This week on Pretty Little Liars, Paige gets added to the top of the ‘A’ suspect list as we learn more about our favorite drown-happy swimmer. Turns out before she was “love dunking” Emily in the pool, she was taking out some of her anger management issues on Alison. Not that Alison didn’t deserve them. On Pretty Little Liars it’s always a fairly safe bet that Ali has done something terrible to just about everyone in town. I legitimately feel like by the end of the series we’re going to find out the whole town is ‘A’ and they all murdered Alison.
Emily isn’t the only one in deep denial mode about her love life though. Ignoring the calls of sanity and the sensible advice of Spencer, Aria tracks down Ezra’s high school girlfriend and gets a nasty surprise. Hanna wanders around all episode begging Jenna not to murder everyone. Meanwhile Spencer puts on her detective cap, fights some snakes, and steals evidence from Paige. Spencer is really putting all the rest of the liars to shame when it comes to actual mystery solving. Between the lock picking and the stealing I’m starting to think Spencer is either a criminal mastermind or a secret CIA agent.
Despite an abundance of flashbacks and a run in with a venomous creature, I expected more from the episode leading us into the summer finale. While we learned important background about Paige and Alison, the focus didn’t seem sharp enough to lead us into next week’s action. Pretty Little Liars has always been good at juggling multiple characters and storylines concurrently. This show has one of the most sprawling casts of shady characters around, all with their own clearly defined motivations. Coming into the finale, however, it seemed time for the show to winnow the focus down a bit.
Instead, as usual, Pretty Little Liars decided to throw another wrench into the works by opening the possibility that Paige is a much more sinister character than we had originally thought. Is it all a red herring or is Paige really up to something? What about Nate? Where is Jenna going? We have a lot of questions but not many answers this week.
Is Paige on the ‘A’ Team?
Here’s what we formerly knew about Paige: she liked weird bangs, drowning people, biking in the rain, and Emily Fields. We learned substantially more about her this week thanks to new character CeCe. So what’s the over/under on Paige being on the ‘A’ team?
Guilty: We see in flashbacks that Alison horribly wrote Paige a note pretending to be Emily saying she was into Paige. When Paige came to drop off her own note back to “Emily”, Alison grabbed it as blackmail material. Just proving that whenever you think Alison can’t get more horrible, she surpasses her previous behavior.
Innocent: Paige tearfully tells Emily later about how Alison used to torture her. She admits that she tried to fight back and even hints she might have become suicidal due to Alison’s behavior.
Guilty: But was Alison just trying to protect herself from Paige? As the girls change in flashback (did these girls do anything together other than swap clothes? No wonder all the videos of them from Ian’s USB drive involve them changing) they notice a giant bruise on Alison’s back. Ali admits it’s from pigskin, who is “psychotic” in her words. Later CeCe even admits she thinks Ali was a little afraid of Paige. Sasha Pieterse does a great job of subtly playing Alison’s apprehension and fear as she walks away with the letter. It’s tiny moments like this that allow the viewer to see Alison as a human, not just a monster.
Innocent: Paige tells Emily she wants to get to know her friends better after overhearing Spencer questioning her behavior and calling her a snake.
Guilty: But then some snakes show up in Spencer’s dressing room at CeCe’s store. Snakes, why does it always have to be snakes?! Although I could get on board a movie called Snakes in a Dressing Room, which would involve Spencer and Samuel L. Jackson fighting snakes and generally being awesome.
Innocent: At the store Paige tells Spencer how much Emily has changed her attitude for the better. Then she breaks the fingers of a mannequin. Pro tip Paige: when trying not to appear like a maniac whose hobbies include drowning and throwing snakes into dressing rooms, handle mannequin hands with care.
Guilty: After Spencer’s not-so-sneaky criminal activity in Paige’s bag is discovered, Emily marches off in a huff with Paige. You’d think these girls would be better at theft by now, considering they steal things on a daily basis. But Spencer discovers the other earring Aria put in the casket with Alison. Quick, someone find out if Paige is into arts and crafts and whether her specialty is teeth bracelets!
