Suddenly, Ezra's mounting an all-school performance of The Bad Seed, so of course Spencer spends the entire episode in braids and Aria spends the entire time trying to be his secretary stage manager. Thanks to his beer date with Byron, Ezra's suddenly realizing that he's dating a child, and that that child will eventually outgrow him. Things rapidly deteriorate -- in front of the cast and crew -- as Aria loses her mind over all this static, but a quick blabbering speech about living for the moment rescues them both and they recommit to their dumb relationship once again.
After an abortive attempt to get Ashley on board with him living there, Hanna ends up in the shower with Caleb through the usual contrivances. Though nothing happens, she spends the next two days treating him like crap, since she's only ever dated Sean, and Caleb is no Sean. The power imbalance between basement-owner and basement-dweller sends them both off their respective axes, but Caleb's steady charm eventually pulls Hanna back into the light, and they finally make out.
One thing Caleb can't do, however, is hack Jenna's futuristic blind-person phone, so we still don't know what "214" is all about. Spencer uses her pull with poor old Toby to get it out of her house, and then to sneak it in again. Meanwhile, Jenna tries to bond with her over Toby's new relationship with Spencer, because "sympathetic lesbian cheerleader" is so much like "blind incest torturer" that it's uncanny.
Emily and Toby mostly fix their relationship, but Spencer's still the one on top -- and seems more and more interested in him as a boy all the time. Of course, all of this is threatened in a whole new way once a strange relationship between Jenna and Ian is revealed. I'm guessing that's what 214 will still be about, and frankly I couldn't be happier: Somehow, it feels like a Jenna/Ian hookup would sorta combine all the Liars' secrets into one huge ball of nasty.
Everybody flashes back to this one frat party where they saw Ian heading upstairs with a drunk girl who was not Melissa; later, that same girl came tumbling down the stairs. Of course they assume that Ian did it, Spencer's now having nightmares about the forthcoming devil baby, it's all about Ian... So when A plants a golfing trophy from the summer of Ian and Alison's romance in Hilton Head, with what looks like blood on it, the Liars finally take evidence straight to the cops. Of course, it's rat blood (A keeps rats named after the four girls!) and the trophy is a fake, so the cops yell at them a whole lot.
But between Ian protesting to Spencer that Alison was stalking him, and Aria's sudden brainstorm that they lost track of Alison at the party, the new theory is that Alison was a serial killer that blinded people and threw them down the stairs for getting in her way. (Of course, the Kissing Rock video shows that Ian is lying and was totally into making out with Alison, but it's a delicious red herring and could still be true anyway.)
Never would have thought they 'd get that much mileage out of discussing that particular play -- no matter how obviously relevant the subject matter is, for this show -- but the themes and glancing references are kick-ass (and provide way more comedic moments than you'd expect, particularly for Hanna, Mona and even Jenna). No idea what's happening next week, but it'll have to focus on Emily and Spencer, right? Which means more Toby and Jenna stuff, at the least. And hopefully more of this "Bad Seed Alison" concept, which could take things to a whole new level if it continues.
Heading into the homestretch has never been so unnerving, and the revelations are getting tighter and more complex and creepy as it goes. This week in particularly was a good showing: A very clever script, with lots of things that needed to be said finally coming out, big new twists, and strong performances, from Hale and Thompson particularly. See you next week for what will most likely be the first in a line of three very intense episodes to close out the season.
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In addition to teaching a graduate-level year-long course in The Great Gatsby, Ezra Fitz is also mounting a production of The Bad Seed -- used to brilliant and unusual effect in this week's script -- so of course all the Liars, even Mona and Jenna, are totally going to try out. They discuss the basics of the play in such a way that there's no exposition but you remember the basic deal, and Hanna gets awesome immediately: "Why do I have to read the whole play? I don't wanna be the Bad Seed's mother, I want the other mother -- the one who's drunk all the time."
Even the other girls are impressed by how hilarious that one was, and we do some quick reminders of where everybody's at: Hanna's boarding a Cyberwolf in her basement, Mona is a selfish bitch, Aria gave her boyfriend/their teacher a necktie he is currently wearing, Spencer finds this amusing because older dudes are kind of her thing, and everybody wants to be involved in this play but most especially Aria, because she is a stalker of Ezra. Oh, and Spencer is now Toby's only friend even though Emily is the one that domesticated him in the first place, because Emily has a new crazy person to deal with but also because Spencer and Toby are obvs going to smooch sometime soon.
So then creepy Jenna shows up and her deal is that she would like to compose some creepy flute music for the play, because she loves The Bad Seed, because she is the creepiest person that ever lived: "It's one of my favorites, the theme is so inspiring. I'm fascinated by the Nature Of Evil!"
Who says that? Creepsters. (And but thanks for the only truly heavy-handed thing in this episode, the way everybody keeps having these meaningful conversations about the Nature Of Evil like that's something actual people would actually converse about.)
All the girls have chills and wigginses for the rest of the day, and the creepiness of Jenna follows them home to the point where Spencer -- wearing both in dreams and reality the skinniest of Bad-Seed pigtails -- dreams that Ian and Melissa's devil baby has been born and is crawling around downstairs in her house, picking up knives and cooking all scary like her dad, and going Mama! at the worst possible times. (In the play, Rhoda's biological mother was a serial killer.)
Finally Spencer wakes up, and Ian's down there taping boxes closed and opening other boxes and stuff, memorabilia -- golf trophies covered in rat blood, the usual stuff -- and when he asks for her help it's in a threateningly unthreatening way: "It's a tape gun, Spence. You won't get hurt."