PLL Reaction S5 E4: The Monsters Aren’t Under Our Beds

Pretty-Little-Liars-AI’ve been busy to the point that I’ve just now watched this weeks episode. It’s not really an excuse so much as it’s really awkward to start a paragraph with “I’M SO SORRY.” There’s a new Hannah in town. Which isn’t all that different from the old Hannah but hey, let’s do this thing. She still isn’t big on things like “reading,” which is great, because we’re gonna jump into this week’s episode with a big ol’ tribute to The Scarlet Letter. Mona draws the comparison to Ali right off the bat, but couldn’t we just as well be talking about old Mona? Maybe. Or maybe it’s just because “-A” is a single letter that’s often stylized in bright red ink, sprawled across a wall for the Liars to see, like the haunt of Red John’s smiles tormenting Patrick Jane. Let’s jump into this weeks insanity.

We have four main kinda focuses this week: Ali and her lies, Spencer and her dad, Emily/Paige/Mona, and Aria/Shana/Fitz. There’s actually five, but 1. Hannah’s “identity crisis,” is super pointless and I really couldn’t care less and 2. This is explored to the extent of she’s shopping for clothes and decides to shoplift. Like, really. The closing scene of a pretty intellectually interesting episode is Hannah thinking “I dig this outfit but I don’t wanna pay I wanna rebel :((( boo hoo” and I just don’t have time to deal with such trifles. Let’s go one by one until they intertwine and then I make no promises.

“Once you know something, you can’t un-know it”

The whole episode we’re gonna jump around with a should or shouldn’t she thing with Ali staying in Rosewood or going back to school. Mr. D jumps right into it from the top, telling Ali that maybe her fresh start needs to be a 100% fresh start (paraphrased, badly). This would be a really interesting plot point if there was a shot in hell Ali would be leaving. She is, after all, the key mystery and reason for this compelling television show, no matter how pointless her actual character may be. Her main purpose at this point is pushing the story forward not as an important chess piece but by continually lying and putting the Liars in terrible situations. By the way, that scar Ali is lying about on her leg? Super gnar. Gnar town all the way. “I got it falling on a rock,” is almost as pathetic an excuse as “I ran into a door,” and I expect better out of the queen Liar. Ali won’t tell us where she got it from, and plays a little bit of a sympathy card to avoid having to spill. Hannah is sucked in right away because she doesn’t know who she is (OMG SAD RIGHT), and Ali provides the rest of the girls with recordings of her conversations so that they can learn it by heart. Congratulations to Emily for having it together enough to finally question this trash (PS, Emily, still don’t like you).

“There’s still monsters out there”

You know who’s not pissing me off and is super interesting this week? Spencer. Her story is the most compelling and the one that this episode is built on. The whole cadre of acting professionals that comprise the Hastings family earned their paychecks this week. Spencer has slowly been descending back into a pseudo-manic state, and man is it enjoyable to watch Troian Bellisario really let herself go and become a raging, manic roller coaster. As it’s been alluded to here and there all season, Spence is super sketched out by her dad, and this week she doesn’t even try to pretend to be cool with him. We’re approximately 45 seconds into the opening credit roll when the youngest Hastings starts throwin’ shade at her old man.

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 3.07.13 AMIce cold, Spencer. Ice. Cold.

After confronting her a few times, Mrs. Hastings admits to Spencer that she can’t help but think that Mr. Hastings aka Dirty Pete was responsible for Mrs. D’s death. Mrs. D apparently was holding Spencer’s lost summer over the Hastings’ heads, threatening to go to the police and implicate Spencer in the death of the girl in Ali’s grave. Lot’s of motive for Dirty Pete. And it looks worse when, while doing lawn work with Andrew (Andrew sucks, btw. He’s no Toby. Also: NERD), Spencer finds a brand new gallon of rodent killer. Let’s appreciate just how much a gallon of rat poison is. We’re talking like, a solid couple weeks of commercial pest control, if the internet is to be believed. So either the Hastings have a ridiculous rat problem or…YES. Mrs. D was definitely rat poisoned. Classic “Murder, She Wrote” move!

