Pretty Little Liars Season 3, Episode 16: ‘Misery Loves Company’

Previous episode recap, in 140 characters:

DAD IS EVIL, TOBY IS EVIL, MEREDITH IS GOOD? MONA IS SMARTER THAN SPENCER, ALSO: MORE EVIL THAN SPENCER. PAIGE IS LOSING IT, EMILY WORST GF.
— Rembert Browne (@rembert) January 23, 2013


The episode starts off with our Liars huddled around, talking, with Aria still bedridden. This “magic potion” that her new BFF Meredith is giving her seems to be making her drowsier by the hour, which leads the cynic to believe that MAYBE IT’S NOT MAGIC AFTER ALL.

MAYBE IT’S NEW-BFF POISON.

Probably not, but you never know. Anyway, they keep chatting (while, of course, someone seems to be looking at them from outside the house — the now commonplace Pretty Little Liars camera angle) and Aria expresses that Meredith seems to be as devastated by all of this as she is. Before we leave them, Aria says, in reference to the possibility of her dad doing something bad to Ali, “This is one family secret I can’t keep.”

Intense.

Equally intense: the music blaring out of the -A lair. Who’s present? Well, we’ve got this jerk:

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And this beautiful disaster:

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Toby and Mona are plotting something, with the former saying that Spencer’s still lying about no longer being in contact with -A. Whatever they’re plotting, Toby thinks it’s being rushed, but Mona replies with “I told you, I’m not the one calling the shots.”

So -A is bigger than Mona. That’s terrifying. Maybe -A is the phone company. Like, Verizon or something. I don’t know. Just guessing at this point.

After a quick scene with Emily over at Toby’s spot (which looks like the nicest loft; super jealous of the -A money he’s apparently rolling in), we see OMG Spring Breakers Ashley Benson Hanna and her Caleb/Riggins. Well, Hanna sees him, but he doesn’t see her as he takes a cryptic phone call. The subject of the call: Mona and not letting anyone hurt Hanna. Seems like he’s also a-plotting.

When Hanna asks about the phone call, in horrible Riggins-lying fashion, he says that it was his mom. She doesn’t believe him, but eventually just makes him promise to not do anything stupid. She knows something’s up, but is unsure about what it is.

Next we see Spencer and her evil man (this is starting to get sad, because she’s so falling in love and he’s so trying to kill her). He’s shirtless, because he’s turned into the Usher Raymond/LL Cool J figure of this show, and Spencer is getting ready in her traditionally fantastic Spencer-wear.

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Apparently, when they get dressed, they set up this door partition, which I find to be the most hilarious thing ever.

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KIDS THESE DAYS, RIGHT?

Anyway, today is their anniversary. But Spencer has to go to some dinner honoring her dad, so they can’t celebrate until the following day. Both parties appear to be sad (TOBY ISN’T SAD, SINCE HE HATH NO SOUL). After Spencer discovers a hole in Toby’s pants pocket (this is too weird of a detail to not become important later on), Spencer’s Mariska-like mom walks in on the shirtless bag of evil standing with her daughter.

She tells Spencer that she can’t skip the dinner, Spencer’s bummed at Mom, Toby leaves, and then:

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SURPRISE.

Mom was in on a plan the whole time. Apparently, Spencer is NOT going to the dinner and actually surprising Toby with an anniversary dinner. This is terribly cute. Spencer’s excited, and more than anything, Mom (who so often has been a point of strife in both her daughter’s life and mine) is thrilled. LOOK AT THIS PROUD MOMFACE WHEN SHE LEAVES THE ROOM:

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It’s just so beautiful.

After this mother-daughter love fest, we see Aria, still sleeping, with Meredith snooping around the room. She’s looking for something. Aria wakes up, and Meredith goes back into “Are you OK? Here, DRINK MORE OF THIS MAGIC POISON” mode. They keep talking, and then Meredith asks about the pages. Apparently, the sleep-death elixer kicked in too quickly, however, because Aria never answers. Meredith doesn’t look surprised by this sudden fit of sleep, further proof that she’s 100 percent slipping her something to keep her asleep, so she can snoop around. This is real bad.

It’s now lunchtime, and Emily and Paige are eating together. Emily asks if Paige has taken any steps to see anyone for her anxiety, and Paige says that she’s actually going to talk to someone this afternoon. Emily’s pleased. While this is happening, however, Hanna rolls over and steals Emily away from Paige, saying that it’s important.

They break off, and Hanna says she needs Emily to follow Riggins after school to see where he’s going. Hanna normally would, but she has an interview, Spencer is surprising Darth Toby, and Aria is getting poisoned. She knows he’s up to something, she just doesn’t know what. Emily obviously doesn’t want to do this (“I’m not in the CIA, Hanna”) but after a few guilt trips, she reluctantly agrees. Because she’s a Liar. And “Liars Never Say Die No To Trailing Other Liars’ Boyfriends.”

Inside the school, we see poisoner Meredith track down Aria’s mom. She tells mom that she swung by the house to check on Aria and that “SHE’S DOING MUCH BETTER.”

So yes, with that, Meredith is officially bad. Know that.

When Mom walks away, she immediately calls Aria (because she’s a good mom and still not trusting of Meredith). Two seconds later, Aria’s phone rings.

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BUT MEREDITH HAS THE PHONE.

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NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

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AHHHHHHHHHH.

After this horrible scene, a fun little pop song comes on as we see our non-drugged-up Liars in action. Emily is preparing to trail Riggins, but almost gets spotted by Mona. Spencer is setting the scene for the surprise. (But not in her kitchen, so maybe Toby’s?) In addition to dinner and WINE, there’s also a Scrabble board set up complete with messaging:

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I see “I Love You,” “Goofball,” and of course, “Glyceraldehyde.” That’s love, people.

Before we leave Spencer, however, she opens a drawer and we see something that she misses:

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A FAKE TOBY ID FOR THE RADLEY SANITARIUM.

That is not good. If Spencer sees that, she might start to figure it out. Very torn over whether I want her to find it, because on one hand it means their fake love will end, but on the other hand, it may mean that she won’t die at dinner in a few hours. TORN.

Finally, there’s Hanna. She shows up for her job interview with “Corine” and no one is to be found in the studio. And then the lights go out. And then a hooded figure comes across the screen. THIS IS A HORRIBLE JOB INTERVIEW.

She starts running away from the hooded person, weaving through all of these creepy white faceless mannequins:

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And then:

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-A strikes again. But not before he/she drops something. A key of some sorts. One that would fall out if someone, say, HAD A HOLE IN HIS PANTS POCKET.

Do better, Toby. It’s like you’re trying to get caught.

After Hanna’s spill, we head back to Emily’s CIA mission, during which she sees Riggins in the coffee shop, seemingly waiting on someone. Trying not to get spotted, Emily continues to wait, but then gets a text saying she’s needed. Leaving the scene, she never gets to see who Rigs is meeting with.

WE DO, THOUGH:

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Oh, hello, Paige and Riggins. Nice to see you, too.

The meeting makes sense, though. They’re both tired of -A meddling in their lives and they’re both scared that their significant others are in danger. And they plan on stopping -A, even if it means doing it behind their lovers’ backs. It’s honorable, and definitely the right move, but this cannot end well.

After a quick “Have fun tonight, Spencer” scene with our conscious Liars, we go to drugged Aria, who is sleeping through some woman going through her room. Finally, after drawers have been examined and bags have been looked through, the woman, probably Meredith (we never see her face, only her CYAN PANTS), begins to walk out with a doll that was hidden. Aria wakes up, groggy, asks what the person is doing, and then:

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AHHHHH GHOST ALI IS BACK OR IS SHE REAL I DON’T KNOW SHE LOOKS SO REAL.

Ali looks at Aria and says, “I’m coming to take back what’s mine.” Aria’s confused, doesn’t know if it’s a dream, asks if it’s a dream, and GHOST/REAL ALI says, “I’m more real than I’ve ever been.”

Way to give the girl LSD, Meredith. WAY TO GO.

Back to the PCP dream, and Aria’s sitting as Ali talks about everything. She says she sees -A everywhere, as do the girls (in addition to saying “I’m surprised Spencer hasn’t figured that out” — a line, one has to believe, that’s less about her smarts and more about Toby).

And then GHOST/REAL ALI admits to blackmailing Aria’s dad. Then, getting super real, Aria asks if her dad killed her. Ali:

“Do I look dead to you?”

WHAT IS GOING ON?

And then GHOST/REAL ALI tells Aria not to drink any more of Meredith’s Satan Tea.

GHOST/REAL ALI leaves, and then Aria wakes up. (I think?) She reaches for the tea, but then remembers that it’s probably Meredith poison, and puts it down. And then she tries to leave her room, but it’s locked. She’s trapped. Meredith is probably about to kill her.

But where’s Meredith? Hanna and Emily accidentally find her at the pharmacy, like a straight-up junkie, begging for pills. The Liars hide, and then eventually look up the names of the drugs she was craving. They discover it’s a drug to help people fall asleep, leading Hanna to believe she’s either an insomniac or “trying to knock out a cow.”

PLEASE CONNECT THE DOTS, LADIES.

