Warning: This recap contains spoilers.
OK, Liars, I think that’s enough Internet for the day!
This week’s episode illustrated the perils of too much screen time, from Aria watching Shana’s funeral service online to Ali reading the comments (tsk-tsk) left by scorned peers after her “death.” Spencer made a suspicious Google search while trying to figure out if her father had anything to do with Jessica DiLaurentis’s murder.
Smarter choices were made by Emily, who socialized IRL, and Hanna, who couldn’t even bother to plot her new look on Pinterest. I don’t know about you, but I like Goth Hanna. As we saw in last week’s episode, Hanna’s makeover was inspired by a desire to distance herself from Ali. The distance seems to be purely aesthetic, though, since Hanna was the only one consistently taking Ali’s calls. Ali is no longer Queen B and neither she nor her former charges quite know how to handle the shift in power.
The episode started with some good old-fashioned high school symbolism — Hanna and Aria find Shana’s copy of ‘The Scarlet Letter’ with some telling passages underlined. Mona approaches and makes some passive aggressive comments about how they should save it for Ali. She also implies that she knows there’s something sketchy about Shana not returning to Rosewood: “People come and go so quickly around here.”
Mona is having some trouble maintaining her own status, as avenger-in-chief, thanks to some reluctance from members of her army. Lucas buys Ali’s kidnapping story and feels sorry for her and Paige is torn between loving Emily and hating Alison. That doesn’t deter Mona who informs Paige that she’s either with or against her. “Do you ever wonder when you became the very thing you’re afraid of?” Paige asks Mona.
If there’s one thing Mona and Ali have in common, it’s their obstinance. Ali’s determined to return to the halls of Rosewood High, even though her father thinks she could benefit from a fresh start. Side note: What is with TV dads and waffles? Rufus Humphrey, your cultural influence is duly noted.
Ali manages to convince her dad that staying in Rosewood is what she needs after her harrowing experience, but first she has to go through a medical exam, a procedure based on her kidnapping narrative. The doctor becomes suspicious when he sees an alarming scar on Ali’s thigh that wasn’t in the police report. She insists she was cut by a rock after jumping from a car while blindfolded, which sounds as ridiculous to the doc as it does to those who know that Ali wasn’t actually kidnapped. Ali records the appointment and her ever-growing lies and orders Hanna to pass it along to the girls for memorization. When Hanna presses for details about the scar, Ali drops some seriously adolescent wisdom: “Once you know something, you can’t unknow it.”
No one understands this better than Aria, who continues to be tormented by her role in Shana’s death. After she gets an IM from someone called TheatreGirl, she wonders if someone with a type-A personality is trying to scare her. Turns out, it’s just a classmate hoping for intel on what happened to Ali.
Aria falls down the rabbit hole, searching online for information about Shana. When she comes across a video of the funeral online, she watches it. Over and over again. At one point, she hallucinates Shana sitting up in her casket. Later, she watches the video in the dark. To be honest, I can’t even watch PLL in the dark, but that’s just me.
Spencer, increasingly convinced that her father had something to do with Jessica’s murder, falls down her own rabbit hole. She finds rat poison while working with her decathalon friend Andrew to repair the backyard from its crime scene state. She begs her mom to tell her what Melissa and Peter are hiding and Veronica finally relents, revealing that Jessica threatened to (falsely) implicate Spencer after Ali dissapeared. In an effort to protect his daughter, Mr. Hastings blackmailed Jessica with the threat of revealing their affair to Ali’s dad. That blackmail apparently held up until the DiLaurentises announced their divorce. Veronica wonders if her husband took matters into his own hands to ensure Jessica’s silence.
Rodenticide isn’t the only thing Spencer finds. Ali tells her that a toxicology screen revealed that her mother had Losartan in her system. It’s used to treat high blood pressure, but Jessica had low blood pressure, so it would have stopped her heart. Spencer later finds a bottle of Losartan in the family medicine cabinet and it’s made out to one Peter Hastings. We didn’t see who wrote the prescription, but my money is on Dr. Wren Kingston.
Speaking of doctors, I think Hanna’s in the market for a good therapist (though, to be fair, therapy didn’t end so well last time). With her friends treating her as little more than the middle man between them and Ali, Hanna returns to her old pastime: shoplifting. I’m starting to think that the person who could benefit most from transferring schools is Hanna. Get this girl some new friends, STAT.
I’d say that she could take a page from Emily, who seems to be bonding with Sydney, but I don’t trust this new girl at all. Emily has even let Paige tentatively back into the fold, though Paige may have jeopardized that with a cryptic warning about how Ali hurt a lot of people and probably shouldn’t come back to Rosewood High. It’s hard to tell whether Paige (not to mention, Lucas) will be sucked back into Mona’s vengeful orbit.
The character exhibiting the most caution this episode is Ezra, still recovering from his gunshot wound and trying to win back Aria’s trust. He talks her down from the ledge when her guilt inspires her to make a donation to Shana’s funeral services.
Fitz seems uncomfortable when Aria asks to sleep over and the clear hesitation sends Aria over to the Hastings residence instead. On a related note, why is Byron always out of town? Maybe it’s asking too much, but you’d think Aria would be under more parental supervision, considering all she’s been through lately.
And while it’s probably a good move that Aria and Fitz didn’t fall into old Ezria patterns, it doesn’t exactly feel like Spencer’s house is the safest option. When Peter informs Spencer that her mother has gone to the spa for a couple days, she looks alarmed. Ali’s words may not be the deepest, but she’s got a point: Once you know something, you can’t unknow it.
Here’s what I don’t know, but wish I did: What is Sydney’s deal? Who wrote that prescription? Is Veronica really at the spa? How did Ali get that scar?