Hey, Netflix, thanks for adding Pretty Little Liars Season 5 to Instant Watch. You probably don't realize how marvelous this is, but it's really great. Because now, instead of trying to simply remember what exactly went down during Season 5 leading up to the Dollhouse incident, I can re-live it with my own eyes. And that's exactly what I'm here to do — re-watch Pretty Little Liars Season 5 episodes for clues. I've also got just the perfect one to start with, "Oh, What Hard Luck Stories They All Hand Me." What's important about this episode? Hopefully I'm about to find out, because this is also the episode that first introduces Lesli Stone, current Big A Suspect #1.
This episode, which is the eighteenth of Season 5, finds the Liars desperately trying to solve Mona's disappearance (assumed DEATH) in an effort to clear Ali's name and get her out of jail. Ah, remember when times were so simple in Rosewood, and the only thing the Liars needed to get to the bottom of was a disappearance? Oh, this episode also features the storage unit with a barrel in it that miiiiiight contain a body, but no one knows for sure (and we still don't). Then, Lesli shows up. Here's what clues I gathered from "Oh, What Hard Luck Stories They All Hand Me." And for a quick refresher on Lesli'e Season 6 sketchiness, check out Bustle's PLL podcast.
Let's Start With Lesli
Here's Lesli's story. She and Mona met a few years ago at her grandparent's house, and they became friends. Mrs. Vanderwaal "confirms" this story to Hanna, saying that the two girls were friends (but we don't know if that's exactly how they met).
Lesli was with Mrs. Vanderwaal on Thanksgiving when she got the call about Mona's disappearance. Lesli comes to Rosewood basically to say thanks to the Liars for being friends with Mona this whole time. She is also there to pick up a book of Edgar Allen poetry and carry it around like a purse, which is kinda weird, but you do you, Lesli.
Immediately, No One Trusts Her
Spencer instructs Hanna to talk to her, but to let Lesli do "most of the talking." Mona's two friends get close, but I still don't think they're going to hang out and go to the mall anytime soon.
Mike's Taking MIA Mona Hard
Oh Mike, we miss your moody and brooding teenager self when you disappear from PLL. But here we have Mike, hanging out and going through a list of movies that Mona had made for him. In the scene he's watching Them!, a 1950s sci-fi flick about scientists who are testing radioactivity and accidentally turn ants into giant, death ants that attack the town.
How does that relate to PLL? Beats me. But Mona thought it was important, and the show thought it was important enough to have Mike watch it, so it must mean something. It all might boil down to the one quick scene we see, which is the opening of the movie. A police officer finds a little girl and asks, "who do you belong to?" Can the same be asked for Charles? Who does he belong to?
Mona Left A Clue Behind
Just like Ali, Mona loves to hide things. She's hidden a casette in the Edgar Allen Poe book, which might be why Lesli was carrying it around. She was trying to figure out what was inside of it, because what's inside of it is good. We'll get to that in a sec.
Mona Says This, But What Is She Really Talking About?
Mona appears in the episode through a flashback. Her and Hanna are having a sleepover, and Mona is telling ghost stories. Mona then mentions that if she could wish for anything, she'd want a stop watch to stop all time. She could still move around, but everyone else would be frozen solid. Everyone else would then age, but she wouldn't.
This bugs Hannah enough that in the middle of the night, she sits up to ask Mona about it again. Hanna then asks what would happen if Ali came back to town, and would they recognize her? That's when Mona launches into this little speech about how Ali wouldn't recognize them, and mentions that Ali would then be thrown in Radley, and "no one ever gets out of there." But, we know that people do get out of Radley. So what is Mona talking about?
Who is this guy? Does it matter? Why did the Hastings' squatter need to make a device that captures whispers? Is Jonny Charles? Can I say that he doesn't even go here? Why does PLL introduce all these random attractive young men, just to have them ripped away like three episodes later? What's with that? He's probably Charles, right?
The Voice On The Recording
OK, here is the biggest thing to come out of the episode. You ready?
The cassette tape that Hanna finds tucked away in Mona's book is a recording of a therapy session at Radley. It features Bethany talking to her therapist about an unnamed girl. Watching this episode back when it aired, I imagine we were all quick to assume that the girl Bethany is talking about is Alison, Right?
Well, we might be wrong. Now we know that Bethany was roommates with Lesli while at Radley. On the recording, Bethany does not have nice things to say about whatever girl she's talking about. She mentions that this girl can get anyone to do whatever she wants — "Five minutes with her you'd drown a bag of kittens if she asked. Two if you're a guy."
The recording also has Bethany saying that "It's me or her. She's not the only one who can make plans." Now I'm wondering if Bethany was actually talking about Lesli. While I still don't know if I buy the whole Leslie-Is-A-Is-Charles thing quite yet, this does give it a little more footing. Bethany was mad about someone she knew in Radley, and it might have been her roommate. There might have been some sort of Lesli-Bethany-Charles love triangle or something.
BONUS: Aria's Handwriting
Maybe this is nothing thing and I'm reading way too much into it, but we see Aria write in her journal a little bit during this episode. It's hard to make out what she's writing, but it reads like she's venting her frustration with Mike seeing Ali in jail, and how her group of friends needs to stick together.
Then I couldn't help help but think about that diary that Andrew (/CHARLES?) had, the same one that Tanner read through.
I am no handwriting expert, but let me stare at the two samples for a few hours, and I'll get back to you with even more Pretty Little Liars theories.
Images: ABC Family (15)