Few things are more ominous than four pretty girls walking into the depths of the woods to creepy music. Among those things, the foreboding tapping of Jenna’s walking stick ranks pretty high. A close runner up? The amazing opening sequence, which I still cannot get over. ABC Family wants to make one thing clear: this show is dark. For that reason, I can forgive the blatant product placement for Microsoft’s Kin phone.

“To Kill a Mocking Girl” revolves around a shrine to Alison’s memory, Toby Cavanaugh and a very realistic high school party, complete with the requisite Foosball table and photo booth. Our favorite characters are haunted by the skeletons in their closets, but what else is new? Toby knows exactly what happened the night of the fire, and even took the blame for it. Mistress Meredith surfaces to wreak havoc on Aria’s family and seduce dad once again. And worst of all, Alison’s friendship bracelet is found in the exact spot where the girls try to memorialize her.

On the romance front, fires are sizzling and burning out in all directions. But let’s break it down by character, shall we?

Hanna: Not many girls are subjected to half naked older men in their kitchen first thing in the morning. Not many girls are forced to hobnob over breakfast with the detective leading an investigation against her. Unfortunately for Hanna, she must deal with both of those things simultaneously. Yet, those are the least of her problems. Hanna’s still having a hard time shaking her alter ego “Hefty Hanna”, whom we got a glimpse of in a flashback. Her boyfriend Sean isn’t helping the situation, as he continually thwarts Hanna’s sexual advances (even though, “no one was pushing her to be a natty ho”). This may not be Hanna’s fault, though. I’m getting the sense that Sean just might not be into girls. Hanna receives a text from A warning her that “Hefty Hanna never gets the guy”. This prompts her to steal Sean’s car and drive off into the wilderness. Guess she didn’t get the memo that “Car-stealing Hanna” probably won’t get the guy either.

Emily: ABC Family really got me with their promo for this episode. They showed a scene that was straight out of a horror movie: Emily was alone in a locker room, hears someone and shouts. Turns out it was just her boyfriend, Ben. Turns out, that’s almost as horrific. Ben is frustrated that Emily won’t put out, and his hormones get the better of him. When it appears as though Ben is about to rape her, she is suddenly saved by none other than Toby Cavanaugh. Emily finally has a good excuse to dump Ben, and runs into the arms of her lady friend Maya. At the party, Maya and Emily indulge in some photo booth fun, which prompts a great cultural reference from Maya, “I skipped scary and went straight to Snooki.” Unfortunately, their photographed make out session also prompts a mystery man to steal the evidence… and then plaster his room with hundreds of prints.

Spencer: Spencer’s big sis is reeling from the discovery of Wren’s betrayal. She’s trying to cope, though she’s encountered traumatic obstacles such as changing her Facebook status and disposing of her bridal magazines. Though Wren basically reveals his feelings for Spencer, she is too wracked with guilt to even consider going there. In fact, the guilt is so strong that the usually studious Spencer is unable to write a paper for AP Russian History (but honestly, who can blame her there?) This liar can now add cheater to her resume. She not only stole her sister’s man, but now she stole her sister’s paper. Something tells me this one will come back to haunt her. And, not just in the form of creepy text messages. Speaking of creepy, who was that guy who had a staring contest with Spencer at the party? I’m sure we’ll find out more.

Aria: Aria and Ezra are getting even cuter, which makes me dread the inevitable “outing” of their relationship. Ezra attempts to be more cautious, but he genuinely cares about Aria, which makes it all the more difficult. And Aria is really in the need for caring these days. Just when her family was getting back on track, Dad’s ex-mistress Meredith is busy sticking her nose in places where it doesn’t belong. I’m wondering just how soon this one will explode in Chad Lowe’s face.

One thing is for sure: this show has so much drama, and so little time each week. Though I’m loving the new layers of secrets, I’d really like some questions answered. Who killed Alison? Who is ‘A’? And, why is Lucy Hale so freaking beautiful? Let’s hope two of these three are answered sometime soon.

This Week’s Texts from Beyond:

Inbox (2)
–    To everyone, “Heads up BFFs, It’s open season on liars and I’m hunting”
–    To Hanna, “Heads up, Hon. Hefty Hanna never gets the guy”

Look’s like heads should be up this week. Fortunately for the girls, their text sounds are louder than the sounds of a high school party.

Burning Questions/Secrets

Juice Factor (1-5)

–    What did Alison have on Toby Cavanaugh that is worse than burning down a building? Juice Factor: 4. I’m liking Toby so far, and I’m curious about his past.
–    Who was that guy Spencer was staring at? Juice Factor: 3. Perhaps this guy is connected to the murder? Or maybe it’s just to through us off? Only time will tell.
–    Who stole the photo booth picture of Emily and Maya and posted it all over their wall? Juice Factor: 4. Seems like someone creepy. And what would this show be without ‘creepy’?
–    How did Alison’s bracelet get to the woods? Juice Factor: 2. Only because this will probably be answered when ‘A’ is revealed.

(Image courtesy of ABC Family)


Contributing Writer, BuddyTV