In this episode of Pretty Little Liars, Hanna dances the way she feels — which is very angry — Spencer turns to a life of crime, Aria finds out the truth about Mike and Emily makes a pledge to avenge Hanna’s pageant crown. Also, the liars finally discover that Alison isn’t really ‘A’, but that’s been obvious pretty much since the start.
The mystery surrounding Mike has finally been put to bed, which means we probably won’t get to enjoy watching him table flip like a Real Housewife of Rosewood, Pennsylvania.
I’m going to miss Mike’s vague roid rage and shifty eyes. Most of the guys on this show are most interesting when they’re vaguely evil. (See: Fitz, Ezra.) Mike is way more interesting as a menacing presence hiding blood vials in trees like a gothic Keebler elf.
However Mike’s explanation for his weird behavior is really worth the price of losing him as a suspect, especially since it establishes the Mike and Mona romance as one of the weirdest relationships in Rosewood. And really, since this is Rosewood we’re talking about, that is really saying something.
While “Pretty isn’t the Point” provides some big revelations on the ‘A’ front, the bulk of the hour focuses on the girls and their future. Spencer is turning to a life of crime, but still keeping Oxford in her back pocket. Hanna is desperately trying to get into college by any means necessary. And Emily is wondering if she should get involved with Talia or give up before getting sucked into her weird swingers situation.
The next episode is going to reintroduce Alison in a big way, and the promos are already promising a big reveal about ‘A’ by the season finale. With all that craziness in the future, it’s actually nice to have a quieter episode of Liars to check in with the girls. Pretty soon, pageants are going to be the least of their troubles.
Now, if you don’t mind, I’ll be watching Hanna’s angry dance moves over and over on a loop for the rest of my life. You are a shining star, Hanna, don’t let any pageant coaches tell you otherwise.
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Hanna’s Angry Dance
Hanna is probably the angriest pageant contestant of all time. She’s got her eye on the crown because the crown comes along with a much-needed $20,000 for college. Caleb, Ashley and Emily are all terrified of Hanna in this episode, as Hanna is just a molten ball of crazy ready to explode.
Thankfully, her explosion is mostly kept to the dance floor, where she sort of flops around like an extremely angry fish. Her dance moves are like a sexy exorcism. They’re like “The Elaine” from Seinfeld, mixed with twerking, mixed with a full body spasm. Hanna is a beautiful goddess of dance, and her pageant coach clearly has no taste.
Hanna has decided to hire a pageant coach in order to give her a better chance of winning this local beauty pageant. The coach asks her all kinds of tough questions, and while Hanna doesn’t exactly Miss South Carolina the answers, it’s only because she just stands there like a deer in the headlights. “What exactly are your special skills?” the pageant coach asks.
Hanna stands before her, thinking of her special skills. She’s good at crime, destroying incriminating evidence, sinking cars into lakes, hiding valuables in ziti boxes and disposing bodies. Rightly realizing none of these special skills are applicable to a pageant environment, Hanna goes with dance. So she calls up Emily for some pointers on how dancing works.
The fury Hanna feels about her college situation is only expounded when Caleb brings up the pageant sign-up sheet to reveal her half-sister Kate is on the list as well. “Oh, it’s on now. I will dance her face off!” Hanna declares. Emily and Caleb look worried, as they should. Things are pretty much all downhill from here.
When the coach stops by to see Hanna’s dance routine, Hanna goes insane mid-dance and it is a wonderful thing to behold. Imagine one of those Step It Up movies, if all the dancers were flopping fish out of water. That’s sort of what Hanna’s dancing is like when she goes off script. She looks like a beautiful backup dancer being electrocuted. It’s amazing.
Her pageant coach disagrees, telling her she doesn’t have what it takes to win. Then she tells Emily that she’s got the right stuff and that she would be willing to work with her. Hanna is angry, obviously, especially when she realizes Kate never signed up for the pageant. It was all ‘A’s’ handiwork, and Hanna finally seems defeated. That is, until Emily offers to enter the pageant for Hanna.
“‘A’ can come after me any day of the week, anywhere. It’s not going to stop me from helping someone I love.” This is the most Emily Fields sentence ever uttered, just in case you doubted that Emily was an actual superhero.
With all the Alison and ‘A’ of it all, I’m not sure when Emily’s going to carve out time to compete in a pageant. Of course, time and space work differently in Rosewood, so I’m sure she’ll find a way.
Mike is acting super strange. His roid rage levels are off the charts, and the girls are all suspicious when they find a Morse code necklace among his gross gym socks. Wait, is there really an app to decode Morse code in necklace form? There really is an app for everything.
