Pretty Little Liars, “Taking This One to the Grave”

How can I even try to recap things for you before I talk about the summer finale?  Is there a way to do that?  Well, here’s the shortest I can come up with – Alison is back, and all hell broke loose, because she’s cray cray.  Is that good?  Does that pretty much sum it all up?

This post is pretty picture heavy, just to warn you.

This episode begins with a black screen that says “Thanksgiving Day.”  Which is interesting… I’m not sure what time of year I thought it was, but Thanksgiving wasn’t going to be my first guess.  Then… wow.  We hear a heartbeat.  We see police hanging crime scene tape across the front of a house.  And then the music starts.  Hanna is crying.  Aria and Emily look like they’re in shock.  Ezra looks haunted.  Where is Spencer?

A police officer walks up, all sassy-like, saying he’ll take their statements now, one at a time.  Hanna refuses to go back up to the porch.  She says she doesn’t want to see that again.  The officer makes another sassy face, then gets pulled away.pll taking this one to the grave 1

Aria says that there was so much blood in the house that there’s no way anyone could have lived through whatever happened.  Ezra looks like he’s at a loss for words.  Hanna is a mess.  Emily doesn’t know what to do besides hold her.pll taking this one to the grave 2

Then, all of their phones ring.  “It’s all your fault.  –A.”  That’s all the text says.

The screen goes to black again, telling us that we’re moving back in time 36 hours.  Holy crap, you guys.  They weren’t kidding about the Fatal Finale.

Alison is at the police station, getting hooked up to a polygraph test.  Another officer asks Mr. Detective Man (whom we haven’t seen for several episodes) if they should wait for Detective Grumpy Gills.  MDM doesn’t answer.  Which is warranted.  DGG has been doing all kinds of stuff without him, after all.  Alison, meanwhile, is just sitting there, giving absolutely zero f**ks.  Great.  Awesome.  The polygraph guy asks her if she’s sitting down, and what color her shirt is.  She’s asked to state her legal name – this is where one of two things could have been proven.  Either a) she truly is Alison, making all talks of the Twin Theory moot, or b) she is such a good liar that she believes that she is Alison, even though she is the twin pretending to be Alison, which would prove the Twin Theory correct.  As far as I’m aware, we don’t know for sure if the show plans to incorporate the Twin Theory or not.pll taking this one to the grave 3

The theme song plays.  Did you notice that the title of the episode comes from the theme song?

French music plays.  There are shelves of dolls.  Oh… we’re in Mona’s bedroom.  Mona’s house?!  We’ve never seen Mona’s house.  This doesn’t bode well…  Her mom (who may be a wonderful person, but…) reminds me of a Stepford Wife.  It’s actually more terrifying than some of the other things that have happened on this show.  She tells Mona that she has company, and Mona asks who it is.  Her mom tells her to come see for herself.

It’s the four Liars.  The first thing she says is, “Why the grim faces?  Did somebody die?”  IT’S AN OMEN.  Hanna says that they need Mona’s help, and Mona’s immediate response is to ask what she did to them.  She knows.  She’s always been right about Alison, after all.  They tell Mona about Alison going to the police, and she is less than amused.pll taking this one to the grave 4

Mona asks why they think she’d be able to help them, and Aria says, “Because you’re Mona.”  She looks pretty proud of herself, at that point.

Alison is then asked who was in the barn that night, if the girls were still sleeping when she left the barn, and where she last saw Spencer.  OH NO.  They suspect Spencer.  And Alison is going to let it happen.

Mona tells her tale of woe, saying that Alison ruined her life by crowning her Loser Mona.  That’s not even all that catchy.  I’m not sure why it stuck.  However, Mona doesn’t want to agree to help them.  They agree that they’re all scared of Alison.  Stepford Mom brings cookies out, but the other girls say that they have to go.  So she goes to put them in Tupperware.  Hanna, obviously, stays behind to get the cookies, while the other girls get up to leave.  Aria, Emily, and Spencer discuss what Spencer is going to do with Melissa’s loving video.

