This week on Pretty Little Liars
, Alison piles lies on top of lies, Mona prepares her army for war, Hanna gets a case of sticky fingers and Spencer suspects a family member of murder. At this point, it would be more shocking for Spencer to think someone in her family wasn't
a stone-cold killer.
Next week is the 100th episode of Pretty Little Liars
and it looks to be a huge one. There are confrontations and mysterious shadowy figures and Mona and Alison bitch-slapping each other. It's going to be a big episode. This week, however, felt a little bit like wheel-spinning and setup for the big event.
Thankfully, it was some pretty great wheel-spinning. This week's outing was a little quieter than usual, which feels weird to say about an episode where Spencer suspects Mrs. D suffered the same fate as an unlucky opossum. Instead of jumping from one giant shock to the next, we zeroed in on the girls' emotional states as they try to deal with all that's happened.
Happily Ever After?
As Emily says, they've finally gotten what they've always wanted. 'A' is off their back, at least for now, and Alison is back in Rosewood. Everything should be picture perfect, but it's hard to close Pandora's box once it's opened.
There are hints of 'A' everywhere, from ominous shoes under a dressing room door to an ill-chosen screen name from a prying classmate. Yet 'A' does, for the moment, seem to be giving the girls pause. The fact that they're all still on the razor's edge has as much to do with how jumpy they've naturally become after years and years of being terrorized as it does with whatever Mona and company might be planning.
Alison's addition to the liars group has a disquieting effect, which might explain why most of the girls are studiously avoiding her at all costs. The only liar who remains available to Alison is Hanna, who is literally throwing everything possible at the wall in order to remake her identity now that Alison is back in the picture.
Seeing Hanna's weird teenage mid-life crisis unfold, complete with Felicity-esque bad hair choices, makes it a little more understandable that the other girls are trying to give Alison a wide berth. Especially Emily, who clearly doesn't know if her feelings for Alison are platonic, romantic or neither.
In the beginning of the episode, Aria finds a copy of The Scarlet Letter that used to belong to Shana. In the book is an underlined passage about the closeness of love and hate, how both can drive people to do crazy things. The liars should understand this passage well, because both love and hate have always been the cornerstones of their relationship with Alison. Now that Alison is back, the girls might finally have to confront their true feelings for their old friend, and that could be even scarier than 'A'.
What Killed Mrs. D?
Veronica Hastings is looking out the window, upset the dead body recovered from their yard is disturbing the petunias. "So we're both on the same page that Dad killed Jessica DiLaurentis, right?" Spencer asks, not even letting her mom properly mourn her once proud flower bed before jumping into the homicide accusations. Spencer is the greatest person on Earth, but if I was Veronica Hastings I would also probably snap and beat a cop with a daffodil.
Veronica confides to Spencer that Jessica always suspected Spencer of being involved in Alison's murder. The only thing that kept Jessica from going to the police was Peter Hastings threatening to tell her husband about the affair. Once it turned out Alison was alive and with Jessica already divorced, there was now nothing to stop Jessica from pointing the finger in Spencer's direction for the murder of whoever was buried in Alison's grave.
I think all of the girls at this point have either actually killed someone or been suspected of killing someone. They are going to have the most interesting college essays of all time.
With Toby out of town, doing carpenter-things elsewhere, Spencer enlists Andrew to help with the yard work. Andrew, the most GQ and suave high school academic decathlon leader to ever exist, can't resist a chance to help Spencer out.
Andrew appearing makes me worried about Spencer, because he is usually the harbinger of some kind of Spencer breakdown. His strong pectorals are like a banshee wail that Spencer is about to drive right off some kind of mental cliff into crazy town.
"I'm still dating the carpenter," Spencer says when Andrew flirts with her. Every time the show refers to Toby as "the carpenter," it sounds like Spencer is dating Jesus.
Things soon get weird when Andrew finds a dead opossum in the garage who ate some rat poison and Spencer immediately imagines her dad Arsenic and Old Lace'd Mrs. D.
Later, Alison calls Spencer to tell her the coroner report came in. Mrs. D died not of rat poison, but from someone messing with her low blood pressure medication. Spencer lets out a big sigh of relief, and Alison commiserates over weird parental relationships. "Your dad is always probably killing someone, my mom buried me alive. Parents just don't understand!"
It's a really nice moment for Alison and Spencer, who are the two girls most often at odds on the show. Both have big personalities and can be dogged in pursuing what they want, which means they're often at loggerheads. However, both girls can definitely relate to the feeling of not being able to trust their own family.
Spencer says she doesn't even know what to do anymore if she's not constantly accusing family members of murder. Will she have to develop hobbies and outside interests? Will she start watching reality television?
Alison sadly says the monsters they're running from aren't gone, they're just not under the bed anymore. There's no rest for the wicked, and certainly none for the liars, and Alison knows their days of terror are far from over.
Back at home, Spencer notices her father has high blood pressure medication and realizes he could have easily switched out Jessica's medication to stop her heart. So I guess it's back to sleeping with one eye open and murder accusations around the dinner table!
