You’ve got Netflix, right? I know I’m not the only one who watches something on there basically every day. I should really offer to pay them more based solely on the number of times I’ve re-watched Buffy. It’s pretty straight-forward and easy to figure out, but there are a few adjustments that might make your viewing experience even better.
First, make sure you’re rating everything you can. That’s pretty obvious and I still forget to do it sometimes, but it really will make a difference and your recommendations will seriously improve. Once you’ve got your ratings situation down, up your game and try out some of the options listed below.
Make sure you’re really watching in HD! Click Your Account, then Playback Settings, then High. Done! (Ah, that’s better!)
Change your subtitle settings if the default yellow ones just aren’t working out. Click Your Account, then Subtitle appearance, then change the color, font, and size to whatever works best for you or what you’re watching at the moment.
Turn your smartphone or tablet into a remote control. If your Playstation & mobile device are both logged into the same WiFi network, many of them (including iPhone and iPad) will let you select something to watch then give you the option to watch through your PS3 or PS4, instead of just on your tiny screen. And if you have a Roku, they have an app that’ll let you play & pause, at least.
Watch with faraway friends using rabb.it. Fire up a room, invite someone to join, and start watching. It’ll play on both ends, so you can watch together and be at the same spot in the video. (They can do more than Netflix too: there’s Hulu, HBOGo, YouTube videos, and more.)
Delete stuff from your history. Go ahead and remove every trace of that time your niece watched Dora the Explorer on your profile constantly and totally ruined your recommendations. (Just me?) Click on Your Account, then Viewing activity, then hit the X next to anything you want to erase. While you’re adjusting settings, add a “Guest” profile for next time, too.
Stop scrolling incessantly through your queue! Get a better grasp of what’s new and/or popular on InstantWatcher, and see what’s going away soon.
Now that your Netflix account is handled, what’re you going to watch?! Might I suggest Gilmore Girls…
Soooooooo, the PLL mid-season finale was Tuesday, and well… that sure was an episode. Other than the ‘A’ reveal, it was so much talking, remembering, showing flashbacks, and explaining, that it felt basically like there was no action or tension. Not great. But still. Ridiculous + confusing + cute outfits, so I stayed glued to my TV. And I’m still sort of feeling the “holy shit” like I was on Tuesday.
Anyway, here’s what happened:
The girls left the dance, and went to the mystery scholarship office and guessed the code on a door keypad which ended up being “A’s brain” (secret lair) & it’s total high tech lab situation. There’s some CNN-style holographic bullshit screen in there! And it fired up a live feed of the room where Alison is trapped.
Mona continued to be a total boss:
Aria, about Clark: “You knew he was a cop?”
Mona: “Aria, maybe you always thought he was happy to see you, but I could never get past the bulge in his pants.”
(He had a gun. 😂)
She also wrote some code to access the PRIVATE CELLULAR NETWORK belonging to “Charles” (OH OKAY) and spared a moment to compliment his investment skills (because she totally hacked into his portfolio).
Time for the big ‘A’ reveal!
After being taken from prom at the end of the last episode, Alison is locked in a room at Radley WITH ‘A’… AHH! Her dad & brother, Jason, are lying on the ground nearby and look totally dead (but who knows).
FYI: ‘A’ is CeCe Drake! Formerly Charles DiLaurentis, then Charlotte DiLaurentis, then ignored/pissed enough to create a fake identity, harass everyone for years, kill, and date her own secret-bro as part of a scheme. (DID THEY HAVE SEX?!)
STOP CECE DATED JASON DID SHE DATE HER BROTHER SEND HELP #PLL
So, back to the ‘A’ reveal… the villain is a mentally disturbed transgender person? Seems rude. And also, due to the timing, it seems questionable that they planned this from the beginning. Although they did have a bunch of twin hints throughout the show (but I thought they might just be referencing the books a bit to throw readers off).
I really dislike this Charles reveal, I feel like this decision was made last minute to be "on trend" culturally #FAceToFace#PLL
I’d be really interested to know WHEN they decided who ‘A’ would be because this is definitely suspect… CeCe hasn’t been around in forever. Honestly, I had to look her up to even remember who she was.
Anyway! While they’re locked in the room in Radley together, ‘A’ (Charles/Charlotte/CeCe) explains lots of stuff to Alison while the girls watch on the live feed.
