Skip to main content

Pretty Little Liars Recap: “Shadow Play”


Hanna (Ashley Benson), Emily (Shay Mitchell), and Spencer (Troian Bellisario) easily found Alison’s (Sasha Pieterse) stolen journal inside Ezra’s (Ian Harding) desk. Spencer took it home alone, where she put an old movie on, and popped more pills. Spencer hallucinated a gorgeous dream sequence, ultimately making “Shadow Play” the most breathtaking episode of Pretty LittleLiars ever. 

The homage to film noir allowed the girls to have beautiful period costumes, hair and makeup, while appearing in the chiaroscuro lighting typical of the genre.  Did I mention it was all absolutely gorgeous?

Frankly, I’d rather PLL always be like this. At least when there’s no forward momentum of the plot, it would be pretty. 

Spencer’s black and white anxiety dream allowed her subconscious to work out what was fishy about Ali’s journal. She realized Ezra wanted them to find the diary, which had become a “Trojan Horse.” 

Ezra had gone through the journal, and changed words and names of people/places to throw the girls off. Spencer realized this, since she had pictures of the original pages on her phone — unbeknownst to “A.”  Now, they knew the important places to look. 


Hanna pointed out this meant Ezra knew they knew he was “A.” The girls decided it was time to tell Aria (Lucy Hale) she was sleeping with the enemy. 

When Hanna, Spencer and Em showed up at Aria’s house, they saw their pint-sized pal locking lips with Ezra. Spencer looked sick over having to break Aria’s heart. 

Benson and Bellisario were standouts in this episode.  Each perfectly captured the stock character they were mimicking — Hanna, as the zany, clever screwball heroine and Spencer as the morally-compromised gumshoe.  

Looks-wise, it should also be mentioned Pieterse perfectly captured a vampy femme fatale. This dream version of Alison constantly challenged Spencer, not unlike  real-life. However, it made the strung-out teen start to realize Alison might actually be setting them up somehow. 

One thing that really tickled me?  Spencer’s subconscious had Alison “hiding out” by being a local Burlesque dancer under an assumed name.  After she woke up, Spencer really should have started checking the nearby strip joints. Honestly, that seemed like something vapid Ali would do. 

Photo credit: ABC Family