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 4.34.38 AM

The good news for Spencer comes when Ali tells her the toxicology report came back from Dead Jennifer. It wasn’t rat poison, but the wrong blood pressure medication that killed Mrs. D. Ali, knowing Spencer suspected her dad and Spencer having told her she feels like she’s creating monsters, hits us with,”There’s still monsters out there, Spence, they just might not be under our beds,” which is easily the most profound and universal quote in the entire series*. The bad news for Spencer is that her relief is short lived, and that monster may be in her house with her, just as she thought. Because what does she find in ole Pete Hastings’ medicine cabinet but a prescription for the very blood pressure medicine that killed Mrs. DiLaurentis. At the end of the episode, Spencer is clearly unnerved around her dad, and is even more shaken when he gets super sketchy about her mom’s whereabouts, saying she went off to the “spa” for a few days, which is, mind you, total BS. Like I said in last weeks recap: NEVER TRUST A LAWYER. The game is afoot!

“Mona […] Do you ever wonder when you became the very thing you’re afraid of?”

Emily’s piece of this episode is more of a long-term set up, but is the most interesting despite getting the least amount of run. Despite last week being the end of PAILY, we get a lot of laughs and feels about how it used to be between the two of them. A casual lunch, a lap around the track, swim team locker room hangs. It’s all there. But also there is Mona, lurking in the shadows. We know Paige was at Emily’s anti-Ali meeting, but now we learn she’s not 100% on board. And of course she isn’t; she loves Em. But I think she’s starting to recognize that she will never win Emily back, all while her loathing of Ali burns just as strong. When she has the opportunity to warn Emily that things could be getting rough, she refuses to sell out Mona, Melissa, Lucas, etc. It’s like she selflessly loves Emily, and wants to help, but at the same time she doesn’t want to give up the ability to get back at Ali unless she can have Emily. So it’s not really selfless. It’s all very confusing and fragile and what kids in the early aughts would call *emo as hell* but the feelings and love lost here is going to play a lot less than the havoc Mona will wreck if left unchecked.
“You need to take a psychological selfie”
If you killed someone who was trying to kill your friends, but you hid it from the cops because you have a history of making bad decisions, would it haunt you? Sometimes I can’t find my moral center and I’m pretty sure I’d be haunt-free. Aria is having serious issues coping, and spends a lot of time watching Shana’s funeral online, because…well, it’s 2013 and if you want to stream a funeral on the World Wide Interwebz YOU CAN DO THAT. Midway through her viewing session she imagines Shana rising from the coffin and staring accusingly at her, which is NOT COOL. Perhaps realizing that PLL isn’t a George Romero production and that Shana is Christ reincarnate, she snaps out it, and goes to the only place she can: Fitz’s.
There’s far too many EZRIA feels for me to make it through this episode. Fitz drops some good advice on Aria (forgive yourself), and relates his own experience losing Aria because of his book, and having to reconcile that with yourself and be okay with it. Fitzy is bringing the zen this episode, and I love it. For the first time this season, Fitz’s interactions with Aria don’t feel forced, desperate, or longing. Ever since she opened up about killing Shana, we haven’t seen Ezra’s bold win-you-back facade. We’ve only seen genuine care and concern for Aria, and that makes me super hopeful for full fledged EZRIA action in the weeks to come.
TO RECAP: We’re set up for crazy emotional drama with Paige. We have a barrel full of lies from Ali that keeps growing larger, only now they’re on tape, which is dumb. Hannah is still in an existential coma and is pointless. But most importantly, we’ve framed Peter Hastings as public enemy number one. In my opinion, it’s far too obvious far too early for him to have killed Mrs. D, but that man is guilty as hell. I don’t know of what, but he’s hiding something, and it’s very unsavory. He is not a man to be trifled with and he most certainly isn’t a man to be trusted. Because he’s a lawyer. And because he is vile.

*It’s not the best quote in the series though. That goes to my girl Aria Montgomery, who hit us with the classic stunner, “Bitch can see!” regarding perpetual baddy Jenna.

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K believes in very few things that don’t adhere to the transcendentalist manifesto prescribed by Henry David Thoreau. He is a stat head who loves numbers and spreadsheets, but after a 7 year fight against the Chip Carrays and Joe Morgans of the world, his online presence has spiraled downward into a depressing series of long-cons and trolls.

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