When it comes to providing episodes with appropriate titles, many televisions shows take the straightforward, obvious route. Not Pretty Little Liars though! In the wondrous world that is known as the PLL writers’ room, episode names (usually cryptic takes on popular novels and films) hold a lot of importance in terms of encouraging thoughtful analysis of upcoming plot twists and inspiring new theories about the Red Coat and A team mysteries. Thus, when ABC Family unveils the name of each PLL chapter, we’re as excited as Hanna Marin would be upon spotting a pair of strappy Miu Miu stilettos at a sample sale.
And believe it or not, although the Season 3 finale just aired, we already know the names of a few Pretty Little Liars Season 4 episodes! The premiere is “‘A is for Alive’” and its follow-up hour is “Turn of the Shoe.” As for the third episode? It’s called “Cat’s Cradle,” which happens to be the title of Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical science fiction novel in which ordinary folks get caught up in a dangerous game. Cat’s Cradle is also a game, consisting of a variety of string figures, that is played by two or more people.
In a nutshell, the narrator (John) in the story sets out to research the devastation that ailed Hiroshima after the United States dropped an atomic bomb over the city. He decides to interview Newt, the midget son of a Nobel prize-winning physicist and one of the fathers of the atomic bomb. John asks Newt to recall the events of that terrifying day but Newt was only six at the time of the watershed tragedy and he only remembers playing with his toy trucks while his dad played cat’s cradle with a piece of string. He and Newt engage in a rather serious discussion about the affect this memory has had on his viewpoints and beliefs system:
“’No wonder kids grow up so crazy. A Cat’s Cradle is nothing but a bunch of X’s between somebody’s hands, and little kids look and look at all those X’s…’
‘No damn cat, and no damn cradle.’”
So what’s the takeaway? That certain things might tickle your fancy at first glance, but when you start digging into the meaning of everything and hunting down the truth, your quest might lead you down a dark road in which you’ll never find what you’re looking for and end up being destroyed in the process. Just like cat’s cradle, life is an intricate web of lies that ultimately leads you astray and then right back to where you started.
There’s way more to the novel, including a visit with a bizarre
cult movement religion called Bokononism (run by interconnected, influential leaders) that celebrates the fact that the ideals it;s based on are actually not true, but it would take too long to explain. However, in comparison to PLL, there are a lot of connections to be noted especially with the following themes: the allure of an organization’s “forbidden glamour” (N.A.T Club? A Team?) and the popularity of “falsehoods,” particularly how they can be beneficial and how searching for answers in someone’s past is antithesis of that. Truth doesn’t lead to unity — it leads to chaos and deviation within a group. (Alison did warn everyone in Season 1 that, “you’re always better off with a really good lie.”) Plus, we know that Mrs. DiLaurentis is returning to the show and we have a feeling that we will witness some harrowing flashbacks involving her mysterious family members — perhaps maybe a pivotal memory of a simple day gone bad that changed the course of everything.
What do you think of the Pretty Little Liars Season 4, Episode 3 title? What does Cat’s Cradle symbolize to you in terms of PLL?