PLL: "Over a Barrel" (5x16)

by - 1/27/2015

When we last left our Liars at the end of Fresh Meat, Alison received a note claiming she'd see her friends soon. Prior to that, a bloody knife was found and destroyed, the Brew re-opened with Ezra as owner, Emily missed Paige, Aria wrote a fictional email, Spencer and Toby quarreled, and Hanna played detective.

The episode opened as the girls met to catch up. Spencer spilled about the bloody knife, and Hanna told the others about visiting Holbrook's dad. The girls wondered if Holbrook planted the knife, still under the impression that Holbrook had to be helping Ali act as A from behind bars. Emily told the other Liars that Paige wanted some space.

Hanna and Spencer left, leaving Aria to get a refill on her coffee, and talk about the Talmadge letter. Emily told Aria that Holbrook was a no-show for the re-opening, so he couldn't have planted the bookmark. Em rung up Aria's coffee and a long receipt began to print. It was Aria's Talmadge letter, with a note at the end from A. "This kind of lie will stay on your permanent record."

Aria's receipt from A PLL Over a Barrel
c/o PLL Wiki

Back at the Marin homestead, Hanna returned home to find Pastor Ted and her mother making breakfast in the kitchen. When Ted went out onto the patio, Hanna tried to talk to her mom about seeing Jason come downstairs the night before. Ashley refused to talk about it, and joined Ted on the patio.

Downtown at the Brew, Talia tried to give Emily some tips on her foam-making technique. Emily bristled, unable to see that Talia was attempting to be helpful.

Spencer and Toby discussed some of the acceptance letters Spencer received, all from colleges that were far away from Rosewood. Spencer claimed that she had only applied to them to get out of PA. She told Toby that she hates the idea that Alison is still controlling every aspect of her life. Johnny arrived with his rent money for Spencer's parents just as Toby left for work.

Back at the Brew, Aria got a text message that read, "Stop looking for me. I’m tired of hiding. Grille at noon." -H Aria told Emily that she planned to go, even when Em said it was a bad idea. Aria was convinced Holbrook was behind the Talmadge letter threats, and that the text might mean that he was tired of being Alison's lackie. She thought that if she met with him, he might agree to not tell Ezra about the letter.

At Chez Hastings, Spencer and Johnny continued their conversation. Spencer learned that Johnny wasn't sure about going back to school. When he asked to raid their trash, Spencer thought he was looking for food, but Johnny was looking for ingredients to make his own paints. Turning down a sandwich, Johnny asked to borrow an egg, a binding agent. Spencer was retrieving one from the fridge just as she received a text from Mona, complete with GPS coordinates. Shocked, she dropped the egg onto the floor and asked Johnny if they could talk later.

Alert from Mona's phone PLL 5x16
c/o PLL Wiki

Spencer met Hanna and Caleb over at his new apartment. Caleb told the girls that the text was actually a pre-set alert that Mona had set up to text Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer. Caleb tracked the coordinates to a storage unti rental facility in Montgomery County. The three surmised that Holbrook was still helping Alison. If he was responsible for stealing the laptop, and also preoccupied with meeting Aria at the Grille, they could head to the storage unit, break in and retrieve the laptop. Before they left, Hanna received a call from Pastor Ted to meet and talk.

Outside of the Grille, Aria was waiting for "H" to show up, when Jason DiLaurentis came by. He invited her to have lunch with him, acknowledging the fact that the two of them could talk freely about everything that had happened lately.

Ali runs into Jason PLL 5x16
c/o PLL Wiki

Inside the Brew, the turf war continued when Talia suggested uniforms for the Brew employees. She pointed out a hole in Emily's shirt, not realizing that the shirt had belonged to Paige.

Caleb and Spencer found the storage unit facility, and tracked the GPS coordinates down to a specific unit, #1017. Upon looking at the lock, Caleb realized that he didn't have the ability to break into the unit. When a teacher from Rosewood spotted the two, Spencer talked to her to try and find information out about the tenant. Mrs. Horowitz told Spencer that the unit sometimes smells horribly, and one time, she saw a blonde girl come out of it, but didn't see her face. The teacher left and Caleb returned with a new plan. The two would break into the teacher's unit, and use the air ducts to crawl into 1017.

Back downtown at the Applewood Grille, Jason and Aria had lunch together. As they talked about Alison, Jason told Aria that Alison had the ability to manipulate anyone. He also told Aria that the police suspected Alison had help getting rid of Mona's body. Aria told Jason about Ali's lie detector test, and Liars' own theory that Holbrook was helping Alison from the inside. While talking, Aria received another text from H, telling her to meet at Maple and Prescott.

Hanna was walking to meet Pastor Ted, while talking to Caleb. She told him he sounded like he was calling from inside an air duct, and he confirmed his location. Hanna met with Pastor Ted, who ambiguously started the conversation, leading Hanna to first believe that he suspected something was amiss with Ashley. Hanna almost admitted what happened with Ashley and Jason, when Pastor Ted asked for Hanna's permission to marry Ashley. She gave him her blessing, and tried to called Ashley to warn her.

