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Pretty Little Liars Wiki
What fun. Two little liars under one roof. You're making it so easy

Surface Tension is the seventh episode Season 2 of Pretty Little Liars. It aired on July 26, 2011.


"A's" newest message

At the Marin's home, the Pretty Little Liars stand in the kitchen talking. Apparently, a pipe has broken in the guest bedroom, so Emily and Hanna will be sharing a room now that Emily is set to move in. The subject changes to surmising about who would have done such a thing at the fashion show. They realize "A's" actions are getting bolder and it worries them. They want to forget about "A," but it isn't so easy. Just then, a special delivery from "A" arrives - a gift basket, letting Emily and Hanna know how easy it will be to mess with them under the same roof.

Emily makes breakfast

Emily moves into the Marin household and to express her gratitude, after her morning run, makes a sit-down breakfast for Hanna and her mother. She sets the table and puts out real napkins and pays attention to details like separating out the egg yolks from the egg whites. Hanna and Ashley try to assure Emily that she is now a part of their family and doesn't need to act like a guest. But the transition isn't so natural for Emily. Emily is also dealing with aches from her new athletic regimen now that she is back on the swim team.

Byron wants to invite Ezra Fitz

Before heading out to school, Ella helps Aria pick out an outfit for the next night, when the guests will be coming over for the Montgomery's first dinner party since Ella's return. Ella recommends a black dress that makes Aria look grown-up... Byron suggests inviting Ezra and a plus-one, while Aria tries to appear nonchalant. He feels that it would be nice to extend a hand to his teaching colleague who is still learning the ropes at Hollis. Byron points out that there is no conflict of interest now that Ezra is no longer Aria's teacher and that she should get used to calling him Ezra.

Peter wants to hire Toby

And at the Hastings' residence, Spencer discusses her father's upcoming construction projects. Peter has commissioned Toby to work on everything, but is worried that it might be too much for one person. Spencer assures him that he can handle it and contrarily encourages him to hire Toby for Taylor's upcoming nursery as well. Spencer reminds her father that they owe it to Toby after falsely accusing him.

Ezra convinces Aria

Aria then goes to Hollis to see Ezra; there she tries to talk him out of accepting her father's dinner invitation, but he has already accepted and feels inclined to go. He persuades her that it will finally be their opportunity to warm Ella and Byron up to the Aria and Ezra interacting in a way other than as teacher and student. Aria reluctantly agrees.

Mike is wary of the 'rents.

Back at the Montgomery home, Byron visits Mike's room to let him know that he is expected the next day at dinner. Mike tries to back out, but Byron is forceful, arguing that this is very important to the family as it is the first formal family dinner since Ella has moved back home. Mike tries to tune him out with his headphones as much as possible, not even bothering to turn around and face his father all the way while he is talking to him, but he does mumble an agreement to come. When Byron leaves, the rearview in his room can be clearly seen to read "PARENTS in mirror are closer than they appear," the first word written on tape covering the word objects, which is obviously printed underneath.


Hanna and Emily then go to school together. Hanna meets up with Caleb; who has just been stiffed by someone whose phone he was commissioned to "pimp out." Caleb acts nonchalant about his continued shady "business" dealings, but Hanna feels uneasy. He brushes it off, and she gives up for now. As they walk into school it is apparent that someone in a black sports car listening to the radio is watching them.

Jason in Ella's classroom

At school, Aria meets her mother in her English classroom. There she sees Jason DiLaurentis talking to her mother, who is apologetic about the way the fashion show ended up. Jason says that he is at Rosewood High to talk to the guidance counselor; he wants to help at-risk students see there is life after high-school. Ella then lets Aria know that Jason is also invited to dinner that night, and Aria gives him a half-smile. She expresses her surprise to her mother after he leaves, but does not let on exactly what her reservations are about him coming. Ella then changes the subject to the fashion show; she is very concerned about what someone did and is suspicious that maybe this wasn't an isolated incident. Aria denies that it was anything more than a prank, but Ella makes sure to express to Aria that she should tell her if someone has been bothering her at school. At least it is clear that Ella believes in her daughter's innocence about what happened at the fashion show.


Finally, viewers can see the inside of Hanna's room. That night, Hanna is sitting on her bed listening to music with her headphones, while Emily sits in the corner. Both are doing school work, but Emily can't concentrate when Hanna starts singing loudly along to the music in her ears. The two new roommates seem to be clashing over differences already. So, Hanna takes off her headphones when Emily complains, and Emily brings up Caleb's business deals. Hanna is annoyed at the question and compares Emily to Dr. Sullivan. Just like Mike, Hanna puts her headphones on to tune the other out. Emily is still nursing her neck pain.