Hanna takes the cookies, and then Stepford Mom pulls her aside.  She asks if Alison’s torture has started again.  Hanna says she’s not friends with Alison anymore, but she does think that Mona and all of them are afraid of her.  Listening to Hanna talk to her mom seems to flip a switch in Mona.  She calls someone and tells them to send out a code A.  Heh.  Clever.

Mona arrives at the Brew, but no one else appears to be there.  It’s just Lucas, saying that Alison got to everyone else.  And that Mona is now Crazy Mona.  Still not catchy.  Mona says that it’s Alison who is crazy, actually – “full on socio” is the phrase she actually uses.  Is that a nod to the canceled ABC Family show, Twisted, perhaps?

The girls have a bathroom meeting, where Mona tells them that Alison volunteered to take the polygraph test.  How does she know that?  Because she’s Mona.  That’s what the episode title should have been.  Spencer points out that Alison wouldn’t have done that unless she believed her own story.  That’s the terrifying thing, isn’t it?  The girls decide there are two reasons Alison could be lying to herself.  Either a) she did something so terrible that she doesn’t want to admit it to herself, or b) she’s playing a game.  Yikes.  Neither is good.pll taking this one to the grave 5

Mona states that she thinks Alison is ending the game on her own terms, because her “dolls” aren’t letting her play with them anymore.  Mona states that she believes Alison is A.  Then Mona gives them a lesson on sociopathic behavior.  That may have been the most interesting part of the episode, actually.  Not only can Mona sing like a bird, but she’s whip-smart.  Huh.  No wonder she was messing with them.  She was probably bored out of her skull at school.  They let in girls who have been running around on their own for two years, after all.

Because of this new information about Alison being a sociopath (is that really new information, though?), the girls and Mona now fear that Alison went to the cops to pin the blame on the other four and exonerate herself.  Mona says she’ll be able to find out what Alison told the cops.  Hanna wants to know why Mona is helping them, and she says that she wants to survive so she can go to college.  She wants to survive?  Another omen?  She tells them to go about their business as usual, and then those creepy twins enter the bathroom.  Mona greets them, but they ignore her.  The girls leave.  Then the twins come out of the bathroom stalls with creepy grins on their faces.  Freaky…pll taking this one to the grave 6

Emily opens her locker, and a book falls out.  Luckily, Paige is there to pick it up for her.  They discuss Thanksgiving and decorating for Christmas, and Paige offers to help.  Emily asks about Paige’s date, and she says that her costume didn’t fit right.  Awwww.  Emily comments that they never got to have their talk, and Paige says she’s tired of talking, and then swoops in for the kiss!  Yes!  Paily is back, hooray!!pll taking this one to the grave 7

Stepford Mom leaves the principal’s office, and then she runs into Mona.  Stepford Mom tells a lie, and then Mona has a controntation with Alison, who is looking deceptively sweet in her floral maxi dress.  She is called to the principal’s office, but she doesn’t seem fazed at all.  It’s pretty easy to see what her new posse thinks of Mona, though.  Yikes.

Ezra and Aria are making pumpkin pies from scratch, because Ezra is worried about what Aria’s family is going to think of him at Thanksgiving, and he wants to impress them.  Yeah, make that face, and they’ll love you.pll taking this one to the grave 8

Spencer, meanwhile, is looking at an old scrapbook of the five girls.  Then Toby walks in in full police garb, and one of the writers decided this was a good time to “publish” some of that fanfiction he or she’d been writing.pll taking this one to the grave 9

In other news, police academy is shorter than I thought it would be.

Also, Spencer got him an inscribed pocket watch that is the cutest.pll taking this one to the grave 10

Lucas arrives at the police department and asks if he can apply to some liaison program.  But really, he’s helping Mona hack.  She’s sitting in the bathroom, of course.  That’s where all hackers have their best ideas.  I guess we know how Mona kept from getting bored.pll taking this one to the grave 11 pll taking this one to the grave 12

Hanna, Caleb, Emily, and Paige are decorating her house for Christmas.  Emily is leading her elves with skills I never knew she possessed.  Also, she named a snowman Snowy, and two penguins Pingy and Wingy.  Creative.  Hanna and Caleb are struggling with the lights.  This scene is just too funny.  Hanna then gets a call from Mona, but tells Caleb that it’s her mom, because they were instructed to not tell bed-buddies.  Caleb talks to Emily about why she and her family decorate so early.  Hanna then tries to lie to Caleb, even though both he and Emily poke holes in her lie.  After Emily walks away, Caleb points out that he can tell when Hanna is lying, and she makes a face.

