“Pretty Little Liars” recap 3.16: Girl-on-Girl Talk

Previously on Pretty Little Liars, Spencer accused Hanna’s boyfriend of being A, and Emily’s girlfriend of being A, and Aria’s dad of being A, and her sister’s dead husband of being A, and her boyfriend’s fake blind half-sister of being A, and the guy who runs the pawn shop where she sold her sister’s wedding ring to buy her boyfriend a truck of being A, and the little old lady who weaves beaded friendship bracelets of being A, and Lucas and Noel and Jason and Ezra and Holden and Wesley and Alex and Mike — all of them: A. All the time: A. What she didn’t realize is that A is like Bloody Mary, and if you chant “A, A, A” in the mirror on repeat, A appears! In your bed! Naked! What else? Emily gave Paige PTSD. Meredith gave Aria some very special tea. And Hanna gave Mona a reason to rain down her wrath all over again.

Tea time at Montgomery Manor. Aria is in deathly repose on the couch, counting the minutes until she can enjoy another piping hot cup of Meredith’s special oblivion brew. Emily fills a mug, sniffs it, and makes such a face. “No offense to your dad’s mistress,” she says, “But this smells like that muscle cream I poisoned myself with for about three months back in season two.” Seizing the opportunity to speak freely in the “no offense” zone, Spencer tells Aria she looks like shit.* They talk about Ali’s diary pages, the ones that implicate Byron in her death, and about how they’re hidden safely away. Outside, A lurks around, all, “Say the exact location of the thing I want, bitches, like you always do.” But Aria does not. Because she has learned to exercise caution and common sense when handling evidence. She says she won’t leave it out in the open, give it away, tell anyone else about it, run it through a shredder, smudge the ink, trample it, lose it, compromise it, or set it on fire. That’s a promise. And a lie.

(*Despite the fact that four different people tell Aria how awful she looks this week, she does not look anything other than as gorgeous as she always looks. Lucy Hale doesn’t need makeup to be knock-you-over stunning, yo.)

In the A-Team’s new lair, Mona is processing her breakup with Hanna by blaring Melissa Etheridge tunes and plotting revenge. Standard lesbian stuff. Toby thinks it’s too soon for this plan, but Mona says she’s not calling the shots. A whole other she is in charge and she is ready to bring the pain in ways that are even more creative than locking Emily and Spencer and Hanna in a cupboard with a bloody doll that screams, “Follow me, end up like me!” It gets weird when Mona starts talking about how maybe Spencer will be the new object of her affections, what with her being able to actually keep a secret and also knowing everything on earth except for how to alphabetize former Soviet republics. Toby’s like, “I think maybe sleeping with one A is enough, don’t you?” Mona shrugs: Maybe. We’ll see.

Emily is opening up Rear Window Brew before school, or in lieu of school, maybe. I don’t really know what the requirements are for graduating from Rosewood High, except: Display a grad school level understanding of The Great Gatsby and To Kill a Mockingbird, and stay alive. Well, so she’s got some time to spare before her job before school, so Toby lets her hang out in his apartment so she can let in some plumbers and read Lord of the Flies and contemplate how her life is also like being marooned on an island of monsters during the climax of a nuclear war. Toby is like, “Hey, speaking of teenage savages hunting down their peers, you guys ever hear from Mona or any other As anymore? Spencer says no.” Emily smiles sweetly: “As says Spencer, so say we all.” Toby gives her the keys to his impossibly spacious, well-decorated “loft” apartment, and as soon as he’s gone, Em calls Spencer to say, “We’ve got him cornered … for your anniversary dinner!”