Best of: Top 5 Musical Moments on ‘Pretty Little Liars’

Thanks to superb music supervisor Christopher Mollere (The Vampire Diaries) and composer Michael Suby (The Vampire Diaries, as well), Pretty Little Liars is chock-full of excellent musical moments/montages. Below are some of the show’s best, in no particular order.

***SPOILER WARNING: this article includes several major plot points!!***

1. The Opening Credits

How could anyone discuss the show’s music without mentioning Pretty Little Liars‘s opening credits, complete with the perfectly appropriate theme song “Secret” by The Pierces? I couldn’t find good video of the credits, but you can hear the song yourself, below.

2. Maya’s Death

After a traumatic night in Season 2’s finale–during which the elusive A was finally unmasked–the core four returned home to find one more gut-wrenching shock waiting for them: the discovery of murdered Maya’s body. The song “Suggestions” by Orelia Has Orchestra played over the heartbreaking final scene, as poor Emily went from stunned disbelief to crippling grief, and her shocked friends tried desperately to comfort her.

3. Ghost Train Arrival

Though season 3’s Halloween episode was notable for its musical guest star, Adam Lambert, the episode also featured a subtly cheeky moment where the Liars & Co. arrived at the ghost train and revealed their previously-secret costume choices to one another while Mikky Ekko’s “Who Are You, Really?” played in the background. The song fit well with the cute and fun moment as Hanna channeled Marilyn Monroe, Spencer and Toby imitated Bonnie and Clyde, and Emily dropped jaws in a stunning Barbarella costume.

4. Ezria’s Kiss in the Rain

After hitting a huge obstacle in their relationship–revealing said relationship’s existence to Aria’s parents–Ezra and Aria found themselves in the midst of an impending break-up until Aria phoned Ezra to meet her, and, after several tense moments where it didn’t seem like he’d show, Ezra finally drove to Aria and kissed her in the rain. The Rescue’s achingly-lovely song “My Heart With You” played as the camera circled the soaking but happily reunited pair. The song can’t be found on iTunes or Amazon, but Noisetrade’s offering a free download here.

5. Wilden’s Funeral

In the season 4 premiere, MS MR’s “Hurricane” played over the PLLs’ arrival to recently-felled enemy Officer Wilden’s funeral. Their appearance was for personal reasons rather than a desire to respect Wilden’s memory–A had planted false evidence of the girls’ involvement in Wilden’s death somewhere in his open casket. How perfect was that shot of the girls, clad in their funereal best, walking down the sidewalk together?

Double Bonus: 

Spencer and Toby’s reunion during the season 3 finale, set to Lana Del Rey’s “Ride.” (Song begins around the 1:55 mark.)

The official beginning and ending of Aria and Ezra’s relationship, both set to the song “Begin Again” by Measure while the duo stand in the high school stairwell.

Let me know your favorite musical moments from Pretty Little Liars in the comments!

Thursday Theme: Beach Retreat

The beach is usually a hot destination for any summer vacation, but, even if you can’t physically be there yourself, you can always live vicariously through your favorite fictional characters. The shows listed below all take place on or around a beach, from beautiful Hawaii to a strange island in the middle of who-knows-where to California’s much-loved sunny coast.

Photo Courtesy of ABC (abc.com)

1. Lost

After their plane crashes, a sizable group of survivors are forced to live together on a mysterious island (in the middle of nowhere on the show, but filming took place in Hawaii) full of strange happenings like bloodthirsty smoke monsters, polar bears, and a shady group of island inhabitants nicknamed the “Others.”

Off the air for several years now, J.J. Abrams’s (Alias, Star Trek) and Damon Lindelof’s (Star Trek, Prometheus) brainchild (later joined by Bates Motel‘s Carlton Cuse) was adored by critics and audience members alike, though the show’s arguably polarizing series finale is still hotly debated today. You’ll be hooked by the show’s ongoing mysteries, but it’s the fascinatingly complex characters in the large and diverse ensemble cast that’ll keep you interested.

All six seasons of the show are available for viewing on DVD and Netflix instant streaming.

Photo Courtesy of USA (usanetwork.com)

2. Graceland

Currently airing Thursday night’s at 10PM on USA, Graceland‘s not your average summer crime drama. The show, starring Aaron Tveit (Les Misérables) as newbie FBI agent Mike Warren and Daniel Sunjata (Rescue Me) as Mike’s enigmatic training officer Paul Briggs, takes place on a sunny Californian coastline, but don’t let the beach shots fool you–this show is just as gritty and well-written as its primetime fall brethren.

The first two episodes have already aired (the third airs tonight) and are available for viewing via USA’s website, on demand, and/or Hulu. Also, I’ll be covering Graceland‘s first season here for Sound on Sight if you’d like to read weekly episode reviews.

