For a show that is almost entirely a cautionary tale about sex, they sure don't have much sex on this show. I didn't really think about that until tonight, which was an intimacy-palooza. Emily goes on an adorably dorky date with Paige McCullers, which leads to them dating for about five seconds until Paige tries to baby-step her back into the closet because of her insane father and generally gay-related shame. Emily is, of course, not having this, so it's sad; on the other hand, Paige has finally been transformed into the cutest little bug-eyed weirdo this show has ever seen.
Hanna's secret houseguest is finally discovered, so she and Caleb go on the run for a little camping trip where she finally gives up her old v-card. Back home the next day, Ashley realizes she's on the verge of losing her daughter altogether, so she flips the script and invites Caleb to live with them for awhile. It's sweet, like genuinely compelling, and it also does the trick: Caleb calls the mysterious person he's been working Hanna for -- disappointing/not terribly surprising -- and calls off their deal. (We'll find out who this person is in the next episode, when Caleb comes clean about his agenda, and can I just say it's amazing.)
Aria is horrified to find Jenna and Mr. Fitz working together on a short story she's submitting to a contest which -- paging Dan Humphrey -- is the incredibly true adventure of a girl who got blown up and blinded by a bunch of bitches. Too many secrets and not enough trust leads Aria to dick Ezra around for awhile before Emily gives her permission to explain the Jenna Thing, at which point Ezra assures her he loves her and will always love her no matter how many girls she blows up.
But Spencer! Oh, girl! So she and Toby finally figure out that "214" is a hotel room and, since he's hiding from his creepy sister anyway, check into the room next for a couple days. We learn some things, like how Toby is almost as smart as Spencer and has the sickest body on earth, and after spending a chaste night together he finally kisses her, and it's pretty awesome.
Less awesome things we learn: The flute music coming out of 214 is actually an elaborate trick by A and Jenna was never there. Spencer's parents are sending her to therapy for framing Ian all those times, thanks to A's duplicitousness. Ian was in Hilton Head with Melissa, not Alison, which was a secret because they were getting an abortion. (Because it's TV, of course, she suffered a miscarriage on the way to the clinic.) And finally, Spencer's attempts to keep the police up Ian's ass -- and generally acting insane all the time -- have flagged her as a Person of Interest in the investigation of Alison's death.
So it looks like everybody's about five seconds from unraveling, and the hilarious tag kind of says it all: After an "SOS" text, he other Liars come running up to the woods near Spencer's house just in time to see the cops take her away. And A taped the whole thing, and is now watching it over and over... While eating literal popcorn! Nice one, show.
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Previously: Girl-kissin', werewolf-showerin', flute-playin', bag-switchin', Alison-throttlin', arrested-gettin'.
The Liars tell their stories separately to the cops about what happened on the video, in a literal fashion, and then all of the other facts. As ever, the authorities are like, "Ian was a poster boy for preppies, he wouldn't have dated that horrible Alison." Spencer's like, "Well, he certainly never molested me all over the place." She does this dressed as a toy soldier from that Keanu Reeves movie.
All the Pretty Little Moms -- and Byron -- commiserate about how their daughters have been screwed by A once again, as do the Liars; the girls all agree that Spencer shouldn't have told them about Ian teaching her to golf, and then a cute little cop comes up like Dewey from Scream or Chris Pratt in Jennifer's Body about how he's practically their age, but now he's a cop. This is Garrett, a doe-eyed dude who looks exactly like every other guy on this show, but in a cop uniform.
Grizzled Senior Detective: "You know those girls?"
Garrett: "My parents lived down the street from Emily Fields, just like apparently everybody on this show somehow, so I'm implicated in everything, just like apparently everybody on this show somehow."
Grizz: "Glad to hear it. Let's nail these children to the wall."
Back home, Spencer's parents have finally noticed that she is deranged, and have decided to send her to therapy. You keep framing your brother-in-law for murder all the time, like once a week, people are going to notice. Plus, Melissa knows how to throw a ten-ton shit-fit better than anyone on this show. Spencer shrinks down to the size of a thumb and feels wretched, which is like chum in the water for Melissa to appear out of nowhere and take a few whacks at her head like a piñata, and then blame the whole thing on Spencer's need to have all the attention. I love this, the noir paranoia of this storyline. Every time. It's like Body Snatchers meets Rear Window meets Serial Mom. Except for our strong Spencer weeping desperately, because that, I cannot handle at all.
It used to be that Paige was the one calling Emily all the time, but with her random behavior having activated Emily's Prime Directive -- Thou Shalt Love The Shit Out Of The Craziest People In Town -- the tables have turned and now she's the one avoiding Emily. Emily's like, "Is this because you kissed me in the middle of your ongoing psychotic break?" Paige doesn't even know what a "kissing" is, dude. She tells Emily to forget the whole thing, and Emily's mouth says okay but her fevered brain is like, "Well, now I'm going to be stalking you. So get ready for that."
