Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 2, Episode 22 of ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars," entitled "Father Knows Best."
"Pretty Little Liars" picks up almost exactly where the last one took off with the police having talked to Emily. She finds out that Maya's parents said she left a note and seemingly packed a bag. Em knows she ran away because "she said she'd run away before she'd ever go back to boot camp," which was inevitable since her girlfriend and parents caught her with weed. Also, nice Nancy Drewing, Emily. Hanna assures her Maya will call, but Emily just turns off the lights and is clearly as worried as she is angry. She sits there in the dark, which is where pretty much everyone is in this episode.
"I really hope this whole episode isn't sooo dark that you can barely see anything," my mom says. Sometimes, wishes don't come true.
In another nearly pitch black setting, Spencer and newly emerged Melissa (who I seriously still have my non-existent $15,000 on being A) hash things out. Lil' Hastings tells Big Hastings that she lied and then got in a car with Garrett, i.e. she broke two PLL commandments. Melissa says she didn't want to worry her about talking to the police, but Spencer wants to know "Why Garrett?" Because he and Ian were friends, Melissa explains. And he's apparently been "nice," helping her and taking her to doctor's appointments ... she's "shared a lot with him; maybe too much."
Then, Melissa comes clean (or as clean as we're gonna get for now). She told him that the day Allison went missing, her mom and dad's incessant fighting suddenly stopped. It was almost like her father was relieved, she explains. She also told him that she anonymously texted Ali and told her to back off of Ian. Even though she didn't sign them, Melissa says, Ali knew who they were from. Not only did she tell her dad this story, but she also told Garrett and now, she's finally telling Spencer, who says, "This is not good."
My mom is very observant: "Oh now the finger of suspicion points to the MIA Peter."
Back in the house of the most annoying parental units in the TV world, Ella tells Aria that Byron wants them to go to the father-daughter dance. Aria says that's "ironic." In fact, it's the good advice that you just wouldn't take. And who would have thought, it figuurrrs? Alanis, you have ruined the word "irony."
Ella also says she's not ready to confront Byron about the whole Aria-Ezra thing because she's still trying to "understand" to which my mom says: "Ella you're a teacher -- either you get it or you don't -- it's not that hard to understand. Aria & Ezra love each other." I am uncomfortable.
Meanwhile, Officer Wilden calls Ashley, which angers her because he's not supposed to call the house. She just needs to know who's hurting her daughter. Hanna comes downstairs and says her dad is ditcher her for the father-daughter dance. Does that mean he's ditching Kate, too? Where is she?
Anyway, Ashley offers to take Hanna. Besides, there must be a lot of children there with divorced parents; but "I'd be the only one lame enough to show up and advertise it," Hanna says.
Over at Rosewood High, where students can have phones, it's always a perfect 65 degrees and learning never happens, Aria, Hanna and Spencer are discussing a text they got from A about the N.A.C. video from the night Ali died. Emily shows up to join in the conversation too. Did Hanna leave home without her?
And why didn't we get to hear the A text tone? I feel gypped.
Anyway, Spencer continues to defend Melissa's honor and insists she can't be A. I don't believe her and neither do Aria, Hanna and Emily seemingly, but Spencer wants a chance to find out more so the girls agree to give it to her.
But more importantly, my mom observes, "I think Spencer is doing the keratin straightening -- her hair is really straight and flat."
Of course, this means she's spent her necessary three minutes at school and it's time to head back e to the Haunted House of Hastings mid-day.
There's a box on the kitchen counter with a note that reads, "Looking forward to the dance." Spencer opens it to find a diamond necklace. Melissa emerges from the upstairs darkness and says he's overcompensating. Then Papa Hastings emerges from the hallway darkness and says he's bummed because he wanted to see the look on her face when she opened it. Perhaps he should spend some more time at home then, hmm?
For our second dark car rendezvous of the night, Officer Wilden and Hann's mom meet in his ride and he tells her he wants her to get him Hanna's phone. "They love night time shoots," my mom notes.
As Mona and Hanna discuss her un-fun community service stint (which Mona calls "the ninth circle of hell"), they catch Wilden and Hanna's mom mid-discussion. This does not look good.