Photo Courtesy of The WB (thewb.com)

Photo Courtesy of The WB (thewb.com)

3. The O.C.

If you’ve never seen Josh Schwartz’s (ChuckGossip Girl) smart and soapy Californian teen drama, then you have been seriously missing out. Don’t dismiss the show as lighthearted, shallow teen TV–The O.C. is full of well-rounded and complex teen AND adult characters with intelligent, relatable storylines and plenty of heavy emotional resonance. Though the show’s fourth season was a bit of a miss, the first three definitely don’t disappoint. And how can you resist the show’s stellar cast, made up of Ben McKenzie, Adam Brody, Rachel Bilson, Mischa Barton, Melinda Clarke, and Alan Dale, among many others? Even if the show’s premise doesn’t sound like your thing, give the show a shot–chances are, you’ll like what you see.

Though The O.C.‘s been off-air for several years now, all four seasons are available on DVD, and select episodes are available for streaming on The WB’s website.

Bonus Suggestion: Hawaii Five-0

If you have any other show suggestions, let me know in the comments!

‘Pretty Little Liars’ S4E2 Recap: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Photo Courtesy of ABC Family (abcfamily.com)

Though plenty of drama happened within each of the girls’ lives, last night’s Pretty Little Liars did little to further this season’s plot; instead, the episode set up various story strands for each liar that hint at promising developments for incoming episodes. “Turn of the Shoe” wasn’t a bad episode, just a slower-paced one than the show usually offers.

The episode opened with the core four ruminating on A’s intentions when Mona interrupted. The girls immediately went on the defensive–despite Mona’s recent efforts, the girls are still far from trusting. Hanna even blamed Mona for planting her mother’s cell phone on Wilden’s body. In frustration, Mona offered to take the girls back to her trailer lair so they could rifle through her things for more clues. The girls agreed, but unfortunately Mona’s peace offering had vanished. Angry, Spence and Hanna drove off, but Aria and Emily stayed to watch Mona. Within moments after climbing in her car, Mona was attacked by a masked A, hiding in her back seat, and nearly strangled to death. She managed to escape, but A commandeered the car and attempted to run Mona AND Aria down. Luckily, Emily managed to pull them to safety, but poor Emily injured her arm in the process by slamming into a rock.

1. Hanna 

Ashley returned home from New York, but brought a new secret with her. Hanna found her mother’s best heels hidden in a kitchen cupboard with a toothbrush. When Hanna confronted her, Ashley delivered a flimsy excuse about attempting to clean the shoes herself and jumped to the defensive. Later, she tried to pitch the shoes, but A was watching and scared Ashley by blowing out the porch light. In angry frustration, Hanna confronted Shana with Aria at the coffee shop and demanded answers, to no avail.

After stopping by Emily’s house to check up on her, Hanna ran into Jessica DiLaurentis. Alison’s mom asked Hanna for gardening advice, made yet another reference to Hanna’s previously overweight state, and then presented Hanna with a new pet–a parrot previously owned by Alison’s grandmother that perfectly mimics Alison’s voice.

Photo Courtesy of ABC Family (abcfamily.com)

2. Emily

With her chances at Stanford in the balance, Emily chose to start popping painkillers for her arm rather than risk missing a swim meet and losing her opportunity for a scholarship. After a locker room run-in with Shana, who insisted Stanford’s last open position on the swim team would be hers, Emily swallowed a few too many pills and swam headlong into the pool wall. Ouch. Even when paramedics were wheeling her away to get stitches, Emily was still begging to finish the race. You have to love her determination, reckless and irrational as it is. Later, Emily finally came clean to Paige about the circumstances surrounding her injury–namely that A had returned.

3. Aria

Afraid for her life after A’s latest attack, Aria decided to begin martial arts lessons with attractive newcomer, Jake (who, according to Aria, smells like cinnamon–yum!). In the heat of the moment, Aria (still missing Ezra) kissed Jake and then fled, embarrassed. During her hasty getaway, Aria spotted Mona chatting up a cop. Aria pulled up next to the curb and called Mona to the car. When she questioned her, Mona insisted she’d actually been eavesdropping on the officers at the station; she learned the lake had been cordoned off because two sets of prints had been found at the scene: Wilden’s and a high-heeled woman’s (Hint, hint, Ashley’s, or so the girls believe. Only time will tell, but Ashley’s not looking too innocent right now).

Later, Jake dropped by Aria’s house (how did he know where she lived? Nevermind, doesn’t matter). He correctly assumed she wouldn’t be stopping by for another martial arts lesson, but told her he was definitely interested in seeing her; the two set up a coffee date. So, how long until Ezra spots the two of them together and gets a mad case of the feels? I mean, EVERYONE stops by Rosewood’s coffee shop, so it’s only a matter of time. And how long until A starts threatening Jake? We’ll see. For now, I’m glad Aria’s got a date with such a seemingly nice (and cute!) guy. Also, Aria’s got a seriously specific type–teacher. Oh, Aria.

Photo Courtesy of ABC Family (abcfamily.com)

4. Spencer

After realizing Toby’s been lying to her, Spencer forces a confession out of him; Toby tells her he stole the trailer and delivered the lair to A in exchange for a transcript of his mother’s last day (before her alleged suicide) in Radley. However, when the pair read through the transcript, which had never been released to the Cavanaugh family, they suspected something was off with Radley’s story.

