“Pretty Little Liars” recap (3.05) — A Prayer for Paige McCullers


At Jenna’s party, the theme of which is Blind Girl Craft Fair Attends a Royal Wedding in Wonkaville, Paige is dressed as a lesbian. So is Nate, actually. My girlfriend has that hat. Both of those hats. Paige watches Emily watch Nate, and there’s suddenly this ticking noise in the background, and Emily’s like, “What’s that ticking noise?” And Paige goes, “My entire person is a hand grenade of neuroses and Cousin Nate just pulled my pin.” She rushes off to skulk and drink in the shadows while Nate meanders over and asks Emily how to get into Jenna’s pants. Emily’s like, “Sorry, you’ll have to ask her brother.”

Back at the rummage sale, Hanna finds herself face-to-sleeve with the jacket Emily was wearing the night she stole Ali’s body. You know it’s an alarming revelation when Hanna skips the text message and goes straight for actual phone. “I thought you burned your grave-robbing clothes,” she hisses at Emily’s voicemail. “Call me back, Liar!”

Aria and Ezra arrive at the party, and Jenna tries to stare a hole through him like she’s some kind of Jason DiLaurentis. Lasers, the whole thing. Ezra is properly unnerved, and she’s like, “Sorry, I didn’t expect you to look so much like Canadian wonderlover Gilbert Blythe.” Aria fully leaves him locked in Jenna’s trackbeam gaze so she can mine Laurel Truckman for information about Lucas.

Paige stumbles into the kitchen where Emily is stacking French macaroons on a plate. She’s like, “Sorry, Paige. I can’t talk to my friends or else I’ll get fired.” And here it comes, y’all. Paige goes, “Oh, right, I guess that’s why it was cool that you were talking to Maya’s cousin Nate. He’s not your friend; he’s YOUR LOVER.” Aria interrupts their quarrel to spill coffee all over Laurel Tuckman’s camera equipment on purpose. Emily’s like, “This room is getting too weird, even for me. Bye.”

Paige follows her out into the party and starts poking around in all of Jenna’s cupcakes, looking for a coconut one, which pleases the birthday girl not at all. She marches over and tells Paige to stop sticking her finger in all the desserts and Paige goes, “TELL COUSIN NATE TO STOP STICKING HIS FINGER IN ALL THE DESSERTS!” (Seriously, though, “I’m not going to stop until I find a coconut!” has got to be my favorite thing anyone has ever said on this show.) Paige Smooth tries to turn her cupcake hysterics into a slow jam with Emily, but falls over an Oompa Loompa and busts her head on a snow globe.

God, I love Paige McCullers. That wild, untamable heart, plagued so long by hard, forbidden thoughts. On fire with jealousy and unspeakable hope. Searching, searching for a balm for her heartache, landing always in the path of the girl who made it all look so easy. So pretty. So right. And always getting it so wrong. Tripping over self-loathing, tripping over public rejection, tripping over her own motives and white hot desire and the bodies of all those dead girls piled up at Emily’s feet.

Emily and Nate drag Paige’s ass to the hospital, where: a) Hanna shows up to give Emily that coat she meant to torch at Spencer’s. b) Spencer sneaks off to Garrett’s mom’s room, where she finds a hidden message in her hospital bracelet. (“April Rose has the answer.”) c) Nate tries to kill Garrett with his bare hands. d) Paige reveals that the flask Emily gave her was full of roofies.

Back at the party, Aria’s coaxes Laurel Tuckman’s studio keys away from her, and bolts on over there to steal Lucas’ stuff. He’s still hurling himself at the door and barking, and for a second, it looks like he’s going to beat her up to get his negatives, but Fitz shows up just in time to scare him away. He’s like, “Aria! Why do you keep leaving me with Jenna! She’s scary! I know you’re just avoiding me because you don’t think I can afford to buy you dinner, but I got another job today, dammit!” They kiss and are adorable and I’m so glad the writers are putting external pressure on them as a couple; it’s so much more believable than their tedious break-up high jinks.

Back at home, Emily is looking up the kind of roofies the doctors found in her flask, because obviously those roofies were leftover from the night of the grave robbery. On the phone with Aria, she describes them as: “Blue pills you can get from a mental institution where they have to sedate teenage Jesuses who flip over card tables.” And at that very moment, Aria pops open one of Lucas’ film canister, and those exact roofies tumble out.

The Risen Mitten is frantically searching through someone’s purse. Photo of Emily, an Altoids container full of weed — hey, that’s Maya’s bag! There’s also a bottle of prescription pills in there. Lord Mona Almighty, who’s going to get poisoned next? My money’s on Aria. LOL, JK! 

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