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The next day at school, Emily confides in Aria that things aren't going so smoothly at Hanna's place. Aria is concerned, but then Emily lets on that it isn't so bad; she is grateful to be in Rosewood after all. Spencer then walks over and asks Emily if she has gotten an update from Garrett yet about whatever became of their Logan Reed lead. But, Emily says that she has overloaded with swim practice and hasn't had an opportunity. So, Aria and Emily ask Spencer to do it instead. They tell Spencer that she is better at persuading people. Aria would go with her if she didn't need to help her mom with dinner. She then lets Spencer know that Jason is invited, in addition to Ezra. Spencer is alarmed as she doesn't trust Jason, but Aria is worried for the reason that it will be awkward.

Obviously lying

So, Spencer goes to Garrett to find out information, who completely lies to her by saying that Emily scared off Logan Reed from talking, when clearly it was him who paid him off! Garrett says that he was registered for classes at Hollis College, but no one has heard from him for over a week. Garrett makes it seem like he will show up eventually and promises Spencer to let her know if anything comes up. He then tells her, pointedly, that she shouldn't expect any new leads in Alison DiLaurentis' murder; he claims that Ian was the last thread.

Ella talks to Hanna's mom

Next, Ella visits Ashley in her home to discuss her concerns about Aria and the PLL's. She wants Ashley's opinion of the fashion show. Ashley responds that it is typical high-school mean-girl behavior, but Ella thinks this is more severe, and Ashley concurs. Ella reveals that she thinks that this terrorizing around Alison's memory isn't new; Ashley furthers Ella's point, bringing up Hanna's hit-and-run, Spencer and Melissa's hit and run, and Ian in the bell tower. Ella is grateful to finally have understanding by someone, though she didn't even bother talking to Veronica. Ashley now feels that separating their daughters was a terrible idea in retrospect, as was the therapist, blaming it on Peter, who would buy himself out of any situation that makes him or his family look less than picture-perfect. Ashley vows now to be roped into another insensitive scheme.

Spoby at work

Back at the Hastings' residence, Toby is standing in the yard, pulling weeds out from the garden, alleviating his work for the next day. Spencer is flirty and uses the opportunity to spend quality time with him. When Peter comes, he expresses his pleasant surprise at seeing Toby over, and Toby humbly shows him such sketches of barn renovation plans, by which Peter seems to be impressed. After he leaves, Spencer and Toby kiss.


Later, while working in the yard, Toby finds half of a buried splintered hockey stick, buried in the ground. It is wrapped in tape, with the name "Hastings" etched on the tape part. When Peter spots it, he reacts strongly and suspiciously by quickly taking the stick. Toby is weirded out.

Jason meets Ezra.

At the Montgomery's, dinner is getting ready as the guests arrive. A colleague of Byron and his wife are already there. Having left their newborn home with a babysitter, they are anxious all the while they are at the Montgomery's. Ezra arrives with flowers and a bottle of scotch. Aria is happy to finally call him Ezra in front of her parents. However, not surprisingly Mike is nowhere to be seen yet. Just then, Jason arrives with flowers and hands them to Aria. Jason and Ezra meet for the first time.

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That night, when Toby tells Spencer what he saw, she is freaked out. She flashbacks to when Alison had asked Spencer to show her how to play field hockey, which Spencer was happy to do with her old hockey stick with the Rosewood field hockey team colors on it - blue and white. Aria had been suspicious at the time, knowing that Alison wasn't the biggest field hockey fan. She had guessed that it was for a guy, which was probably correct, knowing that Ian was the field hockey coach, and Alison was secretly dating him. At the time, Alison just smiled while Spencer claimed that guys don't play field hockey, and Alison said that she wasn't yet into field hockey.


Before Spencer has a chance to speak to her father about the finding, as he is late in a meeting, Spencer calls Aria. Aria steps out of the party, as Spencer fills her in on the details of the hockey stick. Spencer is suspicious that Jason is involved with this and warns Aria to be alert with Jason in her house. Knowing that the stick is right on the property line and that Jason was moving the property line so as to include part of the Hastings' property, Spencer finds it awfully convenient. She finds it doubly convenient that Jason doesn't remember anything from the night Ali disappeared. Making Jason look even more incriminating is Aria's flashback of Jason the day that Spencer was showing Ali how to hold the hockey stick. He had come looking for her on their mother's orders, unhappy to have to find Ali. He had grabbed the stick from her and then threatened to hit her. After that, Ali had tried to whack her brother with the stick, but Jason had moved quickly and mockingly warned Ali that she wouldn't get a second chance.

