‘Pretty Little Liars’ Recap: A Bird Speaks a Clue and Emily Sinks

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Tuesday’s episode of ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars featured a bird, a new self-defense instructor, a rejection letter, pain medication and some dirty Manolo Blaniks.

Seems completely random, I know, but somehow all of these things are related to our bigger mysteries of “A” and Alison’s (Sasha Pieterse) murder? How exactly? That’s not too clear yet, but as it is only the second episode of this addictive drama’s fourth season, there is much yet to come and decipher.

Let’s get to it.

Note: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen Tuesday’s episode, “Turn of the Shoe.”

Who would have thought that a bird, of all things, would be providing some of the answers on PLL? Certainly not me but on this show, anything is possible.

So following a conversation with Mrs. DiLaurentis (Andrea Parker) about Ali’s last summer alive – in which we see Ali’s manipulation at work via flashback – Hanna (Ashley Benson) becomes the proud owner of a clue giving bird named Tibby. Seems this gray-feathered parrot of Ali’s spent more time with her that summer than most people did and sounds just like her.

Of course, by episode’s end, “A” has released the bird but not before detective Spencer (Troian Bellisario) realizes the tune she’s been singing all day is a phone number. Could this be a major clue to who killed Ali? And is “board shorts,” Detective Wilden (Bryce Johnson)?

And while Spencer is a great detective when it comes to all things “A” related, her intelligence doesn’t seem to be enough for dream school/Hastings alma mater, UPenn as she receives a rejection letter from school. Upset and unwilling to share this information with her friends and family, she works with Ezra (Ian Harding) on her college essay. He thinks her honesty about what she’s been through may put a damper on all of her academic achievements and suggests lightening up. Though my real question from this storyline — Why is Ezra alone with a student on a Saturday at school? I know it’s just Spencer, but jeez Ezra, didn’t you learn your lesson?

Though it appears Aria (Lucy Hale) certainly hasn’t. Taking up private self-defense lessons to protect herself from “A,” she plants a kiss on her new and hot instructor Jake (Ryan Guzman) mid-lesson on her very FIRST lesson. She runs away embarrassed but he later shows up at her house to let her know that he is – of course – interested and they should get coffee. Also, was Aria seriously wearing wedge sneakers during this lesson or was I seeing things?

Meanwhile, Spencer’s other half, Toby (Keegan Allen) reveals to her that he gave up the RV of secrets to “A” in exchange for information about his mother’s death. A sad scene, we learn that she supposedly committed suicide. Though “A’s” information leads Toby to believe that this is not the case. The former “A” team member seems determined to find out the truth.

Keeping with the current PLL trend of one set of Liar parents per episode, this week Ashley Marin (Laura Leighton) made her return from New York. The Marin matriarch is looking pretty suspicious during the episode, after we learn that a set of footprints at the scene of Wilden’s murder belong to a pair of high heels and she happens to throw away a destroyed pair of Manolos. Uh-Oh Ms. Marin, do you have a confession to make?

Lastly, Emily (Shay Mitchell) has a rough go at things on “Turn of the Shoe” after she seriously injures her shoulder saving Aria and Mona (Janel Parrish) from a car driven by “A.” The injury forces the swimming star to self-medicate and in turn causes her to black out during her meet and hit her head. The accident looks touch and go for a second, but Emily is recovering at home by episode’s end. With possible “A” team member, Shana (Aerial Miranda), gunning for the only open spot on Stanford’s swim team alongside Paige (Lindsay Shaw), Em has some stiff competition.

Buzz Moments

OMG: Though nothing particularly gasp-worthy happened on “Turn of the Shoe,” I was surprised that Emily recovered so quickly from her head injury. I thought for sure we’d see her in the hospital.

Thank you, TV gods.: For Spencer’s French fry/mozzarella stick map. Hilarious and amazing.

Awk-ward: Awkwardness was all around on this episode but did anyone else cringe at Spence and Toby’s weird hug after he was crying? It was so strange.

Hotness: Helloooo Jake!

Fab-u-lous: While I could have done without the bottom half of Hanna’s leggings and jacket combo, I loved her coral moto jacket, which thanks to Possessionista I found out was from Free People.

Can. Not. Wait.: For Caleb and Jason to get back! I miss them!

Celebuzz (1-10): 7. This episode was par for the course after the stellar season premiere. Just enough information revealed to keep you coming back while adding more questions to this season’s big mysteries.

So PLL fans, what did you think about “Turn of the Shoe”? Do you think Ms. Marin had something to do with Wilden’s death? How do you feel about Aria’s new love interest? Let us know in the comments below!