Pretty Little Liars Recap for Episode 3.23 - I’m Your Puppet

1) Back at Radley Sanitarium and Crib Pawn Shop, Spencer’s 72 hour evaluation has finished, and the liars are eager to see her. Spencer is underwhelmed by their presence, and says, “You three are the ones believing in the delusion that I have a mother. Maybe we all belong in here. No one makes a loofah that can scrub out the contents of my mind, but, here at Radley, Rosewood’s two finest mental health professionals will see that I can rehabilitate myself starting with letting the girl who tried to murder all of us in for visits.” Aria and Emily look concerned and defeated, but Hanna is having none of this shit. She announces that the park rangers have found a body in the woods, and Emily points out that it was the body of a camper. Apparently, it is entirely possible to be murdered in Rosewood without being a character on this show. I feel so reassured now. Anway, Spencer very calmly asserts that it was Toby, and nothing will convince her otherwise. The way Troian Bellisario is staring at these girls is making me intensely uncomfortable, so I’m not even sure how they shot this without wanting to be at least thirty feet away from her. And I’m really not sure how Hanna managed to muster up the chutzpah to drop the biggest truth bomb on her. She rightfully says that Radley is crazy and Spencer would be better off not having her dinner served by human-sized cockroaches. Spencer gets up and leaves. She very calmly tells them that she needs more time and that she feels safe in Radley. I call shenanigans on this claim because even Hogwarts has a better security system than this place, and their security system attacked students at one point. 

2) Spencer goes back to her room and feels around in her pillow for something. I’m not sure what because I don’t think we saw it. But someone please correct me if I’m wrong. The nurse knocks to tell her that her friends are leaving, but Spencer’s said all her goodbyes. She clearly isn’t aware that we’re close to the finale, which significantly ups the chances of her friends being seriously injured or murdered. She lays on her bed and stares at the ceiling. That Spencer intensity is gone, and she just looks empty. 

3) Hanna and Emily are bickering over Hanna’s stuff being strewn everywhere and about whether they should be more concerned over Detective Dickwad’s stalker habits or Spencer’s further descent into the script of Girl, Interrupted. Clearly Hanna is rubbing off on Emily because Emily actually makes a comment about how pilgrims could have used cars to get to the New World if they could float. When Hanna leaves, Emily adopts the friendship mantra of “I can insult my friends about these things, but you can’t” when her mom says that Hanna needs to learn how to fold. Actually, Emily is having none of Pam’s advice today because she is offended at the idea that she should distance herself from the Toby being potentially dead debacle. Her mother agrees to break police code and give Emily information about the body as she gets it because her daughter is Emily Fields and no one is capable of telling her “no.” 

4) Ezra sits down at table with a cake product in hand and asks Aria if it’s big enough to split. I think I ship Ezra and cake more than I ship Ezria right now. Aria worries about being seen with her beau after she lied to Principal Not-Christopher-Walken about seeing him “socially,” but her worries move on to not screwing up picking her boyfriend’s child from a karate class. What could possibly go wrong? 

5) Caleb is adorably babbling about his similarities with his dad as Hanna quietly listens and contemplates telling him that his dad may actually be thief. When her boyfriend inquires about her smell, she says that Emily’s mom sprayed her with air freshener before she left the house. And we didn’t get this scene, why? Anyway, Caleb’s dad wants to take them out for a fancy dinner and Caleb says sweet things to Hanna. I saw, “Awww.” They make out and Ella Montgomery walks by and stares at them sadly. Yes, that is as weird as it sounds. 

6) Aria asks Emily if her mom could just get her a copy of the coroner’s report, but Emily is confused by this request. Not because it’s illegal, but because it wouldn’t confirm whether or not the body belongs to Toby. Shana texts Emily, and Aria and Hanna rightfully harp on her about this. Paige has been eaten by “Out of Town” just like Spencer’s non-existent parents and Jenna, and Shana is moving in. Nope. Nope. Nope. Not cool, Shana. If Paige escapes from “Out of Town,” then she will…probably awkwardly tell you to backoff in the most McCullery way possible. Aria makes a joke about taking the body to Spencer to prove that the latest corpse in Rosewood isn’t Toby’s, which inspires the idea of sneaking into the morgue and taking a picture of the body in Emily’s beautiful mind. Piece of cake…but not Ezra’s cake. He’s bad at sharing.

7) Eddie is handing Spencer a board game called “Escape” when Wren walks in and basically tells the guy to get out. Either Wren is doing shady things and Eddie knows, or Eddie is doing shady things and Wren knows. Regardless, Radley needs a screening process that detects shadiness. Wren gives himself way too much credit and apologizes for sending Spencer on a downward spiral by trying to get in her pants after a bad breakup. Spencer says, “You think your one act of total assholery and unprofessionalism was enough to take me down? Don’t make me laugh.” The inappropriate British doctor says that Eddie used to play Escape with Mona all the time until she traded it for card games. He leaves, and Spencer runs her finger over the board game, and I have no idea what I’m supposed to be looking for. 

