The winter premiere of Pretty Little Liars, “She’s Better Now,” saw the return of everyone’s favorite quack to Rosewood High, but is Mona (Janel Parrish) better now? Probably not; because, well, she’s A.
The episode opened with a spunky new A gliding around the streets of Rosewood via skateboard. This new A had some moves, that is, until Toby (Keegan Allen) attempted to run him off the road with an SUV. Oh, A infighting! What a twist! Next, we flashed to Hanna’s (Ashley Benson) bedroom where a newly kook-free Mona arose from the shadows to ask Hanna for a refurbishment of friendship. Hanna looked pretty spooked but felt bad enough for Mona to offer a wee bit of protection come her first day back at school. Mona was afraid people would think she was crazy or something.
Emily’s (Shay Mitchell) father wired the house using an iPhone security app. The idea was to keep Emily on lockdown and provide a severe lack of ventilation. We got our first hint of what’s to come during the second half of season three here. It’s looking more and more like the Liars are going to have the tables turned on them. Garrett’s mother took to the press to challenge the police force’s handling of his murder. The idea is that a vigilante took matters into their own hands after Garrett was let off the hook without much explanation.
Spencer (Troian Bellisario) and Aria (Lucy Hale) butted heads on how to handle the Mona situation. Aria wanted nothing to do with the girl who probably had her locked in a crate during the Halloween Special. I, of course, agreed with Spencer. Just use her; play dumb and fake nice. Also, Aria refused to even consider that the worst father in the world, hers, had anything to do with Alison’s murder. How could Garrett have been telling the truth? It’s not like he was murdered the second he let that secret slip. Oh, wait!
Hanna’s superstar of a grandmother is filling in for her mother Ashley, apparently. That’s fine. We need a little color among the adults on this show. Hanna was into the idea of playing hooky to avoid Mona, but her grandma told her some wacky story about how one of their relatives went legitimately insane, did some time in a loony bin, and completely recovered. This was a guy who tried to feed bowls of rusty nails to people and squeezed things until he bled. Mona was just A, so Hanna gained a little faith.
Mona arrived back at Rosewood High to a barrage of stares and comments. “You don’t belong here!” Why not? Everyone’s A. The girls regrouped in front of the buses to strategize regarding the return of the first A. What lunch table will she sit at? Do you think Aria’s dad locked her in a crate and tried to kill her? Oh, we can’t go there. Emily was left out of that text.
Guess who all four girls have as their replacement teacher? Byron’s (Chad Lowe) slutty gal pal, Meredith! What a twist of the knife, Aria. What was the plan? All four girls acted bored stiff and daydreamed through American History. Hanna was most likely playing Temple Run, and Aria got caught texting about Meredith. Oh, Aria. Meredith asked the littlest Liar to stay after class, but the whole tribe ended up joining her in support. Meredith attempted to make nice, even fibbing to Byron about the incident later on. Still, what a big jerk.
“Takes one mad cow to know another,” read the note Mona probably stuck in her own locker, complete with a cow brain stabbed through with a knife. A crowd gathered and gawked as maniacal Mona ripped the knife, brain in tow, from her locker door and walked it to the trash. She whispered something to Lucas (Brendan Robinson) and left. The Liars met in the ladies room to discuss the incident. Emily and Aria felt for Mona. Spencer could give a crap. Emily figured they’d be incriminated for the prank, leaving Meredith to be their only alibi. Mona walked into the room to declare that she was “better now.” Enough already, loon!
Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) figured Mona pranked herself. I agree, Caleb. Hanna wondered more so why Lucas was limping and whispering with Mona. Could it be a festering leg wound? Was it Lucas who was stabbed with a rusty screwdriver by Aria on Halloween?
Emily was busy reporting that she was still alive to her father when she noticed Mona chatting up a janitor. Only, the janitor happened to be creepy Harry, the man who ran the Lost Woods Resort! Emily grabbed the loudest and most obvious partner in crime, Hanna, and the two attempted to snoop on the new staff member. They managed to notice a bag of Mona’s A gear, baby potato sack head and all. Alas, Hanna was too loud, so they fled the scene.
Check out A #2 making a home in that sandwich. Like, wipe your lip, man!
According to Spencer, Jenna transferred schools. Most likely, this was out of fear of being the next of Ian’s buddies to bite the dust. The N.A.T. club lives! Well, two of them do. After noticing Mona cozying up to Jason (Drew Van Acker), Spencer and Toby took a jog over to his place after school. Spencer warned her bro to be careful, while Toby basked in the sunlight.