Spencer checks Toby into that same motel, coincidentally next door to room 214, so that he won't get raped by his sister before his parents come back into town. They discuss how his stealing of her futuristic phone will doubtless be the thing that kicks her crazy into overdrive, and as usual the way everybody treats the innocuous blind girl like this is Sleeping With the Enemy does not fail to amuse. They lustily discuss their mutual pact to vindicate each other's ongoing frame-ups, and then on her way out Spencer overhears Jenna's flute playing in the next room. The flute stops when she knocks on 214, note, and then through the window she sees that bag Ian gave Jenna last week.
Ashley heads upstairs for her morning shower, so of course Caleb comes out to nuzzle all over on her daughter, so of course Ashley immediately comes tromping back down the stairs. "Even my totally oblivious self-centeredness has its limits, Hanna. My ass keeps falling in the toilet, somebody is going through our groceries like a teenage boy, and I am starting to put it together. Do you have boys in this house? In the No-Boy Zone upstairs?" Hanna lies and truths and lies some more, and Ashley lectures her about how Caleb, being a "tough guy" (which: what) might make you feel safe, but also they are just looking out for themselves, and Hanna's inexorable ruination, and the usual. Hanna sticks up for him, Ashley is disappointed, nothing new going on here. Caleb comes back, they kiss, Hanna gets to be happy for a whole ten seconds.
Who's Ezra talking to? Jenna Thing! Oh, Aria, you better just stand there like a freak while A texts you an omniscient message that makes no sense. Jenna makes five references to their pedophilia love affair and taps her way on out of there -- actually not wearing a black murderer outfit, for once -- and Aria tries and fails to find the words to describe how bottomless is Jenna's creepiness. She tries to make plans for them to nest together forever and ever and eventually grow their skin and bones together into one hideous creature, but Ezra is implacable for once.
Fitz: "So Jenna's written this very excellent short story about how this girl was fucking her brother and got blinded after some bitches blew her up. Isn't that so weird?"
Aria: "It's kind of weird, but also Jenna sucks. I suggest you stop bugging me about this and go back to our neverending ))<==>((."
Spencer: "Turns out being a non-stop one-woman pitchfork mob has cost me some credibility in the public eye."
Liars: "The fact that you are demonstrably a crazy person does not take away from the fact that Ian is going to kill us all one of these days."
Spencer: "I'd rather talk about the mysterious flute music coming from this motel..." (Runs off in the middle of her sentence to further indict herself by begging Officer Garrett to join in her ongoing persecution of everybody, starting with the fact that she lied to the cops after a direct question, and totally dated Ian, and thus looks even more like a maniac.)
Lesson: Not at all learned.
Jenna appears out of nowhere to be creepy about Ezra some more, so Aria washes her hands for one million years and eventually gets into a pissing contest with Jenna about whom Ezra loves more. Jenna concedes; not really what you'd call a win.
Spencer brings the following things for her sleepover-cum-stakeout with Toby: Scrabble, Madlibs, a lad mag containing an article entitled "Bikes to Die For, Babes to Fight For," and a Veronica Mars phone app that apparently makes you a spy that can see through walls. Then they bribe their way into 214 and find Jenna's scary glasses, as well as the mysterious shopping bag from Ian's House Of Murder, which is empty of all evidence.
Ashley finally surprises Hanna and Caleb playing house, kicks his hobo bag across the kitchen floor, and explains how she put together all the sloppy obvious clues they've been leaving all over the place. Hanna's point, that Caleb is a loner and a rebel, is no match for Ashley's point, which is that they are the Thelma & Louise of single-parent families and that if they start lying to each other, their many crimes -- sexual bribery, old-lady mugging -- will eventually come to light. Hanna beats it and hits the lonely trail, because sometimes parents just don't understand.
Emily drives to the hick bar on the outside of town to meet Paige, who has selected this place for their first date. Emily's only slightly sure that she is on a date, and nearly hits the bricks when the MC starts talking about karaoke.
Paige: "Turns out I'm a lesbian and I'm in love with you. I would like to date you more."
Emily: "Okay. How lesbians date is, let's talk about everything that has ever happened to us and how it makes us feel. This will go on for four hours, and we will convince ourselves that we are soulmates. Then we get a pet."
Paige: "That sounds wretched. You go first."
Emily: "Being a lesbian is sometimes difficult."
Paige: "Try being a lesbian plus a lunatic. Who was your first girlfriend? Maya?"
Emily: "Yes. But before that, I was in love with the worst person in the entire history of the world."
Paige: "Alison was pretty horrible. Come to think of it, Maya was super annoying too."
Emily: "I do have a thing for obnoxious women. And crazy folks."
Paige: "I have an amazing coincidence to report at this time."
Desperate to fool Ezra into thinking she is a grownup, and distract him from Jenna who is practically an actual grownup, Aria dresses like a sitcom housewife and decorates his house like a sitcom house-house and cooks him, like, a brisket. Ezra could get used to this. But what will we talk about? Mostly Jenna some mor