Thursday, January 23, 2014

Pretty Little Liars: "Close Encounters" (4x16)

After learning about Ali's journal and subsequently losing it to A in the Love ShAck, the girls were sent this text by A...

PLL 4x16 Text from A

So, off they went on a merry little road trip to the Busy Bee Inn. Clearly in the middle of nowhere, PA, the room in the Busy Bee had definitely been occupied at one point. There were also signs of a struggle... but no Alison. Just a creepy note from A on the back of the door...

PLL 4x16 Message from A


Hanna
She cleaned out her closet, purging everything that reminded her of Caleb. Later, Travis stopped by to check on her, and she invited him to shoot a game of pool.

PLL 4x16 Travis and Hanna

He showed her how to aim, and she ended up winning a couple of games. Hanna proceeded to kiss Travis, who thought they should slow down, but didn't really protest too much. Luckily, Ashley got home and broke up the makeout session before it turned into something Hanna would regret. Later, while listening to her headphones and wearing a supercute lipstick print top, (why is it sold out everywhere?) Ashley came in and told Hanna they were going out. She took her to Cracked Up, a place where you can buy plates, vases, (pretty much anything glass or ceramic), and throw them at a wall, watching them shatter into tiny little pieces.

Post plate throwing, Hanna decided to call Caleb. He didn't pick up, but she left him a voicemail. "Hey, it's me, Hanna. I keep replaying the last few weeks over and over again in my head, trying to pinpoint the exact moment I lost you. Wondering if I could've done something differently. But, I just wanted to let you know, that it was the best year of my life."

PLL 4x16 Hanna Marin

Spencer
Spencer was tenacious last night in her attempts to find out answers...

PLL 4x16 Spencer Hastings

Mr. H. claimed that Jason was back in rehab, after falling off the wagon and getting arrested for starting a fight in a bar. Jason didn't want anyone to know about it. Mrs. D. was waiting to tell Jason about the divorce, fearing the news might trigger a relapse. Spencer seemed to understand... and in other news, Toby came downstairs in a towel...

PLL 4x16 Towel Toby

Busted! Mr. H. suggested he put some pants on so the two could talk, alone. Mr. Hastings had an offer for Toby and his father. Radley wouldn't admit to any negligence in Marion Cavanaugh's death, but since the accident happened on their property, they were willing to compensate the Cavanaugh family for their loss.

PLL 4x16 Mr. Hastings and Toby

Mr. Hastings also broke the news that shutting down Radley wasn't likely from the Cavanaugh case alone. Later, Toby let Spencer read through the agreement, and there was a gag order involved. Spencer wasn't sure if he should be so quick to accept the offer. She pointed out that they still didn't know why Marion was on the roof unsupervised, or the identity of the other "fragile" patient. She thought that he should get all the information he could before signing the agreement.

PLL 4x16 Radley Board of Trustees

Later, at the Hastings Estate, Spencer walked in to find her father planning an elaborate dinner for Veronica's return. Spence questioned his motives about Radley, but he asked her to drop it and pick out music for the evening. Instead, Spencer snooped through the files in his briefcase and was caught red-handed. She learned that Jessica DiLaurentis is on the Board of Trustees at Radley, and suspected that there was more to the Radley Thing. Mr. Hastings told her to let it go again, but Spencer wasn't fazed. She wondered if her father was lying about Jason too, as he headed to the airport to pick up Mrs. H. Spencer called Toby, urging him not to sign the papers.

PLL 4x16 Spencer Hastings

After the debacle with Alison and Emily, Spencer headed back to Toby's loft. He was clearly upset, but not just because he signed the papers before he got Spencer's message. He and his father decided to put the Radley Thing behind them and move on. He asked Spencer to let it go, too.

PLL 4x16 Emily Fields

Emily
Shana found Emily at the church, dropping off her mom's pie for the bake sale. She told Emily she had a message from Alison. According to Shana, Alison wants the girls to stop looking for her, claiming that it's too dangerous, and the girls almost got her killed the previous evening at the Busy Bee. Em doesn't believe that Shana knew Alison, but Shana said she has known her since she was 3. She grew up in Georgia next-door to Alison's grandmother. Alison asked Shana to come to Rosewood to help her figure out who tried to kill her. In disbelief, Em claimed that if Shana really knew Alison, she would NEVER be friends with Jenna. Shana retorts, "keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer." Shana answered that Jenna's name is on Alison's list of potential killers, revealing herself to be a double-agent. Emily was still skeptical, and asked Shana to prove that she really knows Alison.

PLL 4x16 Shana

Emily told the other Liars about Shana. She also tells them that she asked Shana to tell her what Alison said to her when she pulled her out of the barn. The girls had their doubts. Spencer argued that Shana is A's minon. Aria didn't understand why Alison doesn't want to meet all of them. Emily countered their objections, knowingly stating that Ali could make people love her enough to do anything for her.

