On October 24, I began the Adam Lambert–filled Halloween crazy death train episode by saying, "it's been almost two months since we last saw the liars, a break that I'll be the first to say has not been enjoyable." Well, here we are again, two and a half months later, and finally we have another episode. Thankfully, this one — a great one — is followed by 10 more episodes over the span of 10 weeks, so we've officially pushed through the rudest part of the PLL calendar. Congrats to all, even to those who have developed irreversible coping habits in the process.
At my last count, we're at 356 characters, 354 of whom might be "A," as well as everyone kind of being related, or sleeping with each other, or trying to kill each other. Even for PLL experts like myself, it's a daily grind to stay on top of my plotlines, but know that you can do this if you believe in yourself.
Trying to follow the Pretty Little Liar story with @ayeshacurry. Struggle city
— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) January 9, 2013
In case you're rusty, read this cheat sheet, drink seven cups of coffee, buy something cute, and then hold on.
OK, CHEAT SHEET TIME IS OVER. LET'S DO THIS. But first, let's not forget our past:
Previous Episode Recap, in 140 characters:
Yo Aria, check your pops, he might be a creepo. #creepodad. Also Garrett: YOU DEAD. Also Aria, way to stab. TOBY IS A??????????? #PLStabbers
— Rembert Browne (@rembert) October 24, 2012
We start off with a skateboard scene. Someone in a hood is skateboarding. I've always known this, but skateboards are really loud. This hooded character isn't doing a great job at being secretive. Also: It's Toby, right?
After that sketchy start, we flash to Hanna, who is sleeping in a probably $400 T-shirt. A shadow slowly begins to appear over her, as if SOMEONE IS STANDING OVER HER IN HER ROOM AND ABOUT TO ATTACK, and:
She's out of the institution and has somehow made her way into Hanna's house. She's saying all this stuff about how Hanna's her guardian angel and how she's being forced to go back to school (poor girl) and how she needs support and how she's a new person, but Hanna's not having it. Then, of course, a knock comes at the door and an unfamiliar voice inquires as to what's going on.
IT'S GRANDMA. She says she heard voices, but Hanna handles the situation like a champ by saying, "No, it's just me, I'm just reading out loud, go back to sleep." OH, GRANDMA.
Mona thanks Hanna for not ratting her out to GRANDMA, which is all well and good, but after that we're back to our very loud skateboarder. It's very unclear where exactly he's going. Joyboarding? Errands? Murder? No clue. Anyway, he (like I said, it's Toby, even though we haven't seen his face) hits a corner and then a car turns its lights on and follows him. "Probable Toby" speeds up (it's just so loud) and the car speeds up. Probable Toby's for sure being chased. But when the car almost tracks him down, another car comes out of nowhere and almost causes a collision.
MOST CERTAINLY TOBY keeps blading, the car swerves around and speeds up even more, this time only a few feet behind him.
Skater Toby, running out of options, hits a Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 trick on a curb and runs away on foot, thus ending the chase. The driver is pissed. Oh, something else:
THE DRIVER IS TOBY. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA? #2Tobys
I know. Nothing makes sense anymore.
The next morning, we take a trip to Chez Fields, where Emily and her new housemate, DAD, are discussing the new security installations he's putting on the house. Dude's the opposite of chill. With that said, he can control the whole security system from something he refers to as "an app on my phone," which I'm sure, since this entire show is about phones, will become very important at some point.
They're talking about other stuff (Garrett's murder, Alison, etc.), but it's really not that important. I want to know more about this app and nothing more. Then, just really proving himself to be the most overprotective father alive, he tells Emily that she can't run in a race later, because he fears for her safety. Emily's response:
"Dad, I raised $274 in pledges."
Bless her little olive-skinned heart, but I just don't think the Army man really gives a singular care about the Samoas and Thin Mints she sold while he was gone and everyone started to get killed. But maybe that's just me.
Next we get a coffee shop scene, which is important, because in addition to this show being about phones, it's also about hopping yourself up on as much coffee before your 18th birthday as possible.
They're discussing Mona popping up at Hanna's house, and then get into one of my favorite subjects, the NAT club. After going back and forth about how to handle her, Spencer brings up Aria's dad. Before he died, Garrett told a story implying that Aria's dad (LORD BYRON) had a confrontation with Ali the night she was killed. Aria doesn't want to hear it, snaps at Spencer, and storms out in her Beetlejuice jacket.
