With only 10 episodes left — and five months before they premiere — Screener takes a look back through the twisty mysteries and tangled lives of everyone’s favorite “Pretty Little Liars.” So join us daily as we revisit Rosewood of old. The entire series is streaming on Netflix — re-watch with us!
Up next: Season 1, episode 22, “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” aired March 21, 2011.
What we thought then …
“For Whom the Bell Tolls” definitely ramped up the stakes for “PLL.”
The more minor plot point is that Garrett (Yani Gellman) is revealed to be romantically involved with Jenna (Tammin Sursok) — so it looks like his supposed sympathy for the Liars is all an act.
The major plot point is that the Liars watch the NAT videos from Alison’s (Sasha Pieterse) flash drive and try to blackmail Ian (Ryan Merriman) — though they don’t want money, they want to smoke him out as Alison’s killer.
He outsmarts them and confronts Spencer (Troian Bellisario) at the church, which leads to a violent confrontation where Ian says he’s going to kill Spencer and make it look like a suicide — then gets pushed off the bell tower by a be-hoodied shadowy figure.
But wait, there’s more!
Ian’s body disappears and the Liars don’t know if it’s because he wasn’t actually dead, or because “A” stole his body.
What we know now…
In regards to Garrett, we know he’s part of the NAT Club, so he’s not working solely out of concern for his girlfriend.
In fact, maybe Garrett tipped Ian off to what the Liars were doing. There’s a lot that happens off-camera in this episode, so we will never know for sure, but he certainly could have.
When it comes to Ian, things get a little more interesting. Try this scenario on for size:
We’ve been positing for a few episodes that Ian didn’t kill Alison (which is true) and that he actually thinks Spencer and Melissa (Torrey DeVitto) did: Spencer by shovel whack and Melissa aiding and abetting by burying the body.
So all his “menacing” actions have actually been to protect his wife and her sister — and also to keep his history of video taping the neighborhood girls a secret — he’s still a disgusting lech, but at least partially acting out of a place of caring for the Hastings girls.
In the church, if you keep this theory in mind, his conversation with Spencer takes on an entirely new meaning.
“I’ve just been waiting for you to leave the hospital. Melissa would want me to take care of this. She’ll understand,” Ian says to Spencer.
At this point, he may not mean killing Spencer. He means keeping Spencer quiet so none of them go down for Alison’s murder — and he’s probably right in saying Melissa would want him to take care of this.
However, Spencer doesn’t understand what he means — where would be the drama in that? — so she throws the flash drive and runs for it. And it’s at this point that Ian gets angrier and seems to have decided he needs to take Spencer out.
“You picked a perfect place for your suicide,” he says, which is awful, but then look carefully at what he says next.
“You didn’t mean to hurt Alison… It was an accident. You pushed her and she fell. She just hit her head and she never woke up… The letter on your computer won’t answer all the questions, but it’ll answer enough. The guilt was just too much for you.”
Ian is speaking what he thinks is the truth: Detailing what he and Melissa think actually happened on the night Alison “died” — but to the viewers, it sounds crazy! Like he is narrating his attempt to frame Spencer for Alison’s murder (which he actually committed, is what we’re supposed to think).
The last thing he says before the hoodie appears is, “I’m doing it because I love [Melissa],” which is probably true.
The whole Ian storyline from Season 1 becomes very, very interesting when you have the whole picture of Alison’s disappearance. And while faking Spencer’s suicide is not at all an OK choice to make, we can also see why Ian is behaving the way he is: Trying to save his wife and unborn baby from going down because of what he thinks Spencer did.
Finally, we’re supposed to think “A” is the person who pushes him off the bell tower. But we find out later it was actually Alison.
It’s kind of hilarious how many clues the show is throwing out there that Mona (Janel Parrish) is “A,” especially in this episode.
Mona seems genuinely proud of herself that Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) is out of Hanna’s (Ashley Benson) life. “He was a jerk. You wanted him to go away, right?” Mona asks Hanna.
Further, Mona tries to join the Liars for lunch and when they all scatter, even Hanna, she seems genuinely sad not to be included.
Creepiest dude award goes to…
Obviously it’s Ian, since he tries to kill Spencer. Though as we said earlier, there is a lot more going on with Ian than meets the eye.
Best ‘A’ message…
The final “A” message of the season is definitely the best, though we don’t see it on screen — because you can’t end a season without having the Liars read an “A” message aloud as a group.
“It’s not over til I say it is. Sleep tight while you still can, b****es. — A.”