Title: Pretty Little Liars S4.E23 “Unbridled”
Released: 2014

Friends! Our Liars lost to a bunch of ALIENS in FYA’s Teen Movie March Madness! We’re not saying A is coming for our finger bones now…but we’re not NOT saying it, so. Watch out.


TOW TRUCK TRAVIS. We stare at you with cartoon hearts in our eyes, the way you do favors for Hanna, no questions asked. You orchestrated the crushing of a crazy lady’s mailbox for her today! Also, have you seen your face?


Veronica Hastings. Like, we don’t even have to explain this one.


Fingerbone corset, hands down.


Fingerbone corset, hands down.


Ali stuck a note with her exact contact info to a wad of hundred dollar bills. Dean Stavros moved into Spencer’s remodeled barn to daily analyze her every sober move for cash money. Jason… still exists. Paige tattled on Ali, and Holbrook told Hanna. Ezra thinks Jessica DiLaurentis is A, and she was picked up for questioning by Holbrook outside Rosewood’s sole fine dining establishment. Did Spencer kill Ali?


We open on Spencer, alone in a wedding dress in the middle of the woods at night, like some sort of hipster wedding-turned-horror movie (or any Tuesday on PLL). She falls down a hill, shakily gets to her feet. There’s a scary scraping CLANG behind her. Her eyes widen and freeze.


Liars’ Summit

The girls catch us all up. It’s basically a second “Previously on…” with quippier dialogue. Emily says Paige wrote the Ali is alive note and skipped town for the fallout. Hanna’s already packing her bag for Jail, but Emily is only worried about Ali’s safety. They still don’t know who is in the grave, and Spencer still can’t remember what happened the night Ali disappeared. She assumes she bashed in Ali’s head…or a stranger’s.


First Hanna had to give up her cookie to Spencer, now Ashley won’t let her eat breakfast anywhere on top of the charity bridal show planning Jessica DiLaurentis saddled her with. Hanna wonders why Jessica offered her a job, anyway—it’s not like they were friends. Ashley makes us sad referencing her friend-drought after her time in Cell Block H, but Hanna has set her sleuthing gears in motion…

At school, Hanna runs into Travis pushing a cart full of books. On top of tow trucking, he apparently also has a library job. Hanna apologizes for botching her date with Travis the other night, but he will not acquiesce to her request for a do-over, even with her being this adorable:

But no, he’s busy. Sad Hanna is sad. SO ARE WE.

Across town, Jessica DiLaurentis and Ashley Marin are pulling together the last details for the bridal event. Jessica is the worst/best on the phone with the caterer. “A seafood parfait is NOT a finger food.” We’re pretty sure a seafood parfait is not a FOOD, period? Anyway, no time to quibble: Detective Holbrook pulls up outside to talk about Ali’s maybe-dead maybe-body, and Jessica has to go to bitch at him about how much of an idiot the coroner is. 1) Yes, yes he is. 2) The DiLaurentis house looks HIDEOUS. Holbrook has a judge’s order to exhume the body. He isn’t asking permission, just keeping her informed.

Meanwhile, Ashley is snooping in Ali’s creepy room, where she was lured by the smell of freshly tissue-wrapped couture. There is a shopping bag at the foot of Ali’s bed, full of all the studded pink leather skirts a not-murdered teenage runaway could need. Ashley finds the receipt and sees that everything was purchased the day before. THE SHOPPING IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE. But she is too slow escaping—Jessica glides in like a dementor and drains her very soul.

The next day, Hanna shows up in the middle of the other girls’ mini-summit/question rehash [Can they trust Jason’s grain alcohol soaked memories from that night? Who’s in the grave? Why would Mrs. D go after her own daughter?] with the BEST NEWS: they’re getting married in the DiLaurentis backyard! For CLUES. Best Mom Ashley shared her weird shopping find with Hanna, and Best Sleuth Hanna knew exactly what to do next: If Jessica’s buying Ali new clothes, she’s got to know where to send them. And if so, the address has to be somewhere in the house. And the best way they can all get into the house? GET FAKE MARRIED.

The other girls think that’s a little overkill. But then! Holbrook tell them the Rosewood PD has finally caught up with the girls’ sleuthing circa nine episodes ago. He warns them not to get up their hopes up (oh, Rosewood PD), but also warns that if Ali is alive, it will open up a lot of new questions (oh, Rosewood PD). Namely, whose body is in the crypt? DUN DUN DUN exit Holbrook. Emily: “So what time does your mom want us to be there?”

When Hanna pulls up to the DiLaurentises’ that night, a sweetly bumbling valet tries to welcome her, but can’t counter her Hanna-ness or park her car. Off screen we hear, “I’ll park it for you.” It’s Travis of the many jobs!! Hanna smiles as she realizes why he said no to the do-over she suggested. They swap cutie-pie jokes and looks back and forth as the cheeriest, Motown-iest version of “Going to the Chapel” ding-dongs on, leading to a gown-donning montage, leading to…

The world’s dourest collection of brides.

Jessica is aghast that Ashley asked Hanna and her friends to model the dresses because she has never once conscripted them for a totally inappropriate fashion show ever before. “Well, we were short-handed, and they offered.” “They offered, or you asked??” Ashley knows a loser’s riddle when she hears one. She apologizes. Twice. Jessica lets her keep her soul…today.

On her way to Ali’s room, Hanna finds Travis outside and asks him to stall Mrs. D if she comes by. “I’m…not sure she and I have much to chit-chat about.” “Well, could you try?” Hanna asks. Because there’s a bedroom and snooping and things she hasn’t told him about and… “You DON’T have to tell me. You had me at could you.

And then he gets Sweetly Bumbling Valet to back alllll the way up into the mailbox, crushing it. “Travis!” Tricksy grin. “I guess now Mrs. DiLaurentis and I have something to talk about.” Then they KISS and WE LOVE THEM.

Travis: “You know it’s a little intimidating, you in this…thing.”

Hanna: “Well, get over it.”


Aria’s morning opens with a call from Vienna. Hooray, Momma Montgomery! Oh wait, it’s scolding for the minibar-fueled bender she went on in Syracuse. “You’re father made it sound like you were hosting the Rolling Stones!” No, just John Mayer and Antonio. Aria shovels the blame on Riley, then brushes off Ella asking if it’s “Mr. Fitz resigning from Rosewood High” that made her act out (side note: that man has not had a full year of work in EVER good luck in the future, dude). Anyway, Aria can’t really talk now. “Well, would it be any easier if I was at the foot of your bed?” And BAM Ella is at Aria’s door.

Gettin’ a little Gilmore up in here, Montgomeries. (Don’t stop.)

Later, Aria and Ella are drinking tea in front of the fire; Ella wants to talk about Ezra…but Aria totally doesn’t, and besides, Ella’s phone keeps buzzing—Zach is adorably missing her back in Austria. As Ella giggles on the phone with him, Aria realizes that her mom wasn’t spending every minute of her time abroad pining after the family Aria made her leave (BECAUSE BEES) and her mood turns spiky and irrational. “You went to Vienna and found your bliss. I stayed here and got kicked in the teeth,” Aria spits in a mini-tantrum when Ella returns. And Ezra? “A frickin’ mistake. You can send me an I told you so card when you get back to Austria. GOODNIGHT.” Then she storms off, tea in hand. It’s very…Aria.

At the bridal show, Ella comes “backstage” to say she got chills while Aria was on the runway. This was no ALI IS SATAN event, evidently, so all we get is Ella’s word it was lovely. We actually love how irrelevant to the episode this giant bridalpalooza was—like, it was a means to an end (murder investigation), and that’s it. Try doing that with your bridal fashion show episode, every other teen show!

Anyway, even though Aria says she isn’t ready to think about her heart mending, Ella goes into a long and lovely story about her own marriage and first loves and losses and time.

And Zach calling? That was to get Aria’s reaction to the news that…he proposed (in two languages!)(also, Mike is chopped liver). Ella presents the ring blushingly. Aria exclaims “Why didn’t you tell me yesterday!?” And Ella, kindly demonstrating why Aria is the way she is, answers, “Because I wanted to discuss something more important first—you.”

Also, you just KNOW the bridal collection didn’t include that fascinator. That’s straight from Aria’s closet.


After eating Hanna’s cookie, Spencer leaves the Brew with Emily. On Rosewood’s only street is Jason DiLaurentis, apparently home from Montana/rehab. He dodges their shouting and hurries to drive away, so they hop into Spencer’s car to follow him, but it won’t start. Obviously, that’s because A has threaded a long strip of identical pictures of a blonde girl with a blacked-out face through the ignition of the car. The girl could be Ali, but it could also be (FOR EXAMPLE): Ali’s evil twin; Cece Drake; Sara Harvey; Malibu Stacy; Hilary Duff; Mona in a Spencer mask in a blonde wig. Etc. etc. etc.

Toyota, we know you probably spend a lot on this extensive product placement, but our main takeaway is “never drive a Toyota, they are super easy to sabotage!!”

The next morning, Spencer (dressed like a majorette in a renaissance-era marching band) tries to head over to talk to Jason, but is thwarted by Sober Babysitter Dean. She apparently needs to pee in a cup every time she leaves his eyesight (“There’s no escaping the cup,” as she later deadpans to Em). He wins; she goes to school.

That evening finds Spencer bedded down on the couch in her kitchen, as no reasonable person would feel safe sleeping in the bedroom directly across from Crazy Eyes DiLaurentis. Instead, she chooses the room with the knives and windows and and doors that eternally open at the slightest breeze. Dean finds her there, and asks if she’s standing vigil because her parents are gone. HAH. No, Spencer is scared of what her parents are keeping from her, that blank in her memory that she ironically can’t forget. Dean offers to read out loud to her from a book about boxing that is conveniently also his fighter’s life backstory. They settle in, and eventually fall asleep, laying draped over one another on the couch…

…which is where Veronica Hastings finds them the next morning.

Veronica snappily axes Dean. Spencer’s upset, but maybe secretly a little glad that she can just pee in the toilet from now on like a normal person.

Mrs. Hastings continues her fit of parental reckoning, rifling through Spencer’s drawers, which is where Spence finds her later. Maybe she’s looking for the chest part of your shirt, Spence. It appears to have gone missing. Oh, no, she’s looking for drugs. She’s worried that Spencer was sleeping downstairs because she was scared of HERSELF, i.e. the stash she has hidden in her bedroom. Spencer rolls her eyes. MOM. I am just scared of YOU, for not ever telling me anything!! “We don’t speak of that summer. It was harrowing,” says Veronica, not actually helping at all. “I made Melissa promise she wouldn’t discuss The Incident.” Whaaaaat?

In a flashback, we see Veronica outside at night, throwing away the ruined remnants of a bunch of clothes and stuffed animals that have been sliced up and scattered all over the backyard. Ali breezes up, heading toward her own back door, not even a little contrite that she’s out way past her curfew. She asks Veronica what’s going on. Was it another of Melissa and Scissor-Happy Spencer’s fights?

Uh… danger?!?!

“You don’t remember any of this?” Veronica asks, back in the present. She and Peter BELIEVE Spencer’s not a monster, but those pills brought out a whole new side of Spencer, an evil twin. (NEW THEORY: EVERYONE HAS AN ACTUAL EVIL TWIN). “You need to leave that summer alone. Please,” Veronica says, giving Spencer a final hug as she leaves. Outside the window, Spencer sees Mrs. D creepin’ away at her own window, staring right at her.

At the bridal show, Spencer finally catches up to Jason. She asks him about his memory of seeing Melissa and Cece arguing in his backyard two years back. Is he sure it was Cece? Could it have been…Hilary Duff? Before Jason can answer, they’re interrupted by Dean, who stopped by a complete stranger’s house to say goodbye and give Spencer a souvenir urine cup. They hug super awkwardly, and then Dean is like “Oh btw? That rehab place you just told me Jason was at? Yeah, it’s been closed for two years. Be careful!” 

Spencer runs to tell the girls. The only suggestion Spencer “Genius” Hastings can offer for his real wherabouts is “Maybe he was in Rosewood?” which—guys, there is ONE STREET in this town. The other girls leave for their own adventures, leaving Spencer alone to witness Mrs. DiLaurentis stealthily delivering something to someone hiding into the woods….

…and that brings us around to the opening scene. Spencer, in full bridal regalia, stumbles through the dark calling for Alison. “Come closer, I want to hit you with my field hockey stick again.” She trips and falls down a hill, and then there’s the awful clanging snap again…which is a BEAR TRAP. That has snapped shut!!!…oh, just on her veil.

Spencer tears herself free and staggers back to the house, where she gasps to the other Liars that she saw Mrs. D giving a suitcase to someone, maybe Ali?, in the woods, but Emily says Ali is in Philly. Spencer just wants out of her muddy, bloody, torn dress, so the others help her get her whalebone corset off, then gasp in horror. Supporting the inside are literal human finger bones. And in the middle is a note.


Things are icy between Emily and Paige, who run into each other in the bathroom at school. “Does your phone stop working when you leave the state?” Emily asks shortly. Shh, Em, don’t tell! That’s the one fact that keeps this show’s meager guest star allowance rotating smoothly! Emily accuses Paige of turning Ali in out of revenge, but Paige insists it was solely to protect Emily. In response, Em waves her torch for Ali. Eesh. Watching Em steer into the skid like this is really the worst. It’s like she’s subconsciously sabotaging things, so that when (if) Ali comes back, the decision won’t be on her.

In the meantime, Em keeps sleuthing. She’s emailed the addresses from Ali’s stack of cash, but the emails bounce back. So, the phone number: it belongs to a “Mama Gabusi’s”, closed for renovations. Tough luck, Em. Maybe get your friendly neighborhood switchboard operator to call their late-night answering service? Jason rushes by, and Emily runs to confront him about how he’s been MIA since an elevator almost chopped them both in half. Jason asks her to keep Spencer away from his mom. Loyal Em sticks up for Spencer, but Jason tells her that Mrs. D has never liked Spence…

In a flashback, Ali (in the world’s ugliest shirt and brattiest voice) argues with her mom about the anonymous notes A has been sending her. Mrs. D thinks it’s Spencer, because “she’s always been jealous of you,” and encourages Ali to go all mean girl on Spence in return. Ah, parenting.

Later, at the bridal event, Emily and Hanna slip away to Ali’s room to do some sleuthing. In their wedding dresses. Which they are wearing with such utility they might as well be wearing yoga clothes. In Rosewood, all clothes are sleuthing clothes. Also: murdering clothes. Also: stalking clothes.

Hanna finds an NYC Dream Board in Ali’s closet, covered in a collage of convenient clues. One of which is the menu for Mama Gabusi’s, that restaurant that Emily called earlier. On a super huge whim, Emily tries signing into the mystery email address with the password “mamagabusi,” and SUPER HUGELY AMAZINGLY, it works. Write that down on your Website Pages. She sends a message to Ali, saying they need to talk, that she’s in danger. Has Emily really known Ali’s email THIS WHOLE TIME? What is it, [email protected]? (Actually, Em sends the message to [email protected], the OTHER email from the that cash note. How did she know that would go to Ali?? We’re so confused.)

Whatever black magic Emily did, it worked: a few minutes later, they get a call from Ali, demanding “How did you find me?” Emily explains that the police know she’s not dead, and that her mom—”Don’t tell my mom anything!” Ali shouts. Emily wants answers, but Ali will only give them in person. “Come here, and hurry,” she says.

While Emily is at her house waiting for the others to pick her up, Paige comes by. She says Em was right: she didn’t just go to the police because she cares about Emily. She did it because…she does NOT care about Ali. Ha! “I love you,” she pleads. “Please forgive me.” Emily forgives her, but isn’t sure if she can ever trust her. And just like that, their relationship falls apart.

Emily says a sad goodbye to Paige, and climbs into the car with the other three Liars. They head off to the address Ali gave them in Philly, which is definitely where she is definitely hiding, and is definitely not a trap or a red herring or anything silly like that. Because Ali has always been 100% honest with everyone always, ever since she was buried alive and never seen again.

The address belongs to a cobwebby storage basement, which is full of basement-y things, but no Ali-shaped people. But then a noise behind them triggers a classic dramatic four-Liar whirl around…

“What are YOU doing here??”

And cut to black.

What’s up with A

At the Red Finch Inn, A snags the guestbook. S/he pages through to a page with Cece Drake’s John Hancock, then dials the Rosewood Police Department. And eats a butterscotch.

Until next time, Liars…

A(lexis and Catie)

P.S. This Sunday (March 16), The Paley Center for Media is going to be hosting a Pretty Little Liars panel featuring all four Liars plus Sasha Pieterse, Ian Harding, Janel Parrish, Keegan Allen, AND MORE. If you’re in LA—lucky ducklings—you can go stare at these beautiful faces in person (and then tell us all about it). Fortunately for the for the rest of us, it’ll be livestreamed as well. Things are going down at 1 PM Pacific/4 PM Eastern, and we will be stroking our laptop screens lovingly and blogging about the event over on our tumblr. See you there!

About the Contributor:

Catie grew up in Denver, Colorado, where she often stayed up past her bedtime reading with a flashlight and once sent homemade Hogwarts acceptance letters to her friends. Now an adult, she still loves books and TV meant for teens, but is grateful to no longer have a bedtime.


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