Recap: 'Pretty Little Liars': Episode 16: 'Misery Loves Company'

January 23rd, 2013 12:29pm EST

Pretty Little Liars A lot happened in this episode. Blondes showed their crazy. Brunettes had breakdowns. And a shirtless man appeared fresh out the shower. There is so much to cover, let’s jump right in.

The girls are at the Montgomery house tending to a fever-ish Aria, who in her stupor she insists that they leave her all alone at home with a band of crazy people around. She’ll manage on her own. This clearly will not end well.
And to prove it, Toby and Mona are in their new hide-out, which looks exactly like the last one, cooking up a dastardly plan that will instill fear into the hearts of the girls. Toby thinks they are rushing things since Spencer doesn’t fully trust him yet. But Mona alludes to the head A needing the Liars to know that she in charge. (It’s unclear if Mona is playing a long-con and Toby is just another piece of her puzzle or if there is actually someone else moving all the pieces and they are both pawns.)

Back at the Brew, Toby meets up with Emily for reasons that are unclear. But it results in her gaining the keys to his flat – which is exactly what Spencer wanted. Dun Dun Dun…

At the Marin house, Hanna is stressing over which outfit to wear for her interview with the best fashion designer in Pennsylvania. (Seriously? I need them to find another way to introduce plot devices. Aria, the famed photojournalist, hasn’t taken a picture since she supposedly got great at it overnight during the last half of the season). Caleb isn’t much help with the decision either. But as Hanna is leaving to go try on a dress she overhears her long-haired beau planning a meet-up with someone that aims to help him stop Mona in her tracks. Hanna confronts him about it immediately but he lies and claims he was talking to his mother.
Meanwhile back at casa de la Hastings, Toby has come over for another hot shower. He is wet and in nothing but a towel. I’ll let that mental image rest before we move on.

So Spoby’s anniversary is tonight but they won’t be able to celebrate because Spence has to attend a dinner being held in her father’s honor. Or at least that’s the story she sells to Toby with her mother’s help. What she’s really going to do is plan a dinner for him back at his spot while he’s at work. (Can we talk about her mother’s complete non-reaction to seeing a naked male kissing her daughter …in her room?)

And while she’s doing that, life will slowly be unspooling at Aria’s house where Meredith is drugging our poor Liar with Sleepytime Tea, so that she can search for the letters. Aria wakes up and mutters something about calling her mom and seeing a doctor but Mer ups her dosage of the potent non-habit forming ZzzQuil (no not really but something has to be in that tea!) and down our Liar goes. Mer also takes her phone and begins showing signs of Glenn Close-ness (a la Fatal Attraction) though I think she’s aiming for Kathy Bates (a la Misery). No one tackles the Bates, but the Bates. Either way she’s coming undone!

At school Emily is cozying up to Paige by bringing all of her favorite foods. (I can’t condone this; Punks shouldn’t be rewarded.). But they are hilariously interrupted by Hanna who goes from asking for a moment with Ems to reaffirming her heterosexuality. When she finally gets her foot out of her mouth, she asks Em to follow Caleb after school, so she can figure out who her lover’s secret meeting is with and after some pushing, Em agrees.
Elsewhere in the school, Mer confronts Ella to assure her that Aria is okay but sleeping soundly. Ella thanks her and gives Aria’s phone a ring but Mer is accepting any calls at this time. (I don’t understand why Ella never drops by the house. It seems completely illogical that she would leave her daughter home alone and sick with no one to look after her but her ex-husband’s former mistress.)

Later in the afternoon, Hanna looking all kinds of fierce in a black and blue dress shows up at her supposed job interview. But it’s just a set-up from the A-team! Black hooded Toby is there to scare her half to death. He succeeds but not before dropping the key to the A-team pad.
In another part of town, Em takes to following Caleb. And it’s clear why Hanna is concerned because if this hottie can’t pick up on Em tailing him, then there is no way he’s going to see Mona coming. She follows him but has to leave after Spence sends a text about Hanna being ambushed. So she doesn’t get to see who he is meeting up with: none other than her girlfriend Paige!

