Pretty Little Liars, Season 3, Episode 3: ‘The Kingdom of the Blind’

Previous episode recap, in 140 characters:

When we reunite with the Liars, we find them, per usual, in the school courtyard, scheming. This time, they’re side-eyeing Jenna (still pretending to be blind), trying to figure out how to bring her down. The only move they have right now is by way of Aria, whom Jenna previously asked to accompany her in a piano recital. Aria’s obviously not pumped about being the pawn in this plan, but it looks like she will go through with it, mainly because there are no other options. Well, that is except for Hanna’s plan, which is:

“We should push a table in front of her and see what happens.”

So yeah, Aria it is.

Just as this is happening, an angry Lucas storms down the hall as the vice principal yells at him. Lucas doesn’t care, keeps walking, and Hanna follows him. Once they get away from the VP, Lucas begins an emo speech about how, apparently, his attitude is getting in the way of his academic career. Hanna attempts to talk him down or get some clarification, but it doesn’t work, made evident by the fact that Lucas tries to burn down the school.

Lucas pushes Hanna (rude) and bounces, leaving her with the task of putting out the fire that’s now in the trashcan. Her first move is to suffocate the flames with a book, which obviously is the dumbest thing ever, but then (luckily for the building, unluckily for me) Faux Riggins steps in and douses the flames in water, ending the ordeal. They run off, talk about Lucas, and Hanna attempts to get Faux Riggins to talk to Lucas — which he considers, but only if Hanna will stop visiting Mona. Methinks this is partially due to him being creeped out by the Mona situation, but mainly because the Brit has encroached on his woman territory. You ain’t slick, Faux Riggins (at this point, I’ve completely forgotten his name).

Once this pointless scene about this pointless relationship is over, we go back to the school, where our favorite new buddies, not-blind Jenna and guinea pig Aria, are walking arm-in-arm down the hallway. It’s super-awkward, especially since they hate each other, even more than the way high school girls normally hate each other.

Not-blind Jenna instructs Aria to come over after school, but before she leaves, she makes a reference to looking things “in the eye,” which seems like something a not-blind girl would say to hint, “Hey, what if I wasn’t blind, though?” This comment frustrates Aria, who then goes to the group to tell them the news.

The comment serves as the focal point of the beginning of the conversation, but that takes a turn when Emily GETS A MESSAGE ON HER PHONE. But instead of an anonymous ‘A’ telling her to “watch your back, drunk ethnically ambiguous lezzie,” it was an e-mail from Aria’s mom/Emily’s teacher, saying that her test scores had been posted. Knowing that she bombed the test because she didn’t even finish the last page, she opens the e-mail immediately, assuming that she might as well get it over with.

Emily got a 94.

Instead of jumping for joy, Emily takes the immediate conspiracy route, thinking that she will eventually be framed for cheating. Oh, if she knew (like we know) that Aria’s mom altered the test in her favor. Uh-oh. Aria’s mom’s act of “kindness” has now become fuel to assume ‘A’ (or someone) has gone into the school computer and is trying to ruin Emily’s life. Oh, teacher-moms. This should be a PSA for not teaching at the same school as your kid and all her drunk, pretty, lying, academically incapable friends.

Once the four girls looked around at each other, concerned, for about 10 seconds, we flash over to Faux Riggins cornering Lucas in the chemistry lab. Riggs wants answers, but Lucas responds to all his questions with cryptic answers, like “icebergs always turn over,” whatever that means. He proceeds to warn Faux Riggins that he might want to get out of the drama while he can, because bad things are on the horizon. Riggs asks him if it’s a threat and, like a bo$$, Lucas replies with “It’s an observation.” While I’m no Lucas fan, he’s completely right. Faux Riggins has no idea what he’s getting himself into, and I have this weird feeling something bad is going to happen to him. While I’ve long wanted them to break up, because I think she could do better, now I kind of want their relationship to end, simply so Faux Riggins stays alive. (I don’t want him to die. There. I said it.)

Once the dude face-off ends, we see a lady face-off between Emily and Aria’s mom. Emily, doing the right thing, goes to her teacher and admits that her grade can’t be right. Aria’s mom, whom I’m now filing under “snitch/potential life-ruiner,” essentially tells her (without saying it out loud) to just pretend like it never happened. It’s unclear at this point if Emily fully understands what’s going on, but the look that Aria’s mom has plastered on her face screams, “Say a word and I swear to god … ”

This is so bad. That’s like your parent asking you to hide the body or you’re grounded forever. So bad. Add Aria’s mom to the list of Liars. Pretty Oldish Mom Liars, if you will.

