Pretty Little Liars Recap: Alison Panics As The Liars Are Forced To Get Violent

Truth rating: 10
PLL Recap

By Shari Weiss


(ABC Family)

“Pretty Little Liars” on Tuesday featured Alison panicking over the state of the group, a scary confrontation between Spencer and Noel, and Emily discovering a big betrayal… all while Hanna and Aria remained at odds.

The ninth episode of season 5, called “March of Crimes,” kicked off right after Ali’s revelation that she had Noel impersonate A and break into Hanna’s home so someone would believe she’s in danger. Spencer was furious at Ali’s scheme, and tempers flared when she found out Spence was “shadowing me like I’m the enemy.”

“She’s clearly gone rogue,” Spencer said of Ali, as she debated with Emily whether she and Noel were responsible for other recent incidents with A. Hanna, walking in on the fighting, drank openly in front of the pals, and Emily expressed alarm over Spencer’s eye injury from the horse freakout. When Emily left, she found Noel in his car listening to a strange recording of Ali fighting with Shauna.

Hanna was clearly hungover the next morning, and gave her mom an excuse about not attending that night’s engagement party for Aria’s mom Ella and fiancé Zach. Throwing down her bag, Hanna’s flask went flying, prompting Ashley to assume her daughter was turning to drinking because she was fearful about Ali’s kidnapper still being on the lose, totally not getting that she was actually pissed about her former BFF’s return taking up residence in her bedroom.

At school, Detective Tanner grilled Aria about her relationship with Ezra, and she was forced to defend his past, saying he didn’t “serial date students.” Tanner, however, was suspicious at to whether he had an intimate relationship with Shauna, perhaps wondering about the connection between his shooting and her death. She was clearly thrown off by Tanner’s questions, and Ella told Aria that she can’t “lose [her] cool” in those situations, pointing out that sometimes people have “blind spots when it comes to those they love.”

Ali was panicked that Aria was being questioned, and that Aria was fighting with Hanna, who was also giving Ali the cold shoulder. Such a sordid web they weaved! “If one of us falls, we all fall,” a worried Ali told Spencer. “And A wins.” Emily officially interviewed for the swim coach position, and won the job, and snuck back into the office after to find out Noel’s locker combination and obtain his car keys.

Spencer went to Caleb’s cabin to discuss Hanna being a “mess” since he came back to town, and made a vague slip about Hanna being upset about Zach, but largely put the blame on him. “She’s a loose cannon, and you’re supplying her with gun powder,” Spencer told him. When she tried to tie his own out-of-character behavior to his time in Ravenswood, Caleb snapped that she doesn’t know the first thing about what happened there (and, ugh, neither do we anymore). But Spence told him, “I always thought you were the best thing to ever happen to Hanna, and it’s really hard to watch you fight whatever is eating at you like this.”

Ali tried to make small talk with Hanna at school, but she lashed out, yelling, “Your stupid stunts affect a lot of people,” and demanding to be left alone… and for Ali to live with someone else (see photo above). Just as Ali sadly said, “What’s happening to us? Our group is falling apart,” none other than Jenna waked in. The pair exchanged fake pleasantries, including pointed sympathies about Shauna’s death and the break-in, and Jenna told her, “It must be hard to come back here knowing someone’s still after you.” Ali wanted to know how Jenna turned Shauna against her, but Jenna said it was Ali’s own doing, leaving her further confused and scared.

Meanwhile, in Noel’s car, Emily found surveillance photos of Alison from the past two years, as well as a tape recorder, but was interrupted by a call from a panicked Spencer, who was blurry-eyed at the ophthalmologist’s office but managed to see Jenna with another “blind” girl — clearly Sydney. Emily was distracted by her discovery, however, and then Spencer made one of her own: the eye chart lit up to read, CANUSEEMEA.

At home, Aria joined Zach in party prep, and when she mentioned that Hanna wouldn’t be attending, he asked why but didn’t really take her bait. Emily finally joined Spencer at the doctor’s office, just in time to see Sydney with Jenna and confront her, but Jenna did the talking for her, making Em and Spence get angrier and angrier. “How long is it going to take you both to realize you’re nervous around the wrong person?” said Jenna. “I’m not Alison.”