Later, Shana and Emily talked on a park bench, and she told her what Alison said that night, word for word. She explained that she never knows where Alison will be. Ali finds her when she needs to talk. She's known that Alison was alive since Mona went to Radley. Shana also told Em that Alison wanted to meet her that very evening, but only if she shows up alone.

Em ran the conversation by Spencer, who still had doubts. Emily did a little fact-checking, and Shana really did grow up next to Ali's grandma. Spencer argued that the girls should continue the search for Alison as a group using the clues from the journal. She didn't understand why Alison would want to meet Emily alone, unless the meeting was a ruse by A. Emily didn't agree or disagree with Spencer, she ended the conversation by asking Spencer not to regret her decision to inform her of the meeting.

Shana drove Emily to meet Alison, leaving shortly after dropping her off. Inside, Alison found Em and the two have a brief conversation...

PLL 4x16 Alison DiLaurentis

Ali- I've missed you so much. You have no idea how hard it's been to stay away.  
Em- Then don't anymore. Let me help you. We can go to the police. Or your parents...
Ali- I wish I could, I just don't know who I can trust.
Em- You can trust me. Spencer, Aria,
Ali- I know I can trust you Em, I'm just not sure about them.
Em- Why?
Ali- You never stopped carind about me, did you? Even after everything I put you through. You don't know how much I regret hurting you. If I could do it all over again, things would be so different.
Em- Who's doing this to you? Tell me who you're hiding from?
Ali- I thought I knew, but I was wrong. That's why I need you Em. Help me find A so I can come home.
Em- So that's who you think tried to kill you?
Ali- What was that? Who's out there? Did you tell anyone about this?

Alison ran to the safety of a freight elevator as Spencer came out of the shadows. Emily was furious that Spencer interrupted the meeting. Spencer was listening the entire time and she's convinced that Alison is just trying to play games with the girls and come between them again. Emily vehemently disagreed, and was sure that Alison would never reach out to her again. She left, still angry at Spencer's betrayal.

PLL 4x16 Aria Montgomery and Ezra Fitz

Aria
Aria was hanging out at Ezra's place and asked about spending the morning together. He claimed to be meeting a friend in Philly, and suggested they do dinner instead. While the two talked, Aria ignored a call from Jake, prompting Ezra to get jealous. He claimed that ultimately, Aria should take her time to figure everything out, but she told him she's already decided. Ezra is the one. He always has been, and she planned on breaking up with Jake that same day.

So, Aria headed down to the studio to break the news to Jake. He was retaping his punching bag, and mentioned that it's a superstitious good luck charm that he's had since he was 15. He always trains with it before important matches. He also informed Aria that winning the match in Harrisburg qualified him for States.

PLL 4x16 Jake

PLL 4x16 Jake

The two traded pleasantries for another minute or two, before Aria finally broke up with him. Jake was sad, but he had sensed that something was wrong. Aria claimed the two could still be friends, but Jake told her that would take time.

Afterwards, Jake overheard a very heated conversation between Ezra and a mystery blonde. She stayed in the car with the window slightly rolled down, and Ezra was obviously irritated. 

PLL 4x16 Ezra and Mystery Blonde

"I don't ... but I don't understand how you could make such a colossal mistake. Do you understand? Do you see how this is difficult? No, look at me. Look at me when I'm talking to you. This doesn't make sense. You have really screwed up. You have really screwed up. Oh yes, yes, please drive away. THIS ISN'T OVER!" He yelled, hitting one of the trashcans in the alleyway angrily as the woman drove away.

PLL 4x16 Angry Ezra

Meanwhile, Aria returned home to find that Jake sent her a piece of personalized jewelry while he was in Harrisburg. She doesn't feel right keeping it, so she went back to the studio to return it. Jake told her to keep it, as he doesn't have another Aria in his life. He was about to say something else, but stopped short, until Aria pressed him to say it. He told her about the argument he overheard Ezra having that afternoon. She responded by saying that it couldn't have been Ezra, because he's been in Philly all day. Not knowing about A, Jake confessed that he always wondered if Ezra was who Aria was afraid of. She proceeded to tell him that the Ezra she knows doesn't have a mean bone in his body. Jake supposed that Aria knows best, but still suggested that she be careful, and keep her eyes open.

Afterwards, Aria went to Ezra's apartment, and was waiting for him when he gets home. She asked a few pointed questions, eventually telling him about the argument Jake overheard, confronting him with the lies Ezra told that day. Ezra claimed that the Mystery Blonde was Maggie's lawyer, and he was meeting with her as well as his own lawyer, because Maggie has been trying to prevent him from seeing Malcolm. Aria wondered about the "violent outburst" and Ezra suggested that Jake took the meeting out of context while replaying it to Aria, because he was unhappy with her decision to return to Ezra. Aria told Ezra that she was upset with his lies, because the only way things are could work between them is if they're completely and totally honest with each other. Ezra apologized, and Aria reassured him that she chose Ezra knowing all the baggage that came with that choice.

