Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen the Season 4 premiere of ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars," titled "A Is For A-l-i-v-e."
Things pick up exactly where they left off -- the
Pretty Exteremly Dirty Little Liars are gasping at the sight of #whatsinthetrunk of Wilden's car. Turns out, it's just a dead pig. Compared to what these girls have seen, that's nothing. But I expected to be disappointed in the trunk reveal since Marlene King said we'd find out in the first 30 seconds of the episode.
So, moving on ... Where's MonA? "This was all her," Aria whines. "She set us up!" Hanna, who managed to perfect the sock bun look in between seasons, quickly discovers she's in the front seat, behind the wheel. What's she doing? "Saving your mom," MonA explains as she uses her Go-Go Gadget skills to take apart the recording device that has the video of Ashley running over Wilden.
When a couple on an evening stroll through the desolate streets of Rosewood starts to approach, Hanna frantically pesters MonA to get "the chip," while MonA, like any good horror genre sociopath, remains calm, cool and collected. Success! They hop in the car With Emily, Spencer and Aria and head back to the Parentless Hasting's House.
At Spencer's, Aria stares out the window, Emily threatens to "beat the crap" out of MonA and Spence decides it's time for a little game called "Third Degree."
Mom: "It's funny that Aria has her hat on sooo perfect."
Me: "Hanna looks like she's celebrating Ash Wednesday."
Mom: "OMG--I was just writing that."
The girls plop their muddied behinds onto the pristine Hastings furniture and prepare for Bedtime Stories with Miss MonA, where our "questions" are "answered."
None that information is either A) helpful and/or B) what I wanted to know. But thanks for the answers, Marlene. It's no wonder the hours of revelations (as indicated by the fade-ins and fade-outs on MonA) put the girls into a deep slumber they didn't remember falling into. That s*** was BO-ring.
Mom: "They were just in a fire--why would they be sleeping near a fire? And Aria still has her hat on."
When they open their eyes, MonA's missing, causing Hanna to panic since she needs "that chip," because this is apparently a sci-fi feature now. Luckily, she returns a second later with a tray of coffee, still swimming in her dirty black hoodie, of course. Unsurprisingly, Aria prefers soy milk, Spence is a "supersize drip" and Hanna like hers skinny. Emily, what is "with pink"? Sweet'N Low? Can they not say brand names? Confused.
Mom: "And Aria still has her hat on!"
Anyway, the caffeine nor the multigrain scone is not enough to satisfy the girls. They want to know everything MonA knows and they want it now. They also want a feast. They want bean feast. Cream buns and doughnuts and fruitcake with no nuts, so good you could go nuts! Just kidding. Bitches don't eat.
"I'm not in the mood to play room service," Hanna says sternly, demanding MonA bring them to her lAir.
On their way, the streets of Rosewood are at a standstill over by the church. "All this for a muddy cop car and a dead pig?" Em asks. So why did you gasp the night before then, Fields? Hm? HM?!
Suddenly, a gust of wind blows the sheet away covering what the Liars believe to be the porker in the street. Oh, it's a pig in a blanket alright. But it's not the delicious kind served at cocktail parties; it's the kind that'll accuse of murder and then sleep with your mom, i.e. it's Wilden!
Mom: "Ding dong the Wicked Wilden is dead! Where are the munchkins dancing and singing???"
Now, MonA knows what the text they all got at the end of Season 3 meant ... and so does Spencer. "A has a way to make it look like we killed him," Spence explains. And she's back in the game!
Over in the woods, TobAy is "hiding" behind some leaves with a lighter in his hand, looking on as a single firefighter sifts through the debris of the burnt-down home. In the wreckage, the firefighter finds a torched red trench coat, which leads TobAy's eyes to widen and him to sort of, kind of hide his creepy face behind a branch.
Mom: "Look how clean cut the Tob-meister looks. His hair is actually decent. And Hannie's bun looks pretty perf. And Aria still has her hat on!"
Back in the lAir, the perfectly-coiffed, but filthy-faced girls discuss the possibility of Ali really being the one behind Red Coat, who saved them from the fire, as they go through all of MonA's A game gear. They find the "Phantom of the Opera"-esque masque, "revealing" another earlier "mystery." It was pocket-sized MonA who miraculously towered over Hanna on the Halloween train in Caleb's costume. "To think we were this close to our first kiss," MonA jokes.
But, she clarifies that she wasn't the one who tried to throw Aria from the locomotion while in motion, which she can prove thanks to a trusty video she happens to have queued up and ready to go on her laptop. Turns out, Wilden was the #QueenOfHearts, faux fire-engine-red fingernails and all. But he wasn't alone. Just as the #QueenOfHearts II that he was intensely talking to was about to take off his/her mask, MonA's computer started going haywire. "Someone's deleting all my files," she says as lips fly all over her screen, which is what I assume happens when most people get hacked.
