Previously: The Liars want to memorialize A and also make questionable decisions, considering they are being investigated for murder.
Can You Hear Me Now
Sweeney: Hanna is in lots of trouble with her mom partly for wrecking her boyfriend’s car, but mostly for the fact that there are cops at her house again and she can’t sex her way out of this one for Hanna. Poor Mama Marin. It seems like this is the first time she found a problem her vagina couldn’t solve.
The PLL’s are talking about the exciting new memorial bench the town is putting in and the flowers they’ll plant and BFF tiles they will all make for Alison. Hanna still has Alison’s bracelet and she is not happy about it. The other girls hesitate, but Spencer takes it and tells the girls to grow the fuck up.
Then she uses technology magic to instantly block all messages (email, text, phone calls) from people she does not know, via the Verizon website, because there are a lot of unsubtle Verizon plugs cropping up in this show. THIS EPISODE IS STRAIGHT UP NAMED AFTER A VERIZON CAMPAIGN. The other girls take turns performing this technological wizardry.
They spot Ezrafitz riding by on a bike and Aria gets real awkward while the other girls talk about how mega hot he is. They all want to bang him, but they don’t know that Aria’s already on it!
The PLL’s then get all proud of themselves for being internet magicians, now immune to their undead stalker. “Out of mind, out of sight,” is the cue for a piece of paper to blow at their feet. Aria picks it up and it’s Alison’s “MISSING” poster, with the words “Ding Dong the Bitch is Dead” written in red marker. They crumple up the paper and scurry off as the credits roll. Aria’s Big Eye Shh is really starting to annoy me and we’re only four episodes in.
Lorraine: This entire pre-credits opening made me straight up LOL. First, how awkward that they were all sitting at the bench finding convenient ways to update the audience on all the things going on! Second, the acting. Nothing more to say on that.
Sweeney: It’s really nice of them to keep the audience posted like that, though! Thanks girls!
At school, Maya bought Emily an excuse-to-touch-you-and-comment-on-your-hotness scarf. Emily is awkward, due to her not being ready to communicate those feelings via scarves in public.
In the cafeteria all the girls have Starbucks cups. Again I marvel at how insanely early these kids all start their day. Spencer didn’t get to go to Europe with her family but she doesn’t care because who wants to sit next Melissa on a seven hour flight? Hanna gets a phone call that makes her anxious, but it turns out to be her dad, who she hasn’t spoken to since he walked out on her.
Aria again plugs this weird “loop” thing that Verizon tried to make happen. It clearly failed.
Sweeney: Thank you.
Emily bumps into Creepy Toby and Aria goes all, OMG HE COULD BE A. Spencer gives no fucks.
Aria goes to see Ezrafitz and tell him about how her friends think he has hot legs, because that’s not awkward. Ezrafitz is all, “Well, what are the awkward circumstances?” which only adds to the smarm vibe I’m getting. To be fair, anything other than, “THIS WAS A BAD THING AND IT NEEDS TO STOP,” would add to the smarm factor. So he, of course, does the exact opposite and tells her to come over for dinner that night.
Sara: And they’re having this whole stupid conversation at school, in his room, with the classroom doors wide open so that anyone can eavesdrop on their pedobear relationship.
Sweeney: HOW HAS HE NOT BEEN FIRED YET?
Hanna’s going to maybe see her dad that night, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up because parents on TV tend to err on the side of failure. Emily also rains on the parade by suggesting that he’s only there because she totaled her boyfriend’s car for not having sex with her. Awkward.
Spencer’s AP Russian History teacher randomly appears to tell her that he submitted the paper she plagiarized to a national essay contest. Weee!
Emily stuffs the love scarf in her locker before going into her science class where conveniently Toby is the only person already there, because he just transferred in. Creepy Toby creeps that her love scarf looked good on her.
Lor: I love how the scarf really did become a giant lesbian symbol. Stuffing it in the (closet) locker. Lesbianism looks good on you. Her friends ask her if the lesbian scarf is “new.” WARDROBE IS IMPORTANT, PEOPLE.
Sweeney: Toby is assigned to be Emily’s lab partner, because The Great Contrivance Spirit gets around Traumaland. She opens her book to find the missing photostrip from the party inside. Awkward. Also: that same chemistry book edition once ruined my life for the way less interesting reason that it simply was my chemistry book. Traumatic high school flashback.
Aria comes home and her mom, Piper from Charmed, is cooking, but Aria won’t be there because she’s “having dinner at Spencer’s.” Her brother will be out too, so PiperMom is stoked that she’ll have dinner with just Papa Cheater. We do the Dad’s Infidelity flashback again, only this time it continues so that we see Alison trying to get Aria to tell her mom. In the present day, she thinks about it, but chickens out.
Hanna is trying on clothes to impress her dad, with Spencer’s help. A jacket that is “so not Hanna” is chosen as ideal, since this is the first time he’ll be seeing her since she lost the weight. Hanna also gets reassurance from Spencer that they haven’t received any new messages from A.
Sara: WAIT. Hanna used to be fat?
Lor: NO WAY. When did they tell us this?
Emily confronts Maya at work about the pictures, and accuses her of being the one to hide them in her book. Maya didn’t do it and her reaction is generally, “NBD, yo! We look hot!” Emily’s not cool with this, though, because it means somebody else has seen the picture of them making out, so Maya awkwardly says she has to get back to work.
Hanna and her mother stand at the mirror in their entryway, prettying themselves up for her dad. They hug and guys did you know that Ashley Benson used to wear a fat suit? Fat Hanna references would be a great Snark Squad drinking game except that it would lead to actual death. Dad then kicks Mama Marin in the emotional gut by saying that he had meant for this dinner to be a father/daughter thing.
Outside, she realizes that he lied to her and did come back because of her vehicular struggles. She’s angry and wants him to get the yelling-at-her thing over with now. He does manage an actual parent moment of how he’s there to get her through a rough spot, though he doesn’t hear me ask him how that seemed appropriate after he failed to communicate with her at all for however long, EVEN AS SHE WAS DEALING WITH THE DISAPPEARANCE/DEATH OF HER BEST FRIEND. Hanna is placated by this, though, and agrees to go to dinner with him.
In Ezrafitz’s apartment, Aria is marveling at his typewriter, so they can talk about how intellectual they are by acknowledging that books exist. E. L. James already taught us that if you want to write a smart character, they’re supposed to mention that they’ve seen a book at some point.
Lor: I have to mention that the song playing in the background has the lyrics, “when I’m 21, she’ll be 35.” And the song goes on to be about a weird younger man, older woman relationship. SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE?
Sweeney: SO CLEVER, SHOW.
Aria brings up her parents, and throws a temper tantrum when Ezrafitz mentions a possible explanation that she hasn’t considered before. It’s mentioned again that Aria’s a child, but Ezrafitz is all, “No, I don’t think you’re a child, because then it would be awkward that I want to be on you.” But Aria’s temper tantrum must run its course, so she storms out.
Lor: I really hate her in this scene. Just apart from the fact that she is a teen, she’s a bratty, selfish one at that.
Sweeney: Yup. I’m torn because Ezrafitz is absolutely the key inappropriate one here, but Aria’s general brattiness, coupled with her false conviction that she’s totes super mature is really irritating.
At school the next day, Hanna is gushing to the other PLLs about how much fun she had with her dad. She had the best time ever and he told her about some of what’s going on, which gets a bit of a look from the other girls. Hanna’s way excited about how perfect things are which my TV skillz tell me means that they are about to be very not good.
In class, Ezrafitz asks a provoking question about Atticus, to get the kids defensive. I think the writers heard me talking about characters who talk about books without ever actually reading them. Sorry, show, I forgot to mention the caveat that characters do read some of the words in books when they are useful plot devices. Aria challenges Ezrafitz and they get into a whole back-and-forth that is ultimately cut off by a kid cough-laughing. When asked to elaborate, Cough Laugher makes a point that undermines Aria’s and Ezrafitz is inappropriately defensive of her. This whole scene just made me really uncomfortable.
Lor: Especially because the Cough Laugher keeps using the phrase, “get the kid off.” YES. WE UNDERSTAND. PEDO-BEAR STUFF.
Sweeney: In the halls, Emily goes to her locker and hears jocks laughing behind her. She turns around to see Creepy Toby opening his locker to overflowing shaving cream. Emily sadpandas for a hot second before deciding its his problem and she has no intention to speak to or acknowledge him.
That night, Hanna appears to be eating at the same restaurant that she ate with the other PLLs because dining options in Rosewood are limited. (S: And earlier in the episode, she told the PLLs her dad was taking her somewhere “really nice.” LOL.) Dad suggests that maybe Hanna was acting out in the car crash situation because of Alison. Before she even has an opportunity to respond, a woman and a teenage-ish girl enter — his fiancee and her daughter! Wow. We know a thing or two about how not to raise children, and even by Traumaland’s low standard, that’s some ferociously bad parenting. Like considering-naming-a-snark-award-after-you bad parenting.
Lor: The mom is a brunette and step-daughter is a blonde. Like, how much more obvious can he be about this substitute family?
Sweeney: It’s a little creepy.
Spencer is sitting on her bed with the lights out when she hears noises and runs downstairs. It’s stormy and she’s home alone. YOU TURN ALL THE LIGHTS ON WHEN THAT HAPPENS, GIRL. Are other people actual adults and not terrified of this scenario? (L: ME.)
Downstairs the noise, however, turns out to be Wren, who has drunkenly showed up with a flower that he took from their garden. He hasn’t stopped thinking about her and wants to make everything right for her and somehow showing up drunk seemed like the way to do that according to wronglogic. He drops the plant and when they both go down to pick it up, they almost kiss. Spencer is the one to shut this highly inappropriate situation down, though, winning her the highest of fives from me. I know it won’t last, and that’s all on the med student who hits on high schoolers, but snaps for you, girl.