8) Fun fact: Ella is on the church restoration committee. The bell Jamie put back into place is apparently worth eight-thousand dollars less than the one the church had before. Is Caleb’s dad a thief? Or is he simply the victim of not being familiar enough with the old bell to realize that he wasn’t given the correct one back? Like that time when the computer repair shop gave me someone else’s computer and I didn’t notice until my mom pointed it out. Anyway, Hanna’s suspicions about Jamie’s character seem to be getting reaffirmed. 

9) Spencer is still running her fingers over the board game. She dwells on a drawing of a music note and piano keys at the bottom. My inner three year-old shouted “A CLUE! A CLUE!,” but Spencer is no Steve. She did not wait for me to point it out. She has already figured out that Mona has drawn a map on the game, and the piano was the starting point. She follows it to a window, and discovers that this window can be opened and easily jumped out of. Clever, Miss Mona. Disguise your escape route on a board game called Escape. 
It’s almost painful that no one has figured this stuff out sooner.

10) Caleb and Hanna are at dinner with Jamie, who smacks his lips when he chews. I mildly forgive him for this when he gives Hanna a present because Hanna deserves all the presents. She doesn’t know what to say to this angel necklace gift. Probably because she wants to say, “Did you buy this with stolen money? Do you even see the irony in that?” but she knows that this approach lacks tact. Pastor Ted calls and interrupts their dinner to fire Jamie. What kind of asshole fires someone over the phone? You’re no good for Ashley Marin. Jamie then splits to go to a foundry and identify the bell that he obviously can’t identify or else he would’ve noticed something was up before Pastor Ted did. 

11) Veronica Hastings is happily telling Spencer that wearing a blouse will make her feel better. Spencer legitimately shouts at her mother that she isn’t ready to leave, and Veronica’s face falls into an “Oh, crap. I can’t pretend this isn’t a problem anymore. I should’ve stayed in Out of Town. What is parenting?” formation. Realizing she can’t get out of it, she tries to be a real parent instead of an imaginary one. She says the last time she saw someone clinging this hard to a secret was three weeks before Allison was murdered. We get a flashback of Ali entering the Hastings household at 3am with a bloody lip as Veronica is getting what I originally thought was vodka but is actually fancy water from the fridge. They hug, and Ali demon smiles. End flashback. She asks Spencer if Toby isn’t the person they all thought he was, and Spencer essentially says, “yes.” 

12) Spencer breaks out her handy dandy board game, and traces the Mona map with her finger. She goes along the line to dancing stick figures, past the sea of swirly twirly gumdrops, and zigzags to a star. This is so the homicidal version of Blue’s Clues. 

13) The liars are back in their candy striper uniforms, and Hanna is busy messing around on her phone asking Siri where one sells “a hot bell.” Emily tells her to focus on the task at hand. They find the body, snap the picture, and run. Aria, who is not used to actual missions or problems, tells Hanna that they’d probably have to melt the bell down first. An exasperated Emily enters the morgue alone, but Hanna quickly follows. Hanna is freaked out and proclaims, “I smell dead people!” And I will love this show forever and always. Emily proves that she is the greatest friend you will ever have because she will break into a morgue and sort through dead bodies to prove that someone isn’t dead if she thinks it will help your sanity. While she does this, Hanna says this whole thing is wrong. “You spend your whole life doing crunches, getting rid of tanlines, not eating that second pudding only to end up a loaf of bread lying on a rack.” Now I am super suspicious of Eddie. He’s been giving Spencer extra pudding. Why mention pudding if there’s no connection? Why!?! Anyway, Hanna asks if they can look for Toby’s tattoo because she isn’t prepared to see his face if the body is his. Emily shouts that Toby isn’t dead, which reveals that she’s on this mission as much to convince herself as she is Spencer. And my heart is broken. The body isn’t his, but they have to hightail it out of there because Aria has spotted Red Coat and chased after her. Look at you, Aria, running after dangerous strangers like you’re Paige McCullers or something. 

14) Spencer asks Eddie a lot of questions that he answers in a manner that suggests that a) Wren is evil and b) Wren spent a lot of time with Mona. He says his instincts led him to the conclusion that Wren didn’t start at Radley for the right reasons. He gives Spencer her pills and leaves. But Spencer has seen Girl, Interrupted and knows you can hide these things under your tongue. She’s been hoarding them under her pillow in a little baggy. Hanna smells dead people, and I smell disaster.

15) Caleb approaches Hanna with his 90s Clea Duvall haircut and clothing that is making me vaguely attracted to him, and I need this to stop. The foundry says there was no mix up and that they have the paper trail to prove it. This is totally turning into that time I was given the wrong computer by a computer repair shop. They refused to believe me, too, Jamie. I now have a stranger’s computer, but you will have the right bell. I need this scenario to work out for someone. Hanna finally comes clean with her story about the lucky dice dollar dilemma. 

