This week on Pretty Little Liars,
Mona plays evil Yoda to Hanna only to ultimately double-cross her in the nicest way possible. If I wasn't already convinced Mona was in big gay love with Hanna, I certainly would be after this episode.
Elsewhere, Spencer continues to play Nancy Drew, while Emily is still the only one actually concerned about getting into college.
Meanwhile, off in storyline limbo, where she lives permanently sewing her outfits out of spare bits of discarded comic books and leftover feathers, Aria does nothing more than shill for Insidious 2. Hey, did you know it's coming out next weekend? Now you do!
We're more than halfway through this first part of season 4 (or season 4a or whatever ABC Family calls these half seasons) and this episode is definitely paced much slower. A lot has happened this season so far, and not much of it has been good for the liars. Most of the girls are finding their lives in turmoil and their families put under more strain than ever before.
In particular, this is a big emotional episode for Hanna and Emily. Sometimes, the rapid pacing on Pretty Little Liars doesn't always leave the audience a lot of room to dwell on just how badly things have gotten. Last season, the multiple episodes in Radley let you really feel Spencer's pain and anguish. This season, it's poor Hanna being put through the ringer, and her emotional phone conversation with her mother is a standout performance by Ashley Benson in an already strong season for her.
Throughout the first part of this season, Emily and Hanna have suffered the most at 'A's hands, especially when it comes to their family. Poor Hanna is now looking down the barrel of her mom being carted off to the state prison, while Emily is living in a hotel because a car came crashing through her front window.
Both Emily and Hanna have had to say goodbye, in a way, to the version of their futures they had always assumed would be waiting. Without being able to swim, Emily suddenly has to fight for her future far, far away from Rosewood. While Hanna doesn't want to face a future with her mom behind bars.
Emily might finally be looking on the bright side, but Hanna's decisions have all been fueled by self-preservation and fear. We find out just how far she's willing to go this week to save her mom (here's a hint: do no pass go, do not collect $200) until she's bailed out at the last minute by one of the most unlikely sources.
What is Mona up to? Is this just because she loves Hanna or does she have another plan cooking? It's hard to know with Mona, but you can be sure her evil mastermind brain is probably already 10 steps ahead.
Mona Plays Evil Mentor
Upon hearing her mom not only won't get out on bail but will end up transferred to another prison, Hanna's brain quietly implodes. She tells the rest of the girls she needs some time to herself and then puts up the Mona bat signal, which is probably like a creepy doll in this season's latest fashion.
Mona, wasting no time, shows up in the kitchen to talk dramatically about living the lie like she is the head of a community college drama department. She looks so dramatically evil sitting in Hanna's kitchen in the establishing long shot, I half expect her to be petting a white cat.
Throughout the episode, Mona teaches Hanna how to "live in the lie," which is like watching Mr. Miyagi teach Daniel-san how to wax on, wax off. To save her mom, Hanna has decided to take the fall for her by claiming she was the one who killed Wilden. So Mona and Hanna come up with a plausible story of how the "murder" went down.
"Make it self-defense," Mona advises, before helping Hanna cook up a story with almost no self-defense component. This isn't Florida, I'm pretty sure they should have made Wilden a little more threatening than "standing there while sneering."
Here's an important question: why do the Marins make all their poor life choices in the kitchen? Is the kitchen located on an ancient burial ground and the poltergeists are making them do it? Almost every stupid Marin decision is dreamed up between the kitchen island and the Rosewood Lasagna Box Bank and Trust.
After a conversation with Ashley Marin about how her daughter is 100% like her and thus likely cooking up something really dumb, Caleb comes over to see Hanna and Mona talking.
"Kids prison is still prison!" Caleb says in my favorite sentence of the episode. Next season on Orange is the New Pretty Little Liars, everyone learns and grows in juvie until someone gets shanked with some uncooked lasagna noodles.
Hanna's dumb plan is foiled from within, however, when Mona struts into the police station and confesses to the murder herself. "You see, officers, Wilden was threatening Hanna, who I love so much, I ran her over one time with my car. So I shot him. Twice. In self-defense, of course! Question: do they have paper mache classes in prison? What's security like in Kidz Jail? If, say, I looked at a board game, would it lead me to an open window where I can come and go as I please? Asking for a friend."
