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Pretty Little Liars: "Shadow Play" (4x19)

This week's episode picked up right where Hot For Teacher left off... 

Spencer, Hanna, and Emily teamed up to search Ezra's office, looking for proof that he's really A... and Spencer found it. Ali's journal was in a manila envelope, tucked in one of Ezra's desk drawers. The girls quickly vacated the room, but caught Mona picking up an awfully big stack of papers. Was she stealing them, or taking them to Ezra? The girls weren't sure. Back at Spencer's house, the girls questioned Shana's motives, and Emily wondered about the Mona/Fitz connection. She also mentioned how easily they found Alison's journal.

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Spencer Hastings

Meanwhile, Aria and Ezra drove back to Rosewood from the cabin. Aria brought up a creative writing project that she was working on, and the two talked about heroes and villains. Aria started out focusing on the hero of her story, and ended up fixated on the villain. She wasn't sure how the story would end, but commented that sometimes, the villain wins. Ezra's response? "Sometimes." (such tension!)

Spencer continued to pour over her notes and Ali's journal, pausing only to take another pill. A black and white movie was on in the background, and when the gun went off in the movie, Spencer's world turned black and white, too. Toby walked into the kitchen, catching Spencer off-guard. (Cue the old filmstrip version of our beginning credits.)

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Title Card

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Spencer Hastings

Ezra and Spencer had a scene in the 40's version of the Brew. Ezra bought her coffee, apologizing for their conversationg at school the day before. He asked if she'd been back to the Hart and the Huntsman lately, and suggested he take her there for lunch or dinner sometime. She turned him down politely, but Ezra didn't stop. He wanted her to promise that he could make it up to her... specifically asking Spence to "cross her heart and hope to die?" She bristled at Ezra's suggestion and walked out without another word.

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Spencer Hastings

Later, Spencer called "Edgewood 50139" (Not sure, but I'm guessing it's the number from Ali's cash stash) and found out that it belonged to the Fitzgerald Art Foundation. She hung up, took another pill, and Toby walked in, surprising her, yet again. He claimed that she didn't need the pills to figure anything out. "You've already got most of the pieces..." Toby noticed the picture of Alison over the fireplace, and Spencer questioned how Toby would feel if Alison were actually alive. Toby deemed it impossible, while Spencer guiltily looked up at the painting.

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Portrait of Alison DiLaurentis

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Ezra Fitz

Ezra and Mona had a drink on the balcony while Hanna looked on.

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 The Mermaid

Spencer was reading more of the stories in Alison's journal when she came to "The Mermaid." Behind her, a scene at the brew lit up, featuring Emily and Paige. During a very clandestine meeting, (appropriate considering the cultural climate of the 40's...) Emily asked Paige about Shana, but didn't really get any answers.

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Spencer Paily

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Faces of Mona

Hanna followed Mona, trying to connect her to Ezra and the A-Team. The pair apprehended her, taking her to Ezra's apartment. In the middle of the night, Mona called Spencer to let her know that she and Ezra had "made" Hanna. She rushed over to Apartment 3B to make sure Hanna was okay.

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Midnight Phonecall

Spencer arrived to find Hanna safe and sound, and Ezra warned about using such a novice as a tail. Spencer told Ezra to leave Aria alone, but Ezra claimed his feelings for Aria were genuine. Ezra taunted Spencer for not telling Aria about her suspicions earlier, warning her that she's playing a very dangerous game and that she's in over her head.

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Hanna Marin

In the car, Spencer told Hanna about the phone number leading to the Fitzgerald Art Foundation. Spencer asked Hanna to use her switchboard connections to find out if Alison called there, amd perhaps, where she called from.

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Aria Montgomery

Across town, Aria finished giving Paige a camera tutorial. She and Emily were going on a trip together, and she wanted to take pictures. Aria commented that she didn't think of Emily as a tomboy. (In film noir world, even Em's friends don't know about her secret relationship.) Aria told Paige how she used to be a tomboy, but she grew out of it when she fell in love for the first time.

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Paige

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Alison DiLaurentis

Back at Spencer's house, Alison appeared below her portrait. She and Spencer talked and Alison wondered if Spencer should be the one she should be afraid of. Spencer looked confused, and Alison told her, "You have all the pieces, so why can't you put them together?" She taunted Spencer about her "special pills" and Spencer proceeded to knock the contents of the bottle down the drain. Toby grabbed her hand out of the drain as she fished for the pills, yelling for her to "snap out of it."

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Toby Cavanaugh

Downtown, Toby brought Spencer in for an interrogation. He asked if Alison DiLaurentis was alive, but Spencer lied, saying she was dead. Toby and Spencer argued, with Toby suggesting that perhaps Spencer was the one that killed Alison, the one that helped Alison fake her death, or that Alison tricked her into helping her fake her own death.

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Ezria

In Apartment 3B, Ezra and Aria each enjoyed a "sophisticated" glass of champagne. They talked about secrets and Aria's desire to tell her friends about their relationship. Ezra wondered if Aria really knew all of her friends secrets, and proceeded to tell her that he knew one of her secrets. "Alison is alive."

