Mona's not back at Rosewood High for more than like first period before she ends up brandishing a knife -- attached to a cow brain, no less -- down the hallway, which is a great way to start your third life of high school. But by the time the big town marathon rolls around, she's got an It Gets Better-type video online that somehow has created a sort of cult of personality around her apparent "authenticity," which in high school -- or the '90s -- is code for "fascinatingly, dramatically and above all inauthentically fucked up." Needless to say, the Liars are conflicted about her, but strongly leaning towards hate, because that is mainly what they are about right now.
Acknowledging that they'll need some time to forgive her for brutally murdering everybody they know and putting them into constant PTSD for like no reason, Mona (if it was Mona, which I think it was) decides her first act of charity will be to blow up Aria's dad's girlfriend Meredith, who's now teaching at the school. The girls are mostly unimpressed (blowing people up is so two years ago) and then the stunt drives a further wedge between Aria and Byron -- especially after the new school janitor turns out to be in possession of Alison's diary, which contains the final proof that all that cash of Alison's came from blackmailing Byron in the first place, which confirms Dead Garrett's story and also makes Byron Suspect Uno.
Wait, new janitor? Yeah. That guy I liked so much, the one that ran Mona's motel, is now a janitor who doesn't seem to remember any of the Liars, but is obsessed with Mona and helping her adjust to life on the outside. Also helping her? Her new secret boyfriend, Spencer's (and Alison's) half-brother Jason DiLaurentis! But that's not all -- the sole surviving member of the NAT Club (Jenna's gone for the time being) is also the person who nearly killed Aria on the Terror Train, based on the gaping hole she left in his leg. Poor Spence! Jason's like the only other person she likes!
Emily spends the episode locked in her room for the most part, thanks to Dad Panic after Garrett's death and the train fiasco, not to mention her entire horrible awful life. She makes the most of things by texting and lounging around in sultry poses for a while, and then, for no reason, hacking his phone and sneaking out of the house -- to then do nothing, as far I can tell -- but it provides a counterpoint to Aria's own bizarre dad problems. Of which there are many, considering A is now putting the screws to her about Ezra's secret baby that he doesn't know about, which causes her to roam around town stirring up people's daddy issues and generally starting shit everywhere.
Hanna and Caleb finally put to rest their "secret romance" plan, realizing that it was never secret, but Hanna's honestly -- for once -- more concerned about Mona, Lucas and Mona-and-Lucas. The episode starts with Mona just appearing in her room in the middle of the night and asking for backup her first day at school, then Grandma -- BETTY BUCKLEY! RULES! -- urging first compassion (with a truly insane family story she might have made up) and, after seeing Mona's weird videos, urging total shunning because Mona is clearly still bonkers. It's nice to see Hanna trying to keep everybody's spirits up, especially with Aria going super dark these days, but you can tell it's exhausting trying to keep everybody going. In any case, she manages to get everybody through the day alive, as usual.
What else? Toby takes his shirt off a lot. That's always helpful. Oh! There's this crazy balance-of-power A-Team conversation taking place throughout the whole episode that we only ever get glimpses of: Toby tries to run over Lucas, then gets shade from Jason, who is shacked up with Mona, who has A-Team secrets with Lucas, who is avoiding Caleb and the Liars because he can't tell them about the A-Team, who seem split as far as Mona... The whole thing seems like a major power struggle we're only seeing bits of, which is really fun -- especially since you never, ever know what is going on with Toby because he is so freaky, and because who knows who the A-Team even is. Like, one of the As unhinges a random person's bicycle wheel, so the A-Tag is just some poor dude taking a header thanks to random A mayhem. Who did that? Just somebody.
So now the Liars are currently under suspicion for the death of Garrett -- whose mother I thought Hanna killed, or she just died or something, but apparently she's still kicking around -- as well as for bullying Mona, blowing up Meredith and I forget what else, and mostly they just stomp around kicking shit and yelling at each other. A very tense situation, altogether. At one point you can actually see the consternation in Aria's eyes as she refrains from telling Byron, "We only blew up one bitch! ONE! Every other girl that's gotten blown up was not us!"
Next Week: Somebody (named Byron, I bet!) steals the journal pages out of Aria's room, Emily trains her new killer robot house to fight Noel Kahn's killer robot house, Meredith recovers from getting blown up just in time for a showdown with Ella Montgomery, Ashley may or may not be around, Caleb's daddy issues possibly force Aria to do like one proactive goddamn thing, ever, in her life, everybody is scared of Mona some more, we learn all about wonderful Harold the Janitor and probably Pretty Little Ezra does something questionable like always.
Mona's lair was discovered at the Lost Woods Inn, where the Liars established a base and which Spencer eventually duplicated inside her own hyperreality supermatrix. After Mona lost it and went to the Radley Center For Girls Too Awesome For The Public, her accomplice was revealed: Spencer's boyfriend, Toby, whose sister Jenna's reclaimed eyesight is no longer a secret.
Before his murder, Garrett Reynolds revealed that Jenna thinks he killed Alison, which he did not, but that possibly Aria's own father was the culprit. Oh, and his girlfriend (both during the marriage and still today) is teaching at her school. But Aria's problems didn't stop there: In addition to his native sketchinesses, which are myriad, her boyfriend Ezra also has a babymama out there in the world. Emily's girlfriend Maya died, after some time as a guest in Noel Kahn's killer robot house. Hanna's boyfriend Caleb got shot, but he's fine now.
A kid in an A-Team hoodie rides his or her* skateboard through the entire town of Rosewood in the middle of the night. Meanwhile, Mona appears in Hanna's bedroom, acting as usual as if her creeping is totally normal. Why? She is super stressed. About what, you ask? Well, she's a bit concerned about the social stigma of constant murder and torture and mayhem for no real reason while in the grips of an adrenalized hyperreality.
Like, how do you come back from that? Maybe the only thing she didn't think of.
Mona: "Is it a bad time?"
Hanna: "Is there ever a bad time to get roused from a deep sleep by your stalker?"
Mona: "I've been released from Radley..."
Hanna: "In the middle of the night?"
Mona: "...And my parents are forcing me back to Rosewood, which is gonna be so weird..."
Hanna: "Yeah, well. Kill a bunch of people and Dicky Greenleaf the rest of 'em..."
Mona: "It's just scary. Nobody's in my corner."
Hanna: "Are you seriously asking me to bring you on board at this point? Like you're the exchange student from Crazytown and we're all just gonna..."
Mona: "Wren said you stood up for me. Kept me here. He said you were my guardian angel."
Hanna: "First of all, that's in large part due to your cryptic kooky messages and acrostics and the fact that you are A-Team. In addition to our complicated relationship. But the other girls... I mean, shit even happened to Aria at Halloween, which is unprecedented. Emily is weaning herself off Spencer Crazy for the time being, but Aria's gearing up."