The Liars don’t know if they believe Shana. On the one hand, they’re like, “What a weird story she wove. Who would drop everything to move a thousand miles away to take a job at a Halloween store to infiltrate a town’s teenage lesbian mafia to help a formerly dead girl who probably offered up one five-second frencher in exchange for a lifetime of feeling like balls?” But on the other hand, Emily is sitting right there, vibrating with anxiety and excitement and desire and shame and rage, so they’re like, “Ah, right.”
Emily explains that she offered Shana the ultimate test: She wants to know what Ali said to Emily the time she pulled Emily’s lifeless body from the barn that doll led her to when she was on the hunt for Dr. Annabeth Gish. If Shana can produce that information, Emily will know Ali is alive for sure. The Liars exchange looks and slowly explain to Emily that in the past A has known stuff that only Ali knew, so who’s to say that Shana isn’t on the A-team? But Emily’s already got that tingly sensation in her heart and mind and loins that comes from thinking the girl who loves no one loves you best and most. That you see “the real” her. It’s done.
Emily meets up with Shana in the privacy of the middle of the town square and I’ve got to say: I had no idea how happy I was going to be to see ol’ Costumeshop again. It’s not just that she’s looking fierce as fuck or that it’s so lovely to have another queer woman of color on our TVs or because of that one time when she played the violin like some kind of teenage musical savant or even that we just found out she’s been spy-banging every girl in town — actually, yeah. It’s that last thing. That info is Mona levels of crazy-gay. I love it. Anyway, Shana recounts the Emily/Ali barn meeting, word-for-word, kiss-for-kiss, and even though Spencer strongly discourages her from going alone to meet up with Ali, Emily honestly cannot help herself.
Do you think somewhere in Rosewood Paige senses something dastardly is afoot, but just can’t put her finger on what’s wrong? So she goes for a long bike ride and swims laps for a couple of hours and when that doesn’t calm her spirit, she buys some Chinese food just so she can smash it into trash cans? Maybe she pulls out some T.S. Eliot and reads “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” right out loud. (“Would it have been worth while / To have bitten off the matter with a smile / To have squeezed the universe into a ball / To roll it toward some overwhelming question…“) Maybe she makes sure the furniture in her and Emily’s Sims house is arranged just so. Maybe she calls up Caleb to ask when they can sleuth together again, and maybe he answers this time. Maybe he tells her he’s developed complicated feelings for a ghost. A chill runs up her spine, a cold shower for her brain, but she doesn’t know why. Out in the woods, in a secluded workshop, a mask-maker turns out a dozen masks of Maya St. Germain’s face. Paige makes the drapes more puffy in her happy computer home, shivers, checks her phone for texts from Emily. Nothing. (“…To say: ‘I am Lazarus, come from the dead / Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all’—“).
Over at Mojo Dojo, Jake is excited to tell Aria that he’s going to Nationals to beat Mr. Schuester’s ass into the ground! She is happy for him, really. Honestly. Truly, she is happy. Also, she shagged Ezra while he was away and so she’ll be getting back together with him now. Jake looks like a kicked puppy, but his sadness turns to incredulity when he Charlie Browns out into the street and sees Ezra having a pissy little hissy fit in the middle of the road, banging on some lady’s car with his fists and shouting at her about how she’ll be sorry and doing a hair-pulling whirly-twirly when she drives away.
Aria misses this little tantrum, but Jake tells her all about it when she shows back up with a gaudy broach he sent he from Kung Fu Sectionals. She tries to give it back to him, but he’s like, “I don’t know anyone else who dresses as insane as you. Also, your boyfriend is a psychopath.” Aria says the Ezra she knows wouldn’t hurt a mouse. For real. There is no way that guy would buy four mice, name them after her and her friends, slaughter the one named Spencer, and rub its blood all over a trophy. You know what else he wouldn’t hurt? A parrot. He wouldn’t make it into a cannibal by force feeding it rotisserie chicken, OK? He just wouldn’t.
Over at the Marin’s, Hanna has trashed the place. The foyer is covered with boxes and there’s a pool table in there now. When Travis comes over to check in on her — she’s fine, dude, fine fine fine everything is fine — she invites him to play a friendly game of stripes and solids. (I have no idea what that game is actually called.) It’s all balls and sticks and you’re holding the stick too tight and hold it softer and do this with the balls and yeah just like that you know how how I like it. After all the thinly veiled foreplay, Hanna lays a smackeroo right onto his cowboy lips and when he pulls away she’s like, “Well, duh. Of course you’re not interested in me like that.” Which is ridiculous. Hanna Marin, do you know you? Have you seen you? You gorgeous PinkDrinking Hufflepuff, literally everyone is interested in you like that!
The person who does say no, however, is Ashley Marin, who walks in on their smoochin’ and asks Hanna to please step outside for a word. And the word is: Nu-uh. She explains that burning all the clothes he loved you in and the hobo things he left behind and getting your lips all over another boy’s lips might seem like the best way to get over Caleb, but you gotta let the pain breathe so you can mourn it so you can really heal from it. And then Ashley Marin — this bank-robbing, fake architect-murdering angel over here — she takes Hanna out to a place that lets you buy plates to throw at a wall. It’s cathartic. It’s sweet. It’s excessive and wasteful they’re both probably slightly drunk. It’s very Hanna and Ashley. It’s wonderful.