Title: Pretty Little Liars S2.E07 “Surface Tension”
Released: 2011

Ugh, AT&T Uverse. I used to love them, but in the last few weeks, I’ve had the internet crap out TEN TIMES and had my wireless router replaced TWICE. Just the internet, mind, never the cable too. And it just crapped out again last night! So I couldn’t even google things while I wrote my recap! Nor could I then cleanse my brain with a well-applied Netflix Streaming tincture of repeated viewings of Luther. LAME, AT&T. Don’t you realize that I NEED THE INTERNET if I’m going to talk about the shows I watch on cable?

So anyway, this is all to say that this recap will rely merely on my brain’s retention of quotes, jokes and trivia. So if you read something like “an elephant is the size of eighteen dogs stacked end to end,” you’ll know that said fact came straight from my brain cavity!

Let’s do this! Oh! Also! For this time only, let’s add a Drink! every time a doorbell rings!

Previously on Pretty Little Liars: Aria’s freaked by Jenna and her art; Spencer’s dad warns her to stay away from Jason DiLaurentis, whose house Mike is breaking into; A hired Logan Reed to pay for the videos, and BabyCop!Garrett is complicit; the producers of this show try to make it romantic for a teacher to be boning his student by showing us the sparkly rainbow glitter spinny kiss between Aria and Fitz in the school parking lot; Emily can stay with Hanna, who is mad at her dad for being in love with her mom; A ruins the fashion show.

Show! The girls are gathered in Hanna’s Kitchen of Carbs and Cash, where Emily is now also residing! She and Hanna are going to share a room! So much fun, right? For, like, the first five minutes? Before you grow to hate each other?

Spencer is concerned that Garret still has Ian’s 10 grand, with nothing to show for it and is also concerned that A will get bored and screw with them again. Um, didn’t she screw with you like two days ago at the fashion show? And EVERY OTHER DAY BEFORE THAT? Maybe A needs some Adderall, if she’s that bored.

Doorbell! Drink! Hanna goes off to answer it while the other girls discuss why A is still torturing them. They don’t think it’s about making them look bad anymore. They’re all pretty sure A killed Ali, and that’s why s/he set up Ian. Then Hanna comes by with a basket full of stuffed animals and candy and stuff! Yay! This reminds me that one of my favorite Austin institutions, Tiff’s Treats, is now opening in Houston. So if anyone would like to deliver fresh-baked cookies and cold milk to me for any reason, like, it’s Tuesday, or you know I’m having to read Sweet Valley High books, or because you secretly bore my love child in the ’80s and now you’re looking for a way to cash in on that . . . whatever it is, it can be made better with cookies.

The gift basket, however, is not from Tiff’s Treats, but rather from A. “What fun. Two Little Liars under one roof. You’re making it so easy! –A” Drink! Hanna, disgusted, claims that the candy isn’t even good and trashes it.

“What fun. Two Little Liars under one roof. You’re making it so easy! –A”

One thing I’ve never mentioned is that when ABC Family’s amazeballs promo dept send me stuff about PLL (like, once they sent me a pot of clover! and once, some gardening gloves!), the handwriting for A’s note is always the same. I imagine there is some art director assistant out there with an RSI from this show.

Credits. Necromancy. Family show!

Commercials. There’s a Glee 3D concert movie coming out. What’d I ever do to whoever approved that idea? The only thing worse than seeing Glee‘s smug, masturbatory self-congratulations on the tv screen is seeing them on a big screen. In three fucking dimensions.

Show! At the House of Woodland Delights, Aria is modeling dresses for Holly Marie Combs, Child Bride. She and Actor/Director Chad Lowe are having a thing. A dinner party, or something. Maybe an orgy. The purpose is unclear. Anyway, Actor/Director Chad Lowe comes up to explain that lots of people have cancelled, so he’s inviting Fitz (and a date) at the last minute. I kind of love that Fitz is people’s last minute Dinner Party guest. It fits him. Dear people reading this: if anyone invites you to a dinner party last minute, it means they don’t really like you. Unless I’m the one doing the inviting, in which case it means that I decided to hold a dinner party at the last minute because I was in the mood to cook some elaborate, six-course meal but need someone else to eat it. But I will never actually hold a dinner party, because while I love to cook, I hate to host. So really this whole thing is moot. However, if you love to host but hate to cook, maybe we could strike up a dinner party deal!

