“Pretty Little Liars” recap 3.24: A Psycho By Any Other Name

Another pilot throwback, shot-for-shot: Mr. Fitz shows up for his first day of substitute teaching, and of course he has been assigned to the Liars’ literature class, and of course he is going to insist on actually educating them, and of course he has settled on Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. If he was a real substitute, he’d teach it by showing them Ratatouille and calling it a day. Anyway, Aria is gobsmacked that he is there and also that Spencer didn’t tell her it is Mad Hatter day.

The Liars make quite a show of hanging out in Hanna’s kitchen, twirling around in their party dresses and nattering away about what kind of treats and cute boys will be at the asylum graduation party. Emily looks like the reason swear words were invited, because sometimes regular language cannot properly describe the visceral reaction a person has to a thing.

Thornhill Lodge and Landing Strip:

What happens for the next 20 minutes is so cracked and amazing and carefully constructed that I’m not really sure I can do it justice, but the most important thing is: Red Coat is legit flying a plane around up in the sky, waiting for Mona’s signal to land, so she can … do whatever thing it is she is planning to do. That is the only part that isn’t really made clear. But who cares, because did you hear me? The girl is piloting her own twin-prop around the town, and has, in fact, been doing it for several days in a row, and now she is getting ready to touch down and pull some shit.

Mona squeaks and squawks about how Red Coat is going to be pissed as hell when she gets here and the Liars aren’t here yet, and Toby and Spencer make out for a little while before Toby tells her to come with him outside so he can kill her. The Liars are watching the whole thing from the rafters, where they have traded their fancy clothes for sleuthing clothes. Aria is even wearing a bedazzled beret.

Mona steels herself for Red Coat’s arrival and just as she’s getting ready to walk outside, the Liars pounce on her. They squabble for a minute too long because outside, Team Lezzer Death Eater has started a fire and locked the girls inside the building. What’s amazing, what’s truly amazing about this scene, is that the Liars are so hopped up on the victory of out-hyperadrenalizing Mona that they keep stopping to gloat while the building is burning down around their ears. Three different times, they have to remind themselves, out loud, that they should probably get out of there.

Mona is most upset about the fact that she’s going to die without learning the true identity of Red Coat, a friend-foe so elusive she is both everywhere and nowhere. The Liars are like, “Wait, even you don’t know who she is?” And she’s like, “No, and I never will, because you guys ruin everything!”

Meanwhile, out upon the foggy moors Pennsylvania is so known for, Spencer makes her way to the landing strip to peep the identity of A, while Toby creeps through the trees to uncover the mystery of the other people hanging out in this dark forest in the middle of the night. He gets whacked over the head with a flash light for his effort, and either Shana or Jenna or Melissa throws the lighter that started the fire on the ground beside him. It’s JennaBot’s most poetic revenge. I’m so glad her eyeballs haven’t given out yet so she can see it. But also I’m sad because Toby’s clearly going back to jail. But also I’m happy because at least we know he’s Boo Radley van Cullen again. The Boo Radley-est.

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