Apparently, Mrs. D started buying Charles the same dresses she bought for Alison and bringing them to him at Radley. When Charles was around 12, he was friends with a fellow patient (Bethany!) who killed another patient by shoving her off the roof. (Why would mental patients have unsupervised access to the roof?!) Also, that patient was Toby’s mom, who was reported to have committed suicide, and Bethany threatened to blame it on Charles. And thus began whatever psychotic hold Bethany had on his life. Also, at some point, they held a funeral for Charles (allowing Mr. D to believe he’d actually died, but really celebrating Charles becoming Charlotte).
Meanwhile, in Radley, Alison is confused about why Charlotte/CeCe targeted her and her friends so ruthlessly.
Alison: “You almost froze Aria & Spencer to death.”
Alison: “You drove a car through Emily’s house.”
A: “Yeah, and I almost cut her in half too, but is she hurt? No.”
So I guess she didn’t plan to actually kill them so it’s fine? She loves them! But she has a weird way of showing it, OKAY!
While they’re chatting in Radley more (zzzzzzz), we find out how Charles ended up being sent to Radley as a little kid in the first place: Baby Alison was crying and he said, “You know what makes me feel better?” sweetly and ran her a bath. He dropped her in, and since she was an infant, she went under the water and would’ve died if their dad hadn’t found them. I’m not sure what they were going for in this scene because he seemed like he was trying to take care of her (and even tried to get his mom’s attention when the crying started), but then he stared creepily when she was under the water and when their dad was saving her. So…
In present time, Charlotte/CeCe says she never meant to hurt Alison and that their dad used it as an excuse to send her (Charles) away because Charles had started asking for dresses and their dad didn’t like it.
‘A’/Charlottte/CeCe goes on to explain how eventually she found a way to get to know her siblings… She got day passes out of Radley for attending classes, but instead met Jason and Alison (as CeCe, not their sister) and became close to both of them. (Remember the eps with flashbacks to Alison being BFFs with CeCe? Oooooh.)
Meanwhile, Bethany was still murder-y and threatening them, so at some point Charlotte thought her mom’s life was at risk and found Bethany sneaking around outside of the DiLaurentis house and hit her over the head with a rock. Except, surprise! It was Alison (who I guess looks like Bethany from behind) and that’s what kicked off this whole big mystery! The night Alison went missing!
After Charlotte appeared to have killed Alison, their mom BURIED HER while Charlotte looked on asking for forgiveness. And girrrrrl, you should let your mom finish burying your sister before you ask her to get over it.
After they’ve buried Alison, Mrs. D paid off a police offer (future, awful cop Wilden!) to sneak Charlotte back into Radley so no one will know she was out to kill Ali. (Even though, surprise! Ali wasn’t actually dead. Check a pulse next time, ladies!)
So Wilden always knew CeCe was a DiLaurentis in disguise because he’d met her as Charlotte that night! And he screwed with the girls & tried to arrest them for things he knew they weren’t doing! What a jerk. Well, good for him, because Charlotte killed him later to keep him quiet.
Oh, and Mona killed Bethany with a shovel, thinking it was her former school bully, Alison. Lots of deadly teen girls around Rosewood!
Anyway, Charlotte/CeCe spent time with Mona when she was in Radley and super out of it. Drugged Mona unknowingly told CeCe a ton of info on the girls and kicked off the whole ‘A’ texting, stalking awful behavior.
And just when CeCe seems maybe less crazy and more a victim of circumstance & bad decisions, she says this stuff:
“I know you won’t believe me, but I love all of my dolls.” (Dolls! Like when they were locked in that dollhouse bunker. NO THANKS!)
“I would never let anything really bad happen to them… it sucks to kill someone even when they deserve it.” (Oh, I bet.)
And Bunker-Sara, Emily’s ridiculous new love interest, is Red Coat! Remember that excessively veiled person at Weldon’s funeral? Also Bunker-Sara! With ‘A’/Charlotte/CeCe in the car waiting for confirmation that he was dead (so he wouldn’t be able to stop Alison from returning/being alive again.)
At present, she’s been directed to set a bomb at Radley to blow up the DiLaurentis family, including ‘A,’ post-reveal. First, DUH EMILY. SHE WAS SO OBVIOUSLY WEIRD AROUND YOU. And second, like Spencer can’t easily disarm a bomb and ruin your plans! 😂 The day is saved!
Next we fast forward to Labor Day and see the girls saying goodbye as they head off to college. Except Alison is staying home and looks like their sad, frumpy mother sending them away to school.
At the very end, we see our first glimpse of the time jump to five years in the future. Alison is in a classroom writing a name on the chalkboard. The rest of the girls run in and look worried/say some weird stuff: “He’s coming for you.” / “We have to go.” / “We came back for you, Alison, so move it!” / “Too late, he’s already here.” So basically: WTFFFFFFF!?
