Class is officially in session in Pretty Little Liars: Summer School episode 2 (Recap)

The second episode of the teen horror brought in new characters and explored how each of the Liars understands their own identity.
Courtesy: Max
Courtesy: Max /

The first episode of Pretty Little Liars: Summer School spent most of its time bridging the gap between season 1 and season 2. After all, another six months passed, with little going on in the interim. With that said, the second episode of the season (review here) is where the new story really begins.

Released alongside episode 1, season 2 episode 2, "Chapter Twelve: Summer Lovin," truly brings the audience back into the chaos of Millwood. Summer has officially begun, which brings with it summer school drama, new love interests, and a killer new villain for the characters to face off against.

Pretty Little Liars: Summer School on Max /

Navigating 'normal' life after the Millwood Massacre

For the first half of this episode, the focus is on how the Liars are trying (and often failing) to be ordinary people. This is particularly important when they come in contact with new people, who they'll have to either let in or push away.

At the start of "Summer Lovin," Imogen is in her bedroom when she sees a hooded figure in the corner of the room. She thinks that it is her mom at first, then Rose Waters. But then the figure is gone. There's always the possibility that something supernatural might be going on, but Imogen sees it as either a response to trauma or to her new medications.

The five girls go to summer school, where they at least console each other that they will be together. However, there are too many people preparing to retake their exams, so Imogen is placed in the "overflow classroom," while the others are all in Section "A." Summer school brings with it new threats and new faces. When Imogen sits down at a desk in the overflow classroom, there is a rose in her desk. It has to be chance, since there weren't assigned seats, but it will prove to be the start of a trend.

Meanwhile, a new student named Jennifer Fox is in Section A. She and Noa have a history, having been incredibly close while Noa was in juvie. However, there are some major hints that they were more than just friends, despite the fact that Noa was with Shawn at the time.

After school, the group goes back to therapy, where they have plenty of complaints. It feels a bit childish, especially since they only have to go for three hours a day for one month. But Dr. Sullivan does a great job putting it in perspective, explaining, "summer school is epically lame, but it is not life or death. And isn't that a relief?"

The problem is, they might not have life or death battles right now, but they are still primed to look for them. Imogen asks Dr. Sullivan about her nightmares and hallucinations, asking if it could be her new meds. That would be the easy solution, but she's worried that it's actually a sign that she inherited her mother's mental health problems.

Pretty Little Liars: Summer School Image Courtesy Warner Bros. /

New faces: Love interests or potential killers?

One thing Dr. Sullivan suggested to all of the girls was a fun summer fling, and there are plenty of options for the Liars to try out. For instance, Wes hired a new guy named Christian to work at the Orpheum with Tabby, and Faran has the chance to get closer to her coach or teenage boys her own age after being offered a job as a lifeguard.

In both of these cases, the men ask for the women's phone numbers for seemingly innocuous reasons. They make sense, but they also put each new character under suspicion of being the season's new killer(s). This is doubly true for Jen, who not only got Noa's number, but also asked about how involved she was in the massacre.

These new faces each have at least one of the Liars' phone numbers, as well as the opportunity to get close to them and uncover their secrets. All eyes are on the newbies, to see if they become romantic interests, murderers, or both.

Pretty Little Liars: Summer School. Cr: WBTV /

The Liars hide from themselves

The arrival of new opportunities and new people puts several of the lead girls in a position where they can pretend to be somebody they're not. After the chaos of the fall semester, several of them lean in to the idea.

Tabby is put in a tough position, because getting too close to a coworker at the Orpheum can only make her think about Chip. Because of this, she initially tells Christian that she is not a horror fan, denying one of the most prominent aspects of her personality.

On a more extreme scale, Imogen considers changing her whole life. After getting her mom's medical history from her dad, he suggests that she could stay with him as a brief escape. The idea of escape is appealing, and Imogen gets a job near his house where she uses a fake name (Leigh Able) and backstory to have the chance to be a different person.

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Kelly seems fully committed to her church identity, but she struggles to merge it with her Millwood social group. Greg has no interest in going to Our Mother of Holy Grace, but he's reluctantly going along with the Redemption House production. However, one of Karen and Kelly's former friends is determined to take the leading role (and Greg) for herself.

Noa and Mouse have relatively minor parts in this saga, not having much of a reason to hide from themselves. Both have relative freedom, with Noa's mom still in rehab and Mouse's moms going on a cruise (interestingly, it's Mouse's mom who asks for her cell phone number, rather than a stranger like the others).

Imogen and Tabby meet up to discuss the new additions in their lives, which prompts both to consider whether hiding their true identities and feelings is the best choice. Kelly also has to decide whether to stand firm in her new identity or give in to Greg's desires. Ultimately, they have a huge fight over whether or not to have sex.

In the midst of all the identity crises, Mouse and Noa both find roses—Mouse at her moms' pawn shop and Noa in her locker. Along with these individual discoveries, Mouse learns about the two missing teenagers that were attacked at the end of the last episode.

Pretty Little Liars: Summer School. Cr: WBTV /

Managing different identities at work

Trying not to let the thought of more missing teenagers worry them too much, each of the main Liars tries to resume normal life, only to learn that things have drastically changed. When their worlds from before season one collide with the newer additions, secrets hang in the balance.

While at tryouts to become a lifeguard, Faran ends up going head-to-head with Greg. They have an increasingly confrontational relationship with each other, which might be a dangerous dynamic given the secrets she's keeping from Henry. The idea that she is the strongest lifeguard, but also unable to return to dance, makes no sense, setting up a possible forced reveal in the future.

