Pretty Little Liars "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" Review: If You Don't See a Body...

By Nick Campbell

Feb 27, 2013

Pretty Little Liars S03E21: "Out of Sight, Out of Mind"

Well, that was a quick escalation for Spencer.

There've been comments for weeks that Spencer was headed toward one of two places: prison or the psych ward. I hope you had Radley in the pool.

While I'm not shocked by Spencer's reaction and eventual catatonia given the events of "Out of Sight, Out of Mind," I am a little disappointed by the promise we saw in Spencer earlier this season getting delayed by the last couple of episodes. We saw a manipulative, nasty side of her that I was hoping would chase down all the members of the A Team and at least level the playing field slightly. But she's been struggling too hard with her sad-sackness to realize that potential.

There were some glimmers. Standing up to Mona reminded me that she could still have some spark in her and chasing Mona through the woods with the fire of a thousand suns showed me what could be. But, when she received that wreath and decoded it to mean "EM," you could tell that she still had too much to lose to realize her inner anti-hero. If you have to plead with impressionable, gullible Emily, you're definitely in a weak position. Certainly too weak and distracted to realize that the EM on the banner wasn't for Emily but for "ME"—Toby.

Now is Toby really dead? I'm going to have to refer to soap opera rules: If you don't see a body, s/he's still alive. That's how I feel about Alison and that's how I feel about Toby. Spencer saw a tattoo, a substance that she may imagine to be blood, and a motorcycle helmet covering up a face. No independent coroner to confirm, no dice. No one checked for vital signs or even looked at the face of whoever was under the blanket. I call shenangians.

Nevertheless, it was enough to get Spencer locked up at Arkham Asylum, where she can get in touch with the madwomen festering inside her, begging to get out. Heck, even the play to get into Radley might have been part of a master plan to seek vengeance against the people who took Toby away from her. Find E. Lamb and you may find a missing puzzle piece.

Emily tried her best to find E. Lamb but was thwarted by a wondrous police database search. What are the odds that Emily, when trying to be discreet and stealthy with her computer time, comes across the only program in the universe that loads images from the bottom up? All we learned from the horizontal striped shirt is that Lamb's mom still shops for him.

To Em's credit, she really tried her best to track down Toby, including violating her own advice from last week. I'm not sure "Hot Water" Emily (who hijacked Paige's mission by saying going places alone is what gets them in trouble) would approve of "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" Emily heading to the Rosewood warehouse district by herself, after dark, after listening to a desperate Spencer pleading that she be safe. And then, on top of that, sit in her car for almost two and a half hours. And open up a strange package that was sitting in her busted-up car. That's the kind of naivete that people sending anthrax pray for.

But she did catch a glimpse of Red Coat and here's where I'm afraid I might be conflating two of the shows I watch. Red Coat walks into a place with a bunch of workers and disappears. One of them knows Emily's name and is being that taunting kind of secret that people in Rosewood like to be. I know that the A Team is bigger than the original one person the Liars thought it was over the first season or two, but—is A employing a warehouse full of workers? Someone has to make the dollhouses, right?

Or maybe the woodworking shop is just a front for A. The question of funding addressed itself again with Mona counting through a wad of cash and with such an elaborate scheme surrounding Toby's "death," that money has to come from somewhere. Maybe they sell little coffin message-carriers on the side. The question is, how would A hire all these people? Does she have a cult following like Joe Carroll on The Following? Are they just as simple? Are they the ones keeping this project moneyed?

It's no secret that I consider Ezra to be a possible source of the funding for the A operation, but I'll spare you my conspiracy theories since we're finally looking at an opportunity for Aria to find her way out. Yes, feeling like the mistress babysitter instead of the legitimate girlfriend tends to wear a person down, I would imagine. And while the series of events may be quick for her character since she went from doubtless to doubt in the span of 45 minutes, I think it's a natural progression. To be a teenager and see your boyfriend raising a child that you have no connection to can sour you pretty quick.