Oh, and the moms are still locked in the DiLaurentis basement from prom night as far as we know. If they didn’t get out before the time jump, they’re totally bones now.
I love television and checking out new shows every fall is my fave.
“Each fall, the trade papers publish loglines of the upcoming TV pilots… Here are some of the kinds of shows the networks seem to be clamoring for lately…”
THE ABANDONED-SPINSTER CLUB A confident workaholic named Marcia or Alex comes home to find her husband cheating on her with his secretary. The discovery always occurs in the middle of the afternoon, and the adultery is always happening in her own bed, in view of photographs of her kids. The rest of the series explores her journey to a new life as a sex-positive fortysomething. She gets a really fun assistant who’s an expert on all the new, slutty dating protocols. Also, everyone on this show spends a lot of time drinking wine while sprawled on couches. And they’re always wearing jeans and are barefoot, sitting with one foot tucked under them.
Remake of Gritty Israeli Show About Terrorism/Infidelity/Mental Illness
Talkative Chubster Seeks Husband
Speaking of Mindy Kaling, did you know she has a new book out next month?
Why Not Me? releases September 15 and oops, I’ve pre-ordered it three ways (hardcover, audio, ebook). Listen, y’all, I like to support what I love AND I like options.
The pre-orders were inspired by my multiple beloved copies of Mindy’s first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). (I highly recommend the audiobook!) We’re close enough in age that her pop culture references from growing up and life stages match up with mine so closely that the stories are a delight to laugh along with… sort of like watching Dawson’s Creek when it aired and the kids were my exact same age at the time. Perfection.
The girls are banned from prom, so Spencer’s mom says she’ll host a tiny one in their backyard barn. Sure, it’s a fancy, re-done barn (not for animals!) but still. How rude. Oh, and they’re also banned from attending graduation, which seems extra-rude, since they’re not even the ones causing the problems. (Although honestly, I can’t remember the last time they went to school and they were locked in that underground bunker for a few weeks at least, so how are they graduating on time anyway?)
Of course as soon as we know the foursome won’t be at prom, Alison gets a text from Charles luring her to the prom, so I guess she’ll ditch the girls when the time comes.
There’s some good news though! After last episode‘s traumatic moment in the art gallery (where Aria’s contest entry photos were replaced with creepy ones from the bunker), the contest judges looked at her real photos and she won! (Probably because they felt sorry for her because those creepy doll photos weren’t all that, but still! Yay!) She gets a cash prize and a summer internship in LA! While still in celebration mode, Ezra offers to go to barn-prom with Aria. Since there won’t be a bunch of “former students” there like regular prom, he thinks it’s less awkward… except Aria is his former student who he also did sex with, so that’s pretty awkward, especially since she’s Still! In! High! School!
I think Hanna forgot she told Caleb to give her space, because he’s being kind of cagey and it’s bugging her. She definitely wants LESS space right now. He says he’s going to visit his dad in NY, but seems pretty weird. What’s going on? (WHAT IF HE’S ‘A’ AND IT BREAKS MY HEARRRRRRRRRT?) Hanna thinks Caleb is going “all vigilante,” and he won’t answer his phone…so: WHAT IS HE UP TO?
Toby is suspended from the police force. Eating a whole bag of weed-gummies while on patrol will do that to you. 😂
And for some reason, Spencer meets with Alison’s (ex) boyfriend-cop to plead Ali’s case. She invites him to barn-prom to surprise/makeup with Alison, but… Um, HE’S A POLICE OFFICER! WHY WOULD HE GO TO ANY PROM EVER!
Ezra photographs the girls in their dresses at Barn Prom… They still went full fairytale with their outfits, even though that theme is from the school’s prom. Then they all sit on the couch and look at photos being posted online from Actual Prom.(They’re really not even trying to make Barn Prom legit.) While they’re looking at photos, they see Alison. At Actual Prom! She was lured there by a text from Charles.
Meanwhile, across the property from the barn in the main house, Mom Prom is in full swing. Their moms are drinking wine and getting a little loose with the gossip. Spencer’s mom lets it slip that her husband is the bio-dad of Jason DiLaurentis (Alison’s brother, and also Spencer’s too!)… I had no idea that the other moms didn’t know about this, since it seems like their daughters have known FOREVER and Spencer has definitely tried to sibling-up with Jason some.
Uh oh! While the moms were distracted with the Jason dish, the girls snuck out of Barn Prom and went to Actual Prom to find Alison. Ezra & Toby go along to assist.
