Pretty Little Liars Season 3 Review “Mona Mania!”

Pretty Little Liars Season 3 Episode 15 Mona-Mania! (3)

It was indeed “Mona Mania!” on the latest episode of “Pretty Little Liars,” as Mona wasted no time in ruffling all manner of feathers amongst the girls. There was plenty of juicy info rattling around in this one, but I’ll do my best to break it all down for you.

We started with Aria indulging in something film noir-ish on the tube. I thought I recognized it as Hitchcock, and this may not be right, but it’s what I came up with when I tried to do a Google search for movies with certain elements. Regardless, check out the synopsis and tell me it shouldn’t be the right one, even if it isn’t. Sounds pretty familiar, right? Like certain plot elements on a certain show we all love? (Once again, got the “Peaks” flashbacks, remembering a little thing called “Invitation to Love.”) Whatever the case, dad certainly knew the flick: “I’ve seen this. That guy keeps a severed head in a hatbox.” Yeah, that’s not creepy, dad. (Update! The movie Aria was watching is called “Night Must Fall” with Rosalind Russell. Thanks to Wynn92 for figuring it out!)

Dad tried to apologize for accusing her of the explosion in last week’s episode, but Aria wasn’t having it. Can’t say I blame her. How would you feel if your dad accused you of trying to fry the woman who broke up your family’s marriage? Then again…I guess it’s understandable, but it’s also wrong and Lord knows, he’s one to talk about doing screwed up stuff.

Interestingly, the writers went out of their way to make Meredith much more sympathetic this episode, and though I resisted at first, she actually started to win me over after a certain point. I was reminded of a girlfriend’s reaction to the introduction of Kate Walsh’s character on “Grey’s Anatomy.” She wanted to hate her, but damned if Walsh wasn’t pretty cool (cooler than that cold fish Pompeo by a country mile, to be sure…not that I said anything of the sort at the time. mind you). I remember her saying: “Stupid bitch. Why did she have to be cool?” We don’t date anymore.

Moving on…Meredith tried to make with the friendlies towards Aria and her mom, and both were pretty civil in the long run, though you could certainly feel the tension in her encounter with Ella, Ella, Ella, eh. For a hot minute there, I thought we might just have some real unpleasantness. Maybe not some hair-pulling insanity like on a soap or whatever, but definitely some nasty exchanges at the very least.

Bless her heart, the actress formerly-known-as Piper took the high road, and that just made me love her all the more, but I also came away from the episode a step closer to being cool with Team Meredith, so there’s that. Good on ya, “PLL” writers, for pulling that sweet switch-up move. I like it. Carry on Meredith, and sorry about the whole flambé comment last week.

Meanwhile, the gals went in search of Alison’s diary in Harold’s office for a second time. As before, they weren’t the only ones at the party, but the unexpected guest bolted out of there before anyone could get a look at him…or did he? Regardless, there wasn’t nothing to be found but a fake diary with a message from “A” mocking them: “Keep moving ladies…nothing to see here.”

Shortly thereafter, they run afoul of Mona, in full creep-out mode. I’m really glad they decided to hold on to her. Janel Parrish has really started to inhabit the character in earnest, and she did a superlative job throughout this episode, shifting from acting like a Stepford Heather to just this side of Norman Bates at the drop of a hat (box). Mona really does rule!

Well, it turns out she wants to rule the roost, too, slyly challenging Spencer in a battle of the big brains, winner take all. How awesome was it watching these two square off like that? Brains and beauty, gotta love it. I’d have been turned on if Mona didn’t scare the crap out of me. But the more pensive Spencer she gets, the more I like her. I loved seeing her laying waste to Mona at first only to get rattled later on, with Mona not hesitating to swoop in for the kill. “Do you want that by population or gross nation product?” indeed. Like a boss!