Hanna's mom gets home and this time, the teenager is confronting her mother about her whereabouts. Ashley says nothing happened and insists she's just looking for answers after seeing the shredded police report. She says Hanna doesn't always know what's best, but if she "went to Wilden," Hanna says, neither does she. Ashley eyes the phone, but Hanna grabs it. Better luck next time!
In the week of returns from "PLL's" M.I.A. men (and darkness), Aria watches Mike shaving. It's not quite as creepy as it sounds, but moving on. Then he asks if Aria is going to the dance because he's deejaying. He knows about Fitz and says her relationship with him has caused a lot of problems for them and everyone around them. He doesn't get it. "If your relationship is so much trouble, why not just let it go?" he asks his older, wiser, clean-shaven sister. "When you love someone, it's worth fighting for, no matter what the odds," she replies.
Now of course, back at Hanna's house, Emily's dad appears out of nowhere ... with a hell of a lot of coffee in his take-away tray. This father-daughter dance must be quite the big deal to warrant cross-country travel and excessive caffeine. She tells him Maya's gone and explains her situation. It sounds to him like Maya wanted to stay disconnected and he'd check bus station because he ran away too when he was young and knows what's up. This man has done a complete 180. Texas has been good to him.
In far douchier Daddyland, Spencer's father tries to get her to play round robin at the club. He's very present suddenly and he's worried she doesn't like the necklace. Let that be his biggest problem. He also made dinner reservations at her favorite, Gianni's, which is confusing for two reason: 1) Where is this restaurant emerging from because clearly her favorite is Rose Apple Grille and 2) Why is he bringing Snooki's boyfriend into this?
"Giotti's?? Is that the only restaurant or did they just add that one??" my mom asks with excessive punctuation, indicating extreme urgency.
Since Spencer ditched her dad's WASP suggestion, she takes the opportunity to snoop around his office, checking his date book and the drawers, including the middle one (which we saw a few episodes back held the gun), which is now locked. Then she digs through his files and pulls out one that reads "TAXES" and sees a stub for $15,000 cash, the exact amount in Ali's box.
"I guess the Hastings have a lot of $$ from all the money they save from never using electricity," my mom observes, making a very valid point.
Out of the darkness, Melissa walks in, looking for Papa Hasting and Spencer says she just needed a stamp. Because high schoolers send so many letters?
"Why is Spencer snooping around NOW? She has been alone in that house for so long. I thought she was smart," my mom wonders.
Emily and her dad arrive at the Old Timey bus station that looks straight out of "Reading Rainbow" with a photo of Maya. The ticket taker says she bought a ticket to San Francisco, but she only bought the ticket ... he's not sure she got on the bus. He saw her talking to someone in a dark car and when he turned back around, both Maya and the car were gone. "A 'dark' colored car?" my mom asks. "Of course it was DARK!"
It's time to get ready for the father-daughter dance! Aria is holding up dresses when Byron walks in and attempts to endear himself to her by suggesting she decide what to wear so he can pick out his matching tie. Luckily, this is as vomit-inducing to Aria as it is to viewers. He asks what's different about this year. "Haha- your daughter hates you and so do I!!!!!!!!" my mom says. She's a band-aid ripper, that one.
Emily gets out of the shower and sees she has a missed call from Maya. When she calls back, she gets no answer and the mailbox is full.
Downstairs at the tenuous Marin house, Ashley decides to take the direct approach and just asks Hanna to turn over her phone, insisting that she's trying to help her. But Hanna simply throws it in the sink. "I don't think they will be dancing anytime soon," my mom observes.
When Emily shows up at the dance, she tells her dad about the call from Maya. She feels bad for wasting Emily-daddy bonding time because maybe, she's realized, Maya doesn't want to be found. He says it may be the last weekend they get to spend together for a while because he's being sent back to Afghanistan. So sad. They go inside. "Surprise! It's dark in there," my mom observes.
Mike is impressively playing Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" at the dance. Byron takes a trip down memory lane about shoe-dancing with Aria and she's not having it. Then, Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry" starts to sound throughout Rosewood's revamped gym. Mike is really endearing himself to me with his playlist. Plus, it helps that he looks like Drew from "Parenthood."
