Aria and Emily look at each other skeptically, all: “Han, are you sure we should do a plan without Spencer’s supervision? Or at least her approval? Do you remember what it was like when she was in Radley? We got murdered twice as much without her.” Hanna huffs and puffs and stomps and makes angry fists with her hands and punches at the air and says she’s going to that mask place in the middle of the night and if they don’t come along and get killed with her, she’s never going to forgive them. So they go.
OK, so, first of all, this mask-maker’s cabin is in the middle of the forest on “the other side of Torch Lake” and the Liars go to it at 1:00 in the morning or some ungodly hour like that. A quick rundown of their run-ins with cabins, if you don’t mind indulging me: 1) Lost Woods Resort, the place where Hanna was almost stabbed to death in the shower, Psycho-style, and also the place where Mona kept her first lair. 2) Thornhill Lodge, the place where they very nearly burned to a crisp like a week ago before they were dragged to safety by a zombie. 3) Kahn Kabin, the place that came to life and tried to murder two of them, and also where Maya lived under the floorboards. 4) Lyndon James’ Stalker Shanty, the place where Paige was bound and gagged and almost gutted right in front of Emily’s eyes before she summoned the courage to stab her dead girlfriend’s fake cousin in the ribs with a pocket knife.
So, yeah, girls. Sure thing. Rock up into that mask-maker’s chalet. What could possibly go wrong in a cabin?
Spencer and Toby break into Radley with the override codes Spencer deciphered when she was studying that pirate treasure map Mona created for her during her stay in Radley’s Vanderwaal Wing. They sneak in through the children’s ward. Sadly, there is no time for a slow dance with Ali’s specter tonight. Once they locate the room where Toby’s mom supposedly flung herself from the window, Spencer does some quick physics equations in her head and determines that there’s no way his mom could have leaped from here and hurdled the overhang and then fallen straight down to her death. So probably she was throws from the window by a third party. For some reason, Toby finds great comfort in that theory. Spencer vows to help him find the doctor his mom spoke to the day she jumped/was pushed from the insane asylum window.
The mask-maker in the woods did, in fact, make that mask of Ali. Actually, he made loads of those masks. Soft ones. Hard ones. Ones that fit under other masks. Ones that fit over other masks. Ali masks for performances. Ali masks for ritual sacrifice. But he made functional ones too: Ali masks with built in face shields to protect from bodily fluids. Ali oxygen masks to assist with breathing. Ali surgical masks to prohibit the spread of airborne diseases. Ali fencing masks. Ali Kendo masks. Ali diving masks. Ali paintball masks. Ali visors, Ali football helmets, Ali balaclavas. After reciting this impressive list he says, “I placed an ad on Craigslist, is how I found her. ‘Hermit seeks supple young teenager to be smothered in plaster.’ She answered the ad seconds after I posted it.”
After he presents that information to the Liars, he asks if he can rub clay all over Emily’s head, including her breathing holes.
She lets him. He touches her perfect face. I can’t talk about it.