Noa has her own work-related trouble, when her boss at the pizza restaurant mentions that Jennifer applied t work there. He asks her opinion on whether Jen would be a good addition or not, and the weight of what Noa knows but the audience doesn't is palpable. Why was Jen in juvie, and will working together let the specifics of the prior relationship slip?

Tabby has a similar situation at the Orpheum, where Wes knows her interests deeply, but she has been lying to Christian. When they get into a fight about horror movies, Tabby jumps in to set them both straight. While this disclosure might have been all she was ready for, Wes mentions that she is a real-life final girl, as well as suggesting that Christian watch her revenge film.

Finally, the other characters surprise Imogen at her work, which she is clearly unhappy with. While the others have been following similar paths, her self-rejection is the most extreme. When they question her about it, she admits that she wants a place where she doesn't have to be herself anymore.

Pretty Little Liars: Summer School. Cr: WBTV /

The new killer makes themselves known... or did they?

In the first episode, Bloody Rose Waters was little more than a myth. Even through most of the second episode, her only moves are the cryptic delivery of roses. But in the last third of the episode, the new villain decides to reach out more directly.

While waiting for the bus home after work, Imogen sees Bloody Rose standing across the street with a knife. While she originally thinks it's a hallucination, Rose doesn't go away. Terrified of another masked killer, she runs and jumps on the bus, taking her pills in case it was a hallucination.

Meanwhile, Mouse and Ash wake up to Mouse's grandmother screaming in the middle of the night. She claims that there was a woman outside, staring in their windows, that matches the popular image of Bloody Rose. However, she doesn't remember any of it in the morning, claiming that she must have just been sleepwalking.

Notably, neither of these sightings are confirmed, and both could have been imagined. At this point, the Liars have no clear evidence for or against Bloody Rose coming for them. After her encounter waiting for the bus, Imogen is beyond on-edge. She refuses to leave the Section A classroom when they go back to school the next day, confronting the teacher about trying to force her away from her friends.

In order to keep her out of trouble, the rest of the girls take her to the bathroom. Imogen confesses that she's been having hallucinations, which both Tabby and Mouse are eager to suggest might actually be happening. However, the strain of it all is what breaks her, not whether or not the sightings are true.

She admits that she's worried that she might be going crazy, both because of her dreams and hallucinations and because her mother suffered from mental health crises as well. The others are quick to reassure her that she is more than just her trauma, but that her reactions to that trauma also aren't wrong. Whatever is really going on, they promise to support her.

Cr: WBTV /

Picking an identity and moving forward

Back at Our Mother of Holy Grace, Kelly learns that she was cast as the Virgin Mary, while Sandy got the role she wanted alongside Greg. Sandy also implies that it was easy to get Greg to betray her, just by offering sex. This forces Kelly to reconsider how her new value system can fit with her relationship.

While working at the Orpheum, Tabby decides to open up to Christian about her short film. While she's prepared for him to be horrified, her reacts enthusiastically, encouraging her to do a proper screening in the theater for her friends and family.

Faran gets a rose while at work, but she doesn't have much time to linger on it before having to stop Henry from picking a fight with Greg. She ends up punching Greg and telling Henry to leave. Despite her actions, her coach names her Lifeguard Captain, thanks to her athleticism.

Imogen goes back to Dr. Sullivan to try to work through her newest crisis, where she is introduced to the idea of "traumatic grief." Essentially, anyone would suffer with just part of what she went through, so it's no wonder she's struggling so much. Dr. Sullivan encourages her to trust her more, promising to get Imogen switched into Section A moving forward.

While Noa and Jen are bonding at work, Shawn arrives. There's immediately a sense that Noa has to hide things from Shawn, which is a time bomb waiting to happen. As we learn shortly thereafter, she and Jen did have a physical relationship, while she was still dating Shawn.

Similarly depicting trouble in paradise, Faran tells Henry off for trying to fight her battles for her. While there's not much resolution there, she offers to help get him a job. He refuses, explaining that he can't swim, before saying he plans to join Kelly at the church. Both of those tidbits seem like they will be relevant later in the season.

After getting to know the real Tabby, Christian orchestrated a proper movie premiere, with Tabby's name up on the marquee. The others speculate that he must have a crush on her, which they encourage Tabby to explore. After the film, Tabby finds the final rose, but assumes it was from Christian.

Finally, Kelly confronts Greg for choosing Sandy over her. He insists that he hasn't cheated on her, but that Sandy is a more attractive option because she's willing to sleep with him. Kelly suggests that they try intimacy that isn't defined as sex, bending her new identity to keep him.

Pretty Little Liars: Summer School. Cr: WBTV /

"Bloody Rose" calling

As the episode winds down, four of the five main Liars gets a call from an unknown number. Imogen's call comes when she's applying to another job—as herself, this time. Tabby's comes while she is flirting with Christian and talking about her favorite movies. Faran and Noa both get calls while trying to figure out their next steps.

Each girl ignores the call, so the season's killer gets impatient about leaving a message. While Greg is off with Kelly, Bloody Rose stabs Sandy multiple times.

After the third death so far this season, the killer calls Mouse. She ignores the voice call, but answers when a video call pops up for someone with the name and avatar Bloody Rose Waters. The killer's face and voice are obscured, but they tell Mouse that they hope she's been studying, because Bloody Rose is coming.

Pretty Little Liars: Summer School streams new episodes Thursdays on Max.

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