The situation in Rosewood has become an interesting Frankenstein’s monster of other shows for the past couple weeks: It’s Law & Order in the courtroom for Mona’s murder trial and Orange Is The New Black in prison. And now, with Parks and Recreation‘s vapid news anchor Perd Hapley reporting jovially about Alison’s slim chances in court (“Is this kid going down, down, down?”) we’re in Pawnee, Indiana. But if your head was spinning, don’t worry. By the end of this episode, we’re shocked right back into prime Pretty Little Liars territory: potentially lethal weapons (arrows!), good characters turning suspicious, and “A” winning… again.
Let’s start with the courtroom drama. The prosecution brought in a “surprise witness”—Mona’s old/new friend Leslie Stone, the one who showed up out of nowhere and threw the Liars (and us!) into a tizzy by her very existence. She seemed nice enough a few episodes ago, but this is Rosewood, where every new character brings bad tidings. Leslie testified that Mona had been having a hard time before Thanksgiving, and that Ali had threatened Mona not to open up about the fake kidnapping. Big surprise: Ali threatens everyone. But then, the grenade exploded. Leslie turned on the waterworks and said the Liars were hiding something, putting special emphasis on Hanna’s “stalking.” I hate this girl. When Caleb called her a “four-eyed freak,” I was giddy—and I wear glasses.
To take the law into their own hands, as our fair Liars are wont to do, they split up (which they are also wont to do… in woods… in the dark… when murderers are around. But not today!). Spencer and Emily set about investigating Ali’s alibi—someone might have seen her in the park the night of Mona’s death. Aria, on the other hand, tried to convince Mike not to testify if the court asks, even though he’s “ready to talk.”
Remember many moons ago, when “A” said that Mona liked fun and games, but this “A” liked body parts? Or blood, or something else that makes me always watch this show with the lights on? If there’s one thing we know about “A,” it’s that that person keeps their promises (well, and that their phone plan includes unlimited texting). So to shut Mike up, “A” sent the Montgomery kids a giant, dripping, pink tongue. The only consolation here is that it was too big to be a human tongue.
Meanwhile, Spencer and Emily went back to Ali’s park to look for clues (namely, the black scarf with red flowers Ali saw in a bush before Thanksgiving), but all they found was a smiling Christian boy and his youth group. It felt like a lost cause, until the girls showed up at school to see the very same scarf hanging out of a girl named Kendra’s backpack. When they asked her about the park, she freaked out: turns out she was there the night Ali was, but she’d accidentally gotten “Look-my-hand-has-eight-fingers”-high, so her testimony was totally useless. THANKS FOR NOTHING, KENDRA.
NEXT: Bro bonding goes awry
Aria asked Ezra to bring Mike to his cabin and talk to him about, uh, not talking. Little did they know, Caleb was waiting there for them. Caleb has had enough of this “keeping secrets from the police” business. His girlfriend is in jail (or, as he put it, “locked in a cage with people who could kill her with a comb”), and he’s always tried to be her knight in shaggy-haired armor, so he decided to play the angel on Mike’s shoulder to Ezra’s devil.
Of course, Mike is all sorts of insane (whether that was because of Mona, or just why they got along, I don’t know), so he stole Ezra’s car, got lost in the woods, attacked by arrows and mace, then duct-taped to a tetherball pole. Part of Ali’s lawyer’s argument was that her arms are too weak to have hurled Mona against a wall: “A” is strong. The fact that “A” lifted muscleman-Mike up to tape him to the pole is further proof of that. But does this mean “A” is a guy, or just a really strong girl? Then again, this episode brought up the old idea of multiple “A’s”… which is too stressful to even think about right now.
Arrows were “A’s” big theme this week: Someone shot them (quite accurately, but not successfully) at Ezra and Caleb as they looked for Mike; Ali’s trial hinged on archery (more on that in a minute); and Andrew, who said he was available 24/7 but then didn’t pick up the phone when she asked him to follow Mike, said he was an award-winning Pathfinder Scout (it’s like Boy Scouts with more archery) for 12 years. The music got extra creepy when Andrew came onscreen, so, guys? This brainy, brawny dude is officially too good to be true.
Finally, we have to check in on our jailbirds, Ali and Hanna. Apparently Ali finally figured out how to work the prison system, like she works every other system. Guards breathing down your neck and you girls can’t find a place to chat? Just burn yourself with an scalding iron, and slam Hanna’s fingers in the dryer door. Bingo! You can talk in the infirmary. Ali hesitated for almost zero seconds before ironing her own forearm… this girl could give Gone Girl‘s Amy Dunne a run for her money, I swear.
Sometimes, though even Ali gets blindsided: Her lawyer came up with a pretty believable defense, the whole “her childhood broken arm never healed properly so she couldn’t have thrown Mona” thing. But then, Mona’s lawyer fired back: How did Ali win the archery award at summer camp with such a “weak” arm? (It turns out 11-year-old Ali rigged the contest like she rigs everything, but that wasn’t a truth she could tell under oath.)
“A” loves a theme, so the “Bullseye, bitches. –A” text was expected. What I wasn’t quite prepared for? EMILY, SPENCER, AND ARIA GETTING ARRESTED, TOO. We’ve been expecting this since season 1—I mean, Rosewood PD has basically been accusing the Liars of a revolving door of murders for five seasons. But still, everyone? I guess there’s a first time for everything, even in Rosewood.