A lot of bad things have happened to the Pretty Little Liars (and their friends and families) since Alison DiLaurentis came back from the dead. Emily lost Paige. Spencer’s parents decided to get a divorce. Toby’s house went kablooey. Aria, you know, killed someone. Ezra was shot in the gut. Oh, and let’s not forget that Ali herself’s been through the wringer. Her mother was murdered and then she was nearly strangled to death in her own living room. Considering all this, the group seems to be coping fairly well. They’re not all hiding in the bathtub, clutching a kitchen knife and mumbling the lyrics to Pharrell’s “Happy” over and over again, which is what I’d be doing.
The person who seems to be having the most trouble coping is actually Hanna Marin. Hanna hasn’t been struck by any great tragedy, per se. She hasn’t lost a limb or a parent or even a beloved pet. Sure, Travis dumped her, but it’s because the love of her life came back to her, #HalebForever, amen. Not too bad, right? But there is one thing Hanna did lose upon Ali’s return and it’s something no one else can understand: she lost her identity. Before Alison disappeared, Hanna was nothing but a shadow. She was unhappy with her looks, had very few friends and zero popularity. Her self-esteem was at negative levels. In Ali’s absence, Hanna was able to become her own person. She lost weight, took pride in her appearance and started to rule Rosewood High. Most importantly, though, she stopped hating herself.
Now that Ali’s returned, Hanna’s fallen right back into her old patterns. Ali bosses her around and treats Hanna like a sad, unintelligent little hanger-on. But this time around, Hanna doesn’t want to settle into that role. She likes herself – or at least she did. Unfortunately, Alison DiLaurentis is a force and Hanna might not be strong enough to fight her. This is why she’s dropped the glam look in favor of goth. This is why she’s clammed up around all her friends, unable to say how she feels. This is definitely why she’s drunk all the time.
It may seem like Hanna’s problems pale in comparison to some of the others – and they do. But Hanna is the heart of this group. She’s the soft, chewy center. While Ali is cutthroat, Spencer is determined, Emily is guarded, and Aria is headstrong – Hanna is open and vulnerable, and this makes her more inclined to spiral when she can’t let people in. With Alison back, she’s lost her connection to everything else: her mother, her friends, her own identity. Things have been getting worse for Hanna for a while now, but this week’s episode really kicked the girl while she was down.
Let’s review all of the terrible things that happened to Hanna in just one episode:
1. Her boyfriend kind of sucks. Caleb used to be her rock, her voice of reason. Now this semi-alcoholic, post-Ravenswood Caleb just wants to get wasted and hook up. He brings a huge bottle of whiskey for them to split? In a car? On the street? WTF. He wakes up at lunch time. He’s basically dropped out of school. He thinks running off to Japan is a good idea. No, Caleb, Japan is not a good idea. Shut up. Hanna doesn’t need another bad influence in her life. Caleb needs to stop moping around about whatever happened in Ravenswood (I didn’t watch) and go back to helping her, not hurting her. GET IT TOGETHER, CALEB.
2. All her friends are super pissed that she spilled the beans about New York. Of course, no one seems to remember every other time they’ve each been played by someone and revealed something they shouldn’t. I mean, it’s not like several of them have dated people who ended up being A at one point – oh wait, yes they have. Aria dated Ezra for like, two years. Or maybe three months? I don’t know, time is pretty loosey goosey on Pretty Little Liars. Either way, SHUT UP, ARIA.
3. Alison is the number one person Hanna wants to avoid, so of course she goes behind Hanna’s back and gets permission to stay at her house. Even worse, she reels Ashley into her fake kidnapping story, hook, line and sinker. While Ashley doesn’t seem to notice how often Hanna is skipping school and/or smelling like Oktoberfest (as Spencer would say), she is more than willing to provide Ali with all the support she needs. And then she goes and gives Ali the bath salts Hanna wanted to use! RUDE.
4. All Hanna wanted was a tuna melt and what she got was a tuna melt and a pervert! Turns out that Ella Montgomery’s fiancé Zack is kind of a creep. What is up with the men of Rosewood, scamming on high school girls? It’s an epidemic! So now, not only does Hanna have to figure out what to do about Aria’s future stepdad, but she needs to find a new coffee shop to frequent. NOT OKAY.
5. She falls asleep and gets rice krispie treat in her hair and then somehow gets blamed for it. Will no one think of her stylist? SHE JUST HAD HER LOWLIGHTS DONE.
6. Not only was Alison monopolizing all of Ashley’s mom-ability, but she was totally using her at the same time. The stalker, the break-in, all of it was a lie. It was Noel Kahn, doing enough dirty work to get the cops off Ali’s back. Hanna is crying out for help and her mom is too busy being traumatized by stupid Noel Kahn to notice. And, did I mention, the BATH SALTS?
7. No one believes Hanna about Zack. Not one of her friends, even when she is visibly shaken by what happened. In fact, they all question her judgement. Is she sure she wasn’t misinterpreting it? Did she invite his behavior? Maybe she tried to kiss him first? That is some victim-blaming garbage right there, folks. SOME FRIENDS.
Here’s to hoping that Hanna has an easier time next week. Ella’s engagement party is coming up fast – will Hanna be able to get through it sober? Will Zack hit on her again? Will Alison keep ruining her life? And will she ever get to borrow those damn bath salts? Fingers crossed!