The wheels are coming off! In this week’s Pretty Little Liars (Season 3, Episode 15: "Mona-Mania!"), Emily (Shay Mitchell) and Paige (Lindsey Shaw) take a not-so-leisurely stroll through the woods, Byron (Chad Lowe) "helps" Aria (Lucy Hale) organize her papers, and we’re pretty sure we got to see Spencer's (Troian Bellisario) brain explode. Like, full-on explode.
Wherein Aria Realizes She Should Have Listened to Those Warnings About Getting a Flu Shot This Year
Isn’t it nice to have a common enemy? Dogs and cats both hate vacuum cleaners, and now Aria and Meredith can bond over how freaky Byron got this week. Meredith catches Byron snooping through Aria’s things and finds the page of Ali's (Sasha Pieterse) journal that he swiped. So they go from Meredith accusing Aria of setting her on fire last week, to the two girls basically having a slumber party this week? That was fast.
Meredith — who is in an awfully chatty mood — also reveals Byron was with her on the night Ali died, even though wine-guzzling Ella (Holly Marie Combs) thought he stayed in that night. According to Meredith, Byron to her pad, and she tried to no avail to stop him from paying Ali a visit. The more we learn about Byron, the more we realize what a stand-up guy he is.
It was cute that Meredith made Aria some kind of tea concoction, but given the crazy-eyed stare that she gave Aria and Ella while they were talking in the classroom, we’re thinking it might be wiser for Aria to avoid consuming anything Meredith tries to give her. (And let’s not forget what happened earlier this season when Emily drank something she shouldn’t have.) Was anything Meredith told Aria actually true? We're not convinced.
Wherein Spencer Rings a Bell During the Quiz-Off — But She Really Wants to Ring Mona’s Bell
We now know what was going on during the tag at the end of last week’s episode: “A” was tampering with Brad’s bike, who was planning to compete with Spencer to be captain of the academic decathlon team. Instead, Mona inexplicably decides to take his place and miraculously defeats Spencer in a quiz-off. Well, we guess it does take brains to be a successful super-stalker.
But on a happier note, we meet academic decathlon team member Andrew, who dates Spencer in the PLL book series. Might the two of them spark on the show, too? The dude is pretty darn cute with the glasses-and-tie look that he’s working, and, sadly, he'd have to be a repulsive person to seem like a worse choice than Toby (Keegan Allen) right now. On the other hand, this is Rosewood, so chances are he'll turn out to be sketchy, too. Sigh.
Wherein Emily Learns That Paige Is Not Quite as Cool and Collected as Maya Was
You’d think that someone who has attempted to drown someone — as Paige has tried to do to Emily — would be able to handle a tense situation or two. Not so. The events of Halloween have basically turned Paige into a hot mess.
But we’re impressed that Paige is willing to follow Emily into the woods to find whoever slashed their tires, especially since going into the woods in Rosewood is kind of a suicide mission. Yes, it sucks that they didn’t actually spot Toby (so close!), but we still give Paily our approval. Of course, knowing Em’s dating history, Paige will probably betray her or get killed by next week. (Joke! Hopefully...)
Wherein Hanna Learns That Lucas Isn’t a Fan of Mona — Or of the Old Shed
So much Lucas craziness this week! Hanna sees his shoes in the janitor’s closet as he scurries away, which means this is yet another time his footwear has gotten him in trouble. (Remember his muddy boots after he destroyed Ali’s memorial in Season 1?) The dude should really invest in some black, all-purpose stalker shoes.
It also turns out that Lucas is a bit of a novice arsonist, as he blew up the shed last week to scare Mona, not realizing that Meredith would get so badly hurt. (No harm, no foul, if you ask us! That’s right: We are not on Team Meredith.)
And now he plans to get home-schooled to avoid getting blackmailed by Mona, who knows that he’s been selling test answers. Can this school possibly be any more corrupt?
As for our favorite scene of the week, that would be Hanna giving Mona a piece of her mind after the quiz-off. But did Hanna’s tirade piss Mona off and make her willing to mess with Byron? Well, we’re trying to conjure up some sympathy for whatever misfortune Byron is about to face, but whadya know — we’re just not feeling the sympathy. Sorry, buddy!
- Who was Mona talking to at the end of the episode, when she mentions that Byron is leaving his office? We can’t help but think that Meredith is still up to no good, especially now that Byron is being targeted. So is it possible that Meredith made up the story of Byron rummaging through Aria’s room, and instead was she the one who went through it? Long story short: Don’t drink that tea, Aria!
- Lucas’s info this week boggles our already very-boggled minds. He mentions giving Jason’s envelope to Mona — so was that the money Jason (Drew Van Acker) was offering for the identity of Ali’s killer, or is there a different envelope? And does this mean Jason isn’t on the “A” team, since Lucas is the middleman? Or is Mona just protecting her identity from other “A” team members?
- Speaking of Jason, what’s up with him? Mona tells the girls that he helped with her video, but given that she also cleaned his wound at the end of last week’s episode, we know she’s not telling the whole truth. So is he on the “A” team, and might Mona have been the person who appeared to be living with him last season? Or does he just help people with random video projects for no real reason? Is it part of his "helping troubled youth" thing?
- Did Byron indeed kill Ali? We seriously doubt it at this point, since it would be much too obvious of a choice, but we still wonder what he was hoping to accomplish by visiting her that night. And how is it that so many people saw Ali right before her death? The girl had quite the packed social calendar that evening.
Other Things That Need To Be Discussed:
- Byron apparently finds the page from Ali’s journal because he knows to look in Aria’s boot, since that’s where she hid her Halloween candy from Mike. So that means that Aria used to keep food in her shoes? Uh, gross.
- Spencer may have lost the quiz-off, but her blue blazer was definitely a winner in our books. Sure, Spencer would rather be the actual winner, but fashion winner is at least something, no?
- Byron did a lot of creepy things this week, but the one that takes the cake is that he ruined the ending of that black-and-white movie that Aria was watching. Potentially killing your daughter’s best friend is one thing, but spoiling the flick she’s trying to watch is just plain rude.
Catch the next episode of Pretty Little Liars on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.