Our little liars are attempting a foray into the Rosewood High Choir, opening with a harmonious A cappella version of “What Child is This?” Hanna is obviously hung over, Aria is holding a serious grudge against Hanna, and Ali is being questioned by Lieutenant Tanner just outside the room. Tanner is asking a lot of questions about Shana and New York. Ali is getting antsy, trying to redirect the detective’s attention to her mother’s death, saying it’s the kidnapper who killed her mom because Ali got away. The truth is gonna come out eventually, Ali. When she returns to the girls, she discovers all the A notes have been circled on her sheet music. “Glad to hear you singing. Last time you were all choked up.”
Hanna is quickly becoming a hot mess, beer cans falling out of her locker and all. Spencer and Emily are “concerned”, but they seem to be more angry at Hanna’s rebellion against Ali than her increase in partying. At least they still care, whereas when Aria does manage to speak to her, it’s barbed words at best. Hanna left an apology voicemail, but apparently Caleb’s laughing in the background took away a bit of the sentiment. Spence tells her it’s not good enough, to try again. As if being at odds with your besties isn’t enough, Caleb forgot to meet Hanna for lunch, still asleep when she called. (“Hey baby”? Since when does Caleb talk like that?) I am totally stealing Hanna’s “Half past I’m hungry” for real life conversation, though. Eventually Caleb gets on the ball, picking Hanna up, bottle of whiskey riding sidecar. Hanna complains about Ali between straight shots before stopping to get something to eat. It’s really amazing how fast people get drunk on TV. Sip, chug, boom. Drunk.
Zack catches Hanna outside the café and offers to make her something to go. Things go from normal to ishy fast. Zack calls her a bad girl, he has a thing for bad girls, mixed with a lingering back rub. It’s enough to send Hanna scurrying out the door, totally creeped out. Seriously? What the heck is with the men of Rosewood and teenage girls? Is there some pedophilia virus in the water or something? It’s becoming a city wide epidemic. The Zack incident stays with Hanna, regardless how much she drinks. She’s self-conscious, saying her skirt is too short. Caleb, as 99% of teen guys would, says it’s hot, pulling her into his lap to start a bit of sexy time. Hanna gives in for a minute, but the reaction just furthers her insecurity and she ends up sleeping in his car. Caleb, my love, buck up, buddy. I know you’re still hurting from the whole supernatural nonsense in Ravenswood, but you’re better than this.
Hanna misses choir again, which is enough for Spencer and Emily, who are genuinely worried about her now, especially when she shows up after class ended with Rice Krispies treat embedded in her hair. Hanna tells them it’s not just Ali that is bothering her and recounts the Zack thing. Spence and Emily are skeptical, questioning her interpretation, blaming it on the booze. I understand their point, but seriously, why would Hanna make something like that up, even tipsy? Hanna’s eating in her car when Zack just randomly jumps in. (Who does that to people they barely know?) He makes it obvious the vibe she felt last night was real, giving her his number to “hit him up.” Dude, she is your fiancée’s daughter’s friend! Do you not see how completely skeevy this is? I liked Zack before, but now all I see is a giant slime ball. Also, shouldn’t we be scared Holly Marie Combs is a witch that could easily vanquish him to the netherworld? Wait, wrong show. But I wish she would.
After Zack has marked himself as a skeezball, Hanna works up the courage to tell Aria the truth. Aria does NOT take it well, refusing to believe it. She blames Hanna, calling her always the problem, drunky, Hanna’s not going to take her mom down with her.
Aria’s mom, Ella, shows up at school to ask Aria to be her maid of honor. She accepts of course, but quickly shoots down her mom’s appointment at the bridal shop, saying she has to be at Radley. Once there, she seeks out Eddie Lamb, but isn’t that her luck, yesterday was his last day. Something is fishy here, and I certainly hope it’s not Eddie’s body at the bottom of a lake somewhere. She sneaks back into Rhonda’s room to put the sketchbook back and is caught by Rhonda herself. Aria pleads with her. Rhonda decides her information will cost something. Please don’t be Aria’s eyes in a jar. Alas, it’s just root beer and Cheetos, the simple joys of life. Once Rhonda munches on her bribe, Aria rehashes her knowledge of Bethany. Rhonda says Bethany had it better than most patients, she was always given gifts and being signed out for field trips by some rich lady. Naturally, it’s Mrs. D. Apparently, Mrs. D adopted a freaking pony for Bethany. Now THAT’S a bribe. A nurse interrupts them and wigs out since Rhonda is diabetic. Whoops. All that detective work made Aria forget she was supposed to be with her mom, who is obviously upset by this. The last thing the bride needs is an MIA maid of honor. Aria apologizes profusely, promising to be there next time. Her time spent making paper flowers with Zack and Ella seems happy enough from the outside, but Hanna’s confession has planted a seed of doubt in Aria’s mind. Emily does a bit of recon of her own, going to speak to Sydney in the girls’ locker room. She makes up a bunch of stuff about Hanna’s tolerance to alcohol, how she’s always making things up as a pre-cursor to bringing up New York. (Pretty sure talking smack behind your friend’s back, even to gain information is a friendship faux pas, Em.) Sydney doesn’t remember any mention of New York, and changes the subject to the surprise offer to make Emily assistant swim coach. Em is unsure of the proposal, what with everything she has going on. Sydney seems quite disappointed, and she visits Emily’s house later to bring her the assistant coach hoodie she had made for her. How sweet, if a little fan girl-esque. Sydney opens up a bit about how hard it is being the new kid, her parents are never home, her dad own shops in New York, which Emily must have seen while there. Emily catches her slip-up and calls her on it. Sydney sputters through a couple excuses but Emily knows something is up. Meanwhile, Spencer is showing Toby the pictures she took of the garish sketches, which upsets him. He just isn’t going to find peace when his mother’s death is connected to all this -A stuff. He announces he’ll be able to change that soon, however, because he is giving up the simple carpenter life for a police uniform . Spencer reacts as I did, incredulous sarcasm, even asking if that’s why he cut his hair. Answer? Partly, yes. (I loved the hashtag #OfficerToby. The mental image was Toby in a uniform alright, but with a boombox getting his Magic Mike on, making thousands with those wondrous abs. That probably says more about me than Toby, though…) Toby points out all the current cops are bungling idiots or corrupt, he could make a difference with his inside access and actual knowledge of what the heck is going on. Spencer in still uncertain, which I understand. Toby is like a husky puppy: full of blue-eyed cuteness and cuddles. Him handling a gun and chasing bad guys doesn’t really fit the picture. Spencer and Emily meet up to check out the stables Mrs. D. was bringing Bethany to for their quality bribing time. They meet one of the handlers (Declan), who isn’t exactly big on talking, at least at first. He’s more interested in why Emily is spooked by the horses than answering Spencer’s question. He does remember Mrs. D. and the strange girl because of the Bucket Incident. He recalls Mrs. D. wanted the girl (Bethany) to call her Aunt Jessie, the girl has a meltdown and threw a bucket at her. (I would’ve paid money to see that.) Spencer asks if Ali was ever with them. She wasn’t, but Emily doesn’t understand why Spence would even float the question. Spencer is the intelligent one, of course she doesn’t fully trust Ali. Much like a dog with a bone, Spencer won’t let go just yet, dragging Emily with her through the stables in search of clues. They find Melissa’s riding helmet in one of the stalls, raising another red flag against the elder Hastings sister. -A appears to lock the girls in the stall with a horse in full freak out mode due to the rolling thunder outside. With just a couple planks of wood between them and the kicking horse, they struggle to open the lock. Spencer’s knowledge of physics comes in handy when she shouts to put the ladder against the planks and the door so the horse’s force will kick it open. It does, but not before nailing Spencer in the eye with rogue wood. Spencer is nursing her wound (which looks a lot better than it should have) when Toby shows up at her house. He’s concerned with her injury and what really happened out there. He reveals his biggest reason is to end this feeling of being powerless against A. Spencer apologizes for her earlier reaction, encouraging him to go gung ho on his police officer aspirations. She is ready for this nightmare to end. Ali is looking more and more paranoid with every step after Tanner’s interrogation. She accepts Hanna’s apology and promptly asks to crash at the Marin’s for a bit, while her dad is out of town. That’s the last thing Hanna needs, giving her a non-answer. So, Ali does the leg work herself, telling her story to Ms. Marin, who falls for it all, hook, line, and sinker. She invites her to stay as long as she wants, comforting her with food and her special bath salts, which are inexplicably kept in the kitchen. This drives Hanna right out the door, after she mentions she’s asked to use the bath salts a million times. Ms. Marin finds Ali sitting at the window later, instead of going to school. Ali says she heard things all night, she couldn’t sleep. Ms. Marin notices Ali slept in the closet. Something really screwed up has happened to Ali in her time on the run, she needs to spill the truth if she ever hopes to move on. I just can’t tell with her what’s a lie and what’s the truth. Ms. Marin persuades Ali to go out to eat and goes downstairs to make reservations. Suddenly, there’s a creak of floorboards, turning towards horror movie territory in the blink of an eye. Mrs. Marin calls out to Hanna, but the only answer is another strange noise. She goes to the other room to find the front door open. After closing it, she sees a figure in a black hoodie in the kitchen. Ali comes down, is shushed and they both hide behind the wall, seeing the shadow with a knife.
They peek around the corner, but the figure is gone. Mrs. Marin calls 911 immediately which brings too-good-at-her-job-for-this-show Tanner to take their statements. Tanner questions Ali, who is off her lying game, tripping up at every turn. Mrs. Marin goes into Mama Bear mode, defending Ali, accusing Tanner of treating the victim like a criminal instead of protecting the people from this crazy person. Ali calls Emily and Spencer to her house while she packs some things to bring to the Marin’s. Spencer notes this -A is different, in a very bad way. Less catty, more violent. (Uhm, are we forgetting the stolen body and human teeth necklace from season three?!) Spencer is worried the violence will only get worse, will -A attack their parents? Ali can’t take it anymore and tells them the truth, at least for this particular situation. The intruder wasn’t -A, it was Noel Kahn (And the award for most mentioned character without actual screen time goes to…) to do her bidding.
She needed an actual adult to fully believe in her story, so she scared the pants off Mrs. Marin to get her on her side. The girls are shocked. Getting your friend to break into someone’s home (a crime), scaring your friend’s mom to further your own lie is a whole new level of manipulation. My trust in Ali was already fragile. Now it’s in shatters on the floor.
A Coda: A is reminiscing in Spencer’s room, looking at pictures, the riding helmet, the big red chair. A lifts the cushion to reveal a hidden compartment, but we don’t see what is being put in or taken. What is in A’s secret box in Spencer’s room? Will Hanna and Caleb get their act together? Has Ali completely lost her mind?
Citings: perezhilton.com, giphy.com, charmed.wikia.com, heatherwheeler.wordpress.com, globalgrind.com, clairvoyantsam.tumblr.com, roleplaybuddy.tumblr.com