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Pretty Little Liars Wiki
Pretty Little Liars Wiki
Any luck with big bird's phone number?

Cat's Cradle is the third episode of Season 4 of Pretty Little Liars. The episode aired on June 25, 2013.



The episode begins with Hanna, Aria, Spencer, and Emily at The Brew discussing Tippi and Hanna's mom. Hanna reminds the girls that Ashley didn't kill Wilden and they all agree. Emily tells the girls she has a doctor appointment scheduled for her shoulder tomorrow, then explains she was able to bring Ali's old notebooks and journals and things because she sneacked them out past Mrs. Dilaurentis' along with all of Tippi the bird's stuff. They look through Ali's belongings and then Spencer mentions Ella looks cozy with Zack across the way. 


Aria asks if it is weird to be jealous of your mother's love life. Spencer asks how things are going with Jake and Aria says she is seeing him tonight. Ella and Zack talk about Zack's upcoming trip to Vienna, Austria and he asks if Ella would like to come with him, but she says she can't because she has children and responsibilities in Rosewood. He asks her to take motherhood of the table for a moment, but Ella can't imagine picking up and moving to Vienna for a year. 

Spencer asks Emily to hide Ali's stuff so Mona doesn't find it and start asking questions. Mona wasn't at school that day, and no one knows where she has been, making them nervous. In the box of notebooks, Hanna finds a mask.


Then, Melissa walks in The Brew. The girls are surprised that she is back because they thought she would be gone for good after they found Wilden. They wonder if what Mona said about her being the other Queen of Hearts is true or not. Spencer goes up to her sister and asks her about her trip to Washington. Melissa says she thinks she will probably be getting an internship in either San Francisco or London. Spencer says she found the perfect get-away, and Melissa responds by saying it might be good that they both get out of Rosewood if they know what's good for them.


Sitting on the steps of the church, Hanna and Caleb discuss him being back from his trip to see his dad. Hanna asks him how it went, and he says that he told his dad he was sorry for accusing him of taking the bell from the church because they found out someone from the foundry did it. Caleb says he got along well with his dad, that they went fishing, and things seem to be OK. Hanna seems upset and Caleb knows why, and he tells her that people know her mom didn't kill Wilden. Hanna says "A" will make her look guilty, and they plan to find a way to prove that Ms. Marin was really in New York at the time of his death.

At the bookstore, Ella tells Aria about Zack's invitation to Vienna. Aria asks if she is considering it and Ella tells her she did consider it, but only for a second. Aria asks if she is worried about being away from Zack for a year, and Ella says yes, it is a long time to be away from someone. 

Spencer is looking up the phone number that they got from Tippi in a reverse directory, but is having no luck. When she calls the number, it just rings and rings, but she cannot find an address or even a town associated with it. Toby seems upset, so Spencer goes over to him. He says he wants to know what really happened to his mom. Spencer is worried that the others will find out about Toby returning the lair it to "A," 


and wants to tell them before they find out from someone else, but Toby doesn't want them to know yet. Toby says "A" always knows when you're at your weakest and remarks that "A" has always felt like a she. Spencer plans to go back to Radley and find out the truth about Toby's mom.

Hanna asks her mom what else she did in New York besides attend meetings. Ashley says on Friday night she and her co-workers all went to see Anything Goes on Broadway.

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Jake comes over to Aria's House and they watch an old movie. Aria says she loves black and white movies, but Jake says he never watches them. Aria is disconcerted by this fact, but then Jake reveals he is kidding. He asks her why the idea they wouldn't like the same things makes her so nervous. Aria says she just wants to make sure they have stuff in common, but Jake says if they like all of the same things, it takes the surprise factor out of a relationship, and he doesn't think Aria likes dull.

Emily goes to the doctor about her shoulder and he prescribes her the same pain medication that Emily was taking that caused the bad reaction while swimming. Dr. Vargas remarks that he doesn't see that medication in her file, and Emily, realizing she's caught in a lie, pretends she has only heard that hydrocodone can cause a bad reaction. 

Hanna visits her mom at work and sees flowers on her desk and asks where they are from. Ashley says they are from the bank for everyone who went to New York. When Ashley steps out, Hanna notices the Thank You card from the flowers in the trash. It reads, "Hope you're feeling better. The show was a dud, you didn't miss anything." Instead of finding proof that her mom was in New York, she finds proof that she wasn't where she said she'd been. When Ashley returns, Hanna throws it in the trash and storms out of her mom's office, angry about being lied to. 

