Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 3, Episode 17 of ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars," titled "Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Inferno."
"Pretty Little Liars" is getting dark. And I don't mean black-hoodie-running-through-the-woods-at-night kind of dark. This show has twisted itself in ways I couldn't have imagined while watching Season 1. I suppose I need to eat my words about the "Little Liars" not going the teen pregnancy route because this week, we learned someone might be knocked up -- but it's not who you'd think.
More on that later, but now, out of the frying pan and into the
fire inferno we go.
This week's "Pretty Little Liars" kicks off with Spencer enjoying a very steamy, shirtless make-out session with TobAy -- that is, until he wraps his black-leather-covered gloves around her neck and starts to choke her.
Jaimie: "I imagine this is a dream."
Mom: "I'm assuming this is a nightmare."
Luckily, it is, but there is something very real about how distraught Spencer looks. Girl is a hot mess and just minutes later, we find out she may be keeping one of the biggest secrets these girls has ever hidden.
Mom: "Poor poor Spencer."
Jaimie: "I know.
Mom: "At least she has a nice toile comforter."
Aria and Emily are chatting on the phone about the Temporarily Less Pretty Little Liar and Em says Spencer needs to talk to Melissa, now that they know Byron saw her the night Ali died. But forget Melissa -- Aria says she needs to talk to one of them since they haven't heard from Spencer in hours. As they debate whether or not to even tell Spence about Melissa, Em's mom -- who we haven't seen since the dawn of time -- pops in her bedroom.
Mom: "HER MOM? Really? She's alive?"
Jaimie: "She's the parent of the week."
She has a package, which she debated about giving to Emily, and the return address lists the "James" residence in Chicago, which was Nate's real last name. Em's mom offers to take the package to the police station where she conveniently "just started working," but Emily says she can handle it. She opens the box and inside are birthday cards Emily had written to Ali. "Maya must have found them at Ali's house and tried to give them back to me," she surmises. Though the cards contain the typical "LYLAS," "best friends forever" type of message (I freeze-framed to be sure), there's also a sticker-covered biology notebook, which -- we later learn -- isn't so innocuous.
Mom: "Look at those adorable cards she made Ali. The fancy stickers -- I love it."
Meanwhile, Hanna's mom Ashley has also decided to be a parent again -- she questions Hanna about her wrist and she assures her mom she just slipped in gym. Ashley is seemingly not buying it. She asks how things have been at school with MonA and though Hanna assures her all is well with her former friend who was recently released from a mental institution, Ashley asks if she has to call Mr. Tamberelli. If it's this guy, definitely give him a ring, Ash. "Is it happening again?" she asks, clearing referring to "A." "One caped crusader is enough," Hanna says. "Who's wearing the cape?" Ashley questions. "Caleb? Has Caleb been tangling with Mona?" Han doens't know what tangling means, but nevertheless, she tells her mom he's not.
Mom: "Ashley is back too? Wow. Maybe it's back-to-school night or something."
Over at the Perpetually Dark Montgomery House, Byron is on the phone with Meredith's dad who tells him she's getting help. Phew! I worried the woman that fed his daughter pills (unbeknownst to her) and slapped her unconscious wasn't going to make it. "Turns out Meredith has a long history of ... issues," he tells Aria after hanging up, adding that Mer's dad thinks she stopped taking her meds. "I told him that we didn't want to see her punished; we wanted to see her treated," he says. Of course he does -- because they're still in cahoots. Byron assures Aria that she won't be coming near the Montgomery family again.
Mom: "Why the eff would Aria still be at the monster's house?"
Jaimie: "Seriously. Take her out of there, Ella!"
Mom: "And you are also really ugly, Byron and hard to look at when they do a close up."
He then stares longingly at the fire (i.e. their only source of light) and remembers how they didn't have money to buy a furnace when they first bought the very large house. They didn't use the fireplace because he didn't want Aria to get burned. "I knew that my one job on this Earth was to make sure that you didn't get hurt," he tells her.
Mom: "He sucks at his one job."
The next day, Spencer has apparently reconnected with the rest of the liars and walks to school with Hanna and Aria. When they ask about the big anniversary dinner last night, Spence says, "We didn't really get much of an anniversary because Toby had to get up early for work the next day." Besides that, she doesn't say much else and ditches them to do some "reading." Of course, that's not too suspicious for a Hastings, but the vacant look on her face (and lack of makeup) surely hints something else is going on.
Jaimie: "WHAT?! Why is Spencer hiding this from them?"
Mom: "It's sooo unlike her not to tell them."