While they are doing that – Aria has a dream or something like it with a not-so-dead Alison. Ali warns her against drinking the tea and lets her know that Mer is searching for the pages. (I don’t know how to feel about less-than-dead Ali. But her help is appreciated. What I don’t understand is why Mer even wants the pages. Why is it so important to her?)
The dream is enough to wake Aria out of her sleep and it’s then we learn that she is locked in her room. Frantically she looks around the room for a way out each time bypassing the obvious option: the windows. She breaks a mirror and creates a shiv to prepare herself for Mer’s return but like an idiot gets back in the bed. I don’t care how sick you are; this is no time to get comfortable. And you don’t let your opponent get in a position where they will be over you.

Ems and Hanna find out about what Mer has been using to put Aria to sleep by accident. Seems the pharmacist in this town doesn’t mind shouting out patient information even though his consumers are only a couple of feet away. Mer is on Clonazepam (a Stage 4 controlled substance even though the pharmacist claims it’s only a 3). The girls hit google and realize that she must be up to something shady as the drug is used for anxiety and putting naïve hoes to sleep.

Elsewhere, Spencer gets surprised at home by Toby. He brought her flowers to celebrate their anniversary. And it’s there that he sees the key he dropped during his taunting of Hanna. (Hanna brought it over to Spencer’s house when they congregated to talk about the fake interview.). He asks Spence about it. She lies like the daughter of a lawyer. And that is that. Or is it? Wait and see…

Back at the Montgomery house, Aria awakens (she fell asleep?!!) to find Mer hovering over her going all crazy eye. She found the shank and she’s none too happy about it. It’s time to teach this Liar a lesson. But she’s thrown off by a lightning strike. Aria runs out the room and heads downstairs for the telephone. Making yet another rookie mistake. Everyone knows crazy killers cut the phone lines. For her idiocy she gets a knock to the head.
But there’s hope! Emily and Hanna, apparently the only people who care about Byron and Ella’s only daughter, go to the house to check on poor neglected Aria. They are greeted by Mer in full maniac mode and somehow are still convinced to go into the basement to find Aria who is “looking for flashlights”. Of course she shuts the door and locks them down there. Is no one playing it smart today?!!!

Well. Aside from Spence of course. Because as black hooded Toby is breaking into her house to retrieve the key he spotted earlier, she is there waiting for him. She dares him to identify himself and sure enough, he turns around. How did she know? When she was at his house cooking their anniversary dinner she ran across his fake Radley Sanitarium badge. It’s heartbreaking for her and before she can fully react he runs out the door. Epic.
Back at Aria’s house, it’s Byron to the rescue. He walks in on crazy Mer. They talk makes no sense and the next thing we know, he’s at the basement door looking all suspicious. He promises the girls he isn’t there to hurt them but Em and Hanna hold onto their weapons just in case. Finally we get smart!

After everything calms down, Aria and her dad are left alone (Mer has disappeared) to talk about the night Ali died and he insists that he didn’t kill her. He didn’t even pay her off the last time. And when he left she was very much alive and Spencer’s sister had just come outside to take a suspicious phone call. He didn’t want to bring it up to police because he knows how it looked/looks. But in order to restore his daugther’s faith in him he is willing to undergo an investigation by the completely inept Rosewood Police Department. Aria believes him though and proves so by burning the letters. Seems she remains stupid throughout the episode. Can’t win them all, huh?

So what did you think? Anybody else find Mer’s disappearance a little weird? She just walked out of the door? Byron still doesn’t seem innocent. He has to be holding something back; otherwise Mer was tripping for no reason at all.

Related: Pretty Little Liars, Starpulse Exclusives, Recaps, Family, Action & Adventure, Drama, Spoilers

© 2013

Photo Credits: ABC Family

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