Down this one hallway is a door to a vault filled with noodle dollars, probably. Down this other hallway is a portal to that doll hospital in Brookhaven. That hallway leads to a replica of the inside of Kahn Kabin. This one goes to a Beauty and the Beast-style library where every book is Lolita. There’s a room full of those burlap baby-face zombie masks. A room with nothing but photos of the inside of Aria’s ear. A pit full of snakes. A simulator where you get run under, over and over, by a car. One room looks exactly like the English classroom at Rosewood High, with an animatronic Ezra Fitz inside teaching The Great Gatsby all day every day until the end of time, and sometimes between talking about the themes of class and the dissolution of the American dream, the animatron snaps, “Some people have real problems, Emily!”
What Mona has figured out, besides all that, is if you don’t make it back to your room in three minutes, A+ leaves you out there in the hallway in the dark with the sirens going off and no food and water for days, and sometimes it’s like those Jabberjays from The Hunger Games squawking your loved ones’ voices at you, screaming and crying and begging to die.
But have those torture tactics cracked Mona Vandejesus Vanderwaal? No, ma’am, they have not.
Mona: Is my mom okay, though?
Hanna: I mean, I saw her all the time at first. She slapped Ali at your funeral for sure. Things got weird when Leslie Stone came to town trying to rifle through your shit and claiming to be your lover. I was guarding your bedroom 24/7. I think your mom was creeped out. Anyway, who the fuck is Leslie Stone?
Mona: Shoot, that was the warning click. 17 seconds until the generator is working again; we’d better scoot.
Sadly, this episode is not just all Liars all the time. Mercifully, though, the boys have holed up in Calebzra’s apartment and are hanging out there and impotently interacting with one another, and also with the Hastingses, who have been clued in by Toby that Spencer and the others have been hijacked and are being held hostage. Ezra is the best in these scenes. Just the absolute best. He stomps around and pulls at his hair and falls to his knees and shouts at the sky and rips his clothes and talks about how all he cares about in the world is keeping Aria safe, and then he presents dozens of boxes of stalking notes to Veronica and Peter, from the several years he spent watching Aria get chopped into tiny pieces and fed to wolves every day without ever intervening to help her.
The Hastingses decide to tag-team and question Ali about the roofied paddy wagon drivers who careened their van into a ditch, thereby enabling the kidnapping of their daughter.
Ali: I mean, it was A.
Peter: Fuck wank bugger shitting arse head and hole!
Veronica: Pardon me?
Peter: That’s some slang I learned from Colin, Melissa’s British roommate, when I was Out of Town.
Veronica: Alison, we know Mona was A. Dr. Annabeth Gish explained how she was living in a perpetual state of hyperreality after Spencer drove her off a cliff, remember? And now she’s dead for a second time? That’s kind of why you’re in here?
Alison: It’s true Mona was A, but after she checked into Radley, a whole other even more sinister A stepped up to the plate, and it stopped being kid’s stuff like nasty little text messages and occasionally getting stuffed into a woodchipper, and started being real terror stuff like — okay, one time I had to land my plane in the forest and pull Hanna from a burning building.
Peter: Blimey, mate! Bugger all chunder kerfuffle!
In the doll house, Spencer finally takes Emily’s advice to think like Mona and decodes the lettered blocks she peeped in the game room earlier. She wakes up and legit goes, “IT HAS A NAME!” And its name is Charles.
Mona wakes up and smiles so sweetly into the camera peering down at her. The camera waggles its finger toward Mona’s dresser. There’s a gas mask there and a note saying it’s a gift because she’s A’s favorite. Mona smiles as bright as an Oklahoma morning, says, “Want me to put it on?” And she does. And then she stands in front of a mirror in the fake room of a girl she’s being forced to pretend to be, while the actual girl who lives in the real version of this room is in jail for her murder, wearing a gas mask and brushing her fake hair. This episode is one of the most monumentally fucked up things I have ever seen on television. I love it so much.
The Liars make their way down to the basement of the doll house. It kind of (kind of) looks like the Batcave from the 1960s Batman TV show. All of the Liars have been assigned to work stations to help prepare for prom, the theme of which is: Hellscape 2004. Incidentally, that was the theme of Ian and Melissa’s prom. Emily is like, “Nuh uh, no! I did not start a lesbian revolution on television to be sent back in time to a year when gay women only had sex on premium cable! Absolutely not!” Frankly, Mona agrees. Hanna is in charge of the snacks station, so she flips off the camera and tells A+ to bite her, before chomping (awesomely) into a brownie.
Mona invites the Liars to her station to help her fill out Prom Queen & King ballots, which only makes Emily madder. 2004 was so heteronormative! But Mona doesn’t care about the ballots; she wants them to use the ballots to pass notes between each other.
Meanwhile, at Calebzra’s, Ezra gets a text from someone letting him know that Tanner & Co. are on their way to arrest Caleb. He willingly goes in for questioning because he’s never gotten to sit across from Tanner and give her a piece of his mind and now seems like a good time.
Tanner: Well, the girls were cyberjacked, and are you not a cyberjacker?
Caleb: Maybe, and good luck killing me, because I’m also a ghost.
Tanner: Where is Hanna?
Caleb: Do you not think if I were the cyberjacker who jacked her paddy wagon that I would be with her right now, instead of hanging around in my apartment with these Hastingses and Ezra Fitz?
Tanner: Can you think of anyone else who would want to jack Hanna’s paddy wagon?
Caleb: Yes, but she’s dead. Anyway, I already found the paddy wagon, from my iPhone.
Tanner: We’ll talk about your arrest after you help us crack the case of these missing Liars.
Toby: Yessssss. Solving a mystery! Making arrests! Officer Cavanaugh is on the—
Tanner: Toby, go get us some coffee.
Caleb takes over RPD’s intranet, shows Tanner where the paddy wagon has landed, and so off everyone goes to save the day. On the way, Melissa calls Veronica to check in on things, and Andrew “Cousin Nate” Campbell is somehow tapped into that phone conversation, just listening in on it while he plays Tetris in another window on his laptop down at Fitzgerald Candy & Book Shoppe.
In the doll house basement, Spencer suddenly starts flipping tables and yelling about how subpar all these materials are, and what she could really use is some copper wire and three packs of nine-volt batteries and and a handful of D-sub connectors and a modular connectivity port and half a dozen capacitors and resistors. Mona’s eyes get bright and she chimes in, talking about, “Shit, yeah! And a toggle switch and a liner taper potentiometer and about six hundred light bulbs!” Aria starts yelling too: “Yeah! And, um, a bag of bird feathers and a leather-bound journal with unruled free range organic paper and some coconut water!” Spencer and Mona dialogue about how if they had those things, they could rig up this fancy stairway entrance and when Ali walks down it to get her crown, all the light bulbs will flash at her like the paparazzi!