"Pretty Little Liars" Episode 4 Recap: My Sister's Keeper
I ended last week’s recap with a prediction that “A” would be back with a vengeance in this week’s episode, “Birds of a Feather,” and now, seven days later I return to you to say, as humbly as possible – I TOLD YOU SO.
“A” ventured from their usual platform of cellular harassment to a homicidal power play, forcing one of our little liars into a devastating breakup. If this proves anything, it is that “A 2.0” was right, Mona’s games were child play, this player is out for blood. How can the girls cope with such a violent attack? Read on, my friend, read on.
The episode opened with a cute little chitchat in the local café, except on this show, chitchatting means less style and makeup and more suspects and Melissa. M’s size 2 figure has the liars speculating that she is their Black Swan, plus or minus a few months of fake pregnancy. The theorizing is interrupted by Spencer’s brother-from-another-mother Jason, (as in DiLaurentis, the product of a Daddy Hastings & Mommy DiLaurentis affair many years ago) who is back in Rosewood (where did he go again?) and furious at Mrs. Hastings for defending the man who murdered his sister. Jason has decided to take the whole investigation into his own hands with a series of fliers offering $50,000 for any information about Ali’s missing body. That’s not a terrible idea or anything. Right on cue, “A” takes advantage of the general rash behavior and questionable intelligence of Rosewood residents and hits the girls with this charming message – “Imagine what I could do with fifty grand.” Uh oh.
Later, as Mrs. Hastings pours over newspaper clippings about Ali’s murder, Spencer asks for her legal opinion on Jason’s reward scheme. Mama Hastings is happy to play along with it, because if he does find out who took Ali’s body, that’s probably who killed her as well, getting Garrett off the hook. But she knows that likely all Jason will get is a bunch of liars, trying to scam him out of his money.
The next day at school, Aria confides in Hanna that her father is going out on a date with Meredith that night, and she is afraid of how this information might affect her mother. Hanna advises her to tell her mother before someone else does, and, typical Aria, she ignores these wise words completely. Instead, Aria tries to gently push her mother into a social life, a girls’ night out, a dinner with her daughter, really anything but the homebody life she is living now. Ella won’t budge… for now.
Later, Hanna is turned away at the hospital when she tries to visit Mona. Apparently little miss crazy went and got her visitation privileges revoked. Back at home, Hanna calls in a favor to Wren to see if he can devise a way to get her in. As Wren promises to keep her updated, Caleb walks in with a much more promising offer – 10th row tickets to Bon Iver. Hanna cannot even muster semi-convincing excitement. Seriously Hanna? Tenth. Row. Bon. Iver. I know she’s preoccupied with Mona and whatnot, but come on. Hanna complains about not being allowed to see Mona any more because she went crazy after some guy went to visit her. Hanna blames Lucas, but Caleb, ever the way-too-good guy, fesses up. Hanna flips a new one on him and they argue, argue, argue. They argue about Wren. They argue about Mona. They argue about privacy vs. protection. It was all very awful to watch. Finally, Caleb throws the tickets on the ground and storms out. He’s really running out of patience with Hanna’s shenanigans.
Speaking of shenanigans, Hanna decides the best way to cool down from her blow out with Caleb is to meddle in someone else’s love life. Namely, the Ex-Mrs. Montgomery. Hanna and Aria peruse a sea of single grape-headed men (think Uncle Fester) for Ella and discuss whether or not to tell Caleb about “A 2.0.” Aria says she would tell Ezra in that situation, but Hanna is still unsure. With the help of Mrs. Marin, the girls set up a profile for Ella on a less Rogaine-needy site under the username HOTMAMA. That’s definitely going to go well.
In other parts of town, Emily starts work at a local coffee shop, learning the difference between an Americano and a tall half-skinny half-1 percent extra hot split quad shot latte with whip (which, according to Starbucks execs is the most complicated drink order ever)… actually not really, but she did learn that young blonde girls like gluten-free biscotti. When a dashing young man named Nate comes to find her, she learns that he is A) Maya’s cousin and B) very interested in getting to know her. After work, Em meets up with the scholarly Nate (actually, we’re not sure if he’s super smart, but those glasses did wonders to make him appear so) and they discuss Maya’s death, and how Emily never got to say goodbye. He gives her a gift from Maya delivered shortly after the funeral – a tank top for the movie they went to see on their first date. So sweet, but so eerie at the same time. It’s almost like Maya knew she was going to die.
Back at school, Spencer catches up with Jason (presumably there to put up more fliers) to see if he is ok. No, he’s really not. The police didn’t handle Ali’s murder well, and he doesn’t trust them with this either. Then he drops this gem on her, “I can tell if someone’s lying, can you?” Spencer clearly picks up the hints towards her family and asks why he thinks her mother took the case. Is it Melissa? All Jason will say is that Mrs. Hastings “has an agenda that has nothing to do with criminal defense.”
Hanna stealthily tries to sneak into the hospital to see Mona, and almost succeeds, if not for Detective Wilden (the dirty cop who had an affair with her mother in season one) there on a court order to question Mona. Wren catches Hanna snooping around and brings her coffee while they wait the interrogation session out. When it’s been over an hour, Hanna gets desperate and asks Wren if there is any way he can sneak her in there. After getting reprimanded for extending her visiting hours last week, the answer is a certain no. Wren claims he never told her about that little snafu because she had enough to worry about, but I think something else is brewing between these two.
