Hanna hits the bottle while the rest of the Liars discover new details about the relationship between Bethany and Mrs. D.

By Samantha Highfill
Updated March 11, 2015 at 04:31 PM EDT
Eric McCandless/ABC FAMILY

When you have a show centered around the ultimate psychopath who might or might not be under the age of 18, episodes are always best when said psychopath—or at least one of the many minions of said psychopath—makes an appearance. Add in an appearance from Radley, the home of the psychopaths, and we’ve got an hour full of twists, new clues, and the suspense we love.

This week, things get moving with the Liars participating in the high school choir singing “What Child Is This,” a hymn most often associated with Christmastime. But no, this is not the Christmas episode. Rather, this is just a group of teenagers being forced to sing a religious song in a state institution. No big deal.

Outside of the classroom, Ali isn’t singing, but only because she’s being questioned by a very mean Detective Tanner, who clearly knows that the girls were in New York when Shana died. However, Ali is trying everything she can to throw Tanner off her lies, including dressing like she’s 25 and going to a job interview. But no matter how many black blazers Ali wears, “A” still knows how to get to her. By the time Ali reenters the classroom, “A”—or someone— has circled all of the A musical notes with a message that reads, “Glad to hear you singing. Last time you were all choked up.” That, of course, refers to the time “A” choked Ali with her own scarf. That “A” is very literal. Also, “A” has clearly turned Ali off scarves, which is probably for the best.

At Hanna’s locker, Spencer and Emily are giving her a lecture about how her locker smells like Octoberbest when Aria runs to call Ezra and warn him about Tanner’s investigation. Outside, Ella makes her triumphant return, just in time to ask Aria to be her maid of honor. Aria agrees, but has to run when Ezra calls. Sorry, mom. There’s no time for love in a world full of high school bullies.

However, there is time for something called language lab in a world full of high school bullies. There’s also time for Emily to try and convince Sydney that Hanna was just drunk the other night and didn’t know what she was saying when she’d said the Liars were in New York. Spoiler: It doesn’t work. But it does give Sydney the chance to tell Emily she’s been made Assistant Coach of the swim teach… while she’s still a high school student.

At lunch, Hanna is left by herself after Caleb rebels against the idea of waking up before 1 p.m. So what is Hanna left to rebel against? How about the idea that Ali wants to stay with her. But you don’t always get what you want, and after Ali tells Ashley her sob story, the maternal instincts resist about two seconds before she invites Ali to stay with them. Hey, she even offers her bath salts, which is like, the ultimate sign of hospitality. And that’s exactly why Hanna leaves to rebel against sobriety with Caleb.

But this is where things get messy because not everyone in this town needs to be bad. Why did the writers decide that Zack, Ella’s perfectly adorable nice fianc, should come back this year and pull a complete 180 by trying to sleep with Hanna? They just went from zero to pedophile in .02 seconds, and it’s just too far. Yes, even in a show of extreme bullies and other questionable relationships, this is too far.

And as it turns out, Toby also thinks it’s too far. Well, not Zack specifically, but generally, he thinks everything in Rosewood has gotten out of hand. And that’s why he’s enlisted in the police academy! Spencer isn’t sure if she’s on board, but if it’s why he cut his hair, then it has to be a good decision. #OfficerToby? Yes, please.

NEXT: Big Rhonda spills some big secrets

At Radley, Aria discovers that Eddie Lamb recently quit when she runs into a particularly sassy nurse who’s all, “Are you here to finger paint to speed date the orderlies?” How about neither? Aria heads into Big Rhonda’s room to return Bethany’s sketchbook before getting caught. Luckily, Rhonda can be bought with some soda and chips, and from there, she’ll tell you all she knows. And what she knows turns out to be that Mrs. D used to bring Bethany gifts and once took her to the circus. Mrs. D even went so far as to adopt Custard, a horse for Bethany. The two would take trips to a nearby stable, which only means one thing: Cue the trip to the stable!

Once they arrive in the land of horses, Emily and Spencer talk to an instructor named Declan, who tells them all about “the bucket incident,” where it sounds like Mrs. D had asked Bethany to call her “Aunt Jesse,” and instead, Bethany had freaked out and thrown a bucket at her. So wait. Is Bethany Ali’s cousin? And how does Melissa fit into all of this? Spencer finds her big sister’s helmet at the stable before “A” locks them in a stall next to a very panicked horse. Let’s just say Spencer leaves with a black eye and a new appreciation for Toby becoming a cop.

Hanna, however, is getting a new appreciation for personal space when Zack visits her in his car and takes things from a back graze to a leg grab. From there, she decides to tell Aria. Only, Aria doesn’t believe her, tells her that she’s the problem before spending the night sitting very uncomfortably on the couch with her potential new stepdad. Best hashtag of the episode? #CreepedOutHanna

Also, I will propose: #UnnecessaryPedophileZack

While Hanna’s out and about, Ashley and Ali experience an “A” intrusion at the house when a black hooded figure shows up, grabs a knife, drops said knife, and runs. It seems pointless, but at least it leads to Ashley having a showdown with Detective Tanner. We know Ali’s sketchy, but Tanner is not helping the situation. Side note, can there be a spin-off with nothing but the recordings of these 911 calls? “What’s your emergency?” “Well, it’s a long story. There’s this anonymous cyber stalker who started texting my daughter years ago. Well, that turned out to be Mona. But then, Mona went to Radley ….” You get the point.

But minutes later, we learn that Ali had asked Noel to break into Hanna’s house. It was a strategic move on Ali’s part, because now, Ashley has stopped questioning what happened to her. Just like that, Ali’s got one adult on her side. Then again, based on that look on Ali’s face, there’s an 80 percent chance she’s lying about it being Noel (or something).

Things end with “A” in Spencer’s room, handling Spence’s riding helmet, and then revealing a secret compartment under the seat cushion in Spencer’s red leather chair. So does “A” have secret hideaways in all of the Liars’ rooms?

All in all, this episode was full of emotional trauma, physical trauma, lies, and a fair amount of booze, which all adds up to some pretty fun drama. The one thing that would’ve made it better: Not turning a charming guy into a gross perv. Just a thought.

(Current) top suspect: Melissa

What did you all think of the episode? Is Bethany Ali’s cousin? Or is she another Hastings?

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