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Jaimie Etkin

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'Pretty Little Liars' Recap: Mona's Back And She's Got Brains

Posted: 01/09/2013 3:03 am

Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 3, Episode 14 of ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars," titled "She's Better Now."

Twas another dark night in Rosewood and Hanna is nestled all snug in her bed, while shadows slowly hover over her head. As she sprang from her bed to see what was the matter, we see MonA standing beside her. "Is this a bad time?" she asks.

As Hanna wonders how the hell her psych-patient-former-best-friend wound up in her bedroom -- "She Joey Pottered it," my mom and I decide -- MonA explains that she's scared to go back to school with "no one in [her] corner."

When Hanna's Gramma hears her talking to MonA, she tells her she's simply "reading out loud." Obviously, that should have tipped Gramma Marin off, but it seems to satiate her curiosity.

Mom: "GRANDMA? What is up with that?"
Jaimie: "Remember? Betty Buckley?"
Mom: "What happened to Ashley? Overnight with the minister?"

Meanwhile, out on the mean, desolate streets of Rosewood, a big black SUV starts chasing a hooded skateboarder until he's driven off the street. As he hits a curb, we see the driver is TobAy, but who was the skateboarder?

Mom: "Whew. I'm exhausted."

But we've only just begun.

The next day, Colonel Fields -- who's back apparently? -- is arming his family's home with an alarm on every window, much to Rapunzel's Emily's dismay as a ladder hits her bedroom window. (So. much. Joey. Pottering.) Emily's dad tells her that Garrett's mother is going after the Rosewood police to clear Garrett's name, but Em doesn't think he's innocent -- after all, Ali's murder remains unsolved.

Hanna activates the Liars phone chain and now the quartet knows that MonA's back: Aria thinks they should ignore her, while Spencer believes she could have more answers ... and a connection to the NAT club. Spence dares to bring up Aria's dad, but she says she's not going to start believing her former coffin buddy now, especially when she and Byron are finally getting along.

Mom: "Woah! Lucy is mixing many patterns."
Jaimie: "Polka dots, checks, stripes, spots and many more things."
Mom: "Niiiiiice. Soo Sharon Lois & Bram."

When Hanna goes downstairs for breakfast, there's a basket of muffins from MonA and Gramma tells her "The Tale of Cousin Heshy and the Rusty Nails," which would have made an awesome installment of "Are You Afraid of The Dark?" Gramma thinks people can change, but Hanna isn't so sure.

Hanna tells the girls she promised to "be around for" MonA and Emily agrees with her and Spencer -- MonA could have some answers. Em brings up Byron again and Aria blows up, "You actually believe that my own dad would drug me and put me in a box?" She walks into school -- but not before having a bitch glare staring contest with MonA -- and Emily feels bad.

She confronts Aria, who admits she's now suspicious of her dad too and has Ezra's baby mamma Alex Mack on the brain. When they get to class, she sees that Meredith "Center Stage's" Jody (Byron's former mistress) has taken over for her American History teacher who went on maternity leave. Jody takes Aria's phone in the middle of class and confronts her after class about texting gossip about her during class.

Mom: "I hate to say it, but Meredith looks good."
Jaimie: "True."
Mom: "What time of year is this?"
Jaimie: "It's always summer in Rosewood."
Mom: "Isn't it October? They do have winter in Pennsylvania."
Jaimie:  "Pennsylvania is like LA, but only in Rosewood."

After American History with Jody, MonA goes to her locker and there's a brain on the inside of the door with a knife through it and a sigh that reads, "Takes one MAD COW to know another." Is Mad Cow still something we discuss? I was unaware. Anyway, as her classmates look on through the lens of their phones, which Jody didn't confiscate, MonA walks to the trash to throw away the brain and the knife.

Mom: "Mona is a sick puppy. Of course, there is no teacher to be found."
Jaimie: "And monkey's brains are popular in Cantonese cuisine ... or so I learned from 'Clue.'"

She then walks over to Lucas and whispers something in his ear. After, Hanna asks him what she said, but Lucas simply limps away with his head hanging low.

Back at non-class and inside the bathroom, Aria, Spencer and Emily are worried people will think they put the brain in MonA's locker. Admittedly, Aria and Em feel sorry for her -- Spencer? Not so much. And just as she laments about what MonA has done to them, the teen of the moment enters and says she's determined to gain their trust. "I'm better now," she assures.

