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

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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.



NOTES


– 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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