“Pretty Little Liars” recap 4.12: The Chamber of Secrets

The next morning the Liars meet to confess that none of them know if Mona is still alive and, frankly, Hanna was the only one who did anything more than frown about her imminent murder once they left their meeting yesterday. Emily’s like, “I tried to care, but, you know, I’m staying with Paige now in Paige’s bed and—” Spencer makes a low humming noise in the back of her throat and Emily arches an eyebrow at her. One sex dream about Paige is one thing, but daytime fantasizing is entirely another. They are interrupted by another special delivery! This time, it’s an empty box. Only, no it’s not. It’s a magic box with a fake bottom that Spencer knows how to work immediately because she spent a couple of summers wheeling home wagons of trophies from magic camp because of course she did. Inside the trap door is a saw with a message scrawled on it: “Watch me make a girl disappear! Kisses! – A.” Spencer spitballs for a second: Magic isn’t real, magic is sleight of hand, magic is seeing something you can’t believe and believing it anyway. We’re the audience, A is the magician, Mona is the girl who gets sawed in half.”


Emily heaves a huge sigh of relief. She was finally starting to believe one of her girlfriends might survive two straight season finales, but the saw really freaked her out.

Spencer launches into an amazing Hermione-esque monlogue about the hows and whos of magic while Hanna tries to figure out how the magic box works while Emily and Aria go straight to the internet where they find out The Great Charlemagne is doing mime magic in that one park in Ravenswood this afternoon. Spencer goes, “Put on your time-traveling boots and whatever outfit you have that looks best desaturated. We’re dimension-jumping, bitches.”

Also dimension-jumping are Caleb and Toby. Toby spots Shana leaving Mona’s house in Jenna’s hell ferry, so he speeds along after her, and Caleb just decides to hop on this old-timey bus to Ravenswood that you can only catch by the light of the Harvest Moon when you are The Chosen One. It’s foggy. None of the passengers have faces. Bus fare is your blood.


I’m already super late with this recap, so I don’t have time to get into the technicalities of it, but I do want to say the last half hour of this episode made me scoot all the way up to the edge of the TV, my mouth wide open and my palms all sweaty, like I’m always telling my nephew not to do, but I couldn’t help myself because I was so nervous and so freaked out and so excited. And boy, did it ever deliver.

The Liars rush to the town square in Ravenswood and you know that crazy old awesome bitch The Grunwald is there watching The Great Charlemagne do his creepy clown deal. Charlemagne beckons Aria forward with one black-and-white finger and she’s like, “No way, dude, boxes are the only time anything bad ever happens to me.” She finally gets dragged up on stage and Charlemagne makes her disappear and Hanna wets her pants and Charlemagne makes hwe reappear and Hanna claps and claps and claps — and then they realize that they watched nothing awful happen to Aria while something awful happened to Emily, which is basically the premise of this whole show. They get a text from A talking about “Leger de main, bitches!” Which means: Sleight of hand in French and is proof Paige was right about stupid French Club.


Emily gives the Liars a ring-a-ding-ding to let them know she is trapped inside a coffin and being zoomed along an industrial conveyer belt toward a circular saw. She’s hammering on the box with her fists and sobbing and screaming while Spencer works out that The Grunwald lived on Sawmill Road and so that’s probably where Emily is about to chopped in half. The Liars bolt to the warehouse behind Red Coat and hammer on Emily’s pine box coffin from the other side.


It is a testament to how caught up I was in my euphoric Ravenswood panic that I actually followed a mental zipline during this scene about where the show would go if they actually killed off Emily. “Take Aria, Marlene! TAKE ARIA!” is actually a thing I was shouting at the television. Also: “SHOVE THE GODDAMN BOX OF THE CONVEYER BELT! SHOVE IT OFF, YOU ASSHOLES. SHOVE IT OFF!”

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