Pretty Little Liars Recap 414: Who’s Inside That Girl’s Box?

Is there anything on the planet more exciting than the season premiere of Pretty Little Liars?! There is! It’s the winter premiere of Pretty Little Liars!! After months and months with only a mid-October Halloween Spooktacular to hold us over, the “most tweeted show in America” is finally returning to us!

We’re three and a half seasons in and if you haven’t figured out what’s going on by now I couldn’t possibly catch you up. Couldn’t possibly. But just in case you’re playing from home and need a quick reminder, when we last saw our Liars they were trying to stay abreast with the goings on of A and stalked about Ravenswood until eventually they found Ali and chatted up her totally living face.

Trying to keep abreast with A. Emphasis on the breast.

Trying to keep abreast with A. Emphasis on the breast.

Less emphasis on the breast but, you know, still some.

Less emphasis on the breast but, you know, still a little.

Unfortunately little do the Liars know that EzrA is actually A. Well the latest A to be revealed after Mona, Toby, Spencer, Lucas, Melissa, Wilden and Cece. Also Caleb fell in love with a ghost in Ravenswood on his spin-off sereies Ravenswood  but that’s another story for another day.


We open on a dark and stormy night in Rosewood—actually, I think in Rosewood you just call that a regular night—where the Liars are discussing the question that plagues all of us: where the fuck has Alison been all this time?

Maybe she’s been off addicted to Candy Crush!

Help Alison to unlock the next episode!

Help Alison to unlock the next episode!

Or maybe she’s been training for the Winter Olympics!

Mostly just practicing how to look straight while curling

Mostly just practicing how to look straight while curling

Although based on Brittney Griner’s instagram I think she’s BG’s new secret girlfriendnotgirlfriend.

#WCW #WCE #sobored #notsleepy #soexcited #LGBT #strong #proud #lesbian #equality #boo #joking #butimsleepyandyounotbackyet #Iwasjustbeingnoseyandbored #hacked

#WCW #WCE #sobored #notsleepy #soexcited #LGBT #strong #proud #lesbian #equality #boo #joking #butimsleepyandyounotbackyet #Iwasjustbeingnoseyandbored #hacked

Wait. I am so dumb. Season 4a ended at the end of August… Alison must have been at October A-Camp!

She's always screwing up the all-camp photo!

She’s always screwing up the all-camp photo!

Attending a spooning workshop

Attending a standing-spooning workshop

Sneaking off to hook up with Hannah Hart

Sneaking off to hook up with Hannah Hart

Well that settles that for me, but I suppose not for the Liars. They bicker about Ali’s whereabouts, but I’m too distracted to make sense of it because, holy shit, Emily’s sweatshirt and shorts combo. I could die right here. And not just because the thought of wearing shorts and a T-shirt right now literally freezes me to death.

Wait guys I just had a great idea. We should totally have a threesome.

Wait guys I just had a great idea. We should totally have a threesome.

The Liars are sort of… not really that happy that Alison is back. I would say they’re decidedly unhappy. Probably because she’s been potentially fucking with them for like two years and they’ve already attended like two funerals, one memorial and at least one fashion show in her memory.

Don't you want to have a threesome?

Don’t you want to have a threesome?

We then move on to speculation about who Ali is scared of. We all know it’s probably EzrA who’s probably Big A who’s probably Board Shorts who’s probably also Gossip Girl.

You totally would have had a threesome if Ali would have suggested it.

You totally would have had a threesome if Ali would have suggested it.

Side note: if EzrA is Board Shorts or knew Alison before she died then he probably knew Aria before he met her in the bar.

Which means that this scene:

aria_ezra1

turns into this scene:

aria_ezra 2

The next morning/week/month the Liars head to the crypt where Alison’s remains were buried. It’s important that they be there, you see, so Hanna can set up a theory that  will carry the girls throughout this half of the season.

It's Club Crypt: Boston's number one women's bar.

It’s Club Crypt: Boston’s number one women’s bar.

If Alison is alive than someone else was found under the gazebo in her yard and someone else is in her box in the crypt. Who the fuck is in that box? Box box box. Who’s in the box. Box. Vagina.

Finding the girl who actually died is the key to unlocking what the fuck is going on. I hope it’s Samara. That would explain why a lesbian ex dropped off the face of the planet and hasn’t reeappeared to cause drama.

You want me to believe that a 17 year old lesbian is going to have a clean one-liner break up with her girlfriend and not immediately spend the next six months sending her insane text message?

