“Pretty Little Liars” recap 3.13: The Dark Knight Rises

Previously on Pretty Little Liars, Hanna flashed back to the time when Alison flashed back to the time when she murdered her twin sister because she was tired of sharing a Barbie Glam Convertible with her. Later, Alison was murdered by everyone in the greater Philadelphia area who possessed the ability to grasp a field hockey stick. Emily fell in love with Paige, who was summarily kidnapped, bound, gagged, re-closeted, and almost knifed to death by Maya’s former drug camp stalker, Cousin Nate. But Emily killed him instead, so that score, at least, was settled. Hanna tried to stay away from Caleb because her lot in life is to either hit or be hit with a car once every moon cycle, but his hobo hair is like a siren song, and she continued to crash herself against him. Ezra and Aria watched black and white films and took naps and played Yahtzee with Ezra’s neighbors and their main worry was whether or not the produce they were buying from the Rosewood Farmer’s Market was really local and organic. And Spencer was in such hysterics, accusing everyone of everything all the time, that she forgot to notice that A was sticking his P in her V.

It is thundering and lightning at Radley Sanatorium where Mona is singing “Teddy Bear Picnic” and painting a paper mache face and talking about how Halloween is better than Christmas because of the makeup and the monsters. Other A is there wearing his black hoodie and gloves, swaying back and forth to the dulcet tones of Mona’s beautiful singing voice and terrifying monologue. She drips, drips, drips lip-colored paint all over her insane people shoes and remembers her first Halloween costume and the realization she had that dressing up as other people literally transformed her into other people. “Method acting” is what she called it when she was three years old and her parents found her in the backyard in her baby tiger costume eating a dead deer she’d slain with her bare hands. Other A holds out his gloved hand into which Mona deposits some bullets and pills, humming all the while about There’s lots of marvelous things to eat and wonderful games to play / Beneath the trees where nobody sees they’ll hide and seek as long as they please / That’s the way the teddy bears have their picnic.

When a show has been on hiatus, one way to reintroduce your audience to the main characters and previous plots is with clunky expository dialogue about what everyone did over the summer. But because PLL doesn’t bow to convention, their way of immersing us once again into Rosewood’s universe is the Mona melody plus cloaking the Liars in the most Liars-y outfits you’ve ever seen — Aria, just for an example, is dressed like if Lord Licorice quit his life of Candy Land villainy to become a London cabbie — and setting them down in the middle of the road and having a masked menace jump out of a coffin and scare the Vanderweisen out of them. If you’ve never even seen this show, these first three minutes tell you everything you need to know.

Garrett drops off a bouquet of autumnal flowers for his former lawyer and only friend, Veronica Hastings, Esq., which is the first clue that he’s going to die in this episode. Another clue: He looks handsomer and more showered than ever before, and you know PLL has never killed an ugly person. Six episodes ago, he would have dropped off like a potted cactus accented with nightshade and asked Spencer to remind her mom to water it with the blood of dead pixies. He says he wants to talk to Spencer about some Alison things and possibly touch her face/breasts now that there’s no bulletproof glass between them, but Toby shuts that right down when he lets himself in the back door with a scowl on his face and some bullets in his pocket. He cracks his knuckles and clears his throat and Garrett excuses himself. Spencer says she’s having quite a time reconciling her postmodern feminism with Toby’s new alpha male-ism, but that sometimes you don’t know what gets you going until it gets you going, so she’s willing to ride this one out for a minute.

Hanna and Caleb make out in the supply closet at the dentist’s office, which is where they hide from A now. He asks if she’s still going on the Ghost Train without him, and she’s like, “Yes, duh. It’s like the only night of the year when it’s OK for non-children to wear costumes in Rosewood.” Which is, of course, patently false. They canoodle some more and their brains are so clouded by their hormones they convince themselves that this night will be the one night when no Liars die.

At Ezra’s, Aria stares at her costume jewelry-ed reflection for like ten minutes, proving, inexplicably, that she knows how to use a mirror. Apparently, she and Ezra have been keeping their costumes a secret from one another, which seems silly because if you’re telling me he’s never asked her to dress up like Daisy Buchanan, you are a damn liar. You know these two have a rotating repertoire that includes Daisy, Jane Bennet, Lady Galadriel, and Helen of Troy for Aria; and Mr. Darcy, Rhett Butler, Gilbert Blythe and Logan from The Baby-Sitters Club for Ezra. Their secrets come to naught, though, because Ezra’s got a hot tip on ghost-writing an autobiography and the interview can only take place on this hallowed eve. They try to do some sexes, but are interrupted by preschoolers screaming for candy, which: get used to it, Montgomery; you’re a mama now. Aria tends to the trick-or-treaters and Ezra touches his perfect nose on his perfect face and hopes it’s not growing like a Pinocchio due to all the lying lies he’s telling.

Rear Window Brew is the staging ground for the Ghost Train, which is to say that Rear Window Brew is the place where every Liar gets to make a grand entrance in her Halloween costume like an NFL player running out of a foggy tunnel onto a football field to the roar of a million screaming fans. Lucas is dressed like Jimmy Olsen, with the old-fashioned camera and everything, and I have never felt more fond of him than I do right now. When Hanna walks in dressed like Marilyn Monroe, his flashbulbs go off if you know what I mean and I think you do. She, of course, thinks she’s fully incognito, and also of course, when Lucas tells her she looks beautiful, she’s like, “Right?” and whizzes past him to borrow Aria’s lipstick. Aria, as I mentioned, is dressed as Daisy Buchanan. It’s frankly a little insensitive given Hanna’s history of getting mowed down by cars, but that’s so Aria.

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