Pretty Little Liars Season 3, Episode 20: ‘Hot Water’

Previous episode recap, in less than 140 characters:

spencer is possessed by demons, demons are scary, so is spencer.
—Rembert Browne (@rembert) February 20, 2013

We first see our Liars huddled around a table, discussing ‘A,’ CeCe, the girl in the red coat, and whether they’re all the same person. Spencer’s technically back in the loop, but is still off in her own world, mentally, and gets called out by her girls for not paying attention.

Then she gets a text:

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Dumb Wren. He wants to chat about the little thing that happened when Spencer choked out Mona, but before Spencer can respond, Hanna sees the text and asks about Wren. Spencer tells them part of the story, but then there’s a knock on the door.

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He has presumably come to the coffee shop to intimidate the girls. Instead, Hanna tells him that they know about CeCe and Ali on the boat. He gets quiet, gets creepy again, and then leaves, but not before he tells Hanna he’ll “see her around.”

Very bad.

The next scene is one with Hanna and her mom, which is important, but not as much as WHO IS DIRECTING THIS EPISODE:

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Has this been a thing and I just didn’t notice it, or is this a first time for LORD BYRON? Either way, I’m pumped.

Digressions aside, Hanna spots something across the street. It’s DETECTIVE, shoving a woman into the passenger seat. That woman is CeCe, and she doesn’t look happy. The detective locks eyes with Hanna and then drives away.

Mom is all “um, what?” and Hanna tries to play down the situation. It kind of works, but I’m pretty sure Mom follows up with DETECTIVE (who’s also her ex-man) and things ultimately get bad.

A Spencer-Melissa conversation happens, and then an Emily-Hanna conversation happens, and then THIS:

Aria: “Hey Wes, I think we should talk about—”

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Aria: “Ezra.”

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Good thing she didn’t go on to sentence no. 2, “You know, that thing that happened when your lips were on my lips DON’T TELL BIG BRO EZRA, PLZ.”

They have a heartfelt talk, Aria is hurt from being shut out, Ezra says he shut her out because he didn’t want to drag her through this, she tells him that’s not his decision, blah blah blah, they hug and make up.

But then he asks about Wes. She says she had just wanted to talk about the photo shoot they did, but that’s not true. You have to wonder if Ezra thinks Wesley’s trying to encroach on his girl. Or, better yet, if he thinks Aria is falling for his younger, more age-appropriate brother? Either way, if it breaks up this couple, I’m all for it.

Next scene: SPENCER.

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She’s lost it.

But at least she’s decided to come to school for a change. Spencer’s lying in Aria’s mom’s classroom during her free period, and the two ladies have a chat, which includes Ms. Montgomery saying she’s never seen her this down, Spencer rudely replying, “Well, people change,” and Mama Montgomery cordially ending the conversation by offering up her classroom in case Spencer wants to come by and talk at any future point.

Spencer’s lost it.

Next, we go to Paige. She’s in her car, throwing something in the trusty GPS, when suddenly:

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Paige says she’s going home, but right as she does the GPS pops up the directions to the “Rosewood Costume Shop.”


Anyway, Emily’s confused and asks what’s up. This is part of Paige’s attempt at doing private detective work, in the spirit of protecting Emily, but Emily doesn’t like it and demands to go along. Paige says no, but Emily doesn’t care.

And so they’re off. Super weird episode, so far.

Next scene: very awkward. Spencer and Aria are walking down the hallway toward each other. Spencer sees Aria, they lock eyes, and then Spencer turns around and speed-walks away, toward the bathroom.

So Aria follows her.

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Aria tells her that even if she doesn’t want a friend right now, they need her. Spencer doesn’t answer. Aria brings up Ezra. Spencer doesn’t answer. Aria waits. And then Spencer doesn’t answer.

So Aria gives up and leaves.

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She needs to be exorcized or something. This is getting to be too much.

Next, we’re at the costume shop with Paige, Hanna, Emily, and the shopkeeper, Shawna:

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A few things you should know about Shawna … actually, only one thing: SOMETHING’S UP WITH HER AND PAIGE, OR AT LEAST THERE USED TO BE, BECAUSE OH MAN IS SHE GIVING OFF SIGNALS.

Paige never introduces Emily, but when Emily introduces herself, the girl goes, “Oh, it’s you, in the flesh.” Emily doesn’t like this, because you only really say that when you’re an ex-gf who just met the new gf, and ISN’T IMPRESSED.

