"Pretty Little Liars" Episode 2 Recap: In Plain Sight
And just when you thought it was safe to open your curtains again…
Despite the influx of fake “A” messages the girls had been receiving over the summer (i.e. “Show me your boobs –A”), last week’s finale was no practical joke. “A” is back. Or, an “A” is back. Or multiple “A’s”? Judging by the clues laid out for us in this week’s episode, “Blood is the New Black,” it is more likely than ever that the force behind this teenage terrorism is, in fact, a team.
And while the term “A Team” might bring up obvious references to the 80’s TV show, or, more in the liar’s generation – the 2010 movie with Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper, what it represents for the show is a blank slate. Before Mona took the ultimate fall for “A’s” shady shenanigans last season, there were countless other suspects one by one crossed off the list for their inability to enact some of “A’s” crimes. But now, the search is starting anew. And after Tuesday night’s episode, one popular suspect for “A” is looking guiltier than ever. Let’s dive in.
The episode opened in Mrs. Montgomery’s English class, where the little liars were learning about a play called “Hedda Gabler” whose main character is described on CliffNotes as “a morbidly self-vindictive, destructive virago, capable only to strike out against the successful socially conforming individuals who represent an implicit reproach to her uninformed cravings.” Sound familiar? After reaching into her bag and pulling out a bracelet made of teeth, Emily freaked out and ran out of class. Aria, Spencer, and Hanna followed and they met up in the bathroom to hash out all the dental details. Are these Ali’s teeth? Is this evidence against “A” or against us? Should we give it to the police? Where should we hide it? The answer to the last one is irrelevant since the bracelet fell into the toilet and the motion activated flush washed away the morbid accessory before they could retrieve it. This taunt from “A” pushes Hanna to pledge to keep up her visits with Mona and likewise Spencer with Garrett. These little liars aren’t going down without a fight.
Nor is Meredith, apparently. Remember Meredith? The college student that Mr. Montgomery had an affair with? The affair that Aria knew about and hid from her mother until “A” forced it out of her last season? Yeah, well, that Meredith is now applying for the open English teaching position. The position left open by Ezra? It would be only too ironic. After a catty confrontation in the hallway, Aria vented to her aforementioned boyfriend about the wrongness of her mother having to see the woman who destroyed their marriage everyday.
Keeping up her end of the bargain, Spencer returns to the jail to try and get more information out of Garrett. He still won’t budge without a guarantee that Mrs. Hastings will defend him in court. All Garrett teases Spencer with is that 1) What was taken from Ali’s grave would have proved his innocence, and 2) Someone has been playing Spencer and her friends for fools… “People lie but medical records don’t.” Could this mean Jenna, who after a conspicuous absence last episode was back at school acting “blinder than last year”?
After blowing off Caleb by lying and saying she was spending time with her mother, Hanna traipsed up to the hospital to visit Mona. Hanna probes Mona for information on who else has come to see her. Her boyfriend, Noel Kahn? (For those of you who think Noel’s out of this mystery for good, think again. Episode 9 is named “The Kahn Game.” Any guesses what that means?) Has anyone come to visit her? At this point Mona silently makes creepy-as-hell eye contact with Hanna, setting her off like a lunatic. Hanna screams that if she ever told the police that Mona tried to run her over that she would be in jail. She made Hanna’s life a nightmare and Hanna still let her off easy. “YOU OWE ME!!!” Hanna screamed, and threw a chair at the unresponsive Mona. Wren came in to break it up and told Hanna she needed to leave. Once she was ushered out, Mona stared down at Hanna’s guest bracelet she ripped off and threw in the trash. Uh oh. That might be incriminating Ms. Rivers.
Afterwards, Wren comforted Hanna out in the hallway, explaining that he understood her desire to punish Mona. He once threw a bowl of soup at his father. That’s right. Wren’s dad was in the “nuthouse” too, giving him the perfect perspective to help Hanna through her grief. Or ambiguous loss, as he termed it. Ambiguous loss is when there is a death without a body. Hanna is mourning the Mona she did know as much as the Mona she didn’t.
Meanwhile, Emily met up with Ezra at a local restaurant. Wait, doesn’t something seem wrong with this picture? I thought he had a thing for Aria? Haha, no no no. After missing the entire month of April, Em is in serious danger of being held back a year if she doesn’t pass her makeup exams in the coming weeks. Aria insisted that she let Ezra tutor her for her English exam since she needs the help and he needs something to do. I’m liking the mix and match up of different characters this season, Hanna and Wren, Emily and Ezra, why can’t they all be friends? As if Emily wasn’t feeling uncomfortable enough, not sure whether to call him Ezra, or Mr. Fitz, he had to go and make it more awkward by offering his condolences about Maya.
The next day at school, “A” targets Aria by leaving an envelope with an earring in her locker. Flashback to two years ago, when Aria and Ali were searching her dad’s office for evidence of his continued affair with Meredith. When Ali found a pair of earrings in the sofa, Aria was outraged and consented to Ali’s plan to trash the office and frame Meredith, making her look like a “vindictive, home-wrecking bunny boiler.” When Mrs. DiLaurentis let each of the girls put a keepsake in Ali’s casket, these earrings are what Aria chose. Those may have not been Ali’s teeth, but whoever “A” is, they definitely had Ali’s body.
As Aria is leaving school that day, she is stopped by Jenna, who recognized her by her RINGTONE. If that’s not creepy and damning, I don’t know what is. Jenna wants Aria to accompany her in a music recital, and invites her over to learn the piece. Aria lies and says she needs to help her dad with some things and she doesn’t really have the time. She bails and says her dad is waving at her from across the street. Little does she know that Jenna can literally SEE her lie.
