This episode starts off with Aria asleep and having depressing dreams about Ezra. Hey, at least she’s relaxing for once; it seems like the girls on this show don’t do much of that what with the murder mysteries and anonymous stalkers that consume their lives. This fleeting moment of relaxation is interrupted when Aria’s friends barrel into her room for an intervention. She has GOT to get out of her bed and take off those ugly sweatpants. Just like in any intervention, each person takes turns expressing their concerns. The girls are also armed with Chinese food and magazines in case their words aren’t convincing enough. Spencer points out that that if Aria doesn’t remove those sweatpants immediately, they won’t be able to pick a homecoming dress for her. Hanna needs Aria’s vote for homecoming queen. She asks Aria to at least fill out an absentee ballot if she’s not going to go to homecoming. Hanna quickly realizes that her comment won’t help Aria get out of bed, so she peppers in a comparison between Aria’s sweatpants and mom jeans and platform flip flops. Emily comforts Aria about her parents. “Things can seem over on Friday and on Monday all is forgiven,” she explains.
The topic of conversation moves to the girls’ dates. Hanna is bringing Sean, Spencer is bringing Alex, and Emily is going stag. Aria agrees to go stag as well. When Spencer jokes about Aria and Emily going to the dance as a couple, Hanna quickly interrupts. The other girls don’t know about Emily and Maya’s scandalous photo booth pictures. Aria reminds the girls that she’s not Samantha Ronson, and Hanna decides that Chinese food is the best way to get her friends to stop talking about lesbians.
It turns out, “A” has planned something even more distracting. To the girls’ horror, when they open up their fortune cookies, they see that “A” has tampered with them. Their fortune from “A” reads, “Lions and tigers and bitches, oh my! There’s no place like homecoming. See you there.” How did “A” manage to pull that one off? She is clearly sleeping with the owner of that restaurant.
At school, Hanna attends Sean’s dress rehearsal for rejecting sexual advances, otherwise known as “Real Love Waits.” The members of this club practice hypothetical scenarios where one person instigates the other to have sex. The person being provoked then practices saying no to sex. Hanna is bored out of her mind. Sean and Amber go first, then it’s Hanna’s turn to pretend to hit on someone. Her partner is a nerdy guy named Lucas (Brendan Robinson). Lucas protests that a girl like Hanna would never consider having sex with him; he doesn’t believe that Hanna is attracted to guys with the upper body strength of Screech. His virginity is well protected, thank you very much. One might wonder why he joined this club in that case, but I digress. Hanna fake-instigates Lucas by asking, “So, do you want to come up to my room?” “Yes!” Lucas exclaims. Thankfully, Screech– I mean Lucas is saved by the bell.
In the hall, Aria attempts to speak to Ezra, but he runs away from her. In the cafeteria, Emily learns that Maya does not plan on going to homecoming; she’s not really gaga for Gaga. Hanna is sitting quietly in the cafeteria when all of a sudden, Spencer thunders in and badgers Hanna to steal Jenna’s medical records. It’s imperative that the girls get that file, because “Toby Cavanaugh, who has never had a date in his life, bought two tickets to homecoming.” I’m sure Jenna’s medical records will be filled with information about Toby’s evil agenda to bring a date to a school dance. Spencer outburst makes her an outlaw:
Broken Law Alert # 1! : First of all, I am going to briefly stipulate that stealing medical records is a crime. This will be further explained later in this post, but it’s necessary to point out that it’s a crime in order to explain what Spencer has done. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 902: Criminal Solicitation:
“(a) Definition of solicitation.–A person is guilty of solicitation to commit a crime if with the intent of promoting or facilitating its commission he commands, encourages or requests another person to engage in specific conduct which would constitute such crime or an attempt to commit such crime or which would establish his complicity in its commission or attempted commission.”
18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 905: Grading (in relevant part): Grading of criminal attempt, solicitation and conspiracy.
