Pretty Little Liars Season 3, Episode 18: ‘Dead To Me’

It is no surprise the one episode I forced myself to skip a recap for, due to being in New Orleans for the Super Bowl, found a way to be not only the most exciting episode of the season, but also the one in which we finally see EVIL TOBY IN A NOT-SO-EVIL DU-RAG:



Previous episode recap, in 140 characters:

Spencer snapped, got a PI, told ezra about baby, ezra’s off to see baby, sad aria, hanna got a MIP, creepy detective is back, TOBY = DU-RAG.
— Rembert Browne (@rembert) February 6, 2013

We open with all four Liars in the coffee shop, coffee-drinking, with the non-Spencers discussing the book Emily idiotically turned in to the police. Spencer’s not participating because she’s still all messed up in the head — not only has she not told them about Toby, but she also hired a private investigator to track him. And she’s snapping at anyone, as long as they meet the requirement of “not deserving to be snapped at.”

As the conversation continues, Jason walks in and drops a bomb on the ladies. They’re going to have another service for Ali, and he’s arranged for them to have some time with her once the family is gone. Only catch: They haven’t found the things she was buried with, which is an ongoing investigation they hope will lead them to whoever dug up the body, and more importantly, who killed her.

Non-Spencers are grateful, but Spencer flips out, saying she wants nothing to do with it. And she storms out. This is bad. Spencer’s slowly not becoming part of the crew.

And then, to make matters worse, Mona approaches Spencer in the hallway, tells her that she’s pulling the team down in the academic decathlon, and then gives her the “I’d hate to see poor Toby travel all that way for you, only to be left cheering for me.”

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That’s Spencer, mid locker slam. At this moment, she just became the angriest high school girl in history. No one wants that title.

After a scene in which Caleb/Riggins tells Hanna a story about a home and Australia and foster care and some relative (dozed off…), we go to Ezra’s Ezra-less house.

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Yep, that’s Aria, in Ezra’s bed, staring at the ceiling, because WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO WITH HER LIFE, NOW THAT IT IS OVER.

Then, someone walks up to the door and sounds as if they’re trying to get in. It’s Ezra’s younger, potentially-snitch-filled brother, Wesley.

He’s there because he asked Ezra if he could crash for a few nights. Allegedly, they’re fumigating his dorms. Allegedly. Anyway, as Aria tells him that it’s definitely OK that he stays, this exchange happens:

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They’re definitely about to do it.

But then, something odd happens that either assures or complicates the theory of them hooking up by the end of the episode. After Aria tells him, “now she doesn’t have to water the plants” (a.k.a. she doesn’t have to visit) because he’s there, Wesley looks at the pillow:

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It’s clear Aria was recently laying in the bed. So he tells her that she should still come by. And water the plants. Why? BECAUSE HE’S BAD AT WATERING PLANTS.

This either means 1) Wesley knows Aria is sad and doesn’t want to cut her off from Ezra by shutting her out of the house or 2) Wesley likes the way her head indents that pillow and wants to lay next to her, ASAP.

Team #latter. Always team #latter.

After this scene, we immediately go to Spencer and her public investigator in an alley.

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He’s tracking what he thinks is Toby’s credit card and notices a purchase of hydrangeas. And then he goes into advice mode, telling Spencer that “in his line of work,” never has he seen a criminal buy hydrangeas.

I feel like Spencer forgot to look this dude up on Yelp before she hired him. Poor form, Spence.

Back to Emily, who’s at the police station — not only her mother’s place of work but also creepy detective’s home base. She’s there to snap a photo of one of the detective’s pictures, which becomes incriminating if you read the book. When she arrives, however, that picture is gone. Which makes sense, because creepy detective has the book.

So she knows he’s on to them.

What she does find, however, is a postcard in her mother’s purse. Last time it was seen it was in Ali’s grave. On the back, something was written in French. Because of this, Emily took the card to Inspector Spencer for further review.

The translation: “Stop digging. The police already know it’s you, who’s capable of murder.”

Emily freaks a bit, Spencer tries to tell her it’s OK, and then Spencer goes back into sad, sulking Spencer mode. At this point, Emily attempts to console her, saying the Liars are there for her when she’s ready to talk, and things aren’t always as bad as they seem on the surface. Here’s the thing, though:


Then we go back to Aria, who’s with Hanna, and they’re of course talking about the cuteness level of Ezra’s younger brother, and then BOOM, Emily’s back at her therapist.


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I mean, she did, but it was out of self defense, because NATE was the worst and was trying to kill everyone. Anyway, they go back and forth and their talk concludes with a hypnotherapy scheduling.

After this intense scene, we get a more intense scene: Spencer going through her Toby box.

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At first she holds it together, but then she loses it again and immediately calls her private investigator. The assumption is she’s going to call the whole thing off because, as Emily said, “things aren’t always what they seem.” But what she ends up doing is giving the guy more money to keep digging.

So he’s going to keep digging. That will not end well.

