First of all the most important question of all:
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…
We know who killed Maya St. Germain.
How did we get here though? Well Mona left a few helpful hints along the way, and Emily once again came to the realisation that Maya was taken far too soon from her (Didn’t know about the website, thought she knew what the password would be, but was wrong about that too), then to feel closer to Maya she takes her cousin to their special place then he ruins the moment by mentioning how Jenna stood him up (DERP) and ups the creep level by saying, “I wouldn’t want you to be scared of me.”
Aria meets Mrs. Fitzgerald, is invited to a benefit she’s hosting. Ezra points out she never sat down (we don’t know that for sure Ezra, maybe she was sitting down before Aria walked in, ordering you around ‘coz you’re whipped), Aria points out the diamonds she was wearing (do you see it now Ezra, she’s not all culture and bleeding literature, that crazy fashion sense of hers needs up-keep money). Thankfully for Aria, one of her bffs is an expert on the fashions of “The Rich and The Dysfunctional”. They do get slightly side-tracked though, Spencer smells evidence, rummages through her mother’s briefcase and finds Garret’s case file. There’s an eye-witness who Aria tracks down, a pervy man at a cinema who saw Maya get in a car with Garett the day of her murder (Red Flag: he’s definitely not the murderer).
While Mrs. Fitzgerald offers Aria money to quit her son; Hanna single-handedly convinces the psychiatrists (who wrote the books) to not send Mona away (I had a mild freak out at the thought of Mona being sent away, who didn’t?) first with medical jargon and then with the truth.
Spencer needs help breaking into Maya’s website, and as luck would have it Caleb’s back in town and he needs help learning rich people ropes (a whole lot of rich people problems this ep.), so they work together cracking into websites and learning how to wash cashmere sweaters.
Emily gets to fill out the story of the night of the black out, the time she spent with Paige. While she believes Paige was avoiding her for having roofied her, Paige is actually avoiding her because she’s finally pieced together the night too. The night where Emily walked into her home, kissed her and disappeared. The night where Paige felt she was taking advantage of a very drunk Emily, only to discover she was even more inebriated than Paige thought. But it’s not exactly how Paige believes it to be, there’s no shame, only Emily realising she found who she was looking for that night, both no longer lost or alone.
Byron (Majority stakeholder of Awful Fathers of Rosewood) earns his empathy badge this episode, saying the truest words Aria ever deserved to hear, that nobody’s life would be worse off with Aria in it. Byron’s is certainly better because of it.
Toby may be ok purjuring himself for Spencer, but that courtesy is not extened to Jason and since Spencer’s keeping him out of the loop, he’s going to go find out the truth for himself (did this mean “A” was unhappy about his performance?).
Maya’s website revealed the perfect blend of heartbreak and scare.
“A” cashes out $50,000 and picks up a few free mints.
It’s senior year and Spencer’s slowing down, she no longer has time to be Velma, she’s missed out on early admissions to U-Penn and she got a B on her assignments, a B!! She’s decided to spend the rest of the school year as Daphne and get in to college (Aria pokes hole in that logic), although when she does find out Cece Drake went to U-Penn too it gives her pause. But Cece knows someone at the U-Penn admissions office (Code for “A” knows someone clearly) who’ll be at a party later that night, and Spencer wastes no time forcing Cece’s hand (Spencer girl, you’ve been played. Sigh).
The party is at Noel Kahn’s cabin, the entry stamp is the same as the one on Holden’s arm (and the arm of the mystery person from Em’s memory) and the possibility of answers about Maya’s connection to them is another reason to stay.
The greatest game ever is played.
Hanna and Caleb make sad eyes at each other in the hallway and then walk away quickly before the subtext in their small talk becomes to heavy. Hanna is reminded she’s walking in dangerous territory almost immediately as “A” texts her to show up at Apple Rose Grille or Caleb gets hurt. Turns out Caleb’s smartened up and isn’t going to let the Liars deal with the new “A” alone (Wow the guys really are stepping up this season aren’t they?).
