A is For A-L-I-V-E … and A-R-R-E-S-T if You Keep Breaking The Law (Pretty Little Liars Season 4 Episode 1 Recap + Broken Laws)

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This episode begins right where the Season 3 finale ended.  The girls and Mona are standing by Wilden’s car which has mysteriously emerged from the lake.  Since Mona is “Hannibal Lecter Smart,” as Hanna put it, she puts on her pretty black gloves.  The other girls just brilliantly decide to decorate the stolen cop car with their fingerprints before opening the trunk.  As soon as the trunk is open, all 5 girls are greeted by a dead pig.  Apparently, “A” wants them to know that this is serious business; now pig slaughter is involved.  Aria is probably really content with her vegan eating habits right about now.

Spencer notices that Mona is out of the girls’ sight and the girls freak out and immediately assume that she set them up.

Although it’s not an outrageous assumption, Hanna realizes that Mona is inside Wilden’s car frantically messing with the magic computer inside.  I refer to it as the magic computer because it has survived being submerged under water without any damage to it or its contents.  I want information about the software on this thing!  When Hanna asks Mona what she’s doing in there, Mona replies, “saving your mom.”  That sounds all well and good, but unfortunately, by “saving,” Mona means that she is stealing evidence from a police car.  That’s right, we’re two minutes into the fourth season of Pretty Little Liars, and Mona is already bringing us to:

Broken Law # 1 Alert!

18 Pa.C.S. § 4911.  Tampering with public records or information. (in relevant part)
“(a)  Offense defined.–A person commits an offense if he:   (1)  knowingly makes a false entry in, or false alteration of, any record, document or thing belonging to, or received or kept by, the government for information or record, or required by law to be kept by others for information of the government; … or (3)  intentionally and unlawfully destroys, conceals, removes or otherwise impairs the verity or availability of any such record, document or thing.”  
 (b)  Grading.–An offense under this section is a misdemeanor of the second degree unless the intent of the actor is to defraud or injure anyone, in which case the offense is a felony of the third degree.”

Since Mona is stealing this evidence from a police car that she knows belongs to Detective Wilden, a law enforcement officer who works for the government, she has violated this law.  In my opinion, she did this with the intent to defraud someone, so she’d get the felony of the third degree charge, but otherwise, it’s a misdemeanor of the second degree. 

Hanna urges Mona to hurry up, while the other girls start the car so that they can bolt from the scene of the crime as quickly as possible.  Leaving the scene of the crime?  Wait a minute, that does not sound right.  All of the girls are already breaking the law again.  In case anyone was worried that the PLLs were going to start abiding by the law, the girls are rapidly showing us otherwise.

Broken Law # 2 Alert!

18 Pa.C.S. § 5126.  Flight to avoid apprehension, trial or punishment.
 (a)  Offense defined.–A person who willfully conceals  himself or moves or travels within or outside this Commonwealth with the intent to avoid apprehension, trial or punishment commits a felony of the third degree when the crime which he has been charged with or has been convicted of is a felony and commits a misdemeanor of the second degree when the crime which he has been charged with or has been convicted of is a misdemeanor.”  

Great start to the season, girls!  Keep it coming!

The girls have a slumber party at Spencer’s house, where they turn on the news to see if there are any press releases about Wilden’s car.  Luckily for them though, the news seems to only be covering the fire at the lodge, because as Hanna puts it, “a fire trumps a dead pig.”  

Mona attempts to act like the girls’ new BFF.  She assures Aria that the police are not coming to arrest them.  Aria doesn’t trust Mona and Emily reminds Mona that she’s lucky the girls aren’t beating the crap out of her.  Now it’s time for the girls to gossip, AKA play an entertaining game called “The 3rd Degree.”  The girls demand answers from Mona.  

Some of the answers she gives the girls include: 1) Mona did not get Wilden’s car out of the lake, but she DID put the car in Hanna’s garage. 2) Shana knew Jenna before she came to Rosewood, may be in love with her, and both of them are afraid of Melissa. 3) When CeCe came to Radley, Mona thought that she was Ali at first, and because of her medication, does not remember what they talked about.  4) Lucas gave Emily the not-at-all soothing massage she got (we knew that it couldn’t have been Mona or Toby).  5) Mona recruited Toby to the A team when he got his job in Bucks County.  6) She didn’t push Ian off of the bell tower and she doesn’t know who did.  

Answers 1) and 4) constitute broken laws which I will now discuss, because although they did not occur in this episode, this is the episode where we learned who was responsible for the acts. 

Broken Law # 3 Alert!

Tort of Battery (in relevant part) Pennsylvania follows the Restatement (Second) of Torts.  Sections 13 and 18 of the Restatement state that “an actor commits a battery if he acts intentionally… to cause a harmful or offensive contact…”

An offensive contact is considered any contact with someone that was not permitted, and would offend a reasonable person.  Lucas would be liable for battery for giving Emily that massage.  Emily did not give LUCAS permission to give her a massage; she thought she was getting a massage from a professional.  A reasonable person would be offended by contact of this kind.  

Apparently when Lucas isn’t taking yearbook pictures, he’s out breaking the law. 

Broken Law # 4 Alert! 

18 Pa.C.S. §  3925: theft by receiving stolen property (in relevant part).
“(a)  Offense defined.–A person is guilty of theft if he intentionally receives, retains, or disposes of movable property of another knowing that it has been stolen, or believing that it has probably been stolen, unless the property is received, retained, or disposed with intent to restore it to the owner.”

Mona is guilty of violating this law because she stole Wilden’s car from the scene of the accident and put it in Hanna’s garage.  The fact that she left the car on somebody’s private property makes her guilty of breaking other laws as well:

Broken Law # 5 Alert!

75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3712
” (b)  Abandonment on public or private property.–No person shall abandon a vehicle upon any public or private property without the express or implied consent of the owner or person in lawful possession or control of the property.”


Broken Law # 6 Alert!

75 Pa. Const. Stat. § 3717.  Trespass by motor vehicle.
 “(a)  General rule.–It is unlawful for a person to knowingly operate a motor vehicle on private real property other than a private road or driveway without consent of the owner or lessor of the real property.”

Mona didn’t just abandon Wilden’s car on the Marin’s property, she operated it in their garage; she left the car on and the video playing on a loop.  

Mona once said, “Call me guilty!” and she is making it extremely easy to abide by that request right now. 

Sometime after Mona’s confessions, the girls realize that they had passed out and that Mona has left the house.  Any time Mona is more than 3 feet away from the girls, they freak out and think that Mona has set them up, put drugs in their drinks and poisoned their food.  Where was all of this protective instinct when the girls didn’t know who “A” was?  Interestingly enough, while the girls continuously think that Mona is trying to set them up, they also seem to believe her stories. 

Mona walks back into the house carrying something, but it’s not the hand grenade that the girls are expecting.  Coffee is on her, and after being “A” for so long, she knows how each girl likes their lattes and chai tea! Nobody accuses her of poisoning the coffee, because the PLLs, especially Spencer, are caffeine addicts.  Mona explains that she “borrowed” Emily’s car and that she has her own set of car keys for it.  In case any of us needed a ride to the next broken law, Mona’s driving!

Broken Law # 7 Alert!

18 Pa.C.S. §  § 3928.  Unauthorized use of automobiles and other vehicles.
 “(a)  Offense defined.–A person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree if he operates the automobile, airplane, motorcycle, motorboat, or other motor-propelled vehicle of another without consent of the owner.”

If anyone is curious, we are only 5 minutes into the episode at this point.  Mona is giving us a LOT more material.  

Hanna wants the chip that Mona has, but Mona says that she cannot give it to her until they find out who the phantom person in the Red Coat is.  “Like it or not, we’re in this together,” she proclaims.  The girls want Mona to prove her loyalty to them.  Are they going to make her kidnap a 7 year old child?  Apparently that’s Mona’s idea of loyalty.  The girls are looking for something different, though.  They want to see everything that Mona has on them.  “Mi casa es su casa,” Mona agrees to take the girls to her lair, and Spencer has to translate the Spanish phrase to Hanna.  

On their way to the lair, the girls see that the area surrounding Detective Wilden’s car has become a huge crime scene now.  “All this for a muddy cop car and a dead pig?”  Hanna wonders.  It turns out that it’s for a lot more than that; Wilden is DEAD.  Mona realizes that the text “A” sent the girls in the season 3 finale that said “your mine now” means that the girls are going to be framed for Wilden’s murder.

Next, we see Toby who is still hiding in the bushes by the lodge that was set on fire in the season 3 finale. He sees a fireman pull a burned red jacket (is it THE red coat?!) out of the rubble.  He is also fiddling with the lighter that presumably was used to set the fire, providing the Rosewood Law Enforcement with any proof that they might need that he was present at the scene of the crime.  Really, Toby?  Playing with a lighter at the scene of an arson?  Actually, Toby is not just playing with the lighter; he runs off with it, taking what most likely is evidence of the crime away from the crime scene without informing the police of its existence.  The A-Team is really racking up broken laws here.

