Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 3, Episode 2 of ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars," entitled "Blood Is the New Black."
This week's "Pretty Little Liars" kicks off with Aria's mom giving her class -- Aria included (which my mom notes "is so not allowed in real school") -- a lesson on Hedda Gabler, a woman "too strong ... to be blackmailed, but ... pushed to take a desperate action." And thus, the tragedy of Hedda Gabler, which I wouldn't know because I have never read it. My mom notes that's because the high school she sent me to failed me; after all, she "even had to read that back in the dinosaur days."
Anyway, Ella urges her student to study and stop "dancing in front of the security cameras at Walmart" --because that's a thing -- when suddenly, Emily notices something in her bag. Oh cool, a new necklace. Oh wait, it says "Dead Girls Can't Smile" and is adorned with teeth ... slightly less cool.
Emily drops it and heads for the bathroom. The other girls follow and she shows them what she just discovered. Spencer wonders if they're real human teeth, but Hanna can confirm because she worked in a dentist's office for two days -- and knows the word "cuspid."
They rush into a stall when they hear people coming. How can four girls fit into a non-handicap stall comfortably? I do not get it. Anyway, Aria, for one, is pissed and thinks it's time to hand things over to the police ... or at least tell their parents. Emily is willing to take the blame for everything and as they decide what to do with the tooth jewelry, it falls in the toilet.
This leads to an awesomely hilarious shot of the four girls -- distorted by toilet water -- as the camera looks from beneath the bowl. And cue theme song.
Mourning the tragic flushing of the string of choppers, the girls are determined to get to the bottom of who's haunting them again. Spencer, Aria and Emily tell Hanna that she needs to make Mon-A talk, but she doesn't want to. Spencer agrees to talk to Garrett if Hanna will man the Mon-A front and it's agreed upon -- with some residual tension.
Enter "still blind" Jenna, who Spencer is suspicious of because "it's shady that she didn't get back from music camp until the first day of school." Aria starts a shady-off and thinks it's "no shadier than Lucas strolling around at four o'clock in the morning." They remember the two talking with The Black Swan at the masquerade ball and just when they discuss the potential Mon-A connection, Jenna knocks over some dude's soda.
The girls think she's overcompensating or, as Aria puts it, "Is it just me or is she blinder than she was last year?"
Meanwhile, Hanna tells Caleb she has to meet her mom after school and can't have dinner and though he's suspicious of a clearly lying Hanna, he says it's fine ... because it's a saint.
Emily laments about her school struggles -- oh, so they actually take classes -- since she missed most of April is worried about having to repeat 11th grade. But Aria has a genius idea: Ezra can help. Emily's not too keen on Mr. Fitz (to her) lending a hand considering she's seen his underwear, but she's pretty desperate -- and he's desperate to teach -- so she agrees.
Then they see a ghost of Aria's past: the woman her dad had an affair with, Meredith (a.k.a. the sweet and innocent Jodie from "Center Stage" ... perhaps she came free with the debut of "Bunheads"). Aria basically tells her to back the eff off and then she calls her "hon" and leaves. (Someone learned from "Degrassi's" Paige Michalchuck school of smack talk.)
Spencer heads to jail to chat with Garrett, who, my mom says, "looks so dirty" -- in a non-prison porno sort of way. He tells Spencer that what was stolen from Ali's grave would have proven his innocence. "Spencer, someone you know well has you completely fooled ... People lie, but medical records don't." Spencer tries to find out whose medical records before Greasy Garrett is whisked away.
Over at the nut house, Hanna is trying to ask Mon-A if she's had any other visitors (Noel specifically). But Mon-A still won't budge. Hanna says she owes her and loses it, pretty much out of nowhere. Soon, major insults and chairs are thrown and Wren asks Hanna to leave. "What does she expect? Mona is a looney tune," my mom notes.
Wren talks to her about his dad, who was apparently in a place like Renley for years. And he's "done worse." (Duh. Because he's totally on the A team!) He understands that Hanna feels like Mon-A's gone, but yet still here -- it's an "ambiguous loss." Meanwhile, all of this is lost on my mom, who "can't understand him.
"I loved when Hanna goes, 'What???' She doesn't understand his fake accent either. She's funny."
As are her earrings, we decide.
Ezra and Emily have their first tutoring session at the same cool new place that Em and Toby were at last week -- it's apparently all the rage in Rosewood -- and things are Awkward with a capital A. Ezra decides to cut the tension by telling her he's "sorry" about Maya. Is it weird the way he keeps emphasizing that he's sorry? Is he on the A team?