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Switchboard Hanna

On the other side of Rosewood, Hanna was trying to track down the information Spencer asked for.

Emily and Paige had a secret, steamy rendezvous.

Toby continued his interrogation of Spencer.

Later, Spencer met with Aria. Aria confessed to Spencer that she is seeing Ezra again. Just as Spencer was about to tell Aria about Ezra, Hanna burst in. She found Alison.

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Ali D.

Alison had been performing at a nightclub, "hiding in plain sight." When she saw the Liars in her dressing room, she angrily told them to leave. It was dangerous for her to be around them, and she claimed that Spencer almost got her killed once. Alison and Spencer had an argument, similar to their argument on the night of Alison's disappearance. Alison claimed that Spencer was just like her, but Spencer said she was different. Alison immediately asked Aria if Spencer told her yet. Just as Spencer was about to tell Aria the truth (for, what, the third time now?) a bullet came through the window. Hanna turned off the lights and Alison ran.

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Little Liars

The Liars chased after Alison, following her, (much like they followed her in the Halloween episode.) She urged them to split up, but Spencer disagreed. Offscreen, we heard Ezra's voice calling for Aria. The girls stopped her from responding, but Ezra continued his pleas, saying it was safe to come out, and that he'd take care of her. Aria called out his name, still unaware of any danger. In the distance, a male silhouette waited for her. She walked toward the man in the shadows. As she reached the figure, he clicked his lighter, revealing himself to be Toby.

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Toby Cavanaugh

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Ezra's feet

He told Aria, "I hit him hard, but I only hit him once." Ezra was knocked out cold on the ground beside him. The girls quickly got in the car with Toby, and Emily noticed that Alison had disappeared. As they were driving, Hanna, Aria, Emily, and Toby ganged up on Spencer, urging her to solve the mystery. Toby told her, "Don't look at the book, look at the pages." Headlights glared onto Spencer as if a car was coming straight at them, and a gunshot rang out.

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Spencer Hastings

Back in the real world, Spencer realized what Noir Toby meant. She doublechecked the pages from the journal against the photos on her phone and realized some of the stories had been changed. Spencer shared the information with Hanna and Emily, and they agreed to go over to Aria's house and tell her about Ezra immediately. Upon their arrival, however, they found Aria and Ezra kissing in her living room.

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Ezria lives

In the last few scenes where we usually get a glimpse of action from the villain of the week, we found ourselves back in the black and white world of Alison's dressing room.

PLL Shadow Play 4x19 Shades of A

My Thoughts

This episode definitely delivered in terms of noir satisfaction. I could've watched another hour or two, easily. The producers did a really great job with this episode. Not only did they totally capture the absolute essence of classic film noir, they managed to pull this episode off without being gimmicky. I was a little worried about that.

Did we learn a lot? Yes and no. This was almost Spencer's brain's way of rehashing everything important that she knows and setting it in the 1940's. Or at least, it's everything that she thinks is important. Everyone kept telling her that she had all the pieces, she just needed to put them all together. How many times have we heard that lately? 

(to Ezra) "I want you to know that was the last carrot stick." Was she commenting on the lack of garnishes, or is she telling Fitz that their co-op is over?

And how much did you love the many faces of Mona? 

I'm still not sure about Mona. I want to think that she's good and everything, but I just don't know. Her and Fitz are definintely up to something, but what? Could it be that they're working together and that A is someone else entirely? I've seen a lot of theories suggesting as much...

(to Toby) "Alison DiLaurentis is alive and Spencer Hastings knows how to find her." Does she really? Is he sure about that?!? Okay, so he knows that Ali is alive, I think we deduced as much from his Ravenswood lair. But what is he up to? And what's up with the Fitzgerald Art Foundation?

Not sure if it's actually black, or navy blue... but it's definitely EzrA in a hoodie. Not good, Aria. Not good. 

(to Spencer) "You have all the pieces, so why can't you put them together?" We've gotten this a lot lately. How about us viewers? If Spencer has all the pieces, does that mean we have all the pieces too? 

(to Spencer) "Spencer doesn't get confused. Spencer's the smart one. Maybe smart enough to get away with murder... or maybe smart enough to help Ali fake the whole thing. Or maybe she tricked you into helping... you ever consider that?"

(to Spencer) "Don't look at the book, look at the pages." This is the clue that Spencer holds onto in the real world. She realizes that whoever took the journal changed some of the entries. Ambrose Pavilion became Ambrose Pearson.  

"That's not how you spell nightly." Well, she might be cracking up, but she still finds time to nitpick over spelling. It's just so Spencer.

Noir Toby suggested that Spencer is smart enough to get away with murder, smart enough to help fake a murder, or was possibly tricked into helping Alison. I'm thinking that the last is what we'll find out, but Spence might head down the road towards the other theories first. There are still 5 episodes left this season...

Okay... so maybe this episode fell a touch on the gimmicky side, but I did really enjoy it. I think we gained a lot of insight into some important clues. We also got a lot more incriminating Ezra scenes. It's just getting harder and harder for me to think he can redeem himself. 

So, according to the previews, Aria will likely be finding out about Ezra next week. And it looks like she's not going to take it well... Free Fall, indeed.



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