Pretty Little Liars Wiki
Pretty Little Liars Wiki

The Perfect Storm is the ninth episode in Season 1 of Pretty Little Liars. This episode aired August 3rd, 2010 and it is the ninth episode over all.



There was a storm brewing in Rosewood last night, and not just one of the weather variety. The beginning of the episode starts with Hanna, Spencer and Aria studying for the SATs. Emily is noticeably absent, and she arrives home muddy and super distressed. She gets an ominous text from "A" about burying things.


The next morning, Veronica escorts the girls into Rosewood High, leery of why the test is going to be administered as planned with a hurricane brewing outside. There, she has a strange run-in with Spencer’s new beau Alex, and the two share a familiar glance that alludes to a previous encounter. Spencer senses tension from Alex and he seems to start avoiding her. Detective Wilden arrives and notifies the girls Alison's memorial bench has been destroyed. Then he talks to Emily alone and takes note of her muddy shoes.


Hanna and Lucas grow closer as Lucas continues to score Hanna big bucks selling her used accessories on the internet. But Mona is not enthusiastic about this new relationship development and mercilessly taunts Lucas, calling him "hermie" and "shim," names had Alison made up. Later, fed up, Hanna pulls Mona aside and calls her a hypocrite for treating someone of lesser social status so heartlessly when they used to be on that same strata themselves!

The girls don't know why they have to cover for Emily.

Emily lies to the girls and says the reason she didn't come to Spencer's to study was because she went to bed early last night Aria gets a surprise of her own when she spots Ella, there as a volunteer proctor for the exam; a tense moment is shared as both are still resentful from Ella’s sudden move out of the house. Aria has been avoiding visiting Ella's new place, for not wanting to validate her mother's decision to separate from Byron.

Byron gives Ashley Marin a call when the power goes out on his side of the street. Ashley had been going over her finances, but lies and says she was ordering something out of a catalog. She invited him over to use the fax machine. Back at school, Hanna talks to Lucas. Mona butts in and makes fun of Lucas, calling him "hermie" and "shim."

Detective Wilden questions the girls about their whereabouts last night. The girls cover for Emily without knowing why. They lie and claim that she was studying with them, although they are weirded out by Emily's secretiveness about what she was really doing, when even they don't know the truth. Emily gets a text from "A" and heads to the stacks to find a copy of Great Expectations. Inside, she finds the letter she sent Alison shortly before her death.

Spencer spots Alex and tries to talk to him about the weirdness with her mother, but he tells her it's not for him to say. Mona continues to make fun of Lucas until Hanna tells her she knows Mona's new handbag was purchased on eBay. Mona pretends she bought it as "a goof."


After it has become clear that the SAT is being postponed, Noel convinces Aria to sneak out from the crowd and join him in an empty classroom. Back at the Marin household, Byron attempts to send the fax when the power goes out there too. They commiserate about being single parents and Ashley assures him she won't take sides if he and Ella wind up divorcing.

Em and Ali

Noel shows off his musical talent on the guitar while Emily sits alone in the library. Seeing the book causes Emily to flash back to when Alison had been reading the same novel one day alone in the library. Emily had joined her on the floor, and Alison had stroked Emily's hair affectionately. Emily revealed her dream that Jenna could see again, and Alison had said something to the effect of "that's why I love you, Emily." She then read her the passage of Pip's account of his ardent love for Stella: he loved her against reason and despite the fact that she basically played hard to get and gave him little hope for a future, other than her teasing. Quite fittingly, Emily had then leaned in to kiss Alison, expressing her own love of the same nature. Alison had actually smiled in return.

Aria displays musical talent of her own, singing along to Noel's playing. They share some kind words of understanding and grow closer. A moment of attraction brings them to almost kiss, but the elusive Ezra walks in on them, interrupting their moment. A possibly suspicious Noel leaves, but Aria stays behind for an explanation from Mr. Fitz. He explains he went to New York to deal with family issues, then admits they were his "issues," and had time to think about the consequences of their relationship. He says things need to change. Aria says they already have and walks out, holding back tears.

Byron invites Ashley to join him at a faculty dinner at a Moroccan restaurant since Ella won't be attending. Meanwhile, Mona talks to Hanna and Spencer talks to Alex in the locker room, where the students have been moved due to a tornado warning.