Aria returns to her friends and Maya approaches them. She asks Hanna where Emily is. The girls realize that Emily is outside with Toby. Toby’s nervous about the dance, but he still manages to make fun of the punch while Emily gives him dancing lessons. When Emily walks in with Toby, the other girls all have identical expressions of doom on their faces as if Lord Voldemort just walked into Hogwarts and none of the witches and wizards have their wands. Aria wishes she had never asked Hanna for wardrobe advice because she could have worn her invisibility cloak.
The girls all take turns screaming at Emily for bringing Toby to the dance. Hanna’s opinion that Emily should bring someone who makes her happy to the dance only applied when she thought Emily would take Maya. Melissa lies to Alex and says that Spencer is only dating him to piss off their dad. During the dance, the girls also are dealing with the stealing medical records situation. They continuously disappear on their boyfriends to strategize, and their go-to excuse for their absence is that they “have to get ice.” Is that what they call it these days?
Spencer dances romantically with Alex when all at once she figures out what Toby’s tattoo means. 901 is the day that Ali went missing! Spencer bolts to Hanna and bosses her around like a mother who doesn’t abide by the law– so actually exactly like Hanna’s mother! “Young lady, you’re leaving the dance this instant and don’t come back until you have stolen Jenna’s medical records!” Hanna asks Aria to babysit Sean while she’s gone. She gets a ride to the office from Lucas, who is leaving the dance because he only came to take yearbook pictures and cast his vote for Hanna as homecoming queen.
Spencer and Alex go to the fortune teller. Spencer ignores everything that the fortune teller is saying until she hears the word “hurt.” Now the fortune teller has her attention! The fortune teller discusses a relationship that’s a bad match. “There’s darkness in him,” she insists. She also describes him as violent and vengeful. Spencer of course suddenly believes in fortune telling because obviously the fortune teller is talking about Toby! Spencer asks the fortune teller what else the cards say. When she flips the next one over, it has been doctored by “A.” It says, “Kiss bye bye to your BFF!” One thing’s for sure; these girls are NOT getting a proper fortune today. “A” has a monopoly on fortunes in Rosewood. The fortune teller also leads us to an unexpected broken law.
Broken Law # 4 Alert! : Fortune Telling (in relevant part): 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 7104: (a) Offense defined.–A person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree if he pretends for gain or lucre, to tell fortunes or predict future events, by cards…”
Lions and tigers and bitches, oh my! Stop telling fortunes or an arrest may be in your future.
Emily confronts Maya and asks why Hanna thought that Emily was taking Maya to the dance. Maya is furious about Emily’s firm stance in the closet. Aria and Ezra loudly discuss their illicit relationship in the hallway. Ezra leaves her hanging with a remark that he figured Aria would be at the dance and he “didn’t get his haircut to impress Mrs. Welch.”
Hanna opens the rigged door and rifles through peoples’ personal medical records like it’s no big deal. When she can’t find Jenna’s file, she calls Spencer for help, but of course her phone dies. The girls’ phones never die when “A” is harassing them, just when they actually need their cell phones.
Back at the school, Toby brings Emily to the chemistry lab and Alex leaves the dance, because he believed Melissa’s lie. When Spencer asks Melissa where Alex went, her triumphant response is, “He left, do I have to tweet it to you?” Spencer would probably just retweet it without giving Melissa any credit. In the chem lab, Toby asks Emily about Maya, then says that he’s done some things that he’s not proud of, and everybody has secrets. He closes the door to create a nice murder movie vibe.
Hanna returns with Toby’s file. Let’s discuss what has happened:
Broken Law # 5 Alert!: It is not legal to steal or disclose an individual’s personal medical records. 45 CFR § 160.102: HIPAA Privacy Rule (Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information) : Basically, it is a HIPAA violation for a healthcare provider to disclose a patient’s personal health information. For criminal charges, the disclosure has to be intentional, but for civil charges, the healthcare provider can be held liable if the disclosure is a result of willful neglect. (42 U.S.C. § 1320d-6). Under this statute, the maximum penalty for one instance of disclosure of private health information is $100.
Now, that’s only in regards to Toby’s doctor. Hanna is in a lot of trouble too if she gets caught.
