Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario) is out for blood on Pretty Little Liars! “Dead to Me” saw the leader of the Liars transition from broken-hearted to straight-up cracked over the course of an episode, and I loved every minute of it. Okay, okay… defacing someone’s grave is probably never necessary, but if it’s Spencer keying the headstone, I’m down.
The episode opened with the Liars discussing the absence of Ezra, who had been busy catching up with his newborn seven-year-old son. Aria (Lucy Hale) hadn’t heard from him since his departure. Meanwhile, Spencer was more concerned with updates from her private investigator, Miles, who had been hot on Toby’s trail since Spencer’s big discovery. Jason (Drew Van Acker) arrived to announce the re-burial of Alison’s remains. Apparently, the family felt it safer to stow Ali away in a mausoleum this time around, and all of the Liars were invited to say one more farewell. I’m fond of Spencer’s sharp new frankness, and I have to say, had it been me in her position, I’d probably be sick of this mystery, too. I’m not even sure why they like Alison to begin with, at this point. Isn’t hindsight 20/20?
Jason tipped the girls off to the fact that the mementos they’d left in Ali’s casket were still missing and that the police were looking to peg the crime on whoever ended up in possession of the “souvenirs.” For the moment, only Hanna’s (Ashley Benson) Ouija Board pointer and Aria’s earrings had turned up. Hanna got it in her head that the best idea was to toss the evidence, but Aria, having learned form past mistakes, realized that making rash decisions often lands them in hot water.
Mona (Janel Parrish) was on hand at Rosewood High, if only to make Spencer’s life frustratingly less bearable. As she put it, Spencer had been “off her A-game” when it came to Mathletes, or whatever geek group they’re a part of. Mona knew to bring up Toby as a means of pushing Spencer’s buttons. Scary Spencer barely acknowledged her existence. Seriously, though, isn’t not giving a sh*t kind of a good way to defeat the A-Team, or at least, a great means of pissing them the hell off?
Ezra’s little brosky, Wes (Gregg Sulkin), rolled back into town this week, as well. Crashing at Ezra’s for some quiet time, he found himself in an awkward predicament when Aria answered the door. She’d been creeping around Ezra’s pad, too. It’s not like Ezra’s dead. He’s probably just another A. Sorry, Aria! In any case, I like the idea of Aria and Wes getting together better than Aria working things out with the older Fitz. There, I said it! Come at me, tween girls!
After learning of Wilden’s whereabouts the summer Ali went missing, Emily (Shay Mitchell) decided to do more research down at the police station. Now that her mother, Pam (Nia Peeples), works there, snooping has gotten a lot easier. Under the guise of actually wanting to sit down for a meal with her mother *gasp*, Emily attempted to take another look at the picture of Officer Wilden in Cape May. Only, the picture had been removed! Could Wilden be aware of how guilty he looks now that Emily had discovered the notebook?
Pam found a strange postcard in her purse. Emily, immediately recognizing the card as a piece of what she left in Ali’s casket, snatched it away from her mother. On the back was a message left by the A-Team in French. Emily’s French speaking skills sucked, so she enlisted angry Spencer’s help in decoding the clue. “Stop digging! The police already know it’s you that’s capable of murder.” Even at her worst, Spencer is still the equivalent of Google translator. She’s probably better, honestly. In total, Emily left twenty-five cards in Ali’s casket!
Spencer had been cleaning out her collection of Toby memorabilia. Emily, who recently had a bit of a scare herself with regard to her own relationship, attempted to be a good friend. Remember when Hanna caught Paige flirting with another girl at the lesbian bar last week? As it turned out, she was incorrect in guessing that Paige was cheating. Emily confronted Paige and learned that she was actually attempting to track down the owner of the Queen of Hearts costume from the night of Halloween train. Remember when Paige kicked the sh*t out of the Queen of Hearts? The Queen of Hearts was definitely a man. Point being; sometimes there is another explanation as to why someone behaves a certain way.
Of course, Spencer already knew that her breakup with Toby was a result of another situation. After meeting with the private investigator again, Spencer learned that Toby had been blowing a ton of money on hydrangeas (Don’t tell Madonna that!), and that the key could be tracked somewhere west of town; however, in order for Miles to find a door, he’d need more “encouragement.” Five hundred dollars worth of encouragement seemed like a lot to ask, especially considering that he admittedly hadn’t turned up anything too suspicious. After sifting through a few more boxes of Toby crap, though, Spencer was sold on the idea of finding a specific location, and she gave her investigator the go-ahead to keep digging.
On to my least favorite storyline of the week! Part of the episode was dedicated to discovering more about Caleb’s (Tyler Blackburn) family. I mean, does anyone out there really care about this when all of this juicy drama is going on? Spencer’s ready to kill, and we had to spend part of the hour watching Hanna, dressed as Chucky, digging through Caleb’s Aunt’s garage full of junk. Caleb’s Aunt decided to move to Australia spur of the moment, but because she was the family member who decided to put Caleb into the foster system, Caleb was invited to check out the house before she left for good.