While reading the love letter, Emily remembers when she had been in the locker room with Alison alone. Alison had been changing; she had removed her towel and stood there topless while mentioning how she bought her bra in a French catalog, forcing Emily's already attentive eyes to stare. She had asked Emily to hook it, and after doing so, Emily had kissed her neck. Alison immediately turned on her, (feigning shock) and cruely let Emily know that their kiss meant nothing more to her than practice for "the real thing." Abashed, Emily had turned, poised to leave, but Alison wouldn't let her escape the moment: reminding Emily that she was supposed to be giving her a ride home. Defeated and humiliated, Emily nevertheless remained, showcasing Alison's control over her friends.

Back in real time, she gets spooked by some mysterious noises. Emily dodges books which fall from the stacks and when she returns to the aisle she had been in, she discovers her bag and the letter are missing. Meanwhile, Ella walks in on Mr. Fitz in a storage closet looking for supplies and introduces herself. She commends his dedication driving from New York in this weather. Ella mentions the separation from her husband and asks Ezra if he has noticed any changes in Aria lately. He says no and tells her Aria is a very engaged student. She tells him she is glad Aria has an adult in her life whom she can admire.


Detective Wilden secretly confiscates Emily's belongings and corners her in the locker room, where the students are supposed to be congregated for safety reasons; he forces her to report to a classroom for questioning. Although uninvited, the other girls follow, suspicious of the detective's shadiness.


There, he accuses Emily of trashing Alison's memorial and even casts aspersions as to whether she murdered Alison. He pulls out the detached pieces of Alison's memorial and exposes Emily's letter to her friends. Flustered, Emily confesses that she loved Alison as more than a friend, but never intended any harm towards her. She felt bad about the mean things she wrote in that letter and went to Alison's memorial seeking closure and forgiveness. By the time she arrived, it had already been vandalized, and she took the figurines from the statue in her bag because they were the only pieces of the memorial that weren't broken. Just then, Veronica walks in, outraged that the girls' safety has been compromised when they should be in the locker room during this storm. She gives Detective Wilden a piece of her mind and blasts him for trying to interrogate minors without an adult present; doesn't he know anything they say would not be admissible in a court of law? The girls are quick to chime in and exclaim the absurdity of accusing sweet Emily of murdering Alison, never mind stealing her bag without a search warrant. It seems that Detective Wilden will be off the case.


By the end of the episode, much has been revealed. It turns out that unlike other members of the Hastings family, Veronica is quite a fan of Alex. After she had cancerous cells removed from her breast, unbeknownst to her family, she got drunk and visited the club, where Alex patiently listened to her anxieties. Veronica is grateful to Alex and gives Spencer her approval of their relationship after including her in the secret. Spencer is supportive about her mother's confession and later kisses Alex in appreciation without explaining why.


Also, after Hanna and Lucas have a conversation, the camera focuses on Lucas' muddy shoes. He looks like he wants to tell her something as she walks away. Was he the one who trashed Alison's memorial?


And, the black-gloved figure anonymously sends a file to the Rosewood Police Department. The file contains footage of Alison on the day that she disappeared. A is scrawled at the top of the envelope, then the remaining letters are filled in to read Anonymous, leaving little doubt that the black-gloved figure and "A" are one and the same.


  • We find out by the back of an addressed envelope that Alison's address was 895 Holly Pl. Rosewood, PA 19387 and that Emily's address is 43 Serenity Ln. Rosewood, PA 19387
Emily's letter:

august 29, 2009
ali -

You may not like to hear what I have to say, but I need to get something off my chest. You're not afraid of hurting me, so I wonder why I'm so afraid of hurting you. I am, but that's not enough of a reason not to tell you how I feel. So here goes...

Sometimes I feel so close to you, and then something changes, a look in your eyes, and I feel so stupid. It's like you can read every thought in my head, and you find it all so hilarious. Like after we kissed, and I thought it might happen again, and you just laughed in my face. But it's not hilarious to me. Maybe you think a kiss is just a kiss, and that I'm just practice. But the way you act, it feels more like target practice.

I don't know how you can go from kissing me one minute to hating me the next, except that I'm starting to catch on. I'm starting to understand what's it's like to [...] minute, and hate [...] I'm not your [...] at least not [...]