You want me to believe that a 17 year old lesbian is going to have a clean one-liner break up with her girlfriend and not immediately spend the next six months sending her insane text message?

I have a theory too: I think the writers and I. Marlene King are so confused and have written themselves into so many corners that now they just read through Tumblr until they find a fan’s plausible A theory. Then they just re-write that fan’s most recent fanfic into the next episode. Genius.


One. Week. Later. (Aka enough time for everything on Ravenswood to take place.)

How A managed to use a typerwriter on film is beyond me

How A managed to use a typewriter on film is beyond me

Emily pops by to see Alison’s psycho pastel mother, Jessica DiLaurentis. Remember, Jessica is the woman who redecorated Alison’s room to look exactly as she left it in so bizarre attempt to pretend her daughter is still alive (which she is, apparently). Today is no exception. Fresh linens and sheets for her daughter who she Definitely Doesn’t Think Is Secretly Alive.

Does this pillow look bulky enough to go under my hips?

Does this pillow look bulky enough to go under my hips?

Emily asks about Jason and Jessica says he’s off on a road trip but if there’s an emergency she has his contact information. Most of us just call this a cell phone number.


At her house, Hanna googles “teen girl gets super dead in Pennsylvania.” Before she can read the results, Ashley Marin walks in and the two have a heart to heart about how Ashley definitely didn’t kill Wilden but still can’t find a job. Also Hanna’s dad wants to take her to Australia which she sooooo does not want to do because idk she’s an idiot or something. Ashley really thinks she should do this because Australia is awesome and we haven’t seen Hanna’s weird step-sister in a while.

What can I say? I loved that man for his recurrent extravagant vacations and his delicious matzo ball soup.

What can I say? I loved that man for his recurring extravagant vacations and his delicious matzo ball soup.


At school Aria, Emily and Spencer discuss whether Jessica DiLaurentis is sort of completely crazy or completely completely crazy. Just then some caveman shows up in a gold truck and everyone vomits everywhere.  Mona agrees and almost hits Toby and Spencer with her car.

You smell like wet rock and uncooked meat.

You smell like wet rock and uncooked meat.

At school Lesbian Paige and Lesbian Emily have lunch together. Lesbian Paige wants to tell Lesbian Emily all about her new found love of her hair straightener, but all Lesbian Emily wants to do is kegels.

squeez and squeez and squeez and rest

squeeze and squeeze and squeeze and rest

Thus began the most realistic depiction of lesbian fighting on TV ever written in the history or TV or, quite possibly, the history of writing.

She is so trying to fix her

She is so trying to fix her

I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t been on both ends of that conversation. That doesn’t make it any less crazy or mind boggling when you happen to be the Paige in this situation.

PLL414-00005-1 copy

Being a lesbian just happened.


In the halls Mona tromps up to Hanna and asks if she wants to take a victory ride in Jenna’s old mustang. I guess Mona bought it or something.

Who wants a body massage?!

Who wants a body massage?!

I can’t remember why Mona thinks they’re friends again, particularly because they are certainly in competition for whose outfit is most likely to be featured in an upcoming Hunger Games movie. My money is on Mona.

Hanna likes a girl who wears more plaid than Mona

Hanna was just in that relationship for the attention.

In class, shit gets so meta that I can’t even handle what’s going on here. Ezra discusses the novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and the idea that everyone knows the plot but not the story. The original writing was so amazing that the book became and classic and then, inevitably a cliché.

"My own dark way" is a penis metaphore

“My own dark way” is a penis metaphor

So yes, not only is EzrA presenting to the Liars a story about a man with two sides—one moral and one amoral—the writers are self-aware enough to point out that this plot device is an old cliché that probably makes the viewers want to roll their eyes. Perhaps not just the cliché of a man with a double life but also because Ezra being A is just a little too much of a “The Butler Did It” situation.

More than that, this storyline is totally overdone even on Pretty Little Liars. Toby and Mona were both significant others/BFFs who turned out to be A! Still, here I feel like the writers are saying, “Just wait. We will get you on this one in the end.”

Also, for the record, Ezra is writing on the board “You must suffer me to go my own dark way,” as passage from the novella. In case you were wondering, it follows:

I have brought on myself a punishment and a danger that I cannot name. If I am the chief of sinners, I am the chief of sufferers also.

FYI EzrA I have no pity for your suffering.

PLL414-00064 copy

As usual the bell rings before EzrA can finish teaching because he is literally the worst ever at planning out a lesson. Before the Liars can leave his classroom, EzrA calls Aria over to speak with him, as usual. Except this time the scary music plays.

