This episode begins where the last left off — with Emma, Ethan, and Thayer freaking out over what to do with the scrap of Sutton’s dress and the note that threatens to take out Emma next. Emma seems to be the only one that notices **** just got real up in here. On the other hand, Thayer and Ethan think Sutton is simply playing an elaborate mean girl lying game like she’s played in the past, exemplified by the white wrapping paper and black bow — her signature — and persuade Emma to hold off on telling the police about Sutton’s disappearance.
When a scout from Ted’s alma mater appears at school the next day, Emma becomes distracted by the possibility that she could escape her past once and for all by getting a full tennis scholarship to college. The guys encourage her to take a trip to the Texas university because they think Emma’s continuing high jacking of Sutton’s identity will smoke Sutton out if, indeed, she is playing a game. The trip is jubilant for Emma, who is so close to having a future she can taste it, but she’s ambivalent and flipping out on the inside because she realizes that it’s all an illusion that will fall apart when she comes clean about Sutton’s disappearance. She gets home, and Sutton hasn’t shown herself, so she and Ethan decide it’s time to clean. Only now Thayer has gone missing, too. When he does return, it’s with awful news: Sutton, he thinks, is dead by Annie’s hand. They begin the mourning process and prepare themselves to break the news to the Mercers when who shows up? Sutton with a foxface and a pissy attitude.
Justin and Ted each spend the episode internalizing their personal dramas, though Ted is, as ever, much less effective than Justin. Ted has a bit of a bipolar episode, first jubilant at getting to return to his old college, then stressing and crying to an unsympathetic Alec because Kristin is growing closer to Rebeccannie. (Kristin’s open arms for Rebeccannie, though, may be a closer of keeping her enemies closest because she is still deeply suspicious about Rebeccannie’s relationship with Ted and wants to monitor the newbie.) Meanwhile, the golfing prodigy turns a 180 on Laurel, acting distant and irritated with her until finally she asks if he’s breaking up with her. He says he is, implies that he has another girl waiting in the wings, then goes back to his empty room and rages at this direction his life has taken. By episode’s end, he is burning that gold-and-black box from which Laurel’s mysterious bracelet appeared.