The episode opens with Aria’s Mom teaching Hedda Gabler to the Liars. This is a really highbrow metaphor for the girls, but it makes me expect great things. Like, Hedda Gabler on ABC Family? Maybe just a desperate plea for Emmy attention, but I’m on board. Also, this high school doesn’t only teach To Kill A Mockingbird! I feel like the Liars probably didn’t read Hedda Gabler. Whatever. Aria’s Mom also thinks that people dance for the security cameras at Wal-Mart the night before an exam. Which is a lie — everyone dances for the security camera at the closest grungy supermarket these days. Ugh. Aria’s Mom is always behind.
Emily receives a necklace of teeth that reads DEAD GIRLS CAN’T SMILE. But dead girls CAN smile, if you turn their mouth that way. However, they will look bad if you pull out all their teeth. Emily has a panic attack, everyone runs out after her to have a bathroom powwow. If my memories from high school are correct, you are not allowed to do that. I feel like our four Liars are in charge of the school, you know? The necklace falls into the toilet because everyone is being stupid, and Spencer does the most stupid thing because she triggers the flusher sensor thing. Spencer messes up even after Aria warns her about the sensor. Is Aria passing Spencer for smartest Liar? Probably not, but anything can happen on this show...
Aria’s hair looks better when she puts it in a ponytail and lets her top mom layers frame her lemur face. Yes, I am still obsessed with Aria’s hair because it looks the worst. After the necklace of human teeth is lost forever into the Rosewood toilet system, our ladies decide to double attack Mona and Garrett to get more information. Suddenly, a wild Jenna appears wearing a RIDICULOUS voodoo necklace and still pretending she is blind! The most blind ever, because she is running into people now. Oops. Aria is the only one that realizes how Jenna is now the blindest, further solidifying her smart status. Gold star, Aria!
Emily was absent from school all of April. Was she drunk? How did she miss every day of school in April? Didn’t her friends say something? Was it because of Maya? Couldn’t they help out the token lesbian with good hair? Aria thinks it’s really smart for Ezra to be Emily’s tutor on the English exam — another smart move for Aria. AND THEN BIG SOMETHING HAPPENS: MEREDITH ARRIVES. Meredith as in the graduate student that Aria’s Dad slept with! She is actually Jody Sawyer from Center Stage disguised as a crazy home wrecking bitch, which means I like her and hate her at the same time. Meredith wants a teaching position at the high school, and says she won’t put Aria down as a reference. That comment is not even funny/cute/scary, only dumb. Meredith is hot and dumb.
NEXT: Do you suffer from Ambiguous Loss?
Hanna is still visiting Mona in the loony bin, and Mona still looks dead. Remember that weird Halle Berry film, Gothika? It is really bad. Do not watch it. But I think of it whenever I see Mona. Hanna is sharing the latest gossip with Mona, and then she SNAPS. Like, Hanna starts screaming about peach pie and braiding back hair and she throws a chair. Mona sits as stone cold as ever.
Hot British Doctor is lecturing Hanna about crazy people, which is weirdly sexual. (They should bang?) I know Hanna is with Caleb, but Hannah and Caleb have the same haircut now and that’s weird. Basically everyone should be in love with Hot British Doctor (HBD, from here on out). HBD mentions this thing called “Ambiguous Loss,” in which something is gone but yet still here. Sounds very medical, and by that, I mean it sounds like he made it up.
Spencer is hanging out with Toby and notices that Jenna’s life as a blind person is questionable. Duh. Spencer thought to use a search engine (probably Bing), and realized that Jenna’s camp ended Aug. 23. Where’d she go? Clearly Spencer is the one closest to the Nancy Drew here and solidifies her status as Smart One! Toby suddenly tries to have sex with Spencer. As in, he starts giving her a massage and then pulls her shirt up to expose her entire back and starts kissing and Spencer is not wearing a bra and vigorous making out and we see Toby’s weird hip tattoo again and is this show Fifty Shades of Grey? I forget how to use periods/punctuation when high schoolers have almost-sex on television! Mariska (Spencer’s Mom) comes back and it is over. Mariska’s hair looks bad. Mariska sucks.
Back at school, Aria finds a weird earring in her locker. We flash back to when Ali was alive, which means we see my favorite Aria: Rebellious Aria with the pink extension! Ali looks like a midget hooker, and the two are hunting for evidence of Aria’s Dad having an affair with Meredith; Ali finds an earring, so the two decide to trash everything and make it look like Meredith wants to ruin Aria’s entire family. The trashing looks like so much fun, because Ali and Aria write on the walls with lipstick and throw papers. This is one of the best things PLL has ever done. It is like a food fight but with actual damage. Ali also calls Meredith a “vindictive home-wrecking bunny boiler,” which is a burn I am using every day for the rest of my life. Anyhoo, flashback ends and Aria reveals that the earring is the keepsake Aria dropped in Ali’s casket. GRAVE ROBBING.
