Title: Pretty Little Liars S2.E18 “A Kiss Before Lying”
Released: 2012

Greetings, comrades. By the time you are reading this, it is Tuesday. You can safely presume that I’m hungover, bitter about not being independently wealthy, and probably glaring at my computer screen at work EVEN AS YOU READ THESE WORDS! {Ed. update: not hungover, but I have a sore throat and a cough! Why??? Therefore, even more bitter about not being independently wealthy than usual.)

That said, I’m probably NOT being stalked by anyone via text message, my hair is guaranteed not to look as good any of the girls on the show (it looks some better than Toby’s though, obviously) and I’m probably not wearing anything ridiculous right now. Hey, two out of three ain’t bad!

Spencer’s. The Liars minus Hanna, plus Caleb, are watching some of the recovered video from A’s phone. Hanna keeps calling and they all ignore her calls. Oh, Hanna. I know how you feel. Except I don’t, really, because I don’t call people, nor do I ask them to do things with me. Make them come to you, Hanna; that’s my secret. It’s either my secret or my inherent laziness. One or the other. Hilariously, Hanna calls Spencer last, to which she snarks “Guess we know who’s low man on the totem pole.” Aw, Spence! I’d so call you first! Spencer is in the middle of making excuses to Hanna when Emily breaks a glass and Aria loudly shushes her. Idiots. Quick, Spencer, plan a surprise party! That’s the only way out of this!

Hanna hangs up in disgust, which allows Spencer to go back to the video. Caleb has miraculously cleaned up some of the video – enough to zoom in on a fake ID. Yeah, I know! He should be working for the FBI with those skills. Ali’s ID doesn’t even look like her – she has long brown hair. Maybe it’s not her! Maybe it’s her twin that we’re pretending doesn’t exist!

Credits. Necromancy. Family show!

After the credits, Em has to leave to meet up with Maya. How come Em’s the only one whose relationship hasn’t been fucked with lately? Obvs this is the homosexual agenda, rearing its fabulous head! Hide your children! Lock up your family values! The gays are coming to steal them away!

Meanwhile! Aria’s pretending that she isn’t dating Fitz again and claims to be going out with Holden. And poor Spencer cries about missing Toby and she looks so sad and I just want to bake her something! Spencer! Have a cupcake, please! Please stop being sad; I can’t take it! On top of Spencer’s Toby anguish, she feels awful for lying to Hanna. Aria says that sometimes you just have to lie to your friends, which provides an oh so subtle segue to . . .

Aria and Fitz, hanging out in his car. By the way, just to keep you updated: Aria is wearing what looks to be strips of fabric on her ears. As if she was in the 1980s and had some sort of debilitating injury – let’s say her leg was crushed under the weight of the toppling Berlin Wall – and David Hasselhoff leaned down and tore off strips of fabric from his neon yellow muscle t-shirt, offering them up as some sort of totally rad tourniquet. But instead she turned them into earrings and then we all went to the mall.

To be fair, that’s how Fitz and I remember the ’80s, too.

Aria is so into her 1980s spirit that she unbuckles her seatbelt and starts making out with Fitz while he’s driving. It’s just like that movie with Charlie Sheen and Kristy Swanson that I watched almost every day that one summer when I was fifteen! Okay, that was the 90s, but still. There was a time when it all sort of bled together. That movie was filmed in Houston! I remember! Hardy Toll Road, son! Yet in the movie they never had to stop and pay a buck fifty just for the privilege of driving another 100 yards. Doesn’t seem fair to me.

At Hanna’s Kitchen of Carbs and Cash, Prozzie Mom is pleading with Hanna to make Gertrude (Kate)’s first day at Rosewood High pleasant. They must rise above the pettiness and be the better people! Well, it wouldn’t be hard to be better than Isobel and Kate. One must simply possess opposable thumbs, after all.

Meanwhile, on the Only Street in Rosewood, Holden and Aria climb in to Actor/Director Chad Lowe’s car, filled with excited lies about the movie that neither of them saw. (Well, maybe Holden did. Maybe his secret is that he likes masturbating in the back row of movie theatres.) Their fictional food choices sound delicious!

School. All four liars are in line at the caf, and Aria is wearing a fascinator! TO SCHOOL. No. Not unless you’re planning on attending a Downton Abbey party later, Aria. We have standards to maintain. Hanna is still stressed about the existence of Gertrude in her life but is quickly distracted by the fact that Spencer is wearing Toby’s undershirt under her sweater. Oh, Spence. Girl, I’ve been there. But also men’s undershirts are super comfy! Everyone is too busy looking at Spencer with pity to see Gertrude slink in. She pretends to be a nice, normal human being but she’s staring at Spencer with hatred in her eyes. Probably just jealous of your bitchin’ undershirt, Spence.

