This week on Pretty Little Liars
, the liars' relationships are tested while Spencer slowly goes insane and no one even notices until she brandishes a giant pair of scissors like a horror movie villain. I'm not saying the girls are bad friends, but the general unwashed and unhinged look Spencer was sporting this whole episode seems like it should have been a tip off that something was wrong. But it's hard to notice your best friend is walking around in a stupor when your own relationships are at risk. Between Paige flirting it up at ladies night, Ezra leaving to meet his son, and Caleb knifing brains in Mona's locker, now isn't a terrific moment in the love lives of our favorite liars.
The follow-up to last week's excellent game-changing episode moved the plot along at a breakneck speed and continued to drop more mysterious breadcrumbs along the way. Secrets were revealed, possible betrayals were uncovered, and a pretty huge discovery about Alison was unveiled.
The emotional cornerstone of the episode, however, was Spencer's emotional and barely contained heartbreak. She walks around all episode with that particular unwashed look only people going through bad breakups sport. Somehow it takes most of the episode for her friends to notice something is seriously wrong with Spencer, but she looks about a hair's breath away from snapping at any moment.
She spends practically the whole episode either yelling at people or crying, her emotions barely contained behind her once-steely Hastings facade. It's thanks to a great performance by Troian Bellisario that Spencer never seems weepy despite her constant crying. Instead she is angry, defiant, and broken. She's finally questioning whether or not the girls might actually deserve the trouble 'A' rains down upon them.
It's exhausting just watching Spencer, whether she's knifing a TV dinner or crying in a car while applying her makeup. She has the spent look of someone who has used up all her tears, yet has somehow still found more.
But the great thing about Spencer, and about this show, is that she's not willing to sit around and be the victim. None of the girls are, whether it's Emily running through the woods after a hooded man or Hanna putting her stalking skills to good use. These girls aren't willing to wait on the sidelines. They have always been proactive instead of reactive, even if the 'A' Team is always ten steps ahead.
As the episode ends, Spencer sends what I can only imagine is a private eye to find out just where Toby's 'A' key leads. She might be in a dark place, but no one sleuths like Spencer Hastings.
Ezra Finds Out
It was only a matter of time before Ezra found out about his son. It was a ticking time bomb sometimes easy to forget about, but which has been waiting to explode Ezra and Aria's cozy relationship for episodes now. This week, Spencer's runaway anger lit the fuse that blew up the secret in Aria's face. And boy, did it explode.
Spencer gives Ezra a piece of her mind about breaking up with Aria for keeping the secret about his son. Except Aria never told him and Spencer just let the cat out of the bag with a little prompting from 'A'. Ezra is like, "I'm sorry unhinged, unwashed girl I used to teach. What was that again?" And Spencer is like "UM" and dashes for her bicycle. Smooth cover Spencer.
Ezra shows up at the school to yell at Aria and then flounce off, because Rosewood High has absolutely zero security. Later he apologizes for going off, since Maggie spilled the beans that she was the one who told Aria to keep mum.
He explains that he's off to meet his son, then melodramatically fights down tears when Aria asks if she can call. Are phone conversations with Aria really that painful? I bet she makes him stay on the line while she bedazzles all her workout clothes.
Aria watches sadly as Ezra drives off like a big drama queen, and it becomes ever more apparent why his relationship with a high school girl is so successful. I mean Aria was nearly killed by her dad's crazy mistress last week and you don't see her being overly dramatic about it!
Was Alison Pregnant?
Perhaps the biggest shocker of the episode is, unsurprisingly, about the person with the most secrets in Rosewood, the secret capital of the United States: Alison DiLaurentis.
Among the things Maya found in her house, and creepy fake!cousin Nate kept as murder trophies, was a biology notebook of Emily's. Instead of using the notebook to pass biology, Alison instead used it to pass notes.
First we follow the note flashbacks to juvie, where Alison is vising Toby. Because it's juvie, Toby is sporting a do-rag, because that's what people in juvie wear. Because it's Toby, he is shirtless for no apparent reason. God bless Pretty Little Liars and all they do for us, but especially for their Toby nudity clause.
Toby doesn't admit to sending the notes, but does say that he would be willing to throw in with anyone who would be willing to harass Alison and her posse. With his shirt open and his Abercrombie good-looks, somehow Toby has made juvie look more like gay porn than a correctional facility.
The next hint in the biology notebook is about a "beach hottie" Alison seems obsessed with and vaguely afraid of. She's discussing it in the notebook with a stranger whose handwriting is oddly familiar. That's because it belonged to Jason's one-time ex and Alison's older friend CeCe Drake.
CeCe explains to Emily that Alison was worried about this "beach hottie" for a very specific reason: she was late and likely pregnant. Alison seemed terrified of what a possible pregnancy might mean, especially if the Cape May hottie in question found out.
In these flashbacks, especially lately, we've gotten to see a much more human and vulnerable side to Alison. That's thanks to some great performances by Sasha Pieterse, who has been working hard to humanize Alison and give her layers as we find out more clues to her story. Alison might have been evil, that's for sure, but she was also much more terrified than she ever consciously let on. The show's lying MVP was in over her head and she was scared.
Emily realizes she can't keep this big clue a secret and gives the notebook over to Detective Wilden. Wilden is creepy as always, even when he tries to have a human moment with Emily's mother. Only Wilden would try to bond with someone about justifiable homicide. Creepy right to the end.
Hanna is none to happy about the idea of Wilden with a key piece of evidence. But both girls realize Emily might have made a huge mistake when they see a picture of Wilden also enjoying the sun at Cape May. Perhaps Wilden killed in more than just self-defense?
Is Pink Drink A Code For Something Gay?
Meanwhile, Ashley Marin is also back this week from dealing with weird ghosts in off-screen-landia and she is fabulous. She keeps asking Hanna to not do stupid stuff, but the stupid stuff draws Hanna like a month to a ladies-night-only flame. So Hanna uses her stalking skills (displayed keenly in last week's episode) to track Paige after hearing her on the phone with Caleb.
Except Paige is at a lesbian club, flirting up a storm with a pretty girl. Hanna is for some reason the stud of the lesbian club and ends up ruining a relationship and briskly carted off to the pokey for underage drinking.
When she explains to her mom about Paige's behavior, Ashley pretty reasonably tells her not to get involved. But this is Hanna and this is Pretty Little Liars, which means that's basically impossible advice to follow.
Elsewhere in Rosewood...
- Emily's mom is working at the police precnicit suddenly and without much of a explaination. So that makes exactly one non-creepy, faintly capable person working at the police station. One.
- Byron tries to make up for the fact that his ex-girlfriend knocked his daughter upside the head and threw her in a basement by telling some stories about fireplaces. I still think you're sketchy Byron.
- The 'A' Team has a bunch of bobbleheads of the liars they apparently got from the Dwight Schrute bobblehead collection. Man, the 'A' Team has a lot of time and disposal income at the ready to make completely dumb and unnecessary gestures. But maybe Hanna should be watching her own back instead of Emily's, because her bobblehead gets a blow torch to the face.
What did you think of this week's episode of Pretty Little Liars? Did you feel horribly for Spencer? What is happening with Paige? And are Ezra and Aria over? Share your theories in the comments!
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(Image courtesy of ABC Family)