Next Scene: GRANDMA
She alerts Hanna to the fact that someone baked her some muffins and left them at the door with a card signed "M." They're from Mona. Less important, because just look at GRANDMA. She's adorable, kind of talks like Paula Deen, and prepares Hanna a breakfast like Paula Deen would (huevos rancheros, pork sausage, hash browns). Bless her heart. Hanna's completely ungrateful, because that's her thing, but GRANDMA doesn't care. She's just trying to hang out. Eventually, she asks Hanna if the Mona that baked the muffins was the same Mona from the past, and then launches into a heart-to-heart with her grandbaby.
I LOVE GRANDMA.
She tells Hanna a story about some long-lost family member named "Heshy" who had rusty nails in a coffee cup or something and that somehow this is supposed to teach her about redemption and forgiveness. No clue. But I do know one thing:
I LOVE GRANDMA.
Finally, we get to see all four girls at a place they seem to never frequent: school. They're doing their Liar thing, and then Emily brings up Aria's dad. Spencer tries to cut off the conversation, Hanna's confused, Emily's apologetic, and Aria's pissed. Garrett's story about Lord Byron seems to have stayed with three of the girls, but Aria's doing everything within her power to make the story go away. She begins to storm off again in her Beetlejuice Blazer, and then:
Which turned into:
What's beef? THIS.
Emily catches up to Aria in the hall, they chat, and Aria lets it slip that she still hasn't told wack Ezra about the son that he doesn't know about (not with her, with Alex Mack). They keep walking, finally into a CLASSROOM (I can't remember the last time I saw one of these), and the teacher in the class is none other than Meredith, a.k.a. Jody from a movie that some humans have seen called Center Stage (yes, this show is becoming a breeding ground for people who have been out of the game for a decade).
You may remember her as the woman with whom Aria's dad cheated on his wife (when Meredith was a student). Well, she's back, in the classroom as a substitute teacher, and is dating Lord Byron again. This is just so bad. Aria suggests wanting someone to stick a fork in her neck. This isn't overly dramatic.
Class starts, Meredith is talking about checks and balances, but none of our Liars are paying attention because they are openly texting each other in class. Like, not behind a book or under the desk or anything. Aggressive. Also, the class is approximately 25 kids. Double aggressive. Being the snitch/text hater that she is, Meredith calls on Aria for a question.
Aria claims to have not been on her phone and Meredith walks over to confiscate it. It's a very tense scene — well, except for the dude behind Aria, who's loving it.
He's definitely "A." I solved it. I win.
The bell rings and Meredith asks Aria to stay after class. This is what she gets:
Meredith: "I guess since you travel in a pack you can all stay "
Duh. You can't ask for just the GZA or Old Dirty Bastard. You want one, you get the whole Wu-Tang Clan. Rookie mistake, Meredith. Junior varsity.
Anyway, Meredith gives them the old "if you want to graduate" lecture, then tells Aria that she saw what she was texting. Super rude. This can't end well for Aria. Or for Meredith? Don't play with texting, Meredith. It's not a game.
They leave, and high-heeled Hanna catches up with Mona:
They're chatting and then:
WHERE ARE YOU GOING WITH THAT?
EWWW JUST THROW IT AWAY, YOU HOT-ISH FREAK
NOT NOW, JASON.
Finally, she puts the knife in the trash can, whispers something in creeper Lucas's ear, and then storms off. This is all very bizarre. Hanna approaches Lucas to ask him what Mona said, and he doesn't say anything. But he does limp off. This is a new limp. Also bizarre.
The Liars congregate in the bathroom to discuss the knife-in-brain proceedings, focusing on the fact that people are going to think they put that in Mona's locker. At this point, on schedule, Mona walks into the bathroom. Emily tries to clear their name, and Mona, in that creepy fashion that is her entire existence, ensures them that she doesn't think they did it, and adds that she has to earn back their trust. Some of the other girls may have bought it, but Spencer mean-mugs her the entire time. Atta girl.
Next thing we see: Hanna chatting someone up in the corner.
FAUX RIGGINS BACK. SOUND THE TRUMPETS.