Damn, Gertie, this is neither Polo Club nor an ’80s movie starring Sigourney Weaver as a tough business lady. Can’t you wear a fucking t-shirt like a normal human?

In the hallways, Hanna leads Gertrude to her first class and Gertrude again pretends to be a nice person. Ugh! She keeps me on edge! I know you’re an awful biatch, blondie; out with it! Hanna gets a text: “Call off your techno-boy-toy or I tell the cops what your mom keeps in the lasagna box. -A” Drink! Also, hooray! FINALLY WE REMEMBER ABOUT THE CASH AND THE CARBS IN HANNA’S KITCHEN OF CARBS AND CASH!

(Also, not for nothin’, but presumably A knows about Caleb’s involvement because s/he is spying through Spencer’s windows. Is there NO room in Spencer’s house that lacks windows? What happens if there’s a tornado?)

The Liars Minus Hanna are still trying to decide why Ali has a fake ID that looks nothing like her. Spencer wonders if it was a way for Ali to investigate A – by pretending to be someone else, she might have been able to get closer to the truth! Just then, Hanna shows up and they all change the subject. Surprise party, Spencer. Just sayin’. Hanna shows them her text – she’s worried that Caleb might still have a copy of the video! The bell rings and Emily and Aria flee. Oh. Aria’s wearing a poncho. Just by the by. Hanna tells off Spencer for closing her out.

A poncho AND a fascinator, both of which she clearly ordered from the American Girl catalog.

Emily’s room! She and Maya not only are cuddling but are also making a reference to The Craft! This is my favorite lesbian date ever except for Rachel Maddow’s account of her first date with her partner, in which her partner took her to the gun range and Rachel was like, “wha?” Emily’s mom is coming into town, which worries Maya slightly, on account of how it’s technically Emily’s mom’s fault that she got Gay Awayed. And then they make out some more! This is my favorite episode!

At school, the Liars are eating lunch with Gertrude. Spencer’s still trying to figure out where she knows Gertrude – Maine? Debate? – which is making Gertrude uncomfortable. Spencer’s hat is making me uncomfortable. It looks like something Davey Jones would have worn in 1967 whilst auditioning for a role in Pippen. That’s not a compliment, even though I enjoy all three elements separately.

Stop that, Spencer.

In the halls, Emily finds a note taped to her locker . . . but it’s from her mommy! And there’s a cookie! Best surprise ever!! Formerly Awful Mom Who I Kind Of Love Now, aka Pam, tells Emily to invite Maya to dinner. Yay!

Locker rooms. This show is taking all sorts of turns! Gertrude is trying in vain to open her locker, which gives Spencer time to do more probing. Now she remembers where she knew Gertrude! From . . . horse ranch. Melissa was a JC there and Gertrude was in her bunk. Gertrude offers to pay Spencer “to keep it to herself.” Turns out Gertie used to be an ugly duckling! Spencer promises to keep it secret . . . so long as she stays nice to Hanna.

The Only Restaurant in Rosewood. Emily spies Maya talking to Noel Kahn. Ugh! She thinks he’s “sweet.” Maya, are you DERANGED? NOEL? What the hell happened to you at Gay Away; did you lose your entire damn mind in some sort of campfire ritual? And THEN she’s totally passive aggressive to Mom I Formerly Hated But Now Love. Maya, what the fuck is your deal lately?


Meanwhile, at the Underage Teen Hangout, it turns out that both Aria and Holden’s plans got cancelled. So now they’re going to hang out together. Well, that’s not at all convenient!

At The Only Restaurant in Rosewood, Maya is continuing her campaign of being The Worst Date in History. Seriously, Maya, what the HELL? She starts referencing pot and jazz musicians and dating boys and making sex noises about her food and Jesus Christ! Maya, you haven’t been this immature since you were actually a teenager, twenty years ago. Come on!

Spencer’s. She and Hanna are having a girl’s night. I want to have a girl’s night with them! Gertie is still weighing on Hanna’s mind, so Spencer shows her a photo of Gertie from horse camp. Apparently she had some sort of skin condition which presumably Proactiv has cleared up. Oh, but then Hanna finds the photo of Ali’s ID. Spencer comes clean about everyone working together without Hanna.

The World’s Most Awkward Lesbian/Parent Date. Emily’s pissed that Maya is screwing up dinner so royally. Maya wants to know if the fact that Maya dated a guy is confusing to Pam . . . or to Emily. Well, probably it’s a little confusing to both of them, Maya, because sometimes you have to walk people through sexuality in degrees instead of just shoving them into the deep end and going all Kinsey on them. Damn! Lighten up!