Moms aren’t done ruining lives, however. As we visit the Spencer household (now including Spencer’s older sister who hates Spencer), mom walks in and drops the bomb that she’s representing Garrett. Spencer freaks out, yells at mom, and then when mom says she’s doing it pro bono, Spencer YELLS AT MOM. The sister is obviously not by her side, and suddenly Spencer has no one to turn to in her family. Add Mama Spencer to the now Mom-filled “snitch/potential life-ruiner” list.

Spencer’s Mom (also known as PLL Hargitay) is kind of the worst. Poor Spencer. Poor, poor Spencer.

Moms are ruining everything, which is clear when Emily confronts Aria about the grade situation. Aria starts off by defending her, but then acknowledges that it fits with her protective personality that she’s taken on since her divorce. Emily seems to get it, but wishes she wasn’t involved. After they talk this out and discuss ‘A’ at length, we go back to the emotional hurricane that is the Spencer household. Mom is gone, but the ever-feuding sisters launch into their past. Again. Spencer is convinced her sister convinced mom to take on the case, and the sister essentially tells Spencer that she needs to get off her high horse for once. Oh, and she claims she hopes Garrett gets off, regardless of whether he did it or not, because he’s the only one that ever treated her right. Spencer’s appalled. These two hate each other. So glad I don’t have siblings.

After all this family drama, it’s a pleasant surprise to get back to the original plot of this episode: Aria pretending to be Jenna’s friend while Jenna pretends to be blind. We see the two at Jenna’s house; Aria on piano while Jenna plays flute. First thing I notice: Aria’s really good at piano.

She’s not even looking. Unreal.

Anyway, after an especially tense conversation about Ali’s grave being dug up, not-blind Jenna walks away and Aria seizes the opportunity to search through her flute case. Did she find a cryptic Post-It note? Of COURSE she did.

Is it a trap? PROBABLY, BECAUSE JENNA ISN’T BLIND, YOU CRAZY. Aria reports back the news to the Liars, and then tells Emily that not-blind Jenna asked about her. They conclude that this was because Emily is convinced Jenna is the one who kidnapped her that night, and she’s trying to dig for clues. After a back-and-forth about this, the conversation takes an aggressive turn, as filterless Hanna brings up a conspiracy theory about Garrett and Spencer’s sister. Her theory: Garrett was really the father of Melissa’s child and the mom took on the case to get him off. Spencer initially doesn’t believe this, but then Garrett’s cryptic comment referencing medical records and how they “don’t lie” began to make sense. The girls thought this was about Jenna, but what if it was about Melissa?



And if that’s true, Mom is a little more involved in secrets and lies than previously thought. Genetics are real, people. These girls are chips off the old secrets-and-lies block.

Speaking of secrets-and-lies blocks, at the end of this scene, we learn that Aria’s mom has to talk to the vice-principal. About what, we don’t know, but I’m assuming it’s bad and Emily-related. But who could have snitched? Emily? EZRA? Holy moly, what if it’s Ezra, snitching on his underage girlfriend’s mom? Wow — if that happens, I’m jumping into the Hudson River.

TEN-SECOND SCENE: Hanna sees Mona reading aloud to girls in mental institution.

Less important right now, because right after that Aria just told Ezra that he thinks her mom switched Emily’s grade. This is important, because they used to be colleagues and there’s a code of conduct, but also because Ezra sketchily saw Aria’s mom the night of the test alteration and she brushed him away like nothing was wrong. Now he seems to understand why she behaved like so. Ugh, this is bad. Moms, just ruining everything.

Back to Mona, who’s talking up a storm with Hanna. She’s smiling, being cordial, and even went as far as to call her “Hanna Banana.” Cray.

She claims they switched her medicine, which is making her a happier person. Hanna’s not convinced, though, and stops the girl-talk session immediately. She launches right into ‘A,’ but Mona’s mood doesn’t change. She stays happy, tells Hanna (while smiling) that you can’t trust anyone, “not even family,” and then ends it in the creepiest way possible:

Mona: Did they ever find what’s left of Alison’s body?

Unchill, Mona. Super unchill.

Anyway, Hanna leaves the room, but before she can make it out she sees a familiar face: LUCAS. Good lord, are there like four places to go in this town? Whatever happened to the mall? IS THERE NO MALT SHOP?

