Well, hello there, Pretty Little Liars fans! We suspected this week’s black-and-white film noir episode of PLL was going to be amazing, and guess what? It totally was. Once Spencer popped one too many “Study Aid” pills, we spent the entire episode in her mind, which reimagined the saga of Rosewood, PA as a 1940s film noir. Without further ado, let’s recap (but keep in mind that nearly everything in tonight’s episode happened in Spencer’s imagination, so who knows what result it’ll have on the rest of the season).
Jess: In the “real life” beginning of the episode, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily break into EzrA’s classroom (and remind us that they still think EzrA and Aria are broken up). They find Ali’s diary in his desk drawer (plus some fugly student-gift mugs) and see MonA picking up some papers. While they study it in Spencer’s always-empty kitchen, Han and Spence try to get Em to interrogate Paige about Shauna, and Em thinks they found the diary a little tooooooo easily (except she says “too easy,” which doesn’t sound right). Also, on a ride home from their “romantic weekend away,” AKA when EzrA kidnapped Aria and she didn’t even notice, the It couple of the hour discuss how she’s become fascinated with the villain in her latest story, and EzrA stares scarily out the window, as he always does these days.
Lindsay: Bravo to Ian Harding, who looks so creepy since they’ve decided to make him a villain. I mean, we know he’s hot, but he’s got that whole dead-behind-the-eyes act going for him. Anyway, we cut to Spencer up at 3am (because of her study aids). She’s watching a movie and quoting Raymond Chandler (“down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean,” to be exact) when suddenly she’s moved into the 1940s and Toby is there, talking like a gumshoe, telling Spencer to lay off the amphetamines (because in the 40s they would be amphetamines). He would be the Cagney in this, wouldn’t he?
The modern woman she is, Spencer meets 1940s EzrA in the coffee shop where he ponies up $.15 for her coffee as a mea culpa for how badly he treated her at school the other day. Is this like a “please don’t tell Aria that I’m a murderer” coffee? He EVEN leaves a $.10 tip. At school the next day, the girls talk about Aria and how she is probably dating EzrA. “Show of hands: who here hasn’t lied about something romantic to the rest of the group?” Spencer asks. Good point, girl.
Jess: After Hanna gets caught tailing MonA and EzrA (because she’s clomping down the street like a freaking Big Foot), Spencer goes to pick her up and EzrA messes with her head reaaal good. With MonA and HannA looking on, EzrA calls Spencer’s bluff as to why she hasn’t told Aria about her suspicions yet. He says it’s because she’s not sure, she’s in over her head, and she’s cracking up. Spencer does start to look a little nervous; he’s clearly getting under her skin. Later, EzrA tells Toby that Ali is alive and that Spencer knows how to reach her. He also works his manipulation magic on Aria once again when she says she wants to tell her friends the truth about them. They flirt about secrets, and whether or not she knows all of her friends’ secrets, and he whispers in her ear: Alison is alive. Uh, duh, E-Z, we knowwwwww. It shakes Aria, though, and she confesses to Spencer that they’re back together but that it’s not quite as perfect as it once was.
Lindsay: Paige and Emily talk in the coffee shop about Shauna — specifically about Paige’s relationship with her. Note: Paige also looks amazing in the vintage outfit. Paige offers pretty much no information about Shauna, saying that whenever she was with Shauna, she was thinking of Emily. “That’s something a boy says when he cheats,” says Paige. Correct. Later, Aria and Paige have a conversation about “growing out of” being a tomboy, which, is this a thinly-veiled critique of girls who are lesbians until graduation? Because I’m pretty sure that we’ve gone over the fact that Emily really is a lesbian.
When Spencer gets home, she finds Ali in her house, a perfect likeness from the portrait now hanging on the wall (in which you don’t know if she’ll come out and “kiss you or laugh in your face,” as Toby says, see). They talk about how it’s perfect to disappear, and Ali runs off, knocking Spencer’s happy pills down the garbage disposal, which I’m not sure they had in 1940. Toby walks in and tells her to snap out of it, then takes Spencer into central booking or something. Is she being arrested? What’s going on?
Jess: Toby gives Spence the third degree about what she knows, positing that maybe she’s smart enough to get away with murder, smart enough to help Ali fake it all...or maybe Ali tricked her into helping. At this, Spencer gets a look of recognition on her face, like maybe something Toby said rings true. Let’s remember that two people (Toby and Ali) have told Spencer during this fever dream of hers that she “has all the pieces” and just needs to put them together. Since she’s creating this whole episode in her mind, I think we have to assume that everything is coming out of the corners of her brain. So is she remembering something she buried long ago when she gets this look on her face?
Earlier, Ali also fed Spencer a lot of doubletalk, including saying that maybe Spencer is the one Ali should be afraid of. But when we finally see all of the LiArs with Ali for the first time since the Ravenswood episode, we (and Ali) get to see that things have changed a little bit. Ali and Spencer trade barbs about being the leader of the group, etc, and Spencer tells the girls she’s sure Ali is setting them up for something...but when Ali goes to hit Spencer, both Hanna and Emily stand up to Ali, which they never would’ve done before Ali disappeared. Guess you’ve been dethroned, Queen Ali. Even though this is Spencer’s hallucination, I like to think they’ve still grown up enough to stand their ground against their former ringleader.
Lindsay: The group figures out that Ali is working at some sort of club (hiding in plain sight, that is). When they start to tell Aria that EzrA is A, he starts firing gunshots, and EzrA tells Aria that no matter what they say about him, no one has ever loved Aria like EzrA has. (Cue the collective “bleccchhhh” radiating from our apartment.) Once AGAIN, the girls scrape out on telling Aria the truth (“No guts,” says Ali, which, yes, agreed), and Aria walks toward EzrA. But there’s Toby to the rescue, hiding in the shadows. Ah, Toby: just the man you want in a dark alley. He pummels EzrA in the head and the fivesome (the LiArs + Toby - Ali) take off in a sweet car into the night. The LiArs still say nothing about EzrA to Aria, and Toby tells them to figure it out soon. “It,” I assume, is who A is. Toby tells them not to look at the book (the journal), but to look at the pages instead. Then we flash back to the present day, and Spencer realizes that A (or EzrA or whoever) changed a bunch of clues in the book. Well, A: the girls are onto you. The last shot of the episode is the girls coming over to the Montgomery house and seeing Aria and EzrA smooching. Blech. Problems.
- All of the girls look totally amazing in this 1940s garb. And the outfits reflect their own personal style: Aria is stripes, Spencer in a blazer, MonA in metallics, etc.
- So surprised that Paige is in a skirt. Thought they would have put her in pants to really keep driving home the fact that she is a lesbian.
- “I think I liked you better when you were dead.” - Aria, to Ali
- “Secrets aren’t just secrets, they’re weapons. I learned that from Ali and so did you.” -Toby, to Spencer, coining the new motto of this show
Did you love this blast from the past, LiArs? While the episode was a slight detour from the normal Pretty Little Liars storyline, we still covered a few major points. And now we’re even more confused. Next week looks super intense, and we’ll be here, same time, same network to give you the scoop (and our hilarious musings). Until then, chat amongst yourselves in the comments about how Keegan Allen should have been born in a different time period. Ta ta!