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As I mentioned in my summer TV guide, Pretty Little Liars is my summer TV obsession. If you haven’t been watching the show’s previous seasons here’s a quick synopsis (but I highly recommend getting caught up on Netflix, since there have been lots of characters, subplots, clues, and cliffhangers): Spencer Hastings, Hanna Marin, Emily Fields, and Aria Montgomery are BFFs, but the former leader of their high school clique, mean girl Alison DiLaurentis, disappeared from a sleepover at Spencer’s house one night a few summers back. In the year that she was missing, the four remaining friends drifted apart. They are brought back together one year later when they all begin receiving frightening and harassing texts from the mysterious “A,” taunting and manipulating them – starting on the same day Allison’s body is discovered – she’d been murdered! The main premise of the show has been trying to find out who A is (while navigating the nasty little game he or she has been playing with the girls, which has repeatedly landed them in some major hot water) and who killed Allison.
At the end of last season there was a major revelation. I won’t spoil the details if you’re planning to get caught up, but “A” was revealed. This season, however, the girls have discovered the game’s not over. There’s a new and much more vicious “A” (or group of “As”) in town targeting them. In the season premiere, Emily, who has been having issues since her girlfriend Maya was murdered (which also happened in last season’s finale…leaving us with yet another dead high school girl on our hands), got drunk and disoriented and woke up with a shovel beside Alison’s grave – which was empty! The girls, who have previously caught the attention of the local cops in association with Allison’s death thanks to A, don’t want to get in more trouble (since corpse-snatching is a felony, you know), so they burn Emily’s incriminating clothes and hightail it to Spencer’s lake house to pretend they’ve been away the whole time. Lying clearly hasn’t gotten them in to any trouble before, so why not try it again! Of course, A has pics of them there and has delighted in torturing them with it this season.
A few other things you should know before I jump in to this week’s recap:
1) Jenna, a girl who was blinded several years ago in a fire that Allison started (and that all the girls were present for) has just regained her sight. She’s a little spooky and has had it out for the girls (for obvious reasons) and has long been suspected of being somehow involved with A. She continued to pretend to be blind for months after getting her vision back, but last week Emily remembered that Jenna had been driving her in a car the night that she blacked out and Allison’s body was stolen. When confronted, she said she had tried to help Emily after coming across her, disoriented, in the road, but that Emily later ran off. She claimed she, too, had been receiving threats and had continued to pretend to be blind to protect herself.
2) Officer Garrett, a young cop who was friends with Allison’s older brother, Jason (and involved in some sort of secret club with him) and Spencer’s sister, Melissa (another odd character who pretended to be pregnant for months after having a miscarriage, and who is definitely hiding some knowledge about Allison’s murder), and who dated Jenna until she dumped him, was arrested for the murders of Allison and Maya (case closed? Not quite). Spencer’s mother, who initially insisted he was guilty, is now his high-powered defensive attorney presumably because he has dirt on Melissa.
Anyway, in this week’s episode, “That Girl is Poison,” Hannah is reeling after being dumped by her boyfriend, Caleb, after he got sick of her secrets (although Hannah was just trying to protect him after A threatened his family and even ran his mom off the road in another state! Boys just don’t understand). Hannah’s mom makes her sort donated clothes at the church as punishment for skipping school; there, Hannah discovers Emily’s coat from “that night,” which disappeared somewhere between Spencer’s house and her being found by Allison’s grave. So who had it and how did it end up being donated to the church? Is it a coincidence it turned up on Hannah’s shift, or a deliberate message?
Over at Rosewood High, Jenna is flitting around “like a parade float” with the miraculous news that her eyesight is back and she’s throwing a fab birthday party in a few days – and everyone seems to be invited (even Aria’s teacher-turned-boyfriend, Ezra; Maya’s cousin Nate, who just recently came to town and has a major chip on his shoulder over her death; and Emily’s on-again, off-again love interest Paige). Should be a good time!
Garrett’s mother just slipped in to a coma (or possibly was the victim of foul play since the girls saw a suspicious hooded character lurking outside her home when the ambulance took her away) so, as luck would have it, he’ll be given a temporary reprieve from jail on Jenna’s party day to visit her (with a police escort…including the jerk detective who has it out for the girls). Okay, so the whole scenario of Garrett's mother being brought to the hospital and his being allowed to visit her at the same time that Jenna comes clean about her sight and then throws an over-the-top birthday party all occurring basically within the same day is a little much to believe, but let’s just go with it.
Emily, who works at the coffee shop where Jenna’s party is hosted (the theme of which I can only assume is stupid hats), is forced to go to cover the party. Paige comes to support her but ends up taking one sip from Emily’s flask (the one she was drinking from on “that night”), making a scene about coconut cupcakes, falling and requiring stitches and finding out while at the hospital that she was drugged (gasp).
Spencer opted not to attend the party and has, instead, been pretty conspicuously following Garrett and his police entourage around the hospital to see if this has all been a ruse to get him out of jail so he can rendezvous with A. In the end, she finds a note tucked under his mother’s hospital bracelet (wow, really?) saying, “April Rose has the proof.”
Aria, with Ezra in tow repeatedly complaining that they’re late for a dinner reservation, goes to Jenna’s party, where she sabotages the equipment of the photographer, Laurel, in order to get in to her studio. Why? Because Lucas (who used to be a lovable dork with a major crush on Hannah, but has turned in to a total angry nutcase since last season’s “A” reveal and seems to have perfected lurking in the shadows and being creepy) used to be her assistant until she discovered he was secretly developing his own photos (could these be the ones of the girls by Allison’s grave?). Anyway, the negatives are still at the studio. Aria gets them and then has an awkward run-in with Lucas outside, who then bounces off with cat-like reflexes upon being touched by the beams of Ezra’s headlights (seriously, what is his deal?!).
Aria finds some pills in Lucas’ film canister, conveniently, at the exact same moment Emily is Wikipedia-ing a description of the pills in Paige’s system (which are conveniently described as strong sedatives sometimes used to subdue violent inmates…really? Does it say that on the label?) and guess what? The pills are one and the same (double gasp…okay, I don’t really have a clue what it means). Finally, switch to the obligatory final shot of A doing something sinister whilst wearing serial-killer leather gloves (pretty much every episode ends this way) and she’s rummaging through a purse where she pulls out a prescription bottle…with Maya’s name on it. Hmmmm.
What does it all mean? Why would Lucas want to drug Emily and what do the pills have to do with Maya? Who the heck is April Rose? Well, I’m sure we won’t have all the answers any time soon, but stay tuned for more weekly recaps!