Aria passes Jenna on her way out, and Jenna says that she recognizes Aria because of Aria’s ringtone. ARIA’S RINGTONG IS RANDOM BEEPS. Jenna, try harder. Jenna wants Aria to play in a recital with her? What? That doesn’t make sense. Jenna is arranging pistachio shells in a weird crop circle. Aria blatantly lies and runs away. Jenna lowers her sunglasses — the universal sign that her eyeballs work — and starts casting an evil spell on Aria. I love Jenna.
NEXT: Where’s Hanna’s Mom?
Mariska bans Spencer from the jail! Garrett is bad! Spencer is wearing an ugly tennis dress! Garrett has evidence that proves… stuff? He says he is innocent! People lie! Medial records don’t! I believe most of this, but I also feel like someone on this show (umm, A) could 100 percent forge medical records. Garrett gives nothing up. Mariska is now Garrett’s lawyer. Something is fishy. Spencer is frazzled.
Everyone’s mother is being really rude this season and we are already two episodes in! Is that the theme for this season? Maybe all the moms are A? Hanna’s Mom is absent the entire episode, which means she is either filming porn somewhere or having sex with that police officer the entire week. Caleb thinks that Mona spends her time in the psych ward “making ashtrays and pooping in a stall without a door,” which sounds mildly boring but not that awful. Hanna mentions that she needs to see Mona because she is suffering from Ambiguous Loss! HBD! Hanna is like a doctor now. Hanna does Mona’s makeup at the hospital/jail. It is really sweet. Hanna deserves a pig cupcake. Mona also whispers her first line from the crazy house: “You’re still received them, aren’t you?” A!!! Mona also steals tweezers from Hanna and pulls something out of her finger. We’re crossing over into Black Swan territory!
Back at the hospital, HBD and Caleb are having a pissing contest over Hanna. HBD mentions Ambiguous Loss, and Caleb realizes that Hanna lied to him. Caleb is a really good boyfriend and Hanna is a bad girlfriend! Ambiguous Loss is everywhere and A is kind of M.I.A.ish this episode. I like the flip, because I learned about Ambiguous Loss and Ambiguous Loss can be used as an excuse for almost anything. I think.
Aria’s Dad is the worst character on this show, taking the spot left open from when Emily’s Mom used to cry in the soup cabinet about her daughter’s lesbian tendencies, when he forces Aria to apologize to Meredith about the office trashing. STUPID. Meredith is a blonde whore! She has evil eyes. Aria confesses because A sent her the worst A text ever, and it wasn’t that hard to tell the truth. Meredith hangs out in a Rosewood coffee house that has not existed before this very day, which makes sense because Rosewood just invents new stores when characters need a new meeting place. Aria finds out that the earring from her dad’s office does not belong to Meredith. That is not a mystery but more just Aria forgetting about the manipulative character traits of her evil dead friend.
NEXT: Jenna has eyeballs!
Emily is listening to pump-up jams before her exam… and… touching herself? She makes a scary orgasm face and then the exam starts. Emily sees the first page and does the classic “I KNOW EVERYTHING” face. She’s enjoying herself. However, as the exam nears the end, Emily has a flashback to the blue car that has been haunting her since… last episode. The flashback comes because some girl in the classroom acts as a trigger. At first, I thought Emily was going into a hazy lesbian fever dream. However, the woman driving the creepy car was JENNA!!! WITH EYEBALLS!!! NO SUNGLASSES!!! BLACK GLOVES!!! Again, Jenna is the best. Emily doesn’t finish the test. But she only had like seven minutes left when the flashback arrived, and she still had roughly 28 questions left. So… I don’t know if she can blame the car kidnap memory returning, you know?
Aria’s Mom sees that Emily is going to flunk, so she decides to fill in the answers for the questions Emily missed. Amazing. Ezra, as Emily’s concerned tutor, comes to talk to Aria’s Mom about the exam. Aria’s Mom gives the wink treatment to Ezra, basically saying I WILL DO ANYTHING SO SAVE EMILY. Ezra and Aria’s Mom have secrets now. Adults lying along with the Liars is perfect.
The episode ends with the girls having another bathroom party and screaming about everything that has happened this episode. They’re all talking on top of each other and no one is listening. Aaand then Jenna stumbles in! The girls hide in the stalls. Jenna fills up a water bottle. Jenna finds Aria’s evil-not-Meredith earring on the bathroom sink. JENNA TAKES OFF HER SUNGLASSES BECAUSE SHE CAN SEE. The Liars see everything from the slits in their bathroom stalls. Brilliant. Aria is “ready to hang a sign: ‘Bitch can see!’” Spencer decides to wait because they can use the information to their advantage. Spencer is the smartest. Spencer wins. Aria gets close because that is a good sign.
Ultimately, I really hope A is controlling everything that ever happens in Rosewood and it ends up that A is the Mayor from Buffy. Like, the same actor that turns into the giant worm during graduation. This IS season three, and I like the parallels. Little Red Riding Hood is shown in a hunting shop with a lot of knives at the standard “clue” to cap the episode. What will happen with those knives? Are their knives in Hedda Gabler? Would you do the makeup for your crazy friend that tried to murder you and probably had a lot of knives? Are any of you readers suffering from Ambiguous Loss? Don’t play with sharp knives. See you next week.
[Image Credit: ABC Family]