Spencer received a letter from UPenn informing her of her rejection (which was somehow more far-fetched than anything else in the episode–how on earth did SPENCER get rejected from a college??). Instead of telling her parents or friends, Spencer confessed to Ezra, who sweetly comforted her and promised to help with the essay for her second-choice school application. Since Ezra and Aria are splitsville for the time being, it’s nice seeing Ezra get some face time with the other liars. Spencer delivered an essay on her mental breakdown to Ezra, who recommended a different approach, as alerting the school to Spencer’s previous mental instability could hurt, rather than help, her chances. Spencer, sick of lying, threw a fit–she wanted to tell the truth for once.

Hanna gave Tippy (the parrot) to Spence for safekeeping, much to the latter’s annoyance. After dialing Hanna several times to complain, Spencer finally realized the song the bird had been singing was actually a phone number. Aria and Hanna stopped by, and Spencer dialed the bird’s number, but no one answered on the other line. When the girls went to check on the bird, they found Spencer’s window open and Tippy had vanished.

Photo Courtesy of ABC Family (abcfamily.com)

In the last shot, A dropped a cooked bird on her plate, but the bird wasn’t Tippy–A offered some of the cooked bird to the still-living Tippy (A endorses bird-cannibalism, the jerk) stuck in a cage.

And, that’s it! Tons of drama but little plot momentum, though still a pretty good episode. Next week’s episode looks like it’ll be heavier on plot movement, so no worries.

P.S. When is Caleb coming back? I’m sure Hanna misses him just as much as we do!

‘Pretty Little Liars’ S4E1 Recap: Animal Farm

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So, what was in the trunk?

A dead pig, bitches.

Though not a dead cop (yet), the animal served as warning, foreshadowing Officer Wilden’s impending death later in the episode. The girls understandably freaked and made to leave, but first Mona retrieved the chip with video of Ashley’s deliberate hit-and-run. And, with that charming cold open, Pretty Little Liars returned! I’m going to keep this recap quick, because it’s just a refresher for tonight’s new episode, by simply highlighting the big plot points that went down.

1. Mona Spills (Mostly) All 

Now a nearly full-fledged member of the PLL’s team, Mona offered a few truths to gain the girls’ trust: she put the cop car in Hanna’s garage but doesn’t know who pulled it from the lake, Jenna knew Shana pre-Rosewood; both fear Melissa, CeCe visited Mona in Radley, but Mona thought she was Alison, Lucas was the one who gave Emily her massage, Mona recruited Toby after he got his out-of-town job, and Mona doesn’t know who pushed Ian off the bell tower but wishes she did. Phew. This was a nice set of truth bombs for a show that likes to skimp on answers. Also, this allowed several previous mysteries to be pushed aside in favor of new ones–a good and promising move for the rest of season 4. Oh, and Mona wasn’t quite finished. She took the PLLs to her trailer lair to drop another truth bomb: Officer Wilden was the Queen of Hearts on the Halloween train. Allegedly, Melissa was the second Queen, but someone erased Mona’s video proof before the second queen unmasked.

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2. Alison’s Alive?

Toby spotted Red Coat’s namesake at the scene of the fire. When he went to retrieve it later with Spencer, the coat was missing. So, is red coat Alison? Half the liars (Mona, Hanna, Spencer) believe so, but the other half (Aria, Emily) are decidedly on the fence. Alison’s mom Jessica moves back into town with all of Alison’s things, then proceeds to set up Alison’s bedroom, prompting the PLL’s suspicion, but we have no solid answers yet. Also, Jason’s apparently down south renovating his grandmother’s place, so he’s out of the picture for now.

3. Relationship Statuses 

Caleb’s still out-of-town, so Hanna’s on her own for a while. Toby and Spencer are good (for now); he’s even cooking her breakfast and monitoring her caffeine intake, though he’s already hiding A texts about his mom from her. Emily and Paige are still going strong, and even planning a collegiate future together at Stanford. Lastly, Ezra and Aria are officially done. After a semi-awkward coffee shop run-in, Aria learns Ezra’s accepted a full-time teaching position at Rosewood again, and Ezra suggests she see other people to ease the break-up. Though Aria initially denies his suggestion, she changes her tune after imagining the principal having Fitz arrested for having sex with a minor. (By the way, thanks for the minor heart attack, Pretty Little Liars.)

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4. The Funeral

After Officer Wilden’s body is found, the girls attend his funeral to retrieve false evidence of their involvement of his murder by A. They find Hanna’s mother’s cell phone planted on Wilden’s body and realize Ashley’s probably a target. Also, a veiled stranger attends the funeral, Jenna has a new man on her arm, and the liar’s meet new cop Gabriel Holbrook (Sean Faris!), who seems like a good guy (for now). Oh, and Jenna later has a conversation with Emily highlighting her fear for her own safety, as well as a mysterious burn on her hand.

