Oh my goodness, what a well-made episode. It's got laughs, it's got really sad stuff, it's got genuine thrills and a chilling final act, it's even got a lesbian poker game! Aria spends Friday weirding out about her attraction to Jason, which results in her absurdly trying to jump Ezra's bones at every opportunity -- which, needless to say, unnerves him. Saturday she mostly tries to avoid the heartbreak of Mikey's continuing breakdown, as we learn that Byron's brother was also depressed (and eventually hurt himself), but winds up walking right into the trap of Jason's face.
Trap? You betcha. Spencer gets Emily to help her break into Jason's creepy shed, at which point the season radically flips: He's got a working darkroom in there, along with crazy surveillance materials and about a million pictures of Aria Montgomery doing things like sleeping and getting spied on. So creepy. Although he knows somebody broke in -- and leaves clues* to let the girls know he's onto them, when they return that night -- he doesn't tell Aria about this, just gives her a smooch and declares his feelings. It is the scariest and the most.
*(Specifically, and hilariously, their flashlight in the middle of the Shed, which -- if he's anything like his sister beyond that particular habit -- probably includes a treasure map or USB drive or something too.)
Also having feelings are Caleb and Hanna, who find out that the PI was tracking Caleb for his mother, who is now rich and in California. Hanna hustles to get Caleb some closure, but it ends up taking him away possibly for good so he can reconnect out there. After he's gone, she mans up and finally contacts her dad about his upcoming wedding, but she's already broken your heart: Their goodbye scene is one of the most tearful, masterful, well-played moments of the series to date. Kudos to both actors, who rocked it.
A brings the pain for Emily, who's forced to get completely sketchy in front of Samara's hip lesbian friends after Ashley sweetly gives her the house for the night so she can stretch her lesbian wings. It's really bad, that part. Tough to watch for sure.
Also acting sketch is Spencer's mom, who shows up for five minutes to pish-posh the whole hockey stick before adding to the chorus of people telling her that Jason is no good. Of course, by the end of the episode she knows that -- and that he's onto her -- but what nobody knows is that Jenna (who might be getting her sight back surgically) has been trying to keep Aria from reawakening Jason's memories of that night.
In an episode of heartbreaking things you would still expect Emily Abuse to top the list, but between the Caleb stuff, Mike's total shutdown -- and Ashley's beautiful open-door policy for her new lesbian foster daughter Emily, which is one of the loveliest things this show's ever done with that -- and the stylish and sophisticated camera work and performances throughout, it just breaks even. Consider the bar raised... And with only two to go!
Previously: Spencer's Dad destroyed a hockey stick that might be important, and part of Ali's autopsy report went missing. Spencer's dangling by a string, Emily is recovering from her bout with overachievement poisoning, Hanna's bid to become a control freak lost out to her ADD, and Aria was... Aria, what are you doing?
What Aria Is Doing: Ezra. Intensely. No mere handholding here, we've rocketed around the bases and -- in our best négligée -- seem intent on reaching home... But wait! What's this? Ezra reaches over to hit the snooze, and suddenly he's Jason! Aria's down... But wait! It was all a dream! Aria was having a wet dream. Specifically one that outlines for her what a million a-ha moments never could. Stay in bed and take care of the situation like a normal person, or play dress-up in all the feathers you can find? I think we know what our girl's going to do.
Speaking of dress-up, Spencer's now got Hanna and Emily playing candy striper with her, since dumb old Emily had to go and recover and they can't use her as a cover story anymore. The ladies wait outside the morgue for Spencer to finish whatever ghoulish errand, and this is what they're talking about:
Emily: "I like zombie movies [does she really?], I don't want to be in one."
(Doctors walking by.)
Hanna: "So I was telling the patient in 212 I am not shaving that..."
Emily: (Is horrified slash loves it.)
Spence finally comes out, pageless. It's almost like a ninja ghost knows their every move.
Emily: "Um, probably somebody stole that one page."
Spencer: "YOU MEAN LIKE JASON? WHO KILLED ALISON AND IS ALSO A?"
Hanna: "Or, you know, anybody else?"
Spencer: "Jason either had or didn't have my hockey stick. The end. Proof. Done. Boom."
Jenna comes rambling out of the elevator -- which we know for a fact this hall only leads to the laundry and pathology and the morgue and the kitchens, so what the fuck is her blind ass doing down here -- talking about how soon she will regain her eyesight. And we will lose the most guaranteed-awesome image on this whole show. I don't want to think about a day when pretty little Jenna is zooming around Rosewood without those meshuga sunglasses on all the time. I can't acknowledge that possibility.
Liars: (Are also bummed/freaked by this possibility, I guess because they hate Jenna irrationally and delight in her disability as much as we do.)