Aria gets to meet Ezra’s brother, Wes who in an effort to put into perspective his mother’s offer, let’s it slip out that Ezra got a girl pregnant in high-school and their mother “took care of it”. Man, these Ezaria storylines may have worked in any other teenage show, but where everyone else is intimately connected with the “A” storyline, their non-involvement is just a drag.
Hanna gives Emily the login to Maya’s website.
She has Paige now to make her laugh with stories of naked old people and comfort her by understanding her need to mourn for the loss of a loved one.
“A” is now either renting an apartment from a cat lady or an actual cat. I’m not too sure.
Hanna in an attempt to channel all her building frustrations turns super-sleuth, and begins to go all CSI on Maya’s website. Emily does her part and they discover Maya may have been hiding out at the Kahn cabin.
Spencer’s super-sleuthing requires her to pick Noel Kahn’s locker in the boy’s locker rooms and then go through his phone. No evidence of the “texting relationship” Noel claimed to have had with Maya (Be honest, how many heard SEXTing? I did). Noel thinks it’s hot that Spencer thinks he’s capable of murder, but then emails her a video proving he’s not (that’s jock brains for you) and neither is Garett.
At the Kahn cabin, Hanna and Emily find Maya’s bag and deduce that she had been hiding out there to avoid being sent to Tru North. There’s a pocket knife in there with the initials L. J. (Lotoya Jackson?) and a bus ticket to San Francisco she never got to use. The bag may not have helped Maya, but when A locks them inside the cabin Hansel&Gretle style, Hanna gets to weild the knife to try and open a window, but ends up stabbing herself in the leg with it and Emily uses Maya’s scarf to dress up her wound.
Resident Dr. Wren is now making house calls, stitching up his newest crush and offering to make her a meatball and egg milkshake. Within the space of hours he has managed to hit on Hanna twice, each time with the same result; but she does keep saying he saved her life (and kissed him once) so I understand where the mixed signals are coming from.
Aria is all passive aggressive towards Ezra for getting a girl preggo with his eggo all the way back in highschool and then channels her frustrations towards fixing her mother’s love life. Yeh, that.
Emily gets all emotional and kisses Nate. Paige sees them, says “‘F**k this sh*t” and vandalizes some trashcans. We understand your pain Paige.
“A” moves into his/her new abode and arranges his/her wardrobe. 5 black hoodies on a rack. Fancy stuff.
It’s spring cleaning at the church finally (they work on a two year cycle) and Pastor Ted has found the pen drive that Allie had of all of N.A.T’s nefarious activities. He decides to give it to Ashley, because Ella never called him back and he doesn’t know Aria’s her daughter*. Trying to cover up the gash on her leg and being fashion-forward at the same time is hardwork anyway and now Hanna has to worry about Jenna thinking she released videos of her they promised to keep secret. She tries to swipe it away before her mother finds out, but this is Ashley we’re talking about so that doesn’t go very far. And since Hanna’s been the most straight-forward with Jenna (remember the slap), she just lets Jenna know those videos are about to go into circulation again. Jenna oozed confidence even when she was (faux)blind, so for her to put on her shades down, to process this information behind the mask they provide, is a pretty powerful in its symbolism.
Emily is feeling guilty about the kiss she shared with Nate and hiding it from Paige. When she tells Paige about it, she thinks Paige is going to be mad at her; but Paige has evolved and she helps Emily make sense of what happened that night. She’s finally getting all these opportunities to mend her relationship with Emily, you can sense that her self-confidence grows each time she gets it right. It’s adorable. So when Spencer comes up to Emily saying that she fears Paige is a member of Team-A, based solely on Cece Drake’s word that Allie tortured her senseless and that gives her every reason to be, and also that one time when she tried to drown Emily; it’s no wonder Emily’s hearing none of it, because all A wants to do it tear them apart both physically and every other which way possible too.
