|By JJ Duncan http://www.zimbio.com (Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons|
This was a good episode with lots of delicious flashbacks and just enough CeCe to please us. Let's get right to it. In Hanna’s room, Hanna hides her “open wound.” When Wren calls, Spencer asks Hanna what’s going on with her and “Downton Grabby.” Haha. Get it? Because he’s British. Does this mean Spencer is over him? Ted comes to tell Ashley that he found a thumb drive in the church with a video of Hanna on it. It’s the thumb drive that Jenna wanted kept secret. Hanna sneaks downstairs to take it, but her mom catches her. Hanna tries to convince her mom to get rid of the thumb drive so that the cops don’t move Mona away. Ashley doesn’t much care for Mona, so she’s in favor of more evidence against her.
At Ezra’s apartment, Aria is watching him get depressed over possibly ruining Maggie’s life. What if Ezra just went back to Maggie? How great would that be? Maggie, prepare to be the new Slut of Our Dreams. Come back to Ezra hotter and less pregnant than ever, and lure him away! Aria is always at Ezra’s place. It’s like Ella and Byron have just completely given up on her teenage daughter, letting her spend every waking (and probably sleeping) moment there. Great example for your little bro, Aria.
Of course Emily comes clean to Paige about the Nate kiss. There’s no way Emily could fail to be a saint for longer than an episode. Paige was cool about it, because she a) already knew and b) rationalized it so that she was convinced it was all about Emily missing Maya and not about actual feelings for Nate. Spencer wisely tries to talk Aria out of contacting Maggie, but Aria is all, “It’s MY relationship, Spencer.” Um, is that why you are always telling Spencer every detail? Spencer sees CeCe, who wants Spencer and her friends to help her with a fundraiser. CeCe sees Emily with Paige and asks Spencer what Emily is doing with “Pigskin.”
Words cannot describe how much we love that nickname. Oh Ali, Bitch of Our Dreams even in death. CeCe says that Paige and Ali were enemies. Ooof course they were. We get the first Ali flashback in a while. Those are always welcome. Ali has a bruise on her back and blames it on a “Pigskin” kicking her in soccer. Paige sure gets violent in sports. Ali vows revenge on Pigskin. Ali steals a shirt from Spencer because Spencer is boobless and it looks better on Ali. Ha, that’s how Ern steals her mom’s clothes that are flattering on people with hips. Ern’s mom is the hipless wonder.
Caleb and Hanna are in computer class, flirting over chat and discussing the thumb drive. No one needed to have the chats read out loud in voiceover though. Ugh. It would have been cuter without it, and God knows everyone who is watching this show should be able to read. Also, they didn’t even read all of the chat. Just parts of it. Jenna kicks Hanna off the computer. It’s her turn. Nate asks Emily out. Oh God, Nate. We know she’s pretty, but do you really think you’re gonna get some from Emily? Nate doesn’t take the rejection well, but few guys do. Guys, here’s what you say, “I appreciate you being direct, and I’d love to be friends.” Rephrase as you will, but keep it short and cool. Boom, done.
Arguing with the girl isn’t going to change her feelings. It’s just going to make things hurtful, awkward, and make you look like a chump. If you react in the suggested way, the girl will be impressed. Nate just talks about what a bitch Maya was and how she led guys on, just like Emily led him on. We weren’t digging Nate when he kissed Emily, getting to her through her grief over her dead girlfriend, but in one scene (this one), we’ve gone from “not digging” to loathing. Unadulterated loathing. For his face, his voice, his cloth- Sorry. That sort of thing happens to us a lot more than you guys would realize.
Spencer has all of the sudden remembered that Paige tried to drown Emily. Spencer talks to Emily about how crazy Paige is, but Emily isn’t digging the intervention. It’s so sad that Emily’s girlfriends keep being terrible, while Hanna and Spencer get these awesome love interests. Maya died, Samara left for a better show, and Paige is such a creeper. Still, she’s thinking, “Maybe this time, I’ll be lucky. Maybe this time she’ll stay. Maybe this time, for the first time, love won’t hurry away.” Anyhoo, someone is watching this conversation, but we don’t get to know who yet. Hanna goes up to Jenna while Jenna is snacking. Hanna: “That footage of you raping Toby is going to the police, but I had nothing to do with it, and you should just believe me, even though I’m not going to explain how it was found and how I know about this.” Jenna puts her sunglasses on.
Nate runs up to Hanna to ask her why Emily shut him down. “Um, Nate, she’s GAY.” We love Hanna so much. Hanna lets slip to Nate that Jenna was pretending to be blind when they were dating. Uh oh. We wonder what Jenna saw Nate doing. Nate, you’re doing nothing to cure our newfound hatred of you. First of all, he’s not wearing his glasses and he needs those to be cute. Second of all, he’s still being weird, angry, and creepy. His yell to Jenna was creeptastic. They really deserve each other. What is it about her that makes him want her? What is it about her that turns him pale? Something in her hair, so soft so fair so fin-. Sorry. Moving on.