A Car Rammed Through My Window and All I Got was This Crappy Hotel Room
Elsewhere, Emily and Pam are having a pretty terrible time since a mysterious driver plowed into the front of their house. The police are just basically like, "LOL, that's Rosewood for you! There's a vehicular-related incident on days that end in y." What do you think insurance premiums are like in Rosewood?
Emily goes to Fitz for college prep, because when I think about making smart decisions about my future, Ezra Fitz is literally the first person I imagine. Fitz tells Emily to stop dwelling on the negatives, like the fact that she can no longer get a swimming scholarship, and look at all she's got going in her favor. For instance, that one summer she did Habitat for Humanity in Haiti. "Wait, I did that?" Emily asks, more or less confirming she was inebriated that entire summer.
So Emily calls up her old Habitat boss, which is basically just an excuse for Rumer Willis to show up and be Rumer Willis. Look, it's a guest star! Rumer Willis gets Emily all excited about going to Nicaragua next summer and taking on more of a leadership position.
But when Emily tells her mom about it, Pam breaks down crying in a really heartbreaking scene. Is it because Emily is leaving or is it because there's no way she's going to be able to afford to send Em anywhere without a job? Who knows! The heart isn't always logical when someone drives a car directly into your picture window.
Corruption at Radley? Shocking!
Spencer is still on a mission to find some kind of clue that is useful to the liars. You can tell Spencer is on the case because she's got on a business tie like she's a junior assistant at the law firm of Hogwarts, Gryffindor and Annie Hall.
Coming home, there are boxes of Wilden's papers everywhere and a cute legal intern from her mom's law office. Spencer makes off with Wilden's file on Toby's mom's suicide and heads back for Radley and Eddie Lamb. Eddie says Toby's mom fell from the roof, while Wilden's report said it was a window. Spencer seems weirdly shocked that there is corruption at this fine institute known as Radley, where you can follow a magical board game to escape out an open window.
Later, Spencer shows her mom the report and mentions that the corruption means someone must have been paying Wilden off to keep quiet about what really happened at Radley. Veronica Hastings is like, "Can we not talk about that time you stopped brushing your hair and dressed like that little girl from The Ring?" Before they can fight it out Hastings style, which probably involves a lot of menacing puns, they both get the call about Mona's confession.
Aria Wants You To See Insidious 2
Aria wanting to see Insidious 2 is pretty much the least realistic thing that happens this episode. Unless Insidious 2 is secretly an art house German silent film with subtitles, I doubt Aria would be into it. Aria is way too pretentious for that.
But also, Aria's whole life is a horror movie. If Aria was going to watch commercial cinema, I'm pegging her as more of the secret romantic comedy watcher than a horror fan. When you've actually been locked in your basement by your dad's crazy girlfriend who just drugged you, I'd assume horror movies would lose some of their magic.
"Oh look, a ghost. That's totally not as scary as the time a talking doll almost killed me. Or that other time I was almost thrown off a moving train and only managed to save myself with a rusty screwdriver." She'd be the worst person to see a horror movie with. She would be just so over everything.
I'm focusing on the product placement portion because the rest is so paper thin it's barely even a C-storyline. Aria has a conversation with Mike about his teammates and discovers he's going to martial arts. So she calls up Jake, who tells her the team might be giving Mike a hard time. At home alone, she calls Mike, but his friend picks up and then leaves her on hold. Which is way rude, but no reason to call out an ABP.
Instead, she calls Jake, who has never seen a shirt he didn't think would look better without sleeves. His whole life is an invitation to the gun show. Turns out Mike is fine, because obviously he's become scrappy living in the walls and attic of the Montgomery house for the last few years like their own version of The Phantom of the Opera.
Jake tells her there's no romantic pressure, he's just cool sitting here watching the trailer for Insidious 2 on a loop. "Oh, I loved the first one," Lucy Hale says, her soul dying a bit in her eyes. Not only does Aria get stuck cleaning up all the wine stains, now she's shilling for upcoming movies? Hasn't she been through enough?
What did you think of this week's episode? Why did Mona confess? Who paid off Wilden to cover up Toby's mom? And what will Hanna do now? Share your theories in the comments!
(Image courtesy of ABC Family)