One of the things that makes "Pretty Little Liars" more interesting than your average teen drama is its odd mixture of familiar high school drama — a spoiled party, a crushed would-be lover — with disturbing plot twists. Shows like "Gossip Girl" and "Degrassi" touch on issues and then just as quickly back away, masking any tension with a quick, relatively neat resolution and some witty lunchroom banter. On "Liars," there are no innocents. The girls may have reformed now, but as Alison’s “17th century torture brigade” (Lucas’ apt description) they did some nasty things that we just keep finding out about. The lingering sense of distrust in all the characters never really goes away, and the secrets — when they’re revealed — can actually be terrible. (Think about Serena’s I-almost-killed-someone-no-wait-never-mind episode versus when the ladies reveal that they firebombed Toby and Jenna.) Though this week’s installment lacked the punch of the season premiere, the balance of frivolous and truly creepy was still very much present.
Hanna, back from the hospital and still somehow unable to borrow a big ol’ Sharpie to erase A’s message from her cast, gets a message from A when she finds the money her mother stole invested pretty unwisely in their old noodle boxes. This is a curious tell — is A watching Hanna’s mother too, or has he been bugging the house? (I would throw away that toy panda bear. Its eyes still seem suspiciously camera-like to me.) Later, when Mona gives a sort-of-well-meaning surprise party to Hanna to welcome her back, the money ends up missing, with a note to Hanna inside one of her pill bottles: Do what I say and the money will be returned (via unnerving clown bank, if the ending had anything to do with it). Another weird A move — usually he just tortures and doesn’t ask. Could it be a copycat? And that means that A is definitely one of the high school kids at the party, right?