[Warning: Major spoilers below.]
Is Pretty Little Liars getting darker this season?
With season four of the hit ABC Family drama in full swing, the second episode, cheekily titled "Turn of the Shoe," covered more serious ground with conversations centered on college, suicide and the future. With "A" getting more aggressive and targeting those directly connected to the four main Liars, things in Rosewood are getting shadier and shadier.
THR highlights the episode's biggest story lines:
Spencer's college rejection: What was refreshing to see was Spencer's (Troian Bellisario) realistic reaction to her University of Pennsylvania rejection. Any high school senior would know that rejection letters aren't fun to get. For the Hastings, a UPenn denial means a thousand times more. So a teary Spencer goes to Ezra (Ian Harding), teaching English at Rosewood High, asking him for help. In a nice change of pace, Ezra questions Spencer's submitted essay in response to the question, wherein she opens up about Alison's (Sasha Pieterse) death. He thinks it's too honest ("Honesty may not be the best policy"), for he sees the essay as a school's glimpse into who a person is, while she believes it's the only way in -- otherwise "A" will let it all out. Their interactions are intriguing, and are they by no means done.
Was Toby's mother really suicidal? That's the question that's raised when a distraught Toby (Keegan Allen) admits to Spencer that it was he who moved the RV, following an "A" order, in exchange for key information never-before-shared by the Radley doctors about his mother, Marion. (She had supposedly killed herself years earlier.) The transcript he receives pushes him further into emotional darkness, as he questions his mother's mental state: Was she really suicidal? He doesn't seem to buy it. (Spencer, meanwhile, is leaning the other way.)
Aria moves on from Ezra: That was fast. Aria (Lucy Hale) meets her new martial arts instructor Jake (Ryan Guzman) and they start to do their dance. "Do you trust me?" Jake asks during their first lesson. "I don't really know you," Aria replies. Later, Aria gets aggressive and kisses Jake. "Arghh! Stupid!" is her natural response. To no fault of his own, Jake makes a joke about Aria not being comfortable with the teacher/student thing, and it all seems to be a one-time thing before Aria takes him up on coffee. Is Jake her rebound?
Mrs. DiLaurentis fills in the blanks: Alison's mother (Andrea Parker) flashes back to a lunch conversation she shared with her manipulative daughter, recalling Alison's desire to have a sleepover at their Cape May beach rental (though she never invited Hanna, Aria, Emily and Spencer). The beer cans Mrs. D found clued her in that Alison was hanging with an older crowd and perhaps with a man (that would be Detective Wilden). Though Mrs. D recalls that she denied Alison of said sleepover, Alison used a stunt ("perfected," Mrs. D says, "when she was five") to get her way. Earlier, Hanna notices that Alison's parrot, Tippy, sounds oddly like Alison. Creepy? Yes. Significant? Of course. (Plus, who knew Alison had a parrot?) Later, Spencer realizes that the "song" Tippy is singing is actually a phone number -- but "A" gets the bird before the girls can begin to decipher it. Is this the key piece of information the Liars have been looking for to solve Alison's death?
Emily vs. Shana: At a swim meet, Emily (Shay Mitchell) -- competing with a bum shoulder after saving Mona (Janel Parrish) and Aria from "A" -- takes some painkillers to dull the unpleasant feeling, which nearly costs her. With Paige (Lindsay Shaw) already set with a Stanford scholarship, there is only one left -- and Shana (Aerial Miranda) wants in on it, too. The painkillers affect Emily's ability to successfully win the race, instead, knocking her head on the wall. Ouch. Looks like Shana won this round.
What is Ashley Marin up to? Something's up with Hanna's mother (Laura Leighton), who wasn't in New York City the night of Wilden's disappearance/murder. The key to Hanna (Ashley Benson) putting two and two together? The muddy Manolos that her mother had with her. (Turns out, Wilden's footprints weren't the only prints found -- there were other high-heel footprints.) At the end of the episode, Ashley is seen throwing out her dirty Manolos with "A" presumably watching her every move.
- "This is Mona ... she started lying when she was a fetus." -- Aria
What are your thoughts on Pretty Little Liars' "Turn of the Shoe"?
Pretty Little Liars airs at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays on ABC Family.