iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Jaimie Etkin

GET UPDATES FROM Jaimie Etkin
 

'Pretty Little Liars' Recap: Alex Mack And Paige Cause Big Problems

Posted: 08/22/2012 12:09 pm

Note: Do not read on unless you've seen Season 3, Episode 11 of ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars," entitled "Single Fright Female."

Spencer is at Hanna's, helping her find an outfit that covers the gash in her thigh, which is difficult when you wear miniskirts to school. As Hanna finally settles on a peasant skirt she wore while performing "Mamma Mia," Wren calls. "Sadly, I think I have a similiar skirt in my closet," my mom admits. Hanna ignores Wren's call and Spencer asks what's up with him. After all, she knows he can be persuasive, with his "dimples" and "accent" at all. But, she also knows how quickly the charming Brit can turn into "Downton Grabby."

Downstairs, where the staff dwells, Ted stops by for a visit. Someone found a flashdrive in the back pew of the church. Ted plugged it in to his computer to see if he could figure out who it belonged to and turns out, the first video on it featured Hanna and her friends though it looked like they didn't know they were being filmed.

Hanna and Spencer listen in on the conversation from Crawley Corner and know they have to get the flash drive back. Mama Marin puts it down on the entryway table and when Hanna and Spencer head out for school, Hanna tries to covertly pick it up. But, nothing gets by Eagle Eye Ashley --who doesn't know her daughter was nearly bleeding to death or that she's back with her ex-boyfriend. She catches Hanna and says she's going to take the flash drive for the day and decide what to do with it.

Over at Ezra's, where it's still not sure if Aria is a permanent roommate or frequent guest, Aria is shoving lilacs in Ezra's face for his birthday. But he's tired because he was up late drafting an email to Maggie.

Meanwhile, at The Brew, Paige and Emily are having a silent conversation and Paige's smirk eventually pressures Em into telling the truth about the kiss that led her to waste a perfectly good order of Chinese food. "Why do you think that happened?" Paige asks when Emily confesses. She doesn't know. She's confused. But Paige is not. She knows why it happened -- they both miss and loved the same person, Maya.

At the courtyard at Rosewood High, where the school's only lessons are learned (and not via books), Aria tells Spencer she thinks she can help the Ezra situation if she contacts Maggie. Though Spencer tells her to stay out of it, Aria seems to think she's got a good idea. Then they see CeCe in the halls of Rosewood. Didn't she graduate?

CeCe's actually around to spread the word about a trunk show at the store she works at. Spencer was supposed to help her (in exchange for CeCe's help with her UPenn application) and as they discuss what needs to be done outside of school, they see Emily and Paige. CeCe asks Spencer what Emily's doing with "Pigskin." Though Spencer is initially confused, CeCe explains that Pigskin/Paige and Ali had it out for each other.

Then, Spencer has a flashback. She, Aria, Hanna and Ali are trying on clothes in Spencer's bedroom and as Ali changes tops, the girls notice a giant bruise on her shoulder. She tells them she fell down in soccer and "Pigskin" kicked her. Though she won't reveal "Pigskin's" identity -- because, she says, "Once I'm done with that no-neck bitch, she wont' even exist" -- the name comes from the bumps on her thighs.

Inside school, where learning is still not happening, Caleb and Hanna are having a very adorable IM conversation about the flash drive when Jenna ostensibly interrupts and kicks Hanna out of the computer lab.

Meanwhile, Em goes to meet Nate --because she apparently got schooled enough on her walk to Rosewood High so she's done for the day. They're wearing matching yellow tops and his arm is around her. Plus, he has a weekend for them planned already. But Emily stops him and says their relationship should stay friendly. He blows up at her and says Maya was the same way -- according to Nate, she would say the same thing to 20 guys.

Aria, posing as college student Amy, goes to see Maggie, a first grade teacher who is also Alex Mack from "The Secret World of Alex Mack," Bianca from "10 Things I Hate About You" or, for you high brow folks, Cynthia from "Mad Men." When I tell my mom this, she replies, "Oh my God!!! How sad for her ... That pixie hair is awful." As Maggie's eye-lifted face excitedly asks Amy about her teaching interests, one of Maggie's students comes up and asks for a playdate. Weird, Aria/Amy thinks. But then Maggie says, that's because he's her son. "Yep, I was a teen mom before it was a reality show," Maggie says, proving her pop culture prowess and sluttiness and the fact that she took the money, ran and lied to Ezra's mom.

Spencer asks Emily about Paige's history with Ali and Em immediately goes on the defensive, especially when she finds out CeCe was the informant about their beef. Spencer asks if Em thinks it's odd that Paige has never mentioned it and then reminds her of Paige's dark past (i.e. trying to drown her and having really heinous bangs). But, Spence says, "I'm not saying she's a snake." Then Emily gets legitimately angrier than we've ever seen her and storms off.

Outside of school, Jenna's eating cherries and displaying a pretty awesome reverse french polka dot manicure. "Pretty Little Liars" never fails on the nail front. Hanna approaches Jenna and tells her about the flash drive that has the video of her and Toby. She doesn't seem to believe it was "found" and breaks off another cherry. "Who eats cherries?" I ask. "She eats them because she is the pits," my mom replies.

Nate shows up at Rosewood and approaches Hanna in a tizzy. Hanna clarifies things: "Um. Nate? She's gay." She says Em doesn't play games, unlike some people and stares down Sweet Cherry Jenna. Nate knows what she means and calls after Jenna, who ignores him.