Interestingly, while all this was happening, Hannah was off confronting Lucas, whose shoes she’d recognized as belonging to the culprit they’d run into earlier, who was running out of Harold’s office like a bat out of hell. At long last, we got the skinny on what the what was with Lucas and Mona. Turns out Mona had been blackmailing him when she’d discovered he was selling test answers to the highest bidder. (Interesting how that paralleled with the fact that Mona clearly takes her academics seriously- punish the wicked! Lucas should have known better.)

Oh, and don’t think I didn’t notice that geek-a-rific room Lucas called home, with that sweet Batmobile poster on the door and more Fantastic Four issues than you can shake a stick at. Well played, “PLL.” Anyway, Lucas was the one who set up the explosion. He’d been after Mona, so it wasn’t Mona herself, trying to score cool points with the girls.

The girls also discovered that Mona had supposedly lost internet privileges and phone access, at least of an unsupervised nature, and even then, only to do homework and school-related stuff, which is what she passed last week’s “confessional” video off as. (I think Aria summed it up perfectly, with her undeniable bit of catty dialogue and my fave line of the night: “Yeah, it was certainly calculating, but I wouldn’t call it trig.”) Not that it mattered, what with nothing other than Jason being her supervisor Hmm. Imagine that.

Note that this ties in neatly with Lucas’ claim that Mona is virtually untouchable. After all, he’s pretty smart his own self and he failed miserably up against her, almost getting himself killed in the process several times. As he points out, someone clearly has her back, and Lucas isn’t sticking around to find out who…which may not bode well for him in the near future. Whatever the case, both she and Lucas certainly have an answer for everything, but I’m more inclined to believe the less crazy person, and no, being a collector doesn’t qualify one as crazy. (Or so I tell myself.)

Much as I adore Emily and her character’s steadfast way of meeting any and every obstacle that comes her way with bravery and fortitude, there’s being brave and there’s being stupid. And stupid in a show like this is definitely having an isolated party with a bunch of girls in the woods. Don’t they know the rules? Even stupider? Deciding to take a walk with your girlfriend in the woods alone. Has Emily never seen a horror movie?

At least she knew enough to advise Paige to seek therapeutic help after all this insanity. As well she should have, what with Paige looking more than a little sheepish on the whole. I might add, this unexpected layer made her more likable as well, after I spent most of the time in previous seasons thinking she was about to go Crazy Town at any given moment. Never thought I’d see Paige this vulnerable.

Toby certainly has seen some slasher movies, and he’s clearly taking Creepy 101 this semester at school, because I can’t look at him anymore without getting skeeved out. He was also revealed as the one who slashed, no pun intended, the girls’ tires. We already know he was the one who went after Lucas, not Mona as Lucas suspected.

I feel for poor Spencer. That ball is gonna drop soon, if the preview is any indication. Spencer’s too smart to be too stupid for long, anyway. Between that impending revelation and her defeat at the hands of the notorious Mona, this is not looking like a good rest of the season for Spencer. *Big sigh*

Speaking of a one-way ride to Crazy Town, I suspect as well that Mona will not be able to keep it together much longer after Hannah’s outburst after she won the big brain competition. Hannah effectively broke up with Mona, severing all ties and really laying into her right after her moment of triumph. I’m guessing Mona won’t take that lying down. Even Spencer recognizes that may have been a dubious move, knowing a formidable opponent when she sees one.

The episode ends with Mona and an unidentified someone (possibly Toby, but then again, if so, why not show him?) up to some mischief. As Mona keeps watch over Aria’s dad, who is working late up at the school and talking to someone clearly higher-up than herself, mystery man is planting masks in the ground somewhere near a campground and train track. Another clue for the girls or perhaps another frame-up job? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

What did you think of this episode of “Pretty Little Liars”? I thought it was right up there with one of the best so far this season, and I loved Mona and Spencer squaring off and the Paige and Meredith stuff shows that the writers can still throw you a curveball even this far into things. Or do you buy any of it? Do you still think Meredith or Paige might be up to something? Sound off below in the comments!