“Pretty Little Liars” recap 3.21: Dead, Deader, Deadest


Previously on Pretty Little Liars, Mona turned into Ali and Spencer turned into Mona and Emily turned into Spencer and — well, no one on earth could turn into Emily because she is sweetness and light and everything right. There only can be one. Because that’s what it says in the Prophecies of Old. Also in the Prophecies it was foretold that stalkers of little children would meet a horrific end, and so Ashley Marin went ahead and ran over Detective Wilden with her car.

Spencer is still naked from her shower and Emily is still dressed like your all-time gayest fantasy and now is the day for the Liars to know the truth about Boo Radley van Cullen. Spencer says they should wait for Hanna, probably because she doesn’t want to say the thing out loud twice, but also maybe she just needs ten more minutes alone in her head with the biggest Lie of all. Like maybe she can climax on crazy twice if Emily and Aria will just give her a couple more minutes. But no, they want answers now, especially after Spencer lets it slip that she’s known about A-minus for a couple of weeks. Spencer takes a deep, ragged breath and says, “It’s Toby.” And Aria’s face, once she realizes it’s a boyfriend debacle, her face floods with so much sympathy. Emily’s face does something completely different. It goes: “I cannot believe — wait, no. This is impossible. That steam bath scrambled your brain like some eggs.”

Emily’s gift is seeing light in the dark places, weaving hope from misery, discovering new reasons to believe in the people she loves. And that girl loves Toby Cavenaugh. She says Spencer must have misinterpreted the clues, misread the signs. Spencer’s like, “Well, he was standing in my kitchen in a black hoodie in the middle of the night rifling around in a drawer looking for the key to A’s lair, so.” So? He could be working undercover counter-terrorism on Mona. So? He could be getting blackmailed like Lucas. So? He and Mona could be tag-teaming Red Coat, black-ops-style, to try to save the loves of their lives, Spencer and Hanna, respectively. Spencer laughs the rawest, scariest laugh right in Emily’s face. No one has more motivation than Spencer to believe Toby’s actions were covert altruism, and no one has more skills than Spencer to uncover the clues to prove that truth. But she hasn’t and so he isn’t and so grow up, Fields.

Man, Pretty Little Liars just operates on a whole other level. Remember last week when I said the opening Brew scene was a metaphor for the message and morality of the Liars’ lives? It was also ironically symbolic of how elite cultural critics treat the show from the outside. Like, “Oh, aren’t you so adorable with your little ‘social medias’ and shirtless boys. Now, run along and play while the grown-ups watch The Good Wife.” When Troian is throwing down performances every week that rival Golden Globes and Emmy contenders, and these writers are turning in mature thrills that would make Hitchcock gasp. Hells bells, even GLAAD overlooked PLL this year in its annual media awards, and I’m pretty sure the only show to ever have more lesbians than this one is The L Word. Oh, it’s infuriating. Hush now, little girls, and let the menfolk tell you what’s up.

Over at the Marin’s, Hanna and Ashley’s search for Wilden’s body wasn’t fruitful, so Ashley figures it’s best to call the cops and her lawyer and explain that she smashed him with her car because he was doing that high noon cowboy duel hand-twitchy thing with his gun while shouting threats about shutting up her daughter. Hanna goes, “Listen, mom, I was thinking — do you ever wonder if you have some kind of criminal guardian angel? Like, you turned tricks with an officer of the law to get me off of shoplifting charges, robbed a bank, murdered an elderly lady with your mind, and I don’t even know what you did with that fake architect grandson of hers but it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s buried in Spencer’s backyard. So, I mean, what if you don’t do anything? What if you don’t tell anyone? What if you just wait it out?” They both freeze up when a cop car races by, sirens blaring and lights flashing, and when it doesn’t stop to arrest Ashley, Hanna quirks her eyebrow and shrugs. See?

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