Later that evening, Spencer is confronted by her furious mother, who has discovered her jailhouse visits with Garrett and demands that they stop immediately. Spencer lies and says she has only been visiting for Emily’s sake, to find out if he was related to Maya’s murder. After accusing her mother of treating her like a hostile witness, Spencer inquires whether her mother actually believes Rosewood is safe now because one bad man is locked up. Her mother warns Spencer that if she keeps visiting Garrett, people will start to believe that she is his friend on the outside, the one that stole Ali’s body.
Meanwhile, Hanna and Caleb finally got to have their romantic dinner; only problem is that she is seriously distracted, constantly checking her phone and the clock. When Caleb finally asks enough, Hanna reveals she was planning to go see Mona at the hospital. Caleb is confused at Hanna’s sudden desire to see her ex-best friend. But she covers up by throwing out the term “ambiguous loss” which she learned on “Google”… yeah, suuurrreee. Caleb, however, has no reason to doubt his girlfriend and says he will accompany her to the hospital tomorrow.
Home alone late at night (never a good combination on this show) Aria gets a text from “A” – “Daddy needs to know. Or I let the other one go. To the police. ‘Night-night. – A”. Good thing this incarnation has a knack for rhyming right? I mean, if you were getting stalked and threatened by an anonymous psycho, wouldn’t you want their messages to sound like a Doctor Seuss book? Either way, Aria played by the rules and owned up to her father the next morning. He was outraged. She was already on thin ice with him for her relationship with Ezra, so this definitely didn’t help. He harshly told her that they both owed Meredith an apology, and he would not cover for her, she needed to apologize herself.
When Aria met Meredith at a restaurant after school, she reluctantly proceeded to apologize, only to be met with contempt from Meredith, who thanked Aria for bringing her and Mr. Montgomery closer together again. They’re having lunch the next day. Ouch. Aria tried to return Meredith’s earring, promising that she’ll give back the other one when she finds it, but Meredith insisted the earring did not belong to her. Hmmmm.
Back at school, Emily followed Ezra’s advice and listened to music before her exam – the same way she prepped for a swim meet. The test was going well until she saw the girl in front of her clasp her hair back, triggering a memory of Jenna doing the same thing when she abducted Emily. Needless to say, this frazzled the already unsure Em, and she failed to complete her exam. Recognizing that there was something seriously bothering Emily, Mrs. Montgomery finished taking the exam for her. But don’t look now – “A” was creeping outside her door, all but guaranteeing that this secret will come out in weeks to come.
Considering how furious Mrs. Hastings was at Spencer’s visits with Garrett, imagine the look on Spencer’s face when she discovered that her mother was visiting him too… as his lawyer. Spence waited out Mommy dearest and tried one last time to get info out of Garrett. He shut her out completely, saying his lawyer told him not to speak to anyone else. But Mrs. Hastings thought he was a guilty man just 24 hours ago! What did he say to change her mind?
Proving that she is a relentless friend, Hanna visited Mona again. While Caleb waited outside, Hanna decided to return the favor for Mona, by giving her a makeover. When she was finally done, Mona looked like someone she, and all of us, recognized again. Without throwing chairs or temper tantrums, Hanna explained to Mona that she knows there is still a person in there, and that she might be hurt but she is not the only one. Hanna told Mona she was not the first person to hurt her, and she won’t be the last. And then… “You’re getting them again, aren’t you? The texts.” Mona spoke. She acknowledged “A” (sort of). Hanna finally broke through to her. But just then, Caleb came to the door and told her it was time to go. Promising that this isn’t over, and she will return, Hanna left. Once gone, Mona pulled out a pair of tweezers that she presumably stole from Hanna and pricked herself in the finger, marveling at the red bead of blood that emerged.
While Hanna was still visiting with Mona, Wren came around to make casual conversation with Caleb in which he told him that 1) This was far from Hanna’s first visit, 2) She had confided in him about her feelings about the Mona situation, and 3) she was suffering from ambiguous loss. Seriously, Wren? Only on a TV show can a casual conversation upon first meeting reveal three of a person’s guarded secrets. Why couldn’t they just talk about the weather?
The next day at school, the girls powwowed in the bathroom to discuss all their latest discoveries. Emily shared her discovery that Jenna was the one who abducted her, but was met by doubt. Seeing as she kept calling Aria “Arlene” that night, they doubt her rendition of events is the soundest. Seeing that Jenna was heading straight for their headquarters, Spencer placed “Meredith’s” earring right above the sink and they hid in the stalls to observe. Jenna took the bait and picked up the earring, removed her sunglasses, and stared at it. Now, if she could see that earring, how could she not see four girls crammed into the stalls looking at her? Oh well. The girls all had different ideas about what to do with this newfound information. While Aria opted to rent out a billboard that says “BITCH CAN SEE”, Spencer insisted they hold onto the secret until the time is right.
In “PLL’s” classic final scene, we see “A”, decked out in a red hoodie, picking up some leather gloves and a couple of black hoodies that the cashier thinks are fit for a team. While that speculation might be premature, (remember the whole closet of hoodies Mona had?), I’m just glad “A” is ditching the red. This mystery was going to be a whole lot simpler if our caped creeper was stalking around in looking like The Flash.
Next week, as Mona starts talking, the girls discover just how little they really know. Watch the promo below.
Or, keep yourself entertained between episode by checking out the deets on each episode's style here.
Reach Staff Reporter Kelly Hanelt here.