Hanna’s Kitchen of Carbs and Cash. Emily is making some serious breakfast food for Hanna and her mom. Her omelets have garnish. Hanna and Prozzie Mom are, frankly, not that appreciative. True fact: everyone should be appreciative of breakfast being made for them. I love it when people make breakfast for me, rare though it may be. Although! Pro tip: don’t actually wake ME up to tell me you have made breakfast for me. Waking me up will automatically cancel out any nice thing you do for me for the next five years. I’m sorry, but that’s just how it is.

At Spencer’s, apparently Toby is going to be doing some construction work at the house, expanding a nursery or something. Shirtless Toby opportunities? I’m in. Mr. Hasting grouches some more about Jason DiLaurentis and then grouches off. All the Hastings are so grouchy. Except for Spencer, because she gets leaning kisses.

It’s Convenient College! Aria’s pleading with Fitz to decline the dinner party/orgy invitation, but he already said yes. She doesn’t want to have to just not-stare at him all night! But Fitz thinks this could be a good way of easing Aria’s parents into the fact that they’re totally doing it. ‘Cause they’ll see them in a grownup setting! At the orgy!

School! Hanna ribs Emily some more about breakfast, because Hanna SUCKS, but then she gets distracted by seeing Caleb argue with some dude. He got stiffed for one of his phone jobs. Hanna actually offers him money, like, girl, you are POOR, remember? Just because your mom caught a lucky break and stole a dead lady’s money to pay her back mortgage doesn’t mean she isn’t still struggling to support your ass on a glorified bank teller’s salary.

Some person watches these scenes unfold from a car parked across from the school.

Aria’s House of Woodland Delight. Actor/Director Chad Lowe is trying to have A Talk with Mike. Mike, however, is not at all interested in having that talk. Actor/Director Chad Lowe summons up every iota of his parents skill to emphasize to Mike the importance of being at the party thing.

Spencer’s! Toby’s working and clearing the brush. Sadly, however, he is clothed. Spencer comes out to flirt, but then Mr. Hastings comes out to put a buzzkill on that. Toby has sketches of what Mr. Hastings might like to do with the barn expansion! Aww, he’s making himself useful!

I seriously underestimated what a haircut and a Spencer could do for this guy.

School. Aria runs into Holly Marie Combs, Child Bride, talking to Butthair DiLaurentis. He’s there to be a motivational speaker to at-risk students! Why? Do you want them to be more at risk? Also, Holly Marie Combs, Child Bride, has invited Butthair to the dinner party/orgy. Awwwwwkward.

Jason leaves, and Aria tries to convince Holly Marie Combs, Child Bride, that the fashion show thing was just a stupid prank. You’re really missing your chance here to end this whole show with one well-timed comment to your mom, Aria. Oh well, I guess. I’ll expect the announcement for season three to come any day now.

Commercials. There is something called Teen Spirit and I think it has Kat From 10 Things I Hate About You! Hooray! I WILL WATCH THIS. When I was in Mississippi last week visiting my family, the munchkin brought her (read: my) 10 Things I Hate About You dvd, and now all of my little grand-cousins are totally obsessed with that show. They even at one point tried to sing me “this new song,” the lyrics of which were “I waaaant you to want me! I neeeeed you to need me!” You know, that new song. It felt like 2002 and I was watching a bunch of 12 year olds walking around with CBGB shirts again.

Show. Hanna’s house. She’s loudly (and off-key) singing to Ke$ha. Or at least I think it’s Ke$ha. I haven’t been to Russia for a month or so, so I’m not up on crappy pop music.

