Things got reflective in Season 5, Episode 3 (“Surfing the Aftershocks”) of Pretty Little Liars, as Hanna dwelled on the past, Ali worried about her future, and the Hastings argued about which historic, power-hungry family best serves as a metaphor for their current standoff with the DiLaurentis clan. This may have not been an action-packed episode, but it made up for it in lovely character moments, as well as some killer Hastings family scenes. Question is: are they the Borgias or the Medicis?
Wherein Spencer Cross-Examines Her Own Family. It’s impossible to forget the Hastings are a family of lawyers when they conduct all of their interaction as if in a courtroom: examination, cross examination. Exhibit A came in the form of the unsent letter Mrs. DiLaurentis composed shortly before her death. When Jason implies that Spencer’s father cannot be trusted, Spencer goes on the offensive, and Mr. Hastings is definitely hiding something. Is it the secret that Melissa confessed to him in the Season 4 finale? Is it something more? Was Mr. H. the one to kill Mrs. DiLaurentis? Whatever the big, juicy secret, Mr. Hastings is not telling Spencer because “You can’t lie about something you don’t know anything about.” Yep, lawyers.
Wherein Hanna Goes Back to Glamour Camp. Hanna’s story arc this week was an emotionally subtle one, as she recalls her transformation from Hefty Hanna to Queen Bee Hanna at the hands of Mona. In retrospect, Hanna realizes that Mona was trying to turn Hanna into Ali as much as she was trying to find a friend, leaving Hanna struggling to figure out how much of her current image is her and how much is an Ali-copycat. Though this plot was slow for Pretty Little Liars, we kind of loved it. Not only because it dropped a bunch of twinny hints, but because it gave us our favorite scene of the episode: Hanna asking Emily about her coming out — a beautiful Hemily moment!
Wherein Emily Has Great Arms… For Swimming. Speaking of Em’s love life, Paige brought the feels this week as she tried to charm her way back into Emily’s good graces. Sadly for Paily fans, it didn’t work. Emily is still not over Paige’s betrayal in handing Ali’s location over to the cops, but there seems to be a glimmer of hope in Paily’s future. Emily told Paige: “You deserve the best of everything.” Paige’s response: “That’s what I had.” Swoon. (And agreed.) Also on Em’s radar: new swimmer Sydney. Syd seems awfully interested in getting Emily’s help with her swim stroke, and we’re awfully interested in why Sydney has so many questions for Emily. Sorry, Syd. After Shana, we don’t trust any new Rosewood Swim Team members.
Wherein Aria Tells Ezra the Truth. Ezra’s back in town to recover from his gunshot wound and the Liars are desperate to make sure he’s not going to spill the beans about Ali’s massive lie. They kindly nominate Aria for the task of finding out. Long, mopey story short? He’s not, but he is worried that Shana might come after Aria and the Liars. When Aria explains that this will most definitely not happen given that she killed Shana a few episodes ago, Ezra barely blinks before asking how he can help. We’re not sure how we feel about Grovel-y, Gunshot Wound Ezra. He may be even creepier than Stalker Author Ezra.
Wherein Ali Wants to Read Ezra’s Sequel. In the aftermath of her mother’s funeral, Ali is keeping a low profile. She catches up on some reading: the guestbook from her mother’s funeral and Ezra’s manuscript, the latter of which is provided by Aria. (First pick for the Liars Book Club?) She also pays Ezra a visit, anxious to find out what else he knows about the “A” game because, apparently, his manuscript doesn’t have a very satisfying ending. Ezra admits that he has more, but will only give it to Aria if she decides to ask for his help. Um, maybe you should give it to Aria anyway, Mr. Fitz?
— Noel Kahn was mentioned not once, but twice in this episode! Sign of things to come, clue that he is more deeply involved in the “A” game than we ever imagined, or just evidence of how much everyone misses the studly Brant Daugherty?
— Was Alison’s funeral faux pas just an awkward coincidence or something more? Did Ali know that her mother had worn that outfit? And, if so, what purpose would she have served in wearing it? It certainly angered her father. Should we be keeping a closer eye on Mr. DiLaurentis?
— Melissa told Spencer: “People are capable of all sorts of things. Under the right pressure.” Was she referring to herself? Did she kill Mrs. DiLaurentis? At this point, this answer seems too obvious, given all of the clues the show has dropped. Mrs. Hastings was the only Hastings not in this ep. Could she be the person Melissa and her father are trying to protect? She was at the scene of the burial in last week’s episode when Mrs. D.’s body was found. At the time, it didn’t seem suspicious — she does live next door — but could this have been a clue?
— Was that painting that had Ali so freaked out at the funeral home the same one that was at Ezra’s mom’s art show and then in Ravenswood? We think so. Where did Ali run off to when she saw it? Is the painting some kind of signal for Ali to meet with someone and, if so, who?
— Who was Mona hanging with at the end of tonight’s episode? Was it Alison, as it appeared to be? Was it Ali’s twin? Was it CeCe? Or was it Hanna? Oy vey! So many people look alike on this show.
— If Mona is in cahoots with Ali’s twin, then it makes Mona’s makeover of Hanna to look just like Ali even more suspicious. Did Ali’s twin convince Mona to make Hanna over so that she would have a doppelganger in Rosewood, perhaps making it easier for her to move about unnoticed?
— What happened during Ali’s ride home with Mr. Hastings? It felt strange for the show to tease this suspenseful plot development only to leave us hanging. Is anyone else getting Veronica Mars feels from this storyline? We hope we’re wrong here.
Other Things To Be Discussed
— How beautiful was that opening sequence? We should have known Ali would do mourning beautifully.
— Finally, someone considers moving out of Rosewood. It only took a few murders next door for Mr. Hastings to consider putting the old homestead up for sale and getting the heck out of dodge.
— Humor check: Spencer was full of zingers tonight, per the usual. Our favorite quip: “That’s a grand gesture, but it doesn’t amount to anything in the digital age.” At the other end of the spectrum, Ezra’s gunshot humor was pretty awkward.
— What happened to Shana’s body? If the police found it at the end of the Season 5 premiere, shouldn’t this have been in the news already? At the very least, Ezra should have caught wind of it given that it happened in his family’s theater. And didn’t Holbrook know Ali was at the theater that night after Ali picked up his phone call? So many lingering questions!
— Moment of wisdom was a tie between Jason’s “Do you wanna be right or do you wanna be happy?” and Emily’s “I wasn’t becoming something else. I was becoming who I really am.” Somebody give this show a quote-of-the-day calendar!
Catch this episode of Pretty Little Liars on July 1, 2014 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.