This week on Pretty Little Liars
, Spencer and Jason go on a family bonding trip to track down murder evidence while Hanna and Emily set up a trap for 'A.' Surprising exactly no one, this trap is not at all effective. When have their traps ever worked in finding 'A'? At least no one ended up swinging from a bell tower or, of all the humanity, with glass in their hair
This season of Pretty Little Liars
hit the ground running with a midnight grave robbing and never really stopped for air. This week, the show is more jogging in place than really sprinting. This gives us a chance to settle down from the crazy hats and Jenna eyes of last week to take a breather with our favorite liars. As great as the big, dramatic episodes are it's nice sometimes to take a moment and take stock of the characters.
So where is everyone at emotionally after all the revelations so far this season? Aria has put away her thinking cap from last week to wonder if her boyfriend is secretly murdering teenage girls in his spare time. Nope, just dating them! Spencer is back on the case, like an obsessive Nancy Drew. Emily is still dealing from the fallout of that one night she took a tour around the town and then dug up a body. And Hanna? Hanna is on the warpath and she isn't messing around after her breakup with Caleb.
This week revealed a few revelations and more flashback tidbits in which Alison said mysterious things mysteriously and then sauntered off. While the story only took a few steps forward instead of the flying leaps we're used to, the episode itself was beautifully shot. Between Emily's time in the Edward Hopper cafe and Hanna's church horror movie moment, at times this episode looked like a painting. Just like on screen, the shadows are gathering around the girls and soon one of their former enemies will be on the loose again. What's 'A's game? Who knows, but Spencer and the girls played into it perfectly this week.Drawer Full of Bills
Aria is texting the girls about their latest scheme to unearth A while nearby, Ezra sits in the weirdest pair of pajama pants ever. It looks like he's wearing a constellation as pants. I feel like those pants are definitely something Aria got him because they seemed so at touch with the universe or something like that. Maybe she picked them out because they are star-crossed lovers due to age and statutory laws? The point being that these pants are hideous.
Aria is thinking about blowing off her first day on the job with Laurel the photographer but Ezra advises her to go. Someone's got to bring home the bacon Aria! Or in this case the organic kale salads or whatever it is these two eat when they're not taking photos of each other with vintage cameras. Yes, this is a thing that happens and it is just as gross and adorable and hilariously nerdy as you'd think. I guess at least no one had a bag on their head.
I can't even describe the poses Ezra makes in these photos. My favorite is the shot of him biting a newspaper. He should send that along with his resume. Ezra Fitz: poetry, underage girls, finds newsprint delicious. I would hire him.
While searching for something in his drawer, Aria stumbles across a whole mess of money. Well versed in the ways of shady people trying to kill her, Aria knows a strange situation when she sees one rolled up in a sock drawer. She bounces out of his apartment and tries to ask Spencer about Jason's reward money without asking. It can't be the reward money though, because we saw Jason writing a check. So unless Ezra cashed the check right into cash so he could cuddle into a giant pile of money (which is a valid choice) I doubt his stash has anything to do with Jason.
Ezra tells Aria that he got the money selling an old car he wanted to refurbish. But his guilty glance back at the drawer tells differently. So I'm starting a betting pool! Just how did Ezra get the money? My top choices are he A) became an ultimate fighting champion by exclusively fighting against guys with heart conditions; B) started freestyling his poetry on the street corners and got signed to a record label under his street name Fizzy Fitz; or C) he's gone the Breaking Bad
route and started cooking meth in his closet with one of his former students. My money is on Jenna. A Blurry Cafe
Meanwhile Emily goes to the address Hanna found her jacket came from last week. The address leads her to the Edward Hopper cafe, where she sits down and stares at a maze. Suddenly things get hazy and Emily remembers something else from that night. She was at the cafe and a man with a tattoo on his wrist grabbed her. On her place mat someone had written "I'm sorry I left you."
When Emily meets up with Hanna later at the church function, she bumps into Holden. Hey Holden, how you been? Still in that fight club? Apparently, Holden has taken to going to underground parties that require a stamp on the wrist, just like Emily saw in her flashback. He says he once saw one of Emily's girlfriends there, but doesn't qualify which one. The dead one? The other dead one? The one that tried to drown her? The vampire? Be specific Holden!
Holden's life is so interesting though, I wish we saw more of him. I want to find out what other things Holden does in his spare time. Bungee jumping? Parasailing? Justin Bieber concerts? More Holden I say! Emily seems to remember Holden being there, but was it just the power of suggestion?
I cannot get over how much Emily got accomplished that night. First she took a car ride with a blind girl. Then she ran down the middle of the street, only to end up in the Edward Hopper cafe doing a brain puzzle with Holden. After that she somehow made it to the graveyard to dig up Alison's body. You have to hand it to drugged Emily; she really has excellent time management skills. The Church Party
Hanna's plan to reveal A at a creepy church at night is thankfully torpedoed by Ted, her mom's church crush, who informs her that the church is throwing a party. But Hanna has already left the note about the party under Garrett's mother's wristband, so she feels committed to the idea. Especially since Mrs. Reynolds flat lined while she was in the room, causing Hanna and Spencer to run away in the most obvious way possible.
At the party, Ashley freaks out because her new date is a pastor and her old blackmail hookup Detective Wilden is in the building. Hanna forces Spencer to send Toby along as her date for reasons completely unknown and unjustifiable. It does give us the fairly amusing pairing of Hanna and Toby (Hoby?), who I don't' believe have ever really shared scenes up to this point. Toby quickly realizes he's being used, but not why. I'm not sure how he hasn't figured out Spencer is back into murder mystery mode, especially since murder mysteries are their favorite romantic pastime.
Hanna heads after Holden and straight into the second creepiest church in Rosewood, narrowly trailing that church in which Ian once tried to kill Spencer. My god Hanna, never go into a creepy church at night when you're whole life is about someone trying to kill you! That is like horror movie 101!
Instead, she's merely confronted by Wilden. He knows she wrote the note and he thinks she and the girls are trying to protect Garrett. The Missing Evidence
Just like Hanna, Spencer means business this week. Instead of trying to lure out 'A,' Spencer is trying to solve the mystery of April Rose. This week, Hanna and Spencer are spirit animals in their bloodhound-like pursuit of 'A.'
One of the best scenes of the episode is also between the two of them when they discuss how 'A' has ruined all of their lives. Spencer says she often used to think about how much easier her life would have been if she had never met Ali. But then, she says, she would never be friends with the rest of the girls. As wacky as this show can often get, it's the very real and lived-in friendships of these girls that really grounds the whole proceedings.
Spencer calls on Jason to see if he has any information on the mysterious April Rose. Was she one of the girls the NAT club used to spy on? Jason says the whole spying gambit was his idea but that he just watched, instead of recording. Apparently they also had deals with several girls who would set up their friends to be spied on. Rosewood really is the creepiest town of all time.
With Jason's help, they discover April Rose is actually an antique shop. There they find an anklet that used to belong to Alison. In Alison flashback land, we find out Alison got the anklet from "a friend" and was going to abandon Spencer to go to a party with possibly that same friend, who was female. Jason pays good money for the anklet and they turn it over to the police.
The two then have one of my favorite conversations of the episode. They discuss whether or not Alison would have always stayed a psychopath or if she would have eventually become a real person, like a crazy blackmailing Pinocchio becoming a real girl. Jason thinks eventually Alison would have found the real human being underneath but Spencer isn't so sure. All she ever finds is more layers to Alison's crazy. That's all we ever see too, just a Russian nesting doll of crazy when it comes to Alison.
At home, Spencer finds out they played right into A's hands. The evidence is something the police have been looking for all along. It had Alison's blood and the blood of another unknown person, who wasn't Garrett. This is enough to get Garrett released. Upstairs Spencer has a pillow beating, full on crying breakdown before getting an appreciative text from the new 'A.' "Hey Spence, I have one more surprise for you. Garrett isn't' their killer."'A' tag:
'A' is chilling out, eating some sorbet and looking for apartment rentals. As 'A' tags go, it's pretty tame.
Next week, Mona uses a pair of tweezers, some playing cards and a Vogue magazine to jail break the insane asylum and come after the liars like an omnipresent MacGyver suffering from hyper-reality.
What did you think of this week's episode? What's going on with Holden? Did 'A' want Garrett released from prison? And how did Ezra get that money? Share your theories in the comments!
(Image courtesy of ABC Family)