Also, treating your girlfriend like a neglectful babysitter in fear of what your baby mama is going to say when she gets there can't help Ezra either. If you care at all what Ezra thinks. Which I don't. Because he's a child-toucher.

And that leaves us with Hanna winning Dumbest Liar of the Week. It's well documented how much I love a quippy Hanna but people listen to her advice too often. Why would Ashley take the advice of her daughter, who is no stranger to the police interrogation room, about how the system works? And then there's the car thing, which you watch happen and just cringe with the foolishness.

A trades in one thing: secrets. Secrets have been A's thing since the beginning, even before this season's turn toward the macabre. Why would you continue to create more secrets? The best defense against A is to be completely and totally open about everything you do. Let your mother be contrite. Burying things never works. You guys are receiving trinkets from a coffin, for crying out loud. Who's a car in a lake going to stop?

While I didn't find this episode as emotionally trying as many of the people I saw lamenting about it on Twitter, it was mostly because I didn't consider any of the events that occurred to be devastating so much as I saw them as setting the table for the last three episodes of the season. That there are three more episodes in the season should give you pause as to the truth of everything happening in front of you. "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" tried my patience on more than one occasion, but the game is set up for what should be a more rewarding homestretch.


– Sometimes, when Shay Mitchell has to react to something, I feel like she took acting classes from Joey Tribbiani.

– The show is trying to sell us hard on Toby being the hoodie that trapped Spencer in the steam room. Last week, comments abounded with regard to how no one was fooled by the Toby red herring. Good for you. I hope you saw their case against Toby this week as circumstantial.

– So, yeah, Aria and Ezra might split up due to the complications of an adult situation. But that's a good thing for Ezra. He gets an opportunity to make things work with the mother of his child, sure, blah blah. But it also means he has an excuse to invite more high school girls over to babysit his kid! Score!

– Tweet I wish I thought of from @iansgoose:

– This is probably the worst round of lying any of the Liars have produced all season. Aria lying to her mom about the toys for Emily-I-mean-Hanna and then Hanna to Aria about meeting her mom after hearing some sirens. This is the one thing you guys are supposed to be good at. Other than being pretty and little.

– Maybe I'm assuming too many good qualities in Spencer. Maybe, like Noel says, this is where Spencer becomes The Joker.

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  • zeofan1 Mar 03, 2013

    At least the writers seem to understand how futile it is to try and make Ezra interesting and they're trying to kill this relationship organically (thank you conversation with Holly Marie Combs). As the fans know, Emily's not all that interesting, but at least she's still a decent tool to move the plot forward; on top of that, she's the reason we have Paige in the show~! :3 The show needed the cop car in that lake; they know Hanna was acting stupid, so they tried to compensate by having the characters remark upon how stupid what she's doing was. The effort at lamp-shading the stupidity was appreciated, but I honestly feel as though they could have found another way to get the car into the lake. As usual, Spencer is the high point of the story. Troian Bellisario's catatonia was legitimately chilling; be it moxy or weakness, I'm always engaged by Ms. Bellisario's acting and my only desire is that they continue to take the character in an interesting direction.

  • vespa4 Mar 05, 2013

    "Emilys not all that interesting" !! I love emily, shes the next best character next to Hanna, also was that comment about paige supposed to imply shes a good character? Cause i hate her, emily can do so much better than that psycho!

  • zeofan1 Mar 05, 2013

    Psycho or not, she's consistently more interesting than Emily. I can't imagine why Emily is your favorite character, when the writers don't even bother giving her much dimension.

  • vespa4 Mar 05, 2013

    haha, i suppose thats true, and shes not the best actress either, maybe i just love her cause shes a babe...shallow yes, but god damn it, i cant help the way i feel! ;D

  • zeofan1 Mar 06, 2013

    Huuuuh. Interesting way to approach a character.

  • ch0c0nutz Mar 03, 2013

    i thought aria and ezra would break up cuz of wes... i dont see the point in that really... actually i dont see the point in any of those aria storylines... like her mom dating and now what? i've no idea how that ended... and where's meredith? and her dad? they vanish just like that..

