Pretty Little Liars sure knows just how to keep things totally twisted. “Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Inferno” brought the beginning of the unraveling of Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario), and she was so much fun to watch! My favorite part of the episode, of course, was Hanna’s (Ashley Benson) accidental trip to a lesbian bar.
The episode opened with a pretty scary sadomasochist-type make-out fantasy between the crumbling Hastings and that big jerk, Toby (Keegan Allen). Only a dream, though. In reality, Spencer was, indeed, a bit of a wreck this episode. Meanwhile, Aria (Lucy Hale), Emily (Shay Mitchell), and Hanna were debating whether or not to inform Spencer that her sister Melissa had been seen the night of Ali’s (Sasha Pieterse) disappearance. I mean, hasn’t that already been said about a thousand times? Move on, Liars.
At the Field’s residence, we learned that Emily’s mother, Pam (Nia Peeples), had landed herself a job at the police station. Finally, the Liars have an in with the cops, right? Pam brought it to Emily’s attention that she’d received a package from creepy (and dead) Nate’s family. Inside, Emily revealed a veritable cornucopia of memories shared between her and Alison. Maya must have turned the junk up while living in Alison’s old house. Having sifted through the box containing mostly handmade greeting cards, Emily managed to scrounge up an old biology notebook. Inside, she found a strange scribbled conversation between Alison and another friend surrounding some hot guy from down in Cape May. Aria and Hanna couldn’t piece together the mystery either.
Hanna had been attempting to reach Caleb to no avail. Her mother, Ashley (Laura Leighton), once again began to feel left in the dark surrounding Hanna’s whereabouts and whisperings. What was clear, though, was that no one trusts Mona. Having put two and two together surrounding Caleb’s shady behavior, Hanna did some snooping of her own and managed to catch Paige (Lindsey Shaw) speaking to Caleb on the phone about another one of their ragtag meetings. Realizing that Paige is Caleb’s accomplice, Hanna set out to put an end to their search for more of Mona’s secrets before the lunatic got to them herself.
Byron (Chad Lowe) attempted to be on his best behavior during this week’s episode. Considering the fact that his girlfriend literally went psycho last week, this was to be expected. Still, Byron, spare us the bull sympathy and show that little dove-faced daughter of yours that she’s mattered past the age of, like, seven. Were we really supposed to believe that Aria wanted to see Meredith get “help” as opposed to receiving a punishment for drugging her, threatening her with a bloody shard of glass, punching her unconscious, etc?
All of this was fine and dandy, but the true joy of “Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Inferno” came from witnessing the wreckage of Spencer’s discovery. Who knew a disheveled and devilish Spencer could be so much fun? Spencer gave Aria and Hanna the third degree regarding her anniversary dinner with Toby, but by the time she’d bumped into Emily, she was in full-on pit bull mode. Emily had realized that Alison made some mentions of Toby in her newly rediscovered notebook, even realizing that she’d visited the future A while he was away at juvi. Emily had figured Spencer’s super sleuth eyes may have uncovered the girl Alison had been conversing with, but Spencer’s new “f*** off” tude refused to show sympathy for Alison. True; Alison wasn’t loyal to them, so why should they continue to be loyal to her? The new Spencer Hastings wants out. Plus, she figured Alison was probably just slutting up the shores of Cape May, rather than racking up another murder suspect.
At this point, we got our first Alison flashback. First, just to get this out of the way, how ridiculous did Toby look in juvie? How many times a day did Toby get beat up wearing a do-rag in jail? Basically, we saw a panicked Alison showing Toby the first of A’s notes. I’m assuming they were from Mona, but I guess they might as well have been from him. “Bet you wished you kissed me when you had the chance,” Alison barbed.
In the end, Spencer confessed that she and Toby were no more, and Emily promised to keep her secret.
Aria finally got up the nerve to discuss the son-secret with Ezra (Ian Harding), who was back in full force this week. She’d made plans to meet him to talk, but A had other ideas. Slipshod Spencer received a text from “Aria” alerting her that Ezra “freaked” and broke up with her after hearing the news. With her own fresh breakup wounds throbbing, Spencer hopped on her Elmira Gulch bicycle and wicked witched it over to the park as directed. There, she found none other than Ezra typing away. Before even giving him a chance to speak, Spencer lashed out in defense of Aria, revealing the secret of his hidden seven-year-old child. Flabbergasted, Ezra gawked up at her as if to say, “who? kid, no, me, argh… kid?” Then, she realized she’d effed up.