Cece Drake needs all hands on deck for an event at her boutique and since Spencer owes her, she gets the Liars to come volunteer. Except Aria’s hunted down the lady Ezra knocked up and while Ezra hasn’t managed to find her in years, Aria manages the impossible within a few days since it’s no longer the 80’s and phones aren’t attached to cords in the wall anymore. Maggie turns out to be surprisingly well-adjusted for a woman who was paid to have an abortion and disappear, except she didn’t go through the abortion bit, so that’s half the truama gone right there. Aria considers breaking the news to Ezra with his birthday cake, but then reconsiders it when the old man tell her and his brother that he learnt how to use the nifty old device called the internet as well, found Maggie, had a lovely little chat with her, but didn’t mention any mini Ezra’s existence so you know all’s well in the apartment again.
Back at the boutique, Spencer (who may or may not have referred to Paige as a snake earlier) is locked inside a dressing room with one, and if this wasn’t one of the greatest shows ever, you wouldn’t have had the pleasure of watching THIS.
Hanna has a remarkably better experience in the changing rooms, Caleb not only manages to convince Ms. Marin to not let Officer Creepy have access to videos of the girls, but pretty much remembers her social etiquettes, gets Emily to come over to Cece’s shop. Spencer’s evidence sense is tingling extra hard after her encounter with the snake, and as soon as Emily is out of sight, she rummages through Paige’s bag. Incriminating evidence found, friendship lost; that is “A”s MO.
While Paige tells Emily about the hatred Allison bred inside her for her ownself, the torment she caused, it’s easy to see how raw and painful Paige’s actions were. It’s also lovely to see Emily has helped her heal (and they both continue to help each other heal) and what an ugly person Allison was.
Jenna makes cryptic warnings about the company Emily keeps and then skips town. Who does she keep going to? And why didn’t she drive herself this time?
The A-Team goes out for some juke-boxing. Clearly urbandictionary hasn’t updated itself.
Finally we are here and guess who’s back in town.
Trial day is here and the girls still need to convince Emily that Paige may be the one who murdered Maya. Aria wears an electric blue skirt, Spencer one-ups her with donkeys on her shirt, but no amount of crazy wardrobe choices are enough to distract her from the intervention the Liars try to power through. The earring isn’t enough to change her mind, but at this point both sides are pretty stubborn about their points of view and nothing short of a kidnapping-death-friends as collateral damage is going to achieve that.
Feeling exceptionally harrased not just by her friends, but also the reporters who have set up camp on her lawn, Emily decides to un-plug and head to the woods with Nate so they can peacefully reminisce about Maya. Clearly all the time spent getting glass out of one’s hair is bound to cut into one’s movie watching time. Only Spencer’s got the multitasking bit down. Emily’s mother makes some valid points about leaving town with people you’ve met only a few weeks ago considering two girls (your loves) have died mysteriously in Rosewood, but Emily is past listening and ready to be a big girl who makes her own bad decisions.
But before we delve into how the woods have been nothing but TERRIBLE juju for the girls, let us look into how many carbs Ezra has consumed this season, from sandwiches to bagels to two cakes, our resident Poor Little Rich Author Pedo Man-Child has had been building his strength to take on the challenges of being on the A-Team’s hit list. Oh! that’s right, Ezra (more like Aria’s loved ones) has barely ever been on A’s radar, hasn’t he? His ex-knocked-up-teenage-girlfriend-paid-by-his-mother-to-abort-fetus-Fitz is normal, well-adjusted and getting along “spectacularly” well with his too-young-to-be-legal-current-girlfriend, no lives have been ruined by the mere existence of blissfully-unaware Ezra who is both literally and figuratively having his cake and eating it too.
In the real world, i.e. Rosewood and it’s constituent The Radley Insane Assylum, the boys, the girls and the freaks in the middle are responding to the A-Team signal. Everyone’s been briefed, Garret’s trial means all hands on deck, being comitted is no excuse for not pulling your weight. And so Mona, darling of bad-assery Mona, dons on her nurse’s costume and walks out of thier like she’s going to do her grocery shopping for the week.