Aria visits Maggie at work, where she teaches little kids. ARGH. Maggie is old, laying emphasis on how old Ezra actually is, even if guys age better. She’s played by 31-year-old Larisa Oleynik (Alex Mack and the girl everyone thinks is cute in 10 Things I Hate About You), who looks older than 31 because she has this really short hair that isn’t good for her face. Also, short hair tends to scare guys because of gender stereotypes and such. Not the Slut of Our Dreams. “But wait!” Maggie says to us. “I have something better than hot sluttiness. I have Ezra’s son! Boo ya.” Poooooor Ezria fans. A surprise illegitimate child is the ultimate TV heat killer. It’s like a fire extinguisher on TV love. Maggie named the kid Malcolm. Bleck.
Well, now we know why Paige is crazy. Ali drove her crazy. We get a flashback, courtesy of CeCe, of Ali writing secret love notes from Emily to Paige and then intercepting Paige’s lesbian reply. “I own you know,” Ali says, forcefully. Ali runs back to the car with Paige’s note and tells CeCe, “Drive Drive,” sounding scared. CeCe drives this point home to Spencer, telling her that Pigskin scared Ali. That flashback scene was incredible. We got to see Ali acting like a nervous wreck, a showdown, and Ali hanging out with CeCe, who seems to have been training her in bitchiness.
Emily asks Paige about Ali, and Paige denies knowing her. Paige tells Emily she shouldn’t trust her friends. After all, Emily trusted Mona, kind of. So then we had a thought. Remember how Maya had this obsessive boyfriend who wouldn’t leave her alone? The only evidence we have that Nate is Maya’s cousin is Nate telling Emily he was Maya’s cousin. He’s not acting like a cousin, and he was really offended on the behalf of the men Maya teased. He’s the obsessive boyfriend. You heard it here first. And THAT’S our new philosophy. Unless we’re wrong, in which case we never said it.
At Ezra’s apartment, Aria is moping on the couch and Wesley comes up to make nice. What the hell, Aria? Telling Wesley before you tell Ezra about his possible son? Bad move. But then again, you can’t expect a high school girl to be able to handle a relationship that just got this complicated, even if Aria has been acting a lot more mature this season. We want to comfort her. Mother isn’t here now (wrong things, right things). Who knows what she’d say? Nothing’s quite so clear now, fear you’ve lost your way, but you are not alone. Spencer is in a dressing room, texting Hanna, when ATTACK. That snake thing was pretty scary and great, especially when it was trying to bite Spencer. We would have screamed our lungs out. We loved when CeCe just went at it with a mannequin leg. She’s a bad ass. Can CeCe never leave the show, please? What a shocking change from her first episode, right?
Spencer and Hanna wonder whether Paige or Jenna set the snake in the box. Hanna’s phone rings and Spencer nearly yells, “Is that Wren?!” Please be getting jealous of this, Spencer, we beg of you. It’s Emily, and she is missing the knife from the Kahn cabin. Everyone except Aria goes to CeCe’s fashion fundraiser. CeCe tells Hanna to fix her hair and try on a dress. Dry shampoo! Product placement is hardly ever seen on this show. That’s a quality product though. It smells nice. Caleb meets Hanna in the dressing rooms and kisses her. Back at Ezra’s, Ezra gets home in time to see his girlfriend and brother making him a cake. He’s in a good mood because he called Maggie and everything seems cool with her. Wesley tells Aria that his mother probably paid Maggie to keep Malcolm a secret from Ezra.
Spencer and Hanna look through Paige’s purse at the fashion thing, trying to find the knife, when they are caught by Paige and Emily. Emily defends Paige and walks out with her. Uh oh. Spencer says Emily will get over it. Hopefully, because we don’t want a rift between the Liars. Back at Emily’s house, Paige tells Emily about her history with Ali. Alison bullied and hurt Paige pretty bad. Paige fought back until she realized what she was up against. She had no one to turn to. She was on her own, pretending Emily was beside her. All alone, she walked with her ‘til morning. (It’s a sickness). We felt for Paige here.
At Hanna’s house, Ashley Marin is looking great in a cute, sleeveless blue dress. Help your daughter with her fashions this season, Ashley! Ashley watched the thumb drive videos and then destroyed it, partly because there was stuff of her and Wilden on the drive that she didn’t want Ted to ever see. The doorbell rings and it’s Ted. Hanna covers for her mom, telling Ted that she destroyed the thumb drive so he can’t give it to the police. Ted says, “Well, I guess that’s that,” and takes Ashley out on their date. As it turns out, Spencer found something in Paige’s purse: Ali’s other earring. Spencer thinks Paige dug up the body and might even be A.
Spencer goes to Aria to share her suspicions and then we cut back to Emily’s house, where Paige and Emily are still sitting on the porch together. Paige leaves to wash her face, and Jenna walks up to Emily. Jenna: “I need to talk to you about your friend.” Then Jenna realizes someone is in the house and tries to leave. Emily follows her, asking questions, and Jenna says, “Be very careful who you spend time, with Emily. Very careful.” Jenna out. Paige goes back to the porch, sees Emily’s cell phone ringing, and declines a call from Spencer, smiling creepily. The episode ends with A at a jukebox, picking a song. Another A comes up to the first A. The first A hands the second A a pair of keys. Multiple As, all dress in black with black loves. Gotta love it. Next week looks insane!
Episode grade: B+