“Pretty Little Liars” recap (4.22): All the Town’s Shovels

Aria continues her whirlwind rebound with Riley, following him into the woods because she still doesn’t have any self-preservation instincts. Her brain is like, “Well, there are no ski lifts around, so I guess I should be OK?” They talk about how her heart is broken and how she shouldn’t be the one to have to live in exile. Modern breakup etiquette dictates that if your ex seduced you knowing you were underage in the interest of writing a true crime novel about your dead best friend whom he was also seducing while she was also underage and then spied on you and your friends with every kind of surveillance technology for years, then he should be the one who has to leave town. That’s the truth bomb Riley drops on Aria in the woods, and yeah, it’s good advice, but also, she’s damn lucky he didn’t drop an actual bomb on her.


Spencer and her mom are washing dishes when Mrs. DiLaurentis comes knocking, asking if they received her invitation to the charity dinner she’s sponsoring for runaways whose best friends tried to break their faces with gardening tools. Veronica scurries off to write a check and Jessica turns to Spencer, all, “Dude, remember when you attacked me in my living room the other night? Your mom said it was an allergic reaction to some Benadryl? It’s weird but totally OK. I mean, it’s not like your Benadryl allergies ever caused you to try to murder anyone else in my family, right?” Spencer smiles and nods. Right. Exactly. She never murdered any DiLaurentises. Probably. Maybe. Fifty-fifty she didn’t murder any of them. OK, thirty-seventy.

Riley stops by Aria’s Syracuse hotel room to tell her goodbye and to follow her dreams and to take his advice about which ex has to give up custody of collective stomping grounds. They smooch on the lips. He doesn’t kidnap her and beat her to death with a baseball bat. We’ll call it a win.

At the Brew, Mike comes zooming in like a whirling dervish demanding to know the location of Aria Montgomery, which is rich coming from a guy who disappeared from literal existence for at least two years. He thinks she broke up him and Mona. He shouts it at Emily. She’s like, “You and Mona broke up? What kind of goddamn world is this we’re living in?” She’ll do him one better than finding Aria. She’ll find Mona. 


Spencer and Dean Stravos go for a run in the jungle. She is wearing a hoodie and a messy ponytail, which you know is my all-time favorite combination of Spencer things. She’s good with running three miles, be he tacks on an extra mile because she tried to call her boyfriend earlier, so she runs along behind him for another lap, scowling. She runs and runs and then suddenly, like a panther in the night, a shovel appears. In broad daylight. No permit. No owner. Just as bold as brass, sticking up in some soil. In a neat little bit of editing, Spencer relives the night Ali died, right up to the point where she sees herself whack Ali in the head with that shovel, blood splattering all over her face and everything.


At home, she asks Dean Stravos if he knows anything about hypnotization or memory implantation. Like if you knew a girl who was Graced with omnipotence, like she could speak things into existence, change people’s minds, make them think things about themselves or other people, basic Jedi stuff — if you knew a girl who could do that with her out loud words, could she do it with written words too? Could she fill in your memory gaps with nightmare visions from her diary? Den Stravos doesn’t know that either. Dean Stravos doesn’t know shit. He does, however, have a glorious hand-written letter from Toby, who is in London, which also is where Melissa is, so that cannot be a coincidence.

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