"Misery Loves Company"... and so do the dumb apparently.
Just to be clear, I thought this week's episode had a lot of really great components. There were interesting character reveals, emotional moments and great turning points in the narrative of the show. Granted, we didn't get a lot of progress on the central mysteries, but the hour helped set up the trajectory of the rest of Pretty Little Liars Season 3.
Building up the direction of the newest plot revelations can sometimes be a tiresome chore for this series, and it leads to a lot of boring, going-nowhere episodes. But not this time.
HOWEVER, I'm having a lot of trouble understanding how these girls can still make such stupid decisions. It's borderline embarrassing. Most of the time, I can suspend my disbelief when the ladies do something reckless and dumb, even though they should know better by now. But they should know better by now.
How many death threats/attempts and crazy situations do they need to be involved in before they make better decisions? Aria runs away from Meredith and has maybe a few seconds lead on her pursuer. She stops to make phone call, and when it doesn't work, she continues to stand there...why?!? Hanna (who frequently makes bad decisions) and Emily come to check on Aria because they are suspicious of Meredith. Then they follow Meredith down to the basement and then let her get behind them as they walk down the basement steps. WHAT?!?
It's frustrating because it just seems like sloppy writing for those scenes. These contrived attempts to drum up suspense drive me crazy because I'd like to think the liars are a little smarter since embarking on this A-game. Now that that's out of the way: on to the episode!
Poor, poor Spencer. We knew she was going to find out someday, but did it have to be on their anniversary? Her attempt to make a surprise dinner for her boyfriend really backfired when she discovered proof that he was connected to Mona. Her suspicious were confirmed when Toby showed up to her house in the A-hoodie to collect the key that one of the As (I'm guessing Mona) dropped while terrorizing Hanna. It was awful to watch her fall apart, but it seemed a rather pleasing sight to Mona.
I'm sure that Mona had something to do with Spencer finding out about Toby. At the beginning of the episode, she asked Toby if Spencer knows and commented on how good Spencer is at keeping secrets. She must have been the one to drop the key, knowing that somehow it would get back to Toby. Mona seems ready to punish the girls in any way possible.
Yet, Mona's not in charge. She is. But who is SHE?
Could it be Meredith? She seems unstable, but definitely not calculating enough to be in charge of the A-team. She wasn't very crafty about drugging Aria and searching the house for the diary pages. Was Meredith really concerned about Byron or was there something else she doesn't want the police to know?
Is Ali the mysterious puppet-master? Byron left her alive...with a very angry Melissa (more on that below). Hanna thought she saw the reflection of a blond girl with a red coat (Ali?) before walking in to the fake interview at Corin's. Aria is the final liar to have a very vivid vision of Ali in her bedroom. Are these Ali appearances just hallucinations or are the visions trying to tell them something?
Byron's confession to Aria convinced her that he wasn't responsible for Ali's disappearance, but who was? Puzzlingly, the night of her death, Byron saw Melissa walk out of the house and say to an unnamed person on the phone, "What do I have to do, call 911 to get your attention?" Who was she talking to?
So we have some new directions for the rest season. Spencer will be dealing with the Toby fallout, but let's hope she doesn't backslide into sleeping with him again as the promos for next week seem to suggest. We'll have to find a new suspect for Ali's murder. And figuring out who's behind the A-team should occupy more of the show's time.
Also, we have the pleasure of watching Caleb and Paige team up to take down Mona. Unfortunately for the liars, this means uncovering the dirt Mona has on all the girls. The plan makes sense; take away Mona's power over the girls is the only way to make them fess up to the cops about A's continued harassment. However, I feel like I can't really trust Paige. It was sweet of her to say that all her fear and anxiety is less about herself and more about Emily, but somehow it felt a little off to me.
Let's not forget that Paige was one of the few people Ali was afraid of.