Hanna made it a point to get to know Caleb’s uncle, while Caleb rushed through trashing piles of cheap stuffed animals and moldy children’s books. Something was off about the way his uncle remembered Caleb, though. It seemed like he was very interested for a mere relative. Before leaving, he slipped Hanna a baby photo of Caleb from “one of the boxes.” At home, Hanna handed it off to Caleb, but explained that she’d put two-and-two together and realized it’d come from the man’s wallet; however, Caleb had been under the impression that his Aunt and Uncle only cared for him past the age of five, and the baby photo was from age six months. Could this uncle actually be Caleb’s father? I… don’t… care.
Emily decided to pay Dr. Sullivan a visit this week. Having bottled up the emotions surrounding her self-defensive killing of Nate, she decided to open up to the one woman the Liars actually feel comfortable talking to. Dr. Sullivan’s attempts to convince Emily that things were okay failed, so instead, she suggested hypnotherapy to re-envision the events that Emily remembered all too vividly.
After entering a state of hypnosis, Emily found herself at the wrong murder site! Instead, she found herself at the murder scene of Alison, holding the murder weapon. The flashback ended with Emily striking her with the shovel! Emily awoke from the haze in a panic and immediately left her session. I mean, there is no way Emily killed Alison, that I knew for sure; however, I figured she’d relived a memory as someone else from the scene. Back in her bedroom, a shaken Emily remembered a moment with Alison in which she attempted to convince Emily of this fairytale life traveling France. Ugh, Alison pretending to be a lesbian always makes me angry. #PoorEmily, if you ask me. Thankfully, her mother was there to give her a pep talk, reminding her that she is no murderer… of Nate, at least!
Aria had witnessed Wes behaving kind of strangely inside Ezra’s apartment. She knew something was up when he seemed downright afraid to answer the phone. On the street, Wes ended up getting threatened by an unknown man. After using a pizza box as weapon, the two ran away from the angry dude. Back at the apartment, Wes explained that the man was the husband of his physics teacher. Wes had been acting out in an attempt to get expelled from prep school. Like Ezra, he has dreams that go beyond the confines of his ridiculous family. In case you’d forgotten, Ezra’s mom was pretty awful to Aria. Wes’s juvenile attempts at ruining his own reputation proved futile. The only thing he could think to do that would go beyond the reach of his mother’s power was to flirt with his physics teacher. Thus, we had a scorned husband on our hands, and Wes found himself in hiding. By the way, what was Aria drinking? A mini bottle of, like, Hypnotic?
Does Toby love her, or does Toby love her not? Spencer managed to pinpoint the location of Toby’s new lair. Desperate for answers, she found herself in what looked like a building that would be used in, maybe, Saw II? It was that green lighting that gave the place a shade of death. I saw the #PoorSpencer hashtag pop up on the screen prior to her opening the door to the room, so I knew she was in for something. Emptiness, though, that was the absolute worst thing she could find; no answers at all.
At the mausoleum, Hanna expressed her distaste for the quote engraved in Ali’s memorial plaque. “Unable are the loved to die, For love is immortality.” Emily Dickinson, Santa, whoever; Hanna wasn’t having it. As the trio and Jason said their “last” goodbyes, Spencer showed up looking dastardly disheveled and vented the truth about Ali’s pregnancy scare with Wilden. The other Liars and Jason were mortified by her bluntness at Ali’s memorial site. Though, I didn’t really think it was such a big deal. Inappropriate, obviously, but it isn’t as though she hadn’t been at the forefront of solving Alison’s murder for the past two and half seasons while the other Liars played backup.
Outside, the sprinklers triggered another memory in Emily’s mind, and she realized that she misinterpreted the flashback from Dr. Sullivan’s session. She mixed Ali’s murder with the night she was drugged, and instead, she fully remembered what actually went down then; recalling an A, probably Toby, digging up Alison’s grave and a blond in a red coat watching over. Emily realized that this woman is the leader of the A-Team!
Back inside, a slightly deranged Spencer realized Toby had left hydrangeas on his mother’s headstone. Knowing he’d been visiting, and lacking the means to reach him normally, Spencer carved Toby’s name above “Cavanaugh”! “Dead to Me”! That was so wrong but totally badass. I love the downward spiral of Spencer Hastings! She’s so ruthless that she’ll probably end up inadvertently making progress in destroying the A-Team. Fight fire with fire, Spence!
Also, we were once again reminded that a new mystery A sure enjoys boozing.
What did you all think of Pretty Little Liars Season 3 Episode 18, “Dead to Me”? Is the plant Mona dropped off at Dr. Sullivan’s bugged? Do you care about Caleb’s back-story right now? Should they keep the mementos from the grave or toss them? Do you prefer Aria with Ezra, or would you like to see things heat up between her and Wes? Are you ready to see Spencer destroy Mona next week?
Thanks for reading my Recap and Review of Pretty Little Liars Season 3 Episode 18, “Dead to Me”!
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