Previously on Pretty Little Liars, Toby’s drive-thru police certification started causing big time problems between him and Spencer, the way it would if, say, you were a Smurf and your boyfriend took an internship with Gargamel. Hanna and Caleb broke into the storage unit that was rented in her name to find only the barrel full of bodies left inside, and Toby and Detective Tanner snooping around outside. Aria gave Ezra a copy of the Talmadge essay she wrote about how he is an emotional terrorist, and for the first time in his life, he was like, “Dang, man, I’m an emotional terrorist.” Talia told Emily the way she flirts with girls is to boss them around and talk about boys’ butts. And Ashley had a long think about Pastor Ted vs. Jason DiLaurentis.
[Cons: Looks eerily like sister who is teenage daughter’s friend, shady motherfucker, keeps changing head, house built on graveyard, sober (no wine??) Pros: Durable (can survive falls from 30+ stories?), won’t have to wake up early on weekend to go to church, looks like Sweet Valley High boyfriend (will make me feel/look younger?)]
The Liars are hanging out in the town square of a Saturday morning, chatting about the usual things. Toby giving up his sweet gig as Rosewood’s only contractor to go to work for Spencer’s archnemesis: noble or moronic? Discuss. Veronica Hastings joining Alison’s defense team as a special consultant to steer them away from the trail of Spencer’s misdeeds: shrewd or futile? Discuss. Ezra going out of town without telling Aria: honorable or duplicitous. Discuss. Holbrook returning to Rosewood PD alive and not in that barrel like I thought: mo’ problems or the ultimate chance for Hanna to shine? (Spoiler alert, it’s the second thing.)
Spencer and Hanna make up from last week’s hollering match speedy-quick because their personalities are perfectly suited for such a thing. Spencer is good at apologizing, and swiftly, because she’s always accusing you of some horrible thing only to realize later that it was her own insecurities and/or logical fallacies and/or Adderall talking. And Hanna is good at accepting apologies because she’s no stranger to vomiting on wedding dresses, and her empathy and compassion are as deep as the ocean.
The Liars head on into Fitzgerald Book Shoppe & Candy Palace to disperse and have some individual dramas. Emily wanders into the kitchen to talk to Talia about how she hopes she’s feeling better on account of she called in sick yesterday, and Talia doesn’t even make a joke about how she hopes Emily didn’t poison the whole town with empanadas in her absence. She just sits there in her sadness and is sad and she frowns. Spencer takes a second to talk to fucking Johnny Patronization, who is doing another installation for Ezra. And Hanna gets a call from the police asking her to shimmy herself across the street, where Caleb is already hanging out, to answer some questions about the storage unit.
There’s a real elegance to this episode’s direction and scene shifts. It almost feels like watching a play, the way the stories flow and transition between each of the Liars; even them just observing each other adds a visual depth and another layer of emotion to their stories.
Emily is behind the register, reading personal essays as they print out on the receipt machine, when this strawberry-haired girl with big ol’ lesbian glasses wanders up and asks to be pointed in the direction of Hanna Marin, because she is Mona’s childhood friend, Leslie, and Mrs. Vanderwaal said Hanna would probably be hanging out here or at down at the police precinct. Well, this is a suspicious surprise, and the Liars tell her so! In fact, they invite her to stand trial right in this shoppe, where they always hold court.
They question her about how long she’s been friends with Mona, what exactly she thinks it means to be friends with Mona, about her whereabouts during Mona’s Luau-themed memorial service. Leslie says Mona probably never talked about her to the Liars because Mona only ever talked about Hanna, and she couldn’t come to the funeral Luau because of school, and she really appreciates the Liars trying to protect Mona from “that awful girl.” Leslie says she was supposed to see Mona at Thanksgiving but, well, you know, the bludgeoning kept her from ever showing up to eat turkey and dressing.