Aria, Emily, and Spencer are leaving school. Aria tells them about her mom considering the trip to Austria and how she can't even imagine her mom being a continent away. Spencer tells them she couldn't find any information about the number Tippi gave them, but she's not giving up. Emily says she started going through Ali's notebooks and asks the other girls if they want to come over tonight and search them together. Spencer says she can't because she promised Toby she would help him with something.

Emily's mom come up to them outside of school and tells Emily she's giving her a ride home. She is angry because the doctor called and asked if Emily has been taking her mom's medication. Emily denies it, but Pam says she checked the bottle and can see pills are missing. When Emily tries to walk away, Pam grabs her arm and starts yelling, making a scence, so Emily gets in the car and leaves. Aria then gets a text from "A" saying "Cleaning up Rosewood, one mean mommy at a time. Dig we must. Kisses - A," and wonders what "A" is planning for her mom.

Hanna talks to Caleb about her mom not being in New York, and Caleb says all they know for sure is that she wasn't at the play. Hanna says she's going to end up without a mom or a dad, and Caleb asks if Ashley has talked to Hanna's dad about what is going on. She says no because her parents only communicate through attorneys. Caleb says it isn't a bad idea to talk to an attorney about this before Ashley gets finds herself in trouble with the police.


Hanna goes to the Police Department to give Emily's mom some flowers, but she is not there at the time. Hanna notices a suspect board on the wall in another office and goes in to see that Detective Holbrook has been tracking many different people to find who killed Wilden. Photos of and notes about Hanna and all of her friends are on that board, as well as those of Garrett, Ashley, Jenna, Noel, Ian, Mike, Melissa, Wren, Alison, Caleb, Mona, Dr. Sullivan, CeCe and some unidentified individuals. Also posted on this board are pictures of Ian's suicide note, Hanna's shoplifting arrest record, Ali's empty grave, the destroyed Ali memorial, the buried Queen of Hearts and Phantom of the Opera masks, Ali's autopsy report, Ashley's bank account statements, as well as many other clues and leads.

Holbrook sees Hanna about to take a picture of the board and tells her to step outside. Hanna asks why her picture was on that board. Holbrook says that a lot of people are on the board: people that knew Wilden and people that didn't even know they knew him. They see Melissa come in and Holbrook greets her and takes her into another office.

Caleb goes to find Mr. Marin at his office and tells him what is going on. Caleb tells him that Wilden was giving his ex-wife and his daughter a hard time and now he's dead. He tells them he is worried the police will try to pin the murder on Ashley. He says they need help: Ashley is going to need a lawyer and Hanna needs to know that her dad is there for her. Tom says he will keep it in mind and leaves.

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Aria helps Emily go through Alison's notebooks and she asks Emily if she told her mom about taking her pills, and Emily says yes, she had to. Aria is looking at the mask they found and she notices a second mask underneath that looks like Alison. They notice a marking on the inside - the web address of the Hector Lime, the creator of the mask.

Ashley comes into Hanna's room and tells her she doesn't appreciate being spied on. She won't give Hanna any other details about her trip or why she lied, but tells her that if anyone asks her about it, "Don't lie; just don't say anything."

Meanwhile, Toby and Spencer sneak into Radley using the override codes Mona gave to Spencer while they were working together on the "A-Team."


The girls call Hanna to come over and Hanna recognizes the mask they uncovered as the same type of mask that Mona was wearing on the Halloween train. She is not willing to wait for Spencer to call them back to decide what to do, not when "A" is intent on making her mom look guilty. The three of them decide to go to the studio where the mask was made to find some answers.


It is dark when they arrive and they wonder if Ali came to this place alone. The studio is creepy and Hector is even creepier. He invites them inside.


Sneaking around Radley, Spencer and Toby find the east side window where Marion supposedly jumped from. When Toby sees it, he is ashamed he gave the lair to "A" for nothing, but Spener isn't so sure. 

The girls ask Hector about the Alison mask and he says he put an ad on the internet asking for a young, beautiful, "warrior" of a model to make a Joan of Arc mask and Alison answered the ad. Hector tells Emily she'd make a beautiful Medusa. He says he would give them whatever information they are looking for if Emilly agrees to model for a mask.

Spencer looks out the window and notices a roof ledge which juts out "all the way around the building" about 10-15 feet, and she says she doesn't know how Toby's mother fell, but she doesn't think his mother jumped.  She says she thinks "A" gave him something genuine [the file].  Toby says they have to talk to Dr. Palmer who was with his mom that day.


Next thing Emily knows, Hector is spreading plaster over her face and telling her it'll be over before she knows it. He tells the girls that Alison wanted masks because she wanted all her friends to look like her. Hector also says that Alison told him to break the mold when he was finished, and he did. While he is working on the mask for Emily, Hanna snoops around the studio. When they leave, Emily says she bets that was how Alison felt to be buried alive. Hanna then shows the girls the mold that she stole from in the studio. 