Last but definitely not least,

5. A

After dropping a few dead pigs (an animal AND an actual cop) and a threat to frame them for murder  in the PLL’s’ laps, A proceeds to manipulate Toby into delivering Mona’s lair to him/her by holding information about his sick (and dead? or missing?) mother over his head. The veiled stranger at the funeral turns out to be A, who, once alone, lifts the veil to reveal a burned face mask. Lastly, A sends the PLL’s (including Mona) video of them discovering the dead pig and taking the video chip, along with this text: “The truth won’t set you free, bitches. I’m gonna bury you with it. -Kisses, A.”

With Mona on the PLL team and a new cop in town, Pretty Little Liar‘s has managed to feel fresh and new again. Even Ezra and Aria are back at the beginning, in their off-limits student/teacher relationship. Also, the episode finished with the girls huddled together post-funeral, receiving an A text with no lead on who’s watching them–a nice nod to the end of the show’s very first episode.

‘Teen Wolf’ S3E3 Recap: The Virgin Suicides

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Last night’s Teen Wolf involved a lot of strangers being mauled in the woods, bugs being more annoying than usual, people making surprising (but mostly not-so-surprising) choices, and plenty of slo-mo heroic shots that were hilariously bad but forgivable because this show is so darn good.

The episode picked up shortly where the last left off, with Boyd and Cora running wild in the woods. Boyd’s first target was two children catching fireflies (AKA the episode’s title) in the woods (in the middle of the night because OK). As Boyd–somehow looking simultaneously ridiculous and terrifying in his wolf state–prepared to attack, the fireflies began to circle/distract him, and Scott pulled the children to safety before giving Derek a call.

Meanwhile, Lydia (last seen screaming wildly post-nightmare) decided to hunt down some ibuprofen after hers ran out, but drove to the town pool instead on some strange whim and discovered a body.  Soon after, she called the police and Stiles (in that order, much to the latter’s humorous annoyance). After checking out the body, Stiles gave Scott a call to clue him in. Also, Stiles found a promise ring (I think, I didn’t get a good look) on the body, indicating the slain was a virgin (which will be important later). Bad luck, dude. RIP.

After briefly ruminating on her chat with Scott (he finally confessed that her mother had attempted to kill him) about her murderous mom, Allison dug an arrow out of her car and began to hunt Boyd and Cora solo. Not the smartest decision, but I like seeing Allison’s bad-ass side, and the decision paid off nicely later when her path converged with the wolves. But, remember two episodes ago when Allison and Daddy Argent talked about their promise to stay out of Beacon Hill’s supernatural craziness so they could remain living in the town? I’m sure no one expected that vow to last, and it didn’t–both Argents, unbeknownst to one another, broke their promise and joined the werewolf hunt.

Scott suckered Daddy Argent into the hunt with a surprisingly intelligent (for Scott) move; when straight-up asking for help didn’t work (and only earned Scott a gun in the face), Scott asked Daddy Argent for a ride to the murder scene. Daddy Argent took one look at the victim and decided to help. Immediately, he proved to be a successful asset by tracking down Boyd’s footprints and then coming up with a plan to lure the bloodthirsty pair into the high school’s boiler room. Because no one should be in the school this late at night, right? WRONG. New English teacher whose name I’ve forgotten was doing some late night grading. Obviously she has some learning to do on the ways of Beacon Hill (like how the HS is usually the center of deadly supernatural shenanigans because, hello, the show’s called TEEN Wolf for a reason).

Anyway, Scott and co. trapped Boyd and Cora in the high school with plenty of help from the Argents (Allison helped by shooting light-arrows at the pair’s feet until they were inside, and Isaac locked the door behind them; the resulting look they shared with one another was all the push I–and probably most of the fandom–needed to start shipping the duo). Unfortunately, Scott heard a third heartbeat in the boiler room after he and Derek successfully locked Boyd and Cora inside. Derek did the honorable thing and entered the boiler room himself, then the show proceeded to threaten Derek’s life, but they were just teasing us–Boyd and Cora ripped Derek’s shirt to bloody sheds (much better than dead, thanks Teen Wolf!) as he held the two apart until the sun came up. Then he rescued Lady English Teacher, who smiled at him but seemed oddly trusting, despite his bloody appearance? I don’t know, I just think I’d be more terrified than she if I was nearly slaughtered by two werewolves, and then rescued by a man who was half-torn to bloody shreds? (Oh, who am I kidding. Tyler Hoechlin even looks good covered in bloody claw wounds.) Instead, Lady English Teacher was grateful and trusting, and I think the show was hinting at a future romance between the two. Go Derek, I guess? Moving on.

On the dead virgins front, Mama McCall pulled Stiles into the morgue to see the slain boy’s body. The poor guy had been hit in the back of the head, strangled, and THEN had his throat slashed. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the only one–Mama McCall pulled the sheet off another body, none other than Stiles’s childhood friend Heather. After a tearful moment, Stiles put two and two together and realized the dead were a set of virgin sacrifices. A third girl–missing after gigantic bugs of horror covered the tent where she and her girlfriend were about to sleep together for the first time and made her run screaming through the woods–turned up dead by episode’s end, as Stiles knew she would.

I don’t know where Teen Wolf is going with the virgin sacrifices storyline, but I LOVE IT. I’m intrigued, and this show has never disappointed with its big bads or overarching season plots. Also, the new alpha pack and their blind leader are presumably involved, so I’m ridiculously excited to see how all of this plays out. Fun times ahead! (For us, anyway. I’m sure Scott and co. would disagree).

