Pretty Little Liars Recap: Aria Makes A Confession to Ezra, Emily and Paige Clash, Mona Taunts Hanna as Ali Grieves Loss
On Tuesday’s “Pretty Little Liars,” the girls had a rough adjustment to Alison’s full-time return to Rosewood, as each of them clashed with someone else over Ali’s reappearance. The episode, called “Surfing the Aftershocks,” picked up with a shell-shocked Ali grieving the sudden loss of her mom, Mrs. DiLaurentis, whose body was found buried in their yard during last week’s installment.
As Ali’s father Kenneth demanded that her brother Jason assure there will be no press or police at the funeral, Spencer noted that their friend is “going to bury the woman who buried her.” “The question is,” said Emily, “who buried Ali’s mom in Jason’s backyard.” Spencer insisted Jason had nothing to do with Ali or Mrs. D’s disappearances, and Aria remained scared that A was still in the mix, despite Shauna’s death. When Ali came out wearing her mother’s dress, Kenneth reacted angrily, leaving her tearfully stunned. The funeral itself was not shown to viewers.
Back at school after the recent tumultuous events in New York and at home, the principal told the Liars that he will try to “protect” them from prying press and curious classmates, but asked the girls to “keep the disruptions to a minimum.” Spencer, again insisting to her doubtful pals that her Jason was not involved in any of the mysterious events, confessed that she’s most worried about the people who know the truth about their time in Manhattan: Ezra, Mona, and Noel. Aria said she refused to talk to a still-recovering Erza, and was then surprised to find out from none other than Mona that he’s out of the hospital and back home. Mona went on to taunt both her and Hanna about Ali’s return.
Emily and Paige had an awkward run-in, the first since their breakup over Ali’s reemergence, and then had an even more awkward exchange with new swimmer Sydney Driscoll, who recently transferred to Rosewood High and wanted Emily to mentor her. As Spencer spied on Jason and Kenneth, her sister Melissa made clear she suspected their half-brother Jason was responsible for his mother’s death. Spence tried to confront Melissa for her lie about seeing Toby in Paris, but Melissa deflected the topic and demanded her younger sis stay away from the DiLaurentis family, saying she wished Ali never returned.
At the funeral home with Hanna to get the guest book from the service, Ali noticed a strange mark on a painting, and the chapel director confused the two girls, leading Ali to make a snide remark about it previously being easier to tell them apart, a nod to Hanna’s weight loss during the time she was gone. The episode then flashed back several years to two months after Ali’s disappearance, as Hanna drowned her emotions in food, and Mona, having now made her transformation from nerd to glam prep, offered to help her become “unforgettable.”
Back in the present day, Spencer’s father Mr. Hastings expressed interest in selling their home so they would no longer be next to the DiLaurentiises, but insisted that “stay or go, we’re done with that family.” Spencer pointed out they’ll “always be connected to that family,” since Jason is his kid, too, but an angry Mr. Hastings made clear he didn’t care.
A nervous Aria decided to go see Ezra at his apartment, where he revealed he has a caregiver who visits every day, calling him “her favorite gunshot victim.” Ezra acknowledged that he earlier promised her he wouldn’t return to Rosewood, but said he had nowhere else to go. He was already aware of Ali’s lies to the police, claiming she was kidnapped for two years and her friends rescued her in Philly, and seemed upset that they now had to stick to her story. Ezra also knew about Mrs. D’s murder, but expressed doubt that Shauna was responsible for the death, even though he believed her to be A. Aria didn’t reveal that Shauna, too, was dead, and Ezra told her to be careful before thanking her for stopping by. “I wanted to see you,” she told him.
At their mentor session the next day, Emily and Sydney were interrupted by Paige, who seemed quite jealous and testily alluded to their relationship, leaving Sydney perplexed. Hanna had another flashback to Mona helping her with a makeover after slimming down, during which Mona convinced her try on one of Ali’s old shirts. “See, everything’s better with a friend,” Mona told her. In the current timeline, Aria told Ali that Ezra won’t tell the truth about her disappearance, leading to an uncomfortable exchange about Ezria’s romance, and Aria warned that she should be more concerned with Mona. Hanna and Emily returned to the sketchy apartment building where they followed Jason to in last week’s ep, and questioned the creepy man about Jason’s time there, learning that the place was actually a sober house of sorts. Hanna was disappointed that now they were back to having no leads at all.