Hanna and Ted have a heart-to-heart PLL Over a Barrel
c/o PLL Wiki

Aria called Emily to update her. Em reiterated what the girls had said before, that if Holbrook was working with Ali and planning on crossing her, he wanted it kept secret. After hanging up, Talia asked if the shirt Em was wearing belonged to Emily's ex. She told Em that it could be hard to let someone go that you once loved, but Emily didn't say anything.

In the storage unit, Caleb and Spencer found Mona's laptop, clothing in evidence bags, a haz-mat suit, antacid tablets, denatured alcohol, and a barrel. The two debated over whether Mona's body could be inside the barrel. Just as they were about to open it and check the contents, the lights went off, spooking the duo into leaving instead.

Spencer and Caleb stare at the Barrel, PLL
c/o PLL Wiki

Outside of the flower shop at Maple and Prescott, a florist handed Aria a bouquet of flowers. She claimed that a man on the phone told her that she would deliver them to 34 Turning Leaf Lane.

In her bedroom at Chez Fields, Em finished sewing up the hole in Paige's shirt and put it in the envelope of things she was sending back to her.

Over at the Marin household, Hanna finally found her mom and tried to talk to her. Ashley claimed that she wasn't comfortable with what had happened with Jason. Not wanting to spoil Ted's surprise, she simply told her mother that she thought Ted and her Mom were great together, and she didn't want the Jason thing to ruin that.

Back at Caleb's apartment, Spencer was freaking out, thinking that she and Caleb somehow left trace DNA in the storage unit. Unsure of what Holbrook could be planning, they searched the surveillance tapes for any sign of him or the blonde Mrs. Horowitz spoke about, but they didn't find anything. Realizing they were also on the footage, they decided to erase all the surveillance footage. In an attempt to tie the unit to Holbrook, Caleb tried to find out who rented unit #1017.

Aria picks up flowers from A PLL
c/o PLL Wiki

Aria arrived to 34 Turning Leaf Lane, aka Hanna's house. The flowers were for Ashley, from Jason, complete with a card that read, "Last night took me by surprise. Glad I stayed for dessert." -Jason. Aria wondered what the card meant, and Hanna didn't want to tell her. Rather than explain the affair, she claimed that it was Alison trying to get back at her for what she said during their visit. She claimed that Alison was responsible for it, and Hanna had only gone to see Ali because she was afraid that Alison was framing Caleb.

Spencer and Toby were in the midst of a game of Scrabble, with Toby saying that they hadn't played in a while and it was a nice change. Caleb sent Spencer a text message that read, "Found something, call me." Toby saw the message and got upset, warning Spence that the two of them should stop digging into things that could get all of them in trouble.

Over at Chez Marin, Pastor Ted proposed, and Ashley was completely surprised. She told him that she needed time to process the idea. After he left, Ashley confessed to Hanna that Ted was an amazing man who deserved to know the truth. The next morning, she took the statement back, claiming that the truth would only cause him undue pain. Ashley told Hanna that the best thing that the three of them could do was keep it quiet and move on. 

Emily arrived at the Brew to pick up her paycheck. Talia commented on Ezra's "cute buns" and Emily uncomfortably and reluctantly agreed with her.

Seeing that Spencer was back home, Johnny stopped back for the egg. The two talked about college and traveling when Caleb texted Spencer again. Ignoring the text, Spencer asked Johnny to tell her more about his travels.

Caleb arrived over at Hanna's house to tell her that he had decided to look into the storage unit. He claimed that it had taken longer than he initially thought it would, and that the results were surprising. The unit was rented in Hanna Marin's name, and he told Hanna about the barrel that likely had Mona's body inside of it.

Hanna learns about the storage unit PLL
c/o PLL Wiki

As the episode ended, Black Hoodie reached into a desk drawer with a gloved hand and pulled out a bag of caramels, then signed into a Rosewood PD computer using Detective Holbrook's login.

My Thoughts:

The Talmadge letter is totally going to blow up in Aria's face. The fact that she honestly believes that Holbrook is responsible, when the receipt was signed by A... it's kind of like, where have you been the last four seasons?

I pretty much called the Pastor Ted thing. You could see that coming out of nowhere. Although, I'm wondering, her dedication to keeping a secret is quite amazing. Like, maybe, there's a secret she has that she hasn't told anyone...? (more on this in a little bit...)

Emily is really having a hard time getting over Paige. Which makes sense. What doesn't make sense to me, is how Paige just seems to totally have gotten over her soooo quickly. I mean, I get it, she's not living in the place where all the memories are like Emily, but she claimed that she didn't really want to go, and now she needs all this space? It just feels shady. Red Herring for Mona's murder? Maybe... but still shady.

