Previously on Pretty Little Liars, Emily tore her shoulder off the hinges recusing Mona and Aria from Red Coat, and then swam her face right into a pool wall because she sneaked one too many Vicodins out from under Pam’s pill-counting dominion. Shana took Emily’s spot on the swim team and played her violin up in Emily’s grill and dated JennaBot and also probably got to at least second base with Paige back during Ems’ Habitat for Haiti days, so she became Enemy Number One. After brainwashing Hanna into thinking she killed Det. Wilden — at Hanna’s own behest, by the way — Mona confessed to killing Det. Wilden for who even knows how many reasons, but definitely among them was the fact that is in love with Hanna. And Spencer tried so hard to give a single crap about Toby’s dead mom, but just couldn’t do it.
I know I’ve mentioned it lots of times before, but lots of times is still not enough: Janel Parrish is a magician, dudes. In any given episode, she is playing three to five characters (who are sometimes characters wearing masks of the faces of other characters). So, like, right now she’s playing Mona playing Fake Mona who is confused and intimidated by the police who are taking her murder confession. She’s getting some of the facts right and some of the facts wrong, on purpose, one presumes. She keeps her Regular Human Teenager face on for most of the time, before grinning that Adrenalized Hyperreality Half-Smirk at the wall. Why’d she do it? “I just couldn’t let my best friend’s mom go to prison for a crime she didn’t commit!” (Translation: “This shit is getting me one step closer to gay marrying Hanna Marin.”)
The best part, though:
RPD Detective: You sneaked out of Radley Institute for the Criminally Insane?!??
Mona: Seriously? I sneaked to both of Pluto’s moons when you stepped out for a cup of coffee a second ago.
Hanna and Spencer are curled up on the couch like some kittens when Veronica Hastings interrupts their mid-morning nap to ask if they put Mona up to this confessional business. They say that they did not, but Spencer’s face says she wishes she’d thought to put Mona up to it and Hanna’s face says she accidentally probably put Mona up to it just by nature of being so PinkDrinkable.
Spencer calls Aria to fill her in on Mona’s confession, but Kung Fu Jake is changing shirts behind an open window and it’s driving Aria to absolute distraction. One of the reasons I love #BRVC so much is because watching TV with people who are like me is such a comfort and a relief. For example, #BRVC goes bananas if Troian’s voice drops even one half of a notch, but no one even noticed Jake was half-naked in this scene. My sister pointed it out to me after the episode and upon rewatch I can confirm that yes, Jake’s abs and shoulder and biceps were the things making Aria even less interested than usual in the perpetual murders of her best friends. She’s all, “…niiiippples.” And Spencer goes, “What? Did you just say nipples? What are you doing right now?” And Aria’s like, “Uh, no. Nippy. Nippy, is what I said. It’s nippy in prison. Mona should take a sweater.”
Paige and Emily are on a little hike which is a thing they like to do sometimes as a reminder that one time they went on a walk in the woods and found out they’d gotten trapped in a poisoned flask roofie loop, and they survived that, didn’t they? So they can survive anything! Paige is anti-Mona because she’s not really happy right now with people who hit other people with cars, on account of it putting a real damper on the next step in her 50-year plan with Emily. Speaking of which, Paige has set up a meeting for Emily with an Olympic swimming coach as an early birthday present so she can explore the various ways she can make a future of doing what she loves in the pool and doing who she loves in their shared dorm room.
And then Paige does the worst thing she has ever done. In all of her life. She one time held Emily’s head under water in the pool, but that is nothing compared to this thing. She invites Emily to her aunt’s lake house for quiet evening alone, but it is a lie! She is really inviting her there for a surprise party of like six thousand people! Paige, no! No! I mean, maybe I’m just projecting here, but I hate surprises and I hate big groups and if Paige McCullers says we can have a quiet evening free of tampering with evidence and without cars driving through the walls, I am going to consider that actual heaven, so don’t dangle it in front of my face and then snatch it away and replace it with six thousand random not-Paiges!