So, how soon until Isaac/Allison and Derek/Lady English Teacher hook up? Next week, maybe? Also, how worried should we be about Stiles, who’s still a virgin? Get laid soon, Stiles! Your life depends on it!

‘Teen Wolf’ S3E1 Recap: Wolves at the Door

Yay, Teen Wolf is back for the summer! And last night’s episode was crazy good; it easily filled the audience in on events that took place during the four-month time jump (like the reason for Jackson’s absence) whilst simultaneously dropping a whole pack of new enemies/problems on Scott’s doorstep. Best of all, the show has clearly suffered no lack of quality whatsoever going into its third season–it’s just as well-written, slightly corny, and fast paced as ever. Last night’s episode dealt with typical high school problems, such as first tattoos, mourning past relationships, new teachers, and bloodthirsty alpha werewolves. Fun times!

So, the cold open began with an unconscious Isaac being dragged through the streets by some woman we’ve never met before. After using her car to resuscitate him, she pulled him onto her motorcycle and told him to hold on. The two began to race through the streets of Beacon Hill, but were quickly ganged up on by a set of twins who did their best to rip Isaac off the bike. After jumping through a warehouse window, Isaac fell off the bike, and the pair crashed to the ground. The twins followed, ripped off their shirts, and did one of the craziest things I’ve seen yet on this show: one brother punched the other in the back, and the two converged, forming one giant werewolf. The whole transformation sequence was horrifyingly grotesque but also strangely fascinating. I couldn’t look away. Anyway, The Girl (that’s how she’s credited for the episode, so that’s what I’m calling her) shot the wolf brothers with something, and they split into two bodies again and fled. So crazy.

After the opening credits, Scott and Stiles were hanging out in a tattoo parlor where Scott wanted to get his first tattoo. He hilariously drew the tattoo artist a picture of the tattoo he wanted, which was nothing more than two simple, thick black bands around his bicep. Scott seemed unfazed by the tattoo process as the man began his work, but Stiles quickly fainted. Afterwards, the two were sitting in the parking lot when Scott’s arm began to burn painfully, and when he ripped off the bandage, his tattoo quickly disappeared and healed. Such a waste of money, though Stiles was pleased. He wasn’t a fan of the tattoo, apparently.

Around the same time as the tattoo incident, Allison and Lydia were discussing Jackson and Allison’s summer trip to France while on the way to a double date. Though she wouldn’t allow Allison to say his name, Lydia informed her that Jackson had been shown the basics of werewolfism by Derek before his father moved him to London. And Allison and her father had spent four months in France after her mother’s death, but had decided to return to Beacon Hills. When the pair were stopped at a red light, Scott and Stiles pulled up beside them. The girls quickly sped off, and the boys, after feeling awkward for driving right behind the girls, stopped in the middle of the street. The girls followed suit, and, as the four had separate debates about whether or not they should talk to the others, a deer ran straight into Lydia’s car and crashed through the windshield. After using his weird werewolf powers, Scott surmised that the animal hadn’t simply been scared, but terrified, though there was nothing around to signify the source of the creature’s fear.

Meanwhile, Isaac and The Girl were brought into the hospital. When Scott’s mom, Melissa, tries to help The Girl, she tells her she needs the alpha (Melissa was clued into her son’s werewolf life last season). Melissa mentions Derek, but The Girl says no, she’s talking about Scott McCall. Interesting!

The next morning, Scott does one-armed pull ups with one hand while holding a book in the other. After his workout, he checks his computer for the word of the day (ephemeral) and checks his bicep again, where there’s absolutely no sign of a tattoo. Better luck next time, Scott. At the Argent house, Allison’s father offers to let her stay home for a day or a week if it would make things easier on her, but Allison shoots him down and the two hug out their lingering grief. In contrast, Stiles’s father actually begs his son to go to school so he doesn’t have to listen to his son’s rambling research about the country’s deer and car accident statistics. A funny and perfect father-son exchange followed:

Sheriff Stilinski: Would you consider a bribe?

Stiles: You couldn’t meet my price.

Sheriff Stilinski: Extortion?

Stiles: You got nothing on me!

Too good! Finally, Sheriff Stilinski gave up and literally dragged his son’s chair away from his computer. Lastly, Lydia prepared for school while Jamie N Commons’s song “Rumble and Sway” played in the background, and a naked guy begged her for a real date, or at least more sex, from her bed. Oh, Lydia. I’ve missed you.

At school, Scott and Stiles were discussing going to Derek for tattoo advice when they spotted posters of Boyd and Erica hanging up in the hallway. The two are still missing and have been all summer. Lydia and Allison were up against their lockers, once again discussing boys, when Lydia began to check out all the new freshmen boys. Her “hunt” was cut short by the twins’ arrival (in a slow-mo walk while the camera pans up, because this show loves to flashily show-off their attractive cast members). The twins caught almost everyone’s eyes, even The Girl’s, who woke up with a start at the hospital.

