PLL: "Oh, What Hard Luck Stories They All Hand Me" (5x18)

by - 2/13/2015

So... yes, there were some sort of remains in the Bin of Sin, and Hanna just might be on the hook for Mona's murder. The mysteries continued to churn this week, and an old friend of Mona's came to Rosewood...

Aria, Spencer, and Emily PLL Out, Damned Spot
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This episode began outside of The Brew, where Aria, Emily, and Spencer talked about the contents of the barrel. Spencer confessed to the others that she and Toby were not in a good place thanks to the recent turn of events. Across the street, the girls watched Veronica talk to Ali's defense team. Turned out Mama Hastings was consulting for the case. When Aria asked if Ezra was inside the coffee shop, Emily told her that he was in Harrisburg for the weekend. Em wondered why he didn't tell her, but Aria quickly claimed that he had, she simply forgot.

Spencer and Hanna PLL 5x18
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Spencer and Hanna made up, while noticing Detective Holbrook stop and chat with Spencer's mom. The girls wondered why he was out in the open all of a sudden, still convinced that he was responsible for the H texts, and helping Alison act as A from her jail cell.

Pretty Little Liars Out, Damned Spot
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Inside The Brew, the girls continued to discuss Holbrook. Johnny told Spencer about his special commission piece for The Brew, and Talia told Emily that she hadn't been sick the prior day, she simply had something she had to take care of.

Later, when Hanna got off the phone, she revealed to the others that the police might want to interview Caleb about the storage unit and whether or not he saw a suspicious girl there. While the girls were talking, Mona's old friend Leslie came to find Hanna under the direction of Mrs. Vanderwaal. She claimed that she wanted to come and thank the girls for helping Leona after Mona's death.

Leslie comes to Rosewood PLL Out, Damned Spot
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Back at Chez Hastings, Spencer arrived home while on the phone with Hanna, discussing whether Leslie was legit or not. Spence suggested that Hanna check with Mrs. Vanderwaal, and she got off the phone to discover her mother's briefcase on the counter. She was able to take a picture of Ali's prison visitation log before her mother arrived back home. Spencer managed to put everything back before her mother caught her. Veronica angrily walked through the back door holding the thick acceptance envelopes Spencer had received from several colleges. Despite Spencer's best efforts to talk to her mother, Mrs. Hastings made it very clear that Spencer was going to college.

Veronica Hastings, PLL Out, Damned Spot
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At the police station, Hanna and Caleb waited for Caleb's interview and overheard a loud commotion. In the background, Holbrook could be heard yelling, then seen throwing a few things in a box before leaving. When he ran into Caleb and Hanna, he gave them an angry look and stomped out.

Haleb PLL Out, Damned Spot
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Spencer visited Aria and showed her Ali's visitation log. According to the list, Aria's brother Mike had visited Alison since her arrest. Spence is sure that Aria is the only person who can find out why Mike went to visit her.

Later, Hanna made a stop at the brew, informing Emily that Holbrook had been temporarily suspended for inappropriate behavior. Apparently Caleb heard some of the other officers talking about Holbrook tampering with Alison's lie detector test.

Over at Chez Montgomery, Aria found Mike watching an old black and white movie, and the two talked a little about Mona. Unable to ask him about visiting Alison, the siblings discuss how Mona was smart, too smart, according to Mike.

Leslie Stone, PLL 5x18
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In Mona's bedroom, Hanna arrived to find Leslie holding one of Mona's books. She told Hanna that Mona's grandfather used to read from it to scare her. Hanna questioned whether Leslie understood the dynamic between Mona and the Liars, and Leslie claimed that Hanna and her friends were very special to Mona. Precious, even. Hanna remembered Mona reading an excerpt out of the book at a sleepover, and asking her what she would do with 3 wishes. Mona's response to the same question eerily foreshadowed her activities as A.

Hanna & Mona flashback PLL 5x18
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Emily and Talia shared an awkward moment at The Brew.

Hanna and Leslie walked into the coffee shop, and Mike noticed the book Leslie was holding. Clearly upset, he told the girls that Mrs. V. didn't have any right to be giving away Mona's things, and wanted the girls to put the book back. He even went a step further, suggesting that he would put it back for them. Hanna tried to calm him down, assuring him that they were simply reading it and remembering Mona, and yes, they would be sure to put it back.

Leslie, Hanna, and Mike PLL Out, Damned Spot
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When Mike left, Leslie remembered that she talked to Mona the night before her death. She claimed that Mona had to get off the phone because a guy sounded upset in the background. Leslie was sure that the voice she heard was Mike.

Outside The Brew, Emily and Caleb talked. Caleb was studying, attempting to catch back up on all his school work given Hanna's college acceptances. Emily was unsure how to sort through her feelings for Paige and Talia.

Emily Fields PLL Out, Damned Spot
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Hanna told Aria about Mike, and was upset to learn that she hadn't asked her brother why he was visiting Alison. She urged Aria to talk to him, reminding her that Mike was more likely to talk to her than anyone else.

At The Brew, Johnny and Spencer were working on his commission piece. Spencer noticed it was drawn on the back of an Alison DiLaurentis missing person flyer. Spencer thought it was weird that he would have one, and Johnny claimed they were still all around town. He seemed to be fascinated by the idea of her case.

Back in Mona's bedroom, Hanna and Leslie returned the book. Leslie didn't seem to think that telling Aria about Mike was such a good idea, but Hanna assured Leslie that Mike was a good guy. Leslie left the room and Hanna was about to put the book back on the shelf in Mona's room when she heard a noise. She discovered a tape hidden in the spine of the book.