Aria finds Clark at prom, taking photos, and instantly asks him why he entered the abandoned doll factory where Rhys was (in last week’s episode). He basically has no reason and runs off.
And when Bunker-Sara shows up to dance with Emily, she says: “Whatever happens, you mean a lot to me,” which is a really weird thing to say to a girl who’s life is constantly in danger and who is currently at a prom from which she was banned.
Back to Mom Prom! My favorite of all of the Proms! Spencer’s mom reminds the other moms that they found Alison’s mom’s body in Spencer’s backyard. I suppose it is pretty uncool when the woman your husband cheated with ends up dead and buried in your backyard and you can’t get it out of your mind. She complains: “It wasn’t bad enough that this bitch tried to steal my husband…” Listen, Spencer’s mom is getting druuuuuunk. She’s overdue.
Mom Prom moves to the DiLaurentis house to confront Alison’s dad. I’m not exactly sure why, but I think wine is the reason. They go in the house uninvited and no one seems to be home. While they’re there, they open some mail and find a photo of two little boys… Jason and Charles! Then (gasp!) they turn around and see Rhys/Charles(?) standing there looking alarmingly like Jason. When he leaves, Aria’s mom says, “I think we just met Charles.”(Ahh!) While they’re still in the house, they hear noise in the basement so they all go charging down there, only to have the door slammed shut and locked behind them, because obviously they didn’t leave anyone up there to watch for that exact, obvious thing that ‘A’ would totally do. So now Mom Prom is trapped in the DiLaurentis basement.
Back at Actual Prom: Caleb has arrived! Hanna’s detached and won’t dance with him much. She’s really questioning what he’s been up to. He answers easily when asked that he was getting a job as an Information Risk Analyst. He tells her they’re moving to New York, “if that’s still your dream,” that his job will cover their expenses plus her tuition, and get them out of town & away from the crazy. #bestboyfriend
Later at prom, for a reason I’m not entirely sure of, Clark goes running off and the girls+boyfriends/Ezra catch him. And hey! He’s an undercover cop! Totally befriended Aria on purpose and he’s got investigating to do, so BYE.
They can’t find Alison anywhere at Actual Prom, so of course that means she’s wandered off to some odd indoor tree/empty frames/big mirrors maze that happens to be right off to the side of prom but NO ONE ELSE is in there. (Why does the prom even have that?!) While she’s looking for Charles, someone sneaks up, covers her mouth, and drags her away.
Moms are still trapped in the basement.(Insert ominous thunder!) They start talking about how their daughters have been through situations like this (and much worse!) so many times now and generally feeling bad. They left their wine upstairs.
Spencer, always the brains of every operation, finds the tree/mirror maze and sees Alison’s phone broken & dropped on the ground. DUN DUN DUNNNNNN.
Then we see Alison. She’s in a deserted hallway with a hooded-‘A’ and we watch her gasp! face as she finds out who ‘A’ is… but we have to wait another week.
We open on Alison telling the Girls about how that creepy home movie (which we saw at the end of the last episode) was from a birthday celebration in which Charles gave her the frosting off his birthday cake.
“How does that turn vicious?” Alison laments. Hanna is the best because this is how she replies: “You played skee ball once! I wouldn’t call that family bonding.” Dropping truth bombs!
Next we see Hanna and her mom trying to talk to Mr. DiLaurentis (Alison’s dad) about the mystery $30k scholarship. Hanna wants to get rid of it, because “‘A’ gives so ‘A’ can take away,” but her mom doesn’t want to give it back since they do need the money.
Ezra is pretending to dust or something while he eavesdrops on Aria’s conversation with photography-pal, Clark. She’s not going to the show they’re both finalists in because it’s TOO DANGEROUS, so he brought her a postcard advertising the show. (Aww.) He leaves, so Ezra swoops in and points out that Clark sure does ask a lot of Questions About ‘A’ and ISN’T THAT WEIRD?!
Remember how Alison is a high school senior and is dating an adult man who is a police officer? (Like, how young am I supposed to think this dude is? COME ON.) She’s over at his place doing his laundry and washing the dishes. She also made him homemade soup, and listen: She was “dead” for a while, is only 17, and has never displayed any interest in cooking. Where did she get this soup recipe? DID I MISS THE TIME JUMP? Is she actually a 25-year-old housewife now? Because girrrrrrl, bye. He can wash his own clothes.