We’re back to a long scene involving Riggins’ backstory, which I’m trying so hard to become invested in, but it’s not nearly murder-y or secrets-y enough. Luckily, it wraps up and IT’S HYPNOTHERAPY TIME:

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It’s creepy, so we take a break from her and go back to Ezra’s place, where little brother is typing a paper on a typewriter because that’s how rich he is. Aria walks in, they flirt, the phone rings, and nobody wants to answer it, especially Wesley. But then he answers it, and whoever is on the other line hangs up immediately.


And then he is suddenly hungry and asks Aria if she’ll get food with him. And then they leave.


Something’s up. I think either 1) that phone’s been ringing all day and someone’s after him or 2) someone wants to find out if Aria’s home.

Team #latter. Always team #latter.

Back to the therapist’s office. Emily has been flashback-transported, AGAIN, to the night Ali died. She is freaking out and begging to wake up:

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But the doctor tells her it’s a “safe space.” Yeah right. Anyway, she’s remembering things, sees the murder weapon (a shovel) and then sees who’s holding it:

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Emily wakes up. Uh-oh. Emily thinks Emily killed Ali. This is bad. And then she races out. I don’t know if she paid. Also bad.

Another Riggins scene happens, and then back to Emily, who is flashbacking about Ali. And that postcard. And a conversation she had with Ali about going to France and never returning. Wait, were they a thing? Are they flirting? I’m so confused.

The flashback breaks, and Emily’s mom is in her room. And, like Spencer, Emily cracks. She scolds her mom for touching her shoulder in a motherly fashion, saying that she’s not innocent anymore and shouldn’t be treated as such. Oh wow, how two Liars have succumbed to the pressures of HIGH SCHOOL and MURDER and LIES.

“A” is winning. Landslide victory, this episode.

Next, we see Spencer, who is back with the only man she trusts, her private investigator. He found out where the “A” key leads, and then they have a heart-to-heart about Love in the Time of Hydrangeas and what’s behind the door and letting go. It’s oddly sweet, this cash- and secrets-fueled relationship between a young woman and her private investigator. Too bad it will almost definitely end traumatically for Spencer, but for now, that was sweet.

Up next: our new age-appropriate “it” couple:

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The laughs between Aria and Wesley last but only a minute, however, because some goon shows up to “bounce [Wesley’s] face off the curb.”

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Wesley slaps him, and he and Aria make a run for it. Old Wes definitely owes someone money or slept with the wrong married woman. When Aria asks who that is, he says “my physics teacher’s husband.”

Oh, so Wes is sleeping with a teacher. Interesting. And just like that, he and Aria have yet another thing in common.


Returning to Ezra’s apartment, Wesley tells the story of how he was a troublemaker, but that it was fueled by wanting to escape his family, like his other brother. One of the ways he did this was to hook up with his “intelligent, cougar-like” physics teacher. And the fallout from that is why he was taking refuge in Ezra’s apartment.


Back to Hanna and Riggins, who are super deep in a conversation about Riggins’ past and family, which involves baby pictures and uncles that might be dads, and —

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They have an exchange. The therapist is visibly creeped out and Mona is definitely up to something.

After this conversation, we go to Spencer, who is in a Rosewood traphouse that the key has lead her to. She opens the door, and:

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She bursts into tears.

Next, we get the scene at Ali’s masoleum, where three of our Liars have congregated, along with Jason.

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They decide not to wait for Spencer and go inside.

After some chit-chat about how creepy it is, Spencer rolls through, hair looking a hot mess, with the crazy eyes out for all to see:

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Ignoring the somberness of the mood, she proceeds to tell Jason that Ali was pregnant and that the father was the creepy detective. The other Liars are furious at her, Jason storms off, and then they do too.

Spencer. Has. Lost it.

The three Liars try to figure out what on earth has caused their friend’s complete meltdown, and then, like clockwork, Emily hears sprinklers and has a flashback:

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In it, a hooded figure with a crow bar is trying to open up Ali’s grave.

Emily pleads with the person to stop. They do, then leave the crowbar, put their hands over Emily’s face, and take her somewhere. What she sees, however, is the girl in the red coat:

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Emily realizes that all of this took place right where they are standing. She also realizes she didn’t kill Ali, which is big for her.

And then, Hanna, being my HOMEGIRL, asks the question that was running through my mind during the last scene:

“Was that Alison in the red coat?”


But yes, they chalk it up to her being ridiculous. Emily says all she knows is that red coat is a girl, has blond hair, and (most importantly) is the one in charge.

That’s big.

Spencer begins to walk out of the masoleum, but not before spotting Toby’s mother’s tomb. She approaches it, and does what any scorned ex-girlfriend would do in that situation:

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Well, Spencer’s going to die. Like, by sunrise. It’s been real, Spence.

In our last scene, we see our black-hooded (we have to clarify colors now) figure buying whiskey. I don’t know what that means, but shout out to “A”s taste in liquor.


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

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert