is out.

Pretty Little Mistakes (a.k.a What Aria Did)

1. Spencer's drug problem. I was so, so over this story before it even began. I think they're trying to recapture the magic of Spencer's descent into madness last season, but it's not working. It just feels a little PSA-y to me. 

2. Emily's mistrust of everything and everyone. I get that our little liars have a lot on their plates on the reg, but Emily is handling it almost as poorly as Spencer is with the drugs. Only Emily is a lot more annoying about it. It's like she's campaigning to be the next town Aria or something.

3. Mona and Ezra. Just ick to even the thought.

4. Why are we still talking about what happened to Toby's mom? Nobody cares! Oh, you care? Okay fine. One person cares. It's still not something I'm interested in unless his dead mom is somehow A.

5. Not nearly enough Hot Caleb! Yes, this is a bit of a no-brainer and I already covered it quite a bit in my aforementioned post about Ravenswood, but it's worth mentioning again, because his absence makes me sad, even if the show is still quite strong without him. 

Pretty Little ZOMG WTF?!

1. Ali is all over the place! It feels soooo weird! We go from seeing brief flashes of someone who may or may not be Ali and then suddenly there she is, having conversations with the liars like no time has passed. It feels unreal every time it happens. That said, I'm not convinced that's actually Ali.

2. Ezra is Board Shorts and has weird taste in pie/beer. Yes, we know Ezra is maybe/possibly A, but we didn't know he was Board Shorts--and now Aria knows it too! That was a big reveal and I feel it came together nicely. And made him so much creepier because seriously Ezra, have you ever dated a girl your own age? Gross.

3. Emily in the schoolhouse of horrors. Now THAT was seriously creepy. And poor Emily's dad! I was so happy when he came to her rescue, but then so certain that something bad would happen to him. And sure enough...

4. Hanna's emergency dental procedure. Again with dialing the creepy factor up another notch! Teeth stuff is bothersome enough as it is, but the thought of her lying unconscious while A worked away on her teeth is terrifying. Poor Han. Hot Caleb would not have stood for that if he'd been around!

5. Aria's brother's hookups. I don't even know what to say about this one. The Hanna bit was actually kind of endearing, but then the Mona stuff. Again, ick. Mona is a pretty girl, but she's too creepy to be with anyone in that way.

I know the above really only scratched the surface of what happened in these past episodes, but now that I'm all caught up, I hope to have some more in-depth recaps in the coming weeks!

How have you been enjoying this season so far?


let's talk ravenswood

The time has come. Let's talk Ravenswood, shall we?

I know I don't need to tell you how...displeased I was with the idea of Hot Caleb leaving Rosewood for the distinctly murkier backdrop of Ravenwood, population 74923 (but really, more like 8). There are so many reasons this was not a good thing as far as I was concerned, the main one being that the Haleb relationship would surely suffer. How could it not? But as with all spinoffs of shows I adore, I had to give it a shot once it aired, and now that we've reached the 10-episode winter finale benchmark, I think it's finally time to weigh in with some thoughts:


1. Is there really any way to start this list other than with the below video? No? Good, I'm glad we're on the same page (apologies for the excessive video bookends--this was the only version I could find online!):

2. All Hot Caleb all the time. I love getting to see plenty of Tyler Blackburn on my screen when I'm watching Ravenswood. It makes up for all those episodes of PLL when he was curiously absent, and not to get into The Bad while we're still discussing The Good, but Tyler is really carrying this thing. Boy can act and sure, he's (mostly) not making out with Hanna (though see point #4!), but he is getting a chance to show off his skills beyond ridiculously attractive computer hacker boyfriend extraordinaire and sometimes bromancer of Creeper Toby.

3. It's actually quite spooky. PLL still takes the prize for most creepy points overall, but Ravenswood is paying its dues with scary imagery, terrifying little blonde girls, and plenty of things that go bump in the night. My only issue here is that sometimes the creepiness leans a little too far toward horror, which I'm personally not a fan of, but I think they're still finding the right balance. Overall, the fright factor seems a bit more adult than on PLL, and that allows the show to stand on its own two legs.

4. Occasional appearances/mentions of the irrepressible Ms. Hanna Marin. Thank goodness there was no attempt to move Hot Caleb to Ravenswood with nary a mention of the love of his life. One of my main issues with a Hot Caleb spinoff is that PLL had done such a good job of building up the Haleb dynamic so that it was interesting and enjoyable without the show having to keep breaking them up for drama. Sure, that happened, but only when it really made sense to the plot. The rest of the time, they were an excellent representation of how a strong couple works. To break that apart for the sake of a spinoff felt wrong, but I'm happy to say that the show runners are handling the separation with a lot of respect, keeping Hanna on Hot Caleb's mind and occasionally in his sights. Their deep, complex and passionate relationships seems to be weathering the transition okay. At least for now.

