Pretty Little Liars: “A Is For A-L-I-V-E” As Seen By Someone Who’s Never Seen The Show

Pretty Little Liars is a super complicated show with a cultish fanbase, so naturally a person who’s never seen the show should recap the fourth season premiere. Let’s do this.

We start the episode with a recap of what’s happened before. It looks exciting. There are people coming back from the dead. People wearing hoods. People at a masquerade. There are 90 lbs girls pushing cars into large bodies of water. The word “bitch” is thrown around. This should be most enjoyable.

Okay, so now the episode.  Five pretty girls open a car trunk and are horrified to discover a dead pig, which only tells me as a new viewer that none of them has ever been to a pig roast. Someone named A has sent them via text what appears to be either a threat or a sext or both. Then the camera cuts back and only four pretty girls are standing there. The fifth, named Mona, is sitting in the car and this freaks the other four out. Mona does some computer whiz thing and claims to be saving one of their mothers.

Then, the girls hurry away to someone’s house. Oh, and I think the lead girls are Ashley Benson from Spring Breakers, Lucy Hale, the guy who produced Quantum Leap’s daughter, and some girl who’s name on the show is Emily. The Mona girl is so not their friend. They threaten to beat Mona up and then Mona gets all weird and claims that the Emily girl used to be the weakest and then Mona made her strong. Mona is weird. Mona thinks she’s a Jedi Master.

Quantum Leap’s daughter suggests they play a game with Mona called “The Third Degree”. Mona starts confessing things about towers and massages. She was on a lot of meds. A lot of things are being floated so I feel like Anne Hathaway in The Devils Wears Prada after Meryl Streep gives her a list of important tasks and she’s all, “There was something about a pony!” Someone named CeCe is mentioned and a small part of me wishes I was watching New Girl.

Cut to morning. The girls don’t know if they fell asleep or were drugged, which I think means either they were drugged or they get drugged on such a regular basis they don’t know what natural sleep feels like anymore. Mona brings them their favorite coffee which I guess is nice, if not also creepy. Then Mona gets peer pressured into taking the girls to her lair.

En route to the lair, the girls pass by the crime scene where they found the dead pig. There’s also a conventionally attractive dead guy on the ground named Wheaton or Wharton. The girls are shocked. Also, the girls allude to the fact that A has framed them for Wharton College’s murder. They drive onwards to the lair.

(I can’t believe we’re only like five minutes into this show. More stuff has happened in five minutes than in all of the seasons of Mad Men.)

We see some menacingly cute guy stalking through the woods while playing with a lighter. Smokey the Bear would be distressed. He sees the cops rummaging through a burnt down house/shack/building of some sort and gets scared. I guess this guy is an arsonist? He has the eyebrows for it.

Anyway, Mona’s lair is a trailer filled with masks and doll faces. Someone named Alison is mentioned. Mona is trying to prove she wasn’t the Phantom of the Opera at a masquerade ball they all went to. She’s showing the girls video footage that shows that dead Wharton College was the Phantom, but that there were also TWO Phantoms. WHOA. She says one of the Phantoms was someone’s sister, but before it can be proved, the video cuts out and it looks like the ominous A person has hacked into Mona’s computer and is deleting all the files.

The girls leave the trailer when they hear prettier, littler liars outside saying names like Alison and Aria. The little girls playing in the trailer park look like creepy dopplegangers of the older girls and have American Girl dolls from Hell that are named for each of the five girls. One little girl tells them that their new friend Alison gave them to them. Creepy.

Ashley Benson (whom I have now surmised is named Hannah) is talking to someone on the phone whom Emily thinks is someone named Caleb. Alas, the person was not a dude. It was creepy Mona. Hannah is going to help Mona get rid of the trailer lair of bodiless dolls, which Emily is worried about because Emily thinks Mona is playing them. Mona is compared to Hannibal Lecter and now I wish I was watching Will Graham sweating in his underpants on Hannibal. Hannah explains that if there’s one thing she learned from her mother it’s to keep her friends close and her enemies closer, which I’m guessing means her mother was emotionally distant.

A mother figure comes in and is sad about Wharton College (or Wheldon??? What the Hell kind of name…) being dead. There’s some sort of gossip that worries the girls. Mother figure leaves. Hannah says Alison pulled them out of the fire.

Cut to Quantum Leap going through the burned down house with Arson Eyebrows. They’re looking for something. I bet they’re looking for something creepy. Oh! Quantum Leap’s name is Spencer. I bet her dad wanted to name her Tracy, but her mom wanted something more unisex.

So, Alison is dead, but Spencer and Arson Eyebrows (who’s name is Toby), are wondering if she’s alive and waiting to come home. They realize they’re being watched, but whoever it was leaves before they find out who it is.

