Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 4, Episode 2 of ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars," titled "Turn of the Shoe."
At The Brew, which now serves crudité, mozzarella sticks and french fries, apparently, the girls are trying to figure out who the woman with the lace veil was at Wilden's funeral; Aria is worried about what Officer
Mumblesalot Holbrook knows since their prints are all over Wilden's car; Spencer's building a map of the now burn-to-a-crisp cabin out of aforementioned snacks (because God forbid they eat it); and Hanna's still stuck on the fact that "Ali" saved her life. ("We never saw a body," she reminds the ever-incredulous Aria.)
MonA arrives late for the PLL pow-wow, but Hanna wishes she hadn't come at all since she's convinced MonA's the one that put her mom's phone in Wilden's casket. But the artist formerly known as A assures them it wasn't her -- she's being honest this time. Don't believe her? Go out there and search that RV for yourselves, bitches.
The girls all take a ride to the desolate area that Hanna and MonA parked and locked up the RV. But Emily isn't really sure she likes this idea. "I'm just saying, I don't even know what we're supposed to be looking for," she tells Spencer. No one does, Em. No one does.
When MonA unlocks the gates, the RV is mysteriously missing. "Somebody stole it," she says. "That somebody wasn't me," she shouts desperately as the girls storm off, unconvinced.
Hanna and Spencer get in their car and drive away, while Aria and Em stay back to watch MonA get in her car for some unbeknownst reason. Perhaps Aria is "so Raven" because when MonA doesn't start to drive away immediately, Aria realizes something is amiss. Sure enough, a mAsked figure is choking MonA from the back seat of her car. She finally knocks A out with a flashlight and rolls out of the car door. As Aria and Em run over to her, A does a U-ey and puts his/her petal to the metal, heading straight for the girls. Emily dives to protect the Littlest Little Liars (success) and slams her shoulder on a rock as she tries to get out of the way (fail).
The next day, Hanna comes downstairs -- in slippers, Spencer's old polo and a silky skirt that makes no sense for the rest of the outfit or Hanna in general -- to find her mom rummaging through their refrigerator, throwing things away, of course. Hanna asks her how New York was, but Ashley "didn't see much of it," being stuck in a windowless conference room and all.
When Ashley asks about the funeral, Hanna worries her mom thinks she had something to do with Wilden's murder. Ashley assures her the thought never crossed her mind. "I think that Detective Wilden had more enemies than friends and I think one of those people decided to do us all a favor," Ashley says.
When Hanna alerts her that she lost her cell, Ashley looks stunned. "Where did you find that?" she asks suspiciously. Hanna tells her it was in the mailbox. Lie. Ashley explains she must've left it at the front desk while checking out of the hotel and they messengered it back. Lie. And Hanna knows it.
Over at the Parentless Hastings Household, Spencer -- who's really looking like her old self again -- rummages through the mail and sees something from the University of Pennsylvania. It's a little envelope so she should know what that means (though don't colleges do this all on the Internet these days?), but she opens it and gets the bad news that she's been rejected. What did she expect? Girl's been too busy dealing with being blackmailed, getting backstabbed and being institutionalized to focus on her studies. Still, I feel you, Spence.
Me: "Oh noo! Spencer got rejected from Penn. Just like me."
Mom: "You, Spencer and a gazillion others."
She makes me feel so special. Anyway, Hanna starts freaking out to Aria about A framing her mom for murder. She wonders who it could be: Melissa? Jenna? Shana? Conveniently, the final option is sitting right behind her at The Brew. Han walks right up to Shana and confronts her about her "gal-pal" JEN-NA. Han straight up accuses Shana and JEN-NA of murdering Wilden since the former didn't even bother coming to funeral (she claims she had swim practice). Aria eventually convinces Hanna to simmer down -- she slowly walks away, backwards, with a head shake, as if to say, "Come at me, bro!"
Over at Rosewood High, Paige is in an empty classroom, creating a model of her and Emily's future dorm room with some sort of Sims-like online interior design program. A) No one gets to design their own dorm room. B) They do not look like that. C) Two twin extra long beds? Dream bigger, Paige. When Emily makes a joke about C) (atta girl), Paige wraps her arms around her and hurts Em's badly bruised shoulder. Em attempts to dismiss her agony by saying she slept weird and diverting Paige's attention to puffy drapes.
Back at the PHH, Spencer is hiding her Penn rejection letter amongst her books when TobAy storms in and he is in a seriously foul mood. Spencer, who we now see is wearing a sweater with a horse on it (Ol' Spence really is back!), tells TobAy what happened, but he doesn't seem surprised. "Why does this not seem like breaking news to you?" she asks. "Because I have to go," a jittery, stern, nonsensical TobAy replies. Poor, Spencer. On the bright side, this means we won't have to watch any nauseating Spoby breakfast scenes this week.
Mom: "I feel like they are talking soo fast and jumping around to make it all over the place -- Toby popping in with the mystery call, Paige and virtual designing, the rejection letter, and can we talk about Melissa doing an internship??? Is she in college?"
At school, Mr. Fitz is making "doomed romance" jokes in a class full of Spencer, Hanna, Emily, MonA and, of course, Aria. Classy guy. Spence stays back when the bell rings and after the classroom has emptied, she comes clean about her Penn rejection to Fitz. "I'll be the first one not to go," she tearily tells Mr. Fitz, who promises not to tell her family or friends. He offers to help her write her essays for her next batch of college applications. "Maybe we can work on it over the weekend," he says creepily, assuring her that "it's their loss." I really hope we are not going down this road.
Mom: "Why didn't she get wait listed?"
Me: "BECAUSE SHE HASN'T STUDIED IN TWO YEARS."
Mom: "Hahaha. So true! What time of year is this in Rosewood?"
Me: "Perpetually fall, duh."
Mom: "Real life she would hear from the school early December. Why doesn't Spencer have a private college counselor?"
Back home, Em is panicking about her shoulder with a swim meet on the horizon and only one spot left on the Stanford swim team. She finds a solution: a shit-ton of pain pills. Meanwhile, Hanna's got her own issues: She's just found a bag with her mom's silk Manolo Blahniks ... her very muddy silk Manolos, to be precise. Either Hanna's in denial or she really is dumb, wondering how heels could get so muddy in Manhatthan.
Aria is worried that A is trying to knock off the little ones in the PLL pack and she's determined to defend herself. She stops by a karate studio and meets instructor Jake ("Step Up Revolution" star Ryan Guzman), who agrees to give her a private lesson tomorrow a.m. Subtle.
Back at Hanna's later that night, the Blondest Little Liar is trying to do her homework for Mr. Fitz's class and struggling because "the last book [she] finished was 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar.'" When Ashley comes in, she inquires about the muddy Manolos. "How'd they get so trashed? Did you go on a hike through New York?" she asks, leading Ashley to jump down her throat. She's really not good at playing this cool.
Mom: "Geez, Ashley. You dragged your kid into this mess with Wilden and now you are pulling the mother card? No. Not OK, Ashley."
The next day, Hanna stops by Spencer's to discuss Operation: Muddy Manolos, but she isn't home and Mrs. DiLaurentis, who my mom says is "way too chipper," invites her over to her garden instead. As they chat roses, Hanna hears a voice and Mrs. D introduces her to Tippi, her late mother-in-law's parrot. "Careful what you say around her," she warns. "It might come back to haunt you." Turns out, Ali and Tippi shared a room when she stayed with her grandma in Georgia.
Hanna asks about the day Ali's body was found (still convinced no one's actually identified it), leading Mrs. D to have a flashback to one of the tensest conversations about a sleepover and Greek salad in all of history. When Ali doesn't get what she wants -- a revealing top and permission to have Emily, Spencer, Aria Hanna sleep over their Cape May house without parents -- she holds her breath until Mrs. D gives in. She can clearly still breathe through her nose so I don't see this as a threat of any kind. Honestly, I didn't even realize what she was doing -- it looked like she was trying to put a spell on her mom, not like she was trying not to breathe. Truly, it was one of the more ridiculous scenes in this show's history. And that's saying a lot.
Back to the present, where, turns out, Ali never even invited the other girls down to Cape May -- she was actually looking to hang out with an "older crowd, probably a boy." Suddenly, Tippi starts singing a tune that sounds kind of like a ring tone. When Hanna asks Mrs. D about the song, she couldn't be less interested. In fact, she wants to get rid of Tippi altogether because she has enough voices in her head, apparently.
Over at the karate studio, Aria is having fun kicking ass -- in wedge sneakers -- and learning the art of Tang Soo Do from Jake, who asks her for her trust. "I'm small. People look at me as an easy target. It's the law of the universe, right?" she explains. "We can't defend ourselves until we feel safe in our own skin," he explains. Gotta love a man who uses the royal "we" when he clearly means "you." As the practice continues, Aria leans in for a kiss. Clearly, this girl struggles with student-teacher boundaries.
On her way home, she notices MonA chatting with the Rosewood po-po over at the police station. To prevent MonA from saying too much, she pulls up in front and says, "Hurry, we're late." When they get out of the eyesight of the police, Aria lays down the law with a very enunciated, "You can't be chatting up any cops in broad daylight, Mo-nA." She explains that she overheard the cops behind her talking bout finding Wilden's footprints from the night he died -- and he wasn't alone. There were marks from some very high heels in the mud as well, like the kind Ali liked to wear, MonA notes. Of course, they don't know about Mama Marin's very muddy Manolos yet.
At school, Em is downing more pain pills in the locker room pre-meet when Shana comes in for some pre-game smack talk about getting that spot at Stanford, which prompts Em to take an extra pill for good measure. As she approaches the wall in her race, her vision is blurred and her judgment's impaired. She hits her head on the side of pool, leaving her motionless and bleeding.