Hanna and Aria head over to The Brew to meet Emily and Aria and Aria tells them they can't go to the police yet as Em shows them the bio notebook. Amidst the electron shell diagrams is a back-and-forth conversation between Ali and someone else about a guy, "the beach hottie." The non-Ali told her she needed to tell him tonight. Tell him what, we don't know. But Ali wrote back: "He'll freak out." On the next page, they see something about TobAy. But why? Em isn't satisfied with their detective work so she goes to ask the original Nancy Drew: Spencer.
Jaimie: "Spencer looks ill. It's making me sad to see her like this."
Mom: ":Where is her mom? She needs a friend."
She blows Emily off and says she has to get to class. Emily aks if TobAy was ever a lifeguard and she says, "I don't know, but Melissa might." Emily pleads with her, saying they need to find out who Ali was afraid of and why. "Maybe she was just scared to tell him that she was slutting it up in three different zip codes in one summer." Dayum doesn't even do that statement justice. She says they couldn't care about what happened to Ali because she wasn't loyal to them. "I think that I need to learn to stop."
"Read," Emily insists. Spence looks down at the notebook and we flash back to a juvie visit between Ali and TobAy, who is wearing a do-rag. She throws some "A" paper messages back in his face and says, "It's time to quit the pen pal routine." He says he didn't write those notes and he says, "Jenna would love to see your head on a stick." "Jenna would be pretty happy to see anything, I imagine," Ali retorts. (Dayum!)
"I wish I knew who wrote those notes," TobAy says, getting in her face. "I'd offer my services. You and your posse deserve a lot worse."
The notebook read:
He tried to tell me it wasn't him. He got all pissy and told me he couldn't possibly have sent them. That they check your mail before it leaves or whatever. I guess they want to make sure those babies aren't crying home to their mommies. I'm sure there are ways around it though. Can you believe he even tried to blame it on his blind sister? It was so pathetic. Like she didn't learn her lesson the first time.
Mom: "Toby in the schmata on his head. Oy. There is way too much Toby without his shirt on."
Mom: "Spencer is on Toby's side now?"
Jaimie: "I don't think she's on any side."
Mom: "Either way, she looks like death."
"I haven't told you guys the truth," Spencer finally says with tears in her eye. She admits to Emily that she and TobAy broke up last night, but she's not ready to talk about why. Later, she gets a text from Aria: "Ezra freaked. He broke up with me. Can you meet me in the park?" She quickly leaves the classroom, but not before telling Ella off when she questions where she's going: "I don't need to sit in a room and read books about made-up people who've been screwed over. OK? I get it. It's not going to prepare me for what I have to deal with when I walk out this building. It is a complete waste of my time!" And with that, she's off to the park on her bike. Anyone want to tell her to wear a helmet? It's the law.
Mom: "That text to Spener said she told him and he broke up with her. I can't believe they wouldnt show that part. That's a big deal."
Jaimie: "There's definitely more to the story. I think Spencer is being lured under false pretenses."
Jaimie: "No, for sure."
Mom: "I smell T.R.O.U.B.L.E."
When Spencer gets to the park, she sees Ezra sitting at a picnic table with his laptop. If you thought her words for Ella were bad, she really lays into Fitz about Aria and Maggie and the baby she didn't abort. He's stunned and can't say much else besides, "What are you talking about?" over and over again. She freaks out and gets back on her bike. She'll get you, her pretty and your baby mama too.
Mom: "Ezra's hair makes him look 12."
Jaimie: "It's how they make you feel less creepy about the student-teacher relationship."
Back at school, Emily is examining the bio notebook again and after flipping through a couple pages (I free-framed those too -- they said very little), she sees a photo hidden: Ali and Cece bonding with lobsters in Cape May, NJ. (Of course, they're conveniently standing beneath a lifesaver emblazoned with their location.)
Mom: "They go to the Jersey Shore?"
Jaimie: "That's where trash gets picked up."
(I'm sorry.) Em, Hanna and Aria heads to lunch and though Spencer is nowhere to be found, guess who showed up? Ezra. As Aria goes to see why the hell he would show up at the school that disgraced him, Hanna and Emily look down at their bowl of cherry tomatoes and teeny water bottles.
Jaimie: "Those are some fancy high school cafeteria sandwiches."
Mom: "It's Rosewood -- no one ever eats their food in Rosewood."
Ezra asks why Spencer was talking to him about Maggie and Aria suggests they take this outside -- you know, in the courtyard which is also full of students because no one goes to class in Rosewood. He can't believe she would keep such a secret from him and she says she was scared, scared of what this reveal (that Ezra has a son -- who he thought was never born -- with his high school sweetheart) would do to their relationship. "I see you every day, Aria. You. You are the person I am spending my life with. You are the person I'm supposed to trust."
Lori: "He said he sees her everyday? Where the eff was he when she was sick and getting beaten?"
Very good question. Anyway, Aria agrees with Ezra and with that, he's off. Within seconds, she gets a text: "Thought you needed a little push, so I pushed 'send' for you . -A" That was no surprise. But the text makes me think: Does "A" have some sort of fancy phone that allows you to right align? Or does s/he press the spacebar so the "-A" can always be in the lower righthand corner of the text? Anyway, Aria's basically crying.
It's difficult for me to support this relationship -- you know, a teacher getting it on with his high school lowerclassman student and all -- but I cannot deny that I feel badly for Aria. A) Spencer's crazy has now potentially ruined her relationship and B) Her dad is Bryon. C) See above.
Over at the police station, Em's mom is looking very professional with her french twist and Wilden (yes, Wilden) is there, lamenting over breakroom bagels. He asks about Emily and admits he knows "exactly" how she's feeling. He relates her situation to defending himself on the job early on in his career. "Having to watch someone leave this world, even someone who deserves to be punished," he says, before trailing off. "It haunts you. Forever."
Speaking of hauntings, ghostly Spencer (or "brainwashed" and "hypnotized," as my mom said) is heating herself up what I'd assume was an Amy's Kitchen meal when there's a knock at the door: It's Aria. Spencer admits she shouldn't have said anything to Ezra and then oh-so-sympathetically asks, "Can we please just skip ahead to the end? Can we just fast-forward to the part where you scream or you cry or just do whatever you need to do, OK?" Aria says she didn't want to punish her -- she knows she was set up. But Spencer claims it's time they stop blaming "A" and start blaming themselves. Aria is aghast that the Liars' former Nancy Drew would be almost defending "A" and reminds her that this person is trying to hurt them. "Maybe we deserve it," Spence asserts and with that, she leaves Spencer alone once again, eating her frozen meal at the PHH.
On a beach in the middle of Rosewood, Emily has met up with CeCe and shows her the photo. Seriously, this girl is basically working for the feds now. CeCe remembers the photo, but she says she never knew who "beach hottie" was exactly. "Honestly, there were so many hotties down there that summer," she says with a laugh. As I hope this is last time we hear "hottie" tonight, CeCe reveals a huge secret (via flashback). Ali comes to see her at Annie's Crab Shack (home of "the best legs in town") and tells her she's late ... like two weeks late. She was using protecting, "just not all the time." Never have we ever seen Ali so undone. "If he finds out, he's gonna kill me," she tells CeCe. Was Ali with child when she died?
Mom: "CeCe looks pretty. Where has she been all this time? In her boutique?"
Jaimie: "Apparently. But wait, I thought Ali was in North Carolina just before she died?"
I'm truly confused, but moving on to the best part of the episode: Hanna's trades places with Emily from last week's episode and this time, she's tailing Paige. She follows her to a bar where Paige is talking to some girl and I believe (because I sadly did watch the "PLL" web series, "Pretty Dirty Secrets") that girl is Shana (Aeriél Miranda), who worked in Rosewood's Halloween store. Once Hanna sees two girls kissing in the corner and two more staring at her, she comes to the realization that she is at ladies' night.
Back at the PHH, Spencer is sitting on the stairs next to what appears to be an empty tumbler of some sort of alcoholic beverage and she starts to text:
Spencer: "Are you willing to meet me tonight?"
Spencer: "I shouldn't be talking to you. No one can know about this."
Unknown: "No one will."
It can't be TobAy; so is it MonA? I don't know, but right about now, I'd like to have what she's having.
Over to ladies' night: Things seem to definitely be shifting into the more-than-friends zone with Paige and Shana and Hanna is concerned -- concerned enough to stay and take a Raspberry Flirtini that some girl at the bar ordered for her -- orange peel, cherry and umbrella included.
Mom: "An umbrella drink -- nice!!! Wow that girl's sporting quite the 'do."
Meanwhile, Aria could use a Flirtini ... or at least a Spencer-made beverage. Byron instead offers to make her his speciality: a "fancy grilled cheese." If that doesn't include truffles, I don't want to hear about. Sadly, we'll never find out because Emily knocks on the door. She tells Aria what CeCe told her about Ali potentially being the leading lady of "Teen Mom 4." Aria wonders why it doesn't show up in her autopsy, but Em says "not necessarily" if it was really early on and she knows because she got her information online. I'm getting a little be confused about this timeline. I thought Ali was in one of the Carolinas before she came home and was murdered that summer; not Cape May. Though Aria was resisting going to the Roro Popo before, she thinks this is reason enough to turn the notebook over to the police. Emily leaves to turn the notebook in and Aria gets a text, but we never see what it says.
