Oh my God that was so good. Stylish, tonally deft, good music, and more twists than you can shake a pig nipple at. Now, last time we spoke the NAT Gals -- Melissa, Shana and Jenna Thing -- had apparently lured the Liars to that Lodge so they could blow them up, while A flew there in a plane (wearing a mask of her own face). The Ghost of Alison rescued everybody from the fire, and the next thing we knew they were back on the one street of Rosewood, finding that swamped-out cop car and something terrible in the trunk. What we learn immediately this week is that what is in the trunk is a pig with about a hundred nipples.
As Mona fakes the girls out like a million times -- is she planning their murders, or just out getting coffee? -- they begin to put together a communal toehold on sanity that is immediately disrupted by the body of the actual Detective Wilden (RIP, you beautiful diamond, with just your normal number of nipples) being discovered at the scene... The girls' abandonment of which, of course, turns up on tape and in A's hands at the end of the episode.
In a dizzying montage of disclosure, Mona answers a few leftover questions from past seasons -- Lucas gave Emily the massage, Wilden was one of two Queens of Hearts on the Halloween Train -- A wipes her computer before she can fill them in on everything definitively, like the fact that she says Melissa was the other Queen, but more likely it was Spencer's other sibling (right?).
In an attempt to get her hands on the Lair Van without Mona around, Hanna allows herself to be drawn back into Mona's polymorphously perverse retail web, shopping up a storm but eventually admitting she's only pretending. Mona, like a champ, turns over the cop-car video as promised, exonerating Ashley for her part in Wilden's murder and flipping Hanna's loyalties once again with declarations of love and faithfulness.
Mrs. DiLaurentis is back, that's pretty big news. She seems drunk, because that's her main thing, but the effortless way she needles Hanna on her food issues and appears at Alison's window as if trying to send Spencer back to the loonybin makes me think she's going to be acting every bit as awesome as usual from jump. And speaking of awesome drunk moms, Ashley Marin's still out of town -- but is being weirdly implicated in Wilden's death, post-mortem, in the typical A-Team frame-job way that makes no real sense at all, but is terrifying and involves cell phones inside dead guy caskets.
Aria's story for now has to do with being paranoid for Fitz's safety at his now-permanent job back at Rosewood High. (This expresses itself in a million tearful looks and one mind-blowing fantasy sequence in which she imagines him being arrested for his crimes in the middle of a school day, complete with sexy 8x10s for evidence.) It's Aria, so who cares, but now that most adults know there was at least something between them at some point, her constant perception that she and/or Fitz are in jeopardy is for once justified and interesting.
Emily and Paige have decided to run away to a lesbian college in a lesbian town so they can get a lesbian apartment and learn about lesbian subjects and do lesbian activities all day long. Beyond a hilarious scene in which she threatens to beat the shit out of Mona just for fun, that's about all Emily's up to. Oh, and another menacing run-in with Jenna Thing, who is considering her own mortality in light of the NAT Club bodies stackin' up, and wants somebody to apologize to Toby for the constant raping.
Spencer enjoys the domesticity of having Toby free and clear -- and looking great, by the way -- but has no idea that A still has a hold over him, involving what really happened to his dead mother or the connection his own secret relationship with Alison. In the end, while the girls attend Wilden's funeral (and meet the new authority figure, Sean Faris, investigating their connection to the murder) Toby cries all the way across town, dropping off the A Lair somewhere not even Mona can get to it.
And who's the creepy-veiled Lady In Black that attends the funeral and later adds a mini-Mona to the usual Pretty Little Analogue dollhouse? Dunno, but she's telling the little kids in the trailer park that her name's Alison, and she's wearing Redcoat's Ali mask over her face -- only now, thanks to the Lodge fire, it's burnt all to hell. So to review: Giant black veil, over an Ali mask, which is half burnt up, and meanwhile at the DiLaurentis-St. Germain-DiLaurentis house, mom's building a whole drunk shrine to a dead girl nobody really thinks is dead.
All in all, a powerful contender and one of the best season premieres we've had. Relationships new and old -- not to mention plenty of vectors for the season's arcs -- are firmly defined, the wisecracks have never come faster or harder, and watching Spencer and Hanna renegotiate their individual relationships with Mona is at least as soapy and fun as watching the Liars deal with her as a group.
Next Week: Mrs. DiLaurentis's drunk ass gives Hanna a parrot that squawks secrets, Aria starts martial arts training, Toby opens up about his mom and Hanna freaks out more about hers. Oh, and A tries to kill Mona. (Or does she, etc.)
Well! Previously, let's see. Ashley Marin ran Detective Wilden the hell over, and he was rescued -- and then murdered, presumably -- by Redcoat's B-Team, but not before she was caught on tape doing the deed and returning to the scene of the crime, so Hanna and Aria pushed the cop car into a swamp because that is the kind of thing those two would do, without benefit of Spencer and Emily.
Aria broke up with Ezra Fitz after Spencer kidnapped his kid, but she told the Vice Principle that she never dated him in the first place, so he could work at her school and they could torture each other from close up. Hanna and Emily wove complex webs of protection around their respective significant others that had no real effect at all; ditto Toby, who died and then came back to life once Spencer had lost her damn mind.
In the end, Mona Vanderwaal got all the Liars together at the Lodge so the B-Team could murder them, at Redcoat's behest, but once she was herself endangered she lost it -- "She's everywhere and she's nowhere!" -- and seems to have joined Team Liar. They were rescued by Alison DiLaurentis, a dead person, and returned home just in time to find that darn cop car waiting, with a mystery in the trunk... And assurances from A that she's got them cornered now more than ever.
("YOU'RE MINE") NOW
The ladies stare down into the trunk, plainly horrified, for a few seconds before we see what they're looking at: A huge dead pig, quietly rotting. Nobody knows what to do, so they do their main thing of staring around looking like they're going to barf, and then somebody notices Mona's gone, which rockets them all into action, and they get the hell back in the car.
But Mona's not gone: She's in the car with her A gloves on, making much of getting the car's black-box "chip" out of there, for about a hundred years.
Hanna: "What are you doing?"
Mona: "Uh, saving your mom? Duh?"
It takes a while, and there is much time-ticking suspense coming from somewhere, maybe the music, and then they're off! Take a good look because this is the last time any of them are going to be wearing acceptable apparel. And think also about how A is going to keep taunting them about how this is going to screw them, and how A has cameras everywhere at all times tracking their movements, and yet it's going to take this entire episode for them to add 2 and 2 and come up with 4.