Original Air Date: Jan 15, 2013
Lauren A – Senior Reviewer
Why would Aria ever want to watch a scary movie when she’s living one? I guess she was looking for a side of goose bumps to go with the cold shoulder she’s giving Byron. While those two are tap-dancing around discussions about severed heads and where Byron actually ended up the night Ali was killed, the other Liars break into the school to get a better look at Ali’s diary.
Harold’s stuff has been completely cleaned out of the janitor’s office, but there is one surprise left. A Hoodie jumps out at the girls and runs off, but not before Hanna notices his limp. The office isn’t the only thing that’s been scrubbed – when the Liars find Ali’s diary, it’s empty except for one very prominent A. However, the Liars do a pretty good job of filling in the blanks this week as Spencer goes head to head (or brain to brain) with Mona, Aria enlists Meredith’s help, and Hanna finally gets Lucas to talk…
In the coffee shop, the Liars discuss their anxiety dreams, and we find out the kid who suffered from A’s bicycle sabotage last week was Spencer’s opponent for captain of the Academic Decathalon team. He’s going to need physical therapy, according to the girls, but I can’t help but wonder how much time each of these pretty littles will spend on a therapist’s couch in the next few years. Spencer is pretty happy about the fact that she’s now running unopposed. Maybe A was giving her a hand this time?
It certainly seems that way when Mona puts on a little show about Harold coming to Rosewood High to stalk her, and says her parents went to the school’s administrators after last week’s explosion to turn him in. Aria & Co. are off the hook for hurting Meredith. But would that be the A we all know and love? Hardly.
It’s what Hanna finds out when she corners Lucas, who tells her not to believe Mona is cured. Hanna knows it was Lucas in the janitor’s office. What she didn’t know was that Lucas was behind the explosion; he explains he rigged the fire in an attempt to stop Mona. Lucas spills the beans on everything Mona, telling Hanna he’s leaving Rosewood High. Lucas says Mona’s been bribing him – to distract Jenna, to run notes between Mona and Jason, and finally running him down when he said he wanted out. Mona was going to turn Lucas in for selling test answers at the school if he didn’t do her bidding. I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of Lucas. Although, at this point, the show is running so many theories that we can’t even keep up with all of the suspects in a single episode. We didn’t even see Jason this week, even though his name came up several times in connection to Mona’s not-so-solid recovery. Sigh.
Another sigh-inducing event: Paige is back. I like Lindsey Shaw, but Paige is just so blah. Her and Emily together really bring down the excitement for me. Anyways, I guess the two lady lovebirds are still together after their shared near-death experience. Emily and Paige head to a swim team party on the outskirts of town. Paige freaks out, saying she hasn’t even been able to leave her house since Halloween. She’s scared… so Emily takes her on a walk in the dark woods. Classic PLL. When they get back to the car, someone has slashed the tires and a Hoodie is hiding in the woods. Emily chases the Hoodie (which we see is Toby) and Paige chases Emily. Later, Paige shacks up at Emily’s for the night and the two have a sweet exchange. Emily encourages Paige to get some help, talk to somebody. Here’s hoping one of these girls will finally tell a responsible adult about A…
Speaking of responsible adults… No, I’m sorry. I can’t even finish that sentence without laughing. Anyways, in the main story of this episode, Aria visits her mom’s classroom to get some scoop on Byron’s whereabouts the night Ali was killed. Ella says they went to a party at Hollis, but left early and, after some wine, they were both out for the night.
Aria tells Spencer and Hanna about her talk with Ella, and she goes to show them Ali’s diary pages. But they’re missing. Later, Aria sees Byron and Meredith fighting. Aria, whose main flaw in this episode was that she didn’t immediately leave Casa Montgomery to stay with Ella, tracks Meredith to the coffee shop to ask about the fight. Meredith says she caught Byron in Aria’s room rifling through papers, and going through her purse because he thought it was Aria’s. Meredith says she knew about Ali and the blackmail, and she says Byron didn’t just enjoy wine with Ella the night Ali died. According to Meredith, Byron visited her that night after Ella went to sleep, and then left her house to meet Ali. Meredith hands over the missing diary pages, which she claims she found in Byron’s drawers. Too easy to make a joke there. Although, I actually think Meredith is one of the better characters right now. Even though she’s a little removed from the drama, she keeps things moving. And she’s earnest. Plus, every time I see her I picture her pirouetting herself away from Peter Gallagher’s snobby ballet company, and it makes me smile.
I really thought I would get a smile when Spencer took on Mona, who is apparently not just scheming-smart, but book-smart as well. Smart enough to join the AcDec team and run for captain in Mr. Bike Accident’s place. And smart enough to “campaign” ahead of time so that she and Spence are forced to break their tie in a quiz-off. A texts Spencer to quit while she’s ahead, but it really seems like this is Spence’s time to kick Mona’s butt. (Or “spank” her as the cute little AcDec guy said – I hope he’s there to console Spence when she finds out about Toby’s hoodie collection.) Even though Spencer was more than ready, Mona won out in the final seconds. I felt really bad for Spencer here. It would have been nice to see one of the Liars get just one little victory over A.
Which may be why I so appreciated Hanna’s showdown with Mona, wherein Hanna called Mona out on all of her lies and scheming. Again, this is why Hanna is the best of the Liars. She never fails to say what she’s thinking, even if humiliation (and lots of button pushing, a la Spencer) is *probably* what drove Mona to A-dopt an alter ego in the first place.
So, is Lucas in trouble now that Hanna has stood up for him? Will Aria be the next Rosewood gone girl with Byron frantically scrambling to cover his tracks? And how much more spunk can we expect from broken-spirited Spencer, especially once we add broken-hearted to the list? Leave your TwoCents below!