Over at the bar, Hanna is eavesdropping. As she tries to get closer to Paige and Shana, she overhears Shana say, "I miss you. And if they play the uncut version of this, I'm going to have to kiss you." Paige smiles. What?! And what?! Hanna tries to hide from them she winds up standing next to the girl that bought her the pink drink and they start dancing. Side bar: It's hilarious. The girl's presumed girlfriend sees Hanna and asks, "Who is this peroxide piece of trash?" Then she throws a drink in her face (and on her very cute bow-adorned Eiffel Tower t-shirt), bringing attention to Hanna. That prompts her to get carded and arrested for underage drinking. Sider bar no. 2: It's still hilarious.
But in a far less funny part of town, Spencer is crying in the car as she tries to put makeup on. That is some damn good waterproof mascara. Now it doesn't look like she's meeting MonA. Who could it be?
When Hanna's brought in to the police station, she sees Emily, who's there with her evidence. Hanna doesn't tell Em what really happened and gets away with it once Wilden comes over to take the notebook. "You did the right thing," he tells Emily. She goes to get a coffee and on a corkboard, she sees a photo of Wilden, two guys and a giant fish. The lifesaver behind them reads: Cape May, NJ. How convenient that everyone seems to have been taking photographs near lifesavers with the words of their location.
Meanwhile, Spencer is wandering into a nameless diner-looking situation and we can only see the fear in her eyes, not the face of the person she's meeting. After sitting down at the table with a leather-cloaked man drinking coffee, she says, "I didn't know if you were really gonna show." "Why wouldn't I? You said you were 18, right?" the man asks. She nods and then asks, "So how does this work?" "Well, this works whichever you want it to work," he replies.
Mom: "Who is that?"
Jaimie: "I am CREEPED OUT."
Mom: "I KNOW! Is he a pimp or private eye?"
She pulls out a key and he asks, "Where does this go to?" "That's what I would like you to find out," she insists and gives him a photo of TobAy, suggesting he follow him. OK, so Spencer is not becoming a lady of the night. Phew.
Jaimie: "That's really creepy of them to make it seem like she just prostituted herself."
Mom: "I know."
He takes the key and pictures, throws down money for his coffee and leaves.
Back at the Marin house, Ashley has presumably picked Hanna up from the Rosewood police station and she has some things to say (despite Hanna's request to shower before her hair cracks off her head). Then, Ashley delivers some ridiculous lines about what Hanna was doing at "that bar," starting with: "Was this about exploring a new feeling?"
Hanna: "I only danced with that girl who thought I was into pink drinks because I didn't want Paige to see me."
Ashley: "What's a pink drink? Is that code for something gay?"
Mom: "'Code for something gay'? Why would they need to be in code in a gay bar?"
Hanna comes forward about following Paige, her plan with Caleb and finding out Emily's girlfriend might have a chick on the side. Ashley has two suggestions: 1) "Stay out of it." 2) "Use the hot oil treatment on your hair."
Then, we see Ezra seemingly moving out of his apartment and Aria arrives.
Jaimie: "Ezra's apartment building is fannnncy."
Mom: "He comes from wealth."
Ezra says he talked to Maggie and she knows she put Aria in an "unfair position" and thought they're "OK," he's not. "There are like a million thoughts fighting in my head right now," he says. "I'm about to meet my son."
He's leaving for an indeterminate amount of time. "Can I call you?" she asks. He turns away and two tears fall down his cheeks. "We'll talk soon, OK?" Then he kisses her forehead and drives away.
Mom: "This is awkward. I don't think they are okay."
Jaimie: "Oh no. He's crying. A forehead kiss? Never good."
Mom: "That was an awful goodbye."
Then, we head over to "A's" lair, where a row of "Little Liars"-inspired bobble head dolls rest in front of a doll house. Curiously, the person standing in front of the dolls in a red top of sorts (could it be "Vivian Darkbloom's" trench) and begins to torch the one that looks like Hanna.
That can't be good.
Best Quotes of the Night
"Well, clearly you need two to wash a pot." -Ashley
"Yeah, but can she be treated in another state ... like Alaska?" -Aria
"It's like the world's fattest man giving dieting tips. You're the one that's sitting on a secret the size of the the 'Natterhorn.'" -Hanna
"I think that the mold from my basement killed some of your brain cells." -Aria
"Clearly your time in cellblock four has done great things for your literary skills." -Ali
"Listen, I drove all the way up here and just got a triple X pat down by security." -Ali
"I don't want to be here anymore. Is that legitimate enough?" -Spencer
"'A' isn't some tough love life coach, Spencer. We're not being taught to mind our manners and eat our vegetables. This person wants to hurt us." -Aria