'Pretty Little Liars' Recap: Ambiguous Loss
'Pretty Little Liars' Recap: Ambiguous Loss
This week on Pretty Little Liars, Aria and Emily take a trip down memory lane while Spencer and Hanna visit their respective sources in the pokey. 

Both Spencer and Hanna go about trying to get information in uniquely Spencer and Hanna ways. Hanna tries to bribe Mona into talking with anger, bargaining and the final step to the stages of loss: makeover.

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Spencer meanwhile thinks that she can extract the information she needs out of Garrett with the power of her mind. She's almost successful because such is the power of Spencer's scary iron-clad will. (If this was Game of Thrones, Spencer would have everyone beheaded and have that kingdom on lock by episode two.) Unfortunately Spencer has met her match in the only person as scary as she is--her mother.

Aria and Emily are taking trips down memory lane courtesy of mysterious casket earrings and blind girls who can drive. Sometimes rereading the sentences I type in these recaps is just hilarious. We learn more about Aria's role in breaking up her dad and his college mistress Meredith, thanks to some prompting by Alison, the devil on everyone's shoulder. Plus Emily cannot catch a break with her post-blackout memories. The poor girl can't take a jog or a test without remembering how she got chauffeured around by Jenna that night. Also Jenna isn't blind! But we all knew that already.

If last week set up that "A" isn't really gone, this week pushed the knowledge to the forefront. All the girls are falling apart in interesting ways. Emily is of course our biggest mess, but last week had already established that. Even with Ezra Fitz in her corner, it's hard to concentrate on Ethan Frome when you have a real life blind girl trying to drive your life into a tree.

Aria is still dealing with the fallout from her parents' divorce and Alison's terrible/wonderful life advice. Hanna is getting closer to Wren, which is making Caleb feel insecure. And Spencer is trying to decide how many people in this town are guilty of murder so she can make it her personal goal in life to take them all down. Only then can she get back to taking Toby's shirt off as much as possible.

Dead Girls Can't Smile

The episode opens with Ella talking about Hedda Gabler and blackmail, which means that everyone's homework after watching this episode is to read Hedda Gabler. Undoubtedly there will be plenty of call backs to this book. Remember in the first season when Toby was basically Boo Radley, wandering around Rosewood leaving messages for all the liars in trees about how he was innocent? I suspect one of the books mentioned tonight might weave its way thematically throughout the rest of this season.

Emily looks in her bag and is like "sweet, it's a friendship bracelet!" and seconds later she's like "oh god there are teeth on it!" All the girls gather around the bracelet in the bathroom, their unofficial meeting place for important discussions about murder and body parts and lipgloss. Hanna knows they are real teeth because of that time she worked in a dentist's office for five minutes and also because she is the teeth whisperer. While trying to decide whether to give it to the police, they drop it in the toilet and away flushes their evidence.

But Emily has bigger fish to fry than toilet bracelets made out of the teeth of her first girlfriend. She's basically failing all her classes and needs to take between one and one thousand makeup tests in order not to flunk out. Ezra, due to all his experience teaching and then seducing young girls, is put forward by Aria to tutor Emily.

Poor Emily keeps trying to duck her former teacher, but Aria is like Spencer when it comes to pretending her boyfriend has a calling in life besides writing bad poetry.  Aria is as committed to getting Emily tutoring as she is to wearing a perfectly cute dress with the kind of suspenders commonly seen on 80-year-old men sending back soup at a deli. Which is to say, very determined.

Emily seems to be doing fine on her test thanks to a pep talk from Ezra about Ethan Frome. But then she remembers how Jenna was the one driving her the night of the grave robbery and tests are out the window. Ella finishes Emily's test for her because she's wonderful but also as terrible a teacher as everyone else on this show. Now that they're bringing Ethan Frome into the mix, does that mean someone is going to sled into a tree? My guess is Aria and she'll turn all the leaves into giant earrings.

Fatal Attraction

Meanwhile Aria finds another grave present in her locker. It's a pair of earrings she put into Alison's casket to remember all the good times they had, like the one time they trashed her dad's office pretending to be his college-age mistress. Just normal friend stuff!

