Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 2, Episode 25 of ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars," entitled "unmAsked."
I needed some time to come down from "A" being revealed before writing this recap. I'm half-kidding. I mean, this may not have been as scary as last week's "Pretty Little Liars" -- I don't know, it was something with the dolls -- but there was a lot to digest and a lot of "Psycho" to follow in the Season 2 finale.
And an aside: Since watching the finale, I also learned that Garrett is Paolo from "The Lizzie Maguire Movie." I was shamed by my mom for not realizing this sooner. I'm not at all kidding.
And now, onto the recap:
Breaking news, Rosewood. It's a week after Garrett has been arrested and the newscaster blaring from the Hastings' kitchen explains the police believe he joined the police force to destroy evidence that linked him to Ali's murder (i.e. Page 5).
As the four little liars sit around, Spencer says she knows Jenna gave Page 5 to the police because her mom knows the prosecutor (that was easy) and Aria hopes they can now put Ali to rest. But Hanna worries it's "two down, two to go" for the rest of people who were in Ali's room that night.
Melissa walks in and says she knew Ian and the four of them didn't kill Allison. Then she asked Aria for her fro-yo. "That looks too perfect. It would have melted," my mom says of the perfectly swirled cup. Because that is the most unrealistic thing about this show? Anyway, Melissa says if Garrett killed Allison, "it's because he thought she deserved it." After questioning the flavor she's put in her mouth (toffee, not peanut butter), she's off on her wicked way.
The girls get a text: "You still have something that belongs to me. Bring it or one of you leaves in a body bag. -A" They realize the text must be a reference to A's phone, which Hanna still has, and suddenly the doorbell rings. It's a messenger with four envelopes, stuffed with invitations to a school dance. Fancy.
"You are cordially invited to the Rosewood Junior Society Masquerade Ball," it reads. Plus, "costumes required." But of course. It's like hide-and-seek, Emily says.
There's an extra note in Aria's: "Be there when the clock strikes midnight. - A"
Spencer wanders towards the window, while my mom says how skinny she looks. I'm more concerned with why she is dressed like a secretary, but I suppose it is a step up for Spence. "Hide-and-seek was my favorite game with Melissa," she says. "Wanna know why? I always won," she says deviously. Dayum. Cue theme song.
Hanna, Emily and Aria are walking into school, amazed at how Melissa was just chillin' out, maxin', relaxin' all cool, eating fro-you and telling them she was A. Hanna says they should be scared because the only thing smarter than Spencer is her sister. Oh, speaking of the devil. She arrives to defend her intelligence and has Ali's bag in tow. She's ready to "unmask this bitch once and for all" and thinks they all need to look through the bag with a fresh set of eyes.
Mona shows up and asks if they want to go to a vintage shop, but the girls make up their own excuses because they have a gym bag to search through. So where can they do that secretly? Ezra's abandoned apartment, of course. Speaking of abandoned, Aria thinks it might be over this time ... "really over."
Hanna, who told Mona she had to study with Caleb, gets frustrated when she gets a photo text of Mona with Caleb and then Caleb calls. She ignores them both, but she's tired of lying. "You're lying because you don't want the people you care about to end up like Dr. Sullivan," Spencer says, throwing in a seemingly odd reference. Hanna throws herself on the bed.
"Hanna, do you mind? That's kind of a sacred ground," Aria warns, to which the three other girls says in unison, "It is?!" OH EM GEE. Student-teacher statutory rape girl talk time! Seriously, I do not accept this relationship and never will. Of course, my mom still thinks it's "presh."
In Ali's stuff, Spencer finds a pen that says Dougherty's Landing. When they Google it, it turns out to be a tiny airfield off of Highway 30. Spencer recalls the post card for the Lost Woods Resort, which reads, "Find us where Greenview meets 30."
Duncan said he flew her to an airfield the morning she went missing so this must have been it. The back of the Lost Woods Resort postcard reads, "#1." So off to Room 1 of the Lost Woods Resort they go.
Of course, by the time they get there, it's dark and raining. "They're not wearing seatbelts if they're leaning that far forward," my mom astutely observes. Something ... or someone ... darts in front of the car, but they approach hesitantly, even though Aria suggests they turn around.
Once outside the Lost Woods Resort, they ponder what Ali could have been doing there when a very Norman Batesian man bangs on the window. "Checking in?" he asks.
"Oh my god. This is so 'Psycho,'" my mom says. Again, astute.
In the office -- complete with taxidermied animals and what we can only assume is a portrait of Faux Norman's mom -- Spencer signs the guest book as Mary Smith and asks for Room 1. She asks Faux Norman if he remembers their friend who told them about Room 1 -- and its great water temperature. But Vivian Darkbloom doesn't ring a bell. Besides, he doesn't share information about guests. "You check into the Lost Woods Resort because you don't want to be found," he says. Nice slogan.
Hanna falls in the mud on the way to the room. Is this a piglet cupcake throwback?
The retro room is complete with chenille blanket and a whole lot of creepy. "Love, love, love the bedspread," my vintage-loving mom says. Spying around the room, they girls wonder if Ali went there to hide something or to hide. Spencer is determined to find answers so she enlists the help of someone to sneak back to the front desk and steal the registration book. Aria steps up because the other two are competing over who's more cold.
A grimy Hanna gets in the shower, which Emily can't believe. When she steps into the shower, Emily gets a call from Maya, but the connection is bad so she leaves the room in search of better luck ... and gives A-nyone the opportunity to walk in. Of course, a figure darts behind her and into the lovely Room 1.
But right as A is about to enter the shower curtain and presumably, Marion Crane her ass, the phone rings. When Hanna gets out of the shower, A is gone, without a trace.
The next morning, Spencer is analyzing the registration book in the comfort of Room 1. She notes that Ali stayed there twice: The first time was the day she was supposed to meet A in Brookhaven and the second was the morning she went missing. But this conversation is not just between them -- A takes down an illustration of a bird off the wall and peers through a peep hole.
Spencer needs to return the registration book and asks Aria to stand guard because they're "Team Sparia," which is pretty freaking adorable. But no time to "aww," my mom is thinking about their next meals. "People are really skinny on this show. They need to eat something," she notes.
Hanna is more worried that Caleb can't come to the dance because his mom is flying in. She wanted him to be the Romeo to her Juliet, a part she lost in the sixth grade play. Emiliy offers to be her date, but she is not "dressing like a dude."
Team Sparia returns to Room 1 and says Faux Norman might be onto them. They dart back to Rosewood, leaving A staring at an empty room.
Spencer goes to see Toby who is still cleaning up after the fire. She asks for his forgiveness but he's standing his ground. "You don't have to be the guy that won't let anybody in," she says before getting off in her surprisingly adorable outfit.
Toby gets a call and answers, "Dr. Sullivan?" Umm ... what?!
Un-blind Jenna puts on some bright red lipstick in her review mirror and meets with presumably A in a desolate park. "I've thought about this moment so many times," she says, "Wondering what it would be like if I saw you again." She gives A something -- either a scarf or something in a scarf -- and says, "They're all going to be at the party. You know what you need to do."
Cue Leona Lewis' "Better In Time" and the girls enter the masquerade ball, standing at the top of the stairs like Cinderella. The second most creepy thing about this episode? Spencer's gown is my favorite.
They have three hours to find A before A finds them and Aria says they agree that "no matter what happens at midnight, we stick together and we are not giving up that phone."
The dateless, but fabulous (besides Aria's Queen of Hearts dress) foursome decide to split up and meet back in an hour. Caleb shows up and says Mona helped him. Hanna promises not to lie anymore and the two BFFs exchange "I love you's." This is all too perfect for my taste.
Spencer commends Mona for being such a good friend, even though they never stood up to Ali on her behalf. "Today, I just couldn't get her out of my mind," Mona explains. Then, she recalls running into Ali at this legendary Brookhaven vintage store a week before she died. Cue flashback. She was spying on someone, but won't tell Mona who and says she has to leave. Mona asks what it's worth to her and Ali asks what she wants. "I want to be popular," she explains, leading Ali to give her a number on a Lost Resort Motel postcard. Apparently, she never called.
Spencer realizes Ali was watching A, not the other way around.
Aria gets a text and starts wandering into what appears to be some sort of elaborate mirror maze. Someone's following her and just before commercial break, we see: It's seeing Jenna!
But beyond the mirrors, it's Ezra, who tells Aria he can't stay away from her. "C'mon. You have to admit. This is so adorable!" my mom explains. Oy. Now, she's hoping Aria will sing. Need we remind you of "American Juniors."
Spencer calls still dateless Emily and says she's on her way to the motel with Mona. She realized that there was no key available in the Lost Woods Resort for Room 2 because it had been rented. And Ali checked into Room 1 to spy on A. So they're going to see Room 2? Sounds like a genius plan.
Spencer sits down for tea with Faux Norman, who finds himself talking to the "stuffed creatures" while Mona steals the key. They open the door and look aghast.
Back at the dance, Lady Antebellum's "Just A Kiss" plays as Ezra and Aria hit the dance floor. "This is our first dance. I want to see you," Ezra says as he unmasks himself, then her and then gives her a kiss. Yes, at a dance for the school he used to teach at -- where he used to teach Aria. Again, Oy.
Meanwhile, now we see what's in Room 2: Walls of photos and newspaper clippings of Ali and the rest of the liars. Holy s---!
