‘Pretty Little Liars’ recap Season 5, Episode 3: Haunted houses

Warning: This recap contains spoilers.

Ravenswood‘ didn’t last very long, but Rosewood appears to be giving that creepy little town a run for its money when it comes to ghosts. This episode was full of them, from the Shana cloud hanging over Aria’s head to the crime scene that is the Hastings’ backyard. And don’t even get me started on Hanna’s prosthetic double chin.


ABC FAMILY/Eric McCandless

This week’s episode focused on the aftermath of last episode’s discovery of Mrs. DiLaurentis’s body. Ali mourns for days in her room, while the Liars take Sherlockian turns at identifying Mrs. D’s killer. Jason is suspect No. 1 for the group, with the exeption of his sister, Spencer, who remains convinced — by his reaction to finding out his mother was killed — that Jason was not the one who killed his mother.

Ali, in her borrowed dress. ABC FAMILY/Eric McCandless
Ali, in her borrowed dress. ABC FAMILY/Eric McCandless

Alison emerges from her room the day of the funeral, having opted for a dress of her mother’s instead of the black shift she had picked out. I must say the Liars have stepped up their funeral attire to an almost appropriate level. When Mr. D freaks out over her wardrobe choice, Spencer informs Ali that her mother wore that dress. At Ali’s funeral.

Speaking of funerals, we learn that Ali attended her fair share of them. “My mom always wanted me to understand the fragile nature of life,” Ali tells Hanna. The two make a trip to the funeral home to get the guest book from Ali’s mother’s funeral. A phantom-like figure in a painting at the funeral home bothers Ali enough that she runs into the bathroom. Part of a Rosewood-Ravenswood art share program, perhaps? With Ali MIA, the funeral director mistakes Hanna for Ali. Ali proves she hasn’t changed completely (at all?), telling Hanna “It used to be a little easier to tell us apart.”

Cue the “Hefty Hanna” flashbacks. We see Hanna’s transformation and how Mona gave her an ‘Ali Upgrade’ that turned heads at Rosewood High. When the flashbacks mess with her head, Hanna confronts Mona.”You didn’t help me, you changed me,” she tells her, reconting all the ways Mona pushed Hanna to become Ali 2.0. “Ali was gone, but you wanted her back,” Hanna says.

Present-day Mona is under about as much suspicion as Jason. She drops hints that she knows the truth behind Ali’s resurfacing and taunts Aria with a get-well card for Fitz. She also informs Aria that Ezra is back in Rosewood, recuperating from what she knows to be a gunshot wound. Against her better judgment, she decides to pay Fitz a visit to make sure he won’t reveal what he knows about Alison and the fact that she was never kidnapped.

Aria isn’t the only one tormented by who she sees in the school hallways. There’s Paige, eagerly trying to get back into her good graces, later confessing that she loves Emily and that she “had the best of everything” when she was with her. And there’s a new character, Sydney Driscoll, who creepily stares at Emily until she finally has enough and calls her on it. Sydney cops to being an Emily Fields fangirl, who is in awe of all of Emily’s swimming trophies. She asks Emily to watch her swim and give her some tips. I do not trust her. In my head, I hear Drake rap-singing “No New Friends.” Channel it, Em.

Spencer, still trying to wrap her head around the possibility that Jason could be involved in Mrs. D’s murder, gets confronted by Melissa who warns her to stay away from the DiLaurentis family — including Alison. Spencer jokes that the families aren’t the Hatfields and the McCoys and Melissa is all “as if” — they’re more like Borgias-Medici. So…fancier? Melissa makes it clear that, unlike Spencer, she feels no alliance to her half-brother. As in, blood may be thicker than water, but “it can also be very slippery.”

Maybe Melissa is onto something. Because Spencer starts to suspect her father had something to do with Mrs. D’s murder — a theory Jason cryptically supports, telling Spencer not to trust him after Spencer shows Jason the email that Mrs. D never had the chance to send. Spencer deduces that Mrs. D decided to have a face-to-face conversation with the person she could no longer protect and that person is the one who killed her. Jason is absolved when Emily and Hanna head to Philly to find out what he’s been doing there. The girls remind us that they’ve had enough run-ins with Rosewood PD to be pretty good detectives. Turns out he frequents a sober house there — instant alibi for the night Mrs. D went missing.

Aria does her own detective work at Ezra’s, confirming that he’ll stick with the vacation story. She obtains a copy of Ezra’s “A” book and passes it onto Ali, who — shocker — goes to visit Ezra herself. Ali asserts that Ezra knows more than what he’s written in the book and that he should keep the extra info “in a safe place” if he wants to use it to help Aria in the future. As Ali leaves, Ezra asks if Aria knows she planned to stop by. Ezra asks Ali to tell her. “Absolutely honesty,” Ali asks as if it’s a foreign concept (because for her it is). “It’s all I’ve got left,” Ezra says. “Hope it’s enough,”Ali retorts.

On her way back, Ali runs into Mr. Hastings, who doesn’t exactly give us a reason to not suspect his involvement in Mrs. D’s murder. “I’m a little surprised to see you out here all by yourself,” he tells Ali in a classic horror movie move. He offers her a ride home, which she smartly refuses. “I know this town better than any cop,” Ali tells him when he brings up the law enforcement officers assigned to her house. When Mr. Hastings gets back from what turned out to be a pretzel run, Spencer confronts him with Mrs. D’s email. Melissa tells Spencer to drop it and wonders aloud if they should just tell her, an infuriating reminder that we still don’t know what these two are always whispering about. Mr. Hastings conclude silence is best as “you can’t lie about something you don’t know anything about.”

By that logic, Aria may have wanted to withold some information from Ezra, who she goes back to visit a second time because Ezria. “I came here to tell you something I should have told you before, ” Aria says, before confessing that she’s responsible for Shana’s death. Ezra’s response is simply “How can I help?” Good question, Mr. Fitz.

Hanna is taking matters into her own hands — at least as far as “Hefty Hanna”s ghost goes. She books an appointment at the salon STAT and instructs the colorist to abandon her usual Ali-fied shade. Behind a mostly-obscured door we can see Mona’s sillouhette and that of another, unidentified girl. Another ghost, perhaps?

Lingering questions: Who was with Mona behind the door? Did Mr. Hastings kills Mrs. D? Where are the non-Hastings parents? How is Ezra planning to help Aria?

Bethonie Butler is a producer and a reporter on The Post’s engagement team. She oversees online comments and has also contributed to The Style Blog and She The People.
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