Emily goes to someone moving into an old house–their old house. A gift basket is given. I think the lady moving into the house is Alison’s mom. Emily helps the mom move Alison’s old things back into the house, which is a really good sign that either the mom hasn’t gone through the grief process for her dead child or Alison is still alive.

Hannah is meeting Mona and they are locking the trailer up. Hannah’s pants are really shiny and really red. Hannah notices Mona locked the trailer up with KEYS! Whoa! Radical! And then says there’s stuff in the trailer that “could bring us down.” I think Hannah is referring to her group of friends, but Mona thinks she means them as a duo. (Off topic, but perhaps on: Is Mona a lesbian? Is she in love with Hannah?)

Aria (Lucy Hale) is acting awkward city with this older hot guy, so I assume they’ve slept together and he’s probably a teacher. He has a new job. She wants to see him again (AKA MAKE OUT WITH HIS FACE). He has a family and wants her to move on, but she’s not ready because of HIS FACE.

Spencer and Arson Eyebrows (I don’t care that he’s Toby. He’s Arson Eyebrows.) are talking about Wheldon College’s death. He was a detective and there’s no alibi for them. Spencer and Arson are dating evidently and Arson is good at breakfast. A is texting mean things to Arson, but Arson doesn’t want Spencer to know.

There’s some mopey Gossip Girl style conversation between Aria and Emily I don’t care about. (Wait, is Wharton College’s name Willdon???) Then, Creepy Mona and Hannah have a conversation with more Sapphic undertones about shopping at Macy’s.

Aria is then called to the Vice Principal’s office where she is shown that he has photos of her sleeping with the hot teacher. The teacher is getting arrested for being too hot. Tears, my friends. Oh the tears.

Oh wait! It was a nightmare sequence. The Vice Principal just wanted to give Aria papers for her mom to sign. Still, the nightmare sequence was a nightmare, and to spare hot teacher, Aria texts him that she does want to see other people.

The moral is if you love something, let it go before it can be arrested for statutory rape.

Some brunette girl is trying to convince Emily to go to Stanford with her because it’s far away from where they live and it’s far away from A. OH THEY ARE LESBIANS. OKAY. Good to know.

Mona is flirting with Hannah post their shopping trip, but Hannah clearly isn’t a lesbian, which might be awkward for Mona, but then Mona mentions someone named Noel she used to date. Creepy Mona calls Hannah out on pretending to be her friend and offers her the data-chip-thing and claims it’s the only copy. She then adds, “I really loved you once and I really was your friend.”

Back to the out lesbians… Emily kisses her California Dream goodbye and is met by some creepy brunette with a burn on her hand. They talk about things I can’t understand and some guy named Darren and Arson Eyebrows is mentioned.

Spencer Tracy sees Alison’s mom staring at her from across the street and then gets a message from A on her iPad. The message reveals that Wharton College’s name is Darren Wilden (and now a lot more things make sense) and that Wilden’s open casket will expose their secrets.

A really good MSMR song starts to play at Wilden’s funeral. The four girls come stalking down the street in sexy black dresses like they’re there to party and not see a dead body in a box. Someone  at the funeral is wearing a black veil, so that’s weird. The four girls then worry about what might be in the casket, so they decide to split up and find the casket before the funeral.

Spencer Tracy finds the casket–but Creepy Mona is in the room with the casket, too. The dead guy’s phone starts ringing, so the girls open the casket and ransack the corpse to find his phone. They find a number contact named “Kisses” and call it. Hannah picks up and is all, “Yo. Why are you calling me on my mom’s phone?”


Hannah worries that her mom is A’s target and some woman named Mrs. D comes over to the girls, asks them to sit with her at the funeral and tells Hannah she’s lucky she’s not fat anymore. We still don’t know who is wearing the black veil.

Arson Eyebrows is following A’s text instructions and he has a flashback to some pretty girl flirting with him in an emotionally exploitive way while his mother (who may either be drunk or has dementia or doesn’t know how to read time) crashes the scene. Arson Eyebrows tells his mom he’s worried she has a problem while the pretty girl watches. The mom’s like, “Whatever. Cool. I don’t have a problem. I’ll get you some Dunkaroos.” The pretty girl makes fun of Arson’s mom and he asks her to leave.

The girls are leaving the funeral and we still don’t know who was wearing the black veil. A discount Adam Scott walks up to them and introduces himself as a cop investigating Wilden’s murder and acts all nice and like he’s going to help them by finding out the truth. As soon as he leaves, the four girls all get texts from A letting them know the truth won’t set them free. Creepy Mona got the same text. The girls also get a video showing that all five of them were at the scene of the crime.

The last scene is the person in the veil putting a creepy doll on a shelf with some other creepy dolls and then removing the veil to reveal a half burned mask.

I don’t know what I just watched, but I think I’m done with dolls for a while. See you next week!


[Photo Credit: ABC Family]