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Pretty Little Liars returns: Recap

It seems like forever since I last got my fix of PLL, but they sure gave us a plateful of drama and disaster in their returning episode!

Last time on PLL

Dear Pretty Little Liars fans, where did we leave off? Oh right, Toby (Keegan Allen) is part of “A.” Or at least, his dark hoodie and murderous rage seem to favor that theory. Can we all safely assume that “A” is a group of people now?No one is happy about Mona

And the only other bit of relevant information from last season: Garrett (Yani Gellman) died, but not before telling Aria (Lucy Hale) that her father (Mr. Montgomery) was involved somehow with Ali (Sasha Pieterse), as they were together the day she died. (Is it just me, or does her dad scream “sketchy” to you?) And Aria, while trapped in a box, stabs her attacker (that tidbit of information proves valuable by the end of this episode).

How does PLL start off 2013?

With a mysterious skateboarder almost getting run over by a terrifying attacker in an Escalade. The attacker is unveiled as Toby (big shocker, given the last episode). In a typical PLL close call, the skateboarder escapes. Also in the first few scenes, a newly released (from the mental institution, mind you) Mona (Janel Parrish) sneaks into Hanna’s (Ashley Benson) room to plead for her friendship, claiming her parents are forcing her back to Rosewood High. (Yeah, that’s the way to build friendships and convince someone of your sanity: by sneaking into their room.)

Emily (Shay Mitchell) also finds out about Mona’s return, at about the same time she finds out her parents have set up alarms around the house, including her famous window. And it’s her dad’s cell phone that’s the trigger to turn them off and on, essentially putting her under house arrest (for her safety).

Aria and Spencer (Troian Bellasario) also aren’t happy about Mona’s return, and are shown discussing how to prod her for more information on “A.” Then Spencer goes in for the kill by asking Aria if she spoke to her dad about Garrett’s tidbit of information. Aria seems flustered and angered, and becomes defensive. She’s also feeling the weight of not telling Ezra (Ian Harding) he has a son. Seems like guilt runs rampant in this family.

Caught up? Now for the dramatic moments…

A fire traps someone in the shed

    • Meredith (Amanda Schull) — you know, the hot blonde who Aria’s dad cheated with — is now a new teacher at the high school. She disciplines Aria gently about cell phone usage in class, and issues a general warning to the PLL crew. Mona observes all of this and leads the audience into thinking she’s responsible for trapping Meredith later in a shed (which gets set on fire).
    • Mr. Montgomery tries to confront Aria about the fire — both he and Meredith think the PLL crew was responsible for it. She gets angry and ends up asking him about Ali, and he gets nervous and suggests he knew her no differently than anyone else. The audience is prompted with a flashback to when Ali tried to extort him (I had been hoping it was more lustful, but it’s still interesting).
    • Before the fire, the PLL crew noticed the new janitor was the same one from the motel where Mona’s hideout was found. Earlier, they had found “A”-like paraphernalia in his office, but when they returned later it was gone. They did find Ali’s old diary, in which the janitor had been writing something to Mona. When they read through it, Aria finds the page about her dad, rips it out, and they all try to run. The janitor confronts them, then mysteriously Toby is there too and “saves” them from the janitor. (I don’t know, Toby’s timing seems a little too convenient.)
    • Jason (Drew Van Acker) and Mona also seem to be getting along very well, and Spencer voices her concerns to deaf ears. Jason is protective, but after the fire, Spencer talks to him outside his house and he seems to heed her warning. We then see that Mona had been in the house, and she comes outside to tend to a stab wound on his side. (New couple alert and crazy alert.)
    • Lastly — and least dramatically — three side plots: (1) Lucas comes to Hanna’s house to drop off the remaining money he owes Caleb (Tyler Blackburn). Hanna had approached Caleb, asking him to find out if Lucas was the person that Aria stabbed (because he was seen limping). When she asked him how he was injured, he responded curtly, “Skateboarding.” (2) Aria was tempted to tell Ezra about his son, and when she doesn’t she finds a baby gift basket looming in front of his door. When she asks for input, all opinions favor her telling him about his child. (3) Mona had a cow brain stabbed into her locker door when she opened it, to the sight of the entire hallway. When others assumed she did it to herself, she later used viral marketing and garnered support for her cause by explaining how “changed” she is. (Yeah, okay, excuse me while I scoff.)

Everything comes full circle with this show, doesn’t it? Believable soap opera. It’s genius. Who can’t wait for next week?

Photos courtesy of ABC Family

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