While Em may have just ruined her chances at Stanford, TobAy wants to make sure he doesn't ruin his with Spencer. At the PHH, he comes clean about moving the RV so that he could give it to A in exchange for something he wanted. As Spencer berates him, he throws down what he got in exchange for the hate-mobile: a transcript from the doctors at Radley of the night his mom killed himself. Spencer reads the emotional report that doesn't seem to describe a woman who later jumped out a window. "This place is covering something up and I need to know more," an emotional TobAy shouts before making her promise to keep this a secret when Aria shows up.
Mom: "Toby is a bad crier."
Me: "You mean actor?"
Mom: "Agreed. And he didn't care when Spencer cried her eyes out over him. I can't take him."
After Sparia discusses the karate kiss and MonA as a fetus, Hanna shows up with Tippi in tow. She's convinced the bird can help them find out more about Ali's mysterious misadventures in Georgia that summer. But Aria is still freaking out about the police. "You guys weren't wearing pumps. The footprints the police are looking for are high heels," Spencer reassures Aria, not realizing she's now sending Hanna into a state of panic.
When she gets home, Ashley's standing in the dark house, alone. Hanna asks her if she was really in New York that whole time or if she came back to "have it out with Wilden." Ashley knows her daughter is onto her. She's not stupid -- she finished all of a "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." "I did not kill Detective Wilden," she tells Hanna with a horrifying look in her eyes.
Back at the PHH, Tippi is driving Spencer mad while she tries to do research on TobAy's mom. As she dials Hanna again and again, hoping she'll remove Tippi from her house, she realizes the bird isn't singing a song -- he's imitating the touch tones of a phone number.
Mom: "Why did Hanna leave the bird with Spencer? Because she has no parents and lives alone?" Me: "And because she is the smartest."
Meanwhile, at the Parentless Montgomery Household, Aria still hasn't showered post-karate when the doorbell rings. It's Jake, who magically has her address! "I had a hunch that you might not be coming back," he says, adding that he doesn't want her to think he's not interested because he is. (Of course.) "Maybe you're not comfortable with the whole student-teacher thing. Could be complicated," he notes. "Ha! Aria wrote the book," my mom notes. Despite her previous experience, she asks him on a coffee date. (Of course.)
Back in the comfort of her home, Emily is finally conscious and she decides to come clean to Paige about her shoulder and the pills. Why didn't she tell Paige earlier? "Because I don't want to live in that space anymore. And I don't want you to live there either. I want to live in that room on your computer," Em tells her girlfriend, clearly unaware of the aforementioned A) and B) and the fact that one cannot live inside a computer."At least it would be safe in there," my mom notes.
Aria and Hanna are back with Spencer at the PHH and Spencer has correlated Tippi's tune with a phone number. But when they call, the girls get no answer. They head back upstairs to listen to Tippi one more time, but all that's left of her is a feather. Someone came through the window and took her.
With Hanna gone, Ashley takes a swig of her Ramona Pinot Grigio, along with the opportunity to get rid of the evidence. She wraps the shoes up in newspaper and throws them in a garbage bag as someone peers through the window. Ashley goes outside, into the darkness to throw out the shoes.
Mom: "She is going to throw the shoes in her trash can? Come on -- at least go down to The Brew or something."
As the credits roll, A prepares a lovely meal of rice, string beans and a bird. But worry not -- Tippi is alive and well, feeding on the piece of poultry A's feeding her. Cannibalism. This is a new level.
Mom: "I feel like the things that link Ashley to Wilden's murder are so obvious and like they went out of the way to make her look so suspicious and creepy."
Me: "I assume she murdered or helped murder him, but she's not A."
Mom: "True -- besides, A was eating so she definitely isn't A."
Quotes of the Night
"Speaking of freaks, where's Melissa?" -Emily
"With who? Satan?"- Hanna
"I didn't really get a good look at her. I was trying not to wet myself when that new cop made a beeline over for us." -Aria
"Oh, so now I'm the crazy one. Give me my mozzarella back." -Hanna
"Why didn't she land on Mona?" -Hanna
"Don't act like you haven't heard that name before. JEN-NA!" -Hanna
"I was going for cozy, but then it looked like cozy with one puffy drape away from 'Grey Gardens.'" -Paige
"Well, maybe you can wear a swimsuit with sleeves. I mean, I spent two summers at fat camp swimming in a parka." -Hanna
"Don't worry, sweetie. I don't think she taught her Hefty Hanna." -Mrs. D
"Stop talking to me like I'm a bucket of rocks." -Mona
"What you should be asking is what I overheard before you screeched up like Chicken Fricken' Little." -Mona
"This is Mona. She started lying when she was a fetus." -Aria
"Go back to the fetus." -Spencer
"I don't know. I guess 'cause I miss Ezra and I almost got killed last Thursday and he smells like cinnamon." -Aria
"Hey, board shorts. Miss me?" -Tippi
"You can't ignore me!" -Spencer