The girls sit at Spencer’s house and watch the video Mona got of Alison’s polygraph.  Nothing Alison says really gives away much, but Mona points out that it is the police questions that are more interesting.  Alison does make sure to point out that she had nothing to do with Bethany Young’s murder – again, this could either be the truth, or proof that she can lie while under a polygraph.pll taking this one to the grave 13

MDM shows up at Alison’s house and states that, while he shouldn’t be there without DGG, he wanted to tell her something in person.  We don’t get to hear what it is.  But they sure do look cozy, don’t they?pll taking this one to the grave 14

Caleb shows up, stating that he knows that the police suspect that Spencer killed Bethany Young.  Hanna freaks out, saying that he was supposed to keep that secret.  But Mona just cackles, saying that she knew Hanna would tell him, so she asked him for hacking help.  The other girls are mad, but I’m with Hanna on this one.  I wouldn’t have been able to lie to that face either.pll taking this one to the grave 15

Caleb loves Mona’s decoding software, and she says that he doesn’t want to know where she got it from.  He says that the cops were granted access to Bethany Young’s Radley files the day before, and then they wrote up an affidavit the next day.  For Spencer’s arrest.  They think they have enough evidence to arrest Spencer for Bethany Young’s murder.

Mona suggests that Spencer find out what’s in Bethany’s Radley files before she jumps the gun, and all of the girls gather around Spencer, leaving Mona out.  But Spencer knows who the mastermind is.  She says that she and Mona should go back to Radley together.  Huh?

Oh.  Dressed as nurses.  BECAUSE THAT’S NOT SUPER OBVIOUS THAT TWO FORMER PATIENTS ARE JUST STROLLING THE HALLS OR ANYTHING.  Caleb and Hanna are hanging out in a car out back, unlocking doors for Mona and Spencer as they go.  Spencer is stressing about making it to Toby’s police graduation, and Mona says they should hurry up, then!

Emily is telling Paige that she doesn’t feel well, so she’ll be hanging out at home.  But then Alison shows up.  What is with Alison and the flower prints?  Emily tries to stall Alison in order to keep an eye on her.  Alison is about to leave, but then Emily lays out the goods.  She says she doesn’t want it to be like this, she wants them to be friends.  And Alison is buying it.  Wow.  Good work, Em.  Look at how smug Alison looks.pll taking this one to the grave 16

Aria is wandering around the Radley art cage, encouraging the patients.  She sees Spencer and Mona and nods to them, then knocks a whole thing of paint on the ground.  She calls to the nurse to open the cage and help her out, and Mona steals the keys.  Man, Aria is chatty when she needs to be.pll taking this one to the grave 17

Caleb and Hanna are on lookout when the see MDM pull up.  Holy crap!  What is he doing there?  Hanna radios to Mona, but Mona doesn’t listen.  She says they need those files, so they go through with the original plan.pll taking this one to the grave 18

MDM confronts Aria while she cleans up the spilled paint.  He asks pointed questions about Spencer and about Bethany Young.  Aria does her best, but she knows that bad things are about to happen.

In the car, Caleb finds a list of colleges that Hanna looks like she is thinking about applying to.  It turns out that Hanna did really well on the SAT – well enough that she got called into the office for cheating.  Huh.  Caleb is so proud of her.  It’s cute.pll taking this one to the grave 19

Alison and Emily continue to talk about being friends again, and then Alison says that she wants some tea.  Emily gets up to get her some, but realizes too late that Alison is playing her.  She’s already got Emily’s phone.  Emily straight up asks if Alison is A.  Things are going to hell in a handbasket very very quickly.

Paige shows up at Emily’s with soup.  She sees the twins waiting in a car, and Alison leaving Emily’s house.  Against every single person’s better judgment, Paige hops back into her car and follows them.

Mona and Spencer are looking through Bethany Young’s file while discussing colleges.  It sounds like Mona got into some Ivy Leagues, while Spencer hasn’t heard from anyone yet.  Yikes.  Spencer should have been going to Penn, but remember, she didn’t get in there, either.  She seems pretty upset until she gets back on task.  There’s something in BY’s file for August 8th that indicates that Mrs. DiLaurentis was having an affair with BY’s dad, and that Alison knew Bethany after all.  Damn.  DAMN.

Toby had been waiting for Spencer at the Brew, but has to leave.  He urgently asks her to call him.

Mona and Spencer get Caleb and Hanna to help them find an alternate way out of the file room, because MDM is blocking their original exit.  Aria hops in the car with Caleb and Hanna, and Hanna asks her what MDM is doing there.  They’re all worried, since he’s asking questions about Spencer.

Spencer calls Toby, who is already on the road.  They have a bad connection, and then Toby is t-boned.  Sheesh!  Does Toby die??pll taking this one to the grave 20

And now it’s Thanksgiving Day again.  The day that we started with.  Emily is working at the Brew, and the girls are drinking their coffee.  Okay, so Toby is alive.  That’s good to know.  Spencer also reveals that she’s told Toby everything, now that he got hit by a truck for her.  Did he?  What was the purpose of that?pll taking this one to the grave 21

Paige shows up at the Brew, demanding to talk to Emily.  She reveals that she saw Alison leaving Emily’s house the night before, and Emily tries to backtrack.  Paige, for her part, doesn’t even car.  She just wants to warn them that Alison is building an army.  She followed them to a farm, and there were a dozen cars.

Then MDM walks in and arrests Spencer.  The other girls are screaming at the cops.  Yes, because that’s going to help.  Toby is also screaming.  Nothing you people say is going to change the minds of the po-po.  Haven’t you learned that yet?  And then there’s Paige, like “WTF mates?”pll taking this one to the grave 22

Mona is sitting on her bed, poring over everything that they got from Radley.  Hanna texts her to tell her that Spencer got arrested.  The wheels in Mona’s mind are spinning so fast.pll taking this one to the grave 23

Mona helps Stepford Mom pack up the car, and it is revealed that Mona is staying later to finish something.  And there is something in her bushes.  GAHHH.  It’s A!  Okay, so now we know it’s Mona that dies, right?  She locks the door.  Like that’s going to help.  Also, doesn’t that A look an awful lot like Alison?pll taking this one to the grave 24

Ezra arrives at Aria’s house with pies.  Spencer is still getting process at the police station, apparently.  Mona calls Aria, revealing that Alison lured BY to Rosewood because she was jealous and wanted her dead.  Mona has proof this time that Alison is A, she says.  As she talks to Aria, A is picking the lock on her front door and lets herself in…

Aria tells Ezra to grab his coat, they’re going to Mona’s.

Mona is basking in her glory.  Until she’s not anymore.pll taking this one to the grave 25

By the time Hanna, Emily, Aria, and Ezra get to Mona’s, there is blood everywhere.  And I mean EVERYWHERE.pll taking this one to the grave 26

There’s a scream.  There are sirens.  And we’re back to the beginning.  Ezra holds Aria, Caleb holds Hanna, Paige holds Emily.  Lucas looks on.  And so does Alison, looking smug as ever.  MDM makes a statement, saying that, even though they didn’t find a body, based on the amount of blood in the house, they are ruling it a homicide.  Mona Vanderwaal was murdered.  And Alison just walks away.pll taking this one to the grave 27 pll taking this one to the grave 28

Then A steals the baby Jesus from Emily’s yard and replaces him with a Mona doll.  Jesus goes into the trunk with Mona’s body.  This song is completely haunting.pll taking this one to the grave 29 pll taking this one to the grave 30

A puts the girls in a snowglobe, making the Christmas special very ominous.

Holy crap, guys.

I’ve watched the episode twice now, and I’m still kind of at a loss.  It was so well done, and while I’ve never been Mona’s biggest fan, I hate this.  I. Marlene King assures everyone that it was necessary, and that it’s for the good of the show.  But I’m not so sure yet.


Until the Christmas special,



2 thoughts on “Pretty Little Liars, “Taking This One to the Grave”

  1. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for the pocket watch to read, “You’re my safe place to land”? Thats what she told him in their first few weeks together.

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