Later, a furious Ezra barged through the cafeteria of Aria’s school to scold her for hiding all of this from him. See, I was more concerned with Ezra being seen yelling at Aria, his former student, in the middle of Rosewood High, his former place of employment. Aria got the next A text and realized Spencer had been set up.
That evening, Aria walked in on Spencer getting ready to massacre a frozen dinner with a pair of scissors in the Hastings’ family kitchen. Aria had shown up to let Spencer know that she was aware that A had manipulated the situation between the two of them and Ezra. New Spencer had no time for compassion, though, and prompted Aria to jump to the part of the story where she cries (Ha!). According to Spencer, they should stop blaming A and start blaming their own lies and actions. Hmm… either Spencer’s discovery that Toby is on the A-Team is going to lead her down a dark path back to him, or she’s actually onto something with this idea. Aria didn’t deserve that, though.
Emily managed to dig up a picture of Alison and CeCe Drake (Vanessa Ray) in the back of the notebook. In a one-on-one talk, CeCe revealed that Alison had a pregnancy scare the summer they were in Cape May. Through a flashback, we learned that Alison believed that the boy who possibly got her pregnant would “kill” her if he ever found out. The problem is, no one knows if Ali was actually pregnant because she died too soon to know for sure.
After bringing this new information to Aria, Emily realized that she had to bring the evidence to the police. Considering that her mother is working there now, maybe the police can actually be utilized more. Officer Wilden (Bryce Johnson) rubbed elbows with Pam throughout the episode, even going as far as to reach out surrounding Emily’s self-defensive killing of Nate. Apparently, Wilden went through a similar situation straight out of the police force, and it still “haunts” him till this day.
And so, we suffer.
While Emily hand delivered evidence, Hanna was still busy searching for her own. Her hunt lead her to a lesbian bar (!) where hilarity, of course, ensued. Hanna got hit on, flirted with… you name it! More importantly, she caught Paige cozying up to another girl. I’m pretty sure Paige isn’t cheating on Emily, maybe she’s still freaking out about the A-Team, but the seeds of infidelity were planted in Hanna’s head during this week’s episode. Hanna was forced to leave the bar after she unintentionally got in between a couple, was called trash, had a drink thrown in her face, and got busted for underage drinking. The lesbian life is not for her.
Down at the police station, a gin-soaked Hanna conveniently ran into Emily and Wilden, who thanked them for cooperating with the police this time around. Just when they thought they’d done the right thing, Emily discovered a picture of Wilden and some buddies pinned up on the office board. They were in Cape May the summer of Ali’s disappearance, too! Poor, poor Emily Fields. At home Ashley reiterated that she was onto Hanna’s latest string of screw-ups and appropriately questioned her daughter’s sexuality.
It appeared as though Spencer had been texting with Toby, eager to meet and discuss the whole truth behind his stint on the A-Team. Inside of her car, under the cover of darkness, a tow-up Spencer did her best to unenthusiastically primp before heading into her meeting place of choice. Inside, things appeared worse than we’d even initially thought. It seemed as though Spencer had actually made some kind of a sex date with a creepy older dude, like a craigslist hookup. I wasn’t sure how truly low Pretty Little Liars was going to take a downtrodden Spencer, but I was thoroughly relieved to find that she’d hired a private investigator to tail Toby, even giving him the A key she’d swiped! Why have they waited so long to try this? She’s still with us, ladies and gents but mostly ladies! Now, she’s got nothing to lose!
In a last minute meeting with Ezra, Aria learned that he no longer blamed her for the secret after having spoken with Maggie. The situation was cleared up, but Fitz decided to hightail it out of town for a while to meet his son. Understandably devastated, it almost seemed as though a teary-eyed Ezra was leaving Aria forever, as he left our littlest Liar in the middle of an empty street.
In the end, A blowtorched a bobble-head version of Hanna while the other three Liars bobbled at her side.
What did you all think of Pretty Little Liars Season 3 Episode 17, “Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Inferno”? Are you enjoying or disliking the downward spiral of Spencer? Are you happy Aria’s secret is off her chest? Isn’t Emily much more fun to watch when she’s taking a crack at solving the mystery? Should Hanna go lesbian?
Thanks for reading my Recap and Review of Pretty Little Liars Season 3 Episode 17, “Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Inferno”!