Hanna Marin PLL Out, Damned Spot
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Over at Chez Montgomery, Aria was writing in her journal when she heard a noise and found Mike leaving. Curious about where he was going, she followed him.

Johnny finished his project and demonstrated it to Spencer.

Hanna met with Caleb and listened to the tape from the book. It's another one of Bethany's sessions, where she angrily calls someone "such a bitch." She went on to say how that someone could make you do anything, and it was worse if you were a guy. The last statement we heard Bethany make was that the someone wasn't the only one who could make plans. She could make plans of her own, too.

Aria followed Mike down to a dock beside a small body of water. He left a bag of candies on the railing, turned around and left. When Aria went to see what was inside the bag, Mike came back out of the shadows and the two had a tense conversation. Aria told Mike not to visit Alison in prison, warning him that Ali was dangerous. Mike claimed that he wasn't taking orders from anyone anymore, telling Aria not to follow him out to the dock again. Before he stormed off, he creepily told her to be careful going home through the woods.

Mike warns Aria, PLL 5x18
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Spencer arrived home to Veronica working at the kitchen counter. The two almost began a heart-to-heart, but Veronica's phone interrupted the conversation. Mrs. Hastings asked her daughter to stay in the kitchen, revealing the news once she got off the phone. The blood in the storage unit didn't belong to Mona, it belonged to Alison DiLaurentis.

On her way home from Caleb's house, Hanna was pulled over by Detective Holbrook, who hadn't turned in his cop car. He grabbed Hanna's arm and asked her how Alison got to be the way she is. He told Hanna that Ali ruined his career. Hanna told him that he ruined his career all by himself by doing Ali's dirty work. She mentioned cleaning out the storage space, trying to kill Aria, Emily, and Spencer at the Ice Cream Factory and Caleb at school. Holbrook claimed that he was cut off, saying that Hanna had him mixed up with whoever was helping Alison. He claimed he was in a hotel room with internal affairs for the past few days. Hitting him with her tire iron, Hanna told Holbrook that he should've known better than to get involved, but he didn't get to play the victim. Ali was just a girl, and he should've known better.

Hanna & Holbrook PLL 5x18
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In downtown Rosewood at The Brew, Emily demonstrated Johnny's machine for Talia. She apologized for brushing her off the day before, and told her how she was feeling a little mixed up about everything, but that she was interested in her. The two talked a little more, and finally shared a kiss.

Hanna, Spencer, and Aria, PLL 5x18
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Later, Hanna told Spencer and Aria what had happened with Holbrook. She told the girls that there was no way he could've been helping Alison, because he genuinely seemed surprised to hear some of the things she said. Hanna suggested that Mike was the guy helping Alison, but Aria wasn't sold. She claimed that Mike wasn't going to visit her again, not after their talk on the dock. Hanna admitted to Spencer and Aria that she didn't understand what Bethany had meant when she was talking about making plans on the tape. Spencer postulated that the events of that night were a trap, but she wasn't sure who the trap was intended for.

Back at Chester County Correction Facility, Mike signed in to visit Alison. Again.

The tape isn't there PLL 5x18
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The episode ended as Black Hoodie/A/Black Widow entered Mona's room, found the book Leslie and Hanna had earlier and checked the spine for the tape. Finding that the tape had already been removed, the gloved hands slammed the book down in frustration.

My Thoughts

Many others have pointed this out, but it bears repeating... Veronica Hastings can nawt be the only lawyer in Rosewood. I have a hard time believing that she would be able to have anything to do with the case, it's such a massive conflict of interest!

So, the producers really seem to be trying to sell us the idea of Mike as A, but I'm not so sure. I think that he probably knows something that he isn't supposed to know. He was too close with Mona not to know a little more than what the girls know, but ultimately, I'm pretty sure that Mona would've done her best to protect him from all of it.

I loved the Hanna and Holbrook scene, because for the first time, the show actually addressed the skeeziness level of the men in Rosewood. Hanna is a serious badass, and I loved that she stood up for herself.

However... there were a few things that she mentioned to Holbrook that she probably shouldn't have. Linking herself to the storage space, the knowledge of Caleb in the kiln and Em, Aria, and Spencer at the Ice Cream Factory. In the long run, I don't know that it will matter. Technically, what Hanna probably wouldn't be admissable. I'm not sure that Holbrook will even remember, because he seemed drunk. When he first came to Rosewood, I was really hoping for him and Tanner to bust the case wide open. He finally gets one of the biggest clues about what's been going on with the girls from Hanna, and he's been suspended, so there's not much that he can really do about it.

Aria and her journal. It really is starting to seem odd that there's all this talk about her writing and her stories, and we rarely ever see her doing it. So, it was nice to see it, but I have to wonder if there isn't more to why we haven't seen her doing it. 

Johnny's machine was neat. I wonder if the girls are going to try and get some information out of someone without them realizing it? Or perhaps, building a similar machine? I really hope that he isn't a minion to A or supposed to like Nick from the books. That would be really disappointing.

The more clues that we are given without solid answers, makes me really wonder what we can put together. We've always thought that the process to arrive at A would have so many clues, but maybe the writers are going in a completely different direction. Maybe they are eliminating suspects one by one, and if we pay close enough attention, we'll realize who the remainder is, and that person will be A.

My picks after this episode:

1. Toby
2. Alison's Twin
3. Hanna's Twin

Next week, the writers are channeling the Scottish play, titling the 19th episode, "Out, Damned Spot." It bears mentioning that Macbeth tells the story of a female villain... Are we coming out and saying that about A directly? Or, you know, just a subtle nod in that direction like the rest of Pretty Little Liars? Either way...


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