The musings of a feminist pop culture fanatic

Previously on Pretty Little Liars: Toby tried to run over Lucas with a car, Mona’s doctors released her in the middle of the night and she decided to break the news to Hanna by creepily standing over her as she slept, Aria got locked in a box with Garrett’s dead body, Toby tried to get Spencer to stop obsessing over him (I mean A), Hanna asked Lucas if Mona is blackmailing him, Creepy Desk Clerk Harold is now Creepy Janitor Harold and had Ali’s diary in his creepy basement, Byron got super creepy, and someone tried to burn down a storage shed while Meredith was in it.

The main plot revolves around Byron’s connection to Ali’s disappearance and how Harold is connected to everything. Byron gets creepier with every moment and even Aria looks like she is terrified of him. She is none too happy that Byron thinks she tried to kill Meredith and he tells her that they’ve discovered someone else did it, so the girls are no longer under suspicion. Aria still doesn’t trust him, though. Hanna, Emily, and Aria go over the journal entry they stole from Harold’s lair last episode. However, when Aria goes to get the pages from her secret hiding place (her boot), they’re gone. Byron comes up to see the girls rifling through Aria’s shoe collection and acts super creepy. He mentions how Aria used to hide Halloween candy in her boot so that Mike wouldn’t find it. All the girls are instantly creeped out and figure out he knows about the journal entry. They would be even more freaked if they heard the sinister music to go along with every Byron scene. We also get the first glimpse of Byron’s temper. Aria overhears him fighting with Meredith and goes to see what is happening. She sees Meredith trying to leave as Byron is forcibly restraining her from doing so. He tries to apologize to Meredith, but she runs away. Byron tries to play it off, but Aria is justifiably freaking out. Aria eventually finds Meredith at The Grille and tries to figure out what happened between her and Byron. Apparently, Meredith found Byron going through Aria’s things. The day before, he apparently rifled through Meredith’s purse, thinking it was Aria’s. When Byron left to pick up Mike, Meredith found the journal pages from Ali. Meredith confesses Byron came to her the night that Ali disappeared, thinking she had something to do with the blackmailing. Meredith tells Aria that he left her apartment that night to go find Ali. Later that night, Meredith and Aria discuss whether Byron is actually capable of hurting Ali and what they should do with the information they have. As Byron leaves his office that night, Mona (in a black hoodie) watches him leave and calls someone to update them on Byron’s whereabouts. He’s being so heavily painted with the creeper brush that I don’t think he actually killed Ali. Byron is clearly a red herring. A really fucking creepy red herring, though.

All the girls are obsessed with finding out Byron’s connection to Ali’s disappearance, so Spencer, Emily, and Hanna decide to break into the school basement after dark to look at Creepy Harold’s lair. When they get there, they discover that someone (a black hoodie) is in there with them and all of Harold’s stuff is gone. The only thing left is a blank journal with a note from A. The black hoodies are starting to get super sloppy because that isn’t the only near miss with a hooded figure in this episode.

Mona is still trying to make amends. She tries to play off Harold’s appearance at the school as him stalking her, but the girls certainly don’t believe her. According to Mona, Harold rigged the explosion of the storage shed to try and hurt her. Unfortunately for Mona, the girls are still getting texts from A and they are still convinced Mona is trying to sabotage them. She says that she’s not allowed to have cell phone or computer access, but the girls naturally don’t believe her. Mona says that Jason supervises her Internet usage and the girls confirm that with him.

Lucas is super sketchy and paranoid. Hanna confronts him and says that she knows he was the person in the basement last night, but he says he was just there looking for something. Lucas is totally terrified that Hanna believes Mona and basically acts like he’s about to get killed. He goes on to say that he’s tried to stop her, but it didn’t work. Apparently, Lucas is the one that rigged the explosion. Later, Hanna goes to visit Lucas to find out more information about his relationship with Mona. Lucas says that he’s leaving Rosewood High for good. Mona has apparently been blackmailing Lucas since the second season finale, or the masquerade ball, whichever you prefer. Mona had Lucas running various suspicious errands for her. He said Mona tried to run him over after he told her he was done. We know it was actually Toby, but it’s totally reasonable Lucas would think Mona did it. Mona found out that Lucas was selling test answers to various Rosewood students, so she’s now trying to take him down.