A disturbed Hanna risks the world knowing about Haleb -- she goes over to Caleb in the courtyard and tells him what happened with the brain. While he wonders if MonA did that to herself, she wonders why Lucas is limping and asks Caleb to get down to the bottom of it.

Outside at lunch, Spencer and TobAy are having a very awkward lunch -- unbeknownst to her -- and she asks him, "Do you think Jenna transferred schools because, after Garrett, she was afraid she was next?" Spencer says she was one of the last people alive who was involved with the NAT Club and then, she sees the other living member, Jason, who is embracing MonA.

Back inside the halls of Rosewood, Emily sees there's a new janitor and he's the Norman Bates-like fella who welcomed them to the Lost Woods Resort. Em and Hanna sneak to the basement and see Norman has MonA's bizarre baby-face mask. They're barely whispering right outside his door and shockingly, he hears them and checks the hallways. He's holding a pen like it's a flashlight or a knife. Baller Swiss Army knife, good sir.

After school -- or during, because, you know -- Aria stops by Ezra's and gets a text from Hanna about Harold so she quickly exits. On her way out the door, she practically trips over a basket with a balloon that reads, "It's A Boy!" The "A," of course, is in bold red font. And, there's a card: "Like babies, lies grow bigger. Then they start talking. When will YOU?"

One person who certainly doesn't have a problem talking: Spencer. She and TobAy are finishing up a very, very sweaty run and The Shirtless Wonder says, "I think we earned some hot tub." Sadly, that line came without a TV sick bag and my mom is "going to vomit," but it does come with the arrival of Jason. Spencer sees his car and decides to ask him bluntly about his relationship with MonA. As Jason carries his 97th box of the series into his house, Spencer warns him not to trust MonA, but he says he likes to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Meanwhile, Aria and Hanna meet Emily at The Brew and consider the origins of the basket, but when Caleb arrives, he's got some answers in the form of the transcript from a meeting between the Rosewood High principal, MonA and her parents. Turns out, MonA's parents didn't want her to return to Rosewood -- she begged them to let her.

Interesting, but back to Alex Mack. Hanna says Aria needs to just tell Ezra about the baby and looks longingly over at Caleb, knowing what happens when a child doesn't know his or her father.

Back at the Parentless Hasting House, Spencer and TobAy have a very un-relaxing encounter in the hot tub and as Spence ponders why Jason could be ignoring her warnings, she hears something in the woods. Spencer jets long before the jets get going and TobAy looks bummed.

Mom: "Where is this hot tub?"
Jaimie: "Spencer's house."
Mom: "They haven't shown Spencer's living room this whole episode. What is up with that?"
Jaimie: "Good point."
Mom: "I want to punch Toby in his ugly face."

Anyway, that night, Byron approaches Aria about being in Meredith's class and it's clear his mistress told him a lie about the way the Liars welcomed her.

Jaimie: "Meredith is up to noooo gooood."
Mom: "She definitely is, but her hair looks really gooooood."
Jaimie: "Get over it."
Mom: "OK. But I won't get over wanting her to break out and dance."

As Byron happily leaves Aria's bedroom, she asks him about Ali. "I like all of your friends," he tells her. "You never spent any real time alone with her though, did you?" she continues. He denies it and leaves her room, but as she ponders, he looks on creepily from outside the bedroom door.

Mom: "Now that Byron is potentially involved, he is a tool and a creeper and a pathetic parent."

The next morning, the girls wake up to find MonA has made a video, which would certainly have earned her a spot on "Real World Rosewood." She tearily talks about being tormented in her nerdy days and opens up about her time. Just before Hanna can't take any more of MonA's bullshit, Lucas knocks on the back door. Hanna asks him what happened to his leg and he says it was a "skateboarding accident." Lightbulb! TobAy was chasing Lucas at the start of the episode.

Mom: "Question -- where did Toby get the money for that big fancy SUV? He used to be poor and Spencer bought him that truck."
Jaimie: "That is not a valid question. Money and sun are bountiful in Rosewood. There are no broke people, no cold days and it only rains for kissing scene purposes."

Lucas tells Hanna that MonA was easily able to sneak out of Radley, but "that's the best that [he] can do."