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Frustrated with not being able to study at Hanna's, Emily leaves for the library to study. Caleb then comes over, and the two make use of the fact that Ashley is out with her father. The two go to Hanna's room, where they talk again about Caleb's way of making money. Hanna is disapproving, but then changes the subject. Caleb voluntarily changes it back and lets Hanna know that he used to work for hustlers who stole cars as a way of life. He used to be their hacker, tapping into computer records for phone numbers and other information. He pulled out, afraid of the prospect of getting arrested, knowing that it was only a matter of time. His employers were angered, but couldn't deal with Caleb, as he ran away first. Hanna is touched that Caleb has made another confession to her, a secret that he has never told anyone else.

Breaking news of Mike's arrest

Back at the party, the males are getting to know one another. Jason and Ezra share stories about their love for hard-core biking. Then, Police Officer Barry arrives to inform Ella and Byron that Mike has been caught breaking into a house, totally breaking up the dynamic of the dinner party. Jason and Aria exchange knowing looks, at which Ezra raises an eyebrow. Byron and Ella leave to pick him up, along with the couple, who cannot wait to return to their newborn, leaving Ezra, Jason, and Aria alone in the house.

Sensing something up

In the kitchen Ezra questions Aria about Jason, asking who he is. She answers that he is Ali's brother, to which Ezra responds that he knows, clearly expecting a more specific answer. Aria goes back out to the living room, where Jason is sitting, under the guise of wanting to offer his coffee. But Ezra isn't oblivious to the fact that the two are whispering privately. Aria and Jason discuss Mike's arrest; she lets him know that he promised her that he wouldn't repeat his mistake, and he wisely lets her know that he probably meant it at the time. He also tells her that if this is his first time getting caught, he has probably raided multiple houses before.

Picking up Mike

When Byron and Ella pick up Mike, Mike avoids their questions by walking away silently. Byron tries to force explanations out of his son, but Ella stops him, letting Mike go into the car so that she can talk to her husband. She argues that talking to him while being angry won't help their cause. Obviously, Mike's behavior is indicative of a bigger problem, which they need to discover, and they won't be any closer at finding out what it is if they lash out at him. Byron sees his wife's logic, and they drive home, barely speaking to one another.

How did Mike get this?

Aria goes up to Mike's room in search of his stolen property. She finds there the camping equipment stolen from Emily's garage and an expensive camera. Then, she uncovers the same pottery piece that Jenna made, with the wholes in it. For Aria, it is like seeing a ghost; sure enough, the initially on the bottom read "J.M." for Jenna Marshall. Aria believes Mike has broken into the Cavanaugh house.


Aria rushes down the stairs, suddenly telling Ezra and Jason to leave in what sounds more like an order than a request. She points out that it probably won't be good for Mike to return home with more people than his own family to deal with. So they leave, pausing briefly at the doorstop for an awkward stare-down before going their separate ways.

Destroying evidence?

Back at the Hastings', Spencer comes downstairs to find her father poised over the mantel, about to burn the hockey stick remnant in the fireplace. Spencer protests that this could be destroying evidence, but Peter is adamant. He mocks Spencer's suggestion to turn the piece into the police, reminding her of how the trophy incident ended up. He then casts the stick into the fireplace, destroying the potential evidence forever.

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Spencer meets up with Toby later that night, upset. She unburdens her problems to him, letting him know she feels that her father's behavior shows that he thinks Spencer is an attention-seeking drama queen; he must think the hockey stick was planted by her as an antic. Toby tries to comfort her, and tells her that it impossible for anyone to think that she killed Alison, or planted the broken, possible murder weapon, but Spencer is resolved to get to the bottom of everything so as to vindicate herself in the eyes of everyone, especially her family.

Are Hanna's parents getting back together?

At the Marins', after Caleb leaves, Hanna revels in the fact that Caleb has entrusted her with his deep, dark secret. She tells Emily that Caleb has confided something in her that he has never told anyone else, but Emily is content with listening to Hanna without knowing the actual details of the case; she has no desire for more secrets, after all. But that wish is not to be honored; suddenly, the two girls hear the door open, along with whispering at the bottom of the stairs. They peep their heads out to look - and spy Ashley and Tom, giggling before kissing. The two make their way up the stairs, and Emily and Hanna duck their heads back in before Hanna's parents realize that they were being watched. Ashley warns Tom to tiptoe and lower his voice so that they can make it upstairs undetected - towards Ashley's bedroom!

Stole from a blind girl?

When Mike comes home, Aria accuses him of stealing from a blind girl, but she is thrown for a loop when he tells her it was stolen from Garrett Reynolds' place; he claims to have actually stolen from a cop! Aria is skeptical, but Mike assures her that he vividly remembers stealing the piece from Garrett's place, not Jenna's.


Later that night, Spencer sits in Garrett's cop car, pushing him for information about the murder weapon that was used to kill Alison DiLaurentis. Garrett responds that the coroner's report would have that information, but tries to get Spencer off of the DiLaurentis murder case, reiterating his belief that the case is closed with Ian's death. Just then, Spencer gets a text message from Aria, warning her not to trust Garrett. Spencer is alarmed, as she is sitting in a cop car alone with him! Obviously Aria has figured out that Garrett is somehow connected to Jenna and cannot be trusted!

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The last scene shows "A" up to something new. With her black gloved fingers, she loads a syringe full of a chemical and neatly releases the liquid into a nondescript bottle before capping it. What is she up to now? Are those steroids? Is that Emily's pain-killing cream?


  • It is ironic/hypocritical that Aria blasts Mike for stealing from a blind girl; she seems to have forgotten that her best friend was responsible for blinding her, her other best friend was responsible for slapping that blind girl in a surprise attack across the face and asking asking Toby to steal Jenna's phone to hack into it, not to mention that Aria herself was an accomplice in blinding Jenna in the first place. (Hanna slaps Jenna in "Someone to Watch Over Me," and Alison is revealed to have blinded Jenna in "The Jenna Thing.")
  • Ashley's joke to Hanna that she might go for a "daughter upgrade" is not so funny in light of the fact that it seems that Hanna's other parent has already done that. (Tom exchanged living with Hanna for living with step-daughter Kate Randall.)
  • Peter implies that the hockey stick, a possible murder weapon, was a decoy set up by Spencer much like Ian's trophy in "The Badass Seed."
  • Ella and Ashley discuss the fashion show from hell that occurs in "Never Letting Go" and Hanna's hit and run in "Keep Your Friends Close." They also note Spencer's and Melissa's car accident alongside Ian's death in "For Whom the Bell Tolls," leading them to conclude that somebody has been messing with their daughters.


  • 'Surface tension' is a property of the surface of a liquid that allows it to resist an external force.
  • In this episode, it likely refers to the tension at the dinner party, the tension between the new roommates, and the tension at the Hastings' residence.

Main Cast

Supporting Cast


Featured Music

  • "I've Got You Under My Skin" cover by Gavin Davies (when "A" plays chemist)
  • "Smash it" by Zowie (while Hanna was listening to music and Emily is studying)
  • "Hi, Hi, Hi" by Shelly Fraley (when Aria is searching for something to wear)
  • "You Know It's True" by Jules Larson (makes breakfast for Hanna and Ashley)
  • "She Back" by Bosshouse Music (someone watches Hanna and Caleb)
  • "Are You On Your Way" by Middle Class Rut (Mike listens to music as Byron tells him to attend the dinner party)
  • "Balloon" by Erin Martin (Emily leaves for the library as Caleb arrives to see Hanna)
  • "Boys Don't Die" by Rich Jacques (Emily and Hanna talk and catch Ashley and Tom sneaking into the house)
  • "Electrify" by Julin (Samara and her friend Quinn deliver Emily's dress. Toby tells Spencer she looks amazing.)


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Surface Tension has a photo gallery.

Memorable Quotes

Hanna [about Emily staying over]: I know! It’s going to be like a sleepover that never ends.

Emily: My mom always says not to wait until you’re leaving to say thank you.

Hanna: So, how much tip should we leave her?
Ashley: Watch out! I might go for the daughter upgrade!

Ezra [to Aria]: We weren’t going to get off to a great start over an open grave.

Spencer [to Aria]: Oh! That's right! It's guess who's coming to dinner night!

Spencer [to Toby]: Well, I figure I can set up a chair and just fan myself while I watch you work. Or I can make you a grilled cheese sandwich

Spencer: You don't bury old sporting equipment. But you do bury murder weapons.

Byron: This is serious scotch.
Ezra: Well, always works for me.

Hanna: Ems, you don’t have to go to the library; it won’t bother me if you study here.
Emily: With all due respect, studying here is like studying at the mall.
Hanna: I study at the mall all the time!
Emily: Yeah, well, I’m different.
Hanna [whispering]: Is this a ... gay thing?
Emily: No, it’s a brain thing.

Caleb: Legit is in the eye of the beholder.

Jason [to Ezra]: Did you have Aria?
[Ezra looks up with a stunned expression.]
Jason: Any of your classes?

Hanna [to Caleb]: So, where do you come down on the whole natural vs. synthetic extensions debate?

Aria [to Mike]: You stole from a blind girl?!