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‘Pretty Little Liars’ ‘Hot For Teacher’ review: Spencer’s new downward spiral

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'Pretty Little Liars' 'Hot for Teacher'

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While “Pretty Little Liars” has never been the most realistic show, Ali (Sasha Pieterse) faced a very real problem on “Hot for Teacher,” which aired February 4. After being on the run for so long, Ali is starting to run out of money, and she’s relying on the one person she can apparently trust, Shana, to help her.

Yet the four friends don’t quite know that. Sure, Emily (Shay Mitchell) knows that Shana is Ali’s only point of contact, and that Shana needs Emily to get the hidden five grand for Ali from her old bedroom, but it’s still hard to trust Shana and her many faces. And really, by episode’s end on this ABC Family drama, yet another one of Shana’s faces shows.

But before all that, the girls are starting to dig themselves quite the hole in the world of A. That’s because, despite the four of them agreeing to stop looking into A, Spencer (Troian Bellisario) is doing anything but. She’s headed into a downward spiral of prescription drugs as she becomes increasingly obsessed with Ezra (Ian Harding). Even Ezra’s warning, cloaked in terms of a paper critique -- “sloppy work leads to consequences. I’d hate to see you suffer” -- doesn’t seem to stop her.

Through all this, Aria (Lucy Hale) doesn’t have a clue about the danger she’s in on “PLL” “Hot for Teacher.” Ezra has sunk his fangs into her, and he’s covering all his bases, even introducing himself to Jesse the counselor after he realizes that Aria’s been talking to him. Then he takes her out to his cabin for a weekend away, and manipulates her into staying when she wants to leave.

But that’s hardly the creepiest moment of all. Rather, that belongs to Ezra tricking Aria into running an hour-long errand so he can visit his lair basement. It’s in this lair where he goes through all sorts of photos, that presumably someone else took for him, of the girls and what they’ve been up to. He clearly knows what Spencer is up to, and it’s about to get real.

While Aria is asleep in bed on “Pretty Little Liars,” Ezra hangs out in his car checking out some more photos, including one of Spencer getting into his apartment building. Luckily for Spencer though, Hanna (Ashley Benson) has been looking out for her friend. After befriending Detective Holbrook, Hanna learned she needs to focus on the details. That’s how she realizes Spencer isn’t sleeping or studying; she’s investigating. Hanna’s sleuthing leads her to checking Spencer’s computer, where she sees Spencer’s obsession with Fitz.

Fast forward to Fitz’s apartment building. Just before Spencer gets into the apartment she sees a hidden video camera, and just like that, she finally smartens up on “PLL.” She shares her suspicions with Emily and Hanna about Ezra, and they think that they can work together to keep Aria safe while they find proof of who Ezra really is.

The biggest problem with all this? If Ezra really is as dangerous as they think, if he really is A, then why are the girls taking any risk at all with Aria? Sure, Aria is lying to them about her whereabouts, but they all know Aria’s connection to Ezra. Not to mention, doesn’t Alison know what Aria is up to? If it’s Fitz that Alison is running from, why wouldn’t Ali warn her friend of how dangerous he is?

Alison is still running now, even though she lost an ally. When Shana departs to meet Emily to collect the cash, she gets attacked. Whoever her attacker is moves her car to the edge of Rosewood and essentially gives her the message, “Don’t come back again.” Just like that, Shana is done helping Alison, despite her loyalty over the years, and now Ali thinks there’s no one she can turn to, despite her dwindling cash.

In ways, Ali is still playing it safe by not reaching out to the girls. After all, Ezra apparently has a ton of cronies doing his dirty work, and they’re all tracking them. But what choice does Ali have now really? And when is Ezra, who seemingly knows all, going to figure out that Spencer, Hanna, and Emily now suspect his real identity?

“Pretty Little Liars” airs on ABC Family Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST.

© Elizabeth SanFilippo 2014

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