by Melissa Parkin
|PHOTO BY JASON MERRITT- gETTY|
What’s in the barrel? That’s the question of the hour. After Caleb and Spencer discover “A”’s storage unit crammed full of evidence about Mona Vanderwaal’s murder, the big bad bin becomes the topic of discussion. Here’s the breakdown:
The Ups: Aria’s conscience finally gets the best of her, and she comes clean to Ezra about the letter she wrote to Jackie. Thankfully, Fitz takes the news surprisingly well. He’s happy she found a way into college. Ms. Marin continues to struggle with the recent bombshell of Ted’s marriage proposal. Combine that anxiety with having to quit working for Jason since the two went twenty toes last weekend--Ashley’s got a lot on her plate. As she struggles with making a decision over the possible engagement, Jason confronts her right into having a heart-to-heart. The pair accepts the situation for what it is, and despite a kiss that Jason steals, they go separate ways. Emily’s behavior as of late has been neurotic to say the least, and she apologizes to her new coworker, Talia, for it. What Emily initially perceives as Talia making a move on Ezra, turns out to be quite the opposite. Talia is in fact crushing on Emily. Given her recent breakup with Paige, Emily could use a little romance.
The Downs: Following the discovery that Hanna’s name is on the rental agreement for “A”’s storage unit that accommodates the notorious corpse-carrying container, the Liars need to figure out what their next move is. Almost everyone agrees to leave the unit alone for the time being; almost everyone. Hanna, on the other hand, feels the pressure to 86 the evidence like a flaming brown paper bag on the porch. She’s the one being set up, so without the others coming to her aid, she takes the initiative on her own.
Stocking up on all the essentials for a crime caper, Hanna prepares to break into the storage facility and remove the contents herself. Caleb, however, walks in on the endeavor. Reluctantly, he follows suit and heads out there with her. The remaining Liars get a tip during Caleb and Hanna’s outing that Mona’s laptop is on the move. Thinking the two lovebirds are behind the change in location, Aria, Spencer, and Emily follow the GPS coordinates out to an abandoned ice cream factory.
The Drama: Hanna and Caleb manage to break into “A”’s storage unit, and learn that the entire place has been cleared out with the exception of the barrel. The two leave the unit while they devise a plan to move the gigantic bin, only to run into Toby and Detective Tanner in the hallway. Meanwhile, Emily, Aria, and Spencer peruse the foreboding interior of Boo Boo’s Ice Cream factory. The trio makes the old-school mistake of splitting up to cover more ground. Spencer comes across the laptop playing the recorded footage of Caleb and Hanna’s conversation about destroying the evidence in the storage unit.
Aria meets up with Spencer, and the infamous “A” gets the drop on them. Locking them inside a large freezer chamber, “A” flips on the switch and sabotages the machine so it can’t be opened again. The room quickly fills with liquid nitrogen, causing the temperature to plummet. Aria and Spencer eventually pass out from the subzero conditions, but Emily races to the scene after alarms wail. She barely manages to smash the workings and set them free in time. Toby and Tanner investigate the storage unit, and the detective finds traces of blood left at the scene. Someone’s going down.
Amid the struggles plaguing each of the Liars, the romance continues to crumble. Ezra reflects over the contents in Aria’s letter to Jackie, claiming there must be some validity to it. He knows that their secret relationship pulled her away from having a normal high school experience, and he doesn't want Aria to resent him for it in the long run. With this in mind, he asks her to consider the possibility of separating during her time away at college in the fall. Things aren't looking any better for Spencer and Toby either. With Toby’s job on the police force, he’s keeping Spencer in the dark and it’s putting a greater toll on the both of them. The only pair in Rosewood that manages to pull through is the one going through the most external turmoil. Hanna regrets dragging Caleb into her mess, especially with Tanner now wise to the two’s involvement at the storage unit. Being the saint that he is, Caleb refuses to let Hanna push him away. If they go down, they’re going down together.
Detective Tanner makes it clear to Toby though that if the blood found at the unit matches his friends’, they’re going to find themselves under fire. To make matters worse, “A” only manages to secure more evidence against the Liars. There’s footage now of Hanna confessing to destroying the barrel. “A” is also storing the removed evidence from the storage unit at Boo Boo’s Ice Cream Factory, where the Liars have left blatant fingerprints all over the place. Being turned into pretty little popsicles might not be the worst thing that can happen to the girls, if “A” gets his or her way.
Seeing the melodrama find some resolve at last is a relief. The debacle between Jason and Ms. Marin can be clean-cut, but with “A” involved, it’s only a matter of time before it hits the fan. Aria and Ezra’s relationship seemed to be in a good place, but Ezra does bring up a good point about their future. With a romance as rocky as theirs, it’s good to know that some consideration is being implemented to ensure its longevity. To bring up the subject in the form of Aria’s letter may not have been the smoothest, but the underlying message is still valid. The same cannot be said about Toby and Spencer’s falling-out. The intrigue and suspense of recent episodes continues to be the highlight, and “The Bin of Sin” is no exception. The relationships circling around that intrigue—not so much. Toby and Spencer’s storyline reads so contrived, and even Hanna calls it out. “Since when did his job become more important than his friends?” That’s the same question everyone else is asking. That, and, “What’s in the freaking barrel?”
Pretty Little Liars: “The Bin of Sin” Episode Rating: B +