Anyway! Later she steals his police access keycard and goes to snoop around in the PD in the room with all of the Charles/’A’ case info. The Detective catches her and tells her they’ll use “lethal force if need be” when they find Charles and Alison seems too upset about that considering who he is and what he’s done. (Kidnapped and locked up her friends. Years of harassment. Killed her mom?) Boyfriend-cop is pisssssssed and in trouble, since she got caught, so maybe she won’t be washing his clothes anymore. 😉
And YES! More Hanna & Spencer teaming up! (I must not be the only one who loves them together, because it’s happening so often now!) They’re trying to figure out how to get into the office that sent the scholarship check to INVESTIGATE. They got into some dude’s office and they’re sneaking around when he walks in and WTF he looks A LOT like Jason DiLaurentis… so maybe he’s Charles? It’s clear they both think that right away, but what’s not clear is why they don’t run screaming from the room. Faux-Jason/Charles/”Rhys” won’t tell them who his “boss” is but says that’s who sends out the scholarship checks.
Meanwhile, the detective is critiquing Aria’s photos in the most awkward THIS MAKES NO SENSE SHE’S POLICE NOT AN ARTIST moment ever. Like, why are you telling her about your ~artistic~ process, Aria? Basically they both want Aria to go to the art show, while Aria’s mom is a no vote (but of course, gets convinced otherwise).
When Aria’s getting ready for the art show, she talks prom with Emily. (I guess they’re finally graduating soon so that’s coming up.) She says she put her “own spin” on the dress she has hidden in her closet for prom and won’t let Emily see it. I imagine she’ll wear the formal version of this gem of an outfit:
Maybe it won’t matter since the moms all got an email saying the school board might not let the girls attend prom. (How rude!)
Later the art gallery is “crawling with police” for Aria’s showing. Hanna’s wearing a tough girl leather jacket and Spencer is in a dress made from an old lady’s curtains (😍).
Aria chats with Clark at the gallery. He says he’s so nervous. She seems confused and says she figured he’d be super chill since he’s done this before. He gets shifty and is like, “Oh RIIIIIIIGHT. I have.” (What a liar!)
The art show doesn’t go as planned, of course. Instead of the creepy doll photos Aria expected to see displayed on the wall, her space has photos of the four girls when they were in the locked in the bunker, drugged and naked on those autopsy/morgue metal tables. ‘A’ is a real jerk. And Aria’s mom is real mad. Detective is super nonchalant about it and basically DGAF.
Forget all that though because Ezra showed up to the gallery wearing this shirt:
Quick PSA: Kids! Feeling lonely? You are so lucky because you can literally have a random thought and instantly go find people who are thinking the same thing all over the internet right away. I COULD NOT deal with Ezra’s palm tree/spider shirt, so I searched “Ezra’s shirt” on Twitter & oh hey! SO MANY TWEETS ABOUT HOW RIDICULOUS THAT SHIRT IS!
(The shirt is currently for sale at J.Crew which is a whole other issue.)
Also, the actor is on Twitter so people couldn’t resist asking him about the shirt.
While Ezra is wearing that ridiculous shirt, Aria somehow still manages to take him seriously and confides in him that when she woke up on that metal table in the bunker, for a minute, she thought she was “back in Iceland”… Remember how when the show started she was just moving back from there?! (This random mention makes me wonder if those theories about her never having been in Iceland, but really having been in a mental institution, are on the right path. It seems really out of nowhere to mention that. DOES ‘A’ STAND FOR ARIA?!)
Back to Ezra & his dumb shirt: Aria tells him she’s “still cold” like she was back on the morgue table and back in Iceland. Brrrrrrr. (Related: I’m not a fan of people describing their emotional trauma as feeling ‘cold’ or some other pointless descriptor… like, no you’re not. You’re sitting outside wearing a short skirt and I don’t see any shivering. Improve your vocab, please.)
Post-art show: Aria’s mom goes to see Hanna’s mom. She’s pissed! I bet it wasn’t cool seeing her daughter looking dead on that metal table. “WE HAVE TO PROTECT THEM!” she says. Meanwhile, Red Coat is spying on them from right outside of the window. RED! COAT! (Remember her? Where has she beeeeeen and who is sheeeeeeee?)
Spencer, Hanna, and Emily head to Aria’s house to tell them they spotted photo-pal Clark looking shady and going into the abandoned doll factory right after they spotted faux-Jason/Charles/”Rys” went in there. Something’s fishy!
The final cheeseball ‘A’ scene didn’t have a tennis ball wearing a wig (ahem: tennisballwearingawig.com), but it did have: rope, duct tape, syringes full of a mystery liquid, and a tux waiting for prom. DUN DUN DUNNNNN.
Two more eps until the mid-season break & the time jump!