16) Aria goes to pick up Malcolm, but, SURPRISE!, an Aria Montgomery has whisked him away. When the karate instructor asks if there’s a problem, Aria does the exact opposite of the right thing to do when a child has been kidnapped, and says, “no.” This is what happens when Byron Montgomery reproduces. A has taken Malcolm to see a demented Faust puppet show because nothing says, “family friendly” like Faust. No wonder this town is so messed up. 

17) Eddie attempts to give Spencer a book, but Wren cockblocks him. He asks if they’re having the same problem as last time, and now I’m really worried there was a battle for Mona’s affection. Because professional men who go after women their own age don’t exist on this show…except for that guy Ella’s dating. 

18) The scene where Caleb confronts his dad and lists every reason he has to believe that his dad may not be an honest person made me sit back and appreciate just how far all of these actors have come since this show started. Tyler Blackburn managed to hit just the right balance of anger and hurt without having Caleb completely breakdown. Well done, actors. Well done. 

19) Emily really has taken over Spencer’s role because she’s now dispensing advice. Aria asks if she should call the cops, and Emily says to do so only if it won’t make things worse. Neither Aria nor I understand how it can get much worse than a kidnapped child, so they make plans to meet at the police station as per their usual Tuesday nights. But the poster for the Faust puppet show grabs Aria’s attention, and her inability to resist classic literature has kicked in. Malcolm is sitting in the front row waiting for a new show to start. Actually, he’s kind of staring at these creepy-ass puppets like he’s high, but he tells his babysitter that her friend Allison came to pick him up. Shit. Just. Got. Real. 

20) Spencer sneaks out of her room and follows the directions from the map. She verbally counts out her steps because counting and reading in your head when suspicious things are afoot is forbidden in Rosewood. That’s why the liars always read their texts out loud in unison. Allison appears to her in the crib pawn shop aka Radley’s basement, and her status as demon is confirmed when she says, “Wasn’t sixth grade the best year ever?” Even 12 year-olds who aren’t out of sixth grade will agree that sixth grade being the best year ever is impossible. Ali asks Spencer to slow dance with her like “she’s getting ready for her first boy-girl dance party.” She also adds that, “practice is so much better than the real thing.” Ali, your gay is showing. Now take it and get away from my liars! Ghost-demon Ali says a girl gave her that bloody lip from the flashback, but she changes this subject when Spencer stops dancing. She offers to change the song so that they can continue, but Spencer has her Hastings face on. She needs to find the star from the game board. It’s the last clue! Alison leads her to a rocking horse with a detachable head. In the toy’s neck, Spencer finds Mona’s employee Radley pass and a visitor pass for CeCe Drake. While Spencer and I are wondering how the Radley staff never noticed that Mona was using her own picture on a fake pass, Ali shapeshifts into Wren and asks what she’s up to. 

21) The scene switches to Ezra, and they need to not juxtapose scenes with Wren and Ezra like that. They look eerily similar in dim lighting. Anyway, I think Aria tries to break up with Ezra to keep him and his son safe, but Ezra’s like, “ha ha, that’s funny. We can’t break up. The fans would lead a revolt against the writers.” 

22) Back at Radley, Spencer is asking Wren questions. He authorized visitor passes for CeCe Drake before Mona was allowed to have visitors because she wanted to help. It turns out Ali got CeCe expelled from her university. How did CeCe find out about Mona? Melissa Hastings called her and told her, of course. Why exactly would Melissa Hastings think, “Hmmm, a girl that Ali emotionally scarred is in an institution for the criminally insane. Maybe CeCe would find this interesting”? I have no idea.

23) Pam breaks police code and tells Emily that they’ve found another body. The Paily fandom breathed a sigh of relief when she clarified with, “a male body.” They don’t know whose body it is because there was “significant trauma to the body.” How many more times can I say, “body”? Emily’s reaction is killing me, and CAN WE PLEASE STOP HAVING SEASON FINALES WHERE EMILY’S FAVORITE PEOPLE GET MURDERED!?!

24) Caleb is brooding at the carnival because nothing is more calming than Faustian puppets and cotton candy. While Caleb goes to get drinks, A texts Hanna. Aria manages to deduce that A was framing Jamie. Hanna worries that Caleb is never going to forgive her, and I’m worried that Hanna has never met her boyfriend. Emily frantically busts into their boyfriend drama session and announces that a body was found exactly where Spencer said it was. Ok, if it took the Rosewood PD that long to check that out, this is getting ridiculous. 

25) Spencer is looking at a brochure for the Faust puppet show as an audio track of her saying, “You don’t have to ask me again, Mona. I’m in.” plays. Spencer is on the A team and her first assignment was messing with Aria. I’m laughing to keep from crying right now. I’m just going to focus on how gorgeous she’s going to look in a black hoodie. Black hoodie. Black hoodie. Black hoodie. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

26) The body with Toby’s tattoo is rolled into the morgue, and I’m wondering if A actually tattooed Jason’s dead body or if they applied a temporary tattoo.

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