Pretty Little Liars Season 3, Episode 4: ‘Birds of a Feather’

Previous Episode Recap, in 140 characters:

When we reunite with the liars, we see them together, partaking in two of their favorite activities: drinking coffee and scheming schemes. (Side note: While I do remember scheming in high school, my mind is blown by how much coffee these girls drink. They intake caffeine at a “I have an 80-page senior thesis to finish by next week and I haven’t even settled on a topic” rate, which just can’t be healthy.) Their first topic of conversation is Spencer’s older sister (who is present in the coffee shop) and how skinny she is. While it starts off as a compliment, it immediately turns into suspicion surrounding the miscarriage that she may or may not have had. Hanna is convinced that Spencer’s sis is lying, which Spencer is slightly put off by (that’s still her sister, even though they beef like crazy) but also seems to agree that something doesn’t add up. At this moment, someone walks through the door. It’s a man. A calm but angry man.

He walks into the coffee shop and storms straight toward Spencer’s mother (who is also Garrett’s lawyer) and says:

“Did you think you could avoid me forever? How could you defend Garrett?”

Why’s he so mad about this? Oh, he has more to say?

“It doesn’t bother you that he murdered my sister?”

Uh-oh. This isn’t just a dude that looks like a Harry Connick Jr. Jr. This is Ali’s brother. This is about to get awkward; murder-related conversations are terribly uncomfortable in coffee shops. Anyway, Spencer’s mother continues with her super-rude “everyone deserves a fair legal counsel/due process/trials/the Constitution/Founding Fathers/blah blah blah” speech, causing him to walk out with a vengeful look on his face. When he leaves, Spencer (who also is puzzled and hurt by her mother’s actions) follows him. She engages him in conversation, but he seems more focused on some sort of flyer he’s taping to a pole. Spencer has a shocked look on her face — what on earth does the flyer say? LOST PUPPY? FREE SAT TUTORING? DAN SMITH WILL TEACH YOU GUITAR?

Oh. Snap. Jason DiLaurentis just put his money up, and he’s not playing around. There’s a cell phone and e-mail address on there. I wonder what happens when you call?

“The call you are attempting to make is not allowed from this line …”

You’re not going to get anywhere if you don’t pay your phone bill, Jason. Maybe the e-mail works. Will keep you updated if I receive a response to this:

Re: alison_tips

Necessary digressions aside, this flyer stuns the girls. And then, when things couldn’t get weirder: MASS TEXT FROM UNKNOWN NUMBER. Guess who it’s from? Seriously, guess. You get one try.

So this is bad. Very bad. For so many reasons. (1) That night Drunk Emily ended up holding a shovel over an empty grave, making her the prime suspect if anyone can prove that she was there. (2) “A” wants to frame the Liars, because he/she/they/it is evil. (3) When Spencer and her mom have a chat, she alerts her child that if someone comes forward, that could help her build a case against the body thief, and then goes on to say the person found to have dug up the body would get at least 10 years for the felony that is digging up a body, and then they would probably go to jail for life for killing Alison. In simpler terms: If “A” gets her way, Spencer’s mom could very well be inadvertently working toward sending the Liars to jail for life. This is bad, and I think Spencer just figured that out.

We take a break from Spencer’s life-ruiner mom and spend some time watching Aria attempt (and fail) to break the news to her mom that her dad has a date with Meredith. After that, we see Hanna strut up to Mona’s institution like she owns the place, and then get denied because Mona’s visitation privileges have been revoked. They won’t tell her why, and she’s confused, which leads us to believe that Faux Riggins failed to mention the fact that he stopped by and made Mona lose her mind. After this scene, we see Emily at her first day on the job as a barista and — Holy Denzel, is that a black guy?

Ha, I guess Shonda Rhimes did more complaining than we knew about. State your reason for being here, Black Man.

“Are you Emily Fields? I called your house and your mom said you worked here. I’M MAYA’S COUSIN NATE.”

Interesting, Nathaniel. As he continues, we learn he just moved into town and is starting at Hollis (the local college). They start talking, but Emily gets busy with her job, so they exchange numbers and plan on talking in the future. I’m intrigued. One other thing: IF NATE IS “A” I WILL BURN DOWN ABC FAMILY.

The next scene is perfect, because Faux Riggins (in the ultimate “I have a secret that I need to hide from my girlfriend, so let me distract her with something super emo” move) surprises Hanna with two tickets to Bon Iver. Hanna’s response to the tickets? Not excited, because she just learned that some guy went to Mona’s institution to visit and she had a freakout. Uh-oh, Riggs. Bon Iver might not have been enough. Definitely should have gone with Club Paradise V.I.P. passes. What’s your move, Faux? You going to fess up, or extend the lie even longer? Whatever you do, think about it first.

He told her the truth. And then she got mad. And then he got mad. And then she told him to stay out of it. And then he stormed out, threw the tickets in the air, and ended with:


In the next scene, we see Aria acting crazy. She’s not wrecking any more offices or anything, but she advises Hanna to tell Faux Riggins about “A” (horrible idea) and then scours the Internet for guys to date her mom. You know, guys like this:

While I respect her passion for advice-giving and matchmaking, I think she needs to pump the breaks, mainly because she’s not good at either. Hanna’s mom strolls in while they’re looking through more pictures, demands to know what they’re looking at, comes over, and they continue to look at more guys. It seems like this scroll is going to lead toward someone bad popping up, but instead Hanna’s mom tells them a better site to go to. Apparently this isn’t her first rodeo.

Next, we see Spencer and flyer poster Jason talking in the school. She’s obviously trying to get him to consider stopping his search, but he has no intention of doing so. He then makes a claim (that Spencer doesn’t want to believe, but knows could easily be true) that her mom has an agenda and it’s not all about “justice.” Like every conversation in this show, it ends in a cliffhanger with someone asking a question and the other choosing to walk away instead of answer. Classic #PLL.

