‘Pretty Little Liars’ Winter Premiere: Mona Returns With A Surprising Ally

The premiere of season 3B answered some of our most burning questions — and, of course, presented us with a million new ones. The second half of Pretty Little Liars' third season kicked off Jan. 8 — "A" be praised! — and it was just as bananas as I'd hoped it would be: Mona (Janel Parrish) returned to Rosewood high, crazier than ever; we learned the real connection between Alison (Sasha Pieterse) and Byron (Chad Lowe); and we got a pretty good idea of who tried to kill Aria (Lucy Hale). See, I told you it was bananas!

Pretty Little Liars Winter Premiere
Image Credit: Courtesy of ABC Family

Now let’s break what happened to each of our girls this week:

ARIA

As if Aria’s life wasn’t complicated enough, Meredith (Amanda Schull) has re-entered the frame as her new history teacher — ironic! — and it looks like all of her lessons are going to contain less-than-subtle jabs at her relationship with Aria. Honestly, who is hiring these teachers?!

Later, when “A” started a fire at the fundraiser and almost killed Meredith, Aria’s dad immediately tried to place the blame on the liars. (Real talk, though: Would it really be so bad if they’d lit her on fire?) This led to an epic back-and-forth between them, in which she almost confronted him about his shady dealings with Alison. Oh, did I forget to mention that? It turns out Byron and Alison were not sleeping together, but rather she was blackmailing him over his affair with Meredith.

Onto Aria’s love life: Am I the only one who feels like they’re trying to make Ezra (Ian Harding) seem like a creeper all of a sudden? First, he made crazy eyes on the Halloween train, and tonight he said he’d “lose Aria” if she loses his necklace. Add him to your A-dar, kids.

MONA

This episode may have been titled “She’s Better Now,” but I’m not so sure Mona really is. The pint-sized nut job made a memorable return to Rosewood High — and by “memorable,” I mean she marched through the halls, clutching a knife with a cow brain attached to it. Because, as we all know, that’s the best way to prove you’re totally sane.

Mona was later spotted palling around with the school’s new janitor, who also happened to work at the Lost Woods motel. (Does anyone happen to know what that guy’s major was in college? I’m envious of his career path.)

But the real shocker came at the end of the episode, when Mona showed up on Jason’s (Drew Van Acker) porch — and dressed his stab wound! Is he the one who tried to kill Aria on Halloween? I’ve been waiting patiently for a shirtless Jason scene, but not like this! Never like this!

SPENCER

Spencer (Troian Bellisario) spent most of the premiere getting cozy with Toby (Keegan Allen) — my only complaints about his shirtless scenes is that none were in slow motion — and remained blissfully unaware that he’s actually a member of the “A” team.

I’m actually surprised Spencer hasn’t started becoming suspicious of Toby yet, considering he’s not even trying to hide his creepiness anymore. He snapped at Spencer more than once, and when he asked her, “What are you stewing about?” I almost lost it. Hot tub puns are phenomenal.

HANNA

While crazy Mona wasn’t exactly a welcome face at Rosewood High, I was overjoyed to see Hanna’s (Ashley Benson) crazy grandma back in the picture this week. She didn’t do much — besides spouting nonsensical platitudes and recalling a crazy story about one of her bloodthirsty, deranged cousins — but she’s still phenomenal.

I was also pleased as punch to see that Hanna and Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) are done sneaking around. Every time they put their faces together for a kiss, they basically morph into one glorious head of hair.

EMILY

I’m not sure where Emily’s (Shay Mitchell) mom is, but her dad — who may or may not be a member of Jacob Black’s werewolf tribe — now has her under lock and key. She managed to sneak out for the school fundraiser, thanks to some cell phone trickery, but I have a feeling she won’t be able to creep around her dad for much longer. Isn’t he in the army? And terrifying?

Also, where was Paige (Lindsey Shaw)?! There was a serious lack of late-night synchronized swimming in this episode.

What did you think of this week’s premiere? Do you think Jason and/or Lucas tried to kill Aria on Halloween? Are you relieved to know Byron and Alison never hooked up? And what do you think Meredith has up her sleeve? Drop me a comment with your thoughts and theories!

— Andy Swift

More Pretty Little Liars on HollywoodLife.com:

  1. ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Scoop: Meredith’s Twisted Plot Against Aria Revealed
  2. ‘Pretty Little Liars’: Lucy Hale Teases ‘Messed Up’ End To Season 3
  3. ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Winter Premiere: 5 Major Surprises To Look Forward To

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