Pretty Little Liars paid homage to the XXX Olympic Games in London with synchronized skinny-dipping this week! Well, it may not have been exactly in honor of the Olympics, but nothing on ABC Family’s breakout show is an accident, as evidenced by continual allusions to iconic pop culture moments of the past - like naming the café where Emily works the Rear Window Cafe.
It’s eight episodes in to Pretty Little Liars’ third season, and finally, Rosewood’s resident gay girl Emily Fields’ story turned once again to her love life. To be fair, she is mourning the death of her girlfriend Maya, so in TV time three months or so seems to be an appropriate time to mourn before moving on.
Here’s a recap of Pretty Little Liars Ep. 3.8: Stolen Kisses
The episode kicks off with the liars, Spencer (Troian Bellisario), Hanna (Ashley Benson), Aria (Lucy Hale) and Emily (Shay Mitchell) attempting to crack the password to a website that appears to be Maya’s, a site that Hanna’s former bff, the currently institutionalized Mona (Janel Parrish) tipped them off to. Emily attempts a password she thinks Maya (Bianca Lawson) would have used but it fails, causing Em to remark that she didn’t know her girlfriend as well as she thought she did.
As the other Liars continue to try to crack the code Emily heads to the old boathouse in town – Rosewood really does have everything you could ever ask for in a tiny town – with Maya’s creepy cousin Nate (Sterling Sulieman), who just happened to turn up in the town where his cousin was murdered to attend college there. He’s also a tad suspect for essentially hitting on his dead cousin’s girlfriend in the last episode. There’s no disputing that Emily’s a dish but some things are just wrong. Still, Emily appears to be spending some quality time with Nate, pointing to the possibility of a hook-up there.
Meanwhile, Em’s got unfinished business with Paige, her former swim team member who once bullied her and whom she later helped to come out. If you recall a few episodes back, Emily, unaware of the dregs of its contents, lent Paige (Lindsey Shaw) the flask she drank from the night she blacked out. That being the night the liars’ dead friend Alison’s grave was dug up.
A few episodes back, Paige got dosed from drinking from Em’s flask at frenemy Jenna’s party, and landed face down on the floor, but that was only after she brilliantly ruined the party buy mowing down on all of Jenna’s perfectly placed cupcakes.
Fast-forward to this week’s episode and Emily turns up at Paige’s place to apologize for unwittingly drugging her. Paige is fixing her bike when Em turns up, and that’s just super fix-it girl hot. Emily is clearly there to discuss the whole dosing incident but Paige appears a little cagey about the idea of a discussion.
“Okay, we really have to talk about this,” Em says.
“No, we don’t. We can forget about the whole thing. Honestly Em,” Paige says, and clearly something ain’t right in the milk in the flask.
“Can we go some place and talk?” Emily implores but Paige blows her off. She’s ostensibly busy fixing her bike, which again, makes us like her even more. As Emily is impossible to resist Paige caves and agrees to meet with her the following day after school.
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Next up, Paige and Emily are out in the woods for a little jog, and once-upon-a-swim-champ Emily is huffing and puffing. It looks like it’s time for Emily get back in the pool and work on those strokes. Emily stops and apologizes for accidentally drugging Paige but Paige still doesn’t appear to be too upset that she got a face full of cupcakes and landed in the emergency room from the contents of the flask.
Emily begins to explain that she’d gotten dosed from drinking from the flask but hadn’t put it together until Paige got sick. Then she launches into wondering what happened to her that night.
“It was the night that somebody dug up Allie’s grave. I drank from the flask and then I lost time…” Em says.
“You were with me. Part of that night, you were with me,” Paige says as PLL goes to commercial, and this is when they should play the SVU “duh, duh” sound for effect. Then Paige begins to explain that Emily showed up on Paige’s doorstep at 11 that night appearing drunk.
“…I was holding you up, then I wasn’t holding you. You kissed me,” Paige says. “Maybe you thought I was someone else. I think I knew that but I didn’t stop you. I didn’t want to stop you. It was like a dream.
“And then what happened?” Emily asks, most certainly wondering if Paige lost her V card to Em.
“The dream ended,” Paige says, adding that Emily disappeared when Paige went into the kitchen to get water for her prey, I mean, for Emily.
“I convinced myself that what I did was okay. You were there and I got greedy,” Paige says of her guilt over kissing a drugged Emily. Emily’s a little freaked out about the whole thing presumably because Paige is so freaked out and Em turns her back.
That evening Emily heads out to the old boathouse likely to think about the whole kissing Paige while under the influence of mind-erasing drugs situation when good-old reliable Nate turns up.
“Yesterday was your first time back here since she died wasn’t it,” Nate asks about the boathouse, which was Em’s special place with Maya.
In a seeming non-sequitur Emily asks if it’s possible to do something without knowing why you’re doing it and Nate delivers an ABC Family version of the whole drunk people say and do what they really want while they’re blitzed off their asses speech.
“No. I think we are always who we are,” he says.
“People drink to cover up what they want. It’s like when you do things in a dream and it frightens you because you didn’t think that’s who you are but it’s you. Even in a dream it’s still you,” Nate says getting deep. Then, being the chivalrous cousin of Emily’s dead girlfriend he offers Em his jacket because she’s cold. But never fear because, for now, the whole Nate thing is a big red herring, or “Macguffin” as Hitchcock would say, because the real story is about to occur. Emily’s about to take that jacket and go do what she really wants.
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Cut to Emily showing up at Paige’s backyard by the pool and Paige’s parents just happen to be out of town in Scranton, of all places.
“I’m sorry,” Paige blurts.
“It wasn’t your fault,” Em reassures. But Paige is still hung up on the flask and not on the fact that the hottest girl in Rosewood has come back to clear the air.
“I want you to listen,” Emily says taking a step toward Paige. “I haven’t been with anyone since Maya. I haven’t even thought about it, or at least I didn’t think I was thinking about it.”
Paige is likely just hearing “blah, blah, blah, blah” out of Em’s mouth due to Emily’s ability to “glamour” all of the girls in her tiny town. But for those of you who aren’t so mesmerized by Emily’s beauty that you can actually make sense of the words she’s forming, she continues to say, “I was drunk that night lost, and I got lost, only I didn’t really get lost. I was looking for something. I was looking for somebody and I came here,” Emily says, causing Paige to suck in her breath and look down. And I can’t be certain if it’s because Emily is uttering the words Paige has so longed to hear or because Emily has gone completely existential.
“Don’t look away,” Em says rather firmly before grabbing Paige’s face, drawing her in and kissing her while framed in front of the pool. Let the collective “awwws” beging. They continue to kiss in what is arguably PLL’s hottest make-out scene since they kissed outside of a dive bar to P!nk’s “Glitter in the Air.”
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Meanwhile the other little liars have hacked into Maya’s website and it turns out to be an online video journal of all things Maya, and also of all things Emily, who was clearly unaware she was being filmed, or was she? Finally, they stumble across a video of Maya’s last night alive and she’s saying she can’t be scared, although no one is sure of who or what.
If an Emily / Paige make-out scene weren’t enough, cut back to the two little water babies working on their freestyle stroke nude in the pool, hence PLL’s ode to synchronized skinny dipping, a sport that surely needs its Olympic debut.
Tune in here for more as the Emily / Paige plays out.