Ezra (Ian Harding) runs marathons? Fitz popped up for a mere moment to lend Aria his lucky racing coin necklace. The symbol looked a lot like the Bond Street perfume logo, if you ask me. Outside of Ezra’s apartment, Aria found an “It’s a boy!” basket left by A. Sooner or later, he’ll find out she knows he has a son.
Aria rushed to the coffee shop to bug Emily at work. Hanna defended Mona, hoping for the best. Aria and Emily thought too many coincidences were popping up. Caleb showed up with a hacked transcript from Mona’s parental meeting with the principal, which exposed Mona’s first lie. Mona told Hanna that her folks pressured her to return to Rosewood High. In fact, she begged. Also, there is no such thing as a transcript for that kind of meeting that reads like a script. Lastly, Hanna encouraged Aria to speak the truth to Ezra, citing her beau Caleb as an example of how missing parents can cause some strife in a kid’s life.
Toby and Spencer got a hot tub scene! It ended abruptly when Spencer thought she heard an A snooping in the woods. Little did she know…
Back at the Montgomery ranch, Aria toyed with her new lucky charm when her father barged in looking to talk about her first day with Meredith as a teacher. Aria quickly turned the conversation to Alison with an abrupt, “did you like Alison?” Byron lied through his teeth.
Before the big Marathon the girls had been prepping for, Mona released an explanatory anti-bullying video online, prompting a bunch of “likes” and even more remorse. Hanna’s grandma, on the other hand, was left with a bad taste in her mouth. There’s something twisted about Mona. Lucas appeared to drop off the last of the money he owed Caleb but refused to give anything more than an apology to Hanna. Obviously, he knows more, but Hanna didn’t seem to care. He managed to squeak out that Mona was never truly locked up because she could always sneak out.
At the marathon starting point, Aria and Caleb took a break from watching people sympathize with Mona to talk about what it’s like to not know your father. Caleb sort of played both sides of the fence, claiming to have experienced feelings of abandonment but a sense of no regrets. While Hanna’s grandma squawked hilariously through the National Anthem, the girls planned on meeting up at the school to break into the janitor’s closet. Emily even managed to switch phones with her dad in order to sneak out and join the other Liars.
Spencer, of course, knew how to work a bobby pin as a lock pick. Most of Mona’s stuff had been cleared out, but Spencer recognized a diary the janitor mistook for Mona’s as Alison’s.
Flashback! As Aria read to herself, we caught a glimpse of Alison (Sasha Pieterse) blackmailing Byron into giving her money in exchange for keeping quiet about his affair. More importantly, we got to see Byron get slightly physical with her, further incriminating him. The flashback was interrupted by the return of Harold, but Toby arrived in time to distract him for long enough to let Aria steal those pages. Explosion! The Liars rushed into the aftermath of a marathon booth bursting into flames.
Back at home, Hanna watched Mona’s sappy video on repeat. Emily got a talking-to for swapping phones and keeping secrets from her dad. According to Emily’s father, Meredith was injured by the fire. Byron, on the other hand, wasn’t so kind with Aria. Actually, he blamed her friends for trying to blow up Meredith! Ugh, isn’t he the worst? A note left for Meredith led her to the booth just before it blew. Aria’s father figured she’d have the most to gain from Meredith being blown to smithereens.
Spencer made one last stop at Jason’s place to further warn him regarding Mona. Jason assured her that he trusted her. Once Spencer got distracted by a phone call from Aria alerting her to A’s plan of framing them, it was revealed that Mona was on Jason’s porch tending to what looked like a wound from a rusty screwdriver! Is Jason on the A-Team, too? It would explain why he and Toby were both after Lucas the past two episodes. That’s right, Lucas was the fancy A on the skateboard. My guess is that Lucas is an A who is trying to reform himself after falling for Hanna. Having said that, I really like Jason, and I hope this is a misunderstanding.
The episode closed with one of the A-Team members loosening the tire on some poor sap’s bicycle.
Teen girls, feel free to comment the hell out of this post. What did you all think of the winter premiere of Pretty Little Liars? Are you loving season 3? Do you believe that Jason tried to kill Aria? (Maybe he didn’t know Aria was in there along with Garrett’s body.) When will Toby be exposed? What’s up with Lucas? What is the point of all of this?