My hands are shaking, my heart is racing and my head is pounding …i t’s just another typical Tuesday night in Rosewood. But tonight was bigger and scarier than ever. The Pretty Little Liars mid-season finale, “Keep Your Friends Close” definitely gave us some answers, but with those answers we were left with even more questions. 

This week, mean girl Mona threw herself an extravagant birthday party, but the party quickly turned into a deadly scavenger hunt led by none other than A. We learn more about the night of Ali’s disappearance, specifically about the older guy she was seeing. Yes, Alison’s beau was Ian … as in Melissa’s Ian (and technically, Spencer’s Ian too.) 

Speaking of beaus, Toby literally pops up too, in the back of Emily’s car. He tries to convince her that he didn’t kill Alison, but the evidence looks incriminating. Too little too late, though; Toby is nabbed by the cops, leaving his fate in the air. I’ve never been more convinced of Toby’s innocence, and hopefully the girls will be too now that they know about Ian. 

But, just because Ian was seeing Alison, does that mean he killed her? And, does that make him A? Hanna finally knows the truth, but just as she was about to spill, A plowed her down with a car, leaving us with the bigger question of whether or not Hanna will survive. Will she be able to tell the others the secret? If A has any say in it, she most certainly will not. As A knows well, two can keep a secret if one of them is dead. And, speaking of secrets, our liars have many.

Emily: A racy video of Alison and a TV news story paint Toby as the main suspect in Ali’s murder. Maya comforts Emily, telling her that the Toby she knew is not the same Toby that murdered Ali. For just a moment Emily and Maya are happy, but that won’t last long. Mr. Military is finally home, and A sent the infamous photo booth photo straight to Emily’s mother. Surely, this will have consequences, but we’ll have to wait to find out just how bad they will be.

When Toby creepily confronts Emily, I can’t help but feel manipulated. This week I tried to interpret the “I want to finish what I started…” teaser in the promo. Turns out, the rest of that sentence was “…to tell you at homecoming.” Yes, Toby just wants to prove that he’s not a murderer, which honestly would be easier to do if he wasn’t acting so shady. He tells Em that he did see Alison on the night of her disappearance, but only to thank her for making him end things with Jenna (Jenna is in love with Toby, apparently.) He swears he didn’t hurt Ali, and asks Emily to meet him at the church before he disappears for good. Emily doesn’t meet him, but the cops do, and we’re left wondering whether the girls called the cops or A did.

Hanna: Hanna has some serious financial and friendship woes. Ashley’s getting desperate for some cash (and eventually resorts to theft, guess it runs in the family.) It doesn’t help that Hanna’s vile friend Mona wants to ditch school to go out for a swanky lunch. Such a great influence. When Hanna misses lunch because she’s being questioned by the FBI. Meanwhile, A is spreading vicious rumors that Hanna got liposuction. This is the final straw, and Mona writes her off for good, uninviting her to her birthday party–a most drastic move in teenage melodramas.

When Hanna shows up at the woods for A’s little scavenger hunt, she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for. Not only does she learn about Aria and Ezra, but she gets a good hard look at A. But, as A said, she knew too much … and now her life is on the line.

Spencer: The Hastings girls have some serious issues to work out. As suggested in earlier episodes Wren was not the first of Melissa’s men that Spencer had a “moment” with. The first was Ian, who broke Melissa’s heart and began a fling with Spencer … and apparently Alison too. Alison was the only one who knew and called her a skank, but in retrospect that’s like the pot calling the kettle black.

When Ian returns, Spencer convinces Melissa to go out with him, thawing the ice between the sisters. This won’t last long, but it’s nice to see. On another note, the episode was seriously lacking in some Spalex love. Hopefully we’ll get a lot more of that when the show returns.

Aria: As usual, Aria deals with family issues and Ezra Fitz issues. At home, mom and dad are still separated, and Ella finally has a heart to heart with Aria about the whole affair disaster.

At school, Noel and Aria plan a date, but they’re interrupted with a note from A leading to a romantic poem by none other than Ezra Fitz. Once alone, Aria cries as she reads his words, and confronts him about not being honest about his feelings. He throws a book, and he looks even hotter when he’s angry. Luckily, they reconcile in his car after he pours his heart out, and they share a ridiculously steamy kiss. It’s so steamy that it fogs up the window enough for A to write a chilling message “I see you.” For now, things are looking good for our hottest couple in Rosewood, but only time will tell.

Bottom Line: A’s scavenger hunt revealed a lot, and might have cost Hanna her life. Ian is the primary suspect, and I’m pretty sure he murdered Alison…though I can’t help but think that someone else is the evil A. Dirty-shoed Lucas was very absent this episode, and so was visually impaired Jenna Cavanaugh, making me wonder if one of them is our masked villain. But, in true PLL style, the writers will keep us guessing until the show returns in January. This wait will be almost as painful as getting hit by a car, but we’re just going to have to.

Messages From Beyond/ Scavenger Hunt Clues:

– “Camp Mona’s a scavenger hunt and I’m the prize. Come find me bitches –A”
– Note on the poetry book, Page 22.
– A text spreading the lie that Hanna got lipo.
– Letter to Emily’s family, outing her.
– “You found my bracelet now come find me. Good luck bitches.”–leads the girls to the place where they found the bracelet.
– Jenna’s bracelet with a note, “You’re as in the dark as Jenna, looking for me in all the wrong places.”–leads the girl to Wrights Playground where they find “Alison + Ian” carved into a tree.
– About Hanna, “She knew too much.” -A.


The juice factor was off the charts this week. Here’s my list of cliffhangers.

– How will Emily’s parents react to her relationship with Maya?
– Can Toby prove his innocence?
– If A didn’t want them to know who she was, why did she set up this whole scavenger hunt in the first place?
– Did Ian kill Ali? Is Ian A? If not, who is??
– And finally, will Hanna survive? And, if she does, will she remember who A is?

Hopefully we’ll get the answers to these questions in January. But until then, as A would say, you’ll just have to wait, bitches. 

(Image courtesy of ABC Family)


Contributing Writer, BuddyTV