Broken Law # 8 Alert! 

18 Pa.C.S. § 4910.  Tampering with or fabricating physical evidence (in relevant part).
“A person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if, believing that an official proceeding or investigation is  pending or about to be instituted, he: (1)  alters, destroys, conceals or removes any record, document or thing with intent to impair its verity or availability in such proceeding or investigation”

Toby is a smart guy; he definitely knew that taking that lighter away from the lodge would hinder the investigation.  Come on, Toby.  You’re supposed to be Rosewood’s moral compass!  

Meanwhile, it’s a fiesta in A’s lair.  Hanna, a fiesta is a party.  The girls discuss the fact that Red Coat (who some of the girls believe is Alison) is playing with them as if they’re mice or dolls.  Emily refuses to believe that Alison is playing with them.  She seems to be the only one in the group who says out loud that Alison is dead. 

Hanna realizes that Mona was the person on the Halloween train who dressed up in the same costume as Caleb.  Mona snidely responds to this realization with “To think we were this close to our first kiss.”  Aria furiously accuses Mona of being the person who tried to kill her on the train, too.  Mona insists that she was not the person who did that, and she has proof in the form of video surveillance of the people who DID put Aria in the box.  Wait a minute, is Mona ALLOWED to have the videos that are stored in the computer in A’s lair?  The following broken law applies to the video Mona shows the girls of the Halloween train activities, along with any other similar surveillance that the A team has collected:

Broken Law # 9 Alert! 

18 Pa.C.S. Interception, disclosure or use of wire, electronic or oral communications.
“Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a person is guilty of a felony of the third degree if he:
(1)  intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept any wire, electronic or oral communication;
(2)  intentionally discloses or endeavors to disclose to any other person the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, or evidence derived therefrom, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, electronic or oral communication; or
(3)  intentionally uses or endeavors to use the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, or evidence derived therefrom, knowing or having reason to know, that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, electronic or oral communication.”

I suppose we can’t be too shocked that the A team has committed some felonies along the way.  

When Mona shows the girls the video from the Halloween party, she tells the girls that the two people in the video are the ones who put Aria in the box.  The video reveals Wilden in a Queen of Hearts costume screaming at another person in a Queen of Hearts costume.  In the video, Wilden tells the other Queen of Hearts to “just leave her” (presumably referring to Aria) because “Garrett is going to tell them everything and we can’t let that happen.”

The second Queen of Hearts is still disguised on the video, and Mona tells the girls that it’s Melissa Hastings.  Before she can prove it by continuing to play the video, somebody mysteriously deletes all of Mona’s files from the computer.  The Halloween Costume Shop where Shana works definitely got a lot of business this year from a bunch of people who nobody trusts.  

Then, the girls hear creepy girls that look like younger versions of themselves, playing with creepy toy dolls who “coincidentally” are named, Aria, Hanna, Spencer, Emily, and Mona.  The little girls tell Mona that her “friend Alison” gave them the dolls.  

Later, at Emily’s house, Hanna talks to Mona on the phone and agrees to help her hide the RV.  Hanna explains to Emily that “Mona just wants to get rid of the RV so [they] can all get rid of it together,” and that Hanna is going to drive her to do it.  This plan makes Hanna and Mona guilty of: 

Broken Law # 10 Alert! 

18 Pa. C.S. § 903.  Criminal conspiracy.
(a)  Definition of conspiracy.–A person is guilty of conspiracy with another person or persons to commit a crime if with the intent of promoting or facilitating its commission he:
(1)  agrees with such other person or persons that they or one or more of them will engage in conduct which constitutes such crime or an attempt or solicitation to commit such crime; or
(2)  agrees to aid such other person or persons in the planning or commission of such crime or of an attempt or solicitation to commit such crime.

The crime they are conspiring to commit can be found above in this entry under Broken Law # 8  Alert (tampering with or fabricating physical evidence).  

