“Pretty Little Liars” recap (4.04): Muffin Man

Rear Window Brew. Veronica Hastings appears as a hologram to have a chat with her two daughters about the various weather conditions one can expect at internships around the world, and which blazers are appropriate for which places. Veronica tells Spencer not to be jealous of Melissa’s blazer collection and Spencer goes, “Jealous? Is that what you think this face is? No, but I do have a question: Melissa, do you have any blazers I could borrow for my future life as a gas station attendant? ‘Cause guess what, bitches, I didn’t get into UPenn.” Veronica is definitely more upset by this announcement than she ever has been about any of the literal life-threatening situations Spencer finds herself on the regular. Melissa says there are ways an admissions board can be convinced to reevaluate their decisions and Spencer’s like, “Nope. Sorry. I submitted my application at a woodland teenager rager to that girl who used to be the manager of the mannequin hand boutique on the square and then I wrote my admissions essay on the psychotic break that pushed me into the arms of a lesbian ghost. There’s nothing else I can do.”

(By the way, if that’s how you applied for a job at AfterEllen, I would hire you immediately.)


Roma Maffia and Det. Holbrook stop by Ashley’s bank to have a peek at Wilden’s safe deposit box. Ashley wants Hanna to leave, but Roma Maffia wants her to stay. She wants to see her face when they find whatever they’re gonna find in his secret stash. (Love you like a love song, Roma, but Hanna once watched her best friend open up a locker and find a cow brain. Her face is ready for whatever you’re about to deal her.) What they find is a whole bunch of cash, a Canadian passport and a US passport, and a gun. Roma Maffia asks Ashley if she is the one who supervises people walking to and fro in the safe deposit box wing of the bank, and Ashley is like, “Yeah, but if I’d known what was in here, we’d have been making spaghetti out of those dollar bills at my house for weeks.”

Hanna and Emily are hitting it hard with some mystery solving realness right now. Aria’s only just gotten into the game, and she’s not naturally sleuthy by nature. Spencer wants to know what’s going on, but she just loves the ride, man. Loves to watch the world burn. But Hanna and Emily’s families are on the line and so is Emily’s shot at making a puffy drape life with Paige in that bedroom on her computer. So Emily’s got questions: Who is left on A’s side? Anybody? Are Melissa and Shana and JennaBot working for her, or they on a team by themselves? And if they are on a team by themselves, what are they up to and how do they figure into: Midnight Express, Thornhill Lodge Fire, NAT Club, and Ali’s murder? But Spencer’s less interested in answering those questions and more interested in springing a trap on Melissa so she can see her face when she comes face-to-face with a working model of her face. (You can see how neither of them are wrong for wanting what they want.)


Emily has to cut their phone conversation short to stand in her doorway and look like the saddest, tiniest lamb while her parents fight about her constant drug overdoses and fake cousin stabbings.

But Emily is Emily Fields, so she marches right back to Dr. Varagas’ office the next day to try to crack the code on this whole “competent adult” situation that is threatening to blow the lid off the Liars’ world. Instead of agreeing to keep his gob shut or inquiring after Spencer’s general sanity level like a good Dr. Wren would do, Vargas tells Emily that he did call CPS on her and her family, and also — surprise! — if she starts swimming again with that bruise on her shoulder, it will kill her. Bruise poisoning spreads in chlorine faster than the syphilis on a Cape May catamaran.


When Hanna met Roma Maffia in her mother’s office, she sensed in her a formidable adversary, so she started off this day dressing in her pink drinkin’ finest, and now she has tracked her down to the town square where she has spread out all the town’s murder files on a park bench and is solving crime while enjoying a bit of sunlight. This scene is really excellent. The writing, the acting, the directing. It’s all amazing. It’s like they both set out to play each other but realize early on that that’s what they’re both doing, so everything they say is kind of flirty and teasing while also being super dead serious. So, basically, Hanna is like, “Roma Maffia, those shoes are wonderful. If anyone ever buried those things in the muddy ground, I’d risk a possession of shovel charge to dig them out for you. And speaking of shovels, I was actually wondering if you knew Melissa Hastings owns probably a dozen of them, and maybe even took one or two aboard Detective Wilden’s boat the summer the two of them were killing Alison DiLaurentis.”

Roma Maffia thinks it’s interesting, indeed, that Hanna has gone straight to the part where Wilden molests teenage girls. She wonders if Hanna ever “boarded his boat” or if her mother ever “boarded his boat,” and how many times, approximately, did he show up in her classroom or in her shower to menace her.

Caleb sees the two of them talking and flips out. He rushes over and pulls Hanna away and #SavesTheDay, I guess. (No, he doesn’t. One of the best parts about this show is that these women save their own damn days. Don’t patronize me, ABC Family.) Hanna’s like, “I fully had that under control as I have all things under control. I don’t know if you remember, but I’m the only one of us who faced down Invisible Alison in therapy and dealt with my shit.”

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