'Pretty Little Liars' Recap: Who's Behind A's Mask?
'Pretty Little Liars' Recap: Who's Behind A's Mask?
Pretty Little Liars returns for its winter season promising that the identity of the ominous A will be revealed. However, before any of that can happen, the girls' shadowy enemy has more games for them to play.

Emily Gets Good News and Some Bad News

Emily finds out that she is medically cleared to return to swimming, but her coach informs her that she will not be allowed on the team. The coach was dodgy about particulars as to why, but Emily doesn't have long to fret about it because A sends her a text asking if she'd be interested in making a deal. Emily circles a "yes" on the classroom chalkboard, as she presumably works under the assumption that A is within view of her.

Aria is Caught Red-Handed Returning a Book

Aria goes to Ezra's office to return a book he had let her borrow when she is discovered by Jackie. Jackie demands to know why Aria is there after saying that she would stop seeing Ezra in exchange for Jackie's silence. Ezra walks in on the scene and gets filled in about what Jackie has been doing to her. He seems relieved to find out that Aria didn't leave him for emotional reasons and appears willing to possibly come clean with the details of their affair. Unsurprisingly, that admission doesn't go over too well with Aria's parents.

Mike winds up clocking Ezra on the chin, which causes what some people might kindly call a reaction from Ezra, but for the most part he took the punch as if he were a statue. It was a curious acting choice by Ian Harding to say the least. Is there any chance that Aria and Ezra receive her parent's blessing?

The Girls Spring a Trap for A.

It turns out that Emily and Spencer's feuding has all been an elaborate ruse to try to convince A that there is dissention within the ranks of the girls. Emily hopes to capitalize on the ability of setting up a meeting with A and finally discover who has been behind the mask this entire time. Unfortunately, extenuating circumstances hold up Hanna and Aria from getting to the greenhouse, leaving Emily and Spencer to fend for themselves against whatever they might encounter.

Emily Narrowly Escapes

The rest of the girls arrive just in the nick of time before A could do some lethal gardening around Emily's neck with a plant shovel. A is forced to flee, even bouncing off of the hood of Hanna's car. He or she inevitably gets away, but A's cell phone falls from their pocket and now is in the possession of the girls.

This episode delivered the kind of heart-pounding action and suspense that a lot of big budget feature films struggle to achieve. However, it was not without its flaws. First of all, as is becoming too often the case with shows, the commercials were explicitly saying that A would be revealed in this episode. Second, if A is believed to be an omniscient character aware of all the girl's secrets and spying on them, how did they manage to elude him or her long enough to sneak off to the very place Emily would meet him or her. The season promises to be exciting as now the contents of the phone can lend more clues about what A is up to.

Casey Casteel
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of ABC Family)