A depressed Hanna went to Caleb’s after school, where she immediately began drinking and dodging his questions about why they’re not going to Ella and Zach’s party. Caleb continued to nudge, and Hanna revealed Zach is a “gross” “sleaze” who gave her his number, but no one believed her. “Why am I the one who feels like crawling into a hole and never coming out of it?” she exclaimed, but Caleb was firmly on her side.

At the same time, Aria asked Ella if she was sure she wanted to marry Zach, and she immediately asked her daughter if he was “inappropriate” with her. Aria said not her, but Hanna, and was surprised that her mom immediately went there, leading Ella to confess that there was an incident before they returned to Rosewood that she excused away as “pre-wedding jitters”… and now, clearly, that was a mistake.

Meanwhile, Caleb went to the café to confront Zach, who claimed it was a “misunderstanding,” that Hanna took things the wrong way and was simply “embarrassed.” To prove his case, he handed Caleb a note that Hanna supposedly left for Zach, saying she was sorry for being shy and “promised” to make it up to him. Caleb didn’t believe Hanna actually wrote it, and punched Zach in the jaw before walking out. When he returned home where Hanna was waiting, he was forced to admit the punch when he needed ice for his hand, and then showed her the note. He theorized that A had gotten involved and written the note, which was what prompted Zach to get in her car and think they were on the same page, and both were freaked by A continuing to mess with them.

Sydney went to tearfully apologize to Emily, who declared, “Why would I ever trust anything you ever said again?” Sydney claimed that she and Jenna met years ago at a school for the seeing-impaired and became friends, insisting that their relationship is nothing more than her trying to provide comfort to someone who feels alone, and that she truly didn’t mean to join Jenna’s side in their war. Emily, however, wasn’t buying it one bit, furious that Sydney misrepresented herself, and vowed to keep the coaching job so she could watch her every move and know what it feels like to be “sucker-punched.”

Spencer was panicked over the photos Emily uncovered, since they “decimate” Ali’s kidnapping story, and took her investigating to a creepy house, where she thought she saw something move under a sheet, and lifted it up to discover a terrifying Noel. He demanded his belongings back, and confessed that he actually stole them from Jenna, who had received them from Shauna, and was now keeping them should Ali ever turn on him. (Got all that?!) “Our friend likes to throw away people when she is done with them, and I want to be prepared,” he said. “It’s not blackmail. It’s insurance, in case she turns on me.”

Noel went on to reveal that he was in Toby’s house on Ali’s orders minutes before the explosion, in order to steal the material, and he was left wondering if it wasn’t a coincidence that the bomb went off right after. He then tried to physically force Spence to hand the stuff over, but she stabbed his hand with a fireplace iron, warning him, “You try that again, and I swear I’ll slit your face open.”

Aria went to Caleb’s to apologize to Hanna for not believing her about Zach, saying it had less to do with her, and more about wanting so badly to believe that her mom could be happy again. They resealed their friendship with a tearful hug at the same time Ali and Hanna’s mom returned to Ashley’s home after having found out the engagement party had been canceled. Their talk was interrupted by a call from Detective Tanner, who revealed they caught the person who broke in, supposedly the same person who was after Ali from the very start of the saga, and wanted her to come to the station to answer questions.

Meanwhile, Aria’s dad Byron returned home from his trip to find Ella crying and not at her party, leading her to reveal she’s no longer engaged. He tried to comfort her, reflecting on their happier times together, and telling her that Zach doesn’t “deserve” her, and she responded by sobbing into his arms.

The episode then jumped to the police station, where Tanner was questioning the suspect, a gritty man never seen before onscreen. Ali stared through the window intensely, as the guy described kidnapping and assaulting her, matching her story pretty much exactly. Ashley asked her if he was indeed the guy responsible, but before she could answer, the ep cut to A being creepy at the doctor’s office and playing a recording of Ali’s kidnapping story. ReAlly weird! Do you think the suspect is in cahoots with Ali — or is someone messing with her?

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