An underdressed Hanna arrives and Mona (Did the foursome just become a quintet? Officially?), Aria, Spencer and Emily all try to figure out what to do about Hanna's mom, who's "hot on the A path." Mona has an idea. She asks who is best at hiding things since she's a bad liar. Everyone points to Aria. Mr. DeMille, Ms. Montgomery is ready for her close-up. "Aria is the Pretty BIG Liar," my mom jokes. I need a drum kit.
Spencer and her dad take pictures and then hit the dance floor because he wants to "bust a move" and "pump up the jam." He should probably stop reciting titles 1989 dance hits since these girls weren't even alive then. Spencer says he's trying too hard and she confronts him about the Jason secret. She says she found the check stub. He says she had no right to go into his desk and she storms out after he continues to avoid the $15,000 question.
Aria asks Byron if they can leave the dance because Hanna really needs her. He wants a photo, but she's not his little girl anymore. Stone cold, Aria.
Spencer goes outside and sees someone pull up in front of the school on a bike. "Toby?" she says aloud, but seemingly not within earshot. Nevertheless, the mysterious hardass drives away. If Mike is not playing, "Who's That Guy?" from "Grease 2" inside right now, I am never forgiving him.
"Watch Toby will be back with a British accent," my mom says in agreement. "He could be the knight rider on the motorcycle."
As Hanna stands awkwardly in the middle of the dance floor, Emily's dad tells her he didn't tell her about being deployed sooner because he just need the weekend to dance with her. He twirls her. It's pretty adorable.
After leaving her dad in the dust, we find Aria at Hanna's kitchen counter, where Ashley is circling her like a shark to her guppy. She says she sent the police report to Hanna because she's known about hanna's shoplifting and begged her to stop. She was afraid if Hanna got caught again, she'd end up in jail so she tried to scare her straight. She made up the document. She's A: "A for Anonymous, A for Aria, A for ..." She gets it. Aria apologizes and leaves.
At the Hastings House, Spencer's dad has her watch as he sifts through his desk. He asks her if she opened the middle drawer and she assures him it was locked. He calls the police to report a missing gun and walks out of the room, while Spencer notices a file chock-full o' Ali photos.
When she confronts him, Peter says he hired a private investigator to look into Ali's case and he changed his will give Jason an alibi, Spencer assumes. But he actually wasn't protecting Jason, he says; he was protecting Melissa.
As Spencer watches the cops through her window, Melissa comes in and asks about the popo presence. Spence tries to find out where her sister way and she says watching TV in the barn. "Isn't that broken?" she asks. She was apparently watching on her laptop and now, she says, she should go. "She is CRAZY," I explain. "Because she is Nanny Carrie who was def cra cra on One Tree," my mom replies (Ed. note: She means cray cray and "One Tree Hill.")
Over in the liars' worst nightmare realized, Ella and Ashley are talking in Ashley's kitchen. "We owe it to ourselves and our daughters to get some answers," Ashley says before the camera turns to an A-like angle, shooing that someone is outside watching them.
Hanna comes over to Aria's and she gets a call from Jonah. They head to look for where he says the texts could have been coming from ... or at least, a one-block radius of it. They see an antique doll store where it looks like A could have gotten the dolls s/he used to torture them and suddenly, Aria is cold. She goes to Spencer's trunk to get out the coat she says was in there and it looks to be Vivan's red trench. Why she's not weirded out is beyond me.
All of a sudden, a blond boy sees her from behind and says, "Vivian?"
My mom is quick to burst bubbles: "She puts on a red coat and some guy says, 'Vivian'? It's been years. It's just a coat."Quotes of the Night
- "Maybe you should learn to embrace the irony because there seems to be a lot of it in our lives." -Ella to Aria
- "I got chased by a hobo for nothing?"- Aria
- "She wouldn't just text herself from her dead husband's phone and then lose it like that. Can we please just breath for a second?" -Spencer
- "What's next? Driving the short bus?" -Mona
- "Good morning?" -Ashley "Not really." -Hanna
- "It's nice to know my Photoshop class finally came in handy."-Aria on her faux-forged police document
- "I used to like dolls. I'm over it." -Hanna
"Pretty Little Liars" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC Family.