While Isaac tried to get Melissa to help him keep his rapidly healing wound a secret from the doctors, who were prepping for his surgery, The Girl woke up and snuck out of the hospital. Melissa failed to get a hold of Derek, so Isaac recommended she call her son. After she left his room to call Scott, a new (faux) nurse came in and drugged Isaac. He fell unconscious, but not before catching a glimpse of her bare, clawed feet.

Back at the school, Allison was forced to take a seat in front of Scott’s because it was the only one available. All at once, the entire class received a text message, courtesy of their new teacher. She walked in, told them the text was the last line of the first book they’ll be reading as well as the only text they’ll ever receive from her, and then ordered them to shut off their phones. Whoops. Melissa failed to call her son before his phone shut off. Allison passed Scott a note during class, asking if they could talk, but Scott was called to the office before he could reply. Though the teacher let him go, she also gave him a warning. She knew about his spotty attendance record. Scott reassured her that he’d be doing better this year, then dropped his word of the day in a sentence (much to the teacher’s surprise) and sauntered off.

Stiles, sitting next to Lydia, noticed an injury on her leg (I think, I can’t remember, not super important). She told him the injury was from her dog, who had bitten her. Stiles seemed worried, especially when Lydia told him her dog had never bitten her before. Lydia began to mock Stiles’s fear when their conversation was interrupted by a bird flying into the window. The teacher moved to the window, just in time to witness an entire flock of birds heading toward the school. They burst through the windows and flew around the room scratching faces, disrupting desks and leaving feathers everywhere. The whole scene was odd, spooky and ominous, and I loved it.

Scott met his mom at the hospital, but Isaac was already in surgery. As Scott headed toward the elevators, the surgeons pulled aside Isaac’s bandages to reveal fully-healed skin. Scott ran into a blind man on the elevator, who was given enough attention by the show to indicate he’d be popping up later (and he did). Another faux nurse (this one a towering, thickly-muscled man) wheeled Isaac out of the operating room and into the elevators. Before the doors shut, Scott spotted the man and realized he was a werewolf. Cue the dubstep music (AKA Teen Wolf‘s preferred fight score) as Scott attacked the man, and the two battled in the elevator (while Isaac slumbered on obliviously). As the new werewolf had Scott by the throat, the elevator doors dinged open, and Derek clawed the man in the back. He easily tossed the other alpha wolf out of the elevator, and then made a crack at Scott about being out of school. Nice to see you, Derek! I was wondering when you’d show up.

Derek took the two to his old hangout, the abandoned house, and told Scott that Isaac had only healed on the outside; he still had internal injuries. He also informed Scott that the new wolves were part of an entire pack made solely of alphas.

Amidst the leftover mess from the bird attack, Sheriff Stilinski pulled Mr. Argent aside to ask if he knew anything about the town’s strange animal happenings. Mr. Argent shot him down, confused as to why he was being questioned, but the sheriff had simply heard that Mr. Argent was a good hunter (though he didn’t realize Mr. Argent wasn’t a hunter in the regular sense). Still, Argent knew nothing and, though Allison seemed interested, reminded her that they’d agree to stay in Beacon Hills only if they stayed out of the town’s supernatural mysteries. Right. We’ll see how long that lasts. When Lydia and Allison were preparing to leave, The Girl approached them at their lockers and demanded to know where Scott was. Then the twins showed up. The Girl spotted them at the end of the hallway and gripped Lydia and Allison’s wrists so tightly she left instant bruises before fleeing.

Sheriff Stilinski was called away from the school by the town vet (whose been lurking in the background up to this point, but will hopefully become more involved with the wolves, as the end of season 2 seemed to indicate). All of his animals had been killed, but not by an intruder–the animals had killed themselves. Very strange. Also intriguing! I’m very excited to see where Teen Wolf is going with the suicidal animal storyline.

Anyway, Scott took advantage of his time with Derek by asking him to give him a tattoo. At this point, Stiles had filled Scott in on the bird attack and arrived at Derek’s old house. When Derek pulled out a blow torch (I repeat, a BLOW TORCH) to tattoo Scott, Stiles tried to run but Derek needed him to hold Scott down. Scott’s reasoning for getting a tattoo was so corny, but he basically wanted it as a reward for not calling or texting Allison all summer, though he’d very much wanted to. Tattoo in Samoan means “open wound” and missing Allison still felt like an open wound. So, so corny, but I forgive you, Teen Wolf, because you do so many other things so well. Post-tattoo, Scott and Stiles are leaving, when Scott notices the door’s been painted, which is already strange, but stranger still is the way Derek only painted one side. Ignoring Derek’s orders to leave, Scott begins to scratch off the paint, revealing the symbol underneath (the one we saw at the end of season 2).

