Previously on Pretty Little Liars, the Harbinger of the End Times and Defender of Our Unworthy Souls boarded the Rosewood Express (departing daily from the ninth circle of Hell), where she: a) danced with Hanna, while b) stashing Alison’s dead body in the drink cooler, while c) murdering Garrett Reynolds, while d) creeping on Paige and Emily making out, while e) kidnapping, drugging, and boxing up Aria, while f) trying to hurl said boxed-up Aria to her death, while g) chatting merrily with her companion before he was stabbed with a rusty screwdriver, while h) writing notes in the steam on the windows. She wore a mask, a second mask, a third mask, a fourth. Her coat was one of many colors. In her omnipotence, she spoke turmoil into existence. In her omniscience, she quieted the storm before the train derailed. In her omnipresence, she ran, she jumped, she twisted, she twirled, she flipped and zoomed and zigged and zagged and delighted in her mid-air pirouettes. Her name was Mona Vanderwaal. Adrenalized Hyperreality was hers to command.
The church where Hanna ruined her dad’s wedding, where Ian tried to murder Spencer but Mona murdered him instead, where the thumb drive of limitless information lay hidden beneath a pew for many an unswept month. The street where the Liars and their kin slumber, where houses are stacked upon other houses, where backyards are strewn with the broken field hockey sticks of a thousand murdered teenage girls, and also more houses. The barn where Ian and Melissa conceived a fetal demon, where the Liars held a slumber party to honor their friend who returned from that foreign land of Hilton Head, where Ali accused Emily of liking Beyonce a little too much. Looks like Stars Hollow, smells like homicide. It’s Rosewood, bitches. Welcome home.
A (surprisingly!) athletic member of the A-team is skateboarding around town looking to start a fist fight or maybe a late-evening genocide when an SUV appears on the horizon and tries to mow him/her down. The driver is another member of the A-team. The dueling As whip through the city with no regard for pedestrians or other drivers. It seems sinister, but probably this is just a fire drill. The first thing they teach you in Basic A Training is how to survive getting plowed into by an automobile. Frankly, it’s something they should teach in kindergarten in this town. Skateboard A is finally forced to abandon his/her steed and dart into an ally. SUV A is Toby. He is mad.
Hanna is sleeping soundly until Mona makes her presence known. Hanna’s like, “Mona, what in the world are you doing in my room in the middle of the night?” And Mona’s all, “What do you mean? I’m always in your room in the middle of the — er, I mean, I have to go back to school tomorrow and I’m scared. Hold me?” Mamaw Marin (Betty Buckley! Yes!) is looking after Hanna this week, so she hollers through the door to make sure Hanna isn’t getting murdered or waterboarded or extorted or whatever other thing usually happens to her grandbaby on Tuesday nights, but Hanna assures her that she’s just reading out loud. Anyway, Mona’s like, “P-p-p-pwease pwotect me, Hanna?” Hanna’s mouth says no, but her face says, “I’ll keep you as safe as my Hufflepuff powers will allow.”
Emily is getting ready for school when a ladder smashes against her window and she jumps right out of her shoes. Is there no end to these “cousins” and their assassination machinations, she wonders? But really it’s just a guy installing an alarm system because Emily’s parents have finally cottoned on to the fact that Emily is in a perpetual cycle of murdering the murderers who murder her girlfriends. Emily’s dad is home from Army and his second order of business, after imprisoning Emily, is to seek justice for Garrett’s death because his mom is very upset. But he wants to seek justice through official channels, like the “police” and the “courts.” Emsy can’t get psyched on such vanilla reform; she dates a winged vigilante. Papa Fields tells Emily she can’t do the charity run she signed up for because a 5K is just the right amount of distance for her to get roofied and kidnapped and trapped in a time machine with a shovel and a blind girl, but she can have Paige over, which sounds like just the right amount of exercise to me.
Rear Window Brew. Hanna and Spencer debrief the happenings of season 3A, which I will sum up for you as succinctly as possible: Byron Montgomery is the worst motherfucking person on earth. Spencer says it gently, in that voice she has that could diffuse a bomb, just by virtue of its heavenliness, but Aria is not charmed into hearing the truth. She is also wearing a cacophony of all the monochrome patterns known to man. Stripes and stars and animal prints and plaids and I don’t even know. She looks amazing, like always. But also: like a headache.