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'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Double deus ex machina

February 1, 2011 |  8:32 am


After last week’s dance-a-thon brought out the worst in the Rosewood High gang (not to mention the evil machinations of A), it was perhaps inevitable that this week’s episode would be a bit less eventful. But this week, it seemed like “Liars” was seriously off its game. Sure, Emily had some more tough luck with a vengeful swim team member, and Hanna had to deal with more of A’s meddling, but this week’s “Liars” fell into a trap that it usually is skillful at avoiding: Too many parental intrigues, too little of A, not to mention an all too neat ending to Hanna’s crisis of conscience. Plus, a less than subtle comparison of A’s bullying tactics to Hitler and an awkwardly placed plug for the new Bieber movie. 

Most of the episode revolved around a series of close calls that didn’t feel very suspenseful at all. Aria, using her most sneaky “pinning a secret note on my shirt” tactics, invites Ezra to an art opening in Philadelphia for a proper date. A plants Hanna’s new mission via a creepy Mother’s Day card — sabotage Aria and Ezra’s relationship by giving another art opening ticket to Aria’s mom, and some of that lasagna box money will get back to Hanna’s mother. Oh, and also — Mrs. Potter, the woman Hanna’s mom “borrowed” from? Yeah, she made an unexpected appointment with the bank this week. 

It all seems like Aria and Ezra are heading to inevitable, horrible discovery when fate — or maybe A? — steps in. Enterprising cellphone hijacking new kid disables Ella’s car as a mysterious favor to Hanna. Instead of facilitating the end of Ezra and Aria’s tryst, the opening starts things up again between Aria’s parents. And that problem with Mrs. Potter was conveniently solved when she happened to die from a heart attack on the same day. I sure hope that was another of A’s evil helpful twists; otherwise the soap opera factor is almost too much to bear.  

Meanwhile, Emily’s swim team buddy Paige is gunning for her, sniping that Emily’s fondness “for the breast stroke” might hurt her chances at being captain. She also might be connected to A: the beaded bracelets she gifted to the team appear to be made by the same woman who duplicated Alison’s. Spencer checks out the bead boutique to find a dead end.

But there were a few interesting Alison-related developments this episode. Jason, Alison’s ex-addict brother, reveals that he and Ian were getting high for most of the summer that Alison was killed. And it turns out that Spencer’s shadow was the one behind Alison in the picture A so courteously provided them. What do you think about Jason? My bets are still on Ian as A… for now. Let’s hope next week’s episode brings more revelations and fewer groan-inducing puns. 

--Margaret Eby

Photo: Emily confronts her swim team nemesis, Paige. Credit: ABC Family