Guilty: Then there’s Jenna. On her way out of town, Jenna stops by Emily’s house to tell her to beware of the friends she keeps. What friends? This is Rosewood Jenna! You’re going to have to narrow down that list! Do you mean Paige? Nate? CeCe? Any other number of people who may or may not be plotting Emily’s death at this very moment? Not helpful Jenna.
Guilty: When Spencer calls Emily to warn her, Paige picks up the phone and hits ignore. Then she walks slowly into Paige’s house behind her, throwing shady looks over her shoulder.
I Know What You Did (On Film) Last Summer
Why do the Marins always destroy evidence in the kitchen? What is it about the siren lure of the kitchen which causes them to immediately seek it out for their criminal activities? We may never know.
The episode opens with Pastor Ted paying a visit to Ashley to drop off something he found at the church. Remember a million years ago when Ian tried to kill Spencer and she threw the computer drive with all the creepy videos at him? Me neither, since approximately 50 million things happen per episode on this show. But Ted has found the zip drive and hands it off to Ashley to give over to the police.
This causes Hanna to spiral out, knowing that if the drive gets into police custody than Jenna will put on her killing sunglasses and run everyone over with a car. So Hanna begs Jenna to just be cool for once and holding off on the murderous plotting. Jenna just pops on her sunglasses, looks at Hanna, and says something cryptically threatening. Hanna dies a little inside.
Thankfully Ashley tosses the zip drive into the garbage disposal. Why? To protect her daughter from the perverts of the Rosewood police department? Nope. She wants to protect her own detective banging secrets from seeing the light of day. Ashley Marin: mother of the year.
Baby Mamma Drama
As usual, Aria spends most of this episode on an entirely different show. In fact, Aria spends most of this episode in a weird The Secret Life of the American Teenager subplot.
When Ezra can’t even cheer up for his own birthday, Aria decides it’s time to approach the pregnant high school girlfriend thing head on. And by head on I don’t mean she has a mature discussion with Ezra about her feelings. Nope, so goes under cover to the school where Maggie is teaching to spy. Aria has clearly learned a thing on two on the spying front from Spencer.
Once at the school, Maggie introduces Aria to her seven year old son. May I also note that Ezra knocked up Alex Mack from the awesome old school 90s Nick show The Secret Life of Alex Mack? A reference Ezra would surely enjoy that would also fly right over Aria’s head.
Back at Ezra’s apartment, Aria tells his younger brother Wes and they both freak out together. Aria decides it’s only right to tell Ezra that somewhere out in the world there is a mini-Fitz typing away on a Fisher Price typewriter.
But soon Ezra comes back in a great mood after speaking to Maggie and decides to transform into the weird old guy that he is by putting on some old man music and talking about how things were ‘back in his day’ when they didn’t have these new contraptions like the BookFace and the Tweeter that all the kids are playing with these days.
“You and I were learning fractions when this kid was born,” Aria hisses to Wes, just to drive home the point that Ezra is five hundred years old.
They both decide it’s better to wait and see what the arrangement is between Mrs. Fitz(gerald) and Maggie before blowing up her spot and potentially her child support. So then Aria just spends the rest of dinner staring at Ezra like the dramatic prairie dog, but Ezra doesn’t notice because he’s too old to know what YouTube is.
A Tag: We see one black glove hand a room key to another black gloved hand. So we now have confirmation that there are at least two ‘A’s.
Next week on the summer finale of Pretty Little Liars everyone goes insane, someone betrays the liars, and Mona walks out of Radley in a nurse’s uniform like Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight. Which makes sense, because Mona is pretty much a Batman villain every day of her life anyway.
What did you think of this week’s episode? What will Aria do about the baby mama drama? Is Paige ‘A’? Or is she innocent? Share your theories in the comments!
(Image courtesy of ABC Family)