As a Valentine’s Day episode, this week’s Pretty Little Liars definitely provided some romantic sparks between the new characters and some of our favorites.
The delightfully flirtatious scenes between Hanna and Caleb were definitely the high point of the evening. Overall, "The New Normal" was a sweet installment in the personal lives of these usually troubled girls. But, again, there wasn’t a lot to build on for our show’s main mysteries.
Hanna and Aria were able to bury the hatchet, which was good for Aria since she had to deal with parent-teacher conferences this week. It was pretty funny to see Byron attack Ezra because he thought the young teacher was after his wife. It’s probably a little less funny when you remember that Byron has a real reason to be distrustful of his daughter’s English teacher.
But the whole interlude did make me snicker a little.Caleb is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters, although he’ll never completely push out Lucas. He provides some good comic relief, as well as a cool demeanor that keeps the show from being too melodramatic. He was able to calmly introduce himself to Hanna’s mother without being nervous, while figuring out the supposed James Leland was really a fraud.
As a frequent trouble-maker, he seems to recognize when others aren’t being 100% truthful. That’s probably why he finds Hanna so fascinating. The two had a near-kiss moment and it looks like they will have some even steamier scenes next week. But are Spencer and company right to be a little worried about him? Probably not. He seems more juvenile delinquent than hardened criminal.
The sub-plot involving Emily and the right-wing crusade of Paige’s father provided a great opportunity for her to reconnect with her mother. It was kind of tearjerker when her mother told her, “I still don’t understand, but I love you. You’re my child and no one hurts my child.” They still have work to do on their relationship, but there was some progress.
Also, the surprise kiss in the car between Emily and Paige was... not so surprising. From last week’s girl-bonding time to the previous week’s self-hating homophobia, Paige was clearly interested in Emily. Too bad that jerk from the cafeteria is her father.
While A was mostly absent this episode, there was some progress on the main plot. It was strange to send an exterminator to take care of infestation in Hanna’s basement, but I’m sure that was more of just a reminder that A is still watching. Spencer’s conversations with Toby revealed that Jenna must be involved with A somehow. She’s been talking to someone in her room about Spencer. When the girls saw her at the store trying on the dress, she told the sales lady, “He likes lace.” Who’s she talking about?
Was it the same person she was talking to on the phone or is it still (ick!) Toby? Was the brief glimpse of motel room #214 a sign that Jenna is there with A or Allison’s killer? Lots of questions, but few answers.
Toby is finally showing some backbone and refusing to just follow his step-sister. He says she runs things at home and it looks like he might pay for snubbing her in favor of Spencer. Toby said Spencer (and all the girls) make her nervous. It isn’t hard to figure out why. However, did you see sparks between Toby and Spencer? I think they seem like a very unlikely pairing, although more likely now that he won’t be going to jail for murder. Regardless, they had an easy rapport and might make for really good friends. Especially because they are both being framed, possibly by Jenna.
Favorite quote of the night: After mistranslating the braille as “Bad”, Spencer tells Toby, “Am I supposed to go buy a Michael Jackson album?”