Emily’s shoulder is bothering her (she’s upped her workouts) and so she has to keep rubbing cream on it, but she tries to talk to Hanna about Caleb’s sketchy “business,” but Hanna doesn’t want to hear it. Or maybe can’t hear it, because Ke$ha has made her ear canals bleed. I don’t know.

School! Emily hands off the responsibility of talking to Babycop!Garrett (about Logan) to Spencer, because she’s been too distracted with her swimming practice. Then Spence and Aria pedeconference a bit about Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner night. Spencer’s words. So I guess now Fitz is black and Holly Marie Combs, Child Bride, is a racist. I don’t know.

Let’s jump to Spencer talking to Babycop!Garret! He’s totally spinning her a web of lies about how he can’t find Logan Reed and it was probably all Ian and etc., etc. Spencer, don’t buy this bullshit!

Do, however, send me that jacket and skirt. You can keep the knee socks/boots.

Hanna’s Kitchen of Carbs and Cash. Prozzie Mom and Holly Marie Combs, Child Bride, are chatting about all of the weird coincidences lately (fashion show mayhem, Hanna being hit by a car, Ian in the bell tower, etc.) and wondering whether they’re related. Frankly, Prozzie Mom looks guilty during this entire scene, like she knows something we don’t. Other than how much to charge for an HJ, I mean. She shifts the focus/blame onto Mr. Hastings, who “never met a problem he couldn’t buy off.”

And with that graceful seque, let’s jump to Toby, who is sadly still beshirted, working in the Hastings’ lawn. He’s clearing overgrowth when he finds a buried stick or something. He clears it off and the stick has “Hastings” (I guess. To me it looks like Hastimes) written on it. It was right on the property line! Mr. Hasting shows up and takes the stick so that he can “take care of it.” Toby is confused, but shrugs.

Commercials. Yay! Campus Crush is back! That’s when they show movies about school in order to remind people that they have to go back to school again!

Also, more of those Tresemme commercials I just can’t deal with.

It’s the House of Woodland Delights! One guy is on the phone with his babysitter, checking to make sure that his kid has shat properly, while his wife/girlfriend is laughing at him for being overbearing on the couch. I like her. We could be friends.

Doorbell! Drink! It’s Fitz! And he has flowers for the hostess and scotch for the host! Fuck you, Fitz! Some of us like flowers AND scotch!

Aria makes introductions, and then, Doorbell! Drink! It’s Butthair! Also with flowers! Man. I have to throw more parties.

Spencer’s house. Toby is telling her about the stick. It was a hockey stick! A Rosewood field hockey stick. It was broken off like maybe someone used it to hit something!

Flashback! Drink! Aria is chilling out in Spencer’s garden, while Spencer shows Alison how to play field hockey, using Melissa’s field hockey stick. Aria wonders about Alison’s sudden interest in the sport, considering there aren’t any boys who play it, but Alison just plays it cool.

Present day, Spencer is on the phone with Aria, relaying the news that Toby found Melissa’s field hockey stick, broken and buried. Aria frolics off to her room to discuss this development, and then, Flashback! Drink!

It’s the same day, and Jason has come over to tell Alison that she is wanted at home. There’s a lot of tension in the air, and they both try to hit each other with the field hockey stick.

Spencer thinks it could be Butthair, but Aria is defending him. She thinks it could be A fucking with them, but Spencer stresses that Toby found this, and wouldn’t at all if Mr. Hastings hadn’t stopped Jason from building a fence on the property line. It’s all so suspicious!

So instead, let’s switch to Emily and Hanna. Em’s packing up her books to go study, since the Kitchen of Carbs and Cash and Ke$ha is not conducive to brain activity. Caleb comes in as Emily leaves, and he and Hanna get busy. Ugh, Caleb, wash your hair.

Dinner party/orgy! Fitz is telling everyone about biking around Ireland. All the guys are talking about biking, and, like, bonding over it. I’m bored.

Doorbell! Drink! It’s the cops! And they have a situation with Mike. He broke into a house! Which the cop nicely announces in front of the guests. And they have their siren on. Helpful.