Hanna's freaking out because she knows something's going on between Mona and Lucas, but can't figure out what. Riggs shuts the laptop with which he was probably hacking into the Library of Congress and listens, then counters Hanna's arguments about Lucas. She tells him Aria stabbed someone when she was in that box that was set to fall off the train, implying that this is what caused Lucas's limp. Riggs doesn't really have a good answer to this, so Hanna asks him to talk to Lucas. He obliges. Because he's the Riggs.
Next, we see Emily, who at this point is being scolded by her parents for even leaving the house to go to school. While on the phone, she sees Mona having an argument with the janitor. Seems strange, but not completely out of the ordinary, until Lady Flashback herself realizes that the janitor:
IS ACTUALLY HAROLD. REMEMBER? THE INNKEEPER FROM THE LOST WOODS RESORT A.K.A. "A"s LAIR?
What's he doing as a janitor? And why is it both his first day and Mona's? Yeah. This isn't good. Somebody's about to die.
After this awkward scene, we see Spencer sitting at a table eating lunch with Toby, who is either super evil or fake evil. Still unclear. Either way, Spencer has no idea he's any evil. Anyway, she asks him what he did last night, and he says that he turned in early, which was most certainly false (see: an attempted drive-by). Then she starts bringing up old stuff, which Toby wonders if she's capable of ever dropping. They start to argue, and then Spencer spots canoodling:
Jason and Mona. It's kind of beautiful, but one of them is definitely plotting to kill the other/planting something on the other's body that causes him/her to explode post-hug. It's all very sweet.
Once this ends, we see our first example of #Liarsnooping this episode, with Emily and Hanna making their way to the sketch janitor's room in the school. They find his room, find him, and then find a few other things.
Oh, you know, a few of Mona's things. They keep peeking, then make a little noise and Harold the fake janitor rises from his post to look around.
The way he holds the pen, he's not just curious. He's out to stab. Unfortunately for him, while stabbing may be his forte, noticing people who haven't the first clue how to hide truly isn't.
HANNA, WE ALL CAN SEE YOU, GIRL.
He goes back into his Harold fake janitor lair, and the girls bounce.
Next we see Aria and Ezra in Ezra's apartment, and, per usual, it's not worth talking about. He's being sweet, she's being standoffish, and the only person who's happy about this relationship racing south is me. Words are said, a kiss is had, blah blah blah, and then she walks out. What she sees when she leaves, however, is worth showing:
Looks like "A" is tired of Aria not being straight-up with Ezra.
Yep. I can't lie — while I am not on Team "A," because it's just TOO MUCH VIOLENCE, if she/he/they are about breaking up this relationship, then I'm all for it. I mean, I'm not "A" or anything, I'm just saying, like, in theory, no one is all bad, right?
The next thing we see is Spencer going on a sweaty run with her boytoykiller, Toby. Five seconds after this run is over, Toby's shirt is off, because, you know, you have to give the people what they want.
Which is a close-up, HD Spencer in front of a blurry, shirtless Toby.
Just as this is happening, Jason pulls up and Spencer goes over to talk to her half-sibling. The NAT club comes up again, and Spencer almost tries to warn him about Mona and whatnot, but Jason's not having it. Also: Toby's still shirtless. Bad times all around.
BACK AT THE COFFEE SHOP, Hanna, Aria, and Emily are discussing the little baby stunt outside of Ezra's apartment. They're sure that Mona's back to her old tricks, but just don't know what to do. Then Hanna's man shows up, in that Rigginsy way, and has clues. He's so deep in the game at this point, he's almost like one of the Liars. I did not see this coming. Good for him?
Anyway, the information he found is a transcript between the principal and Mona and her parents. Mona told Hanna earlier that her parents were forcing her to come back, but according to the transcript Mona begged to come back. Which means she's here to kill, not learn. I repeat: She's not back at school to learn. This isn't a quest for academic redemption for Mona. Know that.
Also known as THIS:
Toby's trying to either do her or drown her, but Spencer halts all lustful/hatred-filled advances by bringing up Jason. She's obsessed. She can't talk about anything else, even when she's in an awkward outdoor hot tub with her hunk man. Spencer starts hearing things and freaks out, but Jason assures her that everything's fine and nothing's out there. Either way, the water date is over and Spencer's headed inside. Looks like Toby can't seal the deal. Poor Toby.
Back to Aria, but this time instead of in Ezra's house, she's in her own home, talking to her pops. You know. LORD BYRON. He tells Aria that Meredith told him about the incident, but says that it didn't go too bad. He thanked her for handling it like an adult. Aria's confused. He's about to leave, but then she asked him, "Did you like Alison?"