Suddenly, they hear children's voices. "Alison. Come out, come out wherever you are." "It's not fair, Aria. It was Emily's idea?" Then, they hear a rusty carousel twirling and the horrifying sound of little girls' giggles. As they walk around the corner of the trailer park, they see five little girls in their image and they're each holding doll mini-versions of the Little Liars fivesome, modeled after the what the girls looked like pre-Ali's death, i.e. MonA's has glasses, Aria's had red streaks in her hair and Hanna's is stuffed with a little extra padding.
Mom: "Why are they at this trailer park? Like they ever lived at a trailer park!"
Me: "Why is mini Spencer so much smaller than everyone else?"
Mom: "Look! They have their own American Rosewood Dolls!"
"Who gave them to you?" MonA asks the trailer park Littler Liars. "Your friend Alison. She started playing with us right after you moved in."
Because that was a normal place to end a conversation and we can all imagine that scene went on to feature the Liars, the trailer park Littler Liars and the trailer park Littler Liars' dolls playing on the rusty carousel, braiding each others' hair and having a grand old time, we pick up the next day post-commercial break.
Over at Emily's, where Hanna is sporting metallic leggings and Em is wearing a vest (She's a lesbian. We get it, wardrobe department!), the girls discuss "the chip." Hanna plans to pretend to rekindled her BFF flame with MonA so that she can recover the tape. Step 1: Helping her move the A Team RV to a new location far away from "Ali" and their mini-me's. Em doesn't trust MonA, but Hanna says if she's learned one thing from her mom it's "keep your friends close and your enemies closer." Ashley seemed to prefer to sleep with her enemies, but to-may-to to-mah-to.
Emily's ever-involved mom emerges to play the voice of the townspeople, offering these two tidbits: 1) No one knows what happened to "poor Wilden," "but there were witnesses" and 2) Ali's mom is back!
Back at A's old torching grounds, Spencer and TobAy are digging for the actual red coat when Spencer decides to enter what remains of the house.
Mom: "Like why isn't that blocked off by police tape or the fire dept as a danger zone?"
"We shouldn't be in here," TobAy tells Spencer, agreeing with my mom. "Well, we are," she replies. So good to have sassy Spencer back. She finds matches from the Lodge at Thornhill, but before she can do anymore searching and rescuing, they realize they are not alone and quickly dart back outside. To the woods. Where it's safer.
Meanwhile, Emily stops over at the DiLaurentis' to bring over a welcome basket her mom wanted her to give to Ali's mom. They have your standard chat about old people odor and then Em helps Mrs. D (because they call her that now) bring some boxes up to what's clearly Ali's room -- the only thing that's missing is Ali herself. "You kept all her things?" Em asks. "I think that's what she would've wanted."
Mom: "I thought Mrs. D was pissed off at the girls from the fashion show."
Me: "I thought so too."
We're suspicious and so is Emily. "She's building a shrine to Ali," Em says on the phone with Hanna, who's en route to "some farm," helping MonA relocate the RV. As Hanna and MonA lock up the lAir on wheels in aforementioned shiny pants and even shinier rival heels, respectively, Hanna wonders if the RV is safe. "There's stuff in there that could really bring us all down," she notes. Without really quashing Hanna's fears, MonA passive aggressively and pretty romantically says, "I just haven't thought about you and me as an us for a long time. Well, anyway ... " Cue commercial.
When we return to "Pretty Little
Lesbians Liars," Aria is literally alone at The Brew when another customer walks in ... It's Ezra, of course.
Mom: "They are the only ones in there. And Aria doesn't have her hat on."
They exchange awkward "hi's" and he tells her he got a new job -- at Rosewood High, the place he left amidst student-teacher affair rumors, so of course, they'd offer him a permanent position. Just as they're in the middle of the "let's see other people" chat, some other patrons walk in and Aria walks out with a "Goodbye, Mr. Fitz." Please stop trying to get me to root for these two. I beg of you.
On to another eye-roll-worthy, but less illegal pairing: Spoby. As Spence reads the latest on Wilden, who was shot multiple times and found somewhere that wasn't where he was killed, TobAy orders her to eat. Silly, TobAy. Food is for ... anyone but these girls! When he refers to himself as her "boyfriend," she puts the newspaper down and gets all nauseatingly flirtatious. Thankfully, TobAy's phone goes off. "Bet you miss her every day. Kisses -A," the message reads, with a photo attached of who we can assume is TobAy's mom.
Mom: "What is wrong with Spencer??"
Me: "Many, many, many things."
Mom: "She is supposed to be so smart and she is soooo dumb when it comes to TOBS."