Aria is still studying with Andrew, but she’s really distracted by Mike’s weird behavior. She sends Andrew to spy on Mike, and he sees him hiding something in the hollow of a tree. Maybe that’s just where Mike goes to make cookies?
Andrew is getting a case of serious flirty eyes with Aria, but Aria doesn’t even notice because Andrew is probably too young for her. Instead of accepting his help, she goes off with only a flashlight to find out what Mike is up to. Inside the tree, she finds a vial of blood, which is distressing, and Mike’s behavior is even more off-putting.
She runs back home, where Mike confronts his sister and finally tells her everything. In a flashback, we see Mona talking to Leslie and casually taking vials of her own blood, like you do when you live in a constant state of adrenalized hyper-reality. It’s just another day for Mona, but Mike thinks this seems a little weird.
Mona shares her plan, which is to use the blood to fake her own death and pin it on Alison. She’s Amazing Mona! It turns out her Gone Girl-esque plan was actually provided by ‘A’.
Mona is hoping to get in with ‘A’ in order to wipe her slate clean and help the liars. When she finds out who ‘A’ is, she’ll come back as everyone’s hero. This probably explains why Mike was so laid-back about Mona’s death in the first few episodes. He thought she was just playing the game.
Now, however, Mike is pretty sure that ‘A’ double-crossed Mona and actually killed her for real. He says Mona hasn’t showed up for any of their planned meetings. Then there are a lot of tears because the Montgomery family really knows how to cry.
Later, Aria relays this information to the other liars, who start to feel kind of guilty about how instrumental they were in ensuring Alison ended up behind bars. They need to figure out a way to get Alison out, but that seems like it’s probably going to be easier said than done. “We accused her of being ‘A’ to her face. How do we take that back?”
There isn’t exactly a Hallmark card for “Sorry I Thought You Were a Serial Killer and Put You Behind Bars.” Could you imagine how amazing a Pretty Little Liars-themed line of Hallmark cards would be, though? “Roses are red, violets are blue, I made a mask of your face for you!”
Spencer’s Life of Crime
Admittedly, Spencer’s storyline is a little thin in this episode. She’s still buddy-buddy with Johnny, who also has a contact at Oxford for her to exploit. Things are also still very weird between Spencer and Toby, since Toby is so dedicated to his brand new job. I will never stop finding this whole story hilarious.
Toby has completely forgotten that he took the police job to help the liars, and he’s already gone Rosewood PD native. I would love to see more of the partnership between Detective Tanner and Toby, since I imagine it’s like a scarier version of Training Day. “King Kong ain’t got nothing on me!” Tanner yells as she speeds along the streets of Rosewood, Toby softly sobbing in the passenger seat. At least that’s how I imagine it.
Spencer and Johnny are shocked when they see their vandalized work in a local art gallery. “You can’t sell this! I’m Banksy!” Johnny yells at the snotty art gallery owner.
Later, Spencer puts on her crime beanie, and you know things are about to get very serious. The pair hop in Johnny’s van, which is the exact kind of van you would imagine Johnny drives, and Spencer laughs at him for being so bad at breaking and entering. “Are you new here?”
They speed away but get caught at a gas station by Officer Toby. “Be cool, Toby,” Spencer says, dressed like a hipster cat burglar. “Why you gotta be such a narc?”
Toby tells Spencer to get her act together because Tanner is still focused on Spencer and she can’t really afford to make one wrong move. “Walk away, Spencer,” Toby advises her.
Later, Johnny reveals that Spencer’s mother has kicked him out of the guest house, so he’ll be back on the road again. “I might live in my van. I’ll never sew my t-shirts. I’ll continue leaving my weird rabbit art where no one really wants weird rabbit art. I’m bohemian, Spencer, society can’t hold me back,” then Johnny kisses Spencer.
Since Rosewood isn’t big enough for two hobos, and Caleb was here first, it looks like Johnny is moving on. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s going to do much to help the faltering relationship between Spencer and Toby.
Elsewhere Around Rosewood…
— Emily bumps into Talia’s husband, who tells her that he knows about their relationship and that he imagines this “girl” thing is just a phase for Talia. Emily realizes this is all officially a little too weird to be dealing with as a high school senior and tells Talia it’s over.
— Am I the only one who doesn’t quite trust Andrew?
— As the episode ends, ‘A’ is in Mike’s room/gym with a wrench. What is ‘A’ planning for poor Mike? Apparently, ‘A’ knows enough to hit Mike where it hurts: his home workout regimen.
What did you think of the episode? Will the girls be able to get Alison out of jail? Should Emily have broken up with Talia? What’s going on with Toby? And how amazing was Hanna’s dance? Sound off in the comments!
Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8pm on ABC Family.
(Image courtesy of ABC Family)