Johnny's an interesting addition... He seemed surprised that Spencer would date a cop. Wonder why?

So... Aria got that text and automatically assumed it was Holbrook. " Stop looking for me. I’m tired of hiding. Grille at noon." -H

I speculated on Tumblr (PLL Ramblings) that this text was really odd. I mean, how long have they really been looking for Holbrook? Like, actively...? They've been looking for A for so much longer... O.o

Also, I didn't get into it there, but if you're tired of hiding and want to be found, wouldn't you want someone to start looking for you? And honestly, if it's Holbrook, he really can't hide. He can't just disappear off the case without looking totally shady. You know, unless he's been taken off the case, which doesn't seem to have happened...

Mona's alert system really shows just how scared and prepared Mona was before her death. It just seems a little shady, though. Continuity-wise, I love how the show actually picked coordinates in Bensalem, PA. It's in Bucks County, northeast of Philly, an area we've heard mentioned a lot on the show.

But yeah... all this preparedness that Mona had in place? I mean, I get that she probably suspected Alison for a really long time, and she believed that she had found evidence linking Ali to Bethany, Radley, etc. But, for the fact that Mona was once A, the Liars are certainly putting a lot of faith into this system that was prepared pretty far in advance and they're not questioning it at all.

I get why Aria went to meet H in broad daylight. I'm pretty sure that Jason was coincidentally there. Having lunch together, though? Probably not the best idea... but I'll get to that.

Don't you love how the ducts are just sooooo huge in every movie/TV show. I have NEVER seen them that large in real life. Ever. Just sayin'.

Jason and Aria having lunch and just sharing details of the case and everything. I mean, I know that Hanna already outed the knowledge of Holbrook possibly helping to Alison, but Aria just gave it away to Jason! I'm beginning to think that Ali was right in not totally trusting the girls. 

Let's go back for a moment... Hanna correctly guessed that Caleb was in a heating duct? More on this later, too... That conversation between her and Ted was totally sweet but also really awkward.

Did they really just leave the laptop in the unit? Because I probably would've just taken it at this point.

The flower thing... H sent Aria to pick up flowers for Ashley, from Jason, to deliver in person. It's honestly such an A thing to do, that it makes me wonder why Aria doesn't question it. Why in the world would Holbrook send her to do something like that, and sign the text as H? If he's really acting on behalf of Alison and has been doing so for a while, wouldn't he just sign it as A?

Hanna intercepted the flowers and the message from Jason. This is the 2nd time she's been forced to keep one of her mother's secrets.

Remember when Toby thought that becoming a cop would help them have an inside person and figure out more? Well, that's honestly backfired. It's creating a lot more problems between Spencer and Toby than the two of them probably ever imagined. Reality, kids!

So, Caleb looked into storage unit and tried to tell Spencer what he found out. She didn't pick up, so he was forced to tell the other person... you know, the person whose name the storage unit happens to be under. Hanna. Oh, yeah, and Mona's body is probably in that barrel. Again, we'll come back to this...

At the end, a gloved hand pulls out caramels from a drawer and places them on a desk. The person keys in Holbrook's password, leading us to believe that A/Black Hoodie/Black Widow is using Holbrook's information to log into Rosewood PD's files, or Holbrook's own computer.

There's certainly a lot happening to Hanna at the moment, and it's making me wonder. Here's the other part of that Rambling...

What if the Hanna we are seeing as of 5x16 isn’t the Hanna we’ve come to know and love, but a twin impersonating her? It would explain so many inconsistencies right now along with the gradual changes in her character. The total 180 on people being able to change, darker personality, different look, getting into all those colleges, etc.

Maybe the text Aria received is a clue that Real Hanna is trying to step out from behind the A moniker because no one has realized what happened to her! Hanna used that as a way to try and get the Liars to realize the truth and act on her suggestion, because she knows they won’t ignore A. I’m thinking that since the time of the switch, some of the A texts are from the Real A (Hanna’s twin) and some are from Real Hanna.

That’s all I’ve got so far… I haven’t really thought through the why, although it seems like an interesting time to have an Ashley infidelity storyline. We think that she didn't answer Pastor Ted because of sleeping with Jason, but what if it’s because of a secret twin? Could that be the reason why Tom left too?

I realize there are a lot of holes, and it seems sort of obvious now, but it would be kind of brilliant, when you think about it. Honestly, a switch wouldn't even have had to be made. A could be Hanna's twin, trying to frame her for murder in order to take away the life she was deprived.

And the overall implications of that in regards to the rest of the series? Really hard to say! With all the new information we're getting, it makes it harder and harder to connect all of the dots. Who knows what new information we'll learn next! I'm hoping that in the next episode, "The Bin of Sin," we'll learn what is actually in that barrel. The obvious choice is Mona's body, but I've heard speculation that it's Holbrook. If it is a body, I don't really need to see it, you know? Maybe just have Toby puke or something! Fingers crossed!!!


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