Meanwhile, Jason told Spencer he was leaving town, saying his home feels “haunted” with both Ali and his dad’s return, plus his mom’s death, going on to say his mother’s “secrets” are what “killed her.” Spencer showed him the unsent email from Mrs. D saying “I can’t protect you anymore” at the very same time Hanna and Emily wondered who she planned to send it to.
Hanna then flashed back to making her debut as the new version of herself, turning heads as she strutted down the school hallway with Mona, before, in the present day, asking Emily what it was like to come out. Emily explained that she was just becoming who she always really was, having been unable to admit it before, and Hanna said she “never knew who the hell I was.”
Spencer theorized to Jason that the intended recipient of Mrs. D’s email may have been the same person who killed her, and that there’s a lot of potential “nasty” suspects. Jason didn’t want to address the issue, asking her whether she wanted to be right or happy, and Spencer said she’s never had the option of making that choice. “Cut your losses, Spencer,” he told her. “Get out while you still can. And remember you can’t trust him… Our father.”
At Ezra’s apartment, Ali thanked him for saving them in New York, and said they were scared he would die and she was happy he didn’t. Ali said she read nearly all of his manuscript, given to her by Aria, and suspected that Ezra had more writing about her that he had yet to share. He said if he did have anything else, the only reason he hadn’t burned it yet was because he’d want to have it in case it could some day help Aria, and he demanded she tell Aria about the visit.
At the coffee shop, Hanna confronted Mona about knowing Ali was alive during their “glamour boot camp.” “You didn’t help me. You changed me,” Hanna told her. “Ali was gone but you wanted her back.” But Mona retorted that Hanna should express “gratitude” for the “Ali upgrade.”
Spencer later told Aria she now thinks that Mrs. D’s email might’ve been to her father, theorizing that instead of killing Ali like she thought she had done that infamous night, she might’ve killed the girl who was mistaken for Ali and now rests in her gave, with her parents and Mrs. D trying to cover it up for the last two years. Aria was unsure, and became emotional as she revealed she’s still struggling with killing Shauna.
In the dark of night, Ali was walking the streets when Mr. Hastings approached her and questioned why she was out alone in this hour, given everything that’s happened. Ali seemed scared to be talking to him, and more so when he offered to give her a ride home. At the same time, Emily was surprised to find Paige waiting for her outside her own home, and Paige cried about their failed relationship. “All I can say is I love you,” she told Em, who didn’t return the sentiment but said she “deserved the best of everything”… to which Paige replied, “That’s what I had.”
Spencer’s dad finally came home, and when she asked where he was, he didn’t mention anything about Ali. She showed him Mrs. D’s letter and questioned why it was written but not sent, but Mr. Hastings insisted the missive didn’t mean anything. Melissa interrupted, saying Mrs. D was crazy, and when she started to say “Dad, maybe we should tell her,” he cut her off and demanded Spencer leave. “You can’t lie about something you don’t know anything about,” he cryptically told Spence.
Back at Ezra’s apartment, he expressed surprise to see Aria again, and she said she had intended to warn him about Ali, but Ali ended up visiting him before she could. Aria explained that she actually came now to tell him something else, though. “You don’t have to worry about Shauna anymore. Because she’s dead. And I know that she’s dead. Because I killed her,” she confessed. Aria gave the briefest recap of what happened and was clearly distressed, and Ezra asked how he could help her.
At a hair salon, Hanna wanted to ditch her blond locks and dye her hair a different color, saying it’s “time for a change”… as Mona looked on from a clouded window, joined by an unidentifiable female. Interestingly, Ali wasn’t seen again in the episode after her run-in with Mr. Hastings. What do you think of tonight’s episode?