Over at school, Aria stares longingly at "Mr. Fitz" and Em wonders how to break the Wilden news to Paige, who must've fallen off the face of the earth if she doesn't know what's going on. Suddenly, Aria breaks out of her trance long enough to realize the vice principal is "totally watching" her watch Ezra, which is creepy in itself. The girls bury themselves in Steinbeck. Reading?! That pig from the trunk must've have gotten its wings in heaven because he is flying for sure!
Hanna emerges in the hallway with a headband on her hairline a la early '90s jazzercise instructor and MonA is practically drooling.
Me: "Whoa, Hanna. Headband much?"
Mom: "It is so ugly."
Me: "And why is it there? Also, is Mona in love with Hanna?
Mom: "Maybe--Caleb is leaving--maybe Mona will be her love interest."
"Careful, Hanna. When you use words like 'us' and 'we' my mind goes to this place where I think we could actually be friends again." Seriously!? MonA agrees to ditch her French study group so they can capture the true meaning of friendship: shopping!
"C'est une rendezvouz," MonA says. "Coco Chanel!" Hanna replies enthusiastically.
Suddenly, Aria gets paged to the VP's office. Merde. (This is the end of my French knowledge. Coco Chanel!)
When she enters what appears to be the same exact office her father occupied at Hollis, the vice principal cuts to the chase. "I know you're sleeping with your teacher," he says, prompting me to cheer from my couch that this jig is finally up (though I was admittedly creeped out by the very explicit photos he had of the scandalous couple). "In this state, it's a felony for a teacher to have sex with a minor," he continues. "Ezra Fitz is going to prison." But before I can pop open my champagne to celebrate the fact that "Pretty Little Liars" is finally depicting the proper consequence for the longtime Ezria escapades, we find out it was just Aria's imagination. And here is what happened:
Mom: "Oh my God."
Me: "THANK GOD! WHERE HE BELONGS!"
Mom: "They really went there finally."
Mom: "Oh geez. Hahaha"
Me: "OH ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME?!"
Mom: "More mind games."
Me: "I AM SO ANGRY RIGHT NOW. SO ANGRY. SO SO SO SO ANGRY."
Turns out, the vice principal just had something for Ella, who's out sick. Cut to commercial and me still fuming.
Back to "Pretty Little Lesbians," where Paige has hopped back on the globe to show Emily photos of Stanford, where she's been offered a full ride. I wonder how the Ivy Leaugers feel about exposed bras because a newly-svelte Paige is clearly very into them. She wants Em to join her at Stanford and though it may be far from Rosewood (unlike Em's choice, Danbee), they can get an apartment together! And she can even decorate said apartment! "Don't you want to live in a place where you don't have to be afraid of the dark?" Paige asks. "In a place where I don't have to be afraid for you?" Finally, Em acquiesces. Californiaaaaaaa, here we cooooome!
Post-shopping spree, MonA and Hanna, who's turned her headband into a beret apparently, return to the Parentless Marin Household for a refreshing, generic soda. MonA suggests Hanna wear her new sheer, lace-y number she got "barely buttoned" for Caleb upon his return. But not minutes later, she calls Hanna out for faux-friending her again and gives her "the chip."
"I really loved you once and I really was your friend," she says, before leaving Hanna and her complicated headgear behind. It must've been love, but it's over now.
Emily returns home from her incredibly early celebration on the town with Paige for their new West Coast lives (where Em's sure to fit in with her Uggs and cut-offs). As she walks inside, she finds Jenna waiting for her. "If anything happens to me, can you give Toby a message?" she asks Emily, who isn't giving in. Jenna notes that she and "Darren" (Wilden) were friends and she's worried that she's next because everyone who saw Ali the night she went missing is "waking up dead." Is this "The Walking Little Liars"? "The Pretty Little Dead"? Did she flub that line (which would be understandable -- pregnancy brain and all) or was it written (which would not be understandable)? Anyway, Em picks up on the fact that Jenna hints that Wilden also saw Ali the night she went missing and then, she notices a red mark on Jenna's wrist. "Did you burn yourself?" she asks. Jenna pulls down the sleeve of her jacket and says, "Tell him I never meant to hurt him," before walking off into the night.
A Toby-less Spencer is looking ultra '70s in her colorblocked top and geometric miniskirt, reading in her Toby-made rocking chair, when she feels eyes on her.
Me: "Spencer looks like she came straight out of 'Now and Then.'"
She gets up and goes to her bedroom window to see Mrs. D staring at her with daggers in her eyes. Then, she robotically walks away. I will not lie -- it's pretty freaking scary. This woman is looking more and more suspicious by the minute. A) She has blonde hair. B) She's watching Spencer. C) She has a reason to torment the Little Liars. D) Spence turns around to find a message on her iPad, with the newspaper clipping about Wilden's funeral. "Closed caskets keep secrets. His is open and exposes yours. Kisses, Bitches. -A."
The next day at the funeral, the girls are on a mission to find the casket and wearing entirely the wrong things for both a funeral and a mission.
Mom: "You don't think those dresses are funeral attire? In Rosewood."
Me: "They look like witchy harlots. But sure, for Rosewood, I guess it works."
Now, where could a small building be hiding a box holding the body of a full-grown man? They split up to find out. While Aria watches Ezra and Maggie talk to the vice principal ...
Me: "I still can't believe Alex Mack is on this show."
Mom: "Was that her talking to Ezra and the vice principal??? Hahaha! I thought it was an old lady. I swear."
... Spencer wanders into a private room and seconds later, she hears a phone ring -- only it's not hers. MonA emerges from behind a curtain, "Looks like we got the same e-message." Is "text" a copyrighted term? Who says e-message? Unable to answer these difficult questions, they reach into the casket and find Wilden's ringing phone. And can you believe it? They just missed the call. It was from a blocked number and Wilden also received another call from a blocked number that day, plus one more from "Kisses," the signature for all the blackmailing notes and text A has been sending as of late. Spencer dials it back, per MonA's request. A familiar voice answers. "Why are you calling me on my mom's phone?" Hanna asks.
As the girls try to figure out what this all means -- and as my mom and I are trying to figure out why Hanna even has her mom's phone if she's in New York -- Mrs. D interrupts. "You girls all look so pretty," she says. "Ali would be so proud of you, Hanna. You've really kept the weight off," she adds. Like mother like daughter.
Me: "I couldn't decide who's dress is sluttier. Then, Emily turns around. A shocking late entry!"
Mom: "Emily's is really low cut."
The girls look back to see a figure shrouded in a black lace veil, but before they can figure it out, the congregation starts saying Psalm 23 in unison.
Though Jenna's there in her sunglasses (Is that because she'd been crying or because she's pretending to be blind again?), TobAy is en route in the RV with tears of his own filling up those baby blues and we see why. "I know what happened 2 your mom. Bring the lair and u'll known 2. Kisses -A," his latest text ... I mean, e-message ... reads.
Then, TobAy flashes back to his earlier days where Ali is in his bedroom, taunting him with the same "I know you want to kiss me" that she did with Ian on the Kissing Rock in the video that played a trillion times in Season 1. As they lean in, TobAy's mom emerges. She's just woken up at four in the afternoon. "I think there's something wrong with her," he tells Ali. But her insensitive "lazy, much?" response prompts him to ask her to leave. Back in the present, TobAy trapses down the road less traveled to meet A, wiping tears from his eyes. Was no one on the road disturbed by the baby doll in his windshield? Apparently not.
Back at the church, a new fluffy-haired, mumbly cop named Officer Holbrook approaches the Little Liars by first name. He's with the Pennsylvania State Police, investigating the murders of Garrett and Wilden. "Wilden had a thing for you," he says. "His conduct borders on unprofessional." So ... what are they doing at his funeral then, Holbrook wonders.
"We're, uh, supporting our local police department," Emily says, offering possibly the worst response ever.
"Remember, we're the good guys," an apparently convinced Holbrook says. "Just here to find out the truth."
Cue e-message! "The truth won't set you free, bitches. I'm going to bury you with it. Kisses -A." And there's a video too -- it's MonA stealing "the chip" the night Wilden was murdered.
As the credits roll, we see A has added a MonA doll -- black hoodie and all -- to his/her collection. And we also see that it was A beneath the black lace veil, wearing wearing a singed mask.
Me: "We are right back where we started."
Mom: "Thanks, Marlene---for nothing."
The fact that this episode included so many callbacks to Season 1 -- the exterior church funeral shots, the "I know you want to kiss me," etc. -- felt more Sisyphean than Easter egg-y. I'm really getting tired of going in circles here. As my mom said, "I'm getting dizzy, Marlene!"
I do, however, think that Ali's mom is now a prime suspect and those who've thrown Ashley's name out there as a possible A Team member might have some evidence too. The "Kisses" moniker in Wilden's phone and her general absence in the premiere are suspicious as well. Plus, there's always Melissa.
What did you think of the premiere? Who is at the top of your A suspect list? Sound off in the comments!
Quotes of the Night
"You know what I think? I think you're lucky that we're not beating the crap out of you." -Emily
"Yeah, I have my own set." -MonA
"Mi casa es su casa." -MonA
"In English!" -Hanna
"If you're not taking into account the fact that she died two years ago, sure, it's possible." -TobAy
"She let things go. And it smells like old people."- Mrs. DiLaurentis
"Ali hated that smell." -Emily
"You know, Ezra, it's a lot easier to not see you when I'm not seeing you." -Aria
"Every time I closed my eyes, I saw Wilden. And then I saw a pig and then I saw Wilden with a pig face." -Hanna
"Are you really so sure about everything you're so sure about?" -Aria
"There's no way we're letting A bring down Mrs. M." -MonA
"Pretty Little Liars" airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC Family.