Okay but don't you think "A is for Anal" would be a great title for a teacher/student porn?

Okay but don’t you think “A is for Anal” would be a great title for a teacher/student porn?

Basically Ezra’s like, “After you graduate let’s both leave this hellhole let’s go be together forever.” Aria’s like “maybe maybe not idk brb.” In other words we don’t get her response.


 

Meanwhile Hanna, Aria and Spencer meet in the school computer lab to check up on the articles Hanna found about The Girl Inside the Box. This feels like something that could have been settled over GChat.

Either way, Hanna decided that the number one Box Candidate is this chick Sara who, according to her friends and family, ran off with her boyfriend. 90 bucks say the boyfriend turns out to be Ezra.

The casting call for this read:  Blonde girl 18-25 who look like she is super innocent with a dark side.

The casting call for this read:
Blonde girl 18-25 who look like she is super innocent with a dark side.

Hanna took some initiative and already emailed Runaway Sara’s friends pretending they should start a My Blonde Friend Left Me support group.

And maybe we could have a little grave robbing party later?

We think your friend is inside our friend’s box is much more appropriate.

Like cup size.

Like cup size.

Just then a perfectly placed projector cues up and starts all on its own projecting a creepy 1950s style educational video. It ends with our very first message from A!

I hope Intern Grace is running the projector!

I hope Intern Grace is running the projector!

Gets to keep her kisses?

Gets to keep her kisses?


We interrupt this episode to present you the premiere of Lucy Hale’s brand new music video You Sound Good To Me! It starts out as the most heteronormative thing that’s ever been on abcFamily but there is a girl in a plaid shirt towards the end. What I mean to say is if I had to watch it you have to watch it.


At her home, Spencer asks her father, Peter Hastings if he knows where Jason is. I had to google who Peter Hastings is, as he is one of those characters I repeatedly forget about because everyone in Rosewood’s parents are constantly out of town and all middle-age white men look the same. Also I feel like Nolan North (the actor) had some work done. I don’t know, none of my business I guess.

Listen Spencer, no one cares about your dumb caveman boyfriend or any of his storyline.

Listen Spencer, no one cares about your dumb caveman boyfriend or any of his storyline.

Later Toby comes over and flaps his stupid mouth about his mom and her psychiatrist and Radley and stuff. Don’t care.

This is the love interest I got stuck with and I'm doing the best I can.

This is the love interest I got stuck with and I’m doing the best I can.


Meanwhile, Hanna uses a butter knife to pick open the lock on Ali’s diary (the one she stole from EzrA’s lair). I would just cut the leather strap but then again I’m an asshole with no respect for other people’s journals.

Candidate for Top 5 Knife Scenes from 2013.

Candidate for Top 5 Knife Scenes from 2013.

Hanna gives up on her diary breaking and entering mission when she gets a GChat from Runaway Sara’s friends! They’re totes down for coffee. Date night!


Hanna, Aria and Spencer head over to the Life Cafe where Emily is working her usual after-school job as a lesbian barista. Aria and Hanna try to strike up conversation about how Ali’s back and isn’t that cool?! Unfortunately Emily’s in a pretty bad mood about the whole Ali’s Alive thing. Probably because she’s an angry lesbian who’s probably on her period.

Just then Caleb came back! He is definitely an angry lesbian on his period. Also I was totally right about Ravenswood taking place over the course of a week.

Some day I want us to have a wedding where everyone in the bridal party just dresses in accordance with their own gender presentation, you know? Like maybe all the butches wear suspenders. Wouldn't that be so cute? Let's do it farm to table shabby chic style.

Some day I want us to have a wedding where everyone in the bridal party just dresses in accordance with their own gender presentation, you know? Like maybe all the butches wear suspenders. Wouldn’t that be so cute? Let’s do it farm to table shabby chic style.

He explains to Hanna that now that he has his own TV show and is sort of in love with a ghost he’s going to visit her but she, like, probably shouldn’t visit him. I mean, if Hanna comes to Ravenswood would she bring supernatural shit back to Rosewood? It’s hard to say. Anyways he’s back because he missed Hanna and also the two just can’t go that long without fucking and/or adopting a new cat.

...and get into some light bondage

…and get into some light bondage


Toby and Spencer run off somewhere to blackmail the leader of the company that owns Radley. This turns out to be pretty effective and by the time they’re through the company leader has agreed to put on permanent record that Toby’s mom didn’t kill herself.

