Pretty Little Liars – Recap & Review – Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Inferno

photo: abcfamily

photo: abcfamily

Pretty Little Liars
Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Inferno

Original Air Date: Jan 29, 2013

Lauren A – Senior Reviewer

This week’s PLL just might rank as one of my top three episodes in the series thus far. I actually forgot for a while that I was watching an extremely far-fetched show about high school girls who are getting the crap scared out of them by super-texters in black hoodies.

Not only did we see the return of several minor characters (like, you know, the Liars’ parents), we also got tons of drama and tears, a few very surprising twists in the mystery of the show, and some real and raw moments from the girls themselves. If last week’s episode was over-hyped, this week’s aftermath really delivered. Dante may have nine circles of hell, but read on for five reasons Inferno was pure heaven.

5. Toby’s Do-Rag and Hanna’s Close Encounter of the Lesbian Kind
It wouldn’t be PLL without a little camp, and the flashback scene to Ali visiting Toby in juvie was a perfect example. Gone are the days of nice-guy, shirtless Toby, hammering with his hammer and cuddling with Spencer. This scene took us back to the days when Toby was the baddest bad on the block. And how did we know we were supposed to be scared? The do-rag, of course! Although it wasn’t really a laughing matter when we found out Ali was getting notes from A way before Toby ever donned his hoodie. Meanwhile, after discovering that Paige put the “wet brain” in Mona’s locker, Hanna decides it’s time to crack the code on whatever Caleb and Paige are up to. She follows Em’s girlfriend to a gay bar, and Hanna hilarity obviously isn’t far behind. I’m not sure which was funnier – Rosewood’s version of what a lesbian should look like (Victoria’s Secret catalogue meets Biker Babe Magazine), or watching Hanna avoid a few come-ons. She ends up with “pink drink” spilled all over her, which lands her at the police station, and which brings us to…

4. The Return of the Parents… Well, Mostly.
The mamas and the papas are back, for the most part. Although drill-sergeant Fields is “back in Texas”, Mrs. Fields (Emily’s mom, not the cookie lady) is taking up the guard. We find out that she has taken a job at the police station. Her respect for the law is obviously above reproach, since she refused to open Emily’s mail, which turns out to be a package from now-deceased Nate’s family – they thought Em would like to have the old cards and notes she and Ali shared before they ended up in Maya and then Nate’s possession. Over at the Montgomery’s, Byron shares with Aria that he spoke with Meredith’s father, who confirmed a history of cray-cray. The two decide they want Meredith treated, not prosecuted, leaving the door wide open for her to come back and unleash some terrifying awesomeness on Rosewood soon. Ashley Marin is also back, and she is checking in with Hanna on the school/Mona sitch. Of course, Hanna’s not talking. Ashley is getting worried that things might be brewing again with A. Not only did the parents return this week, they actually seemed to care about what their daughters were doing. Go figure.

3. The Surprising Flashback
The show is always a little flashier and little cattier when Ali makes an appearance, and this week served it up alongside a plate of crawfish. Emily meets up with Cece to get some insight on a note and a picture she found in Ali’s biology notebook (thanks, family of Nate), and Cece leads us through a flashback to Ali’s time at Cape May. I’m not sure they eat crawfish in Cape May, so maybe they were baby lobsters. Anywho, Cece reveals that not only was Ali seeing someone she referred to as Beach Hottie, Ali also thought she was pregnant! I have to admit, the show hasn’t been mum on Ali’s trysts, but I was truly surprised by this revelation. Now, granted, the seed of doubt is there – Cece was sure to stress that Ali thought she was with child, it wasn’t confirmed. And, luckily, Em had just enough time before running to Aria with the news to Google whether a pregnancy in such early stages would even show up in a body that was buried alive and not discovered until a year later. But still. There was the potential for a mini-Ali in the world, and that is a scary thought. Scary enough for Em, in fact, to lead us to…

Emily realizes that if Ali was pregnant and afraid of Beach Hottie, then whoever killed her might have had an actual reason to keep Ali (and the other Liars) quiet. Maybe it’s because the biology notebook came in a box from Nate’s house, maybe it’s because her mom is in close proximity to the detectives, or maybe it’s because Spencer isn’t being any help whatsoever (more on that to follow), but Em decides to do the right thing and give the notebook to the police. Of course, Detective Wilden is still on the case, and he is only too happy to take the notebook off Emily’s hands. It’s not until later, when Em and Hanna (who is there on an underage drinking charge, remember?) see the picture of Detective Creepy and his police buddies laughing it up in Cape May, do the girls realize they may have made the wrong move after all. And just when they were starting to wise up!!

1. Angry Spencer
It’s been less than 24 hours since Spencer found out Toby was part of the A team. So why is she totally making out with him?? Answer: she’s not. But she is clearly distraught. Spence’s bad dream about Toby turns into a bad day. She doesn’t know what to tell the girls, she misses an opportunity to correct Hanna, and her normally awesome Hastings hair is nothing but frizz. She’s losing it on everyone, and she finally comes clean(ish) to Emily and admits that she and Toby broke up. Spence should have called in sick, and when she gets a text from Aria that Ezra dumped her, Spencer storms out of the school in one of the most amazing fiery rages we’ve seen. If the girls got half as mad at A as Spence did in that English discussion, I don’t think we’d have a show anymore. And she’s not done yet – Spencer rails on Ezra, accidentally revealing his baby by former flame Maggie. Yep, A set Aria up, and used Spencer to do it. And Spencer is getting pretty sick and tired of A using her, dammit. She’s so upset, in fact, that she even forgot how to apply mascara! Tell me you knew, just knew, that Spencer was getting dolled up to meet Toby. And how shocked were you when we found out that instead she went to meet Christopher Walken’s brother (well, he looks like he could be), the private detective? So now we have a neutral third party trailing Toby. Something tells me A won’t like that.

All joking aside, though, Troian Bellisario’s acting chops are impressive. I’m wishing angry Spencer had come out to play a long time ago. She was raw and real, and I ate it up. The same can be said for Ezria’s breakup (would we call it a breakup?) scene: the two actors really sold the uncertainty of their relationship now that Ezra’s trust in Aria is fractured. I want to see more well-rounded episodes like this in the future, where the girls’ lives are at the center of the story, not just a bunch a creepy Hoodie shots.

Did Inferno rank as high in your Liars file as it did in mine? And where, for crying out loud, do we get our hands on those Liars bobbleheads?!? Leave your TwoCents below!

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3 Responses to Pretty Little Liars – Recap & Review – Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Inferno

  1. Julia says:

    The biggest mystery this episode was the weather, if you ask me. They’re outside in tank tops and bare legs, but in Aria’s house, the fireplace is on and she’s wrapped in a woolen blanket? Does her house stand in a different climate than the rest of the town?

    • laurenattc says:

      Haha! I think it was an earlier recap from another season where I referenced the ambiguous weather of Rosewood. It’s a great place to live for the fashionable – wear what looks good, and the weather will automatically comply!!

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