“Pretty Little Liars” recap 3.13: The Dark Knight Rises

At Radley, Mona’s nurse checks on her through the window. She’s sound asleep. Just kidding! That paper mache head is on her pillow and she has flown the crazy coop!

In the food car, Toby is enjoying a refreshing bottle of water from the coffin-shaped cooler. Jenna wanders in and asks him to pass her a beverage. She also asks how she looks and he goes, “I liked you better when you were blind so you couldn’t see where to incest me.” Spencer goes looking for Toby in the food car but finds Jason, who was in Out of Town again, I guess, but he’s back now and still convinced Garrett killed Alison, but he doesn’t have too much time to talk to Spencer about it because he spots Lucas and they go outside to trade Pokemon cards.

The Phantom of the Opera returns to the performance car to grope Hanna some more, drags her outside, and reveals himself as just another straight guy who loves Andrew Lloyd-Webber. Caleb, is what I mean. It is Caleb. They kiss while their hair flaps around gloriously in the wind. Inside, Adam Lambert tries to chat up Aria because he senses an immediate fashion-based kinship with her. The train horn is blowing like nobody’s business, though, so he can’t hear her name. She writes “Aria” on the window, that last “A” looking like the “A” ABC Family always uses in its “A” promos. Because she still has not seen an episode of her own show, Aria looks away from her drink for like two seconds and the Queen of Hearts walks past and drops some cyanide in her cup.

Paige and Emily lock themselves inside an empty compartment and lez it up. Maybe it’s the way Paige is gazing at her, maybe it is the clear-headedness that comes from not being poisoned by your own sports cream or stalked by your dead girlfriend’s stalker or having to brush GLASS OUT OF YOUR HAIR, maybe it’s realization that she’s really really really in love, maybe it’s just Paige’s hat, but for whatever reason, Emily is the first Liar ever to (correctly!) suggest she and her partner should get the hell out of Rosewood and never look back. Just take this train all the way to Park Slope. Speaking of looking, Paige is looking, and she says as much when Emily asks what’s up. Verbatim: “I’m just looking at you. You’ve seen you, right?” She takes off that top hat and drops it on a table and marvels at the fact that they are so goddamn motherfucking sexy together. Emily accidentally says the most truthful thing: Sometimes things really do work out, when no one’s looking.

Paige asks Emily to tell her about love on her planet, and having watched Barbarella about a million times, I’ll just go ahead and answer that one for you, McCullers: Naked. Naked is what love is like on Barbarella’s planet. And so they kiss a lot more, while “A” lurks around outside the compartment.

What I love about these Halloween episodes is that, sure, they’re a creeptastic way to catch-up with the story during with the Pretty Little Hiatus. But also, the structure is so great. With one arm they reach all the way back to the beginning of the show’s mythology and with the other arm they reach all the way to the end of the story, and then they squeeze those two things together in a terrifying hug of doom and romance. Joseph Dougherty wrote this episode and he hit all the sweet spots Marlene King did in her Halloween episode last year, and he gave us some really lovely dialogue and one-liners and visual stunners and goosebumps and “Tell me about love on your planet.” Swooooon.