The Liars need a minute to be skeptical of Leslie because, in their experience, when someone comes to town claiming to be a dead person’s best friend, that person is Cece Drake, and you don’t want to walk into that situation blindly or someone is coming away with a nickname like “Americano.”
Spencer goes home to steal Alison’s visitation records from her mother’s briefcase and also to yell at her mother when her mother starts yelling at her about college. In true Hastings fashion, the problem is not that Spencer didn’t get into college. No, despite being arrested, admitted to rehab multiple times for Study Drug addiction, Radley-ed, and not attending school past season three, Spencer has been accepted to one hundred colleges, but she hasn’t bothered to tell Veronica about them or even open up the acceptance packages.
Veronica is livid! She starts in on Spencer about, “Do you think I keep murdering people in the backyard so you can not pursue your dreams of higher education? Do you think I stayed married to your father and kept my mouth shut when Melissa started making out with her half-brother so you could spend your 20s traipsing through Amsterdam wearing a backpack and dreadlocks and getting baked and eating food out of those FEBO vending machines? Spencer, do you honestly think I’m going to let you skip college after I left my career at the Special Victims Unit to keep you from losing your goddamn mind inside a noir fantasy? You’re going to college. Open these letters and start packing.”
If you think that’s angry, wait’ll you get a load of Detective Holbrook down at RPD HQ getting fired. Hanna and Caleb are hanging out there, talking about how weird it’ll be if Ashley becomes a preacher’s wife, when Holbrook explodes in the kind of rage handsome white men in their 30s often do when they find out they can’t just take whatever they want in life and get rewarded for it. He starts screeching about how someone else messed up the investigation and now he’s taking the fall for it, and smashing up his desk, and calling everyone names, and stealing people’s staplers and Post-It notes on the way out the door. When he sees Hanna and Caleb watching him, he goes, “Perfect! Just perfect!” And Caleb steps in front of Hanna because he thinks maybe this asshole is unhinged enough to start throwing punches at teenage girls.
Hanna rushes back to the book shoppe to tell Emily about Holbrook going berserk, and she’s got a bad feeling about what he’s going to be doing with all his free time now that he’s not a cop. Caleb did some kind of techno hocus-pocus on the cameras at the storage unit place, so that’s okay, but the video of them discussing their plan to break into the storage room and steal a dead body is still out there somewhere, for one thing. That does worry Emily, what Hanna is saying about how Holbrook is going to destroy all their lives, but it doesn’t worry her as much as seeing Spencer cozying up in the corner with Johnny Garbage Paint. Also, she’s got some Talia on her mind. It’s a busier day than normal in Emily’s noggin.
Spencer tells Aria the weird news that Mike visited Alison in jail, and despite Aria’s protests that Mike only went there to spit in Alison’s eye (“because when you don’t like someone, you blind them; he was just doing what we taught him!”), she knows something wily is going on. Mike has a history, you’ll remember. He broke Ella’s arm. He broke into Emily’s garage one time and stole some camping gear. He was a confidante of Noel Kahn.
When Aria tries to confront Mike about the jail visit, she finds him watching Them!, which is such a good Pretty Little Liars movie. Like, this is one of my favorite film-within-film commentaries this show has done because Them! is this absurdly terrifying sci-fi flick — the first and probably best of the 1950s “creature features” — about how atomic bomb testing in New Mexico created a colony of giant super ants. Which seems like it should be silly, but it’s actually really eerie and there’s some scathing social commentary about how, like, a radioactive explosion in a small town can cause even the most innocuous and tiny things to morph into monsters. (Metaphors!) The part Mike is watching is the beginning, this lost little girl wandering around in the desert clutching a headless doll, whispering, “Them! Them!” And the state trooper who finds her being like, “What’s your name? Who do you belong to?”
Mike says it was one of Mona’s favorites (because of course it was; Mona’s mind is a gift that doesn’t stop giving, even after she’s gone), and that he’s trying to watch all the films she had on her Best Of list. Aria doesn’t ask Mike about the jail thing because she can see he’s too broken up over Mona to answer questions right now. Oh, Aria. Let me relearn you without Ezra occupying your whole life. There’s so much goodness and uniqueness inside you that we’ve never even seen!