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'Pretty Little Liars' recap: 'It Happened That Night's' happenings

ABC Family's “Pretty Little Liars” stars Troian Bellisario

ABC Family's “Pretty Little Liars” stars Troian Bellisario as Spencer Hastings, Lucy Hale as Aria Montgomery, Shay Mitchell as Emily Fields and Ashley Benson as Hanna Marin. Credit: ABC Family

When last season's finale of 'Pretty Little Liars' aired, we were rewarded with some answers and, in typical Liars fashion, left hanging in suspense, wanting for more information.

The big revelation: Mona (Janel Parrish) is A.  Personally, I saw this coming. However, the fact that she blatantly referenced an "A-Team," as in plural, and the Liars truly believed their horrors to be over completely baffles me. Chalk it up to the rantings of a crazy woman, I suppose (Mona, not me).

Cue the Season 3 premiere, picking up exactly where our "Pretty Little Liars" left off -- sort of.

An entire summer has passed since the dramatic "Oh my God, Mona is A ... and now Maya [Bianca Lawson] is dead" sequence, and it seems that not much has truly changed in Rosewood.

Emily (Shay Mitchell) has clearly not been taking Maya's death well, snapping at her friends and drinking to excess as the rest of the Liars try to catch up on a summer spent [mostly] apart.   The scene seems appropriately awkward considering the Maya-Mona elephant in the room.

Waking from an impromptu drunken slumber, Aria (Lucy Hale) and Hanna (Ashley Benson) find Emily missing, and Spencer (Troian Bellisario) claims she's nowhere to be found. Unlike the show's beginnings with Ali (Sasha Pieterse), however, Emily is just fine -- albeit drunk, standing graveside, shovel in hand, staring down at Alison's now-empty casket.

Clearly she didn't dig up Ali's grave, at least not by herself, so how did she get there and who dug that hole?

The girls quickly come to Emily's aid and after an A-like spook, head to Spencer's lake house, deciding that no one could have seen them, so naturally the night never happened.

Will they ever learn to just tell the truth?

Ezra (Ian Harding) comforts Aria, reassuring her that the threat of A ended with Mona, and I'm glad to see that all our Liars' relationships, Maya and Emily's notwithstanding, of course, are still intact and seemingly stronger than ever.

As usual., the girls are lying to each other again, and we quickly find Hanna visiting an otherwise comatose Mona, trying to get answers for what made Mona hate her (because you know, clearly that's more pressing than the obvious question, "Why would you try to kill me and my friends?" Baby steps, I guess).

Hanna passes Wren (Julian Morris) in the hallway on her way out and they have a brief and bizarre exchange. She presses him, asking why he's there (yes, Wren, why are you there?), and he explains that he volunteers there, quickly throwing the same question back at her. It could be the conspiracy theorist in me, but it seems strange that he's been in a lot of the same places as the Liars throughout last season and now this episode as well, especially now that they're at a psychiatric hospital.

In a strange sequence of events, Aria has a panic attack when she thinks A has followed her into the girls' bathroom. Spencer revisits A's lair (what is she doing there?). And Emily, in her first real candid moment of the episode, talks to Toby (Keegan Allen) about her anger over Maya and A, and discusses a summer drinking problem while on her stint building houses, where she apparently blacked out. She worries that she'll disappoint the other Liars with her behavior.

Garrett (Yani Gellman) contacts Spencer and she goes to visit him in jail (this can only mean juicy deets for our plot-twist hungry appetites).  Sure enough, he asks for Spencer's mother's legal help with his current, um, predicament. And when Spencer aims to storm off, Garrett lets it slip that he knows who dug up Ali's grave. (AH HA! Obligatory episode plot-twist satisfied, not that we'll know anything for many weeks to come, I'm sure.)

The girls are all (except for Emily, who is notably absent) brought in for questioning about Ali's grave, which clearly has become common procedure whenever anything concerning Ali happens in Rosewood. They all feed police the same story about being at Spencer's lake house. Meanwhile, Spencer's mother (Lesley Fera) reveals that prosecutors requested Ali's body be exhumed, but that someone removed the body before a judge could decide the motion.

Emily sees an old car that triggers a memory of her trip to Ali's grave and she receives a text message (presumably from the assailant) alluding to the fact that she has no recollection of that night. It's not signed "A," though no one seems to harp on that when she shares the scene with the other Liars.

The girls take Emily back to the motel, where they share that Spencer has spent much of the summer trying to recreate what the room looked like on that fateful night when they learned who Mona truly was. Emily's confused at this, considering her friends led her to believe that they had cleared the room. That's when they share the horrifying revelation that the room was cleaned out by someone other than the Liars or the police.

Finally they see what has been painfully obvious to the rest of us: Mona was not the only "A." Maybe the crazy lady's rants about an "A-Team" weren't just rants after all?

In true A fashion, Spencer's distant car alarm goes off, and the Liars find hundreds of pictures of them standing over Ali's empty grave -- so they weren't alone after all.  

A text to the Liars, "Mona played with dolls. I play with body parts. Game on, bitches. --A." ends the episode and hints at the suspenseful roller coaster ride that this season promises to be. Let the games begin.

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