As Caleb is walking home, Tom drives up to him and if Ashley sent him to talk to him. Caleb says no, and guesses that already Tom knew Ashley was in Rosewood that night. Tom says Ashley came to his house and asked for money. They talked in the garage. He says it was more money than he had at the time, and Isabel 


was calling him into another room. When he came back, Ashley was gone. Tom says he did something that he had been afraid to do since Wilden was found dead.  He keeps a gun in his desk at home, and he finally looked in the desk and saw that it was missing. 

That night, Pam informs Emily that Family Services called her. They want to interview Pam about Emily because someone reported that she was "excessive" with Emily outside of school. She says Family Services suspects that Emily's shoulder, her ulcer, and her trouble with the police is caused by family troubles at home. Emily texts Aria and tells her that "A" called Family Services on her mom.


Aria gets coffee with Jake at the Brew at the same time, her mom is there with Zack. Aria goes over to her mom and encourages her to go on the trip with Zack. Ella decides to go to Austria. When Ella goes to share the good news with Zack, Jake rejoins Aria, noticing how intense the conversation with her mom seemed. Aria tells him she's going to miss her mom.

Hanna goes to Spencer's house, annoyed Spencer hasn't been answering her phone. She shows her the mold she stole from the studio. It looks like Melissa. They hypothesize three scenarios: Melissa followed Alison there, or Alison followed Melissa, or Melissa and Alison went there together. Hanna later gives the mask to Spencer.


Hanna goes home and talks to her mom through the bathroom door. Ashley apologizes to Hanna. We see Ashley standing at the sink while the bath fills with water. She seems nervous and upset.


Melissa stops by Spencer's room to tell her she saw Hanna at the police station and asks why she was there. Spencer says Hanna was wondering the same thing about Melissa. Melissa says the new detective asked her to come in to talk about Wilden. She says she thinks they are talking to anyone who had anything to do with him. Melissa brings up that one time that Spencer had asked her if she had to protect Spencer or someone else she loved, who would she choose. Melissa asks Spencer what would her answer be if she asks her the same question.

A picture of Pam behind bars...

That night, Emily gets a message from "A" of a picture of her mom that was edited to make her look like she is behind prison bars. Pam comes in and tells Emily that her dad is coming home from the army because Family Services called him too.

The last scene of the episode shows "A" putting on a record of the song, "Dem Bones" and then putting up an x-ray of Emily's hurt shoulder that must have been stolen from Dr. Vargas.


  • There appears to be a letter "A" on the roof ledge at Radley.
  • Tom reveals to Caleb that Ashley was in Rosewood the night Wilden was killed.
  • "A" is shown to have Emily's shoulder x-ray.


  • Prep for this episode and 4x04 began on March 22, 2013.
  • The read-through was on April 1, 2013.
  • Filming for this episode and 4x04 began on April 4, 2013 and ended on April 22, 2013.

Title and Background

The title string figures created between two people as a game. The aim of the game is to make a set of figures including the "cat's cradle". This is created by two sets of crossed string between both hands. A second player grasps each cross horizontally using thethumb and first fingers, pulls these outwards, down under the line which runs below the crosses from the first players wrists, and back up. The first player lets go of the figure and the second player stretches it open by bringing apart the thumbs and fingers. This figure is the "diamonds".

Main Cast

Guest Cast


Aria: “Is it weird to be jealous of your mom's love life?”

Melissa [to Spencer]: It might be time for both of us to get out of this little town. If we know what's good for us.

Hanna (referring to Spencer): What? We can't make a move without Nancy Drew?

Melissa: Do you suppose other sisters have as much trouble getting along as we do?
Spencer: Uh, there might be a few.
Melissa: Maybe we're just too much alike, and that's the problem.

Aria [to Hanna]: Well, that bird is connected to Ali, Ali's connected to Wilden, and Wilden's connected to your mom and us and stuff we don't even know anything about.

Hanna [to Spencer]: Any luck with big bird's phone number?

Featured Music

  • "Out of My Head" by Digital Daggers (Ashley confronts Hanna about questioning what happened on her work trip)
  • "Far From Yesterday" by Amy Stroup (the Liars talk in the Brew)
  • "Don't Ever Want To Be Found" by The Rubens (the girls question Hector about Ali's mask)
  • "Trace Me Back" by Trent Dabbs & Amy Stroup (Aria tells her mom to go to Vienna)
  • "Dry Bones" by The Delta Rhythm Boys ("A" plays a record and looks at Emily's x-ray)


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Cat's Cradle has a photo gallery.