Note: The following contains spoilers if you have not seen Season 2, Episode 16 of ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars," entitled, "Let the Water Hold Me Down."
Something happened on this episode of "Pretty Little Liars" that has never happened before: Spencer was the most ordinarily dressed of our favorite quartet of blackmailed high schoolers. Rapture tomorrow?
No, but really, that may have been the most shocking element of the latest episode of the second season (besides the worms, which was really just shockingly gross, which we'll get to). It was an incredibly disappointing episode, but luckily, my mom returned to offer her not-at-all disappointing commentary. So here we go ...
Thanks to the Rosewood Delorean the girls have been using since last episode, we're back at Spencer's non-lake house, where Hanna sits in a pink fluffy robe and her three friends offer her aspirin, soup, blankets and other warmth-giving, headache-removing items. (Thankfully for Hanna, Aria did not offer up the vest she wears later in the episode.)
They tell Hanna that the lake will be dredged first thing in the morning, but Hanna's convinced they'll come up dry, if you will. "He's out there somewhere," she says. "I can feel it." Hanna decides it's the right moment to tell the other girls about Lucas' violent past -- i.e. how he was the one who destroyed Ali's memorial -- but, she was still defending him. "He's been through a lot. Alison really tortured him," Hanna explains.
Enough of this jibber jabber, though. Hanna needs some drugs. She reaches into her bag for some water to wash down her aspirin when Emily stops her: "HANNA! DON'T DRINK THAT! IT'S LAKE WATER!" Firstly, despite its murky factor, how did she identify the type of H20 so quickly? It could have easily been some sort of health shake or the remnants of a painter's brush-washing station. (Jenna, anyone?)
Anyway, Hanna puts down the liquid and her phones goes off: "No fun chugging lake water, is it? Choke on this, bitch. -A"
And my mom has only one thought: "Where are their parents?!"
Cue troubled liars' faces.
Cue theme song.
Mystery solved! Not even 10 minutes in and Hanna tells her mom and Emily over breakfast that Lucas called his parents. He's not dead. That's the end. Thank you very much. Goodnight.
No, but really, how will they fill the next 50 minutes when we already know Lucas is alive and Hanna doesn't seem to care? My mom agrees, adding, "I need more than go from scary-time thunder to happy-time breakfast!"
Hanna's mom asks if there was drinking at the party and if Lucas had gotten into an argument with anyone. My mom has a lot of thoughts on this. The first: "What are her earrings? They look like gold razor blades. I love you Hanna, but really." And the second: "He argued with you! Don't lie to your mother."
Then the girls ditch breakfast at the Marrin's for some more Hardy Girls work at the parental-less Hastings household. (Why they have so many hours to take care of these things in the morning is beyond me.) Spencer found a bag of cell phones at the lake house and they're not her parents' so they must be A's. There's also a receipt from Smitty's on Hyperion. The Pennsylvania-based ladies notice the name is a street in Philly -- plus, it says "Philadelphia, Pennsylvania" on the receipt -- so Spencer and Aria decide to head into the city after school.
Finally at Rosewood High, at what seems to be noon, Aria and Spencer run into Holden, their former classmate who returned to town last episode. Despite the heinous furry cranberry vest she's sporting, he asks Aria out. She says she can't because she's grounded, but he says he already asked for permission from the ever-so-intimidating Byron. Spencer makes some amazing faces as a witness to the date asking and accepting and we're back with tonight's star, Hanna.
She's walking down the hallway with Mona who is worried about her relationship with Noel. She tells Hanna that he was on the phone with someone all night at Caleb's birthday party. (Curious.) Mona's also pissed that Hanna is more concerned about herself than her. Where Mona gets off yelling at Hanna for being a bad friend when she is absent for most episodes and was allegedly skinny dipping last week when Lucas was trying to do whatever he was trying to do to Hanna in that boat is as befuddling as her '70s-inspired ensemble. Where does one get a crocheted vest these days?
Nevertheless, Hanna doesn't fight back and rushes to a nearby bathroom, locks herself in a stall, and cries. But that is hardly the end of the waterworks. And soon, she realizes, she's not alone in there.
Emily gets a call from someone seeking help from the crisis hotline who is potentially worse than Lucas at the "Home Alone 2" voice disguising technique and who wants to tell her "something dirty." Classy, ABC Family. Turns out, it's Maya! (Her and Em are officially back on? Did I miss something? Eh, who cares because I love Emaya and I will not look a gift fictional TV couple in the dirty mouth.) She asks Emily for a fake ID so they can go to a concert and, after suspiciously ignoring another call, she says she's happy because, "I get to see my girl tonight." Emily smiles and if you're playing a "Pretty Little Liars" drinking game, A) You are probably chugging any and all alcohol you have in the house and B) Invite me next time.
Back in the Rosewood High bathroom, either someone has had a serious accident or something is overflowing. Unfortunately, it's the latter. Someone has filled the sink with water at a record's pace and stuck a tiny wooden rowboat on the lake that is now the girl's room. Text time! "Life is but a dream, Hanna. And I am your nightmare. -A"
Aria is planning her date with Holden and decides on a production of Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge." Obviously. But her real motive for getting the tickets is because she knows Ezra will be there and wants him to see what he's missing. Note to Aria: If you think Mr. Fitz would be jealous of Holden, you are as bewildering as your choice of yellow, pus-inspired nail polish. (It's been a week. Get a new color, preferably something like Hanna's gold leopard print on every other nail. No seriously. I'm obsessed.)
Caleb is at Hanna's and reveals that Lucas called again, but that he didn't want to talk to Caleb, who is still staying there. Very weird. Lucas is allegedly staying at his cousin's house, but Caleb thinks he's not there and they should look for him. Hanna says he'll surface when he's ready, but Caleb is pressing her to know why she doesn't want to find him. She says she told him everything (lies) and he storms out.
Aria and Spencer -- who "must be on better terms with the stylist this week," my mom notices -- head to Smitty's, which turns out to be a newsstand. Before worrying about Holden and saying her goodbyes, Aria asks Spencer, "Isn't Melissa's condo like 10 blocks from here?" Spencer barely answers the question and I am even more convinced the elder Hastings daughter is behind all of this. After all, Ali did steal her boyfriend.
Meanwhile, my mom isn't convinced that Spencer would be so indifferent about their search. "I don't feel like she would have just walked away from Smitty's and be like 'Oh well. Whatever.' They went all the way to Philly," she explains.
But Spencer observes something else while snooping around Smitty's. Everyone's blind. But none of them are Jenna. What could this mean?! My mom is glad Spencer is back to her old intelligent self. "She's so smart," she notes.
Maya visits Em at the crisis center, but she gets a text and has to catch up with her later.
Back in Philly, Spencer has followed a blind person to a building that winds up being Kristian Auguest Rehabilitation Center for the Blind. There is no Jenna in sight and the woman at the front desk is unable to give her any more information.
"Excuse me. You're looking for Jenna? I know her," says a ringleted blind person sitting in the lobby. Sweet, she's in.
Hanna is in her kitchen (i.e. the only room in the Marin house) cleaning the container that once held the lake water for the fourth time instead of throwing it away. Emily comes in saying she knows something is up with Maya.
While Hanna eases Emily's nerves, Spencer is chatting it up with the ringleted blind guy, who is teaching her how he knows the difference between real sugar and fake sugar. (It's all in the grains, people.) He has only the best things to say about Jenna to Spencer -- who tells him she knew Jenna pre-Rosewood. Why would Spencer tell him her real name when her name is Spencer? How many are there besides her and Spencer Grammar? (I still miss "Greek.") Before she leaves, she swipes a sign-in book from the rehab facility because that's how Sticky Fingers Spencer rolls.
Aria meets Holden -- who, my mom says, "is a tool. He looks like Tom Hanks in 'Big'" -- at the theater and after picking up their tickets, Ezra appears and things start moving in slo-mo. Much like this episode. He leaves 10 minutes in and Aria tries to look unfazed.
Spencer, now armed with the secrets of a ringleted blind man, gets off the train from Philly and heads to her car. "Spencer needs some parental supervision. She has way too much freedom," my mom observes as the music builds and danger looms. Alas, it's just Mona, who's heartbroken over Noel breaking up with her and has just purchased five cashmere blend sweater sets to make herself better. "Smart Smart" Spencer offers some kind words about not letting Noel tell her she's not good enough and she also offers some readily available tissues because Spencer is 15 going on 55.
Hanna has relocated from one potentially dangerous window-adjacent position in her house to another and all of a sudden, it seems her mom's forgotten how to construct a complex sentence. "I made you some [tea]. It's on the counter. Take a bath," she says in one breath. My mom is also worried, asking, "Did she forget how to speak English?" Hanna's mom heads upstairs and says, "Find me [if something happens]." Mrs. Marin, this is no time for games.
As the rain and wind roar through Rosewood, Hanna leaves Caleb a message telling him to come home, when suddenly the door bursts open. She goes to fix it and reassures her mom that all is well in the Marin household, not noticing the muddy footprints the camera pans to on her kitchen floor.
While waiting in line for a show in Camden, New Jersey (YES, THAT CAMDEN), Maya fesses up to the weirdness: She hooked up with someone while she was away. Emily seems fine with it especially because Maya says is focused on them, until she hears, "It looks like he won't take 'no' for an answer." Yes, "he."
Across state lines in another awkward theater interaction, Holden calls Aria out on her relationship with Ezra -- which seems highly unlikely considering his space cadet qualities -- and assures her, "You're not the only one who's got stuff they want to keep from their parents." The two set a date for next week and I cringe at the thought.
Back to the Marins, who are apparently going green because their whole house is dark despite the fact that Hanna and her mom are home: Hanna walks into her bedroom and behind the door, (GASP, even though we all knew it was coming) is a still super sweaty, monotone, robotic Lucas (SSSMRL). A frightened Hanna asks where Caleb is, while SSSMRL assures her, "I never wanted to hurt you." He says he can't let her out of the room, but thankfully Hanna uses her awesome leopard nails to speed dial Caleb who has conveniently just gotten to her house. Once he's cornered by Canna, SSSMRL comes forward: He lost all of Caleb's and most of his own money, approximately $4,000, betting on a basketball tournament. He's sold his comic books and collectibles to get some of the money back and tells Caleb he's really sorry. And thus, any A connections go out the window.
"This is a gyp," my mom says. So true. And to SSSMRL, she says, "Get a tissue." Even truer.
Hanna tells SSSMRL, "You're not who I thought you were." But really, Hanna, who is?
At what seems like 1 a.m. on a school night, Aria and Emily have returned from their disappointing city dates and they head over to Spencer's, as does Hanna to fill them in. Thanks to the sign-in book Spencer stole, the girls talk about how the person in the greenhouse wasn't SSSMRL and discover that the day before Alison went missing -- a day Jenna told them Ali came to visit -- Officer Garrett had signed in, but Ali hadn't. And Garrett signed Jenna out at 10:15 p.m. (Old news, ladies.)
As they dive into the take out-- including two orders of dumplings at Hanna's request -- they gasp in disgust. Instead of greasy dumplings, it's worms and dirt ... and not the gummy kind in the crushed Oreos. A text alert! "This is what lives bait looks like. Now we're even bitches. -A"
Now what will they eat? What kind of relationship does A have with the Chinese restaurant that s/he can pull off such a stunt? Where is this Chinese restaurant since it's clearly not what we thought to be the only game in town, Apple Rose Grill? And why all the worm close-ups?
In the final A scene, we see that black glove loosening a bolt on some scaffolding, which we can only assume is at Jason's house since A) He's doing work on his house and B) Because we see Toby fall from scaffolding outside what appears to be Jason's house in next week's previews. Deep thinking, I know.
But in all seriousness -- and speaking of aforementioned bait -- that's exactly how I feel at the end of this episode: Baited. Pretty much anything revelatory to the liars was something we already knew (i.e. Jenna and Garrett) and the Lucas revelation about basketball bets gone wrong instead of what looks like no connection to A was just frustrating. Even he is still connected and this is just a diversion, it's not a creative or interesting one.
Before getting to the beast quotes and worst looks of the night (which surprisingly both worked out favorably for Spencer), I leave you with this open letter from my mom:
Dear Marlene King,
Please stop setting up scary situations and turning them into nothing. It's not fair. You made it all scary when Spencer got off the train and then it was Mona with cashmere blends!
- Aria's furry maroon vest. She seemingly skinned Big Bird after he fell in cranberry juice.
- Mona's hippie ensemble: crocheted vest and mullet skirt, i.e. shorter in the front and longer in the back. (Also, her subsequent cashmere blend sweater sets, even though I haven't seen her in them yet ... I'm just assuming.)
- "Wait. That's around the time Caleb and I went up there. A was in the lake house when Caleb and I were ..." -Hanna upon seeing the Smitty's receipt. "'Fraternizing' on my nana's sofa?" -Spencer finishes her sentence with an eye roll.
- "It's the perfect place to set up an evil lair." -Spencer on the phones found at the usually abandoned lake house
- "What. Who even does that anymore?"- Spencer on Holden calling up Aria's dad to ask for permission to ask her out.
- "Is it the whole glue thing? Because if I remember correctly, you dared me." -Holden on some mysterious Elmer's/ranch dressing mix up from his past with Aria.
- "A movie, dinner, paste-free, I promise." -Holden on his proposed date with Aria (yes, I'm still focusing on it)
- "The administration doesn't think that tiaras and orange jumpsuits are a good fit." -Unknown Rosewood High student taking down Hanna's homecoming queen photo
- "Em, just because we want to throw up every time our phone rings doesn't mean everyone else is living in fear." -Hanna easing Emily's mind about Maya's mysterious texts
- "I guess she was motivated to get out of here." -Ringleted blind guy. "For, like, field trips?" -Spencer
- "Oh, Jersey? Yeah that'll totally work." - Aria on her fake ID being passable for Maya at the concert Emily's taking her to in Camden, NJ. Clearly, Aria has never been.
- "I hit these amazing sales, thinking I could just shop the pain away and I bought, like, five cashmere blend sweater sets. Have you ever seen me in a sweater set? No. Because I don't wear sweater sets. Or blends. I think he broke me." -Mona on her break up with Noel
- "You're like smart smart. I always thought you were just book smart. Want a sweater set?" -Mona to a consoling Spencer
- "Most of your peers are probably watching their YouTubes right now." -Mrs. Welsh, who was apparently Ezra's date to the theater, on being impressed that Holden and Aria went to see "A View from the Bridge"
"Pretty Little Liars" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC Family.
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