Spencer Hastings, Rosewood’s resident Hamlet-loving, dressage-riding interminable high-school honors student from the TV show Pretty Little Liars, may be back on the road to rehab. Or is she? She’s shaken off her Adderall addiction, only to fall into the thrall of another prescription pill. This time, it’s benzos (we surmise).
Let’s rewind: Back in season four, Spencer’s previously unmentioned Adderall addiction resurfaced. Unbeknownst to viewers and Liars alike, Spencer was hooked on “study drugs” the summer Ali went missing. Once we learned just how little Spencer remembered from the night Ali debuted the now-famous yellow tank-top, the youngest Hastings’ credibility plummeted. Spencer had spent the whole season building a persuasive case that Ezra was “freaking A,” only to become an unreliable narrator in a single episode.
Sure, the idea that Spencer became an amnesiac from taking too many Addys didn’t make much sense. But like all plot contrivances on TV’s worst case for investing in public education, Spencer’s addiction reveal mainly functioned as a way to halt progress in the “A” Chase. Otherwise, Spencer would have made headway in untangling this nonsensical tween saga (to which I’m forever loyal). For all her questionable decisions, that girl can pick up on subtext and decipher anagrams ten times better than any permutation of Rosewood’s willfully incompetent adults.
Now, in season six, we’re gearing up for what appears to be the second installment of unbelievable medically mandated mayhem and mania. This time, it’s sleeping pills. And, that’s why Van Winkle’s is getting involved.
After spending three weeks in demented dollhouse isolation, enduring Milgram-style torture, the Liars briefly visited the hospital to address what the show hasn't explicitly called PTSD. Upon arriving home, Spencer dug through her trove of pills, unable to find the “anti-anxiety meds her doctor prescribed for sleeping.” Spencer’s mother, it turns out, had intervened and nixed the Rx (in light of her daughter’s addiction issues). Naturally, Spencer turns to Aria for her meds.
In last night’s episode, during the closing montage, Spencer stared wistfully out her bedroom window before retreating to her bedside table, only to fish out a pilfered anxiolytic sleeping aid.
The show didn’t specify the name of Spencer’s Little Helper. But “anti-anxiety” suggests benzos (e.g, Xanax, Klonopin), rather than, say, something in the Zolpidem/Ambien family. Presumably, someone will eventually leak news of Spencer’s new habit, thus undermining whatever valuable information she uncovers about Charles Delaurentis, nee imaginary Charlie.
But for the sake of derailing Spencer, the writers should’ve chosen Ambien over Xanax. Ambien, after all, is famous for causing parasomniatic events like sleep-driving and sleep-sexing. Imagine the narrative possibilities:
- Spencer talks to Charles in an Ambien-induced haze, while bingeing on ice cream and hummus, and remembers nothing.
- Spencer returns to court, this time for the attempted murder of Andrew, and pleads not-guilty on account of being in a non-culpable state of consciousness.
- Spencer figures out something really, really important just after Ambien hypnosis sets in. She decides, for once, to pass on the intel to the cops, but falls asleep on the footsteps of the police station.
Given the show’s preference for drawing out the central mystery through season-long, dead-end plot twists, Spencer’s Ambien Adventures would have been a natural progression. Instead, we’ll probably get yet another plot full of holes and scientific nonsense. As usual, we bitches have to wait and see.
Stay tuned for more coverage of Spencer’s Pretty Little Pill Problem: Sleeping Edition.