After this, we are blessed with one of the most drama-less scenes in recent memory: two minutes of Aria and Hanna picking a username for Aria’s Mom’s Internet dating profile. After a few vetoed tries, they settle on the worst name ever:


This will not go well. Not one bit.

After this gleeful Internet event, we see Emily walking toward a bench to finally have a chat with NATE. After some small talk, NATE alerts Emily that he has something to give her, from Maya’s folks. It’s a present that Maya had for Emily but never got to give to her. Inside, a T-shirt from the movie they saw on their first date. While this story is getting cuter by the second (including perhaps Emily’s first smile of the season), NATE is really throwing me off. I can’t imagine that he’d do this, but it really seems like he’s spitting game at his dead cousin’s lesbian ex-girlfriend. I didn’t want to believe it, but then this exchange took place:

Emily: We saw this movie on our first date. Actually, we didn’t see that much of the movie. [MAKE OUT CITY]

NATE: Ha, sounds like my kind of first date.

No, NATE. You can’t say that. You can’t flirt with your dead cousin’s lesbian ex-girlfriend. You can’t. I won’t let you. I swear, if he leans in, I’m punching him through this laptop screen.

We leave this potentially horrible new friendship for a second to see Hanna sneaking into the mental institution, but unfortunately that doesn’t take too long because in no time we’re back to NATE and Emily, now having a meal together. This is so wrong, NATE. Even though they’re both reminiscing about Maya, there’s something in his voice that screams “but enough about Maya, let’s talk about me, you, and Bon Iver this weekend.” Ugh, I need to stop thinking about this — it’s starting to upset me.

Back to the institution: Hanna is trés bummed because some guy got a court order to talk to Mona, apparently about the missing remains, so she’s hanging out in the lobby, with the BRIT (he’s back, Faux Riggins. Sorry, bro). They are flirting up a storm, and he didn’t even lose $200 on concert tickets. He’s winning.

After way too much time apart, all four girls are back under the same roof, scheming. The topic of discussion is which lead to pursue. Black Swan? Not-blind Jenna? Cray Mona? While all three are important, the one the group can’t let go of is Spencer’s sister. Too many suspicious things are surrounding her, so finally Spencer decides to prove how real she keeps it. She walks to the table, picks up a set of keys, and states:

We’re going to Philly.

I feel like she listens to a lot of Trina. I don’t know why, but she’s simultaneously the Baddest B and a Thug Misses.

The next two things we see are a back-and-forth between the girls, who are waiting to break into Spencer’s sister’s apartment, and a terribly uncomfortable scene between Hanna and Aria’s moms about online dating. Like, so uncomfortable I’m not even going to discuss it. I’ve already said too much.

Back to the breaking-and-entering: Emily, Hanna, and Aria were supposed to wait for Spencer’s text before they break in, but after a while they just decide to go in, which will ultimately be a bad decision when Melissa undoubtedly remembers she left something at home and turns the car around, causing a living room shootout. Or something like that.

(Two minutes pass.)

I’m really good at this show. I really expect a call from ABC Family by Season 6.

So yeah, the girls are screwed. Melissa (Spencer’s sister) is in the apartment, the girls are hiding, and then TRAPPED IN THE CLOSET AHHHHHHHH

But she doesn’t see them, thankfully. Shootouts are never good. Melissa finds her wallet and leaves, and the girls catch their breath and then keep snooping. Even though they don’t really know what they’re looking for, something falls out of one of the garments. It’s a feather — the same type of feather Hanna found at the masquerade ball.




Spencer goes home, runs into her sister, and confronts her about the feather. Melissa starts to cry, runs to another part of the house, and then starts admitting things. Yes, she faked the baby, and yes, she was at the masquerade ball. Right when Spencer asks her why she was there, Mama Spencer walks in and says, “I’d like to know the answer to that, too.” SO WOULD I, MELISSA. SO WOULD ALL OF US.

Before we can find that out, however, Hanna gets a text from “A” that says “I’m everywhere,” and this time has a picture attached. That image? A car crash. Of what, we don’t know, but you’ve got to assume next time we see Faux Riggins, he might be in the hospital. This, like most things, is very bad.

Things are even worse in the Hastings household, as the three ladies have a sit-down and Melissa explains why she was at the masquerade ball. She was being blackmailed by someone who told her to wear the dress to the ball or else they’d come public about her dirty laundry. This conversation ends with Melissa going to her room and her mom telling Spencer that she couldn’t tell anyone, because “like it or not, this is your family.” Mom is the absolute worst. I’m going to call my mom right now, tell her I love her, and thank her for never forcing me to cover up multiple potential felonies. I really do love her for that.

What I don’t love is watching a relationship end. I’ve spent weeks wanting Faux Riggins to go away, but I didn’t think it’d actually happen. Well, after an intense conversation, filled with secrets and lies (including him telling her that his mom was in a car accident, the one “A” sent a picture about), he ended it, citing the fact that Hanna hides everything from him. He was on the verge of tears, she was crying, and I’m currently a mess. I don’t think we’re done with him, however, because at some point we’re going to have to address the fact that she’s responsible for Riggs’s mom almost dying. So yeah.

How does this episode end? Aria’s mom wants to keep her profile up, NATE and Emily have another conversation (he’s hitting on her, no doubt), Hanna is crying, and Faux Riggs is pensive. As for Spencer, on her night stroll she runs into Jason, who tells her that he’s suspending the search. But as Spencer walks away, we see Jason pull out something and then WE SEE THIS:



Oh, and then we see someone who is probably en route to kill Spencer’s parents. Yeah, bad news, but:



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

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert