“Pretty Little Liars” recap (4.08): Come to Vanderjesus

One more short-ish recap and I’m back to writing a million words a week about this show. Bear with me, Boo Radlies.

Previously on Pretty Little Liars, Mona Vanderwaal had a glamping party in the woods, which is a thing where you go into the forest and get a makeover like if you were a first generation Sicilian immigrant in an ’80s flashback on the television. During which party she ran over Hanna with her car. After which party she visited Hanna in the hospital and did her makeup. It became a cycle. Mona would do the most amazing thing you could ever think of — wearing some glasses and being a dancing church mouse, or being fluent in eleven languages, or exploding substitute history teachers at charity 5Ks, or lots of stuff with computers and dolls and like boats — and Hanna would almost die at Mona’s hands and then Mona would patch Hanna right up. For some reason, only Caleb recognized that Mona was writing Hanna the most fantastic/terrifying love letter ever, so he was like, “Stay away from her, darling!” And Hanna was like, “Sure thing, sweetheart!” But Hanna never could follow through, because when a deity from the heavens comes to this earth to woo you, how long can you keep saying no?


OK, so all of the Liars are going in different directions this week, trying to accomplish various things to keep themselves and their families from being homeless and/or federal prisoners for the rest of time. None of them are successful at all, so it’s a good thing Mona comes ’round, because by now it is clear that she is the only one who can accomplish anything of real value in this town.

Let’s do Emily first. (Heh. You wish.) Emily and Pam are living in a motel because of how A crashed a car right the hell into their living room last week. Pam wishes with all her heart that she was back Out of Town or on some military base doing army wife things because showing back up in Rosewood with the intention of parenting her daughter has been nothing but clusterfuck after clusterfuck. Child Protective Services. Suspensions from work. Exploding houses. And she’s got no idea why Emily keeps skiving off her shark piss healing serum shoulder injection appointments to do Scooby-Doo shenanigans with That Girl From Radley, That Girl With the Homicidal Mom, and That Girl With the Feathers in Her Ears. She begs Emily to concentrate on her future so she can go away to college so she, herself, can leave this place again.


Emily, of course, is both determined to salvage and destroy her puffy drape future with every breath she takes, so she has a meeting with Mr. Fitz to decide if there’s a thing she can do to accomplish both of her goals at once. And yes! Such a course of action does exist! Mr Fitz: “You’re not just a swimmer, Emily. You are all the ethnicities bundled together in an unspeakably gorgeous package wrapped with a queer bow. Plus one time you managed to wriggle your way out from under the thumb of your omniscient zombie stalker to go to a less developed country and build houses for poors. Is there any chance you turned everyone in Haiti into lesbians and one of them would write you a reference letter?”

Yes, duh. In fact, there’s one specific lesbian who still has photos of Emily all over her phone and is willing to “stop by” Rosewood on her way to Wherever to have a cup of coffee and reminisce of Habitat-y days gone by. The lesbian is Rumer Willis. And she is willing to give Emily a glowing review, no matter what, but while she’s here, she’s also got a pamphlet about the work she’ll be doing next summer in Nicaragua. Now, let me tell you something about Rumer Willis and about Emily Fields. They are both playing a tricksy little lesbian game right here. Rumer says the words “Maya St. Germain” to see how Emily will respond to hearing the name of her (second) murdered girlfriend spoken aloud. If she doesn’t flinch, there’s a chance she’s over it and Rumer can get into her toolbox. And Emily does not say the words “Paige McCullers” because she inherently knows, like she knew with What’s His Name From Cicero, that she can pretty much get whatever she wants by letting a person think an invitation to her pants party is forthcoming.


Some might call that “duplicitous.” Some might call it “mad game.” Either way, it’s a trick Spencer and Mona would both kill to have in their repertoire. (This is weird to think about, but JennaBot is the only other person who can do this flirty withholding thing convincingly. Maybe she transferred the skill to Emily the night they eye-banged at Noel Kahn’s Halloween party.)


Anyway, Pam shows up in the middle of their little lezzer reunion, but she’s less concerned with Emily’s daily homosexual hijinks and more concerned about how she needs to drop off some stuff at the police department because of the car that smashed into their house, but she’s too embarrassed to go over there because Emily’s still hiding Wilden’s apartment key so she’s still suspended. (Why doesn’t Emily just put back the key? She spends six hours a day creeping around the police department!) Emily says she’ll take care of the car crash paperwork, says she’ll go with Rumer to Nicaragua next summer because surely Paige will be dead by then and she’ll to do something to take her mind off of it, and then she goes back home to the motel and holds Pam while she ugly-cries like nothing you have ever seen on this show. It’s awful. I can’t even screencap it, is how sad it is. Even Emily is like, “Jeeesus.