5. Miranda. I know, I know. Not where you thought I'd go with this, right? Yes, Miranda is "the other woman", and part of me hates her for that, but again, this whole situation has been handled fairly well so far (hell, Hanna was even the one to push Hot Caleb toward Miranda in the first place!). Obviously, as a diehard Haleb fan, I do not want to see Hot Caleb and Miranda together, but Miranda as a character on her own? I actually kinda dig her. Aside from Tyler Blackburn, and a few of the adult actors on the show, she's the only other person who's really bringing something to table here. And hey, based on that finale, maybe she'll hook up with Flashback Caleb and leave Hot Caleb for Hanna. That way everyone gets a Caleb and everybody wins! I am on board with this idea.


1. The kids who aren't Hot Caleb or Miranda. I tried to give these guys a chance, but so far, I'm not feeling it. There's a certain spark that's lacking here. A certain dynamic that exists between the Liars that the Ravenswood crew just doesn't have. They aren't as quippy, aren't as fashionable, and aren't as easy to be emotionally invested in. And sorry, Olivia, but you're no Spencer Hastings, so step off with that hair and those clothes. They don't even compare.

Accept no imitations!
2. Remy's sleep issues zzzz...... I just. can't. bring. myself. to. care. If it had been a 1-2 episode arc, sure, that would have been fine, but they drew the whole Remy is having nightmares that may or may not kill her and everyone she loves thing out for waaaay too long. Or maybe it just felt that way because it was boring. Remy is fine enough as a character for the most part, but she can also be kinda bland and cardboardy. I wish she had a bit more spunk, and a little less sleep drama.

3. Rehashing the same issues. I have to admit, I may have some of my facts wrong because I tend to tune out when Olivia, Luke and Remy are on the screen without Hot Caleb or Miranda, but how many times are they going to rehash the fact that Olivia and Luke's mom didn't kill their father? Hasn't she been arrested at least twice at this point? Can we introduce a few more characters and start steering away from trampling already worn-out tropes to death?

4. Luke's kind of an asshole. I have no idea if this will be a super unpopular opinion or not, but Luke can be questionable at times. Maybe he just seems dull in comparison to Hot Caleb and his amazing boyfriending skills, but Luke also seems to fail as a brother and a son on a regular basis. Not only does he suffer from not being able to sit still long enough to listen to reason, but he does things like get jealous over the fact that his twin sister had sex before him (How dare she? She's a girl!) and then tries to leverage that info to re-open a discussion about getting it on with his girlfriend, who, by the sounds of it, has already made it perfectly clear that she doesn't wanna cash in her v-card until after graduation (which seems arbitrary to me, but you gotta respect the gal's decisions).

5. Where is this all going? I understand that the point of a spin-off is to have two successful shows under your brand instead of just one, but seriously, where is this spin-off going to go? The basis for Ravenswood is this old curse, which apparently Hot Caleb is a part of, but correct me if I'm wrong, it didn't seem to have any effect on his life prior to moving to Ravenswood. So by that same token, wouldn't the whole curse thing kinda just go away if everybody affected by it moved out of Ravenswood? I guess I'm just not seeing the longterm plan for this show. I suppose the same could be said for PLL and its mystery-at-large, but PLL has so much more going for it that I don't care if they find stupid ways to drag that story out.


In conclusion, I'm not 100% sure I'm feeling it with Ravenswood, but I'm going to stick around for Hot Caleb and the hope that the show is still working out its kinks. I'm not planning to recap it on a regular basis as I do with PLL (season catch-up recap coming soon!), but I'm sure I will mention it from time to time, especially as it effects our favourite Little Liars.  For now, I'm okay with Hot Caleb and Hanna being apart, but I would be pleased and quite impressed if the shows manage to maintain that cross-show connection without slowly pulling away from it to allow Hot Caleb to be with Miranda and Hanna to be with that guy who I'm pretty sure was on Friday Night Lights or something. Basically, as long as Haleb still have a shot at being endgame, I'll go along for the ride. But I still think Miranda should hook up with Flashback Caleb. He's a ghost and everything! What more could a modern post-mortem girl want? :)