  • angrodpallanen Mar 02, 2013

    I'm getting too skeptical for nearly everything that's going on right now. To me, 1) Spencer is too smart and calculative to actually loose it, and I'm confident this is part of a complex master plan. If not, the writers really ruined her for no good reason. 2) Because they can't really have killed Toby. That would be the worst. It makes more sense for the body to be Wilden, because he's the worst. 3) And Ashleigh has been seeing strange things this year. 4) I honestly don't believe the writers would break up Ezria. They love them too much. I would happily see Aria with anyone else but I just don't believe her doubts can be permanent.

    So yeah, nothing that's happening really sets me off. I'm ready for some answers and for the liars to become a bit smarter considering this is their life now and they should really have learned a thing or two by now.

  • inbar777 Mar 01, 2013

    Sometimes I could get very mad at this show when they allow certain stupidity to happen and I can't phrase it any gentler than that, like this week with the police car like come on really isn't this a little first season, I mean I love Hannah and all but how can you expect to do something like that and to not have it bite you in the ass in the end, haven't we learned anything, are the girls not watching this show!!! , this is A! if you have a really big secret especially one that's probably going to have you end up in a orange jumpsuit or your mom be sure A is going to use it against you aaaaaand is probably going to make your life a living hell as a result, knowing all that and still choosing to doing something soo dumb it's just… what's the word I'm looking for hmmm … stupid .

    or last week when emily said the photo she and jason found was lost and aria said "from now on everything we find go straight to our phones" and I'm like didn't this occurred to you before whenever you came close to an incriminating evidence, at least if you're not going to go with that to the police because they can't be trusted at least have the decency to make copy's ,just back the fucking thing up if it's that important , like that video they had of alison and ian that was on spencer lap top at least put it on your flash drive that's what it's for, don't let it get stolen from you in gym class and later removed or like that time they found the videos which probably got Alison killed why put it only on emily's computer to only get it later erased by A here's a thought why don't you put it in another computer as well , is caleb the only guy sensible enough to back things up because I would have expected the same from spencer or even Emily probably not hanna.

    sorry for the long rant but that had to be said I love this show but this stuff really bug me also I'm happy aria is finally getting a reality check for her relationship with ezra. I'm not one of the haters who think ezra is a perv but I'm really not into their all drama in general and also cause I think aria and ezra is part of the A team but that's a different discussion. also how predictable it was that malcolm is going to get hurt the minute aria said yes to babysitting , I could already see the trip to the E.R in my head .

  • vcivi Mar 01, 2013

    Ok, first i want to say that i for sure don't believe that Toby is dead! I think the body we saw was the cop!
    Toby is or still out there, or he just left Rosewood...
    Or spencer is really broken, or she is playing a dangerous she seemed broken all the way in the is so much a person can take, and the whole Toby thing, broke her anyway..
    Poor Aria, going all through that trouble, for the be dumped in the is going to choose for sure for his kid and Maggie ( a grown up woman), then stay with a young girl, who has no clue how to take care of a Let's see how that plays out. Loved the whole talking with her mother moment.
    Emily, can be annoying, but somehow i keep liking is so alone 3 hours in that car, going to that workplace and find out her window is broken, with a can be so bolt it..
    Hannah and her mom, what shall i love when A involves the parents into her sick now.. I think Hannah should have told her mom about the car...
    Nive me sitting on the edge of my chair!!!! Nice!!

  • Arkano1317 Feb 28, 2013

    I'm so happy that Aria is finally putting some distance between her and Ezra! I want Wes back!
    There's just one thing in all this that keeps bugging me, so please help me and correct me if I'm wrong: I remember that last season A made the scaffolding where Toby was working fall, injuring him... do I remember right? Was that just a set up? That's the only thing keeping me from believing that Toby's in the A team from the beginning...

    Anyway, I also think that until I see the bodies both Toby and Alison are alive, Alison is actually A and this is just her crazy-scheming against her four minions like she used to.

