When we last saw the Liars, Fitz was leaving Rosewood for an indefinite period of time, Caleb and Paige were plotting to take down the A Team themselves (Paige was possibly cheating on Emily), and Toby was being... well... evil. What’s a little A drama compared to that?
Spoiler alert: Pretty Little Liars. Ep. 3:18
At the start of the episode, the girls are engaged in a conversation. It should be noted that a conversation between these four now means three of them chat while Spencer just kind of sits around looking like Allison Janney’s character in American Beauty. Suddenly, Jason swags in and tells the girls that Ali’s remains have been released to the family, so they can now bury her in the mausoleum. It appears the DiLaurentis family is really pulling out all the stops to make Ali’s the creepiest death ever. He says the police are looking for the remaining stolen items from Ali’s grave, which unsettles the girls slightly, considering they are in possession of some of said items. While the three cheery liars agree to attend the burial, Spencer “The Hulk” Hastings has one of her many, many breakdowns over the past couple episodes. Through with saying goodbye, she says she won’t be attending.
Spencer’s mopey cloud follows her to school where she runs into an overly-cheery Mona. As the new captain of the Academic Decathlon, Mona hands Spencer some information for their upcoming competition. Questioning Spencer’s effort, Mona adds and extra dig by telling her, “You’ve been off your A game lately.” Clap, clap, clap Mona! With more in her arsenal, Mona delivers the final blow adding, “I'd hate to see poor Toby come all that way to cheer for you and end up cheering for me.” Mona may want to take cover after that one – Spencer looks like she is ready to explode.
Tasked with watering Ezra’s plants while he’s gone, Aria is lying in the bed of the man who probably once assigned her the first three chapters of Catch-22 as homework. But no matter – in walks age-appropriate Ezra! I mean Wesley, his brother! Wesley is staying at Ezra’s apartment, but when he sees Ezra’s recently slept on pillow, he tells Aria she should still come around to water the plants. Are we on the verge of a Fitz swap?
Meanwhile, Spencer has met up again with Private Investigator Miles Corwin, who seems to perpetually freak her out. It’s hard to blame her though, as he’s handling all of their transactions like some sort of high-class prostitution ring. He tells her that he’s narrowed down the neighborhood where the mysterious A key door is, but for the exact door location, “I’m gonna need a little more encouragement.” Phew, he’s just talking about cash, but a hefty sum of $500. Corwin also mentions that Toby recently bought hydrangeas, an indicator that Toby is probably not trying to skip town.
Emily has been spending so much time at the police station lately she could probably apply for a parking spot. She’s there to get a photo of a photo of Detective Wilden on Cape May the summer Ali disappeared. The picture is gone, but Emily runs into her mom, who, just then, digs in her bag to find a postcard of the Eiffel Tower with something written in French on it. Emily snatches the pic out of Mama Pam’s hands and spews out a lame excuse about how it might have landed in her bag that Pam fails to question.
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Emily takes the photo to Spencer’s house because there is nothing about Spencer’s character that makes me believe she does not speak French. It was one of the items Emily left in Ali’s grave, but the message scribbled on the back is new. Spencer eloquently translates the note to, “Stop digging. The police already know it’s you who’s capable of murder,” an apparent reference to the night Emily stabbed Lyndon James (Not-Nate). As a side note, Troian Bellisario’s accent is pretty spot-on! Back to the show— in an attempt to help Spencer through her break-up with Toby, Emily talks about things not being always as they seem. She explains that the girl Paige was with at the small town high school lesbian bar works at a costume shop, and Paige was there trying to learn the identity of the Queen of Hearts on Halloween. Paige may be testing dangerous waters, but at least it’s not the end for Pailey!
Hanna and Aria, meanwhile, are discussing Hanna’s plans to prepare dinner for Caleb, who recently got news that his aunt who was responsible for putting him into foster care is moving to Australia. After a little convincing from Hanna, Caleb has agreed to sort through some of his old things. Before she leaves, Hanna asks Aria for the earrings from Ali’s grave, which Hanna offers to get rid of with the Ouiji board she still has. Aria, not sure what move A intends to make, says she wants to hold onto the earrings a little bit longer.
Emily has made the decision to go to therapy a smart move, but one that probably should have been mandated after she stabbed and killed someone. But, with therapy comes Dr. Sullivan (yay for the return of Annabeth Gish!), who despite being kidnapped the last time she took Emily on as a patient, has decided to give it one more shot. Emily gets right down to the crux of her reason for being in therapy saying, “You may have heard I killed a guy.” Hoping to help Emily cope, Dr. Sullivan suggests hypnotherapy.