Broken Law # 6 Alert! Burglary (in relevant part) : 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3502: “(a) Offense defined.–A person commits the offense of burglary if, with the intent to commit a crime therein, the person:
“(d) Multiple convictions.–A person may not be sentenced both for burglary and for the offense which it was his intent to commit after the burglarious entry or for an attempt to commit that offense, unless the additional offense constitutes a felony of the first or second degree.” Here, it would depend on the decision regarding the grading of the theft.
ETA additionally, if Toby were to sue Hanna for what she has done, she could be found LIABLE for the TORT of INVASION OF PRIVACY. Pennsylvania follows the second restatement of Torts. Intrusion on Seclusion (in relevant part): Restatement (Second) of Torts § 652B: “One who intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs or concerns, is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy, if the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.”
Broken Law # 7 Alert! : 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3921. Theft by unlawful taking or disposition.
The reason Hanna returned with TOBY’S file and not Jenna’s is because it turns out this was his doctor and Jenna only went there for one visit to talk about how she felt about Toby coming back home. The file contains information about Toby and Jenna having an inappropriate step-sibling sexual relationship. There’s a flashback to Ali screaming at Toby that she has looked through his window and “If you talk, I’ll make sure everybody knows you were doing it with her!”
Legal Note: Some states have anti-voyeurism statutes forbidding someone to look through a person’s window that way. However, in order for Pennsylvania’s law to apply, the person must be looking through the window for her own sexual pleasure/gratification.
I don’t know what type of things Ali’s into, but I don’t think that’s what she was doing.
ETA** but she could have been liable for the above mentioned tort of invasion of privacy in the same way that Hanna could be liable to Toby. These girls just keep invading that boy’s privacy, but HE is supposed to be the creepy one?
Broken Law # 8 Alert: Intimidation of Witness or Victims (in relevant part): Pa. Stat. Ann. Title 18 § 4952: Click on that link for a reminder of our discussion of the illegality of Ali’s threatening Toby in the entry on “To Kill A Mocking Girl.”
Back in real time, the girls, armed with only a stolen file and a tattoo as their “proof,” have deemed Toby a murderer. He killed Ali, end of story, commence blowing up Emily’s phone. Toby begs Emily not to answer her phone because he wants Emily to know what he did last summer. Emily begins to get freaked out by Toby’s demeanor and behavior. She gets even more afraid when she receives a text from one of the girls that reads, “You’re with Ali’s killer. We have proof!”
Emily turns to leave and Toby grabs Emily’s arm and tugs it, begging her to wait and listen. Emily pounds Toby in the face and shoves him as hard as she can… into GLASS! Hello there, broken law.
(Potential) Broken Law # 9 Alert! : Aggravated Assault : 18 Pa.C.S. § 2702: “a) Offense defined.–A person is guilty of aggravated assault if he: (1) attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another…”
(b) Grading.–Aggravated assault under subsection (a)(1)… is a felony of the first degree.”
**This is labeled as a potential broken law, because depending on how hard Toby grabbed her arm (I couldn’t really tell if he used a lot of force or not), she could have had a reasonable belief that she needed to use that amount of force to protect herself. If so, Emily might have the justification of self defense. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 505 (in relevant part) : “the actor believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion…”
Of course if it were to be decided that Toby used enough force when he grabbed Emily’s arm, he could be found guilty of simple or aggravated assault. We have finally reached a conclusion of the broken laws in this episode!
This is definitely not your typical homecoming dance.
Emily notices Toby’s tattoo and knocks a stool loudly onto the floor in a fit of horrified rage. She runs away, and Toby chases her. She’s terrified, but it doesn’t actually seem like Toby was chasing her in a threatening way. Emily runs frantically while screeching, “get away from me” and “leave me alone!” Then she falls flat on her face by no fault of Toby’s.
The episode ends with someone, presumably “A,” painting over the population sign in Rosewood indicating that there is one less person living in the town now.
Alright, that’s all for now. Thanks for your patience, this entry took a lot more research than I expected. I’ll catch you next time for the Homecoming Hangover!