After Ali's reappearance and subsequent re-disappearance, the Liars regroup: Their suspect list for her stalker is at a record low, with everyone on it either dead, on the run, or swiftly going blind. Mona's bought Jenna's car, which even she acknowledges as being impressively creepy, but her big move this week is trying to corner Ezra about his secrets, the better to redeem herself and/or manipulate the girls once again. She's not planning on his sudden twist into crazy -- despite the warning signs of his latest curriculum based on Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde -- and bounces with a quickness once he meets her characteristic intensity with some serious scariness of his own.
Speaking of decisions involving Ezra, Aria puts on her craziest dress in a while and -- as Jake's out of town -- decides to accompany her ex to a mysterious pied-à-terre with a hidey-hole in the floorboards, and they hook up. If this is Aria spinning out, I like it. As much as I like Jake, I like even more the idea of her resuming this dance of death with her eyes pretty much open. Ezra, for his part, seems fairly stuck between honestly loving her and then whatever his deal is with being A, so that ends up being pretty sympathetic too, oddly enough. Frankly he's gonna need all the help he can get if he thinks Mona can't chew up and spit out his entire ass in the time it takes him to do one adorable pushup.
Jessica DiLaurentis is in fine form this week, upgrading her Alison shrine and taking mystic dream messages from her dead daughter's ghost that tell her to get drunk with Ashley Marin and offer her a job selling real estate. (Because obviously Ashley has a real estate license. You should have already guessed that by now.) Hanna's perturbed, of course, but way more affected by Caleb's abrupt arrival and their near-instant breakup so he can go back to Ravenswood. It's epic, actually: First their relief to be together again, then her bonkers attempt to make him stay -- even Ashley's kind of amazed at her determination to straight go down in flames -- but then her eventually graceful acceptance of his secret reasons, and finally Caleb's tearjerking solo breakdown on his way out of town.
Free from the mess of boys at least until that cute cowboy shows back up, Hanna's brain concentrates itself on rocking the hell out, as she pulls massive moves left and right: First, she contacts a quartet of girls in a nearby town whose own version of Alison could very well be the person in Alison's grave. Then she produces a stolen diary that will be driving events for the near future, in which Alison recorded cryptic stories in a code all her own. A bad episode for poor Hanna in some ways, but when even Spencer is marveling at your innovative problem-solving techniques, that makes it pretty good too. While the corpse-double idea is a no-go in terms of solving the mystery, it does provide grist for a couple of other mills, namely:
Emily seems to be carrying the "fuck Alison for not being dead" torch for the group, so she has a tough time of it. While they're all pretty annoyed at her after three and a half seasons of this shit, only Emily has (of course) truly major beef. After she connects with one of the doubles over their shared hatred of the dead girls in the center of their lives, she comes clean to a marvelously supportive Paige about her real deal with Alison. It's pretty heartbreaking, but also super neat to have it all out on the table like that.
Spencer and Toby concentrate on his mother's suicide, eventually producing Wilden's altered report about the incident for the glamorous woman that heads the healthcare company that owns Radley Sanitarium. While Toby just wants justice, Peter -- happy about anything that'll distract his daughter from investigating the latest weirdness out of his erstwhile lover Jessica D. -- pushes them to bring down Radley for good, which sets off all of Spencer's radar like usual. His reasons for wanting to shut the place down are his own, of course, but it's interesting how steadfast she's being, against all advice from the men in her life, about not letting the old place go until she's beaten it.
Next week: While Spencer investigates the connection between Peter and Jessica -- and presumably his interest in shutting down Radley -- the Liars delve into the diary's secrets. Seems everything in there is encoded, so the stories Alison told, getting more and more intense as they go, could be about anything or anyone. Hopefully Mona and Ezra don't waste any time getting to round two, though, because that shit was spectacular.
For helping Ashley Marin A kidnapped Mona, leading the Liars to Ravenswood, where Hanna left Caleb to babysit the doomed Miranda Collins -- and Alison and CeCe revealed themselves as dueling Redcoats. Detective Wilden died after blackmailing the B-Team and former NAT Clubbers, and altering the records of Toby's mother's death at Radley Sanitarium. After searching for Alison in the hopes of protecting her from A+ -- "Boardshorts," whom The Grunwald intimated was none other than Ezra himself -- the Liars returned to Alison, to find her standing around and being vague as per usual.
Liars: "So I wonder where Alison's been this whole time? Why can't she come back yet? Let's go over the facts. Somebody buried Ali in the ground, The Grunwald dug her up like a carrot, and then she vanished. Why not call the cops?"
Spencer: "Because all the cops in this town are rapists?"
Aria: "Plus she was a thug. Calling the cops is the last thing she would, she hated those motherfuckers."
Emily: "Why am I not happy about Alison being alive? It feels like I'm pissed!"
Liars: "Oh, thank God. I thought it was just me."
Spencer: "Stop talking about feelings. We can parse through our feelings later. Like when we're old and not being stalked by ninjas and ghosts and dolls."
Liars: "Is it possible she was A the whole time? Nah. Even for this show that's ridiculous. But then who is she so afraid of?"
Toby: Not actually on the A-Team, just for pretend. Not dead. Mom probs.
Lucas: Not actually on the A-Team, just for like a second. miss u bb.
Mona: Has her own weird deal going on. Possibly we are all figments of her fevered imagination, which is worrisome, but she's not A in any meaningful way.
Shana: Guilty of being a bitch, but that's it. Of her main skills -- swimming, violining, costumery -- only the last would be of use anyway.
Jenna: Never let it be said that she can't go straight to hell, but no.
CeCe: On the run after killing a cop like the snake-stomping OG that she is.
Boardshorts: Wears a size-eleven shoe somehow but has the childlike frame of a Bel Ami twink. Probably A, no longer a babydaddy, definitely a statutory rapist, but nobody we're going to find out about any time soon.