If you would like to see a “noir themed” video version of this recap, please click here.
“Pretty Little Liars” is one of those shows that like to keep us on the edge of our seats. This week the producers gave PLL fans something unique – a black and white, noir film inspired episode. What do shadows, glamorous coats, and $0.15 cent coffee have to do with modern Rosewood, Pennsylvania? Read on to find out.
A Little Bit of Digging The episode starts off with Spencer, Hanna, and Emily sneaking into Ezra`s classroom. With Aria still in Syracuse (or so they think), the girls decide to do a little digging. While Hanna checks out Ezra`s mug collection Spencer finds something more useful in a desk drawer – Alison`s diary. Emily is suspicious of how easy it was to find the diary and later in the episode we learn that she was right to be skeptical. After stealing the diary back the girls see another Rosewood gal sneaking into Ezra`s classroom – Mona. She goes in with empty hands but comes out with a stack of manila folders. Hanna wonders whether Mona is stealing them, but Spencer thinks that she might be delivering them instead.
Spencer Zones Out This season the brain of the group, Spencer, is slowly losing her grip on things. In order to stay on track and keep the ball rolling (she is hard at work investigating Ezra and his connection to all things Alison) Spencer turns to pills that she claims just “help her focus”. With dark circles under her eyes and messy hair Spencer is slowly morphing back into the “Radley Spencer” we had seen in season 3. After taking her daily dose over the sink a black and white movie that`s playing on her TV catches her eye. Spencer zones out, real life and the black and white film fuse together and we are transported into a different world.
Toby`s Onto Spencer At this point we need to adjust our perception just a little bit. Although we think that we`re still following the story line of “Pretty Little Liars”, just in black and white, we are actually in Spencer`s subconscious (at least that`s how I interpret it). The people are the same, the places are the same, but we`re actually roaming inside Spencer`s head. If we ignore the fact that Toby mysteriously turns into a detective, Alison takes the role of a cabaret dancer and Ezra offers the girls a drink although they are clearly still his students, we can learn some interesting facts about Spencer among other things.
Toby, in a classy trench coat and a hat, is immediately on Spencer`s case about:
- 1. Ignoring him
- 2. Lying to him about Alison
- 3. Keeping her pill popping habit a secret
He also tells Spencer that she has most of the pieces she needs to solve Alison`s mystery. She simply needs to figure out how they fit together. Later this is repeated by Alison herself who brings up the idea that maybe Spencer knows more about the night when Alison disappeared. After all, she was the only one to stay awake the night of their sleepover (according to some theories the other girls might have been drugged) and she was the one to inform the girls that Alison was missing. Nobody knows how long she was wandering outside and what she exactly she was doing.
Spencer has a tense relationship with another guy in this episode – Ezra. Although he offers to pay for her coffee when he runs into her at a coffee shop (mind you, the coffee is a whopping 15 cents. Oh, how the times have changed…), he then goes on to asking her out to dinner which is actually a very subtle threat. Ever since we learned that Ezra might be A, even a dinner invitation sounds creepy coming out of his mouth.
Spence and Hanna in Bad Company Spencer gives Hanna a job (she has been pretty smart this season, reading a ton of books and all) of keeping tabs on Ezra. First she sees Mona and Ezra on a balcony but then later, in a strange turn of events Mona catches Hanna following her and Hanna ends up in Ezra`s apartment. Spencer is called and she rushes in to save her friend from possible A and his minion. Ezra orders Mona to fix drinks for the guests (are the girls over 21 in Spencer`s dream?). Spencer is frank and she lets Ezra know that she doesn’t approve of Ezria at all (Ezra+Aria, for those who aren’t familiar with ship names). “True love. Just can`t kill it”, Ezra says and Mona chuckles in the background. Does that mean that the student/teacher relationship that most PLL fans have supported from the start of the show isn`t actually real? Is Ezra so delusional that seducing a girl and keeping up with the relationship for years is a part of his master plan?
He then goes on to tell Spencer that she is cracking up or losing it. This is real Spencer coming through; she is realizing that her having this black and white dream in the first place is a sign that the pills are not doing her any good. Spencer and Hanna leave and Mona notifies Ezra that there are no more carrot sticks left since she used them to make drinks for the girls. What do carrot sticks have to do with anything you ask? Well, this might just be Mona saying that this is the last favor she will do for Ezra.
