‘Pretty Little Liars’ Winter Premiere Recap: Mona Returns With a Fiery Start and a New Friend

It’s a new year and there’s a new Mona (Janel Parrish) on the loose on ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars. But the first episode of Season 3B didn’t only feature the former Radley patient back to torment our girls at Rosewood High, fans were also treated to some sketchy background info on Mr. Montgomery (Chad…Read more»

It’s a new year and there’s a new Mona (Janel Parrish) on the loose on ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars.

But the first episode of Season 3B didn’t only feature the former Radley patient back to torment our girls at Rosewood High, fans were also treated to some sketchy background info on Mr. Montgomery (Chad Lowe) and clues as to possible new “A” team members.

Before we dish on the episode though, let’s talk about how good Parrish and Keegan Allen (Toby) are at playing creepy? The actors playing the currently outed “A” team members freak me out every time they’re on screen. They are fantastic. And if Mona showed up in my bedroom in the middle of the night like that you can bet I’d be sleeping with a crowbar too — just like Aria (Lucy Hale) said she would.

Note: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen Tuesday’s winter premiere, “She’s Better Now.”

The winter premiere opened with Mona’s aforementioned late night visit to Hanna (Ashley Benson) and a creepy Toby knocking down a black hoodied skateboarder with his car. Meanwhile, Emily’s (Shay Mitchell) parents have gone all Defcon 1 and installed a new security system in their house to protect their daughter from anymore crazy incidents ala last summer’s midseason finale.

As expected, Mona doesn’t get the warmest reception upon her return to Rosewood High. But things come to ahead when she opens her locker to find a cow brain tacked to the door with a knife. Every smartphone on campus, of course, documents the incident as Mona throws the brain and the knife out, whispering to Lucas (Brendan Robinson) before walking away. Shortly thereafter, she was also seen talking to the janitor who the Liars remember as Harold (Travis Richey) from the Lost Woods Resort, the place where Mona had her crazy “A” lair.

When Lucas heads to Hanna’s for no other reason than to further the story, he lets her know that Mona had been sneaking out of Radley long before she had permission to. He also credits his new limp to a skateboarding accident, which gets the wheels in my head turning. (More on that below.)

Now, it appears that Rosewood High’s new janitor has a whole lot of Mona’s things in his office, including one of Allison’s (Sasha Pieterse) old journals. When the girls ditch a charity 10K to go through the stuff, they find Ali’s diary containing an entry highlighting Aria’s dad, Byron. From what we were shown in the flashback, it’s clear she was blackmailing Mr. Montgomery over his affair with Meredith (Amanda Schull) and asking for a pretty penny to keep quiet.

After Aria and the girls had a small incident with Meredith in her class, “A” had exactly what she needed to frame the girls. Meredith, in the wrong place at the wrong time thanks to a note from “A,” gets injured in a fire at the finish line. Later, Byron confronts Aria about the incident, questioning whether or not she and her friends did this, as he knows what they’re capable of. But what is Byron capable of? His accusations, tone of voice and creepy stares while listening to his daughter’s call with Spencer — which mentions “A” — indicate there is a lot more to learn about the Montgomery patriarch.

The note marks the second time Aria was “A’s” main target in the episode, after she received an “It’s a boy” basket outside Ezra’s (Ian Harding) apartment.

We also NEED to discuss Mona and her new friend Jason (Drew Van Acker). Now, without a doubt, the best line uttered in the one-hour episode had to be Spencer (Troian Bellisario) telling Toby, “he [Jason] is basically hugging a hand grenade.” But what exactly is this partnership between Spence’s half-brother and Mona? I really have no idea and that’s the writers’ point. Of course, Spence does her best to convince Jason that Mona can’t be trusted but by episodes end, we see the duo together on his steps as she cleans his wound. But where could he have gotten hurt?

With Jason’s cut and Lucas’ limp, it seems to me that we have at least two possible new candidates for the “A” team. My theory, based on what executive producer Oliver Goldstick told us about Lucas revealing too much, makes me think he was the one Toby was chasing down. Perhaps he doesn’t want part of the “A” team anymore? While maybe Jason was hurt by Aria on the “A” train (I hope not!) or the culprit who set the fire?

As with most PLL premieres, there were little answers provided but a whole lot of questions ensuring a VERY interesting season to come.

Buzz Moments:
OMG: While there weren’t any moments that made me gasp during the episode, I was SUPER creeped out when Mona showed up in Hanna’s room to plead her case. Seriously, not ok.

Thank you, TV gods.: That PLL is back! I missed this show while it was gone!

Awk-ward: Every single moment that Spencer and Toby are together (For the audience at least).

Hotness: Toby was looking all sorts of HOT and kind of creepy after he and Spencer went for a run!

Fab-u-lous: All of the PLLs were looking cute on the premiere. I particularly loved Hanna’s blue polkadot dress, which thanks to wornontv.net I found out is from Anthropolgie. Spencer’s cami/skirt combo was also one of my faves and Possessionista has all the details on where to get it!

Can. Not. Wait.: To find out what the deal is between Jason and Mona? Also, to see how Toby is revealed to the girls as a member of the “A” team! As with any and every premiere of PLL there are so many new questions to be answered!

Celebuzz (1-10): 8. An overall great episode that set up this season’s mysteries quite nicely.

Do you think Lucas was being chased by Toby? Is Jason working with the “A” team? Are you just as creeped out by Mona and Toby as I am? Sound off with your theories and observations about the winter premiere below!

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