Title: Pretty Little Liars S2.E20 “CTRL:A”
Released: 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day, guys! Well, actually I’m writing this from THE PAST, known as Monday night, so if the world has ended since then, “Happy Apocalypse Day, guys!!!” Though I guess if the world has ended you won’t be reading this. Okay, I’m reverting back to my original holiday greeting!

Pretty Little Liars has been twisty and turny lately! Jason DiLaurentis is Spencer’s brother and, as befitting a Hastings, now has good hair and looks hot. Caleb hacked into A’s phone, which caught A’s attention. Maya has been acting SUPER sketchy lately. Ali apparently had a not-really-that-secret identity that some mysterious person knows about, and Aria insists on wearing the world’s most ridiculous clothing. Let’s see what happens next!

School. Everyone, including Maya, is gathered around waiting for the swim team to arrive. They’ve got quite the little pep rally going on. For the swim team.

I mean, I’m pro-swimmers, but they can’t even see these signs from in the water.

Hanna is bowled over by the fact that Caleb carries around an air port with him so that he can use wi-fi anywhere. This must be product placement, right? It’s an air port, Hanna; it’s not the second coming of Christ. Caleb intones, “I am the wi-fi, koo koo ka choo” which, while vaguely annoying (it’s “goo goo ga joob” – doesn’t anyone listen to the damn song?) is at least a slight balm to my weary soul, which suffered quite the blow reading about all of the people on Twitter who don’t know who Paul McCartney is. Between those tweets, the #iwouldlet.

Meanwhile, Aria and Spencer are making plans to meet Mystery Guy Who Knew Ali As Vivian. Spencer hasn’t gone home since learning about Brother Young Bobby (aka Jason) and has been staying at the House of Woodland Delights. Spencer’s spared from making up any more evasive lies as to why she’s avoiding her parents because Emily and the rest of the Rosewood Sharks come in! They won some sort of trophy!! Emily’s carrying it, because I guess Mona blackmailed her all the way back in as Captain. Everyone’s super excited . . . until Garrett strolls in. HOW DOES THIS MAN STILL HAVE A JOB? Garrett impounds Caleb’s laptop, on suspicion of Caleb hacking into school files. Caleb isn’t too worried; he figures that the cops aren’t capable of getting past his passwords. Cue simultaneous text on each Liar’s phone: “Now it’s Caleb’s turn. -A” Drink! Drink four times, actually; it’s been a while since we’ve had a nice simultaneous text from A.

We Need To Talk About Aria’s Skirt.

Wouldn’t it be funny if, when they receive a text, each girl just kind of chuckles and rolls her eyes? A CAN SEE YOU, IDIOTS. STOP LOOKING SO FREAKED OUT.

In a classroom, Hanna is freaking out to Caleb about his laptop being confiscated. She thinks A, er Garrett, stole Caleb’s computer and put the stolen files on there, thus framing him! I’m really distracted by Hanna’s earrings. They’re Chanel and they look like obnoxious gold dog tags. They’re huge. I could grill a filet of salmon on those things. Hanna encourages Caleb to remotely wipe anything on his machine, which he agrees to do using one of the computers in the computer lab. Gosh. I hope A didn’t install any sort of keystroke software on the school’s computers or s/he would know all of Caleb’s information.

In the halls, Aria is earnestly entreating Holden to share his problems with her. She can’t help him if he won’t talk! Uh, did he ask to be helped? No, he did not. He tells Aria he’s competing in a martial arts sport and that he hides it from his parents because they don’t approve. Aria makes a reference to fight clubs AND missing teeth, which goes to show that she’s been reading these recaps. Aria, honey, about your wardrobe . . .

Holden’s excited about an upcoming tournament. He can’t miss the qualifiers! Can’t Aria cover for him?

In the computer lab, Caleb is LOUDLY EXPLAINING every part of his computer password to Hanna. Loudly. Out loud. His password is the first letter from every city he’s lived in and then the sequence 1105! (the meaning of which he lies to Hanna about and tells her it means nothing. Uh, last day you got your haircut? Exact minute you lost your virginity? Number of fig newtons you’ve eaten in the past month?). For a computer wizard, Caleb’s security methods are pretty shitty. Anyway, he can’t get into his computer because the host computer is offline.

In Child Bride Holly Marie Combs’ classroom, she and Actor/Director Chad Lowe are discussing Aria’s dates with Holden. She wants to loosen the leash on Aria, since she hasn’t had sex with her teacher for three whole weeks, but Actor/Director Chad Lowe remains firm. Aria must be driven to her dates with another boy in a very large city full of bars, strip clubs and closed down steel refineries!

On the Only Street in Rosewood, Spencer’s looking for Young Bobby at the DiLaurentis’ real estate office. And sees him talking to Maya!! MAYA WHY ARE YOU SO SKETCHY? Maya leaves and Spencer approaches. She refuses to speak to Pa Hastings! Young Bobby doesn’t want to get in between Spencer and Pa Hastings! Oh yeah? Well then why is he back?! Young Bobby found evidence that Ali had kept in her room: letters from Pa Hastings and Mrs. DiLaurentis vis-à-vis the procreation of Young Bobby. Along with the letters was 15 grand in cash . . . leading Spencer to surmise that Ali was blackmailing Pa Hastings. That may be, but would she keep the cash and the letters together? Wouldn’t that be kind of stupid?

Speaking of no one’s favorite dead best friend, Aria’s at a café waiting to meet with Mystery Guy. The other girls act inconspicuous by sitting in the booth RIGHT NEXT TO ARIA. A guy shows up and claims that “Vivian” owes him money and she cost him a job. “Vivian” showed up at this dude’s former place of employment (a cell phone company) and wanted information. She had a friend named “Alison” who was getting mysterious texts and wanted to know who sent them. Uh, I have a friend named Karen who went on a full Hulk rage upon realizing that her house contained no sweets just now. She wants to know why there are no effin’ sweets in her house, for eff’s sake!!! Anyway, the dude knows who sent the texts . . . but he wants the 2 grand that “Vivian” owed him.

The girls brainstorm about how to raise 2 grand. They should have a sexy car wash and hire Sparky Polastri!

School. Caleb is on the phone with the cops. He can get his laptop back . . . if he cooperates.

Meanwhile, Aria is on the phone with Fitz, making a date for the evening. They need to discuss his ridiculous job offer! He promises to take her to a French vegan restaurant, and he’s almost so cute about it that I forget to be grossed out. But then I remembered that he’s paying for dinner with the salary he collects by being an ADULT PERSON and I work my way towards disgusted again. (Also, can you even have French vegan food? What is the point of French food that doesn’t involve meat, butter or cheese? None. There is no point.)

At Rosewood’s Cop Shop, Garrett is trying to hack into Caleb’s computer when Jerky Detective shows up! JERKY DETECTIVE! UGH. Jerky Detective has some new evidence on Alison’s murder and shows Garrett a photo of . . . something.

On The Only Street in Rosewood, Actor/Director Chad Lowe finds a note on his car. FROM A. She directs him to the place where Aria will be on her date. Sneaky, sneaky A.

I can’t help but think how short this show would be if everyone just WENT TO THE COPS WITH ALL OF THE WEIRD NOTES THEY’VE RECEIVED.

Hanna’s Kitchen of Carbs and Cash. Hanna and Prozzie Mom are decorating cookies for the swim team party that Emily’s hosting. Maya shows up and she and Emily go upstairs. Maya’s parents found an old, pre-Gay Away Camp joint in a box of Maya’s stuff!! They’re going to send her back to Gay Away camp! Well, that’s convenient. I must say, in this scene, Bianca Lawson looks like she’s in her mid-to-late 20s. I mean, she’s actually 32, of course, so she’s still remarkably unaged, but it’s like her Emily Bennett glamour spell might have started wearing off. Anyway, Emily refuses to accept this!

Meanwhile, Hanna and Prozzie Mom have been called to go down to the police station. Jerky Detective makes cow eyes at Prozzie Mom and then shows them both the same photo that he showed Garrett. It’s a photo of Hanna, Emily and Spencer dressed as Sweet Valley/Porn Fantasy Candy Stripers, standing outside the morgue. The morgue where one page of Ali’s autopsy report went missing!

Outside, Prozzie Mom asks Hanna what the hell is going on. Hanna claims she is innocent! They didn’t do anything! Man, Hanna claims she’s innocent a LOT. New drinking game rule!!

Aria’s House of Woodland Delights. Actor/Director Chad Lowe comes in whilst Aria is accessorizing and questions her about her plans with Holden. Tonight’s cover is an arcade with vintage video games. Well, it’s slightly more reasonable than French vegan food. Actor/Director Chad Lowe neglects to remind Aria of Coco Chanel’s classic advice about looking in the mirror and removing one accessory, so she walks out looking like she shoplifted half of Forever 21’s accessories department.

Aria makes a joke about Philly having “more than one restaurant.” OH MY GOD SHE REALLY IS READING MY RECAPS. Aria. LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR WARDROBE. (Actually, your dress is adorable. Don’t let that be the one thing you remove before leaving.) Holly Marie Combs, Child Bride, mentions Holden’s heart condition in passing, partly as a way to convince Aria to stay closer to home. Aria’s stunned. So he’s in a fight club AND he has Regina Morrow Disease?? HOLDEN DON’T EVER TRY COCAINE.

Now that I realize that your dress is just a top, I feel sad again.

Hanna’s Kitchen of Carbs and Cash. The swim team is celebrating their win to Foster the People. Eh, well, it’s high school. Hanna, returned from the Cop Shop, fills Spencer and Emily in on what Jerky Detective showed her. They all suspect Garrett, but what can they do?! Spencer is inspired to go get 2 grand and pay off the dude from earlier to learn what he knows. Spencer’s shirt seems to be lacking stitches in between the sleeves and the chest. Tragic. Spencer is going to go to Pa Hastings and get the money!

I’m unsure why Spencer’s shirt is half-finished.

On One of Several Streets in Philly, Holden ditches Aria for his qualifying match. Aria stares after him with worry. He could die at any minute by trying cocaine JUST ONCE.

Spencer’s house. She sneaks in and finds Pa Hastings’ briefcase. She looks to be thinking of stealing his check book, but then Pa Hastings walks in. He’s glad she came home!

There’s this commercial for Google+ that I think I’m supposed to find romantic, in which a lady moves a dude out of and into many different categorizations, including “creepers” and “dudes with cars.” Eventually he is dragged into the Keeper category. I’m supposed to swoon? She’s just dating this guy because he has a car and went to a ski house with her! I HATE THIS LADY.

After the break, Pa Hastings explains about Young Bobby’s origins. He was young! Getting his degree! Ma Hastings was at another school getting hers! They weren’t married yet! Spencer’s pretty harsh but also wants to know why the DiLaurentis family moved next door to the Hastings. She tells him about the letters and money that Ali had. Pa Hastings swears that he had no idea that Ali knew! He never gave any DiLaurentis family member money for any reason!! Including to raise, care for, feed or clothe his son!

At what is presumably The Only French Vegan Restaurant in the world, Actor/Director Chad Lowe stakes out a table to wait for Aria.

Hanna’s Kitchen of Cash and Carbs. Maya is feeling pretty down and/or is plotting everyone’s demise. Emily walks in on her sparking up outside. Ooh! I bet this is why she was talking to Young Bobby earlier! Drug deal on The Only Street in Rosewood!

At The Only Restaurant in Rosewood, Spencer tells Young Bobby that Pa Hastings denied blackmailing Ali. Young Bobby insists that it must be Pa Hastings who gave Ali the money! He storms out in anger.

Meanwhile, Caleb calls Hanna from the police station. He’s going to have to talk to the cops. As he sees Garrett and Jerk Detective approaching, Caleb gives Hanna a warning: he’s “in a very hot spot right now.” He needs her help! Will Hanna understand what to do?

Philly. Aria has, of course, decided to follow Holden into the martial arts dojo. So much kicking of things!! She interrogates Holden about his Regina Morrow Disease. He has an abdominal aortic aneurysm and could go any time! He’d rather go out doing something cool, not quote “playing Apples 2 Apples at home.” SHUT YOUR FACE HOLDEN. APPLES 2 APPLES IS AWESOME. Also, uh, they can do surgery to repair those types of aneurysms, you know. They don’t typically make you just hang around and wait to die if your aneurysm is indeed in danger of rupture. I kinda hope Holden does die. I can’t believe he dissed Apples 2 Apples that way.

At the police station, Jerk Detective wants Caleb to log in to his computer. No funny business! He actually says that, just to be clear. Because Jerk Detective really wants to be Sam Spade.

At Hanna’s, she’s called Spencer over to help her hack into Caleb’s computer.

Outside, Emily is pretty ticked that Maya lied to her. Apparently pot doesn’t mellow out Maya’s edges and she bitchily blames everything on Emily’s love for swimming. Ugh, Maya. I’m really starting to hate you. You and Holden can go somewhere lame where no one offers to play board games with you. You used to be so awesome. I am bored with you now.

Fitz is on the way to meet Aria at The Only French Vegan Restaurant in Town, but she texts him to bail on their date. Fitz looks super bummed . . . until he catches sight of Actor/Director Chad Lowe!

Hanna’s. She is trying to remember Caleb’s password. She remembers the letters but not the 1105 part, i.e. the part about which she actually questioned him. Spencer tries to help her remember and then Hanna finally figures out the number and meaning – it’s an anniversary!

At the dojo, Holden is doing the whirly kicky thing. He wins his match thingy. What I know about martial arts can be fit into two Karate Kid movies and endless viewings of Sidekicks.

Hanna and Spencer find the files that A planted (under Hefty, of course.). A really is such a bitch. Spencer freaks and tells her to Ctrl A! Ctrl A! Drink! Drink! They manage to erase the files just as Jerk Detective’s opening the folder.

At the Dojo, Aria gets a call from Actor/Director Chad Lowe. He would like to talk to Holden! Holden is, of course, right there, so he takes the phone. Well, that was awfully convenient! Now Actor/Director Chad Lowe feels like an idiot!

1105, by the way, is the date that Caleb and Hanna “you know”ed. It was good enough for an exclamation mark!

At Spencer’s house, Young Bobby shows up. Spencer is right; Young Bobby does want Pa Hastings to be a villain. They bond a bit and then Spencer asks for two grand. Man, she works fast. I’ve known my brother for 23 years and mostly I just ask him to feed my cat sometimes.

Credits. Hanna’s Kitchen of Carbs and Cash. Emily’s leaving a note on Maya’s phone and she’s being watched from the windows. Drama! Intrigue! Or something!

Next Monday!! There’s a PLL marathon! And then Aria is in danger on an all new episode!!

What’d you guys think? I feel like we’ve been treading water for the past few episodes, but since the next two weeks are the penultimate ep and then season finale, I bet they’ll be action packed and hopefully provide some real answers!! Sound off in the comments with your theories and opinions!


Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink.