Title: Pretty Little Liars S4.E01 “‘A’ is for A-L-I-V-E”
Released: 2013

When we last left the liArs, they were staring horrified into the trunk of Wilden’s car.

Guys, I cannot wait for the big reveal!! Who is inside? It could be ANY NUMBER of shady characters we haven’t seen in awhile, including (but not limited to):

A Sampling of Rosewood’s Missing Adults:

  1. Mrs. Hastings (last seen defending possible murderer-turned-murderee Garrett)
  2. Mr. Hastings (last seen burying a hockey stick)
  3. Jason DiLaurentis (last seen having his stab wound nursed by an out-of-costume but presumably well-qualified Mona)

Not to Mention the Truants of Rosewood High:

  • Noel Kahn
  • Lucas
  • Holden
  • Mike Montgomery

I love how this school is small enough that there is only ONE English class (taught alternatingly by Ella Montgomery & Ezra Fitz and attended by both Spencer “Walking Encyclopedia” Hastings & Hanna “Not Exactly Book Smart” Marin) yet large enough that no one notices when students go missing for months at a time.

So who could it be???

It’s… just a pig. This is so disappointing. Although I guess it will now haunt poor vegan Aria for the rest of her life: was the pig already there when she pushed the car into the river? Has she, who hath forsaken bacon, murdered Babe?

Sadly Aria has no time to contemplate this because Mona’s disappeared. Mona’s in the front seat of the car dismantling the computer replaying Ashley’s hit-and-run. She claims to be doing it to “save [Hanna’s] mom.” And thus begins the long back-and-forth of this season: is the girl who one mere episode ago said “These bitches are finally going to get what they deserve,” off the A team and on team LiArs or is she conning them yet again?

Back at Spencer’s totally unsupervised always adult-free house, the LiArs try to figure out which one it is and begin a Q&A with Mona. Here’s the rundown:

  • Shana & Jenna go way back
  • Melissa Hastings is very scary
  • CeCe looks like Ali and hangs out at mental institutions
  • Photography was Lucas’ second career after massage therapist
  • Toby’s contracting jobs weren’t all architecturally based
  • Mona didn’t push Ian off the bell tower…wait, WHO?? I’m supposed to remember back to the “bad guy” from season one??

Inexplicably the girls decide to have a sleepover, which ends with the phrase “Mona’s gone.” I mean, every time these girls have a sleepover one of them disappears! Also don’t they have to ask their non-existent parents for permission? If I lived in a town where people were constantly turning up dead, I’d need permission just to stay out past ten.

Anyway, no worries Mona’s just gone on a coffee run! But since knowing their exact coffee orders doesn’t prove her loyalty to team LiArs, she offers to take them to her lAir. On the way, they pass by Wilden’s muddy car, now complemented by Wilden’s dead body! Shoulda been in the trunk!

Credits! Am I the only one totally waiting for the time dead Ali opens her eyes during these?

In the lair, Mona reveals that she was on the Halloween Train and that the Queen of Hearts was Wilden & Melissa (she claims), but omnipotent Red Coat deletes all of Mona’s files before she can prove it. And then there are creepy kids and creepy dolls, matching each of the girls (including Mona), given to the kids by the possibly not-dead Alison. I am totally disturbed. By the kids, not the idea that Alison is alive, I mean. Been there done that.

The next day, GOOD GOD what is Hanna wearing??

Please tell me shiny red spandex is not the hot new look this summer? I half expect that she is wearing roller skates. The only parent in Rosewood comes in to inform Hanna’s leggings that Jessica DiLaurentis is moving back into her old house.

Meanwhile, at the charred remains of the lake house, Spencer and Toby (looking actually very smoldering in a tight blue jacket) look for Red Coat clues. Spencer wants to check the inside of the house, but Toby, with his wisdom gleaned from many months of “contracting,” warns her that it’s not safe. That is Spencer speak for “Please go on in!” Of course A or B or whoever (racoon? WILD PIG???) is in there too and runs by. Duh.

Emily, ever dutiful, goes to bring a welcome package to Jessica DiLaurentis. Wow, Jason’s really been missing for a while, huh?? I thought he was working on the house but it is straight up brambly! Jessica is moving about thirty boxes of Ali’s old crap, further cementing the girls’ idea that Ali is not dead after all.

That evening Hanna helps Mona “dispose” of the lAir. THE PANTS. GUYS THEY ARE SO AWFUL. It’s like, you know how shiny satin can be so unforgiving? Multiply that by 300. And then project it on a big screen. I am totally distracted and don’t remember anything else from this probably important scene.

At Rosewood’s only coffee shop (which appears to be currently unstaffed, as neither Emily nor Ella’s new boyfriend are there), Ezra and Aria break up AGAIN. Bored now.

The following morning, Toby and Spencer make cute over the newspaper and breakfast. I’m sorry, I was totally a fan of these two, but I just can’t now. What he did was way worse than cheating and it’s up there with physical abuse, regardless of his “motives.” I can barely watch Spencer go back to him. Do you guys think I’m being too judgey? Do you trust Toby? (And before you answer, spoiler alert: he just got a text from A…)

At school, Aria totally ignores Emily to make it all about her and Fitz, and Hanna continues to be a fashion victim, pairing a cute dress with an absolutely inexcusable headband. It’s like a tiny knotted towel, like she’s literally come to school right after taking a forehead shower.

She invites Mona for some afternoon retail therapy as Aria’s called to the Vice Principal’s office. Who creepily shows Aria pictures of Aria in bed with Fitz and says he’s called her parents (sorry but does Ella no longer work here?? Has she eloped with coffee shop dude?) before himself receiving a call. It’s the cops, here to arrest Ezra! Ezra’s led out in handcuffs while Aria shakes with fear… aaaaand it’s only a daydream. It turns out Ella’s just home sick and needs some paperwork. Ah, that mystery “answered.” The daydream prompts Aria to break up with Fitz… AGAIN! Second time this episode!

After school Paige makes an impassioned plea for Emily to consider Stanford as her college of choice, so they can have a cross-country trip and study on the beach and make sweet dorm love, away from the ever watchful eye of A. Emily, it should be noted, is not suffering from Hanna’s fashion crisis and looks effortlessly stunning as she agrees that she would like a life of sun, fun, and freedom from A (who was able to find Caleb’s mom in Montecito, but will totally never track them down Stanford).

Mona and Hanna are back from their shopping spree. Hanna’s mini towel has expanded and possibly grown fur. It now covers approximately 73% of her head. By the end of the episode, it’s going to be like a fashion burka. Hanna can’t fake the funk with Mona, but Mona is touched by Hanna’s lame attempt and friendship and gives Hanna the chip that will save her mom, telling her it’s the “only copy.” I’m sure that is the case.

And then, oh hey, it’s Jenna, out for a not-creepy-at-all midnight stalk of Emily. She confesses that she’s afraid for her life, since everyone who saw Ali that night has wound up dead (including now Wilden). She’s sporting a burn on her arm and semi-apologizes for something, possibly for raping Toby.

Also being creepy is peeping Tom Jessica DiLaurentis, who is straight up standing in the middle of Alison’s room, staring into Spencer’s. I think these girls all need heavy drapes. Spencer gets an A-text that some shit will go down at Wilden’s funeral.

BAM, now I understand Hanna’s questionable fashion this episode. The entire budget was spent on the girls’ funeral dresses and shoes. Seriously, the ladies look amazing. And for some reason, the shot of them walking up, sexy in black and ready for battle, totally reminded me of The Craft!

I can’t wait until we find out that Mona’s state of hyperreality was actually caused by her addiction to black magic.

At the funeral, Spencer sleuths her way to Wilden’s casket, where she meets Mona, lurking in the shadows, claiming to have gotten the same A-text. A phone rings. Of course it’s coming from the casket, where else. When they fish the phone out, it’s received three calls that day. Two from blocked and one from someone called Kisses. The girls dial Kisses and it’s… Hanna! Who promptly asks, “Why are you calling me on my mom’s phone?”

Spencer, inexplicably, does not respond, “You mom’s pet name for you is KISSES???” I’m scared to know what Pastor Ted is saved in the phone as. Hanna is appropriately freaked out that Ashley is the next A target, but before she has time to properly digest this though, crazy Jessica DiLaurentis comes over to backhand compliment Hanna for no longer being a Big Girl and to invite the LiArs, sans Mona, to sit with her at the social event of the year. A mystery woman in a black veil walks in. Melissa?

Meanwhile, Toby has stolen Mona’s lAir, fulfilling his A duties, which leads me to wonder if Mona was in on it or not. Did he steal the keys from Mona, or did she know he had a set and knew her hiding place? Anyway, it’s all because Ali was mean to his possibly crazy mom in a flashback and A’s got information about his mom’s death. I guess that’s a better reason for rejoining the A-team than “trying to protect [Spencer].”

Finally, outside the funeral, there’s a new cop in town, and he seems like maybe he’s not going to be corrupt and incompetent. Which could spell disaster for the girls, who’ve just been sent a video of themselves at Wilden’s muddy car. Welcome back, show! I’ve missed you!

About the Contributor:

Kate worships Kevin Sullivan’s adaptation of Anne of Green Gables (and has probably seen it no fewer than 100 times) but is still bitter about Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story and refuses to buy that one on DVD in protest of its totally inaccurate storyline. Other obsessions include bunnies (including her own, which she adopted from the bunny shelter, which is a REAL THING in Amsterdam, where she lives) and Pretty Little Liars. In her spare time she plays the clarinet and teaches math.


This post was written by a guest writer or former contributor for Forever Young Adult.