Pam walks in and brings Emily and Hanna’s discussion about Mona to a halt.  She’s talking about “Poor Wilden” and the fact that there were witnesses, but she “didn’t know what they saw.”  She’s trying to comfort the girls, but she’s inadvertently scaring them instead.  Also, when Pam took that job at the police station, she didn’t quit her day job as a welcome wagon lady.  She tells Emily and Hanna that Mrs. DiLaurentis is moving back into her old house and is doing well despite what is going on with Wilden.  She gives Emily a gift basket to bring to Mrs. DiLaurentis.  Hanna’s new theory is that Mrs. DiLaurentis came back to Rosewood because she knows that Ali is alive.

Spencer and Toby make what Mona would call a “rookie mistake” by returning to a crime scene (the lodge where the fire happened).  Toby discourages going inside the lodge and reminds Spencer that Ali died 2 years ago.  No wonder he and Emily get along so well.

Emily brings the basket to Mrs. DiLaurentis.  Mrs. D is “freakishly like Ali,” as the girls would say.  She behaves exactly like Ali to the point that it’s disturbing.  Whoever the DiLaurentis family uses as a moving company must be filthy rich by now.  Also, apparently Emily always gets stuck helping people bring boxes upstairs in that house.  Emily is creeped out by the “shrine” Mrs. D is making for Ali. 

Next, we see Mona and Hanna hiding the RV.  Mona thanks Hanna for helping her, and Hanna says that “there’s stuff in there that could bring [them] all down.”  They’ve now completed the crime that they conspired to commit, and are guilty of both, conspiracy as stated above, and:

Broken Law # 11 Alert! 

See: Broken Law # 8 Alert (tampering with or fabricating physical evidence).  

The same applies here, except instead of Toby, Hanna and Mona are the guilty parties.  

Mona misses the glory days when Hanna + Mona equaled “us.”  Scenes between Hanna and Mona are beginning to look like scenes a former couple would have.  Speaking of scenes involving former couples, the next scene features Aria and Ezra.  They engage in incredibly awkward small-talk, and Ezra informs Aria that he will be working full time at her school again.  He rubs in Aria’s face that he “has a family now.”  When Aria leaves, she refers to him as “Mr. Fitz.” I’d be willing to bet that something about “Ezria” was trending worldwide on twitter during this part of the episode. 

Meanwhile, Boyfriend– I mean Toby is cooking breakfast for Spencer as she obsessively scours the newspaper article about Wilden’s death. Toby reminds Spencer how to use a fork and tries to be subtle about suggesting caffeine rehab.  Spencer reads about Wilden being shot multiple times and somebody moving his body.  What is it with this town and moving dead bodies?  It’s like a sport here!  Toby receives a text from A.  A picture of Toby’s mother is attached, and the text reads, “Bet you miss her every day. Kisses.”  Now it’s time for some role reversal; when Spencer asks Toby if he’s ok, he lies to her about “A,” just like Spencer always lied to him.  

At school, Emily reminds Aria of the concept of a double date, but Aria is too busy staring at Ezra to pay too much attention.  The Vice Principal is staring at Aria too.  In the hallway, Hanna tells Mona about her nightmares of Wilden with a pig face, and they reminisce about the days when they would go shopping together.  They make a rendezvous to go to Macy’s later. 

Aria gets called to the Vice Principal’s office, where she finds out that Ezra Fitz is getting arrested for having sex with a minor.  This only happens in Aria’s imagination, though; really, the Vice Principal just had some papers for her to give to Ella.  Paige wants Emily to come to college in California with her so that she can become an interior decorator and eat donuts without A watching.  Emily says yes, and they say “I love you” to each other.  

At Hanna’s house, Mona and Hanna talk about the latest fashion trends — they both still love talking about clothes–  and Mona explains that being a stalking mental patient hasn’t gotten her many dates.  She tells Hanna that she knows that she’s only pretending to be her friend again.  She still gives Hanna the chip that she wanted and tells her that it’s the only copy.  Mona says, in the past tense, that she really loved Hanna once and she really was her friend.  Does that mean Mona was just pretending to be friends with Hanna again, too?  Well then, at least they’re being honest about their lies.  

Jenna spies on Emily as she gives Paige her goodnight kiss.  Jenna needs a favor from Emily; she wants for Emily to give Toby a message for Jenna if anything ever happens to her.  Jenna wants Toby to know that she never meant to hurt him. When Emily asks Jenna if she burned herself, Jenna tries to conceal a mysterious injury.  Maybe it’s just another red herring injury like Lucas and Jason’s leg injuries.  Jenna points out that everyone who saw Alison the night she went missing is “waking up dead.”  She explains that Garrett told her that Wilden saw Ali that night also.  The girls and Toby saw Ali the night she disappeared, too.  Under Jenna’s theory, does that mean that they’re all going to die, too?  Or is Jenna only referring to an elite clique of dead people?  