Aria is trying to get information from Ella about Ali’s disappearance and Byron’s whereabouts that night. Ella is clearly the most unobservant person ever because Aria is not acting normal at all when she brings up the subject to Ella. We find that Ella and Byron were at a Hollis party that night. They had quite a bit of wine and Ella slept quite soundly. Maybe sound enough not to realize her husband was sneaking out to kill a teenage girl? There’s also a minor conversation between Ella and Meredith about their new professional relationship and how that will affect Aria. The episode ends with Aria in bed with the flu.

Spencer is running for team captain of the Academic Decathlon. She mentions that the other guy who would be running against her got into some sort of accident and needs physical therapy now. Perhaps he was the guy on the sabotaged bike at the end of last week’s episode? Considering he hit his trachea on the handlebars of his bike due to a faulty front wheel, I’m guessing so. Anyway, Spencer thinks she’s running unopposed, but oh no. Mona is back and she needs extracurriculars to fill her time. Mona has already taken the time to start campaigning and unfortunately, the vote for captain ends in a tie. Apparently, that means they have to go to a quiz-off. After a pep talk from academic rival and potential future boyfriend Andrew, Spencer is ready to take down Mona. Toby is still playing the supportive boyfriend, which will only make it that much more crushing when Spencer finds out the truth. At the quiz-off, Mona is trying to win over the team by getting a get well soon card for the person whose bike she probably sabotaged. Spencer tries not to let it get to her, but it eventually does. She does okay in the first couple rounds and it seems like Mona is choking. Unfortunately, Spencer chokes on the last question and Mona wins the captain position. Mona apparently anticipated this as she has already prepared celebratory cupcakes. Future boyfriend Andrew tells Spencer they can still try to appeal to the faculty advisor, but Spencer says she doesn’t want to win that way. She calls Hanna to come get her from the school. When Hanna gets there, she confronts Mona in front of everyone and says she knows that Mona is still A. It’s pretty much awesome. Spencer spends the rest of the night freaking out about the amount of time she’ll have to spend with Mona in the near future. Hanna gets a text from A about how it was a mistake to cut off Mona. Hanna is convinced that there are more A’s out there. Spencer is sure Mona is playing them all.

Emily and Paige are trying to find time to hang out. Paige is not handling the events of the past couple months very well. She’s exhibiting serious post-traumatic stress symptoms and doesn’t understand why Emily is staying so calm. Emily convinces Paige that the best way to get over their traumatic experience in the woods is to go to a party in the woods. That’s going to end well. Naturally, it doesn’t. They get lost in the woods and Paige starts losing her shit. Emily realizes that her girlfriend is clearly not okay and is having serious panic attacks. Paige admits she’s been feeling like this since Halloween. It certainly doesn’t help when a black hoodie slashes Paige’s tires. Emily sees the hoodie and starts to chase him through the woods. We see that it’s Toby and Emily certainly comes close to seeing him, too. It’s only a matter of time before the girls are clued into Toby’s evilness. Later, they have a discussion about how Emily is still scared of all the shit happening to them, but she’s more angry than anything. Emily encourages Paige to get help for her anxiety.

The ending vignette is of a black hoodie passing a wooden sign for a campground as a train whistles in the distance. They bury the masks from the masquerade ball under some leaves and then leave.

Quote of the week: “It’s certainly calculating, but I wouldn’t call that trig.” – Aria to Mona about her posting an apology video when she was only supposed to have computer access for homework

Major questions raised this week: How much wine does Ella need to not hear her husband leave the house? How much has Lucas been involved with A? Was it actually Toby who hit Hanna with the car way back when, or does every member of Team A need to be prepared to potentially commit vehicular manslaughter?

Next week: The gig is up for Toby. Aria apparently sees Ali. Hanna gets trapped somewhere with some super creepy mannequins. Hanna also makes Caleb promise her that he won’t do anything stupid.

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