Well, guess who finally showed up? Aria Montgomery, with a pack of one-liners that would make Mona Vanderwaal blush. If she weren't, you know, locked up in Radley getting visited by an increasingly frustrated Hanna, of course. After a few broken dates with Caleb -- and some major chemistry with Dr. Wren -- Hanna drags Caleb along for a visit in which she actually gets Mona to open up and say some vaguely scary words after, sniff, giving her a nuthouse makeover that brought tears to our eyes.
But all too soon, Mona slips beneath the waves again -- if, it seems, less so next week -- and is content to do shit like stab herself with tweezers until she bleeds everywhere. So yeah, the Hanna visits are definitely helping in Mona's recovery.
Aria, an absolute joy to be around the whole episode, gets a message from A in the form of an earring from Ali's grave, which it would seem disgusting Alison planted in Byron's office during his affair with Meredith in order to send Aria fully berserk. So there's a whole flashback sequence where Aria goes batshit and helps Alison wreck his office, which is apparently when things went really toxic and scary between Byron and his lucky student, back in the day. Somehow, fuckin' Byron twists this around to be something tacky his daughter did, and demands that Aria apologize to Meredith for that one time she sabotaged their gross affair. It's super creepy, but then both Meredith and Byron are 100 percent creepy, so fine. Whatever it takes to make Aria act as non-stop freaking excellent as she did tonight, bring it.
Emily's daytime story is one of scholastic uncertainty, as Aria pressures her into accepting Ezra's tutoring help so she doesn't end up being held back. But it's Ella who saves her in the end, fully completing one of her exams for her after she goes back into her fugue state of remembering the old blue car. And Emily's latest memory of That Night is fairly important, as it turns out: Jenna was the one driving the old blue car that took her to the empty gravesite. Jenna!
Meaning that Jenna can see, which the Liars confirm in a heart-stopping bathroom moment that has almost everybody ready to -- as usual -- rip Jenna's ass wide for no reason, until Spencer decides they can keep the secret for now in order to use it against her. Oh, and earlier in the episode Jenna asks Aria to accompany her for a performance of one of her many instruments, which ends poorly and bitchily for everybody. But mostly it's the whole thing where she's faking being blind even at school.
Spencer is baffled by her mother's insistence that she stop visiting Garrett in jail, but even moreso once Veronica and Garrett agree that she'll take the case, as long as they both keep any information related to Ali and Maya's murders out of Spencer's hands. This, of course, causes Spencer to go relatively crazy, but the whole crew spends the day in such a heightened state of craziness that you could barely tell: The first thing that happens in the episode is Emily's discovery -- complete with the classic Buckley touch, in this case that wonderful horror-movie thing where the background shoots into the distance, that I've always wondered what that's called -- of a necklace in her purse made of human teeth that says "DEAD GIRLS CAN'T SMILE." And I mean, that's how the episode begins.
So: Jenna can see, Mona's on her way back to reality (or past reality and back to adrenalized hyperreality, perhaps), Red Riding Hood is putting together a new A-Team, Veronica is defending Garrett now, there are necklaces made of teeth, Wren is hot as hell, Ella is now cheating on Emily's behalf, Caleb's getting more involved in everything, Aria is finally getting a little A action -- and rising to the occasion, including dressing like a normal person -- and people are finally noticing that Emily has lost her damned mind.
Next week, lots of satisfying stuff: Mona flips out and does awesome crazy stuff, Lucas and Caleb speak openly about A and the murders, the Liars gang up on poor Jenna once again because they are monsters, and presumably Meredith and/or A come after Aria some more. I, for one, cannot wait.
Jenna can see, Hanna's visits to Mona at the Radley Institute for Gifted Youngsters are pissing everybody off (except Wren), that jailed Garrett is being as unhelpful as usual, Jenna can totally see, and Aria's parents finally, finally got divorced. But after a summer of little to no drama, somebody managed to drug sad old Emily, kidnap her, and position her above Alison's empty grave. So now -- in addition to being paranoid about that for some reason I still don't get -- they're also getting grosser scarier messages than ever from the new A (or As) with like, actual dead-people stuff from the coffin.
Ella: "You know how in this book, Hedda Gabler was this strong, proud woman who wouldn't stand for being blackmailed? We could learn a lot from Hedda. Except for the part where she kills herself."
Class: "Spoiler alert!"
Ella: "Read the book, ya dinks."
Emily reaches into her purse and pulls out ... A necklace made of human teeth! The thing that happens next is called a dolly shot, or a Vertigo shot, because it was first used in a DC Comics imprint focusing on dark fantasy and creator-owned properties in the mid-nineties. Also, I love Norman Buckley so very much.
Necklace: "D-E-A-D G-I-R-L-S C-A-N-T S-M-I-L-E !"
Emily: "Oh, I get it. Because teeth. I have to go barf now."
Liars: "May we be excused to go watch Emily barf?"
Ella: "Sure, what else is new."
Hanna: "Holy shit, are those teeth? Are they Alison's teeth? Whose teeth?"
Aria: "I think I'm going to have a panic attack."
Liars: "This new A is pretty gross, you know? But I bet they aren't even human teeth. Like how the hockey stick had just rat blood on it."
Hanna: "They are totally human teeth! I am familiar with teeth! They are an area of my expertise!"
Liars: "Okay, for the next five minutes let's try to take this seriously. Between kidnapping and drugging Emily, and now this accessory, it seems like shit is heating up."
Emily: "I can't help feeling like everything is always my fault."
Liars: "The more you say that, the more we're inclined to agree with you. And that's not fair to any of us, really. Maybe you could remember like one helpful fact."
Emily: "My faulty memory has been an issue for some time, kittens. No dice."