Pretty Little Liars: Summer School episode 2 recap: It's a deliciously slow burn summer

Imogen struggles to deal with her trauma as the horror at the center of this season slowly heats up.
Pretty Little Liars: Summer School on Max
Pretty Little Liars: Summer School on Max /

The second episode of Pretty Little Liars: Summer School lives up to its title, as we finally see the girls in summer school. Imogen is dismayed to find out she's been placed in a different section than the others, and she will do whatever it takes to get that amended ASAP.

This episode is about setting up the remaining six episodes as the girls take Dr. Sullivan's advice to pursue summer flings and get part-time jobs. Summer lovin' indeed. But not just romantic love, no, the friendship between these five girls is genuinely the heart and soul of the show. They really feel like friends, and it's refreshing to see all of them bonding and supporting each other through therapy.

Bloody Rose made her official murderous appearance at the end of the first episode, and she returns in this one, though in limited doses. Summer School seems to be taking a slow-burn approach, and I think the pacing has been well executed thus far, a perfect way to build suspense. Tabby would be proud. Spoilers ahead for episode 2.

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Each girl has a specific storyline, with some overlap between them. Let's start with Imogen, who is struggling with hallucinations of her dead mother and now Bloody Rose (or so she thinks). Feeling overwhelmed in her own life, she strikes out to the Quarry, a place far outside of town near where her dad lives. There, Imogen finds a job as a waitress at a local diner and uses a false name to pretend to be someone else for a little while.

Pretty Little Liars: Summer School on Max /

When the other girls surprise her at the diner, they're confused as to why Imogen is wearing a name tag that says Leigh. The next day, in summer school, she has a breakdown and confesses that she's having a hard time and is scared of becoming like her mom. Her friends are all super compassionate and supportive, assuring Imogen that they love her just the way she is.

Dr. Sullivan also encourages Imogen to lean on her as she deals with her traumatic grief caused by teen pregnancy, giving her baby up for adoption, losing her mom, and almost being killed by a masked murderer. That's enough to send anyone spinning. With encouragement, Imogen applies for a job at a local creamery in Millwood and even flirts with the cute guy who gives her the application.

Speaking of cute guys, Tabby takes a liking to her new co-worker Christian (Noah Alexander Gerry), though it takes her a little while to warm up to him after being assaulted by her previous co-worker, Chip. Christian moved to Millwood from New York, and, like Tabby, he's a horror enthusiast with a penchant for special effects. He loves that Tabby is a filmmaker and even arranges a special screening for her and her friends to show her short film "Avenge" (starring Imogen) on the silver screen.

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

And while Noa is still in a relationship with Shawn, things might get dicey soon when her ex-flame from juvie, Jennifer (Ava Capri), shows up in town and starts working at the same pizza place as Noa. When she's next shown lying in bed with Shawn, she can't help but think about her time with Jennifer instead.

Things are getting a little bumpy in Faran's relationship, too. Henry gives up his summer dance training dreams because Faran won't accompany him. Henry chooses to stay in Millwood because he loves her. However, staying there for the summer is more complicated than anticipated as he struggles to find a job. You can feel the tension brewing between them, like Henry might resent Faran (even though it was his choice not to go). Meanwhile, Faran excels at her new lifeguard job, easily besting Greg at a swimming race.

Mouse's summer will be spent with her grandmother, Lola (Loretta Ables Sayre), who will be helping her run her mothers' pawn shop while they're on vacation. She's been spending less time on Spooky Spaghetti, but she does notice a post about the missing couple from episode 1, Nick and Sabrina.

It turns out that Nick and Sabrina were supposed to be in the girls' summer school class but were marked absent, and the post claims they were last spotted heading to Bloody Rose's creepy cabin in the woods. Obviously, that raises alarm bells for Mouse, though her friends aren't convinced it's anything to be concerned about just yet.

Pivoting to the church where Kelly and her mom attend, Kelly gets super invested in her youth group and the play they're organizing all about sin. She really wants her and Greg to land the parts of the teen couple having pre-marital sex. Ironically, Kelly has "re-virginized" herself and now refuses to sleep with Greg, which sends him into the arms of another girl in the youth group, her sister's former best friend Sandy (Lilla Crawford), who lands the part in the play Kelly wanted with Greg. Kelly is relegated to the role of Virgin Mary. Sandy makes it clear to Kelly that she has no problem stealing her man.

Pretty Little Liars: Summer School on Max /

On the Bloody Rose front, Imogen sees her wielding a knife while she's waiting at a bus stop, and Mouse's grandmother claims to have seen her standing outside the kitchen window. But when Imogen gets on the bus, Bloody Rose is gone, and when Mouse asks Lola about what she saw the following morning, she has no recollection of seeing anyone. Rose's elusive nature makes it hard for the girls to know what's real and what's not.

But viewers know for a fact that there is a Bloody Rose killing people since she murdered Nick and Sabrina in the first episode. In episode 2, Rose comes for Sandy after Greg blows her off, leaving her alone at their shady meeting spot—an ideal target for Bloody Rose, who seems to be targeting sexually active teens. And wow, Rose does not hold back when she stabs Sandy to death. Kill count: 3.

Odds & Ends

  • All five girls have acquired new, private numbers, but it's important to note that in this episode each one gives their number to someone else, Tabby gives hers to Christian, Noa to Jennifer, Faran to her coach, and Mouse to her moms. Imogen is implied to have put it on her job applications. All of them receive a call from an unknown number, though each one ignores it.
  • Each girl also receives or finds a red rose, clearly a foreboding message of what's to come.
  • Alone in her room, Mouse receives an ominous friend request from Bloody Rose and a creepy threatening video call.
  • Loving having Dr. Sullivan on this show. I thought it was so cute how she offered to call the principal and get Imogen into her friends' section, that poor girl has been through enough!

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