Previously on Pretty Little Liars, Hanna and Aria and Spencer and Emily and Ali danced around a maypole with flowers in their hair singing a song of triumph about how A was gone and life goes on and no more Satans at fashion shows. And then Toby’s house exploded and exploded and the Liars’ phones dinged and dinged. “Y’all are some dummies,” A said in her group text message, shrapnel and brimstone raining down from the sky as Toby’s house continued to blow up. “I’ll see you soon. A moment of silence, more bursts of flame, another series of phone-dings. “Just kidding. I see you right now.”
So one thing you didn’t know about the Cavanaugh-Marshall house is that, in addition to the award-winning snowglobe collection housed in Jenna’s room, they also had a stockpile of Acme TNT in the basement, which is why the Liars stand in the road and watch it blow up over and over for two hours. But that’s not even the best part. The best part is: How many times have they convinced themselves A is gone? Like how many giggles did they giggle when A was like, “Show me your boobs.” But A has never been gone. Never, ever. And yet! They are shocked to their very cores when A texts to say hi and explain that she’s the arsonist of this hellfire situation. They’re all, “No! It can’t be!” Like Emily says that as flame-cloaked shingle is flying right in front of her face. “It’s impossible!”
The second best part is everyone is like, “But where’s Toby???” And Spencer just shrugs.
They go back to Emily’s to talk some more about how it’s not true this is happening and finally decide that A was just on vacation and now she’s home and rejuvenated and also has bombs. Ali is all, “Yeaaaah, I probably better get going to Out of Town.” And at the same time Emily and Hanna, respectively, go: “No! Absolutely not! You just got here!” And: “I’ll pack you some snacks.”
What do you think A even does on vacation? Probably a lot of those Haunted America walking tours of Savannah and New Orleans and Gettysburg. Like how dentists go to conventions where they hand out toothbrushes and stuff. A goes to the French Quarter, just talkin’ shop with all those ghosts, everybody telling stories about their spooking techniques and showing off pictures of their parrots.
The next morning, Hanna spots Caleb brooding at the Brew. He’s mad about a lot of things, like how he’s locked in a death curse and his ghost best friend’s vampire uncle’s psychic housekeeper won’t help him figure out how to break it. And also that Hanna didn’t remain faithful to him while he was not returning her calls and texts because he was busy getting killed over and over and doing exorcisms and stuff. Hanna goes, “You don’t have a monopoly on getting perpetually murdered, jerk.” Before he heads off to Montecito, he advises Hanna for like the three thousandth time to go to the police with all this shit and she advises him that, like all the times before, there’s more stuff in play than he can even imagine. (Which may have been true when he left town, but definitely is not true now that he’s spent weeks with the Grunwald.)
Aria and Ezra sift through his True Crime Novel research before school, just tossing around theories about how Bethany Young, a former Radley patient, might be connected to Mrs. D, a former member of Radley’s board of directors, and casually chatting about the myriad of ways he surveilled Aria and her friends and conducted interviews with all the people complicit in their torture. She says she’ll come back after school to help him brainstorm, but no more sex. He says, “So sex this afternoon and then we’ll continue to dig into the ways I have exploited you. See you then!”
Also before school, Spencer sneaks home to grab some school books and Peter accosts her and asks why she and her mom are staying in a hotel. They go back and forth about, “Mom said you’re a murderer!” “She said I’m a murderer? She’s a murderer!” “She said you’d say she was a murderer which proves you’re a murderer!” “Well you tell her only a murderer says someone is a murderer because they say someone else is a murderer!” Spencer has been so hornswoggled by her parents’ constant machinations that her brain is addled to the point that she’s wearing a khaki romper.
Aria takes a call from Ezra at lunch, which makes Spencer’s eyebrows go to that judgey place like they do.