  • "The Perfect Storm" is also the title of a 1997 non-fiction book by Wolfgang Paterson later adapted into a film. The book revolves around a dramatic disaster ensuing after a thunderstorm. The episode is similarly themed, though it is debatable whether the events are truly disastrous; on the one hand, Emily has a bad brush with "A" and is accused by Darren Wilden of murdering Alison. On the other hand, the girls' SATs were postponed.
  • A "perfect storm" can also be defined as "A particularly bad or critical state of affairs, arising from a number of negative and unpredictable factors." This also describes the episode, but it is likely the title was chosen simply because the plot revolved around a bad storm.

Main Cast

Supporting Cast

Featured Music

  • "Never Get Enough" by Honeypie (Ashley spends time at home)
  • "Quiet Hearts" by Amy Stroup (montage of Spencer w/ Alex, Aria w/ Noel, and Hanna w/ Lucas)
  • "Who Knows Where The Time Goes?" by Eva Cassidy (Aria sings with Noel)


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The Perfect Storm has a photo gallery.

Memorable Quotes

Hanna: Spencer, you do not need to know any more big words. You're already scary enough to anyone under 50.

Spencer [to Alex, about her mom]: I know she can be kind of a handful. I mean, I’ve seen her send back a napkin ‘cause it had, like, a loose thread.

Hanna [to Mona]: I think you're the one who needs a trip to Oz. See if the Wizard can find you a heart.

Mona [to Hanna]: Hey, there, Lady H.
Mona [to Lucas]: I know you also answer to that, Hermie, but I was talking to her.

Mona [to Lucas about Hanna]: You can go now. This beauty doesn't need a beast.

Hanna: Don't you want someone real? Someone you can scratch and sniff?

Ella [to Ezra, about the storm]: I love this weather, as long as I don’t have to fly through it — which, if we were on a plane right now, I’d probably be in your lap.

Aria: Where are you going?
Emily: To the restroom. But if you guys don't believe me, we can all try to squeeze into one stall.

Aria: Ugh, Han. Why are you still eating that?
Hanna: Because it’s here!
Spencer: Put it in the garbage.
Hanna: Well, then I’d have to stand over the garbage and eat it!

Alison [to Emily]: A kiss is a kiss. I like boys. Trust me, if I'm kissing you, it's because it's practice for the real thing.

Emily [about Alison]: I loved her as more than a friend.

Aria: Can't believe it was trashed... Just when you thought that "A" would give it a rest.
Spencer: It's like Toby had to kill Alison all over again.
Hanna: Toby? What do you mean, Toby? His motorcycle was totaled. Isn't he dead?
Spencer: I hear more from Alison now than when she was alive.
Hanna: You guys, I thought we decided "A" wasn't Toby. "A" was happy to have Toby out of the picture.
Aria: How do we know that Toby didn't just send that text? And why are we suddenly trusting "A"? "A" made a fake bracelet to mess with us.

Aria: Mom, what are you doing here?
Ella: Oh, I tried calling you, but your phone must be turned off for the test.
Aria: Why are you here?
Ella: Well, they called and said they needed proctors. I'm on the sub list.
Aria: You are? Since when?
Ella: Well, since they cut my hours at the gallery and I'm paying rent to live above it. I filled out an application last Monday.
Aria: What, to teach? Why didn't you tell me?
Ella: Well, sweetie, I was going to when you came over for dinner, but then you canceled on Monday... and Tuesday, and then on Wednesday.
Aria: Yeah, this week's been intense.
Ella: I understand. I just, you know, I would like to see you in the flesh. But you don't really plan on ever coming over, do you?
Aria: I can't. Look, if I did, it'd be like saying I'm okay with you and dad living apart.
Ella: But we are.
Aria: I know! Just 'cause you were ready for this doesn't mean that I am. I gotta get back to the library.

Hanna [about Wilden]: God, he's freaking me out! Whose locker is he poking into now?
Spencer: He's desperate. Ali's brother's breathing down his neck.
Aria: Ours too. What if Jason told the police Alison's version of what happened after the fire?
Spencer: If Jason was gonna tell them, he would've told them a year ago. He knows that story's bogus.
Hanna: Well, then, why do they bring it up?
Spencer: To try to drive a wedge between us. Well, he's not gonna do that.