While Hanna is having difficulty keeping any of her male friendships in the strictly platonic zone, Emily and Nate are getting on just fine. They meet up again and bond over bittersweet memories of Maya. A deceased cousin/ girlfriend should be an awkward basis of a friendship, but in this case, it seems to work… for now. Em wants to send Maya’s parents a thank you note, and when she meets with Nate again to return his book (did he leave it on purpose?), he offers to mail it for her. A genuinely nice gesture? Possibly. But on this show, trust is for the foolish.
The girls powwow at Spencer’s, which ends up turning into a blame-Melissa-free-for-all, leaving Spencer more desperate than ever to figure out what her sister’s up to. S doesn’t want to believe that Melissa could hurt her friends, or that she would have any reason to. They resolve to stage an operation in Philadelphia – while Spencer meets up with and distracts Melissa, Emily, Hanna, and Aria will rifle through her apartment to locate medical records and determine whether or not she was the mysterious Black Swan. Overzealous for some real CIA role-play, the girls head into Melissa’s apartment before Spencer gives the signal. Their covers are almost blown when Melissa returns to the apartment for her wallet… that is in the closet…where the girls are hiding…like 2 inches away. After the coast is clear they find a garment bag from a costume shop, empty except for a single black feather.
While their daughters are playing spy in Philadelphia, Mrs. Marin proves just how terrible an operative she would be as she spills to the Ex-Mrs. Montgomery all about her new dating profile. They bond over being divorced, and the adjustment period that comes afterward. Ella isn’t quite ready for dating yet, but she doesn’t close the account either. Baby steps.
Back in Rosewood, Spencer returns home to find Melissa chilling in the dark with a giant, lethal looking kitchen knife. She was “cooking dinner.” Who cooks dinner in the dark? Spencer doesn’t occupy herself with these small discrepancies and gets right to the point, she knows Melissa was the Black Swan, and she knows she didn’t lose her baby in June. Melissa breaks down in tears and confesses. She lost the baby the day after they found Ian’s body. The loss of her husband and her baby was too much to take, so she faked it. With her life being played out in the papers, the last thing she wanted was for everyone to find out about that too. Fine, but why was she at the masquerade ball? Right then, Mrs. Hastings walks in and says this is something she wants to know too.
Completely busted, Melissa tells her mother and sister that there was a box outside her apartment door with the costume and a note telling her to go to the ball and distract Jenna or her fake pregnancy would be revealed. She played along, but when she saw Spencer and her friends there was overwhelmed with guilt and ran away. She assumed it was Mona who sent her the note since she was taken away that night and no other notes came. Melissa, apparently fatigued by all the truths she is telling, excuses herself to go lie down and Spencer takes this opportunity to turn the tables on her mother. Mrs. Hastings admits that Daddy Hastings and Garrett also knew about the fake pregnancy, but still won’t say why she took the case. When Spencer threatens to leave, she finally divulges the truth – Garrett’s defenders were going to call the P.I. they hired to follow Melissa as a witness, basically incriminating her for Ali’s murder. The only way to defend her daughter is to defend Garrett.
Meanwhile, “A” terrorizes Hanna with a picture message of a Montecito EMT standing in front of a car crash with the message “I’m everywhere, Hanna.” Caleb arrives at his girlfriend’s room and tells her that his mother got in a car accident in Montecito. He said she felt like someone was trying to run her off the road. Wow, “A” is taking this revenge scheme pretty far if they are willing to hurt someone Hanna has never even met. Shaken, she reneges on her plan to tell Caleb the truth about “A.” He gets angry, knowing that she is lying to him but unable to understand why. Hanna remains silent. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Hanna is powerless as Caleb breaks up with her.
Taking a walk after family fun time, Spencer runs into Jason on his front porch. He tells her that he is calling off the reward. He has received over 200 calls, and realizes that it’s all just lies. Spencer says this is why she is looking forward to going to college, to get out of Rosewood and the whole stigma of Ali’s tragedy. Jason says college won’t help, “you can leave Rosewood, but Rosewood will never leave you.” As Spencer departs her half-brother, reminding him that the truth always comes out, he writes out a $50,000 check to pay to cash, and arranges to meet someone in a parking lot in 20 min. The night gets progressively creepier as Spencer is stopped on her walk by Detective Wilden inquiring how long it takes to get to her parent’s lake house. He’s letting her know that, despite their greatest evasive efforts, the girls are suspects in Ali’s murder/disappearance once again.
At the end of the episode, we see “A” in the Montecito airport, stirring a drink and hacking the hospital’s system to give Mona visitor access once again.
“Pretty Little Liars” is taking a break next week, giving us plenty of time to mull over all of Tuesday night’s developments. Who told Jason what? Did that information incriminate the girls? Is “A”, now seen twice with alcohol, over 21? Or do they have a really good fake? If “A” was in Montecito, who is meeting Jason? What’s Toby been up to for the past two weeks?
So many questions! Check out the promo below to see what kinds of trouble Jenna stirs up in two weeks when her secret sight is revealed!
Reach reporter Kelly Hanelt here.