He seems startled by the question, but tackles the question without suspicion, saying that he liked all of her friends. SO FAR, SO GOOD, LORD BYRON. But Aria continues to push, asking if he spent any alone time with her. He changes the subject a bit, suggesting that this conversation stems from Aria still missing Ali. She lets Pops off the hook by saying yes, but it's starting to seem as if she might even suspect her dad for not being completely honest. He walks out, but not before he gives a long, creeper look at his own daughter.
Next thing we see is a video of Mona doing her best Real World confessional about her past and how she's changed and other completely worthless things. According to Hanna, who's watching the video with GRANDMA, she sent this video out for all to see. The Mona sympathy campaign has officially begun. A few GRANDMA quotes regarding the video:
"This girl is more twisted than my toes"
"Right now, I think Mona may be the best argument we've got against human cloning"
SERVED BY GRANDMA, MONA. Also, that's definitely the first human-cloning reference on Pretty Little Liars. Shout-out to GRANDMA.
GRANDMA leaves and someone comes to the door. It's Lucas. He has something for Caleb, who he claims owes him money. Hanna, because she has no reservations about grilling Lucas, starts asking him why he has a limp. And what happened with him and Mona? Does Mona have something on him? And (the kicker) did someone stab him on Halloween? She's really not holding back.
Even though Lucas claims the limp is from a skateboarding accident (interesting) he's being quiet about everything else and doing that thing where he gets awkward and tries to run away. He eventually leaves, and we go back to the video, which is now being watched by everyone on their phones at the race that Emily raised all that money to compete in. Everyone's at the race, from Mona to GRANDMA. Also: this lady.
I bring her up because, seconds after this moment, she utters the phrase, "the run will end in front of the school, where you will pick up your medal and your complimentary swag bag."
But then GRANDMA takes the mic and starts singing the national anthem.
GRANDMA's got the booziest, lounge-singeriest, most incredible voice. This is the weirdest show ever. Also, when Hanna is asked, "Why is your GRANDMA singing the national anthem?" Hanna replies with, "Because she can." This is easily one of the best lines ever to happen on this perfect show.
As the episode wraps up, we see a scene between Emily and her dad. To bypass the security system, when Pops isn't looking, she switches out the phones so she can have his and deactivate the system. Only problem is, Dad now has her phone, which can never be good. NEVER.
Emily meets up with the rest of the crew and they break into Harold's creepy room. They find a diary, which at first is assumed to be Mona's. Upon further investigation, it's Ali's diary, which is a complete plot thickener. Within this diary is an extremely long, detailed, blackmail-filled flashback between Ali and guess who:
This isn't good. Papa Montgomery is a baaaaad man. Also, this is further proof that Ali's the worst teenage woman ever. When the flashback is over, we see a distraught Aria, obviously coming to the realization that her dad's in deep. Just as this takes place, good old Harold comes stumbling back. But this time he's got hardware.
He wants to know what's up and, most importantly, wants the piece of paper that Aria has in her hand, from Ali's diary. Just as he takes it back, evil Toby comes downstairs and asks what's up.
Everyone knows they're semi-doing something bad and says nothing, and Aria grabs the paper and runs out. As they all make it outside the school, however:
Something has blown up and someone is screaming.
As we learned in the next scene, it was Meredith (I told you texting isn't a game). Lord Byron approaches Aria, assuming they did this to her. Also, Meredith found this note and gave it to Aria's dad, who then gave it to Aria:
MORE SWAG BAGS.
The father and daughter go back and forth with accusations, culminating with:
LORD BYRON: These type of secrets come back to haunt us
ARIA: WHAT ABOUT YOURS?
This is bad. Yes. Very bad.
Spencer goes over to talk to Jason, then leaves, and immediately Mona walks out of Jason's house and tends to a wound on Jason's side.
IT SURE DOES LOOK LIKE A STAB WOUND. FROM A SCREWDRIVER.
In the final scene, we see our old friend, hooded -A, loosening someone's bicycle and proceeding to ride it and fall off. Who knows what that means (even though we do know that Emily has a bike. Uh-oh, MAYBE CARPOOL TOMORROW, GIRL).
Bless the twisted makers and actors of this show, for they have continued to drive me insane in this, the two thousand and thirteenth year of our Lord and Savior, ABC Family.