Sometimes just when I'm wishing Norman Buckley directed every TV show, it starts seeming like he does. This episode, brought to you by The Great Gatsby, features clues like a clown piggybank and a golfbag tag from Hilton Head. Also, they've confirmed the blood on Toby's sweater, so it looks like he won't be free for very long. (Creepy Jenna was the one that turned him in originally, so he'd end up on house arrest, so she can have more incest with him.)
Spencer's back on with Ben, dressed like Jordan Baker, freaking out about Ian, and stressing over Toby's release from jail. Ben's having some kind of Poor Joey Potter issue about choosing work over a summer tennis clinic, and then he dumps her after A submits his application behind his back. Back home she and her dad agree that Ian is a loser, and then she gets the first step to figuring out that Ian and Alison were fucking as lately as the day before she disappeared.
Hanna's home from the hospital and, on a mad dash for carbs, finds her mom's stolen money almost immediately. Mom confesses, and then Mona throws a big party at Hanna's house to welcome her home. Everybody is there... Including A, who steals the stolen money in order to turn Hanna into her unwilling double-agent. She and her mom start popping pain pills together, which should turn out awesome, and things also come to a head with Lucas. He starts some drunken shit with Sean at the party, but when she takes him outside to yell at him from her wheelchair, he goes on a violent rant about how terribly Alison always treated him, and finally admits to trashing her memorial.
Aria continues to defend Noel to everybody, even after he starts blackmailing Ezra for grades, and Jenna makes it creepily clear that she's onto the star-crossed idiots as well. Later at the party, she and Spencer figure out that A is trying to turn the Liars against each other, and Hanna yells at her about dating a teacher. There's a fantastic flashback to this time Alison broke up Noel and his girlfriend so Aria could have him -- "I only kill when I need food. Or when I'm bored" -- and that's about it for Aria, not that I'm complaining, because the reason she gets so little screentime is that most of the episode is, honestly, 100% situations of Noel being scary and beautiful and gay in various rooms of Hanna's house.
Not at the party is Emily -- whose episode it once again is -- because tonight's the night Maya Meets The Fockers. Dad's being awesome again, Mom's trying really hard, everything is super fucking awkward, Mom is horrified by Maya's California liberal ways and footsy-playing with Emily, and eventually she just heads into the pantry for a few hysterical sobs.
After Mom interrupts their goodnight kiss with a gift for her future in-laws, and gets a big old lesbian hug for her trouble, Emily thinks it's all golden so she hits the Cavanaugh house to get yelled at by Toby, who still thinks she turned him in at this point in the game. Heading home to thank Mom for being so chill, she learns that Dad is leaving for Texas much earlier than expected... And that her relationship with Maya makes her mom physically ill.
(Which actually makes her Mom even cooler for even entertaining this whole debacle, but I know personally that it's impossible to explain that thing to a gay teen. Emily remains under a roof and unbeaten, and her mom clearly loves her, so let's give the lady a hot minute to get her shit under control, shall we?)
Next week: Noel straps on his old wrestling outfit to teach Lucas some self-defense moves, making Sean so jealous he forgets how to read and write. Aria wears a barrel-and-suspenders to protest predatory lending tactics, accenting it with some cute chunky rings and a fake bird in her hat. Hanna's mom starts getting ideas after A drops off the collected works of JT Leroy: Create a lucrative literary hoax, befriend and bamboozle celebrities, or just go ahead and turn Hanna's ass out. Emily and Maya get married in a secret ceremony administrated by Aria's father, and the music is Sarah McLachlan's instrumental "Touch," from 1989's Touch, because that's how lesbians roll even to this day. Spencer burns down that motherfucking barn once and for all, because it has caused her nothing but bullshit her entire life.
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So to cover the felt-tip evils of A, the Liars have decided to slap a big sticker on Hanna's leg reading HUMPTY DUMPTY WAS PUSHED. She keeps messing with it because it won't stick -- and probably because it's not the most flattering reference for the formerly Hefty; Aria barfily wishes it read SAVE THE PLANET -- but Spencer says it was the only choice besides JESUS IS COMING, LOOK BUSY, which is probably worse if you're Hanna and you have to wear it around school. Emily's mom would probably love it though. Probably that would crack her right up.
About five seconds after affixing the sticker, Hanna peels it off to check if the message is still there. Astonishingly, it is, which sets her off again into last week's freakout. I don't know what she thought would have changed in those five seconds, but also she's on major pain pills. Other things that don't make sense: We learn she's been in the hospital for three weeks. Three weeks! Considering last week was the night she went into the hospital and it ended with the text-by-leg, I guess those three weeks took place at least partially after the message appeared? I'm just glad she's okay after her slow-motion lazy river ride over the top of a stolen car. Emily thinks it's cute that Lucas brought Hanna a panda bear, because creepy stalkers hated by the entire town are her favorite kind of people.
They leave Hanna alone for a second to bring her stuff in, and she goes looking for carbs and ends up finding her mom's stolen money in an old box of dry lasagna noodles. The most intriguing thing, besides the sheer amount of cash, is that they are like, filed between the noodles. Noodle, stack of bills, noodle, like that. Hanna's mom is secretly the most interesting person. Also, A texts her the second she finds the noodles, because A can do anything and sees everything as it's happening and right now A is standing over your shoulder watching you read this on the computer. Don't turn around.
The Liars come back to see Hanna looking shocked and holding the lasagna box to her bosom like a starchy baby, and they remind her that she doesn't have to keep a brave face on. After all, she's being stalked by at least two people in addition to the person that kidnapped her best friend, and one of them ran her over with a car: Hanna has it hard, in many ways. She tells them to leave and Spencer kisses her forehead and then I guess she takes a nap or just stands there staring at the noodles and being high, because her mom comes in after the jump with a bunch of like body pillows and slankets so she'll be comfy on the couch. Hanna looks even lovelier than usual in this scene. Also, her mom has got a rocking body. It comes as a surprise every time I see it.