Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC Family

After that episode, I can only hope that the inside of my mind is half as fascinating, beautiful, and dramatic as Spencer’s. Perhaps I should start watching Scorsese’s Mean Streets every night before I fall asleep. But that’s neither here nor there, because we need to talk about all the black-and-white goings on in Rosewood … but really in Spencer’s version of Rosewood. Confused, yet? Well, we’re just getting started.

After Hanna, Emily, and Spencer found Ali’s journal (a little too easily) inside Ezra’s desk, they figured that he was one of the people at the cabin that night. But who was the other? Mona? It seemed highly likely, but considering everyone’s brain was “full,” they decided to press pause on the brainstorming for the night. Hanna and Emily left Spencer alone to watch her favorite film noir and pop some more pills. One on-screen gunshot later, and Rosewood was without color. Welcome to “Shadow Play,” Liars!

Traveling inside Spencer’s mind meant the immediate introduction of 1940’s Toby, who was lurking in the shadows in a trench coat. God, I’m loving this already. Toby called his girlfriend out on her pill habit — “You’re spread so thin I can see right through you.” — but Spence took that to mean she needed a cup of coffee. Cue evil Ezra! In suspenders! Looking dashing!

Ezra, ever the big spender, bought Spencer a 15-cent cup of coffee as a way to apologize for their last conversation. Then he sort of asked her out? Regardless, he got back to being evil in a matter of seconds when Spencer promised to meet up with him. Ezra’s “cross your heart and hope to die?” was so yummy it was a little ridiculous. Was it just me, or was he actually less creepy in this world? It was as if being more blunt with his evilness made him more likeable (and definitely more menacing than sitting around in cargo shorts eating chickpeas).

Back at Spencer’s house, Spence was rocking the most amazing robe I’ve ever seen when Toby arrived again. Apparently, in the 1940’s, knocking was so not the thing to do. But you know what was the thing to do? Getting an enormous portrait done and hanging it over your friend’s fireplace. Just like that, Ali was back in our lives, in a very big way.

But the vixen would have to wait, because Hanna was following Mona when she was caught and taken to Ezra’s apartment. Spencer went to retrieve her blond friend at apartment 3B, where we learned that Ezra’s own juice blend made him what he is today. Love it! And while I’m talking about it, I loved everything about this scene. From Ezra’s snarky comment about “true love” to the way he addressed Spencer’s theory, I wish he were this forthcoming and confrontational in real life, don’t you?

However, the opposite can be said for Paige and Emily, who were forced to be more secretive about their relationship in the 1940’s. But at least they got to say things like, “I have to leave first because I can’t stand to see you walk away from me.” And to be fair, they did get to have the super romantic secret love affair! The curtains blowing around them as they kissed? Bravo, PLL. And having them get into their sexy undergarments and take things to the bed? That was the most intimate we’ve ever seen them! And this was 1940! Talk about scandalous!

Across town, things were less exciting when Toby and Ezra met up over coffee, although I did love how they referred to women as “skirts.” Ezra let it slip that Ali was still alive, a fact Toby immediately took back to Spencer, who was a little busy being confronted by Ali in her living room. Spencer wanted answers, and Ali wasn’t quite in the mood to give them. Instead, she distracted Spencer by talking about her pill habit, and let’s just say that Toby showed up right in time to save Spencer’s hand from a garbage disposal (Did they have those in the 40’s?). He held her tight before taking her down to an interrogation room. Why? I have no idea. Did I care? Nope. It’s noir guys, get on board!

Toby questioned Spencer about Ali — could Spencer have been tricked into helping her? It’s possible, I suppose. As Toby put it, quoting Mean Streets, “Down these mean streets a girl must go who is not herself mean.” And cue their romantic kiss! Although, it was a little short for me. I was really hoping they’d get into that old fashioned just-move-your-head-from-side-to-side business.

Across town, Ezra debated whether Aria was more sophisticated than champagne before he let it slip that he knew Ali was alive. Instantly, Aria could feel that their perfect story was “changing.” But before Spencer could fill Aria in on the your-boyfriend-is-a-psychopath theory, Hanna — who was incredibly useful this episode — showed up and told them that she had found Ali. Earlier in the episode, Spencer had found a number off of Ali’s list that went to the Fitzgerald Art Foundation. And, working at the switchboards like you do, Hanna was able to track the calls to that number. They were coming from a night club, which put on shows “nitely.”

The Liars were off! They showed up at the night club to find a very angry Ali, who immediately went after Spencer for wanting to be the new top Liar or whatever. But Spence went right back at the dancer (?) and claimed that Ali was setting them all up. Insert gunshot! Insert Ali attempting to slap Spencer! This drama was out of control! And, again, did Hanna just stop Ali from hitting Spence? Useful!

After running through an empty warehouse post-gunshot, the Liars found themselves cornered, with Ezra standing in the doorway. They tried to convince Aria not to go to him, but no one seemed to be brave enough to say why. Aria walked toward the figure, but just as she got to him, we realized that it was Toby. Spencer’s man had shown up to save the day. He’d knocked Ezra out and was there to save the girls. Ali went one way, and the rest of them piled into Toby’s car.

In the car, Aria wanted answers, and Toby wanted to know if Spencer had figured it out yet. There was yelling, and car headlights, and boom! Spencer was back in 2014, where she finally figured it out. Ali’s journal had been planted in Ezra’s desk for them to find because little changes had been made throughout — months were changed, “cute girl” became “cute guy,” and so on. It was basically a big map to all the wrong places. Luckily, and unbeknownst to “A”, Spencer had taken pictures of the original journal on her phone, so she could figure out exactly what they were trying to hide. And she only needed a film noir to figure it out! Take that, Ezra!

Well, actually, Ezra was a little busy at the moment, kissing Aria … as the Liars looked in. Guess that secret is finally out!

What did you all think of that episode? Personally, I kind of wish every week were in the noir world. We got answers! Ezra was so evil! Aria said things like “It’s time to go wrestle the world to its knees!” And “A” sent threats via telegrams! I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get better than that. But more importantly, what did you take away from the episode? What clues did you discover throughout all the black-and-white drama? Sound off in the comments!

Episode Recaps


Pretty Little Liars

Four little liars and a being named “A” (who may or may not be the fifth little liar) try to live their lives in Rosewood. It’s complicated.

  • TV Show
  • 7
  • TV-14
  • Freeform
stream service