For whatever reason, Hanna seems happy with his explanation before heading over to the town's 10K where every color and style of hoodie can be found. At the start of the race, everyone is watching the video and MonA arrives to her classmates offering their condolences and shoulders to cry on. "That's called greeting your converts," Aria says.

As Hanna's grandma makes the impromptu decision to sing the National Anthem -- "because she is Betty Buckley can," Hanna says -- Lil' Marin tells the girls, "I think MonA was on the Halloween train that night."

Mom: "I wish she would sing 'CATS.'"
Jaimie: "dun dun DUN dun dun DUN dun dun."
Mom: "I want them to address why Hanna's grandma is there all of a sudden."
Jaimie: "Let it go."
Mom: "Where is Ashley!?"
Jaimie: "With the pastor ... doing it."
Mom: "How unfortunate for his parish!"

Spence has hatched a plan to break into Norman's office and they do so with a bobby pin. But the bag of MonA's things on Norman's desk is gone. They do, however, see the journal Emily and Hanna saw him writing in. Apparently, he was drafting a long letter to MonA, thinking that was her diary, but in reality, it was Ali's -- the same one Spencer saw in MonA's lair.

The Liars see a passage about Byron and (cue flashback), we find out that Ali was blackmailing him about his affair with Meredith. She wanted a large sum of money and said he had until Labor Day -- which is when she met her fate -- to hand it over. Presumably, that's what they were arguing about when Garrett overheard them the night Ali died.

While the Liars are digging through the office and taking trips down someone else's memory lane, MonA is giving Jody the evil eye at the finish line.

When the girls hear noises in the basement, they leave the office (with a page from Ali's journal in hand), but not before Norman, holding a large pair of sharp clippers, stops them. Suddenly, TobAy arrives to "save the day" and Spencer says she's "so lucky [he] was there." God, it's going to be sad when she finds out the truth about him.

Still, the coast isn't clear because when the Liars and TobAy walk outside, there's an explosion in the shed outside the school, which we later learn injured poor Jody.

Mom: "Should've known. Mona was giving her the evil eye so that means curtains."

Byron tells Aria he invited Jody to stay over, but she declined due to a note that read: "Can you grab two swag bags for staff leaving early? -Thanks" Apparently, says Byron, the note led her to the storage shed, where the explosion happened and he's pointing his finger at Aria and her fellow Little Liars. He begs Aria to divulge her secrets, but when she throws that back in his face, the conversation is over.

Back at Jason's house of boxes, Spencer warns him again (noting that MonA escaped the explosion, unscathed) and he says he completely gets it. As she walks away, MonA walks onto the porch to nurse Jason's wound ... Did he set off the explosion?

As the credits roll, there's one more scene, which (I will not lie to you) I watched easily five times. "A" was unscrewing the bolts on someone's bicycle outside of a school, which may or may not have been Rosewood. When a student comes outside -- which a close-up on his book reveals it's the "Eastern Pennsylvania Academic Decathlon" -- he gets on the bike and a few seconds later, we hear a pretty hilarious, "Ah!"

The previews for next week's episode, include what appears to be a debate between Spencer and MonA. Is it the decathlon they're competing in and did a member of the "A" Team try to injure an opponent via bicycle? It remains unclear.

And for those really cool people -- like myself -- who were following along with Mona Vanderwaal on Twitter for clues, you were let to this: WANT MORE OF MY VIDEO? GO TO DENOFLIES DOT COM. The website includes the full version of MonA's viral video confession and when the video starts to get wonky at about 1:30, MonA begins talking to a "friend" who had the idea to film it in the first place. Is it TobAy? Is it Jason? Is it someone else? Weigh in the comments.

Quotes Of The Night
"He's basically hugging a hand grenade." -Spencer on MonA about Jason

"If those pervs didn't even want to peep in her window -- Why would they want to hang out with her?" -Aria on MonA's relationship with the NAT Club

"I have classes. I can't step out every 10 minutes just to report to mom that I'm alive." -Emily

"Well, the buddymoon's over." -Aria about Harold and MonA

"Hey, feed me. I'm starving." -a very bossy Caleb to Emily

"That child is more twisted than my toes." -Gramma Marin

"I think Mona might be the best argument we've got against human cloning." -Gramma Marin

"C'mon. Have I taught you nothing?" -Spencer

"Pretty Little Liars" airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC Family.

 
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