Previously on Pretty Little Liars, Ashley Marin committed the crime of not going to New York City in the sketchiest way possible and instead of just coming clean that she was probably getting some tail with Pastor Ted, she made Hanna think she went on a cop-killing orgy. Pam and Eric Fields got tricked by A into acting like parents in plain sight of the whole neighborhood, so of course their asses are even closer to prison than Ashley’s. Aria convinced Ella to follow her boyfriend over Ice Cream Mountain and through the Lollipop Forest to Donut Castle (in Austria, duh) for a pastry-baking apprenticeship. And Melissa modeled her blazer collection all around town, smashed up some masks of Ali’s face, confessed to killing at least two police officers, and hailed Lucas Gottesman’s row boat service to ferry her across the pond to London.
Hanna wakes up to the sounds of sirens and screaming so she goes running downstairs to find her mom wrapped up in a like a cashmere Snuggie, one of the ones with the hoods, and when Ashley whips it off, she’s wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and her hair’s all whacked off in scary chunks. Hanna screams and wakes herself up from the dream where she’s screaming. Ashley, hair still mercifully long and flowy, pops her head into the room to make sure Hanna’s OK, and Hanna’s face is like, “No, and in fact, that dream I just had was the final push I needed to take my manic paranoia to the most destructive place possible.” But her mouth says, “Yep, all good in here!”
Spencer’s got a whole different nightmare scenario happening at her house: Her mom is still insisting that she should make some plays to get into some colleges, when the only thing Spencer wants to do is stand in the yard and try out the bird calls she ordered from the Audubon Society, dressed in a parrot costume, flapping her wings trying to coax Tippi to come home. Veronica has hired a professional college pimp to follow Spencer around to different Ivy League schools and clap his hand over her mouth when she starts talking about the homosexual robot ninja ghost she waltzed with down at the town asylum. Veronica is like, “Sweetheart, I just want to help you be your most attractive self.” And Spencer goes, “Um, in case you missed it, I am wearing crocheted cardigan bedazzled with pearls over a sheer parrot-patterned button-up blouse, and somehow I am still the sexiest thing. I’ve got “attractive” on lockdown, Mother.”
Emily is doing all the worrying about colleges in her house. It’s actually very sad. She’s clicking around on Stanford’s Tumblr, daydreaming about purple upholstery and endless hours in the pool with Paige when her dad comes in and apologizes for not being able to make that dream of hers come true. She shrugs it off and says it’s a moot point that they can’t afford it because without swimming she’s just a regular human being. He caresses her cheek and says, “Kiddo, everything about you, from this GLASS IN YOUR HAIR to the bruise poisoning on your shoulder to the HGH-infused ulcer in your stomach, is exquisite. Just because you’re a Poor doesn’t mean you’re not perfect.” And then he bounces to go burn them some breakfast, that beautiful army commander.
At school, Ella (Ella! I thought you’d left us already!) is holding a meeting to explain to the seniors how to do campus visits to colleges: “Don’t play beer pong, or you will get drunk and kidnapped. Don’t have sex, or you will get pregnant and die. Don’t push any girls down any stairs. Don’t get on any boats with anyone wearing boardshorts. Don’t carry any firearms with you. Hanna, put your phone away. Did you hear what I just said?” Hanna rolls her eyes because she doesn’t need to visit any campuses because she’s already made plans to attend the quote Fashion Institute. (You should check out their website page; it’s baller.) After Ella dismisses them, Hanna makes the first of many appeals for the Liars to please, please, please wrap their arms around her and pull her back from the cross she’s about to nail herself to. But Spencer brushes her off (again: the first of many times) and you can see the frenzied desperation in Hanna’s eyes. She knows she’s going to do something so stupid if someone doesn’t intervene.