  • chris17blue Feb 28, 2013

    Oooops, I forgot to add - Watch Spencer join the A Team in the Season Finale. You heard it here first! LOL I'm just speculating though. XD

  • mcepin3 Feb 28, 2013

    Scene with 9 year old(is he 9..let's say 9-ish),girlfriend who is 17-ish and Ezra is just wrong. For so many reasons...

  • BrookeDsBaby Feb 28, 2013

    I thought he was 7.

  • chris17blue Feb 28, 2013

    Well, hello again Nick! I love reading your reviews, they are insightful! Also this --

    >>>"So, yeah, Aria and Ezra might split up due to the complications of an adult situation. But that's a good thing for Ezra. He gets an opportunity to make things work with the mother of his child, sure, blah blah. But it also means he has an excuse to invite more high school girls over to babysit his kid! Score! " LOL XD <<

    I can't believe Spencer actually ended up institutionalized, it is something I predicted last week but I had no idea that it would actually happen. I agree Shay Mitchell is a terrible actress, I thought she did a fine job when the series began but she has become progressively worse and worse. There are a lot of other things that bothered me about this episode. Just to name a few, first and foremost...Spencer's stupidity...

    Many times before the show have mentioned numerous times that Spencer is the smartest of the girls. You can'd do that on a numerous occasions and then contradict yourself by having Spencer do something as stupid as finding a body with a helmet on, and having her assume it's Toby's body and that he is dead. It just doesn't work, it does not make any sense at all! If she is so smart, she would have taken off the helmet instead of running after Mona like a complete and total idiot. It just bugs me so much!

    Anyway, moving on to Aria... This whole kid storyline have gone too far. I honestly do not care about Maggie, Ezra or their kid at this point....I just wish they would drop it. GET RID OF THEM. Might as well get rid of Aria, she has done nothing but obssess over Ezra and tell her friends she needs them because she has Ezra problems....=.= Like are you serious? Are we even watching the same show anymore? Oh, and A doesn't give a damn about Aria....

    P.S. Obviously the body Spencer found is Wilden....and not Toby. I just can't believe how stupid they are making her out to well as the rest of the girls.

    Rant Over lol

  • Llostris Feb 28, 2013

    1. I expected Spencer to end up in a prison or asylum at the series final. It happened a lot sooner then I thought. Not sure if I'm happy about it. Next week everyone is probably going to look for Spencer. She didn't have any documents / id with her. So for everyone concerned Spencer is missing. I don't think she's pretending to be catatonic - it's the real deal.

    2. Toby is probably alive - as we didn't see his face. I like the theory of Detective Creeperson's body being a substitute for Toby.

    3. Toby's friend from workshop is so A Team. He knew Emily's name and as far as I remember she didn't introduce herself to him.

    4. Pushing the police car into the pond was such a stupid idea. Someone had to find it. And now there are Hannah's (and possible Emily's) fingerprints inside. I hope she looks good in orange cause they are already cleaning a cell for her.

    5. Aria had a chance to become a professional nanny (way better future then an addict prostitute) and she blew it. Run when you still can girl.

    6. Ezra, the child-toucher. He creeps me everytime he's on screen! What's worse we now have Ezra's Spawn. Give him 20 years or so and Malcolm will molest high school girls like his dear Papa.

    7. And the worst mother of the year award goes to... Piper! It's a wonder she still has parental rights.

    Thanks for review, Nick!

  • BrookeDsBaby Feb 28, 2013

    Well the description for episode 23 is "Spencer (Troian Bellisario) searches for answers about Mona." Maybe she's searching in Radley? I don't know, if she's really catatonic, it's a speedy recovery.

  • Llostris Feb 28, 2013

    Thanks for spoilers.FYI some people don't like them...

  • BrookeDsBaby Feb 28, 2013

    "Spencer searches for answers" is a spoiler? Cause Spencer never does that. SPOILER ALERT! Aria wears stripes.

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