Alison is emotionally preparing the return to school (among other things), but Mona has other plans. Aria continues her guilt and paranoia over what happened to Shanna, Hanna struggles and is conflicted with what Alison is asking of her, and Spencer is finding more information that could possibly link her father to the murder of Jessica DiLaurentis.
Pretty Emotional Little Liars
I'm incredibly worried for these girls.
Seeing Alison break down and cry like that was heartbreaking, and there's no way she's faking that. Now I'm concerned about what really happened to her, because there is definitely more to that story that she isn't revealing just yet. That scar on her thigh, her reluctance to go to the medical examiner, her vague explanation to Hanna; it's clear that whatever happened traumatized her. Could it have been during the time she was in hiding, or from before? Remember the flashback/speculation that she could have been pregnant around the time of her disappearance? What if this was a result of that, like evidence that she had an unsafe abortion? Imagine the fear of being asked all these questions, leading into more questions. Or what if it's something else entirely? Whatever it is, Alison was pretty shaken up, and perhaps we'll get answers later when she's ready to talk about it.
Aside from that, the other heartbreaking moment was when she was surfing through what people said about her when she disappeared/"died". How hard it must have been for her to see what others really thought of her. Then again, Alison probably understands that they have the right to feel that way, given the way she treated people back then. But it still hurts, especially when she has to face these people again when she returns back to school.
I'm also pretty sad that the other girls haven't really been there for Alison. Granted, I understand their initial hesitation given her lying to the police, but I feel despite that they really need to stick together, now more than ever.
Aside from that, Spencer having to deal with the knowledge that not only was she suspected and accused of doing something to Alison the night she disappeared, but that her own father could have been the culprit who had done something to Jessica DiLaurentis in order to shut her up. Spencer has dealt with her own demons, some which were included in her own family (and within herself, e.g. the pill popping), for a long time. And here is another thing to add to the Fucked Up Hastings Family records. I'm curious about the whole thing really, because I don't doubt that Peter could have done something like this, since he's done things to cover up incidents from getting out before, but what if this is a red-herring? It wouldn't be the first time the show led us on. But honestly, I can't imagine her mother being the one responsible. Unless she was drugged up, similar to Spencer when she was doping on pills, but even that is a bit of a stretch. I mean, Melissa wanted to tell Spencer what she and their father knew, but he stopped her, obviously in the hopes of protecting her. So, I'm rather stumped. I rather like my initial theory I mentioned before, but right now I'm just hoping that Spencer gets out of that family as soon as possible because it's quite a toxic environment and I just want Spencer to be happy, dammit.
And then there's Hanna, who is trapped with not being told everything and being bossed around, relapsing into shoplifting in order to regain a little control in her life. And Aria, who is still obsessing over what happened with Shanna, feeling the guilt and shame and need to reconcile without telling the entire truth about what happened. Imagine being in her position, killing someone out of self-defense but cannot tell anyone because it could open up an entire can of worms that none of them are ready for yet.
These girls don't need "A" as a menacing presence anymore because their own personal and emotional traumas are tearing them down bit by bit. They have monsters inside their own heads, and both under and outside of their beds. They've survived so much, and I have no doubt that they'll survive the next crisis and come out stronger, but it still makes me worry about them currently right now.
Things I liked about the episode:
++ All the emotions. Alison crying in her bedroom, her scene with Spencer (where both of them were shedding tears), and the last shot of her looking at the message board with the mean messages about her. Spencer dealing with all her family drama and secrets. Hanna and Aria having to deal with their own things. I just couldn't. Seeing these girls cry and upset makes me super sad.
++ Out of all the girls, Emily seems to be the only one not dealing with all the other emotional baggage. Well, there's dealing with Paige, but she's just a non-factor at this point that Emily seems to be annoyed with. But mostly, aside from keeping with Alison's story and dodging questions about what happened, Emily seems the more well-adjusted of all the girls. So far, anyway.
++ Am I the only one who wants to see more of Emily and this new girl? Whether relationship-wise or a friendship, I don't care. Also, I'll be lying if I said I didn't want the possibility of Alison/Emily. I have a soft spot for them, now more than ever because I feel that, after everything, they could have a fresh start. I like that Emily seemed indecisive over whether or not she was over Alison (which could be the case of first loves/crushes, you're never completely over them, even if there are complications).
Things I didn't like:
++ Paige is still being a dumbass. I'll give her points for telling Mona that she's turning into the very thing she hates, but she's still on my shitlist because of how she is with Emily. I mean, seriously? You're going to say that you're not going to do anything about the people who mean to intentionally harm Alison? Oh that's right, you don't care for Alison. You'd rather Alison die so you could get back with Emily. Fuck off, Paige.
++ Aria with Ezra continues to be ew and blah. I really hate how they're just excusing everything he did and trying to convince us that these two are "fated" or whatever. Gross.
Overall: An emotional episode. I didn't expect there to be this many tears from the girls, although it's to be expected given everything they're dealing with, and have dealt with in the past. I actually don't mind that "A" isn't a huge factor at the moment since they're all dealing with bigger things separately, and they will all have a common enemy once Alison returns to school.