Needless to say, everyone who is privy to Sutton's return is shocked, befuddled, and totally skeptical about it. Sutton claims Annie Hobbs saved her from her shadowy assailant, which is semi-supported by some motel surveillance footage that Thayer gets his hands on. Nonetheless, this offers the Amateur Sleuthing Society of Arroyo (a.k.a. Emma, Ethan, and Thayer) no answers whatsoever. In the course of a night -- a ballet benefit organized by Kristin and Rebeccannie -- Sutton snakes her way back into her old life and leaves Emma quite literally out in the cold. For about a million obvious reasons, it's clear that this won't be the last we've seen of Emma Becker, but it is kind of amazing that no one has even registered the fact that, after an extended period of being a worthwhile citizen and loving friend/daughter/sister, "Sutton" is suddenly a moody bitch again.
Meanwhile, every Rybak besides Thayer is getting flirty with it (poor insufferable Thayer, what's new?). Mads finds herself drawn to a former ninth grade nemesis named Ryan Halliwell. Alec begins a strategically(?) suggestive relationship with Rebeccannie in which "starting fresh" could mean over-the-hill dry humping. (It could also mean using each other for intel like the manipulative, calculating sneaks they both clearly are. TBD...) When Rebeccannie isn't scouting out Alec, she's pressuring Laurel to suddenly reveal her heretofore unknown singing and fiddlin' talent before a crowd of hundreds of benefit attendees. Wowed by Laurel's display, Justin decides to put forth his own revelation: Ted killed his mother. Instead of sympathizing with Justin post-confession, Laurel sees only the deception he's had to maintain up to this point and questions their entire relationship and Justin's very identity. So, in sum: With Sutton back on her perch, some sort of creepy something-or-other going on between Alec and Rebeccannie, and Justin exposing himself as a vengeful fraud, evil is winning in Phoenix this week.
Previously: Long story short, it was pretty much the same old ridiculousness as usual, only they thought that Sutton was dead for 90 seconds and began to mourn her in the way that people mourned Andy Rooney and Steve Jobs, judging someone to be far more worthy of remembrance by the level of their pugnacious obnoxiousness instead of their actual character. That said, it was only 90 seconds before Sutton returned with a shit-eating grin on her face and an ax to grind.
Which is where we pick up. Sutton mocks Emma, Ethan and Thayer for being gullible enough to mourn her. Emma rushes toward her regardless, amazed and relieved that she's alive. Sutton remains prickly, at which point the boys (who are far less forgiving than their adoptive-system-abused counterpart) turn on Sutton and give her an earful of grief for pulling such an evil, sneaky trick. They show her the "You're next" note, the swath of fabric, etc. Sutton insists she didn't write it, then lifts back her conveniently placed bang to show that, indeed, there are malevolent forces out to get the Mercer-Sutton cohort. She's got a big ol' Harry Potter-esque gash on that pretty forehead of hers.
The gang heads back to the cabin. Because that's not a totally horrible idea. Sutton recounts the shadowy figure off-road driving extravaganza but can't shed any light on who jumped her from the back seat of the Mercers' spare car. Emma puts forward Thayer's theory that maybe Annie Hobbs was the person behind all this. Sutton is vehemently against that idea and insists that, actually, Annie was the one person who saved her.
Back at the Mercer residence, Kristin is wondering why she saw Ted's car at the club late at night when she was comforting Laurel over the break-up. Ted says vaguely that he was talking to Alec, and then redirects the attention to Laurel. Kristin admits their daughter is a heartbroken mess. Instead of letting things lie, Ted segues to Rebecannie -- who is presiding over a rough patch with its own share of teenage drama -- and basically tries to discredit her burgeoning relationship with Kristin. Kristin says the make-or-break scenario is afoot because Rebecannie has offered to step in for an annual ballet benefit that Kristin usually hosts with Phyllis (i.e. that Kristin usually organizes 100 percent and Phyllis is just... well... there). Says Kristin, "I think she [Rebecannie] really wants us to be friends." Ted pretends to be enthusiastic about it and not entirely suspicious. Kristin pretends to be enthusiastic about it and not entirely suspicious. And that, ladies and gentleman, is Suburban Socialization 101.