Tensions are high in this episode as Hanna and her parents await anxiously for ballistic results to determine whether or not the gun Hanna found was, indeed, the same one that killed Detective Wilden. Spencer tries to find out more about the hidden room at the sorority house, hoping to get some answers that they need. Aria is dealing with gross boys spreading around gossip and rumors about her sex/love life. Emily tries to help Hanna out by bringing in the hard drive from Wilden's car to prove that there's more to the story, but it ultimately backfires. Ashley Marin is then arrested as the results come back positive. Shanna is becoming more of their target suspect in the "A" department, and we finally get a glimpse at Ravenswood.
The Power of "A"
With everything that's been going on, the file and message being switched, evidence being planted, and just the overall omnipresence of this anonymous individual(s) who want to hurt these girls and destroy/control their lives, it got me to thinking about such methods and why everything seems to be crashing down on them so hard this season.
I know there's been some criticism of the show overall about why these four girls are specifically being targeted, and how sometimes it seems implausible for such a small town to not notice any kind of suspicious behavior going on. Which is understandable, Rosewood is relatively a small town that it should be brought to question why anyone there hasn't seen any of the huge things happening, like Wilden's car being brought up from the lake and who did it, or who switched the note that Emily left in the police station in broad daylight. But that's part of the mystery, particularly since "A" has become more or less a symbol of a threatening omnipresence to the girls. Someone who knows their deepest, darkest secrets, and someone who watches their every move in anticipation on how they can plan their next move. Also, as noted previously, most of what "A" reveals is something already hidden in their closets, and those may be things that the girls, and those affected around them, have to face sooner or later, and of course "A" chooses the most destructive methods on bringing those things up to the surface. Now with even more damaging consequences.
Ashley Marin did steal the gun from her ex-husbands office and she did confront Wilden with it. This was more than enough to plant the weapon in her possession because she was there, and because she's going to be charged with murder she has to confront what happened between herself and Wilden. Hanna also tried to cover things up herself to protect her mom, but not only did it backfire she also got backed into a corner and fell into a trap set up by "A" in regards to everything.
Emily did willingly have her face molded into the mask, and because of this "A" is taking full advantage of using said mask around to appear as though they are Emily (probably the reason why the file/message was switched so easily.)
This also brings up the question on Shanna's involvement now. Is she doing these things? If not directly, what is her connection? Is she just there by coincidence or was she promised certain things by "A" and only does these things because of what she thinks she'll get out of it, similar to how others got involved? At this point Shanna is the most likely bet on someone who seems oddly suspicious. Her connection with Melissa and Jenna, being there at the fire, being highly competitive towards Emily regarding the scholarship and basically having to transfer to the school to be her replacement on the team, not to mention openly flaunting that fact in front of her. She was also strangely present at Ravenswood. Whatever her deal is, Shanna has become a new red flag for the girls to be wary of.
Regardless, the price has been upped this season and "A" is not playing games. Shit is getting real and everyone is getting caught in the crossfire. Who benefits from what, if anything at all, is up for speculation at this point.
Things I liked about the episode:
++ Just the high level of tension in this episode was really well done, it had me on edge, wondering what was going to happen. Hanna with her parents, of that constant stress of wanting to tell the entire truth about "A" but not wanting to jeopardize anything, certainly not wanting to lose both her parents. She doesn't want to believe her mom did anything, and she probably didn't (as she explains) but the evidence doesn't look good either way. Hanna just wants all this to be done and move on from it, but that's where everything went wrong because she had tried to get rid of the situation but it all backfired on her by her getting arrested, the gun being taken and tested, leading to her mother's arrest. And she can't do anything about it. Just, poor Hanna. :( This leads me to wonder what's gonna happen with Emily and her parents, and if "A" is trying to do the same thing by splitting them up too....
++ I understand why Emily was upset with Spencer re: the Toby situation. Mostly because all of them are really close and anything that deals with "A" affects all of them and they can't afford to keep secrets from each other, not now, especially not with everything that is going on when one of them is basically being framed for murder. But at the same time, they've all been caught up in something that they have to keep quiet about until they learn more about it. I think it just hit close to home with everything that is happening, especially since what is happening to Hanna and her parents is similar to how "A" is targeting Emily's family too.
++ At least there was an adorable apology exchange at the beginning in regards to what happened in the previous episode, and Spencer was trying to make amends with her friends for keeping the thing with Toby a secret throughout the episode. Again, why I love this show: apologies are given, and there's obvious guilt when fights are prolonged (i.e. Emily seemed rather defeated like she realized she shouldn't stay mad at her friend.)
++ Poor Aria. :( She didn't deserve that. I'm just glad that Mike finally realized he fucked up and in the end stood up for his sister, including trashing the dude's car in an act of revenge for spreading gross rumors. That was sweet of him. Also, it was very awesome for Aria to basically tell Ezra to back the hell off and not try to help her anymore. You go, girl.
++ We finally got a glimpse at Ravenswood, which is what the spin-off sister series will be called and centered around. And judging from the creepy atmosphere of the place, I am definitely looking forward to what they'll be doing with it later. Hopefully we'll get more glimpses before it premieres.
++ Mona still being Mona, but still remaining cautious. I just missed her face. :)
Overall: Solid episode, in my opinion. It was a build of tension of what was going to happen with Hanna and her mom, and I think we all wanted everything to somehow be okay, but we all know that the evidence is too compelling against Ashley and everything else was just prolonging the inevitable. That farewell she made was incredibly sad, because none of them knows what's gonna happen now. It's a helpless situation. It makes you wonder what else "A" has up their sleeve on destroying the girls' lives, from the inside out, taking down those in their family one at a time until nobody is left to be their safety net anymore. That's a severely scary thought, tbh.