Apparently not, because the next scene gives us the awkward encounter between Ezra and Aria’s mom, brought to you by the good folks at “there’s only one coffee shop in town and that’s where Ezra always works and wouldn’t you know it Aria’s mom decided to stop in and grade papers the day after she became a crooked teacher.” They begin talking and Ezra brings up Emily, which causes Aria’s mother to admit that the school received an anonymous note suggesting that she had been showing favoritism in her grading practices.

As the truth comes out, Ezra and Aria’s mom begin to bond. Despite my negative feelings toward Ezra, he’s not too bad of a guy when he’s around adults. Comforting, even. When the conversation ends, we learn that Aria’s mom is going to tell the truth (which will probably get her fired). While that is bad, she is officially off my “snitch/potential life-ruiner” list, which is a hard list to get off of.

But as one person lands on my good list, another gets deeper and deeper on my bad list. That person: Faux Riggins. Yes, he’s back, because he (obviously) followed Hanna to the institution after “forbidding” her to go. While the argument that ensues between Hanna and her unfortunate man is fiery, it does produce a classic line of television:

Hanna (on Mona): There was another Mona in there. The one I grew up with, the one that stuck by me, not the one that tore up your letter and tortured my friends and ran me over with a car.

That’s phenomenal. I couldn’t accidentally say something that funny if I accidentally tried.

But Hanna’s not done. She’s got hits for days:

On why Faux Riggins can’t handle the truth:

Hanna: Have you ever untangled spaghetti?

Faux Riggins: No.

Hanna: Boom, there you go.

This girl’s a legend. You know who’s not a legend? Lucas, WHO JUST WALKED OUT OF THE DOOR:

Even though he initially denies it, Lucas admits he was visiting Mona. Why? In his words, “to see if she’s really mental or not.” He tells Hanna (and, I guess, Faux Riggins too) that she might be faking it, because it keeps her out of jail. Also, according to Creeper Luke, Mona being in the institution is better for a lot of people. Classic cryptic Lucas.

The next day, Hanna and Aria camp out for whatever Jenna’s sticky note meant, while often-sketchy Spencer calls the hospital pretending to be Melissa in an attempt to get some medical records (so illegal). The two scenes go back and forth, with Spencer learning that her sister was never checked in at the “alleged” hospital where her “alleged” miscarriage took place, and Hanna and Aria watching as not-blind (although still behaving blind) Jenna gets in a cab and speeds off. Being the thrill-seekers that they are, they follow the taxi. Meanwhile, Spencer, still on the Melissa hunt, finds out that Melissa stayed in a hotel under the mother’s name for three extra days. Why this is important is unclear, but things are definitely suspicious.

After catching up with three of our Liars, we finally find out what’s up with Emily. Answer: Ezra saved the day, which is just a horribly difficult thing to write. He showed up at the school, had a talk with the vice-principal before the scheduled talk with Aria’s mom, and somehow (still very confused how he did it) cleared up the grading issue, essentially making Emily’s test issue go away … for now. Like I said, I can’t figure it out, but he did it. There’s really no better way of getting in good with the potential mother-in-law than by preventing her from getting fired when she should have been fired. Maybe he’s not the worst, after all. Again, I can’t believe I just said that.

Back to Hanna and Emily: They’ve followed not-blind Jenna’s car to a doctor’s office and watched her go in. They plan on waiting a few minutes to follow her in, but right before they get out, they see a familiar car drive by. Yes, the blue car that kidnapped Emily. But who’s driving it?




After this madness, we see Ezra and Aria’s mom have a beautiful teacher/friendship moment, but that doesn’t matter because JENNA IS WALKING OUT OF A GUNS-AND-AMMO STORE. What happens next?




I’ve been waiting years for this. Unfortunately I have to wait a bit longer, because Faux Riggins goes to visit Mona (proof that I guess anyone can walk into a mental institution and have an audience with a patient). They went back and forth, he threatened her, and then she started screaming. Very violently. Usually, this would be important, but it’s not, because:

They cornered Jenna in an alley. Thug life.

The conversation revolves around (a) Jenna begging to not be outed as not-blind, and (b) the Emily kidnapping. Both important, but let’s never forget what’s really important.

They cornered Jenna in an alley. Thug life.

How does this episode end? Spencer finds out that her mom knew that the miscarriage didn’t take place when Melissa claimed it did, Emily tells Ezra that she’s tired of being treated like a child, Mona creepily sings a song in bed, and we get proof that whoever sent Emily the human tooth necklace also has the body. Oh, and they keep it on ice with their vodka.


Filed Under: ABC Family, Pretty Little Liars, Recaps

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert