Reality Bites Me & the PLLs Bite Laws Without Tasting Punishment (Pretty Little Liars Episode 5 Recap + Broken Laws)

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This episode begins with Aria finally telling her friends about her father’s affair since evidently “A” is taking the liberty of making this information public.  The biggest confession about this affair?  Byron cheated on Ella with a woman named MEREDITH.  Immediately horrified by this news, Hanna comments that if Aria’s father is going to cheat, he should at least do it with someone who deep conditions her hair occasionally… Someone with a pretty name, like Hanna, not MEREDITH.

The girls all slept at Spencer’s house so that she wouldn’t be left unprotected from the Jungle Red lipstick ridden mirror in her bedroom.  The girls agree that they should clean up the mirror before Spencer’s parents return, but Hanna doesn’t think that it takes four liars to clean up a mirror.  The other girls are ready for combat once they hear of Hanna’s reluctance; they respond to it in what might be my favorite scene of the entire show so far.  Aria yells, “Fine, you stay down here, ALONE!”  While Emily taunts, “Make sure that you lock the door!”  I just love this scene because Aria and Emily  speak to Hanna in the same manner that I scream at my television screen weekly, in the hopes that four fictional girls will stop putting themselves in dangerous situations.  The whole “let’s split up” idea never works very well.  Heather Hogan, the editor of AfterEllen.com noticed this too, in her recap of this episode.  Glad to see I’m not the only one!

On the way upstairs to Spencer’s room, Hanna gets a text from “A,” which makes the girls delighted to have unblocked their phones.  “A” has gotten into unique cinematography techniques involving taking movies from Spencer’s closet.  The girls watch a clip that “A” filmed of them looking at the Jungle Red mirror.  When the girls get upstairs, they realize that “A” has left behind a weapon in the form of a tube of Jungle Red lipstick in Spencer’s closet.




Meanwhile at the Montgomery household, Ella and Byron are having a battle royale in the kitchen about Byron’s affair, and Mike is quickly catching on to their fighting.  He questions Aria about their parents’ behavior while she’s putting on her makeup.  He also prevents her from going to school Cyclops eye makeup style.  When Aria has makeup on both of her eyes, she warns her mother that Mike knows something is going on between her and Byron.  She lets it slip that she knew about the affair for a year and immediately sees the look of betrayal on Aria’s face.  Wanting to increase the overall honesty quotient in the Montgomery house, Aria offers to cut class and talk to Ella.

Next, Sean witnesses Hanna dropping the shoes that she wears as part of her uniform at the dental office where Sean’s mother works.  To make up for wrecking Sean’s car, Hanna has agreed to wear a hideous outfit (at least hideous looks good on her) and overcome her fear of children by giving the terrifying creatures their lollipops after their dentist appointments.  Right when Sean and Hanna decide that they should discuss potential Homecoming plans, a blonde girl who doesn’t have to wear an ugly uniform pulls up in her car that Hanna didn’t crash; she’s Sean’s ride.  Hanna hates this situation, but Sean wouldn’t need a ride had she not “damaged” his car.  He did try to take the blame for Hanna’s stunt, which is pretty badass behavior for this son-of-a-reverend.

At school, Spencer questions Jenna’s abilities to break into her house.  She’s blind; it would take a lot more than a talking GPS to break into a house.  Seriously, Wren couldn’t even find the front door when HE broke in, and he was merely drunk, not BLIND.  When the girls suggest the possibility of Toby helping Jenna, Emily attempts to get the girls to stop accusing him.  She’s met with a cruel comment from Spencer that sounds exactly like something Ali would say.  Spencer declares that maybe Jenna DID have more than a talking GPS, because Toby could have taken a break from ripping off the heads of squirrels on his porch to help Jenna on Mission Jungle Red On The Mirror.

Spencer’s history teacher approaches the girls and hands Spencer an envelope.  Although Spencer does not open the envelope, we’re to assume that its contents confirm that Spencer has won the Golden Orchid award for her talented plagiarism of Melissa’s essay.

It’s time for chemistry class, so Emily’s friends have no choice; it’s just Emily, Toby and the beaker.  These lab partners decide that Toby has more credentials to handle the beaker; Emily is tired and low on caffeine, and Toby is clearly more educated about chemistry than she is.  He already had to teach her that the “glass beaker is made of glass!”

Aria pretty much invites herself to Ezra’s short-story reading that he has later.  Hanna runs into Jenna in the elevator at the building where she’s working off debt to Sean’s family.  But what is Jenna doing there other than loudly tapping her walking stick?  Uh oh– this is not good, guys– she is applying lipstick, and it’s none other than Jungle Red.  Also, did Hanna just watch a blind girl look into a mirror?  No matter what Hanna saw, her creeping skills need work; Jenna interrupts her thoughts to announce that she knows somebody is staring at her.  “Do you like the color?” she asks.  Hanna moves back as if lipstick is the new murder weapon in town and mumbles “yes.”  We know she’s lying though; maybe that color looked good on their late friend Alison, but it doesn’t look good on bedroom mirror messages written by anonymous stalkers.

Spencer’s dad has learned that Spencer “won” the essay contest and he brought home Butter Creams as a symbol of his pride.  He invites Spencer to play tennis with him the next day; he has invited a potential client and his daughter to play doubles.

Hanna, attempting to be more discreet this time, follows Jenna to find out why she’s in the building.  She already knows that Jenna was irritated by her meddling behavior in the elevator, and since a blind person could easily be annoyed and/or alarmed by being further followed after conduct like that, I am going to say that Hanna is delving into potential broken law territory.

Potential Broken Law # 1 Alert!  Harassment (in relevant part) – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2709: “(a)  Offense defined.–A person commits the crime of  harassment when, with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another,  the person: … (2)  follows the other person in or about a public place or places…”

Grading.–(1)  An offense under subsection (a)(1), (2) or (3) shall constitute a summary offense.  

This probably is no big deal to Hanna– it’s not even a misdemeanor– but I’m not finished with her just yet.  

Moving on for now, in chemistry class, Emily is shocked that Toby can draw, and Toby is shocked that Emily listens to music, especially the band, Circa Survive.  They make plans to meet later on at The Grille, where Toby studies to avoid Jenna’s loud lectures at home.  

Aria attends Ezra’s short story reading where she’s surprised to meet a man who used to sleep with Ezra.  Don’t worry, Ezria fans, it was just bunk beds in college; the man is Hardy, Ezra’s roommate from college.  Hardy, Ezra and Aria play darts while Hardy tells inappropriate stories about his sexual endeavors in college and Ezra’s tendency to interrupt some of them by laughing in his sleep.  Ok, Hardy is talking about girls; Ezra’s not gay, and all is right with the world of Ezria… Except the fact that this entire short story reading and dart playing event is taking place at a bar!  Hardy points out that Ezra is going to wind up in an orange jumpsuit for dating his student, which we discussed in the entry on the Pilot episode of PLL in this blog.  That’s not the only problem here.  Depending on the situation, Aria might not even be allowed inside a bar.  Let me explain:

Potential Broken Law # 2 Alert! : 47 P.S. § 4-493(14) Pennsylvania Liquor Code: PERMITTING UNDESIRABLE PERSONS OR MINORS TO FREQUENT PREMISES (in relevant part) : Generally, minors are forbidden by Pennsylvania law to go anywhere licensed to sell liquor for on-site consumption.  However, there are exceptions to this rule.
(paraphrased)  
 “Minors may only frequent licensed premises if: … (c) they are under proper supervision; (d) they are attending a social gathering; or (e) the hotel, restaurant or retail dispenser licensee has gross sales of food and nonalcoholic beverages equal to fifty per centum or more of its combined gross sale of both food and alcoholic beverages. If a minor is frequenting a hotel, restaurant or retail dispenser licensee under subsection (e), then the minor may not sit at the bar section of the premises, nor may any alcoholic beverages be served at the table or booth at which the said minor is seated unless said minor is with a parent, legal guardian or under proper supervision. Further, if a hotel, restaurant, club liquor licensee or retail dispenser is hosting a social gathering under subsection (d), then written notice at least forty-eight hours in advance of such gathering shall be given to the Bureau of Enforcement.”  

We could attempt to absolve Aria under subsection (c), but “Section 102 of the Liquor Code defines proper supervision as someone who is at least twenty-five (25) years of age, who is directly responsible for the care and conduct of the minor while on the premises, and who keeps the minor within his or her sight or hearing… [47 P.S. § 1-102].”  

Aria just met Hardy, so if he IS 25 years old (I am not sure if he and Ezra have turned 25 or if they’re 24 years old), he did not go there with the intent of being Aria’s supervisor, and neither did Ezra; she wasn’t constantly within his direct sight or hearing, because he was giving a speech to an entire audience and hadn’t even noticed that Aria and Hardy had met until after his performance. 

The social gathering exception has too many conditions to apply to Aria as well : “no alcoholic beverages may be sold, given, furnished to or consumed by any minor, and the area of the gathering must be segregated from the remainder of the licensed premises, or all alcoholic beverages must be removed from the licensed premises or placed under lock and key during the time the gathering takes place.”

I’d say that her best best here is subsection (e), because Aria wasn’t seated in the bar area, which the Pennsylvania code considers the seating directly adjacent to the serving bar.  Additionally, Hardy wasn’t served his beer while sitting at the table with Aria; he left the area when he ordered it and he didn’t sit down when he was drinking it.  

She’d be more screwed had she been sitting in the bar area, because under Pennsylvania’s liquor code, “minors may sit at the bar or in the bar area if they are with their parent, legal guardian, under proper supervision or are attending a social gathering.”  If she’s not breaking the law, it’s because of subsection (e), and it’s still a close call here.  

The next scene features Spencer practicing tennis for what she refers to as “a friendly game of doubles.”  Alex (Diego Boneta), an employee at the club where Spencer is playing argues that her serve is NOT friendly, and I agree.  Keep that girl away from me in gym class!  

At Hanna’s house, she stalks Sean’s blonde chauffeur online, and Ashley sympathizes with her.  She feels badly that Hanna doesn’t have her own car to give Sean rides in, and suggests that she talk to her father about it.  Because Hanna should really be rewarded with a new car after crashing her maybe-now-ex-boyfriend’s car.  Hanna informs Ashley that her father is engaged now and probably saving up to by her soon-to-be stepsister a car instead.  “A” decides that now is the perfect time to send Hanna a picture of Emily and Maya kissing.  

Spencer and Hanna go to The Grille to discuss Hanna’s “incident” with Jenna earlier in the day.  Emily shows up to meet Toby, but she’s too scared to be seen with him in front of her friends, so she ditches him and sits with Spencer and Hanna to discuss Jenna and her lipstick adventures.  

Ezra makes snappy remarks to Aria that perhaps she’ll understand college boys better when she actually goes to college for herself.  Aria somehow talks him out of thinking that their age difference is a problem.  

Toby gives a waitress a CD, complete with a beautiful drawing on the cover, to give to Emily.  Hanna notices it, and after her recent message from “A,” likely assumes that it is from Maya.  Hanna encourages Emily to go after a relationship if there’s someone she likes.  While this is happening, Ezria makes out at Ezra’s apartment, and the scene is filled with perfection.  Andrew Belle is even playing in the background as we’re taken from the Ezria kiss to Emily hugging her CD from Toby in bed.  

The following day, Spencer’s father tells her to be friendly on the court, because it turns out his potential client and daughter “aren’t exactly Venus and Serena.”  He wants her to purposely lose the match as a “means to an end” so that he makes money off of this rich man who lacks tennis skill.  Alex observes the match and can tell that Spencer is off of her game.  

Hanna returns to her favorite workplace, this time without her uniform.  She’s off-duty and there to figure out exactly what Jenna was doing in the building.  She goes to the room, where she’s learned from yesterday’s spying, that Jenna was inside for an hour.  It’s a doctor’s office, and Hanna wants to know what type of doctor.  Conveniently, the (creepy) doctor comes out and assumes Hanna is a new patient that he’s expecting named Martha.  Hanna knows better than to correct him, so she plays along and pretends to be Martha.  As Martha, she’s able to obtain the appropriate paperwork to learn that Jenna’s doctor is a psychotherapist.  She bolts, but it might be a little late for that.

Broken Law # 3 Alert! : We have already asserted above that Hanna is likely guilty of the summary offense of harassment.  However, as usual, there’s more to the story: 
Ethnic intimidation – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2710 (in relevant part): “(a)  Offense defined.–A person commits the offense of ethnic intimidation if, with malicious intention toward the actual or perceived… physical disability… he commits an offense under any other provision of this article or… or under section 3503 (relating to criminal trespass) with respect to such individual or his or her property.”  
 (b)  Grading.–An offense under this section shall be classified as a misdemeanor of the third degree if the other offense is classified as a summary offense. 



This applies to Hanna, because as stated above, ethnic intimidation applies to offenses including criminal trespass, a crime we discussed at length in the entry on “The Jenna Thing,” that also happens to be the next broken law in this episode.  

Broken Law # 4 Alert!: Criminal trespass – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3503 (in relevant part) :  (a)  Buildings and occupied structures.–  (1)  A person commits an offense if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he: (i)  enters, gains entry by subterfuge or surreptitiously remains in any building or occupied structure or separately secured or occupied portion thereof. (2)  An offense under paragraph (1)(i) is a felony of the third degree.  

That’s more like it; Hanna is more of a misdemeanor and felony girl than a summary offense girl.  At least she got out of there quickly; that therapist scared me.  I’d have probably left there with more problems than I had originally if he was my doctor.  