It’s not worth much, though, because the shot jumps to the bushes just outside, with the creepy red record frame. PLL’s undead stalker is filming this total nothing interaction.
Sara: Seriously, what is A going to say on the note with that video? “Look at Spencer and Wren! Standing! And uh…. well, just standing really closely to each other. SUSPICIOUS, EH?”
Sweeney: VERY SUSPICIOUS STANDING INDEED.
Aria pounds on Ezraftiz’s door and starts yelling at him for calling her immature and then embarrassing her in that totes awkward way that made everyone in class know they were hooking up. Sort of. Maybe I embellished a little. She adds that he needs to STFU about her parents because he doesn’t know them or her. He’s all, “You’re right; I don’t know you!” and shuts the door so they can “get to know each other.”
Sara: My favorite part is when Aria is like, “Maybe my parents just have to work this out on their own,” like it’s some fucking revelation when EZRAFITZ JUST FREAKING SAID THAT TWO SCENES AGO. Just another reminder that no matter how old Aria believes her soul to be (32), she is still a teenager.
Sweeney: An annoying one, too.
Back at Spencer’s house, Wren is apologizing for ruining her life. Spencer also unconvincingly says that her dad isn’t so bad. She adds that she’s really sorry she hurt her sister because you don’t do that to family. Fair. Except that Melissa’s a megabitch who had it coming.
At Hanna’s Horrible Father Bonding Dinner, her future sister-in-law is bragging about her sailing skillz and the fiancee suggests that she give Hanna lessons! Dad decides to follow this up by discussing how she’s going to work off the damage to the car with her boyfriend’s dentist mother. It’s like he’s trying to be bad at this.
Because of reasons, Creepy Toby is taking out the trash at the same time that Emily goes out to the dumpster to tear up and throw away the I Kissed A Girl filmstrip. Creepy Toby confronts her about her reluctance to be lab partners. He’s pretty cool about it, even though Emily expresses general sadpandaness over his being tormented. He says that while it sucks, there’s not much he can do, so he just deals with it.
Emily asks him if he saw the IKAGfilmstrip in her book that day (in less detail) and he says that he assumed she didn’t want anyone to see it, which isn’t an answer, but she accepts it anyway. Creepy Toby then asks her about swimming and ties this all together by talking about how people will see whatever they want to see and gives her a whole YOU DO YOU pep talk before going back inside.
Sara: And if we’re playing How Creepy is Toby’s Face, on a scale of one to AHHHHH, I’d give it a ….Weird.
Lor: OKAY FINE. HIS FACE IS WEIRD.
Sweeney: Back at the Pedophilia-Gonna-Get-You-Fired Den, Ezra Fitz and Aria joke over food. Then Aria talks about her big controlling all the things dramz. Then she tells a weird story about her aunt’s stuffed cat that doesn’t really serve a purpose except to say that much like stuffing cats doesn’t bring them back to life, pretending things don’t change won’t fix them? I think that was maybe the point. Ezrafitz invites Aria to spend the night, but Aria’s gotta go because she’s a child with a bedtime.
Spencer is saying goodbye to Wren as Hanna shows up to take her home. Wren says he was telling the truth about wishing he met her first before kissing her. Oh, so you wish you had been hanging around 16-year-olds in between med school classes? K, cool.
Spencer tells him that she’s over her Bad Decisions quota, solidifying her status as my favorite. In my other favorite’s car, Hanna hears a radio dedication from “her best friend A” and it’s “I don’t need you any more.” Spencer gets in the car and wants to talk about the makeout situation, but Hanna’s focused on how their undead stalker managed to get around Verizon’s crack security.
Emily is out wandering the streets of Rosewood and conveniently runs into Maya, even though nobody but them is out and about. Maya sasses her a bit at first, but is on the whole pretty chill and understanding. Emily says that she needs time. Maya understands and they part ways.
Aria goes home and decides it’s time to tell her mom. Piper is sitting on the couch reading a letter. When Aria says she has something she needs to tell her, Piper hands Aria the letter and leaves the room. It’s a note from A about the infidelity, which adds that if she doubts any of it, she should just ask her daughter. Womp.
Lor: That is some legit bitchery. It takes A from a whole new level of threats and funny-for-me text messages to actually ruining their lives. Damn.
Sweeney: Hanna is freaking out about the A situation as they walk into Spencer’s place. They see that the potted plant that broke has been picked up and left on the table, meaning that somebody has been in the house. They run upstairs to check for Alison’s bracelet and gasp when they turn around and see something.
Before the big reveal, we cut to both Emily and Aria getting S.O.S. text messages from Spencer. Turns out that the words “It won’t be that easy bitches -A” have been written on Spencer’s mirror in lipstick, which the girls all immediately identify as Jungle Red, which was Alison’s color. True friends know the names and precise shades of each other’s lipstick colors? Except I don’t think Alison has ever been wearing lipstick in any of the flashbacks we’ve seen, so it was just her hypothetical color.
Next time on Pretty Little Liars: Ignoring A has it’s consequences but also, this is high school so the girls deal with boy drama in S01 E05 – Reality Bites Me.