Back to Aria’s jail-cell bedroom, where she has broken a mirror. And, in one of the most aggressive moves ever, she’s taken a blade of glass back to bed with her, in case she needs to stab Meredith in a few.

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It won’t be good if she falls asleep, you know, with a dagger in her hand. Bad, even.

Back to Spencer’s house, and Toby surprises her with flowers. It’s cute, but now hard to watch, because I can just feel this relationship coming to a screeching, murderous halt in about two episodes. So sad. Also, Toby sees the key (that he dropped) and asks Spencer about it. She says it’s Melissa’s and puts it away. Hmmmm.

He leaves, and Spencer looks worried. Something’s up. Maybe it’s fewer than two episodes away. I just don’t know.

Back to Aria’s house, and she (obviously) fell asleep. Arising, she opens her eyes to fin—

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AHHHHHHHHHHHH.

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MEREDITH’S BARE-HANDING THE GLASS, SHE’S CRAYYYYYY.

This is horrible. Meredith wants to know where to pages are, Aria won’t tell, and somehow runs out of the room. She makes it downstairs, finds the land-line phone (awkward), starts calling 911 (phones are down, because it’s storming, because it’s always storming, because storms and darkness were invented in Rosewood), but then gets closed-fist slapped by Meredith. The woman isn’t playing around.

What happens next is one of the most insane things I’ve ever seen on this show.

Emily and Hanna, worried about Aria, get into her house. They look around, calling her, but no one’s answering. Then they go up to her room, find no one, and then Hanna calls Aria. Then someone shows up:

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Meredith creeps behind them, and is acting creepier than ever. She makes up a story about how Aria’s looking for flashlights, and HOW THEY SHOULD ALL GO DOWN AND SEE HER TOGETHER.

And, after seeing Meredith hold Aria’s phone as Hanna called her, THEY FOLLOW THIS WOMAN DOWNSTAIRS.

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And then, to really solidify themselves as just the dumbest, they let Meredith open the door to the basement, AND THEN THEY WALK IN FIRST AND LET MEREDITH CLOSE THE DOOR BEHIND THEM, THUS TRAPPING THEM IN THE MURDER BASEMENT.

“It’s locked” — Liars

OF COURSE IT’S LOCKED, SHE’S TRYING TO KILL YOU.

Aria eventually wakes up, and then they see LORD BYRON pull up. He walks into his house, and Meredith’s sitting by the fire, looking insane. She tells LORD BYRON that the girls know everything (what “everything” is, we don’t fully know, but Ali/pages-related things), but he makes his way to the basement. Luckily, the girls are strapped.

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LORD BYRON tells the girls that he didn’t hurt Aria, and then we get an Ali/LORD BYRON flashback that ends with a new character entering the “last time Ali was spotted” story:

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MELISSA.

He finishes his story, says some other stuff that I still don’t believe is true (nor should you), and then we leave the basement for what appears to be Spencer’s house.

-A’s trying to break in. Which means Toby is trying to break in.

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Looks like he’s come back for the key he dropped.

He’s going through the drawer, trying to find it in the dark, and then OH NO IT’S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW, NOT IN TWO EPISODES FROM NOW.

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“Is this the key you’re looking for?”

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LOVE ISN’T REALLLLLLLLLL NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

I’m almost in tears right now. I wasn’t prepared for this so soon. Spencer stares him down, he says something to her, and she slaps him. He asks how long she’s known, and he shows her the Radley ID. Then Spencer’s mom walks in the house, Toby disappears (because that what you do when you’re quick and evil), and then Spencer breaks down in her mother’s arms.

Poor girl. Poor, poor girl. This is hard to watch.

Back to the drama-filled Montgomery house, and LORD BYRON and Aria are talking. After going back and forth, Pops does perhaps the most responsible thing anyone’s ever done on the show, saying, “I’m going to talk to the police” (SOUND THE CANNONS, CUE FANFARE, RELEASE THE DOVES). Before he walks out, however, Aria throws the pages in the fire and tells her dad, “I believe you.”

That’s sweet, but you shouldn’t. Not even for a second.

THE FINAL SCENE:

Spencer goes to Toby’s house and she can’t get in. Then she uses the key, but it doesn’t work because they CHANGED THE LOCKS. So she pleads with him (she hears a piano playing in the house, assumes someone’s home), but gets no response. So she breaks down:

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This is too much.

After seemingly hours of watching Spencer weep, the camera pans to the room, where we don’t find Toby. In his place:

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DRINKING THE WINE THAT SPENCER BROUGHT FOR HER ANNIVERSARY DINNER.

That’s got to be the coldest move ever.

Filed Under: Pretty Little Liars, Recaps

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Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

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