Ezra spends the episode being full-on amazing, whisking Aria away to his murder cabin and then playing her like a fiddle the entire time, until she is brainwashed. It is absolutely excellent. He totally says shit like how it would be normal if he were her only friend and that it's natural for a young woman to turn her back on her age-appropriate peers and only share secrets with her closest pedophile. It's awesome. He also menacingly carries around chickpeas, spies on everybody back in Rosewood, creeps about, puts the fear into Spencer, and finally shows us the full-sized A Lair under the cabin (it is choice). He's got somebody taking pictures of everybody, and even has time for a little moonlight kidnapping...
Which is bad news for Shana, but even worse for Alison: In need of a cash infusion to keep herself on the move, Ali sends Shana to retrieve a stash from behind that fucked-up twin-skull picture in her bedroom, but she can't do it. After a really neat détente in which Shana comes clean about several past storylines, she sends Emily to get the money -- which she immediately hides in a bag of coffee beans, obviously, since the Brew doesn't serve lasagna -- but never shows up to retrieve it. Why? Because A has kidnapped her and scared her so badly that she scraps her phone and disappears into the night, leaving Ali high and dry.
While Shana was a very sympathetic person this time around, it's even more surprising how awful the last scene makes you feel for Ali: On the run, terrified, with no cash and no hope, just sobbing on a bus out of town like the scared little teen she actually is, and always was: I couldn't believe how sad that was! Maybe she'll snap somebody's neck on that bus, or turn them into a bulimic, and the world will right itself again.
Not everything is topsy-turvy this week, though: God knows Aria's continuing to do Aria, wandering from location to location talking about herself and then wandering off in the middle of talking about herself, leaving her confused interlocutors to wonder what fascinating things she'll say next about herself. Aw, you know what, I shouldn't be so mean. The manipulation stuff with Ezra was actually really humiliating and I felt bad for her too.
So to recap: I am possibly in love with Ezra Fitz, I have boundless sympathy for Aria Fucking Montgomery, and I'm finding Shana and Alison more pitiable than any of the Liars this week. It's dogs lyin' down with cats over here.
Meanwhile, Spencer's gone AWOLNATION, diving into a bottle of dolls and not coming up until the sun does. Her task: Figure out the Ezra/Boardshorts situation without letting it drag her out into the waves. How does she do? Not great. Enough that Ezra fully offers to destroy her in the middle of the hallway -- after a true shitshow of a drug deal -- and later for Hanna to follow her tweaker ass all the way to Ezra's old apartment. By episode's end, all the Liars but Aria are on board with at least investigating Mr. Fitz's A secrets, but since he has cameras in all of their lives and even in some of their mouths, they're understandably weirded out at the notion. Also, weirded out by Spencer's zombie drug-seeking insanity, but not like to where anybody really comments on it.
I liked it! I couldn't believe Spencer spilled the beans so soon, but Hanna is really on top of her Junior Detective game -- especially with Sean Faris giving her weird Red Reddington clues that don't make any real sense, in that voice of his -- and it was cool to see her actually stay on top of Spence and not get distracted. Emily's ability to forgive and immediately process any emotion is always inspiring. And Aria... I mean.
She's wearing this giant brass eagle necklace the entire time, okay, big as her head, like could protect you from a bullet. She snoozes around the murder cabin while Ezra changes into and out of an infinite number of cute hoodies -- I mean like seventeen cute hoodies over the course of two days, it was mind-blowing -- and every time she starts to notice that he is a creepy molester killer of children who has literally abducted her and is keeping her in a cabin, he just Jedis those fingers right in her face and turns on the sexy Mr. Hyde charm and she just starts ... babbling, and goes in for a smooch. I love her so much right now.
Next Week: Ezra comes at Spence hard, but considering it's a groovy-looking special black and white episode where she's in a drug haze the entire time, you gotta wonder if she'll even really register it.
Emily's dad keeled over after she was attacked by an entire high school and told to act normal bitch. Hanna's new BFF is Sean Faris, so she's ridin' high -- even after A drank her milkshake all up from inside of her mouth. #MonaIsTheDevil and there's not a damn thing Aria can do about it. And Spencer, between fistfuls of pills, has determined that Ezra Fitz is A. Good thing she's got all that credibility, and never jumps to accuse people, all the time, every day.
In the most Hopper-painting thing all season, we open on Alison in a telephone booth that pops out of the darkness like we're in space, or a hyperreal simulacrum of the real world. I haven't seen a payphone in ten years, much less a phone booth, but in Rosewood and its surrounding towns, it makes sense that this would be happening.
Like did you know there's a phone booth in the Rear Window Brew? Yeah, and guess who's in there is Shana, under the pretty little watchful eyes of some Liars. As always with Alison, we have no idea what she's talking about or why, so here's the convo.
Alison: "I need it. There's no other choice."
(First guess: A snow globe, lunchbox, chessboard, accordion, or some other weird thing containing a secret compartment with a weird thing in it, or maybe a doll version of somebody.)
Shana: "[Yeah but I can't talk to your mom because you told me not to talk to her, when we were sketching out this epic five-year plan back in Georgia.]"
Alison: "I know but you have to get in touch with her. And here's what you say..."
Shana: (Already knows. This is not her first rodeo.)
Alison: "Yeah and but that's it. She can't know I'm alive yet. I'll call you later at this random phone booth from this random phone booth and give you more instructions."
Shana: "Okay, but I have to go. Your bitch friends are givin' me the hairy eyeball."
Alison: "I hate it when you just hang up on me, Shana. It makes me feel like a regular teenage girl who knows how to fly a plane and has been faking her own death for years."
Liars: "God, we hate her. For some reason."
Emily: "No, I'm over it. Alison likes her, so we like her."
Aria: "I would still like to flip her the bird."
Shana leaves, weird looks are looked. Everybody looks weird at everybody else, she's like backing out the door because there are so many weird looks for everybody to serve up to everybody else.