So good! I want to say it's Hanna's episode because her story is so touching this week, but honestly we're still carrying over Emily's Ali stuff from last time, and then you've got Spencer still fixating on Radley and her dad, and Aria being freakin' awesome all over the place, so I guess there's no clear winner here, but man did I like Hanna's stuff this time around.
Hanna stands around getting yelled at by the Liars for hanging onto the Diary some more, then explains the code-name thing about how the stories in it work, and begins color-coding all the parts and players they've figured out so far. Hanna continues to be bad-ass in this way. But you slowly come to realize she's also being protective because of certain damaging info in there, which you think for a long time has to do with Aria and Ezra...
But actually ends up being about this one time Hefty Hanna hooked up with L'il Mikey Montgomery, and Ali made her feel like a total fucking failure about it, all of which connects to her still-stinging Caleb breakup situation in the neatest, saddest way. She's mean and shifty and sketch and angry and feral the entire time, and just when you're at your limit you find out why she's been so weird and it's amazing, somehow knitting the whole Liars club back together just out of relief that she has not lost her shit.
(Although I was expecting Aria to say something awesome like, "If I've learned anything, Hanna Banana, it's that when a trusted older person takes sexual advantage of you, there are usually little to no consequences.")
Also working on acting like a complete lunatic -- well, for her -- Emily takes it for the first night, where she has one of those Ali dreams that is maybe real and maybe not, but either way she gives the bitch what for, and it's pretty beautiful. Next day she steals away for a meeting at the Kissing Rock that never happens, and I guess we're still just in the sad wisdom place where Emily is getting the hell over her brainwashing... Possibly at the exact time Ali has sincerely come to regret it and wants to come clean. Also beautiful.
Aria is totally weird about Ezra and/or Jake, and the Aria of it all is that she thinks this is about a love triangle and not her future murder, which makes it amazing. A clue leads the girls toward a B&B in the hilariously named nearby town of KILLINGWORTH, but A hacks into their GPS and they end up stranded not far from Ezra's secret love/murdering cabin. He follows them there, terrorizes them, gets the Diary back -- thanking them for doing all the hard work of decoding the stories! -- and all of this without anybody ever figuring out where they actually are, or why. Oh, and that cowboy/towtruck Kleintank guy I love so much, Travis, gives Hanna quite the firm shoulder to cry on once he's carted the ladies back to Rosewood.
Spencer's not really ready to talk about why she doesn't want Radley closed down just yet, but gets pissed when Peter tells her he's abandoning the cause: Marion Cavanaugh supposedly fell to her death accidentally, according to a fellow patient who witnessed the death and for whose protection the cover-up was done. Who do you think that was? She died in 2007, which rules out a lot of people. It's suggested this week that CeCe -- who is still on the run, spotted here and there like a one-person Bonnie & Clyde -- was paid off to kill Wilden, and we know CeCe knew her, but who knows about all that.
The main Spence drama, though, is her ongoing obsession with Peter and Jessica DiLaurentis's relationship, which is starting to look sketchier and sketchier. I mean, the first rule of Spencer Club is that Spencer is always wrong, but the Second Rule of Spencer Club is that Spencer always ends up basically right anyway. So either they're both getting divorced and running away together, like Spencer seems to think, or they're doing something that has nothing to do with the mystery and is just Jason stuff? Anyway, Spencer goes ham on poor Mrs. D at the Vault, in public and just brutally, which enrages Peter so much that, next thing you know, Spencer's moving in with her boyfriend Toby Cavanaugh, the successful Teen Contractor with his own cool pad full of sexy tank tops.
So: All in all a very textured outing, with lots of real emotion and visually lovely quiet moments, and more than a few scares. Ezra is killing it right now, working his A magic at the fringes of their stories; Hanna continues to delight and amaze with her range, depth and regret; Emily's anger-fueled, frankly beautiful transformation is ever more inspiring; Spencer's managing to jazz up the Marion storyline with her own fucked-up behavior (very much appreciated, sorry Marion); and best of all, Aria's getting darker and darker as her questionable choices get more and more deliberate, and I fucking love it.
Next week: Alison keeps working Emily's shit, Aria gets to have boys fight over her, Hanna remains distracted by Travis, Shana reappears with God knows what agenda, Spencer remains skeptical about every single thing, and The Originals probably pulls another unnecessary, tacky prank.
Spencer was suspicious of her father's weirdness about his bastard babymama next door, Jessica DiLaurentis, and then suspicious of his motives regarding her investigation into Radley Sanitarium's sordid history, and in other news Spencer was suspicious about some things for once. Hanna was in whatever the opposite of two love triangles is, between not dating either her hard-luck tow-truck cowboy nor her spun-off werewolf boytoy, plus fighting over somebody who is not her boyfriend with somebody who is dead and therefore will not be showing up for any fight about boys. Oh, and she's been hanging on Ali's diary since Ravenswood because it has many secrets, particularly one silly secret we'll find out about tonight that Alison convinced her was the worst secret of all time (that Hanna is a fat child molester).
And on a completely different topic, Ezra invited Aria to his secret cabin so they could share a secret, actually saying "It can be our secret" in the process. So. You can already see how the ironies there will play out once we start getting into the child molester portions of Alison's diary, which -- it being this show, this town, this girl -- most likely represent the bulk of Alison's diary.
Aria: "But like, why is she keeping a diary about other people? What on Earth could people that are not us have to offer?"
Hanna: "No girl, it's a code. Like she would actually have a friend named Suzy Clueless. Come on, idiot. No, she changes the stories around so you have to decode them using the things you know to be true. It's a simple, time-consuming, complex and baroque system of narrative and counter-narrative bricolage..."
Emily: "The exact kind of shit she was always doing. Not only because she was a fucking liar, but also because that's so Alison. She probably composed these postmodern Nabokovian tales while she was flying her plane. I am so sick of this bitch."
Liars: "So you've just been hanging out with this diary containing all of our secrets? Doesn't that kind of deprive us of agency?"
Hanna: "It's not like, light fun reading. It's like if HP Lovecraft wrote Fifty Shades about little girls. I mean, let's talk about this."
Liars: "No! I want a turn. We teen girls love thinking about horrible things, because it externalizes our paranoia and discomfort with our own bodies. It's why VC Andrews was so popular and where Twilight came from."