At Aria’s house, Aria attempts to console her brother Mike, who is furious about Hurricane Montgomery, which is still going on in the family kitchen.  While comforting him, she continues to hide the truth that she already knows about their parents’ situation.  I’m sure that won’t come back to bite her in the ass like all of the other lies in this show.  

After Peter Hastings and Spencer lose the tennis match on purpose, he gleefully whispers “mission accomplished!” to a pissed off Spencer.  Alex witnessed the entire match and knows Spencer wasn’t doing her best.  He calls her out on her weak game and she uses a different kind of game to ASK him OUT.  

Ashley Marin reveals her internet stalking skills by stalking her ex husband’s new fiance online.  Unfortunately for Ezria, the Andrew Belle perfection has come to a close, and when Aria shows up at Ezra’s to cook dinner and see if she left her phone at his apartment, she gets her phone, but Ezra doesn’t want her, her phone or her food in his apartment.  “A” texted Aria’s phone while it was at Ezra’s apartment, and when he couldn’t take the buzzing noise anymore, he read it, only to find a snarky remark about Aria’s luck– most students only do her homework, but she gets to do the teacher too!  Ezra refuses to listen to Aria as she insists she hasn’t told anyone about their relationship, but he thinks that if “A” knows, then “B” and “C” and everybody else does too, so he kicks Aria out.  Whatever, someone does NOT get his enhanced macaroni and cheese now.  His loss. 

Hanna learns that Sean has joined a virginity club at school and wants to go to a meeting with him.  This should be interesting; I personally can’t wait to see how much fun the “Real Love Waits” club is.  Spencer’s father wants to celebrate Spencer’s award AND his new client.  He tells Spencer that the deal almost didn’t go through, because not only is his new client not Serena Williams, but he was also expecting lunch after the friendly tennis match, and Peter hadn’t made reservations.  He explains that they were only able to get a table (his favorite table) after he lied to the manager and said that Alex forgot to call in the reservation.  He elaborates on his insensitivity when he blatantly says that he doesn’t care if Alex got fired because of this move; he can pick up balls anywhere.  Spencer flips out and confesses to stealing her award-winning essay.  Peter has just confessed to:

Broken Law # 5 Alert! : This one is a tort (a civil wrong), so he can’t go to criminal court for this, but he can get sued.  Pennsylvania follows the 2nd Restatement of Torts in regards to its laws on slander.  Section 570 (Restatement (2d) of Torts, § 570) discusses “slander per se,” or “liability without proof of special harm slander.”  Under the 2nd restatement, “One who publishes matter defamatory to another in such a manner as to make the publication a slander is subject to liability to the other although no special harm results if the publication imputes to the other… (c) matter incompatible with his business, trade, profession, or office, as stated in § 573…” Under section 573 (Restatement (Second) of Torts § 573) :  “One who publishes a slander that ascribes to another conduct, characteristics or a condition that would adversely affect his fitness for the proper conduct of his lawful business, trade or profession, is subject to liability without proof of special harm.”  

The restatement describes a defamatory statement as one that “tends so to harm the reputation of another as to lower him in the estimation of the community or to deter third persons from associating or dealing with him.” (Restatement (Second) of Torts § 559).  

It must be a statement that a reasonable audience would know was about the plaintiff, and here, Mr. Hastings was pretty obvious about who he was talking about when he reported Alex to his manager for something he didn’t do.  Additionally, while “published” seems like it might require more than one person to hear the statement, the requirement is actually a lot smaller than it seems.  Only one person other than the speaker and the person about which he is speaking must hear the defamatory remark, and here, the manager is a sufficient enough audience for Peter’s statement to be considered “published.”  The statement also does not have to be in writing to constitute defamation; there are two different types of defamation.  Libel is written defamation, and slander is spoken defamation.  

In my opinion, Peter’s statement to Alex’s manager falls into the business category for slander per se, meaning that Alex wouldn’t need to prove any special damages (specific economic loss as a result of the defamation).  However, even if it didn’t fall into one of those categories, (slander that does not fall into a per-se category requires proof of special damages), if Alex were to lose his job, he’d likely have a case for regular slander as well.

paraphrased 

For a lawyer, Mr. Hastings certainly doesn’t seem to mind breaking the law to gain himself more clients.  

The brief happy ending (they never last too long in Rosewood) consists of Emily apologizing to Toby for her rude behavior and giving him a CD that she burned for him.  Who does Emily like now?  Maya or Toby?  I guess we’ll have to find out next time!  For now, thanks for reading about the pristine behavior of our favorite characters on Pretty Little Liars!  




2 thoughts on “Reality Bites Me & the PLLs Bite Laws Without Tasting Punishment (Pretty Little Liars Episode 5 Recap + Broken Laws)

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