This review contains spoilers.
4.18 Hot For Teacher
I wonder how many times the Pretty Little Liars team have wanted to use this episode title, probably for much less precarious reasons in the past, but resisted in search of that perfect moment? Well that perfect moment has arrived with this week’s episode, Hot for Teacher, and as much praise as I’ve heaped on Ian Harding for the way he’s embraced this new phase of his character, this week was truly his time to shine (though, with a good few hours of A-hunting left this season, there’s every chance they can all top this).
It was a game of spy vs. spy this week, with Spencer and Ezra both onto each other’s game but too stubborn and crafty to admit it. Thank god, then, that by the episode’s end three of the four liars were in on Spencer’s pretty neat theory and, by the looks of her, she’s going to need them to pick up the slack when she crumbles from all the stress, pill-popping and mystery solving she’s been up to. More than ever, the girls have been operating separately this year, with Emily tracking down Alison, Hannah solving the ‘murder’ and Spencer on official ‘A’ duty. Now, however, the common threads are leading them right to Ezra’s door.
But they have no idea that the cabin they visited a while ago was actually Aria and Ezra’s secret love nest/lair, or even that Aria has been mixed up with her ex for weeks now. How long will it be before they figure it out and going into full rescue mode providing, of course, that he doesn’t stash her away in his basement before then? Watching Ezra go full-manipulator when Aria starts having second thoughts was creepier than anything we’ve seen him do thus far but, as the reappearance of Jason’s own amateur photography project in the coda suggests that he might not be the only member of the A team with an obsession with high school girls.
Because, while the show is now going out of its way (and having a great time) showing us that Ezra is ‘Big A’ and Board Shorts, there are still plenty of clues – and common sense – hinting that this might not be the whole story. Wren has always been a suspect for the same reasons as Ezra and Jason – the NAT club being what it was – and the use of his medical pads to set up Spencer (?) at the end suggest he’s responsible as much as the photos point to Jason. At this point, of course, it wouldn’t even be surprising to find out Emily’s dad was Super-Uber-A, but in a quest for sanity, a mild amount of detective work is required.
In other news, Shana might be out of the picture after a not-very-threatening threat from A, and was Alison’s glance at the picture of her and the Liars before she got on the bus a hint that she might finally be returning to Rosewood? She’s run out of money and, without the help of Shana, she’s pretty much run out of options. While it’s easy to view Ali as the villain of the story as much as those who are hunting her down, the image of her cold, sad and alone on that bus was pretty compelling evidence to support her identity as a scared teenager on the run from, among other people I’m sure, a certain English teacher with a team of blackmailers, psychopaths and photography students on his books.
And there’s no telling how much information we’re going to get next week, as we’re in store for a black and white, film noir, experimental episode of treading water. It might be great, it might be a waste of time, but at least we get to see the girls dress up in forties garb! See you there.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Bite Your Tongue, here.
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