Decadence, Deception And Creepiness

After a gut-wrenching, sweat-inducing episode like last week's you may have found yourself snoozing at this week's. However, serious drama is definitely around the corner to make up for this lackluster series of events.

What is Aria going to do?

Creepy daddy, creepy boyfriend and a creepy maniac

That one phrase sums up the entire episode. But unlike "A," I won't leave you guessing. With the Golden Globes having wrapped up, I'm in a generous mood to hand out Pretty Little Liars-associated awards.

Who is creepy daddy?

Byron (Chad Lowe) is officially our new resident social deviant. You know it has to be bad if he's beat out heavyweights like Mona (Janel Parrish) and Toby (Keegan Allen). I haven't seen a more threatening father since the last Lifetime movie I watched. His character is almost overdone — enough to make me suddenly wonder why I hadn't picked up on it before.

Aria (Lucy Hale) consults with her posse on how she's feeling mysteriously ill (is she pregnant?), and how she feels the weight of her dad's looming guilt. He did apologize for accusing her of having something to do with Meredith's accident, as they apparently found the culprit. Aria ignores the apology but her anxiety about her father still plagues her. On a hunch, she approaches her wise mother Ella (Holly Marie Combs), who then discusses the night of Ali's (Sasha Pieterse) demise. She claims she and Byron shared a bottle of wine and went to sleep.

Later, while the PLL crew is in Aria's room, they want to retrieve the page from Ali's diary that discussed the extortion that involved Byron, but when Aria goes to the boot she hid it in, she finds it gone.

If an Oscar award could be given for most fearful and maniacal exchange on an ABC show, I would have given it to Byron when he tactfully walks by and mentions "remembering" how Aria's younger brother would hide Halloween candy in his boots — then walks away. At that moment, they all know that he knows what they did.

Aria is in her room one evening when she overhears a fiery exchange between Meredith (Amanda Schull) and Byron. When she opens her door to the noise, she sees her father grab Meredith more aggressively than she'd ever have believed of him. Aria follows her instincts and Meredith, and in their exchange at a coffee shop, finds out that Byron left Ella to be with her the night of Ali's death. In a key and disturbing moment, Aria discovers that her father then left Meredith to go see Ali that night. Meredith also has the pages from the diary (that she found in Byron's possession). She admits to reading it, and Aria takes back the pages.

They return home and Byron and Meredith talk, while Aria is left to figure out what to make of the situation. Could her dad really have murdered Ali?

Creepy boyfriend is...

In the least surprising reveal, Toby gets the award for most obvious killer boyfriend. I haven't seen such blatant evidence since Passions (a horribly acted soap opera back in the day). He and poor Spencer (Troian Bellisario) seem to have something special, but he has mysterious meetings with his "boss," who I can only imagine is "A." (It's either "A" or Mona.) It doesn't matter, because he's being revealed as a frightening accomplice no one thinks to suspect.

Emily (Shay Mitchell) and Paige (Lindsey Shaw) want to go to a party, even though Paige reveals she's been too frightened to go anywhere since Halloween. In a sweet attempt to calm her down, Emily takes her on a walk. When they return they find the car tires slashed, and Emily chases a figure down the street; when she loses sight of the person, the camera pans to Toby hiding behind a tree. Surprised? I wasn't. If there's mischief, he's likely the source.

Hanna confronts Mona

Lifetime achievement award for sickest (and creepiest) maniac

Mona. She's not fooling the PLL crew with her sad puppy act. She tries to make friends and save her butt by admitting she saw the guy from the motel play janitor at the school. She walks away, but appears later at Spencer's Decathlon meeting. She decides to run against Spencer for president, remarking she wants to be a different person. In a disturbingly intense quiz-off, Mona actually wins. Later, in an introspective discussion with Hanna (Ashley Benson), Spencer admits to getting cocky and allowing her ego to get the best of her.

Hanna wasn't going to let Mona enjoy her win — earlier, she had a very intense exchange with Lucas (Brendan Robinson). Mona is pulling the strings and still blackmailing him (for stupid reasons, mind you), and recently tried to kill him (remember last episode's skateboarding incident?). And he plans on leaving the school, which is why he ends up coming clean with Hanna; that includes an earlier confession on how he was the one who ended up trapping Meredith in the shed that caught fire (yeah, suddenly you don't feel as bad for him, do you?). He sternly warns her that she hasn't changed. In a rage, Hanna confronts Mona at the celebratory party after the quiz-off and leaves Mona fuming. Spencer warns that it wasn't a good idea to do that, as Mona knows their weaknesses and how to attack. Well, we'll see what Mona has planned next — she doesn't seem like the type to give up easily.

What's up next week?

The last scene shows a dark figure burying a porcelain mask and a masquerade mask — wonder why? We'll find out next week!

Want more?

Want more? Check out last week's recap!

Photos courtesy of ABC

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