In now what seems like a totally irrelevant moment, Paige finds Emily at the dance and tells her she messed up. Emily knows she wasn't ready, but Paige says she's sorry she didn't fight for her. She just wants to be honest and to be there for Emily. When Emily says she needs a friend, Paige obliges. "So, it's official. We're friends," Paige says. "That makes me happy," Emily replies. Is this a 5th grade play?
Back in Room 2, as they snoop around, Mona finds what must be A's masquerade ball costume: Black Swan. We can only hope it's Mila Kunis. Mona says she'll call Hanna to warn her. But when the Black Swan arrives at the dance and glances at Jenna, Hanna seems befuddled. Mona's back in Room 2 and offers Spencer some gum, Spearmint to be exact. As Spencer flips through Ali's diary, she sees the same gum wrapper in the diary.
"Actually, can I have that gum now?" Spencer asks Mona. She's out, but she'll get more in the car.
Hanna calls Aria and Emily to a high point to find out who the Black Swan is. They can't tell, but "tall, size two? I hate her already," Hanna says. The Black Swan chats with Lucas and Jenna before heading for the door, with Aria, Hanna and Emily following close behind.
Mona comes back in and says, "I found the gum," more scarily than those words have ever been used before. Spencer turns around to find Mona in A's signature black hoodie. "Congratulations, Spencer," she says, looking like Eminem. "You figured it out." Before smacking her.
The Black Swan leaves through a side door and the door locks behind her. Drat! The girls decide to call Spencer and Emily realizes Hanna's phone is set to record whenever she turns it on ... because Mona gave her that phone!
Spencer wakes up in the passenger seat of the car with a speeding Mona. She says Spencer has a choice: join "The A Team" or "disappear."
When the girls call, Spencer turns on her camera so they can hear everything she says: "It's easier to forgive an enemy than it is to forgive a friend," Mona says of being over the Ali situation. "You bitches underestimated me ... You bitches took [Hanna] from me ... You deserved everything you got, you stole my only friend." Spencer mentions "Look Out Point" after seeing a sign for the landmark so Aria, Hanna and Emily know where to find her. Smart, Spencer.
What happens if Spencer doesn't choose "The A Team"? Mona says, "Melissa doesn't have your dad's gun; I do."
Spencer pulls up on the emergency break and Hanna speeds up, nearly hitting Mona. When the car stops, Mona goes crazy and starts attacking Spencer. The fist-throwing leads to Mona falling off a cliff. But we can't assume she's dead ... yet.
The girls stand around the ambulances and get checked out when Dr. Sullivan runs up. Where has she been? "She threatened my son. I didn't think I had a choice. I needed to leave. I'm so very sorry," she said.
Hanna is understandably particularly f----- up. They all cry and hold each other until a police officer shouts, "She's alive."
The clock strikes midnight and the camera zooms on Mona's eye. When we zoom out, Mona is sitting in an interrogation room, wrapped in a blanket as Dr. Sullivan explains "she was living in a perpetual state of hyper-reality. The adrenaline rush that accompanied her feelings of empowerment and her high level of intelligence fueled Mona's ability to be seemingly all-knowing and omnipresent."
She adds that people with these personality disorders can get better. Suddenly, we hear Mona's voiceover saying, "I don't look bad considering. I like this lipstick. What's it called? Toffee Tango?" What is with the toffee obsession amongst Rosewood brunettes?
They think it's over, she says. "Don't they know that's what they want?"
When they leave the police station, Spencer sees Toby, the one who convinced Dr. Sullivan to come back and help.
"Pretending not to love you was the hardest thing I've ever done," he says, before almost violently pulling her in for a kiss.
"Poor Emily," my mom says. "The cheese stands alone again."
But it only gets worse. The girls walk home to Emily's when police cars start driving by.
Emily runs up to the scene, where her mom tells her they found a body and they think it's Maya. Melissa watches Emily break down from outside the caution tape. Is she just scavenging for more toffee-flavored things?
And as the credits roll, this time, there is no black glove. Just a red coat approaching Mona in the nuthouse. She looks up and says, "I did everything you asked me to."
"The A Team" is the messenger, but who is this crimson-cloaked figure orchestrating it all? 'Til June, friends. 'Til June.
It's too mean in this emotional state to pick a worst dressed (cough, it was obviously Aria, cough) so here are the ..
- "Parties and body bags go together drinking and driving." -Aria
- "Guys, I don't trust Melissa as far as I can throw her and Ian's fetus"- Emily
- "Can you believe blind Jenna is going? A week ago that would have made me a no-show, but since she dumped Noel Kahn-man for seeing-eye Toby -- sorry, Spencer." -Mona
- "She wasn't bagging a deer that's for sure." -Hanna
- "You're little, but you're big."- Spencer to Aria
- "Come on, we're Team Sparia." -Spencer to Aria