If Episode 2 was all about setting up the insanity, than Episode 3 would theoretically start to let out some of the crazy. Instead, it keeps loading that breech, slowly simmering and waiting for everything to reach a head. Mrs. D is super dead but last week’s recap is a giant homage to ALI IS CONTROLLING OUR LIVES so we’ll see how the Queen of Lies plays the game when she’s the one in trouble.
For what it’s worth Ali looks like she’s not handling her mother’s death well. I mean yeah it’s her mom but I mean, how broken up can you get over the woman who once BURIED YOU ALIVE. Just in case that point wasn’t fully expressed, Ali comes downstairs for the funeral sporting the same dress her mother wore when they supposedly buried her. That’s dark. Super dark. And that’s pretty much gonna set the tone for the rest of this one. Let’s do this crazy thing.
We’ve got a lot going on here early. We have Principal Hackett, easily one of the weirdest/creepiest/densest people in Rosewood, giving the girls the “I want no distractions or I can’t protect you,” speech in vague terms. There’s a whole bunch of Paily feels that no one cares about at the moment, and Mona is on the prowl with a get well Fitz card. Speaking of Mona, will Ali go back to ole Rosewood High? Y/Y? She poses the question, but we all know there’s no drama like high school drama. Even odds she returns.
As each week goes by I realize I care less and less about why Evil Melissa is here. She could be “A.” She could be the one who killed the girl in Ali’s grave. I don’t care. I despise her. My distaste for her is matched in intensity only by the rage permanently embedded in her CBF. I mean just behold it in all of its CBF glory:
At the funeral home we get some seriously weird vibes. Ali sees something in a picture that freaks her out, and runs off, while Mr. Donahue (resident creepy funeral guy, picking up the torch that Dirty Ray Collins left canceled in Ravenswood a few months ago) assumes Hannah is Ali and starts talking death with her, real casual like. I always thought it was weird that the visual comparison between Hannah and Ali isn’t mentioned more, but in lieu of elaborating on it we descend into an ill-timed HEFTY HANNAH flashback. It’s one of many in this episode, and I can’t for the life of me figure out 1. why and 2. what it has to do with anything. Hannah used to be fat. Ali made fun of her. Ali leaves. Hannah is not fat. This is a timeline, a fact. I don’t necessarily see how this will evolve as a plot point to the extent that you can justify 12 minutes of flashback in a 42 minute episode. But you know what, I like fat Hannah Marin. She’s less angsty and salty and seemingly far more intelligent than skinny, fine Hannah Marin, so what the hell. Go for it. I hope she owns it, because the back and forth identity crisis bit has been played out far too much in the genre, and I just can’t be bothered to care who Hannah is on the inside when there are killers on the loose.
At about the halfway point we start piling on the intrigue, as we start playing a giant, season long game of Clue. Turns out Jason was in Philly because–surprise–he fell of the wagon. He was at what sounds like a rehab/halfway house combo where alcoholics hang out, eat some ‘za, and get clean, all while a homeless dude stands watch out front to make sure no meddling kids can get in. Meanwhile, Spencer is alternating between trying to find out who Mrs. D was emailing and sparring with Papa Hastings and Evil Melissa. Elsewhere, my main girl Aria is busy doing what is right, and what is right is making me have all kinds of EZRIA feels.
With Jason’s named clearned, Spencer is back to having no suspects and no ideas. Jason is more than happy to provide her with both, with a “you can never trust our father,” bomb. You can’t trust that man. You can barely trust anyone in Rosewood. Short list of people I wholeheartedly trust: Aria Montgomery and Spencer’s mom. Then I look and I say, “self, one of the two people you trust in Rosewood carried out a very long and very sexual affair with her high school English teacher, and the other is lawyer. Never trust a lawyer.” You know who is else is a lawyer?
That’s right. Mr. Hastings. Don’t mind him. He’s just prowling the streets for Ali D, waiting to emerge from the shadows and offer her a ride home. In all seriousness, he would have come across less creepy if he had pulled up in a windowless Ford Econoline and told her he had candy. And now we’ve come full circle. Because you can’t trust lawyers. And you can’t trust Jason and Spencer’s dad.
Before Episode 3 is over, we’re gonna take this whole Paily thing out back behind the barn and put it down. You crazy kids almost made it, but this more than anything else has a sense of finality about it.
Sadness. Angst. As Paige walks away, Emily, in what felt super cold, heartless, and like she was stabbing Paige in the chest, tells her she “deserves the best of everything.” Should’ve just let her walk away Em. Super uncalled for. And Paige responds in the only way she knows how–“that’s what I had.” I get that Emily was just trying to help ease her pain. I really do. But any time someone chills on your porch for hours into the night, admits to rehearsing an ultimately futile speech, and is crying her heart out in your front lawn, maybe just shut up*.
We close with Hannah trying to “figure out who she is,” which, in this case, means dying her hair a different colour. Elsewhere in the salon, makeover warrior and sketchball extraordinaire Mona is just watching and plotting from the sidelines, with Mystery Blonde Number One as her accomplice du jour.
*Full disclosure: Emily is easily my least favorite Liar. If Aria can do no wrong, then Emily can do no right. I am constantly disappointed by everything she does. Who gets kidnapped in Ravenswood? Emily. Who was trapped in the school? Emily. No one has made me yell, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!!” more than Emily freakin’ Fields. It is unforgivable.