The last bit of the episode was a nice juxtaposition of the various storylines. First, we see The Girl being attacked by members of the alpha pack as Derek explains more about the ways a pack made solely of alphas works. According to him, they still have a leader, called a Deucalion. Immediately after Derek says this, we get a shot of the blind man from the elevator pulling off his glasses and approaching The Girl. She accuses him of being afraid of Scott, of the type of man he’ll become. The man responds by telling her the best way to get rid of a threat is to eliminate it, and it’s even better if you get someone else to eliminate the threat for you. The Girl assumes he means Derek, and says so, but the man kills her without response. Lastly, Isaac jerks away asking after The Girl, Lydia and Allison put their bruise wrists together and realize they make a symbol–the same symbol on the floor behind Erica and Boyd, who we’ve finally learned have been kidnapped by the alphas.

I thought this was a solid and thoroughly enjoyable episode. This show’s always done a great job keeping its supernatural elements grounded in real teen issues (example: Stiles mentioning Scott’s studying for the PSATs right before Scott claws the paint off of Derek’s door), and the characters are fully realized and relatable. When I first heard Colton Haynes had left the show, I was afraid his absence would negatively influence the show, but I barely noticed his absence. I am worried about the twins, however, because we don’t know very much about them thus far. I’m interested in seeing how they develop as characters, and I’m already loving the new alpha pack stuff. Overall, I think Teen Wolf makes for great summer TV–it’s light enough for entertainment but contains enough substance to avoid being shallow viewing–and I’m very glad it’s back!

‘Revolution’ S1E20 Recap: Hello, Mr. President

Despite a thoroughly weak season overall, the final ten minutes of Revolution‘s uneven season finale offered hope that the second season will be, if not better, then at least stronger and more intriguing. I’m going to talk about why in a moment, but I’m going to get the beginning half hour out of the way first.

After a strange, somewhat nonsensical music video-like “Previously on…”, the episode picked up right where we last saw Miles and Monroe: aiming guns at one another. The two spend a brief moment debating whether or not to attack the other before the tower inhabitants arrive and start attacking. After some eye action from Miles and affirming head noddage from Monroe, the two team up and begin to shoot at their mutual enemies. The two plus Nora run, and, despite being tortured and almost killed at his hands for a month, Nora makes absolutely no argument or move against Monroe. You’d think she’d take advantage of such an opportunity, but no. The trio wide up at the tower’s water supply and end up getting separated in the water after the tower inhabitants shoot down their exit bridge.

Meanwhile, Aaron, Charlie and Rachel are still with Grace and the man whose name I’ve already forgotten. Grace still refuses to allow Rachel to turn the power back on, because a “one in a billion” chance of the world exploding is just too dangerous. Not kidding. There is literally a ONE IN A BILLION CHANCE of, as Aaron calls them, the “machines sucking up energy” destroying the planet. Way to dumb down the science while simultaneously removing all stakes, Revolution. The man in charge proceeds to inform Rachel and co. that Miles has left the building and threaten to murder Aaron, Rachel and Charlie if they go anywhere near level 12.

Back at Camp Militia, Neville approaches the reluctant major who refuses to turn on Monroe. After informing the major that, unlike Monroe, Neville is neither “brutal nor capricious” (both of which are so, so untrue), Neville tells the man he’ll set him free. I’m not sure why Neville even wasted his time with this little spiel, because he immediately picks up the man’s gun, shoots a few bullets through the tent, and then shoots the major. When Neville’s son (whose name I still can’t remember after 20 episodes) rushes in, Neville informs him that he shot the man in self-defense.

Miles wakes up on a beach with Monroe hovering over him. The two resume their feud and fistfight on the beach until a turned militiaman attacks them. After ignoring Monroe’s orders to stand down, the militiaman runs and Miles escapes.

Cue a flashback that’s slightly-less worthless than usual: Ten years post-blackout, Miles and Monroe are celebrating Miles’s birthday by reminiscing about past birthdays involving one-legged strippers and dodge ball when a rebel bomb goes off and knocks the pair to the ground.

Present day, Aaron is snooping on Grace’s computer when he discovers code he wrote as a student at MIT. Grace informs him that he wrote the tower’s operating system and asks, “Why do you think Ben found you in the first place?”

Neville wants to storm the tower, but his rightfully-suspicious son confronts him about how quickly he changes sides. Neville side-steps this by telling his son he needs his help and promising to keep Charlie and Rachel alive. Their tense conversation is interrupted by a sentry arriving with news of Monroe’s location.

After telling Grace about Danny’s birth in an attempt to bring Grace to her side, Rachel attacks an unmoving Grace with chloroform and steals her key card. Speaking of key cards, earlier in the episode Randall retrieved a spare key card hidden behind a photograph of President Bush. This will be important later.

As Miles wanders through the woods, we get our second flashback of the episode. Nora sits at an injured Miles’s beside and Monroe comes in. The trio watch from the window as five caskets are loaded onto a truck, and Miles is surprised by how many rebels attacked them. Monroe is quick to correct him: only one bomber attacked, and the remaining four caskets contain the rebel’s wife and children. Monroe plans to use the bomber as an example, and his brutality clearly shocks both Nora and Miles.

Monroe finds Miles in the woods and attacks him. Miles simply knocks Monroe to the ground and continues walking. Honestly, I am so sick of this feud. Kiss and make up already, or kill each other and be done with it. I don’t care, I just want them to MOVE ON. Thankfully, a helicopter arrives and shoots at the pair.