Hastings’ house. Toby’s packing up his tools when Mr. Hastings comes by to talk. He doesn’t want Toby to mention the stick to Spencer. Toby says he already did, but then lies and says Spencer didn’t seem to care. Oh, Mr. Hastings! You so shady! I like that A could be one of the parents!

Aria’s House of Woodland Delights. She’s cleaning up while talking to Fitz about Butthair. He’s toootally jealous! Aria goes over to offer Butthair some coffee, but really wants to talk about Mike’s situation. Fitz is sooo jealous!

Cop shop!! Mike doesn’t want to talk about how he totally broke the law and got arrested! Ugh, Mike. I want to punch you. Actor/Director Chad Lowe is pissed, but Holly Marie Combs, Child Bride, is more worried about the moral implications of their poor parenting. Yeah, maybe. Or maybe Mike is just an AWFUL JERKFACE.

At Aria’s House of Woodland Delights, Aria is in Mike’s room, trying to figure out everything he’s stolen. One of the things is Jenna’s pottery light! She goes downstairs and rushes Butthair and Fitz out the door.

Even Fitz’s inappropriate advances towards his student don’t repulse me as much as Butthair’s hair does.

Hanna’s house. Caleb is taking a sketchy business call, but Hanna is displeased. Caleb is all, “I’ve done worse!” Apparently he used to help people steal cars. Then he stopped, and the car stealers got angry. That’s it. That’s all. This plot was so much better on Friday Night Lights.

Anyway, Caleb’s never told anyone that story before. Probably because it’s so boring.

Spencer’s house. Mr. Hastings is trying to burn the hockey stick, but Spencer doesn’t want him to. It could be evidence! But Mr. Hastings will not be swayed! In it goes! I think obviously he thinks that Melissa killed Alison, and he’s trying to protect her. BUT WHO KNOWS. I don’t know anything anymore.

Poor Spencer. She looks heartbroken.

Spencer and Toby are hanging out at makeout point, discussing the big stick. The hockey stick, not the other one that’s in Toby’s pants. Spencer thinks her dad thinks she just planted the hockey stick for a game. I don’t think you’re right, Spencer. Anyway, her dad will never believe her until they find out the truth of whether that was the murder weapon! Toby thinks they could figure out what the cops know — they’re bound to know how Alison was really killed, even if they don’t say it in the papers. (I would hope, but knowing Rosewood’s city management, I can’t be too sure.) Great! A new plan! I hope somehow this involves shirtlessness and kissing.

Hanna’s. She is gloating to Emily that Caleb really trusts her, while Emily rubs her shoulder some more. Emily is totally feeling guilty about lying to her mom about the scholarship thing, so she’s punishing herself by working really hard to get a scholarship.

And then Prozzie Mom and Deadbeat Dad come in the house and make out. Gross. Hanna is displeased. Does no one stay divorced on this show? I swear! What has divorce come to these days?!

Aria’s House of Woodland Delights. She’s confronting Mike about all the things he stole. He didn’t steal Jenna’s lamp! He got it from Babycop!Garrett’s house! Ruh roh!

Hey, speaking of Babycop, he and Spencer are hanging out in his squad car. Spencer is quizzing him about the “instrument” that hit Alison. Garrett is still all, “it was Ian, I promise!” Spencer is about to explain what she knows but conveniently gets a text from Aria saying that they can’t trust Garrett. So now Spencer’s trapped in the car with him. Nice.

Credits! Gloved McEvilson is listening to swing music and extracting what I think are steroids from a vial and them mixing them into Emily’s cream that she’s using for her shoulder. Oh, great. THIS MAKES ME SO MAD. Poor Emily. She doesn’t deserve this! Gloved McEvilson, you’ve gone too far!

Alright, folks!! I liked that this ep presented us with the idea that maybe the ADULTS are being shifty. Why do you think Mr Hastings burned the field hockey stick? And does anyone else think Prozzie Mom is hiding things? I mean, besides her ex-husband’s sausage. Sound off in the comments!


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