In desperation of getting tuition money for college, Hanna tries out to participate in a beauty pageant. Meanwhile, Aria further investigates what Mike has been up to and whether or not he's been in cahoots with Alison, which leads to an interesting discovery.
Mona Vanderwaal's Genius Plan
That was an unexpected surprise, not gonna lie.
Just seeing that flashback with the explanation about what Mona had originally planned, including her harvesting her own blood, which was something many fans had speculated was happening initially, was amazing. I like that it gave some answers to what Mike was doing and his behavior. He truly loved her and she loved him, so much that Mona trusted him with this information. He wanted to keep all this secret as much as possible, but his emotions were getting too high because of the prospect of her not being alive made it harder for him to keep his cool. It puts some things into perspective.
I know some were also hoping and speculating that Mona Gone Girl'd herself, but I find that highly unlikely at this point, especially with the shot of her dead body in the trunk (and I don't think it was a decoy, either). That seemed to have been the original intention with her plan, but something went wrong. Someone got to her first. "A" got to her first. Probably this was one of those times that "A" outsmarted Mona before she could outsmart "A".
Furthermore? This revelation leads to the girls to finally realize that Alison is not "A".
I am utterly relieved. I think I pretty much internally screamed "Told y'all so!" Granted it was pretty obvious considering, but every single time the girls went on the accusing spree and mentioning Alison being associated with "A" it made me roll my eyes because, even though I don't doubt that they probably wanted to believe it themselves, and their are pretty justified in their feelings based on their history with her, it was kind of overdone especially when they basically framed her. Essentially, the girls did "A"s job for them when they destroyed any evidence that could have proved her innocence all because they truly believed she was involved, and now "A" is trying to do the same thing to them. It's such irony. But at least they know the truth now, at least most of it, and now they can focus on trying to make it right and finally work together on figuring things out.
Things that I liked about the episode:
++ Everything about Hanna and Emily dancing, that was pretty damn awesome. Of course I figured it was more Ashley and Shay than Hanna and Emily, but still. Seeing them dancing together was kind of amazing, and the overlapping the the scenes between them practicing and some of the other stuff happening was cool too.
++ Although I knew that Hanna was going to be sacked from the beauty pageant competition instantly, since that would be a huge commitment that she doesn't have time for, and that it was sad when it did happen in the way it did, I did like how it was handled. Because while the coach was harsh she did have a point. While Hanna does need the opportunity for the money, she doesn't want it. There are tons of girls who have been wanting this moment for a long time, and it's not just something for someone to get money from on a whim. Hanna needed the commitment, the patience, the dedication. There is no question she was determined, but for the wrong reasons. She wanted fast money to solve a problem, not something to win to be proud of (not that she wouldn't be proud of herself for such validation, but again it would've been for the wrong reasons). I felt horrible for Hanna, for being rejected both by her father and by the coach, and it added to the sting that someone else could take her place who was better "material" than her, but I did like that Emily didn't even think twice for telling off that coach and for remaining by Hanna's side, no matter what. Friendship. ♥
++ That flashback, finding out about the truth of what Mona had been planning. I was waiting for something exciting to happen and this was it. Loved it, and I want the show to have more of this and less of the other stuff.
Things I didn't like:
++ I am so not loving the whole rift between Spencer and Toby because of him becoming a cop situation. I feel like the lack of communication really is the problem here, a conversation that should have happened before all this occurred to save all this unnecessary drama. Never mind it would have saved us from this Spencer/whatshisface thing, which I felt was also unnecessary and stupid. And that whole "breaking-and-entering and stealing back our vandalism from exploitation but really we didn't break laws"? Just, why?
++ I dislike the whole Talia storyline because it just is so unneeded. I am glad that Emily called her out and ended things before it could go any further, and it really makes me hope we never see Talia again. Ugh.
Overall: I'm pretty satisfied with this episode, and I was impressed that we actually got something in terms of revealing of the plot and more information of what Mona was planning and how Mike knew and now that the girls also know and finally realize that Alison was innocent the entire time (and acknowledging their mistake in outright accusing her), it makes me curious about what's gonna happen next. The trial is coming, they have to prove her innocence, and it's just a matter of time before "A" frames another one of them. So yeah, I'm hoping that the show drops the whole Talia and what'shisface's storylines for good so we can continue on this path and up the stakes involving the plot.