After Aaron revealed a backdoor he’d written into the code, he, Rachel, Charlie and Nora head to level 12. Nora and Rachel share a conversation in the hallway about Miles, and how he’s still in love with Rachel, etc., etc. I’d write more about this conversation, but I zoned out during almost all of it. Wasn’t Rachel and Miles’s past relationship only briefly established and touched upon a few episodes ago? Are we really supposed to care about this?

Anyway, a handcuffed Monroe is brought to Neville’s tent and dropped at his feet. Neville smugly greets Monroe by saying, “General. There’s been a change in management.” Snort. Monroe stupidly threatens Neville whilst handcuffed, but Neville only laughs at him and mentions Monroe’s strange fixation with Miles. Then Neville refuses Monroe’s pleas to simply kill him. He wants to have at least a semblance of a fair trial before Monroe’s execution, because he’d like to inspire the troops rather than frighten them, as Monroe did. Good luck, Neville.

Inside the tower, Nora attacks approaching tower inhabitants by tossing a fire extinguisher at them. The extinguisher is hit by gunfire and explodes, which somehow successfully cleared the hallway. Unfortunately, Nora took a fatal bullet to the gut.

After stabbing the tent’s guard, Miles approaches Monroe and cuts him free. He then tells Monroe he can’t kill him because they’re “still brothers.” Seriously, Miles? MONROE IS A MONSTER AND A VILLAIN. And not even a good one! Ugh, anyway. Miles tells Monroe to run and proceeds to call the guards. He uses the diversion to slip into the tower via the hole the militia had blown into the tower’s side.

While Charlie and Aaron frantically try to help a dying Nora, Rachel wants to abandon her and keep heading for level 12. Charlie tries to stop her mother and appeal to her humanity, but Rachel doesn’t really give a damn about Nora and ignores her daughter. She wants to turn the power on for Danny, so his life and death will have meant something. Rachel grabs Aaron and the two leave.

After hearing Nora cry out in the pain, a guard easily bursts down the door Charlie had locked and attacks. Miles arrives just in time and stabs the guard in the neck. It’s nice to see Charlie, who the show has been trying and failing spectacularly to turn into a badass, still needs saving. Charlie, you’re hopeless. Please change. Nora tells Miles to go after Rachel, but he refuses to leave Nora. However, Nora dies in Miles’s arms as the trio try to get her to safety. Bye, Nora. I guess it was nice knowing you? I don’t know. I had no particular feelings about her death.

The militia meet Rachel and Aaron on the way to level 12, and Neville makes good on his promise not to kill Rachel. However, their hostile meeting is quickly cut short by Charlie and Miles’s arrival. Gunfire ensues, and the four escape inside level 12.

Neville wants the militia to blow down the door and kill everyone inside despite the promise he made to his son (God, what is his name? I could look it up, but I just don’t care enough). Aaron types in his backdoor code, but hesitates before hitting the key to authorize. Seriously, zero stakes here. A one in a billion chance is so absurdly ridiculous–couldn’t Revolution have made the threat a little more, I don’t know, threatening? Actually, I still wouldn’t have believed them, because a show threatening to destroy the whole planet along with its entire cast is no threat whatsoever (unless we’re talking Game of Thrones, but unfortunately we’re not). Aaron hits the authorization key, and the screen goes black.

At first, I thought this would’ve been a great place to end the season. It would’ve been reminiscent of Lost‘s fifth season finale, when (incoming Lost spoilers) Juliet detonated the bomb and everything went white, leaving the fate of the castaways up in the air. However, after seeing the final 8 or so minutes, I was glad they chose not to.

We got a shot of lights flickering on around the planet, and then brief glimpses of past character’s reactions to the lights returning, including Neville’s wife and the current president, who immediately commanded her men their machinery for war. The fleeing Monroe paused in the middle of a field to watch a sudden, furious lightning storm, which, I can’t lie, made for a pretty visual. But the best part happened back at level 12. Randall, who spent the whole season being sidelined by Monroe, revealed himself to be a far-cleverer character than any one else on the show. While everyone else wasted their energy attacking each other, Randall quietly initiated his own undercover plan. He locked Aaron, Charlie, Miles and Rachel in one of level 12’s rooms, away from the computers, and proceeded to override the system and launch missiles at Atlanta and Philadelphia while our heroes watched helplessly behind bullet-proof glass. As the missiles sped toward their targets, Randall informed Rachel that all he wanted to do was expedite the war and join what remained of the country together. He was a patriot, after all, and wanted peace. Just as I was marveling about how genuinely intriguing a villain Randall would be, he shot himself in the head. The last scene of the season took place on Guantanamo Bay, where the actual president from before the blackout (!!!) was hiding out. One of his men informed him that Randall had been successful in his mission, and the president (whose face we never saw) told his man to prepare for their return to the U.S.

Honestly, I planned on dropping Revolution from my viewing schedule next season, but I can’t lie–after that last scene, I’m interested enough to at least watch the season 2 premiere. Who knows, maybe season 2 will actually be good! (I’m not getting my hopes up.)