The opening moments of this week's episode make it seem like the juiciest one of the entire series. The girls are alone (with the company of Hanna's popcorn bucket) in a mysteriously empty, old-timey movie theater. Suddenly, a hooded figure appears! Is it A? Is it Ian? The menacing villain appears and disappears as the girls attempt to escape. But they can't, until the episode takes a page out of The Wizard of Oz handbook ... and it's all just a dream. All of the murder attempts and break-ins are finally taking a toll on Spencer, and she can no longer sleep.
Unfortunately, the dream sequence was probably the most exciting part of this week's episode. It wasn't a bad one, per se. It just didn't have as many jaw dropping moments as I've grown accustomed to.
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Nonetheless, two ex-fiances are back in the picture, including British hottie Wren (Melissa's ex) and Jackie (Ezra's ex.) And Wren might just be involved in the whole Ian thing. Ex marks the spot? We'll see about that. There was also ample time for each of the girls to deal with their own slightly more typical mini-dramas when they weren't meeting up in bathroom stalls and Emily's car; they're still under doctor's orders to keep apart.
Slowly but surely, Spencer "Harriet the Spy" Hastings is becoming the star of PLL. Spoby is still going strong, but Toby drops a bomb: he is going to be working for Jason DeLaurentis (which also means shirtless Toby time!) Spencer is none too pleased, as she is becoming more and more suspicious of the living DeLaurentis sibling. And who can blame her?
There is definitely someone else lurking around his house, he seems to be expecting Melissa at his door, and there are some bloodied napkins in his trash (Jason: "Uhhh ... I cut myself"). Plus, Spencer flashes back to a time when Ali came over all shaken up over a party that Jason was throwing. She wonders, "Where was Jason the night of Ali's murder?" and we're supposed to wonder the same thing. However, it's starting to look like the whole Jason thing is a red herring.
Nevertheless, Spencer wants Toby out of there, so she pawns Melissa's engagement ring (temporarily, hoping to get it back in 2 days, but I'm wondering with what money?) and buys Toby a truck so he can take a job further away from Rosewood, i.e. further away from Jason. In return for the truck, Toby gives Spencer an, "I love you." Fair trade, they're really cute. Plus, they're Ian Harding's favorite PLL couple.
Speaking of Melissa's ring, it went missing at the beginning of the episode until Spencer found it behind a toaster. But the ring is the least of Melissa's concerns. The elder Hastings sister keeps sneaking off to make phone calls, presumably to Ian. Spencer tries to bond with Melissa for protection, but Melissa blows her off and tells her not to make her choose between Spencer and Ian. We find out what Melissa's calls were really about, but I'll save that for the end.
Not too much on the Hanna front in this episode, but her parents are getting chummier by the second. Dad's marriage to Isabel is on the rocks, and Mom is ready to swoop right in, it appears. That's why Hanna intercepts and deletes a conciliatory text from Isabel, fearful that it might stunt her parents' reunion effort.
Meanwhile, Lucas is back in the picture, and invites Hanna to do layout for the yearbook because she doesn't have friends anymore. She learned that Caleb is now squatting in his basement, and tries to act casual. Hanna quickly observes that Lucas has a crush on Danielle from the yearbook staff, and tells her some lies to get her to like him. I'm sensing a pattern here ... Hanna does bad things with good intentions. But, we'll just have to see where that leaves her...
Emily is still packing her bags for Texas, y'all, because she only has a "maybe" note from Danby. She decides to take matters into her own hands and creates a fake letter assuring her a scholarship. Good girl Emily decides to take a walk on the wild side. In Emily's car, Aria and Hanna play angel and devil concerning the fake letter, and Hanna seems to win out after reciting what should be the Pretty Little Liars motto, "You're not lying, you're just retelling the truth."
So, Emily decides to send the fake letter until her mom finds ... a stuffed gingerbread doll? This apparently reminds mom that she hasn't been extremely supportive of Emily's sexuality, and leads to a tearful heart to heart. Good girl Emily wins out and she tears up and throws away the fake. Too bad A makes all of the decisions here. The letter is still mailed, and Emily finds a note in her trash from A saying: "You can't play cat and mouse if the mouse moves to Texas. I need you here, Em. Congrats -A" This is the only direct contact from A this week, and it's good news, for now, because Emily gets to stay.
Aria is not a stalker. She is just branching out and taking a college level pottery course at Hollis University, and if she happens to run into Jackie, it would be a complete coincidence. Right. So Aria heads to Hollis with some sort of growth in her hair and she kisses Ezra with Jackie creepily watching in the background.
When Aria walks into the class, she realizes that Jenna is in it too! Seriously, how do they have time for this? Anyways, Aria gives the fake name "Anita" to hide her identity from Jenna. However, Anita ends up alone with Jenna who enlists in her help. This leads to a tearful monologue from Jenna about light and shadows and the sun and it almost makes me feel bad for her, until she gets all creepy again. She suddenly recognizes Aria's voice, throws a hissy fit and makes Aria turn out the lights ... because Jenna only operates when things are weird and spooky. The camera does a sinister close-up of Jenna, and something about that girl is scary in every single way.
The girls decide to follow Melissa after one of her secretive calls, and it leads them to Melissa approaching a car with a male driver. It turns out that it's not Ian, but Wren. He hands her a package of painkillers, and the girls deduce that they're for the ailing zombie Ian. How does Wren fit into this whole picture?
The episode ends at the pawn shop. The store owner sells the engagement ring back to our favorite gloved character, claiming he never thought it was Spencer's in the first place. He doesn't pause to wonder why this shady character in gloves is more trustworthy, but that's neither here nor there. A (probably) has the ring now, and it will definitely come back to haunt Spencer and the rest of the girls.
Next week we should be learning the truth about Ian, and hopefully the payoff will make up for this week's mostly uneventful episode.
(Image courtesy of ABC Family)