Pretty Little Liars Season 3 Premiere Recap: Dong Po & The Return of “A”
It’s the season premiere of Pretty Little Liars— which means we all have jubilation! In this week’s episode (Season 3, Episode 1: “It Happened ‘That Night’”), Emily hits the sauce (also called “pulling a Hanna”); Aria’s trip to the bathroom is not as fun as her previous one with Ezra; and Toby in a towel, Toby in a towel, Toby in a towel, Toby in a towel. Sorry — what were we just talking about?
Wherein Aria Finds the Only Public Bathroom Stall With a Door That Actually Locks
So who was sneaking around in the bathroom when Aria (Lucy Hale) got locked in the stall and had her freak-out? Could it have been the Black Swan? We’re not sure, but Aria was clearly distraught, since that’s the only reason for her to think it’s a good idea to then sit on the floor of a public restroom. And by the way, if you were locked in a stall and were being stalked, wouldn’t you maybe try to pick the lock with a hairpin, or at least just stand on the toilet seat to see who it is? (#WhatWouldMacGyverDo)
The other shocker is that it’s “welcome to splitsville” for Aria’s folks. We learn that Byron (Chad Lowe) gets a very unfortunate look on his face whenever Ezra’s name is mentioned, whereas Ella (Holly Marie Combs) is slowly climbing onboard Team Ezria, and that’s a key issue that tore them apart. Anyone think Aria’s brother, Mike, is going to be laid-back about this development? We don’t think so either.
Sure, Aria and Ezra’s relationship may have helped bring Ella and Byron’s marriage to an end, but we had zero bad things to say about Ezra and Aria this week, especially after their oh-so-sexy reenactment of the day they met, with Aria sitting up on the counter in Ezra’s apartment as they made out. Seriously — if you weren’t hot-and-bothered by this scene, you may want to check your pulse.
Wherein Emily Finds Happiness in a Bottle... Or Ten
Everyone has their own way of grieving, and Emily’s (Shay Mitchell) way apparently involves turning into Charlie Sheen (minus the Tiger Blood). Em becomes aware of her excessive partying when she realizes she’s standing above Alison’s open grave holding a shovel — but with Ali’s body nowhere to be found. Some things are easy to misplace, like your keys, but the disintegrating corpse of your best friend should not be one of those things.
You may think that people getting locked in the trunks of cars only happens in mob movies, but apparently it’s a popular way for people to commute in Rosewood, too. At least, that’s what Emily assumes to be the case when she sees a retro convertible and vaguely remembers having been locked in its trunk on the night she was at Ali’s grave. We’re guessing that it was a little like that trunk scene in Reservoir Dogs (except that Em still has both of her ears).
Wherein Spencer Is Somehow Amazing At Computer-Generated Room Simulation
Spencer (Troian Bellisario) sure stayed busy this week, between catching up with her old friend Garrett — who looks great wearing orange — and hanging out in the now-abandoned Lost Woods Resort. At first we thought that the reason Spence was staring at the walls of that motel room was because she was enamored with the heinous, puke-green wallpaper, but instead we realize she’s trying to recreate A’s old lair.
Speaking of A’s old lair, does it make sense that Spencer, Aria, and Hanna would all have kept the truth from Emily about that room having been emptied out? We get that Emily had been going through enough stress with Maya’s murder, but these girls aren’t ones to keep such major info from each other. Plus, where did Emily think the girls put all that stuff? Maybe it’s lucky that Em is able to get into college on a swimming scholarship, since she might not be quite as bright as we thought.
Sometimes, we applaud people for being disciplined, like those people who only eat one of the two Pop-Tarts that come in a sleeve and then save the other one for later (which is not our style). But Spencer’s discipline in waiting to have sex with Toby (Keegan Allen) kinda makes her seem as nuts as Mona. Let’s just say that seeing Toby in a towel for the first time this week is kinda like the first time that cavemen discovered fire — we never want to eat raw, uncooked meat ever again.
Wherein Hanna Wonders Why Mona is Still Wearing White After Labor Day
Hanna (Ashley Benson) has always had a fair number of questionable pastimes — like, say, shoplifting — but we can’t imagine a worse way to spend one’s time than to voluntarily keep Mona company while reading to her from catalogs. (What — you thought Hanna would be reading to her from The Economist?) It’s hard to tell just how aware Mona is of her surroundings, but it definitely seems as though Mona is playing Hanna to some degree.
Perhaps the episode’s biggest shocker was seeing Mona look past Hanna and smile, as she apparently saw Ali, dressed in the red coat and reading Lolita. Does this mean that the person who visited Mona in the red coat at the end of the Season 2 finale was in fact Ali — or perhaps Ali’s twin? Or was this just some crazy hallucination? Either way, it’s currently summer, meaning it’s way too hot for Ali to be wearing that heavy red coat. That’s what layers are for, honey.
We loved that Hanna used Caleb’s last name — Rivers — as her alias when sneaking into the hospital to see Mona. In fact, she and Caleb were extra-cute this week — the i-word! — but is anyone else kinda worried that the show is setting up Wren and Hanna as a potential couple? Also, how is Wren, like, the only doctor in Rosewood? Seriously — he must work 24 hours a day, given that the girls constantly run into him at hospitals. And here we thought that doctors spent most of their time playing golf.
- We had about a million questions after Season 2’s finale, and this week’s episode did a somewhat reasonable job of at least hinting at some answers. First and foremost, it’s clear that there is a bigger and badder “A” than even Mona, judging by that text about playing with body parts instead of dolls, along with the photo of the girls standing over Ali’s grave. Game on, indeed.
- Might Mona turn good and help the girls track down the new “A”? We couldn’t help but wonder if Hanna’s attempted reconciliation with Mona is a sign of a new relationship between these two, and Mona perhaps will agree to help the girls out in the future. Okay, so this would be asking a lot of Mona, but we can dream, right?
- The other big question we wanted answered is what the heck happened to Maya, and we were given a hint, with Ezra mentioning that Maya apparently found something at her house that was related to Ali’s disappearance, suggesting that Maya may have been killed for it. Also, Garrett claims to know who killed Ali but not Maya, suggesting that two different people were responsible for the two murders. Then again, there seem to be about a million murderers in Rosewood, so two more murderers is nothing.
- Were we given another hint this week about the existence of Ali’s twin? Sure, it’s possible that Mona’s vision of Ali in the red coat was just a hallucination, but we can’t help but wonder if Ali’s twin has been communicating with Mona, including at the end of the Season 2 finale. Let’s just say that Mona had quite the sinister smile when she thought she saw Ali.
- Could Wren and Mona somehow be working together? It’s certainly coincidental that he happened to spot Hanna, and that he then called Hanna to get her to continue visiting Mona. We’re not sure why Wren and Mona would be in cahoots, but it’s all a little fishy.
- Spencer’s encounter with Garrett was full of cryptic hints. Garrett tells her that he knows who took Ali’s body, and then he asks for her mom to be his lawyer. (Fat chance!) He also claims to know things that Spencer doesn’t want to know — and the only thing we can really imagine that Spencer wouldn’t want to know would be stuff about Melissa. So is Garrett telling us that Melissa had a major role in Ali’s death?
- Another big question on our minds: What’s the deal with Lucas? This poor guy seems to change personalities daily, whether he’s the sweet kid selling Hanna’s shoes on the internet, or the present-day version, who refuses to even say hi to Hanna at school and instead converses with a mysterious skinny brunette who may or may not be the infamous Black Swan. This guy has become quite the man of mystery.
- We have no idea who was toying with Aria in the bathroom or what the motive might have been. But does this suggest that the new “A” is a student at Rosewood, as opposed to someone who’s already graduated and thus wouldn’t be able to get into the bathroom? Come to think of it, Lucas and Noel both seem like guys who wouldn’t mind pulling a prank on someone in the bathroom, dontcha think?
- Another new question posed this week is, who was able to sneak into Spencer’s room and call Emily from her phone? And is this the same person who drove that blue convertible that Emily was trapped in? Come to think of it, maybe riding in a trunk isn’t so bad — you do get to lie down, and it’s nice and quiet back there, right? We call dibs!
- Are we being given a clue about the fragile state of Ezria? This week, Spoby and Haleb seemed hunky-dory, but Ezria not so much. Ezra and Aria were cute at the beginning of the episode, with Aria dozing off next to him on the couch, but that ominous scene with the two of them awkwardly going for food with Ella makes us think that their future looks mighty rocky. Please let us be wrong on this one!
- We’ve come to expect that Aria’s fashion sense can be “eclectic” (to put it nicely), but did anyone know what the heck she was trying to pull with that overall jumper and bikini top in the final scene? It seemed like a cross between the ‘90s and white-trash. In other words, maybe she thought she was auditioning to be an extra in a Kid Rock video?
- Did Spencer really need to toss Emily’s shirt into the fire? We understand the need to be cautious, but couldn’t they have just taken the shirt to Goodwill instead? There’s some hipster at there who would love to wear that used flannel shirt.
- Okay, so we have no idea what “dong po” means, but it definitely sounds like something we would want to be involved in with Caleb. [Ed. note: It's actually a Chinese dish.]
- We get it, PLL writers — you are obsessed with the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Now please try to let it go. With the mention this week of the Radley Sanitarium and then Aria referring to Lucas as “Boo Radley,” the show has now referenced that book on 2,378 different occasions. Give or take. (Probably give.)