PI: "Then it's time to let him go. You never meet the same person twice. But what kind of self-respecting person goes looking -- this hard, or at all -- for reasons to forgive their torturer?"
Spencer: "The kind of person who has already lost their grip, sir. The kind of person who is acquainted with desperation, and knows the hits just keep on coming."
Wesley: "Ezra taught me to drive when I was twelve."
Aria: "When we were twelve."
A random man approaches them, looking insane and blowing the usual "your mother paid me off" trumpet that attends the Fitz/geralds everywhere they go. Wesley tries to play it off in front of Aria, but the guy gets so intense -- "Let's see that pretty smile after I bounce your face off the curb!" -- that Wes eventually clobbers him over the head with a pizza and they go running. Right back to the apartment where he knows they are.
Wesley: "Okay. Truth is, that was my Physics teacher's husband."
Aria: "Gross, you must go to public school."
Wesley: "It's an incredibly long, boring story, its only virtue getting to look at me while I tell it, but the basics are that Ezra inspired me to rebel against our parents and the concept of money. He did it by using his cultural capital to become a white success in academia, as though that didn't also come directly from our class and parents, and I decided to do it by getting thrown out of prep school."
Aria: "This is stupid, but it's my kind of stupid."
Wesley: "Well, first I stepped on the school's insignia, then I made friends with a Jew. No dice. I knew I had to step it up, so I tried to fuck my Physics teacher."
Aria: "I have the most amazing coincidence to report."
Actually, that's not even how she plays it. Because she is Aria, and thus the worst, she actually calls him out for being stupid enough to sleep with a teacher. ARIA! And then, because it's just something you have to accept about this show, she is immediately rewarded for her outlandish hypocrisy by Wes telling her this incredibly mortifying, blush-inducing thing about how Aria is the best thing to happen to Ezra and the worst thing that ever happened to their family, both for the reason that Aria is simply amazing. I mean...
It's like... My first impression of Game Of Thrones was, I looked those books up on Wikipedia like eight years ago just to see why the kerfuffle. And the impression I came away with from that first expedition was that the main characters were: An ugly dwarf who covers up his emotional scars with irony and is constantly forced to have sex with beautiful women and has a wonderful heart, a virgin who runs off to join the army because his mommy is mean and eventually becomes king when people realize how amazing he is inside, and an utterly raped girl who can talk to dragons and has silver hair and purple eyes. Does the silver carpet match the silver drapes? Well, there's no way to know, because despite her enormous breasts she will never reach puberty. And I said, "No thank you."
Because obviously that sarcastic ugly emo dwarf is every boy that reads the books, and that virgin guy is who he wishes he were and someday may become, and that purple-eyed dragon girl is every anime cartoon he has ever masturbated to. And those impressions were not entirely off-base? I get it better now, and I love that show now, but these are still not entirely incorrect assumptions.
In the same way, we have Aria here, who -- although she dresses like a feral toddler set free to roam a Forever 21 and has an unlimited credit line at Claire's Boutique* -- now has an apartment owned by her fabulously rich, conflicted boyfriend who is also a teacher and also an heir to a fortune, his younger brother just showed up with all kinds of problems and is even hotter than the boyfriend, and both of them are constantly telling her how fantastic and beautiful and talented and special-special-special she is: Aria Montgomery is the Tyrion Lannister of Rosewood Pennsylvania.
*(The Yelp review that popped up just now when I was doublechecking the name of Claire's starts, "So we took my four-year-old to Claire's to get her ears pierced..." and I reflexively closed that entire browser window with a single click, because that is an internet dealbreaker, even if it does prove my larger point. Also, Google automatically assumes now that when I type Clai... I'm once again googling what the fuck is up with claire forlani, which I'm not gonna lie, there is substantial precedent for that assumption.)
Caleb: "That was awful. Thanks for making me do that."
Hanna: "Sorry, I just thought it was important. Because of this episode's themes."
Caleb: "Shut it down, Hanna. I've moved on."
Hanna: "Have you? Because here's a picture of you as a baby."
Caleb: "I was adorable even then."
Hanna: "I'm pretty sure it came out of Jamie Doyle's wallet. Because he is your..."
Caleb: "Uncle. No way. Drop it. Shut it down."
Hanna: "There is absolutely no way I'm letting this go. Dealing with my own daddy issues caused more fucking chaos than anything I've ever done, and I want you to have the same opportunity. You too can know the glory of making a girl barf shrimp onto a wedding dress."
Mona: "Therapy Anne! I was just lurking in your office waiting room with this orchid that clearly has a radio transceiver in it."
Anne: "How nice to see you, A. Emily was not kidding about your fantastic outfits."
Mona: "I just wanted you to know that I'm doing so much better. I want to really repay you for what you did for/to me! Just repay the shit out of you. Put this bugged orchid in your temporary office immediately!"
Anne: "I will totally not be doing that. Also, I'm getting the fuck on up out of Rosewood for a while, so don't bother stalking me. Unless we're working together, and this whole scene is a red herring."
In her like third music video moment of the week, she opens up the Lair to find that Toby is completely gone. This occurs to the soundtrack of like the Offspring. I humbly suggest that all of Spencer's scenes from now on are scored completely with ten-year-old sounding screamo punk. It really lends this Toby shit some texture, especially now that we know about his prison yard roots. (Or maybe this?) I want to feel bad for Spencer because she's phenomenal, but watching her lose her shit is so, so satisfying that I also kind of want more and more horrible things to continue to happen to her. Emily and Hanna respond so reasonably to the shit that happens to them that it's really only Spencer you can rely on to go bughouse with any regularity.
Liars: "So I guess after the fiftieth funeral we don't really stand on ceremony, huh? I mean this is some gorgeous set design, but why are we the only people here?"
Jason: "Everybody else must have moved on."
Gravestone: "Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality."
Hanna: "Huh. That's creepy."
Aria: "Uh, it's Emily Dickinson?"
Everybody, Forever: "Shut the hell up, Aria. Jesus."
Spencer comes in and all the candles gutter and the shadows climb the walls and everybody shivers and the bodies in their boxes writhe and it's altogether a bad scene. I can't help wondering if this entire storyline were actually inspired by that one fucked-up face she made that time in the interrogation room on the day of the shovel. Remember that face? I sure do. It's burned into my memory, like I'm Emily Fields over here. And it seems to me that one single face is more than enough reason to wipe off the entire writers' room whiteboard a