Spencer looks out her window and into Ali’s old bedroom, only to find Mrs. DiLaurentis staring back at her.  That’s not creepy or anything.  Spencer gets a text from “A” that says “Closed caskets keep secrets.  His is open and exposes yours.  Kisses, bitches.”  A clipping of Wilden’s obituary is attached to the text.  

When the girls get to Wilden’s funeral, the place is packed.  Spencer gives Hanna a science lesson about embalming dead bodies.  The girls see someone at the funeral who is disguised in a black, lace outfit with her face hidden.  Another person in an enigmatic disguise!  They want to know who it is.  Maybe it’s Melissa, considering that she has been behind all of the secret costumes in this show so far.  Ezra brought Maggie as his date to Wilden’s funeral.  

Spencer comes up with one of her million dollar ideas; the girls should split up (AT A FUNERAL) to search for Wilden’s casket.  Spencer and Mona find it; apparently Mona received the same text message about Wilden’s casket.  Spencer and Mona hear a cell phone ringing from inside the casket.  I wonder what cell phone company provides such good signal inside a casket.  Spencer opens the casket, moves Wilden a tiny bit, and retrieves the phone.  

Potential Broken Law # 12 Alert!

 18 Pa.C.S. § 5510.  Abuse of corpse.
“Except as authorized by law, a person who treats a corpse in a way that he knows would outrage ordinary family sensibilities commits a misdemeanor of the second degree.” 

I labeled this as a “potential broken law,” because it depends on whether or not a court determined that Spencer’s movement of Wilden’s body to get the phone amounted to behavior that would outrage ordinary family sensibilities. 

When Mona and Spencer look through the phone, they find that it has missed calls from blocked numbers and a contact named “Kisses.”  Spencer redials “kisses,” and Hanna answers on the other end. The girls realize that the phone Spencer found in Wilden’s casket belongs to Hanna’s mother.  Why on Earth was it in Wilden’s casket, and why on Earth was Hanna’s name “kisses” in her mother’s phone?  Did Ashley do that?  Or was it Wilden or “A?”  Hanna believes that her mother is the next person that “A” is going to target.  

Alison’s mother comes up to the girls at the funeral.  She makes an odd comment about Hanna’s weight loss, then she asks the girls to sit next to her in the Church.  A guy that we haven’t been introduced to walks Jenna into the Church; Jenna is wearing her Gucci sunglasses indoors again.  Has she lost her vision again?  Is she pretending that she’s lost her vision again?  Who knows with this girl?  During the funeral, the girls see the mysterious woman in the black lace, again, and continue to wonder who she is.  

Then we see Toby driving the A-Team lair, and it looks like tears are coming out of those “pretty eyes.”  He has received another “A” text: “I know what happened 2 ur mom.  Bring the lair and u’ll know 2.  Kisses.”  It seems this “A” likes shorthand.  Toby has a flashback of a time when he and Ali were friends, or at least friendlier than any other interaction we’ve seen between those two.  Toby and Ali almost kiss, but Toby’s mother who looks frail, sick, and exhausted, walks in before they can.  When Toby tells Ali that he thinks something is wrong with his mother, she rudely chalks it up to laziness.  When Toby asks Ali to leave, she does, but not before calling him a loser.  Then, in present time, we see Toby walk into the woods with a sad look on his face.

Back at the Church, the girls learn that there’s a new cop in town.  His name is Officer Holbrook and he’s investigating Garrett and Wilden’s murders.  He agrees with the girls that Wilden’s behavior towards them was inappropriate, or at least he says that he agrees with them.  Maybe he’s secretly sleeping with one of their enemies, or maybe he’s being honest.  He reminds the girls that he’s “one of the good guys” and that he’s “there to find the truth.”  Of course, “A” is always watching, and right on cue, all 5 girls receive a text: “The truth won’t set you free.  I’m going to bury you with it.  Kisses, A.”  A video is attached to the message, which reveals that “A” recorded the girls stealing the evidence from Wilden’s car and then fleeing the scene.  

At the end, Mystery Girl in the Black Lace is wearing black gloves and an “Ali” mask that looks as if it was severely burned — maybe in the fire in the season 3 finale.  She’s carrying a doll, and probably plenty of other secrets that will keep us guessing throughout season 4.  We’ll see what kind of mischief the girls get caught up in next week! 

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