Anyway, they go to the back, Emily pretends to go to the bathroom, and then once they’re out of sight, she gets to sleuthing:

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She’s trying to figure out who bought the costume from the train party, but she has to do it before they come back.

But this is Emily we’re talking about. And she’s a legend.

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She gets the details, and they bounce. As they leave, however, Paige and the costume shop worker that she may or may not be currently making out with share a weird glance. Uh-oh.

Next, we find Aria working at the coffee shop, where she is approached by Earth’s worst woman:

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She pretends to be nice throughout the conversation, “thanking” Aria for being supportive and brave, but really it was just a ploy to remind her that Ezra is about to push Aria out of his life, due to Maggie and now the child. After the intimidation was done, she left.

Cruel, cruel woman she is. So bad.

After a scene in which Aria stresses over Ezra and Emily stresses over Paige, we join Hanna’s mom, who is eating alone. But, then, out of the blue, she is joined by a gentleman:

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He’s here on a mission to clear his name, since, according to him, teenagers don’t “understand the ramifications” of the rumor mill. Mama, thankfully, isn’t having it, and tells him the glass of wine he bought was for the wrong person.


And just like that he’s been shut down, which is good because she’s not entertaining this jerk, but bad because now he’s probably going to take out everything on the girls.


After this, another surprise date: Lonely Crazy Spencer being suddenly joined by DUMB WREN. They chat, they both apologize to the other (Spencer for using Wren for his car, and Wren for pretending that all he cared about was her mental health when he really was trying to be a rebound guy). As much as Wren isn’t my dude, this scene is slightly special, if for no other reason than because it briefly turns Spencer back into a non-possessed human. They settle on maybe trying out the dinner thing again.



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Here’s the thing, though. I think someone else saw this go down:

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If that’s Toby in the trees, I guess now would be a nice time to say “BYE, WREN. I HOPE LIVING HAS BEEN REAL.”

And then Aria and Ezra start making out:

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Love is contagious, especially when everyone’s telling half-truths and needing to distract each other with tongue makeouts.

Once Spencer leaves DUMB WREN, she spots someone in a red hooded coat. Yeah, you know, that red coat. Spencer follows the figure, and then she disappears, because that’s what ‘A’s do.

After that, Hanna’s mom calls her, but the music is too loud and Hanna doesn’t hear. The call was about DETECTIVE. As she drives away, however, a car begins to trail her.


Following this, we get a Spencer-Melissa scene where big sis outs little sis for being with Wren, because she can smell his cologne on her, and then an Aria-Ezra scene where, apparently, Evil Mom is trying to sell Maggie’s house, and then MORE DETECTIVE:

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He pulls her over and asks her if she’s been drinking. She’s very confused, but he’s acting as if he’s never met her before. She knows something’s up.

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Also, he’s videotaping the ordeal in his police car. This is weird. He’s so bad. So, so bad.


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Not good.

After that, we go back to DETECTIVE and Hanna’s mom. He wants to know if she can keep Hanna quiet, and she demands that he let her go. He threatens her, she gets in her car, and she drives away.

Small detail in her driving away, however: She hits him with the car.

Also: Everything was recorded, so it looks as if DETECTIVE took a hit-and-run purposefully just to frame Hanna’s mom. Wow. That’s desperation.

Once that wild scene ends, we go to CeCe’s apartment. Emily is there, and she finds CeCe packing up her belongings, ready to get out of town. After a back-and-forth about DETECTIVE and Ali and Jason and how no one in the town can keep a secret, Emily finally asks CeCe who took the picture of her, Ali, and DETECTIVE on the boat. Her answer: “Melissa Hastings.”


Speaking of “BAD”:

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Thankfully, Aria saved the day. Close one.


Well, Hanna’s mom tells her daughter that she might have killed DETECTIVE, Spencer tells Aria that everyone needs to come over because she knows who’s helping Mona (Toby Outing Time), and then, in perhaps the worst mother-daughter move OF ALL TIME, Hanna and her mom go to the scene of the crime, presumably to cover up evidence.

Mothers, never do this to your children. Please. Never. It’s wrong.

Oh, and then to make matters worse:

Hanna: “Mom, where’s Wilden?”

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Mom: I don’t know.

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Everything that could have gone wrong just went wrong.

Our final snapshot: this, from ‘A.’

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Filed Under: ABC Family, Lies, Pretty Little Liars, Recaps, Secrets, TV

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert