This show should officially be called One Pretty Little Selfish Liar and All the Poor Friends She Drags Through the Mud.
Honestly, after years on the run, Alison DiLaurentis is finally back, and now it seems as if she's an even bigger liar than when she left. At least the old Ali didn't deny that she was a horribly narcissistic mean girl who really only cared about herself. But now, because of all her traumatizing experiences, it's as if Ali 2.0 really doesn't understand that she's still a pretty awful person. The one good thing that comes out of Ali's return and general disinterest in the feelings of anyone but herself is that it has lit a fire under the other Liars. Not only are they acting as one unit, but they're getting angry, and as last week established, angry works (especially on Emily).
Picking up at the police station, Ali catches the girls up on the suspect situation. Apparently the guy's name is Cyrus Petrillo, and Ali thinks that if she identifies him as her kidnapper, he'll get scared and run to "A," who the Liars believe hired him. But the other Liars aren't exactly excited to play along. At this point, Ali is more than a pretty liar. She's a big fat liar, and the girls have to tread lightly. With Ali going rogue, they need to put a plan in place.
Step one of that plan: Convince Ali not to identify the poor guy who isn't her kidnapper as her kidnapper (you know, because no one is her kidnapper). Emily is tasked with that step simply because her beautiful eyes make her the hardest to disappoint. Meanwhile, Spencer takes care of step two: Stashing Noel's "insurance" in her room. Only, when she gets home, she finds that her secret hiding place—the red chair we saw "A" break into a few episodes back—has been discovered. The recording of Ali's story is gone. And who's there to see Spencer panic? Good old Melissa, who stands by as her sister gets a call from "A" that plays the very recording she's just lost. And because a phone call isn't nearly as fun as a text, "A" follows it with a message that reads, "Checkmate." Quick! Who plays chess?
Spoiler: Melissa does! After Aria spends some time trying to convince a very depressed Ella that her breakup with Zack wasn't about her age (although, considering he tried to sleep with a teenager, it probably was about her age), she heads over to Spencer's to watch the surveillance footage of the barn, where we see Melissa handing the recorder to someone in black saying "Do it. Trust me. Do it."
So what exactly does Melissa know? Definitely something, but she's not ready to say it… yet. Spencer discovers her sis has been looking into taking a trip out of the country, and Melissa invites her along after giving an ominous warning about how Ali is going to get what she deserves. By episode's end, we find Melissa in front of a video camera ready to confess the truth to Spencer.
Sidenote: A Hastings sister spin-off in Zurich? That sounds endlessly fascinating.
NEXT: Angry Emily is back!