Later, Aria comes to stay over at Spencer's house and rambles on and on about Ezra. Just as Spencer is about to spill the beans about her father's possible murderous tendencies, daddy dearest returns home. He says Veronica freaked out on the police and so he sent her to a "spa." This might be WASP for rehab, or even Radley, or it might be code for buried under the nearest gazebo. You just never know in Rosewood.
Aria Freaks Out
Meanwhile, Aria is slowly unraveling over murdering Shana. She keeps Googling Shana's name and even watches a video of Shana's funeral. Do people really take videos of funerals and upload them to YouTube?
After seeing Shana rise from the coffin, Walking Dead-style, she asks Emily what it was like when she killed Nate. Over in the corner of the room, Spencer pouts because she only nearly killed someone and therefore is not allowed in Aria and Emily's murderers clubhouse.
Pretty Little Liars moves so fast, it's actually quite easy to forget major plot points like Emily's justifiable homicide. It's nice the show is using the Aria storyline to check back in with Emily on how she feels about what happened with Nate, and to watch her help Aria get through her similar situation.
Soon, Aria is visiting Ezra, because backsliding with your ex is step one on the path to crazy town. Ezra tells her he understands her pain, because when she kicked him to the curb for all that lying and manipulating it really hurt his feelings. Instead of punching Ezra in the nads, Aria nods wisely and decides to play checkers and gin rummy with him. She almost sleeps over, but takes off when things get a little too real and familiar again.
It seems pretty likely Aria and Ezra will reconnect, but I hope this isn't the only storyline Aria has on her docket for season 5. It's been so nice to see her tied more closely to the main action for a change, instead of off dealing primarily with her love life while the other girls fight for their lives. The guilt storyline has really given Lucy Hale something meaty to play, and she's been doing a great job with it.
More Lies and a Return to Rosewood High
At Alison's medical checkup, she lies through her teeth about almost everything that happened to her. This includes a pretty gnarly scar on her thigh, which obviously didn't come from jumping out of her fictional kidnapper's car. Then she asks Hanna to give the recording of the medical exam to the other girls so they can all keep their stories straight. When Hanna questions her about the scar, Alison says there are some things you can't un-know once you've known them.
It's a typical mysterious Ali non-answer, but it does point to the fact that we don't even know all of what Alison has been through since (or before) disappearing. We see the series very much through the eyes of the liars, but Alison's perspective is still murky.
In this episode, as in every recent episode, it must be noted once again that Sasha Pieterse is doing a fantastic job. It's impossible not to feel sorry for Alison, at the same time as you feel suspicious of her motives. Is she just a sad and broken girl or is she a manipulator and liar? Or is she a little bit of both? It's too soon yet in the season to tell, but it's obvious why Alison was both magnetic and infuriating enough to bring the girls together while still driving them crazy.
Speaking of crazy, Mona is beginning to rally her troops, but so far it's not going so well. Lucas is already getting cold feet from feeling bad for Alison, although who knows how he feels after Mona explains Ali was never actually kidnapped.
Paige and Emily are having some nice moments, which means Paige doesn't want to be part of Mona's army. Mona explains that Paige can't be social Switzerland, she'll have to pick a side in the upcoming mean girl wars. I would find it hard to side against Mona, since she's a genius who lives in a constant state of hyper-reality and can handcraft custom voodoo dolls in her murder RV, while still maintaining a perfect GPA. You don't bet against that.
Paige obviously agrees, stopping by Emily's house to warn her away from Alison. "War is on the horizon, Emily. Mona rallies her troops and will soon sail across the narrow sea to retake the Iron Throne. Winter is coming, Emily. Winter is coming." Then Paige walks quickly away while Emily stands awkwardly in the doorway, too confused to give chase.
Later, Emily goes to see Alison and lays down the law, telling her it's the last time she'll lie for her. Things are looking dire for Alison when she's lost even Emily from her corner.
Elsewhere in Rosewood...
-- Hanna is still going through an existential crisis, which is reflected in her Christina Aguilera Dirrty-era black streaks and her decision to shoplift a crop top. Therefore, here's a list of things Hanna has stolen thus far, in case you've forgotten about her first season sticky fingers: designer sunglasses, a zippered crop top and Mona's heart.
-- "You need to take a psychological selfie," Spencer advises a freaking-out Aria. She should probably have taken an actual selfie too, because her hat was atrocious.
-- Is it just me or did Lucas come back from homeschooling as the Fonz? "Heyyyyy!" he says as he saddles up to Hanna in the coffee shop. Then he pounds on a jukebox to play a slow jam and smolders in Hanna's direction. Hanna boredly stirs her coffee and wanders off to go shoplift the jukebox.
-- Ali reads all the terrible posts about her on her memorial page, because I guess "Don't read the comments" wasn't a thing before she disappeared.
What did you think of the episode? Did Peter Hastings kill Mrs. D? If not, who did? And what will happen when Alison comes back to Rosewood High? Sound off in the comments!
(Image courtesy of ABC Family)