While Spencer preps for the big day by losing her V-card to the Dalai Lama of Rosewood, Hanna and Rosewood’s former resident hobo argue about the utility of bringing a gun to a knife fight. Hanna thinks she’s won the fight, but hobo habits die hard and Hanna cries the saddest I-TOLD-YOU-SO. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Far away from civilization, Emily recieves a call from the Ghost of A’s Past asking her to kindly vacate the premises. Obviously Emily first looks for Nate to ask for his permission, and when she can’t find him rummages through his bag and finds a sealed envelop addressed to Emily which he was possibly holding for a special occasion (or using it to locate her). Emily tries to escape, but Nate had spent months planning this evening, home videos and a special present just for her.
So only when Emily is absolutely sure London James (a.k.a Nate) has another lesbian to keep him company does she make a run for it.
Having been summoned to Allie’s grave to hand over Maya’s bag in exchange for not being framed for robbing her grave, the Liars once again reconsider the decision to not have had planted GPS chips into each other’s teeth or letting their parents know somebody is bullying them again. Grave watching isn’t all it’s been cracked up to be and after a few anxious hours the Liars realise they’ve been successfully distracted and diverted while Emily is alone with Maya’s killer. As the girls and their bodyguard (Caleb) head to two different lighthouse cabing getaways, Mona informs her teammate about a change of plans. She isn’t entirely pleased though.
London finds Emily in her super-safe hiding place all the way up in the lighthouse and a fight to death ensues. Emily’s had a shit year and she’s just found out she made out with Maya’s killer and he was keeping Paige in a closet she had worked so hard to come out of, so her tolerance level is hovering below “OH HELLL NO!”. And since London brought a knife to the fight, he gets stabbed with a knife. Caleb manages to locate Em through the halo she is emitting from the lighthouse. Liars don’t need others to come fight their fights for them, just someone to hold them and assure them that everything’s going to be ok; but to also remind them that their loved ones are never truly safe, especially if they carry a loaded gun on them.
The Liars find themselves once again in a position they keep trying to get themselves out of. They’ve trusted the wrong people, they’ve failed to protect the ones they love. As Emily’s impatience to hurry over to Hanna to console her grows, Paige once again steps up because she’s so finely attuned to Emily’s needs. Spencer finally understands Paige and nods an apology at her.
In way of unexpected communications, while the Liars wait for Caleb at the hospital they recieve a call from ” A” thanking them for helping poor innocent Garret not get convicted for a murder he did not commit and there he is smiling his smarmy smile and the girls sink deeper into a pit of despair.
Mona walks back to Radley complaining to her teammate about how Nate wasted her time, but is able to see the bigger picture as always because she’s a genius with great taste. Before she walks back in, she’s got a few more instructions she needs her teammate to take care of, removing incriminating evidence from Paige’s bag. The A-team if not dedicated and acutely aware of how time sensitive their operation is and so the black hoodie turns around to scurry off to complete his task and…
…And all over the world, you could hear the clinks of teenager hearts breaking like fine china.
Currently making a chart of how Aria’s relationships stand with regards to age. Her mother and she are dating people almost the same age and her boyfriend’s son is exactly half her age. It’s an interesting graph.
- Mona walked back in to Radley with a bag full of make-up, because you know that’s the stuff that really matters.
- Aria’s doll was wearing a hoodie. Like King says, there are no coincidences in the PLL universe.
- ROSEWOOD’S ONLY RESIDENT DOCTOR WREN will so be treating Caleb, can’t wait to see those awkward hosiptal visits.
- Man, it’s going to be a blood bath when Spencer finds out isn’t it? There’s only so much irony a high-functioning type-A Liar can take.
Shazia is part bionic, part crazy (parts not mutually exclusive), and would be happy conversing solely in TV quotes, forever hopeful she’ll be one-upped in her obscure TV references. She blogs here and microblogs here.