Back at home, Spencer is looking through some Toby memorabilia in the dark (note: the phrase “in the dark” is somewhat redundant, as I already said she’s at the Hastings house). Desperate to find where the A key leads, she agrees to pay Private Investigator Corwin the $500 he asked for. Later, Jason confronts Spencer about why she won’t come to the moratorium. Spencer, clearly close to her breaking point (if she hasn’t hit it already), tells Jason, “You don’t want to have this fight with me... I’ll win, and it won’t feel good for either of us.”
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Caleb and Hanna sort through what seems to be a mix between a barn and one of the units on Storage Wars. Caleb’s uncle Jamie is there as well, and he and Hanna have a pretty deep, personal conversation for two people who just met. Before she leaves, Jamie, who has been acting curiously dad-like, gives her a photo of Caleb at six months, and asks her not to show it to Caleb just yet. Hanna, of course, shows the picture to Caleb and points out that the ring on the hand holding Caleb in the picture matches the ring Jamie was wearing earlier. Could Caleb be in for another parental reunion?
While Emily is under hypnosis, Dr. Sullivan asks her to recap “that night,” which Emily mistakes to mean the night Ali disappeared. Emily recalls holding a shovel and looking at Ali threateningly. She yells out to Dr. Sullivan, “I’d like to wake up now!” (not sure that’s really how hypnotherapy works) and then babbles incoherently as she remembers killing Ali with the shovel. After waking herself up, she leaves Dr. Sullivan’s office, clearly freaked (Nice work, doc). But, good on PLL’s producers and writers for continuing to pay homage to Hitchcock – this time to Spellbound with the Doc in the Ingrid Bergman role and Emily in the Gregory Peck role. Nice!
Realizing the message about her being capable of killing someone might have been in reference to Ali and not Lyndon (Not-Nate), Emily has an Ali flashback. In an empty but very well decorated classroom, the Emily and Ali plan an imaginary seemingly romantic trip to Paris. Out of the flashback and taking a page from the book of Spencer, Emily succumbs to stress and snaps at her mom when she comes into Emily’s room, telling her she’s not an innocent little girl anymore.
Aria and mini-Ezra are hanging out alone in Ezra’s apartment, which is totally not weird. Wesley looks spooked when Ezra’s phone rings, and after Aria insists he answer, the person on the other end hangs up. The new best buds ignore this and go to get pizza, and after lunch, a man approaches Wesley, clearly not looking to share leftovers. Feeling threatened, Wesley does what any of the Three Stooges would do and hits the man on the head with the leftover pizza box. He explains to Aria that the man is the husband of his physics teacher, whom he hit on to try and get kicked out of prep school. Able to relate to illicit teacher-student/adult-minor relationships, Aria commiserates.
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Spencer’s emotional breakdown has carried over into her judgment abilities, since the only person she seems to be confiding in lately is the terrifying private investigator. He tells her that the A key is for a unit on Mayflower Hill, and she superfluously tells him that if she opens the door and he’s kept his secret (read: left some sort of clue), that means he loves her. Somehow to me, that wouldn’t scream Happy Valentine’s Day, but Spencer isn’t exactly the picture of stability right now.
After frightening Emily out of her wits, Dr. Sullivan’s day doesn’t get much better, as she is met by Mona bearing an orchid on her way out of the office. Mona tells a shaken up Dr. Sullivan, “I could never repay you for what you did.” While she could just be one of Mona’s pawns, I’m not so sure about Dr. S.
Spencer discovers that the A key leads to an apartment (Apt A, aptly), but when she opens it, she finds the small studio completely empty. At this point, I’m pretty sure I could create a macro on my computer for “Spencer breaks down again.” Incidentally, Spencer breaks down again.
Meanwhile, at the moratorium the girls are sad to see Spencer has not come to say goodbye to Ali, but when she does show up, they probably wish she would have just stayed home. Amidst the girls’ protests, Spencer tells Jason that Ali was pregnant with Detective Wilden’s baby. Jason storms out, and the girls follow, as Aria tells Spencer, “We’re your friends. We’re not your punching bags.” Later, Spencer, who has officially gone banana sandwich, carves Toby’s name into his mother’s tombstone. Yikes.
Emily has another flashback while walking in the cemetery (What’s with all the flashbacks? Did Dr. Sullivan give her something?) and realizes that she mixed up her blackouts. She was actually flashing back to the night Ali’s grave was dug up, and she sees a person in black breaking it open with a shovel. She sees a blonde girl in a red coat that she believes is in charge. Hanna suggests it could be Alison herself, an idea Aria immediately rejects.
In our final A moment, we see a figure all in black buying a bottle of whiskey. The mysterious person is carded, but sadly we’re left not seeing the ID. Is this the lady in red, or just Toby drinking his abs away? We’ll have to wait until next Tuesday at 8/7c on ABC Family.