Finally, a non-Hastings/Marin parent resurfaces on PLL! Emily’s mom returned to host an awkard dinner party for her daughter, Ali and Hanna. She also dropped some wisdom on Emily that sounds like good ol’ common sense to me: “You may have saved Alison once, but you don’t have to keep saving her.”
This week’s episode was dark — like Radley after hours or Hanna’s lowlights. Hanna was the Jan Brady to Ali’s “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” Ali struggled to maintain her Queen B status after Caleb confronted her angrily about how she’s destructive like a tornado. Aria did a sloppy job of going undercover at Radley. Spencer was so bummed out by her family situation that she confided in Ezra, while helping hide the surveillance equipment he once used to spy on her and her friends. And Emily stayed torn between her now-reluctant loyalty to Ali and her love for Paige.
Paige was MIA after last week’s incident, in which someone put a rat in her locker. Since Paige told Emily about Mona’s army, it seems likely enough that Mona was responsible, a theory Emily tested when she confronted Mona — twice. Mona dismissed the stunt as ‘amateur’ and her denial becomes a bit more plausible when Melissa turns up at the Hastings residence with a dead rat in tow.
Indeed, Mrs. Fields wasn’t the only Rosewood expat to return this week. Welcome back, Melissa, who reminded us that she and Spencer are always fighting. Seriously, have we ever seen them not fight? They did have a heart-to-heart (the Hastings version, anyway). Spencer laments that “it’s about Alison and what really happened to her and what happened to that poor girl that ended up in the ground.” Melissa’s stance? It’s about love! “Sometimes people do things they can’t explain, things that they regret, but it is still about love,” Melissa tells Spencer.
Spencer does what any distrustful young Hastings (or Ezra Fitz) would do: she secretly tapes Melissa to find out what she’s up to. All in the name of love, natch.
Love was nowhere to be found at Radley, where Aria went not-so-stealthily undercover to try to get more information about Bethany Young. She did her best to evade Spencer’s old Radley chum, Eddie Lamb, who we know delivered Bethany Young’s sketch to Ezra. Eddie clearly remembered her from somewhere and Aria’s pretty blatant efforts to find something at Radley didn’t help her cover. Of all the scary things at Radley, none were scarier than Bethany’s old roommate, Rhonda, who was not amused by Aria’s poking around the place. She delivered a line more frightening than anything in A’s playbook: “You know what they do to thieves? They cut off their hands. What you gonna do, little girl, when you got no hands?”
After a long shift at Radley, Aria manages to abscond with Bethany’s book of artwork. I’d hate to see Rhonda when she realizes it’s missing. The book offers some clues — Spencer and Aria discover hate-filled drawings of Mrs. DiLaurentis, pictured with horns and, alternately, the word “liar” scrawled across her face. There’s also a sketch of a woman falling from Radley’s roof — a pretty clear and chilling reference to Toby’s mother.
Aria may not get the answers from Rhonda, but Eddie Lamb knows things that he seems eager to share — just not at the expense of his job. After Aria leaves Radley, he calls Ezra and asks him to meet. Ezra later tells Aria that he waited over an hour for Eddie, but he never showed up. When Ezra showed up at Aria’s dark (why so dark?) house, I got a glimpse of scary Ezra from last season. But he’s gone, right? I can’t say I trust him fully, even with Spencer seemingly forgiving him for all the creepy things he did and the lies he told to cover them up.
But, hey, everybody deals with betrayal in their own way. I’m mostly concerned with Hanna, who has taken to drinking her sorrows away. One scene removed from scolding Caleb for casually drinking a beer, Hanna passes off vodka for water at dinner with Emily’s mom. Drunk Hanna was funny at the party with Travis, and, okay, she was also funny at the Fields’s dinner table. “Hanna knows what Hanna thinks!” But seriously, an intervention is looking pretty good right now.
Let’s not even get started on why Emily’s mom would wheel out a cart of water, soft drinks and vodka for her teenage daughter and her friends, but rather, focus on why Hanna was drinking in the first place. She is so over Ali! As Ali sat at the table with her puppy dog eyes and angelic dimples, recounting the horror of having been kidnapped, Hanna was simply not having it. As she later told Emily, Mrs. Fields wasn’t moved by the tale either — she didn’t believe a word. Emily’s mom confirmed as much when she told Emily that many Rosewood police officers were skeptical of the story, too. Why are the Liars still always underestimating Hanna? Side note: I love how far Mrs. Field’s has come in supporting Emily. When Emily asks why she insisted on hosting Ali for dinner, Mrs. Fields confesses that she wondered if Emily still considered her to be more than just a friend. The answer is probably why Facebook’s “It’s Complicated” option was created.
After Emily discovers that Hanna’s clear drink is not, in fact, water, she throws her out. Hanna heads (where else?) to The Brew, where she runs into Sydney. How is no one onto this girl yet? She conviently pops out of nowhere so often, I’m convinced she has a teleportation device. When Ali and Emily discuss their run-in with A in the Rosewood High bathroom, here comes Sydney pretending to be sympathetic. At The Brew, she offers to split a panini with Hanna. “Melted cheese is the best booze blocker,” Hanna says dreamily. Somewhere, Mona is smiling.
Apparently, not all the booze is blocked. Because Sydney is able to keep Hanna talking — about the explosion at Toby’s house and about Shana, er, Jenna. As Sydney exits, probably to hand the dirt over to Mona, Caleb enters to purchase a few massive brownies. He sees Hanna, he sits, they talk, he makes some obscure references to the real world (i.e. Ravenswood. Sorry it’s canceled) and then they kiss.
That explains why Hanna is late to an S.O.S. meeting called by Spencer, who has witnessed something very interesting on her Melissa-cam: Ali. No one knows where she could possibly be headed and their theorizing is interrupted when the three receive a text from A, alluding to New York and Hanna’s inability to keep secrets. Enter Hanna, who may be getting that intervention after all.
Lingering questions: Why did Eddie miss his meeting with Ezra? Why does Rhonda hate Aria? Is it safe to trust Fitz again?