"Pretty Little Liars" Summer Premiere: I Know What You Did Last Summer
Wait, haven’t we seen this before?
If any of you thought Tuesday night’s midseason premiere of “Pretty Little Liars” looked awfully familiar, don’t be so quick to write yourself off as a pretty little paranoid – “It Happened That Night” was practically a carbon copy of the pilot, right down to Aria’s date night dress. Consider it a reboot of the show: new “A”, new mystery, same old Rosewood after dark shenanigans.
It played out in a manner reminiscent of the original 1996 “Scream” – exploiting and reinvigorating the classic horror clichés and tropes that it helped establish in the first place. Knowing what was going to happen didn’t make it any less frightening. In fact, the heightened anxiety of watching Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer fall right back into the same cat and mouse game brought the show to a new, profound level of terror. How exactly did a show best known for its style get so startling? Let’s take it from the top…
It’s the end of summer, our fearsome foursome have been separated for months and are reuniting … and imbibing at Spencer’s house before senior year. It’s been five months since Mona was revealed as “A”, since Maya was killed, since Ezria (Ezra + Aria, duh!) were publically outed, and since Garrett was arrested for Ali’s murder. It’s been practically half a year, adequate time for healing and learning to sleep with both eyes closed again, right? Not so for Emily, who spent the summer building houses in Haiti and unlocking her inner Lindsay Lohan to numb the pain of Maya’s death. Clearly she hadn’t gotten as good at drinking as she claimed, because next we saw her, Emily was standing with a shovel in front of Ali’s empty grave. Oops…
After locating Emily in the cemetery, cleaning and burying the shovel, burning Em’s clothes, and leaving a note saying they were at Spencer’s lake house, the girls made good on their alibi and showed just how much they learned from “A” round one. Spencer discovered that someone called Emily from her phone while she was sleeping – i.e. someone was creeping around her house, while Hanna and Aria discovered Lucas roaming around town in the middle of the night. Not sketchy at all, or anything. The next morning, Mrs. Hastings calls to break the news that Ali has gone missing yet again. She’s thankful that the girls were out of town, and therefore out of the plausible range of suspicion this time. Despite Emily’s guilt, the four girls devise a cover up story and make a pact – “last night never happened.” Here we go again…
Having successfully thrown the police off their scent, I would say that life went on as normal, but let’s face it, for these four, normal is about as foreign a concept as sweatpants. Now finally a legal romance, Aria and Ezra made plans to recreate their first “date” (how much can it really be considered a date if a random bathroom hookup is involved?) for their one year anniversary, and I can’t help but wonder if at any time Ezra feels wrong that he is a 23 year old man whose girlfriend is in high school. Hanna has a date of her own, with “Dr. Sullivan.” And by “Dr. Sullivan” I mean MONA. After lying to Spencer and her mother, Hanna ditches shopping to go catch up with her pyscho ex-bestie in the hospital. (Did anyone else catch Hanna almost walking out with that necklace, just as she did with some sunglasses in the pilot?) Mona is absent in all senses but the physical, staring blankly at a wall and seemingly unaware of Hanna’s presence entirely. And while Hanna claims she is visiting for herself, to get answers, the pain in her voice was detectable when she asked Mona, “What did I do to make you hate me so much?”
Turns out Hanna hasn’t been the only one frequenting Mona’s wing of the loony bin, as her alias “Ms. Rivers” is almost blown by none other than Wren. He apparently works there a couple days a month, and I am trying very hard to trust him on this matter. It just seems a little too coincidental. Hanna has no problem with this story and shares her frustrations that it is like Mona doesn’t even know she is there. Right… that is exactly why she is watching you from the crack of her door. I guess some habits die hard.
As the girls return to school, Hanna and Caleb made plans to cook some Dongpo after school. This has absolutely no plot relevance other than my (and Caleb’s) initial disbelief that this is an actual food. But it is, I googled it. Not everyone was quite so pleased to see Hanna – i.e. Lucas, who brushed off her greeting with a withering stare. Not to go all “Star Wars” on you, but in this version, Luke definitely went to the dark side. Seriously, he looked like Pete Doherty. The girls tried to pin his transformation on Jenna’s influence, but since the wicked witch of faking blindness has been gone all summer, it seems Lucas took a nosedive into emo-ism himself.