"Don't pretend you don't see me, girl," he shouts, leading to giggles in my living room.

Spencer tells CeCe that no one's free and about the fight with Emily. Then we see a CeCe flashback: Ali in CeCe's car, telling her she stole Emily's stationary and wrote Paige a "steamy" note telling her she'd been fantasizing about her, but not to call or text. Ali's instructed Paige to leave a note for Emily under a sign in Rosewood proper. Ali and CeCe watch as Paige -- looking like a country club employee -- does just that and then, Ali confronts her, takes the letter and threatens to tell her "big ol' deacon" dad about it. "Think again, Pigskin," Ali shouts. "I own you now." As she walks back to CeCe's car, Ali seems shaken and CeCe does think she was scared of Paige a bit.

In the flashback, CeCe's wearing a cut-out shoulder top. "Those open-shoulder shirts were definitely not in style when Ali was alive," my mom says.

As they lay on Emily's bed, Emily confronts Paige and asks how she knew Ali. Paige gets upset when she finds out Spencer is "talking about [her], instead of to [her]." Paige suggests it's Emily's friends who are the problem, but Em quickly refutes the assertion, saying she trusts them with her life. Maybe Paige would too, she thinks, if she spent more time with them.

After her awkward date with Alex Mack, Aria heads to Ezra's and Wes is there. She tells him about Maggie having a son who looks a lot like Ezra and Wes says he'll stay for moral support. Ezra arrives and tells them he talked to Maggie and "she's doing great," as it turns out from their five minute conversation. Wes and Aria wonder what they should do, now that they know Maggie lied to him. Maybe Mrs. Fitzgerland is paying her to keep quiet, Wes suggests. "Wes looks like he uses lip plumper," my mom notes. It's true. Angelina, eat your heart out.

Spencer's in the fitting room at the CeCe store (which is what I will call it because it is A) Alliterative and B) Does not seem to have a real name) and after CeCe tells her that she's going outside, someone quietly locks Spencer in the dressing room. Then, a snake crawls out of one of the boxes and Spencer can't get out. She then proceeds to do some of the best screaming in "Pretty Little Liars" history. CeCe eventually hears her shrieks, opens the door and beats the snake with a mannequin leg. "She opened the door and knew to grab it to whack the snake," my mom says, "like she knew it was there."

Spencer goes to Hanna and tells her what happened, noting that she used the word snake when talking to Emily about Paige earlier at school. Hanna thinks that there's no way Paige did what she thinks -- "she's in love with one of our best friends," she explains. But as Spencer adds that she didn't reveal until Emily asks that she was with her the night Ali's body was dug up and that she's been obsessed with Emily for years (giving her reason to be angry at Ali and Maya), Hanna seems more convinced.

Then, Emily calls and says she can't find the knife she and Hanna found in Maya's bag at the Kahn Kabin. But the bag is still there so it seems like someone only stole the knife. But perhaps the person who did it didn't have to use deceit to get into Em's house. "Why would you lie when you're invited?" Spencer asks Hanna.

At the Cece store, CeCe suggests Hanna use some dry shampoo from Tresemme before she goes to try on a dress for the trunk show. As she changes, someone grabs her and pulls her into a fitting room, but worry not -- it's just Caleb, who tells her that he convinced her mom not to turn in the tapes. "YAY! I love him," my mom writes. "But he could use some dry shampoo too."

Paige comes with Emily to the CeCe store and doesn't exactly get the warmest welcome. But Spencer says she can help with the jewelry. She tells Spencer that she'd like to make a fresh start as she breaks a mannequins finger.

When Paige and Emily are in the fitting room, Spencer takes a look through Paige's bag, looking for the knife, but instead she finds the other earring Aria buried with Ali. Emily storms out with Paige knowing they looked through Paige's things, but not knowing what they found.

Back at Emily's house, Paige confesses about her issues with Ali, who was "relentless." "I didn't know what I was up against," Paige says as she begins to cry. "I had no one to turn to." She essentially says that she was willing to kill herself to escape Ali's torture and Em consoles her. It really doesn't make sense that none of the girls knew Paige back then or Ali's nickname for her. Rosewood's pretty tiny.

Over at the Marin's household, Ashley destroys the flash drive in the garbage disposal -- like daughter like mother -- because it also featured her and Detective Wilden. Ted arrives for their date and Hanna takes the blame.

Spencer shows up at Aria's with the earring, suggesting Paige is the one who dug up Ali's grave. She's worried about telling Emily the truth, but she may not have to. Jenna shows up at Emily's while Paige is inside and tells her, "Be very careful who you spend time with, Emily ... very careful."

"The whole Jenna piece in this episode is bothering me," my mom says. "She was such a bitch to Hanna in it and then she is warning Emily -- why would she do that? And why was she going in a random cab when they have been showing off her convertible ... I cant figure this out." I agree.

As Paige heads back outside, she sees Spencer calling Emily, ignores the call and stares devilishly as Jenna's taxi drives by.

While the credits roll, we see A pick a song on the jukebox -- The Temptations' "Smiling Faces Sometimes." As we hear the lyrics, "Smiling faces sometimes pretend to be your friend/ Smiling faces show no traces of the evil that lurks within," the black gloved hand gives the keys to the motel to another gloved hand and finally we know, this A most definitely is not working alone.

 
FOLLOW TV