At the Parentless Hastings House, Spencer asks Toby where Jenna went after music camp ... because it ended on August 23 ... because she looked it up online ... because she is a major nerd. All Toby knows is that his parents have been treating her "like a snow globe" since the surgery didn't work. "It was like they'd thought she'd crack if they asked the wrong question," he explains. So it wasn't because they liked to shake her up and watch her fall? Disappointing.
"Are people's biggest fears really cracking snow globes?" I wonder.
"I know I stay up nights worrying that I might crack a snow globe," my mom retorts. "Actually, I'd like to crack a couple of some people's heads ... Byron & Ella for starters."
They make her so violent. Anyway, Toby doesn't know the answers to Spencer's questions, but he does know how to turn her on, so he kisses her back instead, while I wonder if his hair will eventually get so high that he won't be able to fit through the door.
The next day at school, Aria finds an earring in an envelope and we soon see what it means. Ali and pink-highlighed Aria sneak into her Dad's office where they find a set of earrings in the couch ... after he said his affair with Meredith was over. So they decide to "help Daddy figure out what she really is ... a vindictive, homewrecking bunny boiler" by trashing his office, writing on his walls and breaking everything in sight.
In the present, the girls wonder why it's surfacing now and Aria is particularly concerned: When Ali's mom asked them each to put something in Ali's casket, the earrings are what she chose. So this person is stealing bodies, teeth and now jewels? It's getting serious.
My mom and I are wondering why Aria would choose to put some earrings from an incident that apparently made her "feel like crap" in Ali's grave. Not exactly a logical way to lay someone to rest, but alas. And my mom has something else on her mind: "Spencer's hair looks like an Amish girl. Where's her little hat?"
Aria walks out of school past Jenna, who recognizes her by her ringtone ... or her eyes, but tomayto, tomahto. Jenna lost her accompanist for next week's assembly and she wants Aria to play with her, but she says her dad is waving at her from across the street. Jenna can see that there is no Byron to see and now viewers know she gives one mean side eye.
My mom is wondering what instrument Jenna plays. I think it's the piano -- Note: we later realize it's the flute -- and she replies, "Oh the instrument for blind people." Forever PC, mom.
At the formerly Parentless Hastings House, Spencer's mom tells her she knows about her "secret trips to the county jail" to see a "dangerous man" -- she neglects to mention greasy, but okay. Mariska tells Spencer to never go there again. "If you're implying that he's got helpful friends on the outside that's even more of a reason not to see him," she says. "People might think that's you."
Caleb heads to what is becoming Parentless Marin House with some Chinese takeout and he can tell she's distracted. She admits that she's thinking about seeing Mon-A, but not that she has been going for weeks now. She knows Caleb wouldn't understand because he hates her. And she's right about one thing: He does hate her, but nothing could ever stop Caleb from supporting Hanna. Because he loves her and he's just that perfect (and he also delivered his best line since telling Kate her bridesmaid dress gave her back fat ... see below).
Back in her dark bedroom, Aria is admiring the earring from six feet under when she gets a text:
"Daddy needs to know. Or I let the other one go. To the police. 'Night-night. -A."
As she reads the Suessian text, there's some rustling outside her window -- and suddenly a shadow rushes past the window when Aria turns her back.
The next day, she confesses to Byron about trashing her office and of course, being the giant asshole that he is, tells Aria, "We both owe her an apology and I'm not doing that for you." My mom and I are pretty livid -- IMs include many "!" and "?" that the man wants his daughter to apologize to the woman he cheated on her mom with.
Toby found eyedrops that the doctor prescribed to Jenna for after the surgery, but notices that she's renewed it since. "If this surgery didn't work, why is she still renewing that prescription," he asks Spencer. "What are you saying? Are you saying you think Jenna can see?" a suddenly slow Spencer retorts.
Thanks to Ezra, Emily is ready for her English test and things seem to be going pretty well, until the girl in front of her begins clipping up her hair. Emily starts having flashbacks with five minutes left and suddenly has visions of Jenna, who was clipping up her hair in the driver's seat of that old car the night she found herself at Ali's grave. She doesn't finish the test and darts out of Ella's class.
Aria heads to the new cool coffee shop to apologize to Jodie, who is a complete and total bitch to her -- and matches her iPad case with her cardigan, because she sucks like that. Aria gives her the earring, but it's not hers.
