I’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.
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!
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?”
*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.