A bit later, Ezra returned to the apartment with a brown paper takeout bag, and Aria was just cutting into a fresh batch of brownies. She poured on the chocolate syrup, and Ezra topped it with a generous helping of whipped cream.

Cut to Jake in his studio, taking out frustrations on a century Bob-esuqe punching dummy. He paused, winding up for a big, angry roundhouse kick to his trusty old duct-taped punching bag. 

PLL 4X16 Jake

We heard his foot connect with the bag and watched him drop immediately with a pained expression on his face. He was horrified to look down and see deep, bleeding cuts on his foot. Someone embedded knives into his punching bag, covering them with duct tape, so Jake wouldn't see them. 

PLL 4x16 Knives in the Punching Bag

We heard laughing and the camera cut to Aria and Ezra sharing a whipped cream kiss.

In the end credits, Black Hoodie broke into a locker, taking a picture out of the copy of the Tempest inside. It was a picture of Ali and Shana as kids. Black Hoodie ripped it in half, setting Shana's side on fire.

PLL 4x16 Black Hoodie Ali & Shana photo

My Thoughts

I think that Cracked Up needs to start franchising... and Hanna's mom is pretty cool.

Mr. Hastings is shady. He's lying an awful lot lately. He also claims to Toby that he still wants to shut Radley down. I wonder why, though? Does he know the identity of the "fragile" patient?

Spencer was in full bulldozer form tonight. I think her heart is in the right place, and she really does care, but she overstepped her boundaries. Tonight brought out her more OCD tendancies.

Shana and Alison knew each other since they were 3? Huh. Can't say that I saw that coming, but it's nice to finally have an explanation of where she came from. And as far as her being one of A's minions... I don't know.

The Mystery Blonde...

PLL 4x16 Mystery Blonde

Who is she? Is she really Maggie's lawyer? Honestly, she looks like a blonde cross between Melissa Hastings and Miranda from Ravenswood. Some people believe this is Toby's mom. Some people say that Toby's mom and Mrs. D. were sisters, if not twins. In a side by side picture comparison, they do look similar, but I'm not sure. I think I've read a twin theory about almost every character at this point.

And about Ezra's story... I don't really understand it. Sure, Maggie might've told him that he was the father and let him think that and see Malcolm while she was in town, but Ezra isn't his dad. How does Ezra think he has any right to see Malcolm? What court or lawyer would actually be able to make that happen? Is it possible because of all the money she got from Ezra's mom? I confess, I don't know much about these kinds of laws, but it really doesn't make sense.

I like that Emily stood up for herself with Spencer. Pretty sure that Ali was right, she never stopped loving her. All of Rosewood heard the sound of her heart breaking while she was pressing those buttons on the elevator.

And speaking of that... why did Alison leave so quickly? I mean, I know that she said she doesn't know who she can trust... but couldn't she have come back? Rescheduled? Also, boo for not finding out a whole lot of anything from Alison.

I liked Emily's theory that A can't watch all of the girls separately at the same time. I'm not sure if Spencer heard this, but it's definitely an idea to consider moving forward!

It's hard watching Aria and Ezra together. He's definitely reached a level of creepy that I'm not sure he can return from. I know the producers did it with Toby even after he locked Spencer in the steam room, but... I just don't know how he can recover from all of this. He just sinks down a few notches every week.

Jake's punching bag was no joke. Ezra definitely had time to tamper with it while he was out getting takeout... and it's kind of weird that they all looked like kitchen knives. I don't think that A would have any reason to mess with Jake, unless A is Ezra, or is friends with Ezra. And I just can't wrap my head around the fact that A could be one of the girls.

Even though the producers claim they're not doing the twin thing, I'm not sure that I believe them. Honestly, I don't think that we can trust anything they say, because they also told us that Mona wasn't A and that Toby wasn't playing double-agent. The producers are little liars, too.

That being said, there's certainly a loooooot of duplicity on this show. There were 2 Red Coats, why not 2 A's? Both could be acting independently for very different reasons. Garrett Reynolds once said "just because two things happened at the same time, doesn't mean they're connected." Perhaps the 2 A's are acting independently of each other, taunting the same group of people for two entirely different reasons.

In a couple of episodes, Spencer is going to begin taking some sort of pills. Everything from the point of her leaving Radley last season up until now better NOT be happening inside her head.

On the show, Jason is Spencer and Melissa's half-brother, but I wonder about Alison. Is Mr. Hastings her dad, too? Has that possibility ever been discussed? Also, in the books, Mr. and Mrs. H. used a surrogate to have Spencer, and she extorted them for more money. Could it be that the affair between Mr. Hastings and Mrs. DiLaurentis produced twins... Alison and Spencer?

Also in the books, Spencer has repressed memories from the night of Alison's disappearance. Not sure if they're doing it the same on the show, but for a while in the books, she thought she might've killed Alison.

I've got so many questions it's ridiculous! So much so, that I started a PLL page to keep track of all of my wonderings. There's a list of answers and episode recaps, too. And speaking of answers... next week, Bite Your Tongue just might have some more...

-S

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