Aria+Camera Aria is showing Paige how to use a camera which I find suspicious (seriously, I am suspicious of everything on this show because you just have to be). Why do we constantly see a camera in Aria`s hands? It wouldn’t be so strange is Ezra wasn’t receiving secret pictures every second (in episode 18 “Hot for Teacher”). Meanwhile, Ezra has a conversation with Toby which is also strange because they don’t typically interact. He tells Toby that Alison is alive and that Spencer knows how to find her. Thanks Ezra, for getting Spencer into even more trouble!
Alison`s Helper After a run in with Alison (not only does a ginormous painting of Ally appears in Spence`s home but Ally herself pops out of nowhere to taunt Spencer), Toby takes her in for questioning. He`s too invested in finding out Alison`s whereabouts for my taste, but then he also brings up an interesting idea. What if Spencer helped Alison fake her death? Maybe she helped without knowing what she was doing. This goes right back to the night Alison disappeared and us not knowing what Spencer was up to. Does she truly not remember or is she choosing to forget what she was doing? I`m adding this to my “Things PLL better explain because I`m getting a headache thinking about it” list.
I Know Your Secret After offering Spencer and Hanna a drink (juice, an herbal concoction, I don’t remember), Ezra is giving (an underage) Aria champagne while they canoodle on a couch. She wants to tell her friends about their rekindled romance but he is against the idea. Like a master manipulator that we learned he is, Ezra is putting ideas in Aria`s head. “You sure you can trust them?” Ezra asks Aria about her friends and she does, with her life. Then Ezra stuns Aria by revealing one of her secrets – he knows that she knows that Alison is alive. Why do you know this Ezra? And why are you telling Aria?
The Cabaret Spencer tracks down the number that was written on a piece of paper Emily found with the $5000 (inside the French themed poster) and what do you know, it leads back to “Fitzgerald Art Foundation”. Fitzgerald=Fitz? Interesting…Hanna is then given another job – since she works the switchboard she can find out where Alison called from. It turns out that Alison used a payphone outside of a cabaret club and that is where the liars go next. Even though they are walking into something dangerous Spencer still manages to catch a spelling error on a poster (“That`s not how you spell “nightly”). Alison is working at the cabaret and she isn`t pleased to see her former friends. They bicker and exchange some insults. Overall, this is not the friendliest of reunions. After some shots are fired they run out of the dressing room. The liars hear Ezra` voice asking Aria to go with him but the girls urge her not to say anything back. Then Toby knocks Ezra out and they all (minus Alison who runs off, again) escape in his car.
Pressure and Pages Nobody has the guts to tell Aria why she can`t trust Ezra. Spencer confesses that she is tired of living this life where she needs to solve mysteries and sort through a sea of lies but she doesn’t get any sympathy from the girls. On the contrary, they tell Spencer to get over it and figure things out so all of them can move on with their lives. Aria even taunts Spencer by saying that maybe she doesn’t want to solve the mystery because she doesn’t want to know the full truth (as if saying that she is involved in it somehow, and not in a good way). This is not something that Hanna, Emily, and Aria would ever say which means that this is Spencer subconscious speaking again. She is the “smart one” of the group and she clearly feels the pressure to be the one to figure everything out. It seems like the pressure is taking the toll on her. Toby urges Spencer to look at the diary pages and not the diary itself. “That`s the same thing!” she yells out in frustration but Toby assures her that it`s not.
They`re Ahead After waking up from her dream/vision Spencer compares the pictures of the diary pages she took with her cell phone to the actual diary pages and realizes that names, dates, and places have been changed. The girls finding the diary was a part of A`s plot all along, but since A doesn’t know that they have the original pages the girls are ahead of A again. Spencer, Emily, and Hanna decide that it`s time to tell Aria about Ezra, but once they get to her house they see the two making out. Which means that Aria is in the hands of A (possibly).
The episode ends back in Alison`s black and white dressing room. There is an A note on the mirror (BREAK A LEG. STOP. KISSES. A). Also, if you look closely we get a clear shot of a leopard print clothing item, possibly a dress. Interestingly enough Aria is wearing a leopard print dress in the scene where the girls find her kissing Ezra. Coincidence or a hint?
Will Spencer`s pill popping problem get worse? Is Aria in danger and is Ezra truly A? Guess we have to watch next week to find out.