"Byron is a manwhore and a cheater and the biggest loser ever," my mom says. Tell us how you really feel. But, I tell her it's possible that someone else planted them there, right? (She's moved on to telling me she thinks "'Rock of Ages' the movie kind of looks good." Oy.)
A defiant Spencer heads back to jail to see Garrett, where the guard tells her he's meeting with his lawyer. She opts to wait and sees that his lawyer is none other than Mariska, who wants the visitor records for the last five months. When it's Spencer's turn to talk to Garrett, her first question is about her mom. But he "can't talk because [his] new attorney made [him] promise."
Spencer starts asking questions, Garrett (who still looks "soooo dirty," according to my mom) says, "I gotta go" -- because jail is full of opportunities -- and leaves the befuddled Spencer without answers.
"Where is he going? He's in jail," I ask.
"Maybe he has to make some license plates and maybe Mama Hastings will bring him some shampoo," my mom says. A girl can dream.
Caleb drives Hanna to see Mon-A and this time, her nametag says "Marin" instead of "Rivers." She's brought make-up -- "the good stuff" -- so Caleb waits outside. Wren arrives and spills the beans about this not being Hanna's first time at the nut house, but that she's working on her "anger tied to ambiguous loss."
After the makeover is complete, Hanna tells a still silent Mon-A that she's not the "first person to hurt [her] and [she's] certainly not the last." Suddenly, Mon-A responds: "You're getting them again, aren't you? The texts?" She really enunciates that final word, which I gather is because it's her first line in two episodes and she's going to make the most of it dammit. Caleb comes in and tells her visiting hours are over before Hanna can get anything else out of Mon-A. (Though some Renley employee is bustling around the room while Hanna tries to ask her about the texts.)
Hanna warns Schwarzeneggerily that she'll be back, but once the door is closed, Mon-A takes some tweezers she's been hiding beneath her thigh and pricks her finger, for reasons we don't understand by the end of the episode.
Back at school -- in the dark -- Ella is grading Emily's test and sees her blank final page. She puts down her red pen and picks up a black one, marking the rest of Emily's exam as if she'd answered the questions. Seemingly, someone is looking on. The next day, Ezra confronts Ella about Emily's exam and she hints she's taken care of it. "The parents on this show are despicable," my mom says.
The girls are having a bathroom pow-wow about: A) Mariska defending Garrett, B) The earring not being Jodie's and C) Emily's vision of Jenna from the night in question. They start to leave when the bell rings (because apparently this episode is intended to prove to us that the Little Liars care about a Little Learning) when they see Jenna making her way to the bathroom.
They rush back in and Spencer has an idea: She plants the earring on the counter and they rush into the stalls, waiting to see what Jenna will do.
After filling up her water bottle, she picks up the earring, looks down at it from beneath her glasses and walks out. The Little Liars are a Little Livid. (OK, sorry, I'll stop.) Hanna and Aria are ready to call her out, but Spencer says they should stay mum. "We can use this ... and we will," she says.
But as the credits roll, we see presumably A 2.0 in a red trench buying some leather gloves and a bunch of hoodies in a size large for $12.95, as the ticket that reads "Cotton Makes You Feel Good" indicates. (I'm only noting this because some interesting reveal sound effect could be heard as the camera took a clear shot of the ticket. Apparently, it meant something.)
"You buying' all these for a team?" the store clerk asks. No no, sir-- A Team!
Best Quotes Of The Night
"Is wasn't enough to take her bones; now we're gonna get pieces of her delivered to us?"- Aria
"Aria, I can't think of him as Mr. Fitz anymore. Okay? I've seen his underwear drawer."- Emily
"Those were his socks." - Aria
"Why would his socks have a flap in the middle?" -Spencer
"You know what, Mona? If I told the police that you mowed me down with your car, you would not be here getting a slice of peach pie every day to wash down your meds. You'd be sharing a jail cell with someone calling you "peach pie" while you braid her back hair!" - Hanna
"You're a little tense." -Toby
"Yeah. I was born that way." -Spencer
"I'm sure she's said a lot more than that. We'd probably find her panties in the mini-fridge." -Ali
"Wait. She invited you? To that house? What'd you say?" -Hanna
"I said no freaking way ... to myself." -Aria
"I don't care if she spends the rest of her life in a paper gown, making ashtrays and pooping in a stall without a door." -Caleb
"When we picked you up, you kept calling me 'Arlene.'" -Aria
"What are we doing? Do I get to slap her again?" -Hanna
"Don't look at me. I'm ready to hang a sign: 'Bitch can see!'" -Aria