Aria gets a text threatening to out her to the police if she doesn't tell her dad, so "A" is back to forcing people into uncomfortably honest situations just like always. Her dad is really mad at her but also it's hard to take the high ground when we're talking about the mistress you made your 15-year-old daughter hide for over a year so he lets her off. Aria goes to apologize to Meredith, who is trying to get a job at Rosewood High, for some unknowable reason. Meredith then mentions the earrings aren't actually hers. Mystery!

Riding in Cars with Blind Girls

Spencer, meanwhile, is going to see Garrett in between making out with Toby and asking him pointed questions about his sister's musical camp. It's a good thing that Spencer is so delightful and dresses in this great way that makes her look like a free spirited family member on Little House on the Prairie because she is a little much sometimes.

Garrett isn't all that helpful because he wants her mom to be his lawyer and her mom wants Spencer to stay away from the dangerous people behind bars. "Is Rosewood safe now that one dangerous man is locked up?" Spencer asks angrily. We all know if they locked up all the sketchy people in town there would be no one left. Then who would get you coffee at the Rear Window Brew? 

"Somebody you know well has you completely fooled. People lie, but medical records don't," Garrett tells Spencer. Before she can get more information out of him, however, her mom takes over his case and tells him not to talk to anyone. Especially not her meddlesome daughter!

Meanwhile Toby has done some investigating on his own. I love that Spencer and Toby's entire relationship is based on spying on his blind/not blind sister. Toby figures out that Jenna has been refilling her prescription for eye drops. Why would she need those if the surgery didn't work?

Maybe because it clearly did. Jenna is amazing in this episode, just skulking around every corner lowering her Stevie Wonder eyeglasses and glaring at people. She's also really terrible at pretending to be blind, which is hilarious given how good she generally is at lying. I feel like she's just having a bit too much fun messing with people. As the liars crouch in bathroom stalls, their home away from home, Jenna takes off her glasses and stares at the earrings they placed on the counter.

"I'm ready to hang a sign, b*tch can see!" Aria proclaims, easily winning line of the episode. Spencer looks legitimately crazy, like scarier than Mona, as she proclaims that they have something to use against Jenna now. And exploit it they will! Then she cackles and pets Aria's head like the villain in Inspector Gadget.

Hannibal Mona

Hanna is still seeing Mona, who is still catatonic, no matter how many times Hanna mentions new spring colors or Noel Kahn. Outside in the hallway, Hanna talks to Wren. He mentions his father was also in a mental institution, and he's thrown around more than the chair Hanna tossed in Mona's room. Wren explains to Hanna what she's suffering is ambiguous loss. The person she cares about is still there, but she's lost them anyway. I can't help but think that Ambiguous Loss would be the name of a really awesome girl band that sings spoken word "A" texts.

Hanna finally breaks down and tells Caleb where she's been going when he figures out she's lying. He's hurt she couldn't tell him the truth and accompanies her to visit Mona, even though he doesn't want to. There he bumps into Wren, who parrots the same "ambiguous loss" talk Hanna had mentioned to Caleb earlier. She's vocabulary cheating on you Caleb! Personally, I hope Wren hits on a different liar every season until they hit 18 and he loses interest.

Hanna finally figures out a way to break through to Mona: makeover time! This is super hilarious, and calls back to when Mona brought Hanna makeup in the hospital. Of course, she did this after hitting Hanna with her own car, so that time was more of a mixed bag.

"You're getting them again aren't you? The texts?" Mona finally says. But Hanna can't get Mona to say anything else before she's shuffled out of the room. Also maybe Hanna shouldn't leave pointy tweezers with someone who has routinely tried to kill her and her friends? "The lambs Hanna, can't you hear them screaming?" is for next week I guess.

This week we see a return to the "A" tag. What's "A" up to? Buying some black gloves and hoodies. Enough for a team, so the cashier seems to think anyway.

What did you think of the episode? What was that Garrett was saying about the medical records? Why did Jenna kidnap Emily? Did she dig up the grave? Who's on the "A" team? Leave your theories in the comments below!

Morgan Glennon
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of The CW)

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