Pretty Little Liars
Misery Loves Company
Original Air Date: Jan 22, 2013
Lauren A – Senior Reviewer
All the hype for this week’s episode, in which Spencer finally uncovers Toby’s ultimate betrAyal, just turned into a lot of anticipAtion. The episode really centered around Aria’s illness, Meredith’s craziness (or possibly crAziness? And all this after I expounded last week on the importance of her being earnest!), and team Save Our Girlfriends, newly formed by Caleb and Paige. Because, you know, they want to be significant-others-with-a-secret, too.
I love the episodes where PLL borrows a vibe and a scene or two from a popular horror film, and this one definitely had the Misery part down. Things are seemingly normal at Casa Montgomery – that is, Aria is in trouble and neither of her parents are anywhere to be found. With Byron away at a conference for fathers who may or may not have murdered their daughters’ BFFs and Ella spending the week with Mike Montgomery on the Island of Vanishing Characters, Aria is left to rely on Meredith for recovery… and not just from the flu. Turns out, Meredith is trying to recover those diary pages of Ali’s as well, even if it means a final pas marche for a few Liars.
Mona and Toby have a new lair, so it’s safe to assume that Hanna’s big, “whatever, Mona!” moment had a fair amount of impact last week. Mona tells Toby they have to make the Liars understand that “she’s” in charge… who is SHE? Are we finally steering away from the male-dominated and obviously deadly suspect list now that Ian and Garrett have both been killed? Mona is clear that it’s not her calling the shots. Toby says he will take care of it. How creepy are all of Toby’s scenes now that we know he’s a Hoodie? And not just in the “oh, that delivery was painful” way that I’ve grown accustomed to.
My creeper beeper was definitely going off when Emily showed up at Toby’s to deliver some coffee and talk a little Lord of the Flies. Is that a clue? Are the Liars going to eat one of their own? Probably not, since Toby applauds the girls’ resolution in sticking together and supporting each other. He leaves Em there to wait for the plumber, and he heads out to shower at Spencer’s, where Mama Hastings interrupts Toby’s shirtless self to remind the two that they can’t spend their one year anniversary together, since Spencer will be attending a dinner for her father that very evening. But they’re all just pulling the strategically placed towel over Toby’s eyes, because Spence really has plans to surprise him with dinner at his apartment.
Toby’s not the only Rosewood guy who’s trying to get the girls to talk about A. Caleb takes a suspicious call, and Hanna assumes he’s hatching a plan to protect her. She asks Emily to tail Caleb and make sure he doesn’t get hurt if he’s going after Mona like Hanna fears. Turns out, Caleb and Paige are meeting up to start a Liars’ Lovers support group, and they seem dead set on stopping Mona.
Meanwhile, Hanna goes for an interview with a designer named Corin. As she enters the store, she spies the reflection of an Ali look-alike in a red coat, sans brunette wig, in the window. Inside, Hanna’s lost in a maze of white, plastic mannequins, and then a Hoodie is chasing her. The Hoodie pushes Hanna down, drops a key, and A sends a text – next time you’ll be left faceless. Hanna Marin hilarity ensues when she gathers Em and Spence to decode the text and decide what to do with the key, which Spencer hangs onto until they can reach Aria.
It’s going to be a while. Between cups of Meredith’s mystery tea, Aria is sleeping the day away. She wakes once to find her phone missing. Of course, Meredith took it and she is screening all of Aria’s calls, even after telling Ella that Aria is feeling much better. Later, Aria wakes to find Dream Ali in her room. Dream Ali takes the diary pages, which were stuffed inside a doll inside the wall of Aria’s closet. (It’s all very “There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly”.) Ali says she never called Ella to turn in Meredith and Byron. And she warns Aria not to drink Meredith’s tea. She also says the girls see A everywhere, and she’s surprised Spencer hasn’t figured that out yet. I say it’s convenient that Dream Ali keeps up with the trends, what with those mint skinnies she’s rocking. Anyways, Aria wakes up and she’s locked in her room. Even worse? The doll Dream Ali was holding is now sitting on Aria’s bookshelf. Aria tries to escape, but she falls asleep again.
The next time Aria wakes, Meredith is standing over her holding a broken piece of a mirror (one of Aria’s escape tools). When Aria makes a run for it, Meredith flat knocks. her. out. It’s kind of awesome, actually. It’s around this same time that Hanna and Emily realize Meredith has been drugging Aria, and they come to her rescue. The three Liars end up locked in the basement, and Byron is summoned home by Meredith. She tells him what Aria and her friends know, and then suddenly Byron is rescuing the girls and Meredith is on the lam. So now Meredith is suspect numero uno.
… At least until Byron starts talking, that is. Byron tells the girls that he walked away from Ali without turning over any money, and without killing her. But he did see Melissa Hastings come outside as he left, meaning there’s another person who saw Ali alive after Byron.
There’s a bigger revelation brewing, and it’s not the answer to why Caleb is driving a Mercedes after claiming he’s had the same hoodie since he was twelve. Toby breaks into Spencer’s house to retrieve the key the Hoodie dropped while attacking Hanna. Spencer is there to confront Toby. See, while he was (presumably) executing the Hanna-quin attack, Spencer was setting up their romantic feast. Romantic, that is, until she found a fake Radley security badge with Toby’s picture on it. And Mona’s victory over Spencer last week wasn’t enough to erase the fact that Spencer is one smart cookie. She figured out Toby’s secret. She slapped Toby. And then she cried.
Later, Spencer goes to Toby’s place. She pleads with the locked door to make what she saw not real, to tell her there’s more to the story. But it’s Mona who’s inside, eating SpoBy’s anniversary dinner with a very Hannibal Lector smile and flick to her wrist. Seems like we got to the cannibal place in a round-a-bout way after all.
How long will Spencer give Toby the benefit of the doubt? Will Byron really go to the police like he says he will? What exactly are Ella, Mike, Ashley, Jason, Jenna, and the others doing on that island? And, the biggest question of all, with a red coat sighting and a Dream Ali scene, can we be 100% sure that Ali is actually dead? Leave your TwoCents below!