“Pretty Little Liars” recap 3.18: Bienvenue, Dark Lord!

This is my favorite scene of the night. Dougherty and Barasz knocked this one out of the park, writing-wise, and this scene right here is inspired. Spencer has met a kind of soul mate in her PI. He finds her in Toby’s alley and asks what she’s looking for in that A room. She says she’s playing “He loves me/He loves me not,” but unlike when she was a kid, she can’t rig the game from the start by picking an odd-petaled flower. Buttercups, he says. Marigolds. Spencer half-desperately/half-jokingly asks how many petals hydrangeas have, and PI is like, “You are clearly batshit crazy, girl, and even though your hair is growing bigger and scarier right in front of my very eyes, I can say, without hesitation, that this guy doesn’t deserve you.”

Aw, PI. You only know half of half of half of the story. Hell, Spencer herself only knows about ten percent of it. Anyway, this weird math game Spencer is playing is: If A’s lair is full of stuff, Toby still loves her. If A’s lair is deserted, Toby loves her not. It’s like the bargaining stage of grief, only instead of asking God for a favor, Spencer Hastings asks Spencer Hastings for a favor. Find the lair. Give him a chance.

Aria and Wesley are heading home from dinner when a mean old guy rushes little Wesbian, shouting all the way about, “Your mom can buy off the board, but she can’t buy off my tweed-coated wrath!” Wesley punches him in the face with a pizza — a pizza! — before grabbing Aria’s hand and leading them to safety. Aria is like, “Ah, you tried to sleep with your teacher and now you’re dealing with the fallout. I should have seen the signs earlier. Did I ever tell you about the time I knocked out my principal with a tuna sandwich?” They bond over how much they love Ezra and how much they hate Diane Fitzgerald. Which is only 50 percent correct, actually. Diane Fitzgerald is the Original Mona. The John the Baptist to the Vanderjesus.

Hanna knows that the best place to break bad news is in her kitchen, where the lighting makes everyone look like an angel and also there are pasta boxes stuffed with cash in case you need to pay someone to calm down. So as soon as she and Caleb get back to her house, she pulls out the baby picture and explains how she solved her very first mystery. Caleb is like, “Uh, no. If Uncle Jamie is my father then my own dad sent me to an orphanage. Screw your ‘clues,’ Hanna. I cannot deal with that reality.” Hanna gets it. She had a hard time accepting that her mom was a bankrobber and widower murderer, but facts are facts, man.

Mona drops by Dr. Ann’s office with an odd-petaled orchid to welcome her back to the practice of psychiatry. Is it bugged? Is it radioactive? Does it release a vaporized poison that paralyzes your body while leaving your mind acutely alert? Does it secrete HGH? Is it covered in Ali’s DNA? Will it come to life when the sun sets and strangle you in your chair? Is it infested with bed bugs? Is there a secret compartment inside where Mona has stashed a key that leads to a shipyard that leads to a crate that leads to a trap door that leads to the bowels of hell? No, don’t be silly. It’s an office-warming present. Mona tries to peek inside Dr. Ann’s office in a way that’s so conspicuous she’s obviously not trying to peek inside Dr. Ann’s office. (She would have just scaled the wall and picked the window lock with her mind of that’s what she wanted to do.) Dr. Ann says thanks for the flower, and Mona says, “I could never truly repay you for what you did to me. Er, for me. What you did for me. But I’ll be gosh darned if I’m not going to spend the rest of my life trying!”

Spencer makes her way to the A lair to the dulcet tones of angry electric guitars and rabid drums. Spencer opens the door, flips on the light, and holds in her hand a flower stem that landed on he loves me not.

Ali’s latest funeral is down to four participants. Not even Ali’s parents or all the Liars could be fussed to show up. Hanna goes, “So, like, are we going to wait all night, or…?” The door creaks open and everyone’s all, “Oh, whew. Spencer came to her senses.” Oh, but no. Her hair and her eyeballs are wilder than ever when she rounds the corner and despite the most ardent protestations of her lifelong best friends, Spencer breaks the two most important rules of being a Liar: 1) Do not put your own emotional turmoil before the good of the group. 2) Do not disclose evidence to an adult before debating about it for seven episodes. She tells Jason that Ali was pregnant, that the Liars all know that Ali was pregnant, and that Detective Wilden was the impregnator. Jason storms out of there like the last time we saw Garrett alive, and the Liars are so mad at Spencer they leave her standing there, crackling with the psychotic energy of a fire tornado. (My god, she is perfect.)

Outside, Aria is like, “I mean, I totally understand having a broken heart.” And Emily is like, “Bundt Cake, please.” But before she can elaborate on the numerous girlfriends she has lost to homicide, she hears some sprinklers, which triggers her hypnosis, and lo! She got her shovel scenarios mixed up! She didn’t kill Ali with a shovel, but she was present at the digging up of Ali’s grave on the Night of a Thousand Nights. An minion did the digging in a black hoodie while Master A watched in a Vivian Darkbloom coat, under which she had tucked her blonde locks. Red Flash! Hanna goes, “OK, now that we have all officially had contact with Alison’s very live self, I’m pretty sure we should start asking ourselves if Ali is alive.”

Inside the mausoleum, Spencer spots Toby’s mom’s gravestone and just when you think it might shock some humanity back into her, she marches over and carves Toby’s name into it. She steps back to admire her handiwork, smirks, says, “Ready or not, here I come, motherfucker.”

The Risen Mitten buys some whiskey, because I guess the Risen Mitten has to recap Glee on Thursday nights too.

Next week: Mona offers to try hypnotherapy to help Spencer remember why Toby left her, which causes Spencer to literally fly across a room snap Mona’s neck with her teeth, while the Liars glare at her from the distance and mutter about how they always promised to talk to the group before slaughtering someone in broad daylight.

Big, big thanks to my screencapping partner Maggie, who has instated a Google Hangout/PLL Bingo game on Tuesday nights. Hit her up on Twitter (@MargaretRosey) to find out more!

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