Oh, Christ. Fitz is at some college bigwig cocktail meeting. Some weird jackass has nominated Fitz to be an Assistant Dean at the magnet school . . . in New Orleans. First of all, HE DOESN’T HAVE HIS PHD. SECOND OF ALL, WHAT? Anyway, it turns out Actor/Director Chad Lowe recommended him for the job.

Assistant Dean of People Who Expect To Have Careers For Which They Are Neither Qualified Nor Degreed.

In the patio adjacent to Hanna’s Kitchen of Carbs and Cash, Hanna’s pretty pissed at Caleb going behind her back. She tells him about Prozzie Mom and her less-than-legal borrowing habits. She also lets him know (as much as possible) about A’s blackmail. Can he see now why she needs to protect people?

At the Underage Teen Hangout, Aria’s beating Holden at air hockey. They’re having such a normal, teenaged date! Quick, someone get to first base!

Since I always pick on Aria’s clothes, I should mention that I’d totally wear the shit out of this sequin sweatshirt.

Toby’s house. Caleb shows up, presumably to confront Jenna. No one answers the door, but Garrett shows up to be all Rawr! Threatening Cop! on things. He does that “I’m going to stick my hand on the butt of my gun while talking to you like you’re a dumbass” move that (some!) cops do. I hate that move. Listen, buddy, I’m a better shot than you. Caleb leaves with a quickness, but Garrett even pretends to hit him with his car in order to piss him off more. Lord spare us from incompetent douchebags who become cops so that they can clutch at a tiny amount of power.

Hanna’s Kitchen of Carbs and Cash. Spencer shows up to apologize. She doesn’t want to lose Hanna, even if she is lowest man on the totem pole! They hug! Spencer cries some more! Spencer!! You’re making me so sad tonight!

Aria and Holden are still on the date that never ends and Aria catches sight of a giant bruise on Holden’s hip. Um, his secret is that he’s in a Fight Club? Well, at least we know the rules to that! Third rule: no smoking within 15 feet of the Club.

At Hanna’s, she and Spencer are still discussing the phone video. Hanna’s seen Ali with dark hair before . . .

FLASHBACK! Drink! Hanna’s getting her hairs did at the salon and sees Ali, with dark hair, being referred to as “Vivian.” Ali delivers one of her trademarked half-bitchery/half-compliment lines, letting Hanna know to keep it their little secret.

Present day! Ali’s fake ID said Vivian Darkbloom. Which is an anagram for Vladimir Nabakov! We learn all of this from a fake-Wikipedia. Maybe this episode was filmed the day of the SOPA blackout. Hanna pulls a copy of Lolita from her shelves . . . it was Ali’s! She borrowed it but never gave it back! And in it is a claim ticket to some place! FINALLY! Finally we’re learning some stuff we didn’t already know! Also I’m excited because Lolita! Is a great book! Which maybe Aria should be reading!

Maya’s house. Emily shows up to have a talk. She wants Maya to date only her! And Maya admits she’s still kind of mad at Pam for making her be sent to Gay Away camp. They go upstairs to Maya’s room, which Maya has decorated into a water-type theme. Just like in Mermaids! Then they kiss, which I guess gets one of them pregnant. Then they have laying-down-on-the-bed-lesbian-kissing, which definitely gets someone pregnant.

Mermaids is but one of several movies from my youth that led me to believe (UNTIL COLLEGE!) that Bob Hoskins and Danny DeVito were the same person. I just thought that sometimes, Danny DeVito was really good in things.

Meanwhile! Spencer is calling the phone number on Ali’s claim ticket. They still have . . . whatever it is that “Ms Darkbloom” pawned with them. Really? After a YEAR?

Also meanwhile! Somehow, “Hanna” has sent out a photo of a naked Gertrude to everyone in school! Oh, I kind of feel bad for Gertie. I mean, I know she’s about to tear Hanna a new one, but she’d have a reason to, right? Meanwhile, Hanna’s thumb is perfectly covering Gertie’s chest, which I find to be hilarious. Poor Gertie. Poor Hanna. Gertie’s gonna make it rain hellfire now.

Credits. It’s Pa Hastings’ office! Gloved McEvilson is picking the lock on his desk . . . and removing a gun! WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT? I don’t know, cause ABC Family didn’t show any previews for the next episode!! AHH!

So, what did you guys think? After being kind of lukewarm about the last few episodes, I really liked one! Shit’s advancing! We’re learning new things! And for once, it doesn’t feel too much like everyone’s just trying to catch up to A. Your thoughts?


Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink.