The four friends on "Pretty Little Liars" have always stuck together, even through all the secrets and lies that the A team has taunted them with. But on "Dead to Me," which aired Feb. 5, the friendships are shifting as two of the girls, Spencer (Troian Bellisario) and Emily (Shay Mitchell), start facing reality.
Hanna (Ashley Benson) and Aria (Lucy Hale) are keeping busy too, but their storylines are just getting started. Hanna discovers that Caleb's (Tyler Blackburn) uncle might really be his dad, and Aria starts becoming friends -- or maybe something more? -- with Ezra's brother Wes (Gregg Sulkin".
But those "PLL" stories are nothing compared to what's going on with Emily and Spencer.
For one, Emily has finally decided to deal with feeling like a murderer. She's tired of being called a hero. "I killed someone. Someone had a life, someone was a living, breathing person, and I..." she tells Dr. Sullivan (Annabeth Gish). Her anxiety is palpable, but it's about to get a whole lot worse.
After a hypnotherapy session on "Pretty Little Liars" "Dead to Me," a memory is sparked, and Emily "remembers" seeing Alison (Sasha Pieterse) in the graveyard. She remembers swinging the shovel... and killing her. But Emily can't be remembering correctly, can she? Emily's mom calls her sweet and innocent, and that is how fans see Emily too.
In the final moments of the episode, after leaving Ali's final resting place in a mausoleum, Emily realizes she mixed up nightmares. She was remembering when someone dug up Ali's grave and brought her there. It was the girl in the red coat, and Emily is determined to believe "she's the one in charge." The night of Ali's grave robbery just got a whole lot more interesting.
Yet, while all this is happening, Spencer is continuing to spiral out of control. Other than one conversation with Emily, it doesn’t seem like her "PLL" friends really care. They're not checking in with her, not talking to her about Toby (Keegan Allen), and so of course she's going to lash out. The person at the end of that lash is Jason (Drew Van Acker), who Spencer tells about Ali's pregnancy. She even names Detective Wilden as the father, although that's far from verified.
Spencer has clearly snapped, and all Aria can say is, "we're your friends, not your punching bags." The demise of Spencer's friendships seems forced, but the point is clear: Spencer still hasn't reached rock bottom, even after she discovers Toby's empty secret apartment and scratches his name on his mother's grave, hence the episode title, "Dead to Me."
"Pretty Little Liars" airs on ABC Family Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST.
© Elizabeth SanFilippo 2013