This week on Pretty Little Liars
, Ezra knows when you are sleeping and he knows when you're awake. He knows when you've been popping pills, so hide your prescription pads for goodness sake!
Elsewhere, Shana finally gets scared badly enough to hop off the Alison DiLaurentis emotional manipulation express, while Emily firmly takes over conductor duties. Next stop: having your heart crushed into a million pieces!
Hanna uses her new-found detective skills to piece together the case of the unwashed Spencer, and finds out more than she bargained for. Hanna's trip down James Patterson lane might have given her the ability to profile her friends, but Spencer owns a mansion on Nancy Drew Boulevard. She was born with a lock pick in one hand and a magnifying glass in the other.
It's All About Chickpeas
Meanwhile, Aria, completely oblivious to everything as usual, doesn't seem to notice Ezra taking photos while she sleeps and measuring her for a skin suit. "How romantic!" Aria says, thinking of how mature she'll look wearing her new necklace of human teeth.
"Your friends will never understand our love," Ezra says, "for it is mature and sophisticated. And like this murder cabin full of belligerent chickpeas, there's nothing menacing about our relationship at all. Our love is pure like the driven snow. By the way, can you put this video camera in Spencer's bedroom for me? It's just for normal teacher stuff."
The creepier Ezra gets, the most delightfully batty this show becomes, and the more fun it is to watch Ian Harding's performance. After years of being stuck as the stuffy romantic lead, he's finally been let loose to chew on some scenery. And judging by Ezra's crazy eyes and weird relationship with vegetables, that scenery sure looks delicious.
The scene where Ezra sends Aria out for chickpeas is perhaps one of the most unintentionally funny things I've seen on television recently. From the scary rock music to the amazing editing, I've never in my life seen a more menacing can of chickpeas.
Of course, it's all in the service of reminding the audience just how dangerous Ezra truly is. We see he's moved his Ravenswood lair (ugh, too many ghosts!) into the hidden room under the murder cabin floorboards. There, he has pictures of the girls going about their daily routines of thieving, fighting and drug dealing.
It seems all but assured that Ezra has someone else on the 'A' team. Is it really possible he was taking all of those pictures? Still, it's amazing how technologically advanced Ezra is for a guy who does all his work on a vintage typewriter.
Hanna, with her new detective skills, immediately notices that Spencer is looking a little "Radley" lately. I wonder why that isn't a commonly used colloquialism in town, considering how often people come and go from that facility. Spencer tries to play off her shady behavior, but it's obvious something is wrong.
First of all, she looks like an extra from Breaking Bad. But more damning, she's wearing a hoodie and jeans like a normal teenager, instead of something that looks like it came from the Laura Ingalls Wilder collection. "Spencer isn't dressing like a pilgrim lawyer today. Something is terribly wrong," Hanna says, writing down the clues in her FBI-issued field agent notebook.
After a full night of researching Ezra while hopped up on ADHD medication, Spencer needs more of that sweet, sweet focus. Getting addicted to a drug which also works as a study aid is just so Spencer Hastings.
Spencer is desperate for another fix. "I need to prove my friend's boyfriend is a serial killer!" Spencer says, color coding the clues on her wall like Carrie Mathison from Homeland. Ezra Fitz is her own personal Abu Nazir.
So Spencer turns to Brenda, the best high school drug dealer in the history of the universe. Brenda is really not feeling it when Spencer questions why five pills is going to cost $50. "Don't haggle, Spencer," she says like a sassy, argyle-wearing Walter White, "It's tacky." Instead of Ravenswood, I kind of wish this girl had gotten her own spin-off. "I'm the one who knocks Spencer."
So Spencer forks over the cash to Heisen-Brenda and continues popping pills like a mad woman. While not doing anything spectacular for her beauty regime, the pills do seem to be helping her put the pieces together. She finds Ezra's Ravenswood lair up for rent, but can't find out the name of the previous owner.
In a really great moment, Spencer calls Aria and almost leaves a message about how this bad news will break her heart. And if Spencer is wrong, Aria will hate her and then it will break Spencer's heart. At the core, this show is about the strong bond of friendship between these girls.
Even without the 'A' reveal last season, we would have known Ezra was bad news as soon as he started trying to separate Aria from her friends. Romantic relationship come and go -- sometimes they're evil, sometimes they end up buried out back, sometimes they leave you for a ghost -- but the liars' friendship is forever.
Hanna and Spencer: The Buddy Cop Movie
Speaking of friendship, Hanna and Spencer as buddy cops is something I never realized I needed in my life until recently. Hanna quickly puts the pieces together that Spencer is going full-on Radley crazy and stakes out Spencer's house.
"Emily, I learned how to do a proper stakeout at the FBI academy. My profile of Spencer says she is probably hopped up on funny juice right now, taping long lines of red string to her wall. My guess is she's both so excited and so scared right now."
Hanna breaks into Spencer's room the same way everyone breaks into other people's rooms in this show: by politely asking a clueless adult. She sees Spencer's research and meets her at Ezra's building. "No password, Spencer? I expected better," Hanna says, showing that the student has become the master.
As Ezra watches on "Liars TV," Spencer and Hanna nearly let themselves into his apartment. Hanna rightly points out that if Spencer's hunch is true, her profile of the criminal mind of a belligerent hipster psychopath says Ezra wouldn't leave any evidence in his apartment. Just at this moment, Spencer notices the camera in his heating grate with her ADHD drugged-out super vision, and the girls bounce.
As the episode ends, Spencer seemingly has Hanna and Emily willing to entertain the notion that Ezra might be 'A.' But they decide not to tell Aria until they find concrete proof, because Aria would probably impale herself on one of her bedazzled jackets in sorrow.
There's Always Money in the Coffee Grinds
While Spencer and Hanna are forming their own superhero league, Emily is finding it hard to let go of Alison. Hanna is rightfully shaken by having 'A' do some unapproved dental work and wants to drop the Ali search for at least a little while.
But Emily, so loyal and so totally enamored with her emotionally abusive first love, can't really give up the search that easily. She knows Shana knows something, and indeed Shana does.
It seems like Alison has been making calls to Shana using one of the only working phone booths still in existence. "I wasn't sure what this mysterious booth was at first, but then I found a phone inside. Shana, can you imagine? A phone with a cord and everything!"
Alison is running low on money and needs Shana to retrieve some for her from the picture of the two blonde twins in her room. Shana can't quite manage, so Emily is sent in to finish the job.
With nowhere to put the money until meeting up with Shana, she shoves it into a bag of coffee after looking around in vain for a box of penne pasta. "Everyone knows money goes into pasta boxes," Emily says, "but I had to improvise."
Shana never makes their meeting, since she's surprised by someone in her car and knocked out. 'A' seems to be getting more and more violent lately, between this and the "trip to the dentist" last week. Shana is officially freaked out enough to speed away from Rosewood, which is the most reasonable thing anyone has ever done on this show.
Unfortunately, this leaves Alison in the lurch with a dwindling supply of cash. Good god, how will she pay for her flawless manicures?
She looks at a picture of her friends and thinks of the good ol' days when she used to emotionally abuse them, then gets on a bus with the last of her money. Is Ali running out of places to run? And what will happen when Ezra catches up?
Elsewhere in Rosewood...
-- Rage-a-holic Aria continues to be the best form of Aria. "I've got a finger you can use," Aria says at the beginning of the episode, "and it's not the nice kind."
-- Detective Holbrook has acclimated to the lifestyle of Rosewood very quickly. He's already full-out flirting with Hanna, a student at the local high school.
-- The new guidance counselor is still around for Aria's therapy sessions, but he's also there to catch Ezra looking into Spencer's file. What's up with this guy? Will he be able to help the girls or is he just another shady character? I've been trained by this show not to trust any male adult, especially one working at the high school.
-- 'A' has a stack of Wren's prescription pads. Does this mean Wren is on the team? Or just a victim of theft? After all, Wren's medical knowledge would certainly make him the best person for surprise dental work.
What did you think of the episode? How will they get the money to Alison? Will Aria ever figure out she's dating 'A'? Share in the comments!
Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8pm on ABC Family.(Image courtesy of ABC Family)