Suffering from PASD – Post-“A” Stress Disorder, Aria had a panic attack in the bathroom after she got locked in the stall and could see ominous feet pacing back and forth before stopping in front of her stall. All in her mind? Perhaps. But it is more likely that this was just the foreshadowing of hArAssments to come.
Aria had better luck later, as she helped her mom pack (unpack? It wasn’t clear) things up in light of the Montgomery’s definitive divorce. Aria felt guilty about her parents’ split, that it was her relationship with Ezra that ultimately drove them apart. Apparently, Ezra’s name had the Lord Voldemort effect on Mr. Montgomery, upsetting him so much just by mention that he got red in the face and looked constipated. Ella has always been much more open to, though not entirely thrilled with Ezra as a concept, and Aria thanked her mother for allowing her to be the person she wants to be. Awwww.
After being on the receiving end of many “Unknown” calls all episode long, Spencer finally faces picks up for her harasser, only to discover it is Garrett. She meets the ex-police officer in jail, where he warns her that she and her friends aren’t safe and says that he doesn’t know anything about Maya but may know who killed Alison. All he wants from Spencer is her mom’s help, being the best lawyer in the state and all. Tired of threats and people trying to scare her, Spencer walks out of their meeting, but not before Garrett desperately yells that he knows who took the body. In a town like Rosewood, it isn’t smart to go shouting information like that around, so I’ll be curious to see what happens to Garrett in the coming weeks.
The girls’ lake house alibi didn’t keep the cops off their trail for long, as Hanna, Aria, and Spencer are all called in for questioning about that night’s events. As agreed, they stuck to the roasting-marshmallows-at-the-lake-house story and seemingly fooled the police force yet again. Ella chastised Ezra for showing up to the police station, seeing as not too long ago, their relationship was a matter of the law, but Aria convinced the two of them to play nice for the evening and all go eat together.
After a call from Wren saying that Hanna’s visits were helping Mona make drastic improvements (again… potential scheming on his part), Hanna booked it up to go visit yet again. What is that, twice in two days? I think Hanna needs these visits more than Mona to uphold her out-of-control denial about Mona’s psychopathic ways. Mona ran her over with a car! Not exactly BFF material. Regardless, Hanna asked Mona if she wanted her to keep coming, to which Mona wordlessly turned her head and smiled right past Hanna … at a hallucination of Alison. Ok, could we possibly need any more proof? This isn’t her best Winona Ryder “Girl, Interrupted” imitation, Mona really is cray.
Where has Em been all this time? Avoiding her friends and being angsty in the company of none other than Toby – her consistent confidante. They dined and she explained to him that she really isn’t okay, but doesn’t want to burden her friends with all those emotions. Add that to her secret guilt over the Ali’s grave stunt, and Emily is in one hell of a personal crisis. While jogging around town the next morning, Emily is taken aback by the sight of a light blue Chevy and an unknown text saying, “I bet you remember me.” Having learned from mistakes past, Em went straight to her friends about the text, saying she remembers that car from the night she blacked out. And the person who texted her knew she would remember that car. As Aria pointed out, it’s all starting again.
When the girls were all too eager to make Mona the culprit again, Hanna came clean about her secret visits and assured them there was no way she was escaping the hospital. The recent turn of honesty inspired Spencer to show the girls where she has been spending time all summer – “A’s” lair. That’s right, Spencer has been biding her time in the Lost Woods Resort room that Mona operated from during her months as A. But here’s the problem, when Aria, Hanna, and Spencer returned to the hotel room the morning after Maya’s body was found, everything was gone. They know the police didn’t take it because Hanna’s mom and Ezra would have been arrested from the evidence that Mona had. Putting the pieces together from past incidents, the girls realized that Mona was never in this alone. Could her partner in crime have been the mysterious Black Swan? Right at the height of their brainstorm, Spencer’s car alarm went off and the girls went running outside (without the laptop – not smart) to find all the doors of the car open and the interior littered with pictures of the four of them in the cemetery the night Ali’s body went missing. And right on that cue, the noise that gives any “PLL” fan chills – four simultaneous phone alerts. “Mona played with dolls, I play with body parts. Game on bitches – A”
And just like that, in a mimicry of the pilot episode, “PLL” led us all up to the moment we knew was coming – the return of “A.”
Next week, the girls are playing detective when Jenna comes back to Rosewood after a long summer away. Will her secret sight be revealed? Watch a sneak peek of Spencer chatting it up with Garrett below...