This also doubles as Keegan Allen's Teen Vampire Hearthrobe Caveman test reel.

This also doubles as Keegan Allen’s Teen Vampire Hearthrobe Caveman test reel.

Sir were you born in this millennium?

Sir how on earth were you born in the past fifteen millenniums?

Toby and Spencer bring this news back to Peter Hastings who decides maybe it’s time to take it one step further and get Radley shutdown completely.

I mean I'm on this week's payroll anyways! I might as well try to shut someone's business down.

I mean I’m on this week’s payroll anyways! I might as well try to shut someone’s business down.

God I could not care less about Toby and his caveman face, so obviously I’ve truncated this part a bit. The only interesting part of any of this is the woman who owns Radley and her complete lack of compassion for Toby. I liked that part.

Go home Toby. Nobody cares about you

Go home Toby. Nobody cares about you

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Lizz is a consumer, lover and writer of all things pop culture and the Fashion/Style Editor at Autostraddle.com. She is also full time medical student at Brown University in Providence, RI. You can find her on the twitter, the tumblr or even on the instagram.

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25 Comments

  1. Thumb up 0

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    The conversation with Ezra and Mona was really, really well done. Very creepy, and it’s so good to see Ezra be a sociopath. Love it.

    Has anyone watched Ravenswood? Is it worth watching to supplement PLL? I’m super sad that Caleb is gone but it was a whole bunch of WTF without knowing the ongoings of Ghosts Inc.

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      I’m enjoying Ravenswood so far. It’s written by the same people and it has the same meta sensibilty about what it does. And it is legitimately scary at times. Plus it’s got Caleb and he’s a character I just like a lot.

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      I didn’t love the first episode and we aren’t going to be recapping it even though Caleb is the first lesbian to get their own spin-off show, but then I watched the next few episodes and really started to like it.

      It’s super scary at times and j can’t watch it last thing at night!

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      I’ve actually been really loving Ravenswood. It wasn’t especially appealing at first but with the final scene of the second episode it completely won me over and after that it continued to be the hardest show for me to wait for every week.

      I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who likes it, I kind of came here expecting to see that everyone hated it or wrote it off after the first episode.

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    “Some day I want us to have a wedding where everyone in the bridal party just dresses in accordance with their own gender presentation, you know? Like maybe all the butches wear suspenders. Wouldn’t that be so cute? Let’s do it farm to table shabby chic style.”

    i’ve actually had this conversation, more or less word for word.

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    Another triumph in recapping helping me through the loss of PLL from British TV. Maybe it would have survived on our screens with more lesbian kissing. We’re used to that over here, it’s on teen soaps and everything! :-o

  4. Thumb up 5

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    I loved that scene between Mona and Ezra so much. Of course Mona would be the one to figure it out eight seasons before anyone else.

    I also really loved watching how many different ways Caleb could tell Hanna about Ravenswood without flat out saying, “It’s a sepia-toned vortex of supernatural tomfoolery.” It should be fun to see how they work that into the rest of the season.

    And, although I’ve never been a fan of Aria/Ezra and would never condone a relationship such as that, that scene in his “friend’s cabin” was the first time I’ve actually been grossed out and incredibly uncomfortable watching their scenes. So, good job on the writers’ and actors’ parts for making Ezra believable as a sociopath/A.

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    Even though we’ve kind of been there before with A turning out to be someone the Liars trusted, like Mona or Toby, I’m really enjoying EzrA. Veiled threats are pretty standard for most conversations in Rosewood, but that scene with Mona was seriously unsettling. Really curious to what’s next for those two.

    Even though it was sad I still appreciated seeing Caleb in all his lesbionic glory.

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    Anyone notice “A” I’m the final scene is wearing the same converse sneakers that Paige was wearing while she and Emily were talking about Ali? I rewound and they awkwardly zoom in on Paige’s shoes in that scene…

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    Watch Ezra turns out to be board shorts best friend and advised him against getting involved with a high school girl however many years ago it was now. And all of his weird internal conflict comes from working with board shorts while trying to protect the girl he loves (that he knows he shouldn’t love).

  8. Thumb up 2

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    you had something quite to say about marlene king… mmm.. the woman and her show gives us the best looking queer girls to ever hit a teen based television network. emily, paige, samara and her poker friends, maya, shana, jenna, mona, caleb, ezra. come on now, let’s all show some respect.

    that is emily’s bedroom by the way. see that window seat? it’s the window seat where paige sat on after confessing to emily she’s gay.

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