Pretty Little Liars – Recap & Review – She’s Better Now

photo: abcfamily

photo: abcfamily

Pretty Little Liars
She’s Better Now

Original Air Date: Jan 8, 2013

Lauren A – Senior Reviewer

One of the Liars is in bed with A… Literally. In the winter premiere opening, Mona creeps into Hanna’s bedroom, begging for a place to stay after she was released from the insane asylum. In the middle of the night. This really seems like a stretch – doesn’t Mona have her own home? With parents? Parents who would probably need to be present for her discharge from the loony bin? Regardless, I’m not surprised Hanna caved and let Mona claim sanctuary. We also find out Hanna’s grandmother is in the house. Here’s hoping Hanna got her spunk from Grandma Marin!

The dark hours must be busy ones for Rosewood, as there’s a hoodie on a skateboard riding around town while Mona is cozying up to Hanna. There are also a few cars out on the road, one of which tries to run down the late-night grinder… and it’s driven by Toby. Was this skater really a skAter? And why was Toby after him or her? Oh, PLL, I love that you get crazier every week, and with brains and explosions, this week is no exception!

Emily’s parents are setting up a new world order for her with alarms and strict rules to not leave the house, even though she raised $274 (awww) in pledges for a charity run. A night run. Is Rosewood being controlled by vampires?? Emily complains to the other Liars at school, where Aria and Spencer have an argument about now-deceased Garrett’s claim that Byron was the last to see Ali alive. It’s not a good day for Aria; she also finds out Meredith is filling in for her history teacher, and Meredith is quick to try to prove herself as the alpha female.

Mona is back in school, and has recruited Hanna as a bodyguard. Which she may actually need after someone pulls a Carrie and pins a diseased cow brain in Mona’s locker. Mona trashes the brain in front of the whole school, and I’m left asking myself two questions: 1. Is PLL really a horror story about cell phones? Because that scene with all of the kids filming Mona’s brain breakdown was creepy. And, 2. Why is Jason DiLaurentis smirking as Mona is disposing of the brain? I’d really like the meet the HR department that’s made so many hiring wins with Ella Montgomery, Meredith, Jason, and Ezra. Mona whispers something to Lucas as she walks back to her locker, and Lucas limps off.

Emily’s not pleased with her dad’s new rules when she calls to check in. I, however, am glad to see one of these families finally realizing their daughter needs some protection and supervision! She’s also not pleased to look up and see the manager of the creepy motel where Mona kept her headquarters is now a janitor at Rosewood High. Again, WHO is doing the hiring at this school?! Hanna and Emily head to the basement (of course) to investigate “creepy Harold”, who turns out to have Mona’s A collection in his office. Is Harold just a hoarder, or is Mona setting up shop a little closer to the action this time?

Spencer and Toby grab lunch and pontificate over Mona’s release. Spencer wonders why Jenna transferred schools, and whether it has anything to do with Jason being the last living member of the NAT club… So, wait. Is Jenna gone from PLL?? I hope not. She was always good for entertainment and shenanigans! Have sight, will travel, I suppose. Toby is irritated that Spencer won’t let go of the A drama, even more so after the two see Mona and Jason talking and hugging outside the school. Later, when Spencer and Toby run into Jason on their jog, Spencer tries to get the details of the Jason-A encounter. Jason defends Mona, saying he likes to give people the benefit of the doubt. Toby looks shady. Then, and when he and Spencer try to unwind in the hot tub. Spencer is really laying it on thick about how lucky she is to have Toby in her court. Oh, how her heart will be broken when she finds out his little secret…

When Aria goes to get a good luck pendant from Ezra for the charity run (Ezra is a marathon runner, natch), the vibe is off. These two really sold the whole teacher-student thing for so long, and Aria had no trouble with that secret. But the secret of the son Ezra doesn’t know about is weighing on their relationship. I don’t think these two will find love in the hopeless place of too-adult plotlines for long. Aria bails on Ezra to meet up with the Liars and discuss Harold-gate, and when she exits the apartment she finds a baby gift basket which is clearly marked with a big, red A. This is obviously Aria’s season as A’s target, and I’m loving it. Ezra isn’t the only guy Aria is skittish around. When Byron checks on her at home, Aria asks him what he thought of Ali. Byron fields her questions about Alison like a pro, but Aria still looks doubtful.

Hanna also has questions – for Lucas. I love Hanna the most, because she just says what she’s thinking. Things like, “Did you get stabbed on Halloween?” Lucas says he was in a skateboarding accident, which really only means anything to us viewers. He also dishes that Mona returned to Rosewood a long time ago, sneaking out of the asylum way before the doctors signed her release papers. Again, not news to us. But Hanna takes this information, as well as Mona’s nearly critically acclaimed, “please forgive my tortured, adolescent soul” YouTube video as proof that Mona is definitely up to something.

Hanna fills in the other Liars at the big charity 10K. Ironically, athletic Emily is locked up at “Fort Fields”. Not ironically, the other three Liars plot a way to ditch the 10K and break into Harold’s office at the school. Emily switches phones with her dad on the sly so she can disarm her house and meet them there. The bag of A goodies is gone, but the Liars find a notebook Harold has been writing in, thinking it was Mona’s diary. The girls realize it actually belonged to Alison, and it reveals definitively that Ali was bribing Byron to keep his affair with Meredith a secret. Harold catches the girls, but they get away when Toby shows up (not coincidentally, I’m sure). Outside the school, there’s an explosion.

At home later that night, Byron accuses Aria and her friends of trying to hurt Meredith, who was the one in the shed that caught fire. Aria insists it wasn’t them, and Byron turns over an anonymous note asking Meredith to grab some supplies out of the shed. Aria phones Spencer to tell her they’ve been set up by A once again. Spencer, who’s talking with Jason when she takes Aria’s call, doesn’t see Mona emerge to tend to Jason’s burn wounds. And Aria doesn’t see Byron listening at her door as she talks about A.

Outside the school, we see an A hoodie tampering with a bicycle. When an unknown (to us) student gets on the bike to ride away, that same hoodie is hiding in a corner. And then we hear the crash and scream…

Wow, this was a busy episode! Why was Toby after Lucas in that SUV (assuming Lucas was the mysterious skAteboarder), and how long before Spencer figures out what he’s been wearing these past few months? Will Emily be safe from A for a while, now that her dad is protecting her? How awesome is Grandma Marin? Who will spill the beans to Ezra and Byron first – Aria, or her other A-named counterpart? And what, for crying out loud, does A have against Rosewood’s recreational bikers and ‘boarders?? Leave your TwoCents below!

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