Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 2, Episode 24 of ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars," entitled "If These Dolls Could Talk."
This was easily the scariest hour of television I've watched in a long time. And I watched part of "The Walking Dead" last night ... and part of the fourth hour of the "Today" show with Kathie Lee and Hoda this morning.
Seriously, I am still a little shaken up. And my mom? "I'm still trying to recover," she say 30 minutes after the credits have rolled on the penultimate Season 2 episode before the Spring finale of "Pretty Little Lairs."
The episode kicks off with Spencer asleep on the couch while a blonde rummages through something beside the couch. When the ransacker turns around, it's Ali. (It's not that we couldn't tell from her hair, but it was still surprising for the Queen Bee to appear in a non-flashback setting so we needed to see her mini-Denise Richards-esque face to believe it.) She tells Spencer they're on the right track (presumably on their quest to find out who A is), especially "now that [they]'ve got this." We're not so sure what "this" is, but Ali adds: "Don't get hung up on the details and miss what's parked right in front of you."
She touches Spencer's hair and whispers to her somewhat saucily, "You're getting warmer." It's simultaneously creepy and flirty, as Ali tends to be.
Suddenly, the door opens, Spencer shoves the bag under the couch and soon enough, she wakes up in the daylight. This is the only sunshine we've seen hit the Hastings house in months.
Melissa calls Spencer's name, comes downstairs, says it's freezing and notices the door's open. Then, Spencer looks down at two open bottles of pills in front of her.
Later that morning, Spencer explains what happened to Emily, who says it was probably the pills. (Did I miss something? Did Wren give her drugs after the explosion? Not that she doesn't need them, but ... ) Still, Emily's empathetic, noting she's been there (i.e. the post-barn conversation/kiss with Ali). "I just think that Ali is like holding our brains hostage," she explains.
At La Casa De Marin, Hanna's mom asks about the fire and then, she hears a phone ringing from Hanna's bag. A) Hanna isn't supposed to have a phone and B) Ashley answers and it's Caleb. Hanna is in big trouble, mister.
But on the upside for Hanna, my mom says, "Spencer should be paying more attention to Hanna's hair products because her hair looks gorgeous."
Aria goes to Ezra's office, where he seems to cavernously dwell 24/7. "Does Ezra ever teach? He lives at that office," I say to my mom. "This show does not believe in anyone attending classes -- they just hang out at these school," she replies. Ezra tells are that the dean isn't pleased. Aria says her dad isn't as powerful as he thinks. (Nor should he be.)
Jenna wants to take off her eye bandage prematurely, in front of Toby because, she says, "I want yours to be the first face that I see." Sweetly creepy, creepily sweet or just plain creepy? I'm going with the creepy end of the spectrum.
At school, in Courtyard -- i.e. the most frequented class at Rosewood -- Spencer shows Aria, Hanna and Emily some classified ads between Ali and A. It looks like the last place Ali and A were supposed to meet was at the doll hospital in Bookhaven.
The foursome is interrupted when Toby leads Jenna to girls and she explains that when she "woke up, [she] could see clearly, just not with [her] eyes." Hanna saving her from that fire made her realize people can grow. She wants to apologize and then asks if they can move on.
Emily doesn't buy it, but now that Jenna's whipping out her walking stick again, they're not too concerned. The girls decide they need to go to Brookhaven.
Back in Hallways -- i.e. the second most frequented class at Rosewood -- Mona tells Hanna she got another text: "Break up Hanna and her hottie or you go back to being a junior high nottie. -A" I am trying to ignore that not-so-subtle reference to the 2008 Paris Hilton movie, starring Al, the hot tomboy from "Step by Step."
Over in Ella's (of course) emptying classroom, Aria is leaving her mom a note and she see's a fax from her dad about a boarding school application. Oh, Byron ... still sending faxes.
The girls finally make their way to the doll hospital, just in time to catch a Rollie Pollie lady (RPL) unlocking the door, who says they're not open yet. Aria and Spencer's ensembles are pretty distracting (there are sheer maxi skirts and knee-high socks involved) ... I'm wondering how RPL can focus.
I really wish "Welcome to the Dollhouse" from the '90s indie film was playing in the background as Aria looks through the window at all the wide-eyed dolls. Suddenly, she notices one set of eyes that blink back at her. And thus begins the scariest 40 minutes of "Pretty Little Liars" ever.
Rollie Pollie/RPL is Martha and the blinking eyes belong to a young who apparently stays in the doll hospital unattended. "The kid was locked in the store?" my mom asks. Martha calls the child "Seth baby" and says they "have guests." "So this child is a boy???" my mom continues.
They all head to the basement where there are dolls hanging upside down from the ceilings. Martha says her late sister did the books and wants to get rid of the place. She doesn't know anything about the voodoo doll like the one Ali had, but "Seth baby" does.
He says another girl came in the summer before last asking who bought the same doll. Emily shows him a picture on her phone of Ali, he says that was her, but with dark hair, i.e. it was Vivian
He told her to stop looking for whoever bought the doll because a man and a woman wanted to hurt her. "He sees things, things that haven't happened yet," Martha says. "He's gifted." Actually, he's so Raven.
"Seth baby" tells Spencer the woman had dark hair, "like yours" (cough Melissa cough) and confirms she wasn't blind, which rules out Jenna (more on that later). Martha cuts "Seth baby" off, but not before he gets in one more horrifying statement: "Sorry about what happened to her ... Must have been awful. Breathing dirt into your lungs. I don't even like sand in my mouth."
Apparently, they get out of the clutches of Martha and "Seth baby" and back home to Hanna's where they're about to eat frozen pizza. Hanna is now more convinced than ever that Melissa is A and that the man "Seth baby" mentioned was Ian. Finally, Spencer comes clean and says her parents thought Melissa killed Ali, telling them the truth about Jason being her half-brother.
Aria goes home and confronts her mom about the boarding school application and then asks: "What do you think would happen if the dean found out dad was having an affair with one of his grad students? Where do you think they'd send him?"
My mom has a different suggestion for Aria, besides threats and blackmail: "Aria should borrow some of Spencer's Quaker outfits and maybe her parents won't send her off to boarding school!"
Back at the
Quaker Hasting house, Melissa asks about the duffle bag and a very stupid, but also brave Spencer gets up the courage to show her the video. "How do you even have this? Did you steal it from Ian?" Melissa asks. And in her defense, she adds, "Half this town wanted that girl to disappear." Spencer says the police need to see it, but an eerily calm Melissa responds with, "I'd be careful, Spence." She says she'd be worried about the videos that will surface of Spencer and her friends if they do give the police that video.
Ella asks Aria if she called the dean, which she didn't, and she says the boarding school idea has been shelved. She tells Aria she's never been ashamed of her until the day before. I mean, really, Ella? Your husband is actually the one who cheated on you. "They are the worst parents," my mom says. "And to make Aria feel like she is a terrible person is really unfair."
Hanna wants to trick Melissa into sending a text to reveal that she's A and that's where (a scarily skinny) Caleb comes in. Caleb and Mona park outside the storefront where Melissa is and Emily watches for her exit. Em sends Mona a "showtime" text and Mona and Caleb make out, hoping Melissa will take the bait. Mona's intensions seem odd, but time will tell.
Spencer and Hanna wait by the phone at home and then they get the text:
"Hey Han, you into sharing everything with your BFF? Even your BF? -A"
Hanna's sure A is Big Hastings. She wants to give the police the laptop, but Spencer puts her foot down. She says they're still not sure A is Melissa and then, she suggests they go talk to "Seth baby." Emily comes home, then Mona with shower gel to wash the Caleb shame off of her. Em tells Hanna she can't tell Mona everything.
Forever absent Aria heads to Ezra's and finds out he got fired.
Back at the Cavanaugh household (still void of parental units), Jenna is reading brail and Toby comes in. He yells about Garrett sitting outside and she tells him she doesn't know what he wants and he should to close the curtains.
Then, Jenna hands over the ominous Page 5 of Ali's autopsy and pretends she has no idea what it is. She asks him to take her to the police because she thinks they should have it.
And as stupid as Toby is, apparently, Spencer, Hanna and Emily are even stupider. They head to the doll hospital to talk to "Seth baby" and the lights are on, but no one is answering. (Un)luckily, the door is open. The girls head inside and call after Martha as they head to the basement, where they find a box of those voodoo that she said they didn't sell.
Suddenly, the lights go out and the girls hear a distorted recording say, "Follow me, end up like me." They follow the voice until they reach a closed closet. When they open it, a blonde anthropomorphic doll that looks like it got the Carrie treatment is holding a shovel and sitting in a pile of dirt, surrounded by flowers. Suddenly, dolls start flying off shelves and a symbol-banging monkeys starts smacking his instruments together incessantly and the girls run out.
In the far less horrifying, but much sadder scene in Ezra's apartment, he tells Aria that he's moving back with his parents. He has to teach, "it's what he does" and she says wherever he winds up is lucky to have him. "Do you have any idea how much I love you?" he asks, before they seemingly have sex for the first time. Aww, statutory rape. Keep it classy, "Pretty Little Liars."
In Spencer's room, the girls get Ali's duffel ready to give to the police and hope that the police can find whatever it is Ali said was in there.
Melissa and Garrett come home with a big box and they kiss. The N.A.C. club is apparently very incestuous. He's worried someone else is home, but she assures him they're alone and Spencer won't turn in the video. But as he prepares to head upstairs, the police appear at the Hastings back door and they're there to arrest him for the murder of Alison DiLaurentis. Em, Spencer and Hanna look on as Melissa glares at them.
Then, we see Jenna, clearly the one Melissa should be glaring at, take off her lipstick in front of a mirror, kill a bug and then check our her eyes and raise her eyebrows. She can see!
A heads to the doll hospital where Martha is annoyingly cleaning up the mess. A hands her an envelope of money and Seth baby a lollipop. He is not amused. On the plus side, I finally realize which cause some UK fans: See Frankie.
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