Hanna escorts Leslie to Mona’s room under the guise of being her guide, but actually she just wants to keep an eye on her.
Hanna: If you actually were close to Mona, you do understand that what we had was way more complicated than “just friends.”
Leslie: Oh, I know.
Hanna: No, I don’t mean it in a gay way. I mean it in a “in between all the times she saved my life, she tried to ruin my life and literally hit me with a car at least once” kind of way.
Leslie: Right, I know. But that’s what I liked about her. Most girls, it’s like, they’re in one place, doing one thing, but with Mona, she was everywhere and nowhere doing nothing and everything.
Hanna: There was more than one Mona inside her.
Leslie: More than one Mona?! Do you think she’s the one with a twin?
Hanna: Oh man, now I do!
Usually the way I recap Pretty Little Liars is I watch the episode live and live-tweet it, and then I watch it again the next morning and take frantic notes the whole time. I usually come away with about six pages of hastily scribbled notes, but this episode, I ended up with 17 pages and most of them are just me transcribing actual dialogue from the show. This episode feels so full of secrets, like not even a single word is wasted. That’s especially true in these Mona/Hanna flashback scenes, which is where Hanna’s mind goes when she sees a giant Edgar Allen Poe compendium on Mona’s bookshelf.
Mona is reading Poe’s “Bridal Ballad” to Hanna. It’s a poem about how this bride marries this rich lord because everyone says that’s the thing she’s supposed to do, and the bride keeps talking about how happy she is, but really she’s not happy at all because she’s in love with a soldier who died in battle, and on her wedding day she even hallucinates marrying the dead soldier. At the very end of the poem, when she’s done pretending to the reader that jewels and satin and silk and societal approval make her happy, she starts worrying that the dead soldier’s ghost is going to start haunting her because she married someone else. So, that story plus themes about how wedding rings symbolize patriarchal oppression and about how awful it is so smile on the outside while you’re dying on the inside. Take a minute and noodle on those Vanderevelations/post-corporeal threats!
Mona says she loves Poe because his words are like maple syrup, sticky and sweet, and being creeped out is a good time. And then she transitions into the Three Wishes game, which is basically her Adrenalized Hyperreality origin story. She really just wants one wish, a stopwatch that controls the space-time continuum, and when you press the button, everyone and everything freezes, so you can steal shit from Bloomingdale’s, sure, but also you can break into people’s houses and find out all their business and manipulate their actions and when you decided to unfreeze time, they would be your puppets and they wouldn’t even know it. Like a real-live, life-size dollhouse.
Hanna’s like, “You always make better wishes than me.” And Mona’s like, “Honey, you don’t know the half of it.”
Fitzgerald Bookshoppe & Candy Palace. Emily climbs up onto a ladder to fetch a giant can of tomatoes, and while she’s up there, Talia sliiiiides on in behind her and wordlessly wraps an apron around her waist. She ties it. She breathes in the smell of Emily’s hair. She rests her hands on Emily’s hips for juuuuust a second. Later, Emily will tell Caleb that she doesn’t know whether or not Talia is flirting with her, because Emily is just wholly, truly, inexplicably bad at reading the signs. I’m starting to think she didn’t even understand the sign of “Act Normal, Bitch” and that’s the best sign in history.
Also inexplicably, Mike starts to get mesmerized by Johnny. Johnny says he’s building a “perpetual motion machine powered by secrets.” If Mona was still alive, she would talk to him about the laws of thermodynamics and how he’s full of it. But she is not, and so. Mike spots Leslie and Hanna carrying Mona’s giant Poe collection and flips out on them about how they’d better give it back right now so he can put it back in Mona’s room and does her mom just think she’s going to start giving away all of Mona’s stuff and no one can make her disappear even if they burn all her terrifying dolls in a fire so stop trying. Hanna doesn’t slap Mike’s face and explain that Mona meant more to her than she could mean to Mike in three hundred lifetimes, but only because she is Hanna. I would slap his face. Hanna says she’ll make sure the book is returned to its proper place.
After Mike smashes through a window and leaves, Leslie is like, “Yeah, I definitely heard that joker yelling at Mona when I was on the phone with her the night she died.”
Leslie, shut up. Only we get to make fun of Mike and accuse him of things. You just got here.
Caleb is outside studying on the grass on a Saturday afternoon, which Emily finds super odd, so she goes over to make sure he’s okay. He says, “No one’s ever going to deserve Hanna, but I’m going to keep trying to deserve her, so today that means becoming a super genius.” Emily is so distracted watching Talie unload melons from a melon truck that she barely hears him. Caleb calls it her “new situation” and wonders how that’s going.
Emily: There’s a part of me that’s like, “Come on, Fields; focus on staying alive and out of jail!” But there’s another part of me that honestly just wants to feel the weight of a pretty girl on top of me.
Caleb: Yeah, but what’s the point of that first thing if you don’t have that second thing?
Emily: I guess. How do lesbians even get together?
Caleb: I think what happens is you meet a girl and exist in the same space with her for a minute and then stalk everything she has ever written on social media and analyze every word she’s ever said or not said to you and lie awake at night thinking about when you’ll be interacting with her again and try to make up your mind about what to do and stop eating and once you become so sleep deprived and hungry that nothing make sense, you just close your eyes and go for it. Or you don’t, and you have some pizza and start the cycle over.
Emily: Seems legit. Thanks, buddy.
Hanna drops another Mike bomb onto Aria. Not only did he visit Ali in jail, but he also yelled at Mona the night before she died. Based on this random new girl from nowhere’s mental voice analytics.