Pretty Little Liars: No Stone Unturned (recap and review)

Aria in the lab Pretty Little Liars
Last week in She’s No Angel the girls learned that Mona and Lesli Stone, along with Charles, were interred in Radley at the same time and Aria discovers that Clark may have taken a picture of A at the dump and might just be a girl, which leads them all to suspect Lesli. In No Stone Unturned in Pretty Little Liars this week, all of them are searching for proof that Stone is A; Hanna steals Lesli’s car and Alison’s dad gets freaked out by a birthday card, the girls discover they have tracking chips in their head, Em and Sara get very intimate and (Surprise…Not!) Charles is not dead…apparently.

At the start of the episode Em and Spencer learn from Hanna that Mona has been “busted” by her mother for sneaking out to Radley. Spencer, who moments before was saying that Vanderwaal would know everything, instantly decides that the girl would be no help at all. Hanna’s response is, “Now you tell me? After I tried to shimmy up her drainpipe?”

Em says she has to have her head shrunk and Hanna tells them they need to stick together. Mr. DiLaurentis finds a card under a windscreen wiper and gets a bit perturbed. Aria bumps into Clark after returning his pictures and he chides her for “going all Klepto” about his photos of her. She takes a raincheck on an invite to have a bagel with him.

Hanna is still annoyed at Caleb for being over protective while Em and Sara share a moment of cream rubbing on that tattoo. She also helps the girl to pick out something to wear at her first day of work. Spencer and Ezra have a chat about the valedictorian speech that she is still agonizing over. Caleb’s office turns out to be in his bedroom and he embarrasses himself and Sara by making a pop culture reference that the poor girl doesn’t get. Being underground for two years has saved her from the spectacle of Kimye; lucky Sara.

She then asks Caleb about Alison and he begs off answering by saying that he too is “on the outside.” Hanna steals (borrows, according to her) Lesli Stone’s car to search it, by playing up to the valet. When Spencer expresses disapproval at Hanna’s actions, she tells her to not get all preachy and calling her “Puff & Stuff.” Quite possibly the best line of the episode.

Nicole Gordon, played by Aussie actress Rebecca Breeds, comes in looking for Emily and has a revealing chat with Ezra who fills her in on what she missed while in India. Em and Aria have gone to the dump, where A appeared and Clark shows up taking more pictures. Em learns that Nicole is looking for her at The Brew and Clark offers to help Aria look for her missing tripod. At the same time, Spencer and Hanna are searching Lesli’s SUV and find a hairbrush that smells like a “cat box,” a key card and fake glasses as well as wire cutters. They also find four boxes of very large animal cages that Spencer swears are for the girls.

Aria finds the doll with the dyed hair and a pin in its eye. Emily and Nicole fill each other in both things since they have been apart and Em finds out why her friend has shown up. Nicole wants her old pal to head to Thailand for a project, with her, and initially she turns Nicole down because of therapy and Sara. After a moment though Nicole agrees and asks if she can bring a friend.

Spencer goes to Caleb, who is out picking up lunch, to have him make a copy of the key card. She talks to Sara about the valedictorian speech and school. Sara reveals that if she could tell everyone about being captive for so long she would. Ashley Marin bumps into Caleb and tells him that Hanna is still underneath all that confusion and trauma. She urges him not to give up on her daughter.

Ezra stops by while Aria is on the phone to Em, freaking out about the doll, and he drops off her application as well as his recommendation. He spots the creepy looking doll and says how disturbing the thing is.

Spencer and Dean have a real falling out because she missed a meeting and the guy over-reacts. He reveals that every time he’s near Spencer he wants to kiss her. As he comes closer during his little speech she moves back. Hanna and Caleb hook up and the two spend a bit of horizontal time together.

Em comes home and finds a bloodied Sara scrubbing the floor. She was run off the road by a car and Emily shows her a picture of Lesli’s car and Sara says that is the vehicle. Em tells her about Thailand and the girl is not thrilled by the idea.

Hanna, Aria and Spencer head to Lesli’s animal lab and start going through things. While they are there, they find out that they have had tracking chips implanted. As they search the office portion of the lab, they hear odd noises from the other room.

Emily tells Nicole that she cannot go to Thailand; because of Sara and gets asked about whether Sara can reciprocate her feelings. Em says that its “not like that.”

The trio at the lab discover animals in cages, including a raccoon which Hanna, after having a doll house flashback, immediately sets free as well as two rats. Spencer gets fairly upset at this and tells Hanna that the animals have to be put back. When the animals come out, especially the raccoon, Spencer and Hanna freak out. Aria comes in and they try bribe the creatures back in their cages with cheese sticks that Hanna had in her purse.

Mona shows up and bursts the girls’ “Lesli is A” bubble by revealing that Stone was not friends with Bethany and that Charles is alive. She says that he and Bethany escaped on the same night and that the body organ donation form is a “sham” as his medication made his organs unusable. As Mona is relating all this information, the campus police show up at the lab. Amazingly, they escape detection.

Aria goes to see Ezra and sees him talking to Nicole and leaves without saying anything. Emily goes home and when she leans over to check if Sara was “chipped” as well, gets kissed and the two sink to the bed. Mr. DiLaurentis is digging up Charles’ grave while the card he found on his car lays open on the ground. Printed inside is a very open threat: “Dear Daddy, Coming home for my birthday, you should plan a party to die for…Just you. Love Charles.”

So it looks like Charles was alive all along, just like at least one of the girls surmised a few episodes ago. Sara looks to be hanging around Em for all the wrong reasons, in other words less because of her Mommy Dearest and more because of an attraction, hopefully not a fatal one…

Lesli is not A, apparently, which is a shame as Stone would make a brilliant baddie and Alison’s dad is now a part of the game. Dean turned out to be a bit of a drama queen and just who is Clark and why does he keep showing up? The whole thing feels a little like a Wes Craven Scream film where practically everyone is a suspect, the main difference being that there is no “ghost face” and Charles is not knifing everyone…yet.

Pretty Little Liars is cracking along at an excellent pace. The best scene in the episode has to be the lab scene when the girls’ freak out as the animals act like…animals. Spencer, Aria, Em, Hanna and Alison, who got short shift in this segment, are still searching for A or Charles or whoever had them in that house for so long.

Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays on Abc Family.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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