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PRETTY LITTLE LIARS 7x16 : The Glove That Rocks The Cradle

In which we are all grateful for the PLL-shaped distractions that break up our mornings of uninterrupted panic.

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS 7x16 : The Glove That Rocks The Cradle

What a week for one-liners that describe our very existence as fans of PLL/people alive in 2017! We have Spencer's uninterrupted panic, sure, but we ALSO HAVE Marco's reminder that we are all "standing on quicksand; the more you struggle the fast it’s gonna pull you under." Truer words, Detective! Alas, we have no one but you offering us a rope with which to pull ourselves out, and you (we think) are fictional. 

AWARDS

THIS WEEK'S MVP

Three-way tie between Marco, Caleb, and Mona (always). Are they working at direct odds to one another? Yes, mostly. Are they doing so competently and with forethought and moral consistency? Yes, always.

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You mean, like, in a sex way?

Runner-up: Lucas somehow? For sticking by Hanna emotionally, even if not professionally and legally?

THIS WEEK'S LVP

Jesus, Aria. Honestly we wouldn’t be surprised if A.D. recruited you specifically because of your incompetence, knowing that you’d inevitably out yourself through sheer bumbling and suffer even more as a result.

Simultaneously: Jesus, Spencer. PLEASE BE YOUR OWN DARK TWIN so that we don’t have to believe you’d be so cravenly manipulative as all this!

BIGGEST SHOCK/BEST SURPRISE

Honestly that the show paid Janel to pop in for such a short stint in an otherwise packed episode*. They just had her on! It’s not in their nature to let her stick around back to back!

 

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:: recappers weeping ::

Mona, we love you; continue to refuse their (the Liars & show, both) efforts to keep you away.

*Please do not let this mean that Mona is A.D. after all.

BIGGEST NO-DUH

Officer Barry Maple kept his head down for seven years and worked his way up to not only becoming DETECTIVE Barry Maple (which we knew), but also remaining uncorrupt enough to get to stay on the job with actual superstar law enforcement officer, Marco Fury (which was only just confirmed). Well done, Barry!

Is this what they mean by glow-up because yes please, send all RPD officers through this process, build us a police force we can finally actually depend on

Runner-up: Lucas (probably) isn’t A.D.! Anyone fingered this near the finale, we can definitely count out. Probably. Maybe?

MOST LIT ALLUSION

Again we are sure there was a real lit allusion that we are missing, but also again, “Ezra’s” “book” sucked so much air out of the episode that it’s all we can focus on. Namely, the fact that it is titled THEN AND NOW, which, for a publisher who scoffs at the tiniest hint that she might not be good enough at her job to figure out the exact right angle with which to promote the tumultuous real-life tale of romance, kidnapping, and lost love in Ezra+Nicole’s/Ezra+Aria’s book, is a PRETTY BIG FLOP. Literally, who would pick up this book??

No one. No one, is who.

(The episode’s title is an allusion to a 1992 film about reproductive assault and a woman abandoned by her family having a psychotic break and secretly taking revenge, so there’s also that.)

THAT'S SO [YOUR TROPE HERE]

Oh, #Emison. There you are.

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It’s super gross how it happened, but we don’t have the energy to rail another week in a row. 'Ship your hearts out, network ad base.

PREVIOUSLY ON PRETTY LITTLE LIARS

A.D. created the unbreakable  deathtrap that is Murder Jumanji and is forcing the Liars to play. Lucas promised Hanna a million dollar factory for her Fashion Designs™ but he put it on the market without telling her. The Liars found an old comic book Lucas and Charlotte made about getting vengeance on the people who tortured them as kids. A.D. is using an Aria-themed Snapchat filter to force Aria to do his/her bidding, including having Aria steal said comic book and deliver it to the Locker of Requirement. Hanna filled Mona in on the game and she LOVED it (of course). A.D. also impregnated Alison with Emily’s stolen eggs and the sperm of WHO KNOWS WHAT Rosewood male creep. And Detective Marco Fury knows that Spencer probably used Rollins’/Dunhill’s credit card the night they hooked up at The Radley and is so close to arresting Spencer for murder that she can taste it like one of the gluten-, dairy-, sugar-free cupcakes that Marco probably never even touched.

THIS WEEK

The Interrogations on Maple Street

Spencer starts her week off being interrogated by one *Detective* Barry Maple over at the Rosewood PD. Barry is pretty darn hardcore and unrelenting in his questioning, but Spencer just keeps saying time and again that she 1) did not see Archer Dunhill at the Radley the night of her elevator hookup with Fury (not a lie), 2) doesn’t remember when she left with Marco (probably not a lie), and 3) doesn’t remember making a joke about burying a body that night (a lie, unless she is Twincer, in which case everything is a lie). 

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The one she keeps closest to her chest, of course.

She does, however, recall unbuckling Marco’s belt in the elevator, BARRY, how about you write THAT down? Barry, alas, does not add that scandalous bit of intel in his notes, but whether from professionalism or the fact that Marco appears just then, ready to swap in as Good Cop, we’ll never know.

Looking at Spencer with real feeling in his eyes, Marco states the most obvious thing about being a woman whose life has constantly been derailed by the patriarchy (i.e., most of us, most of the time): you’re standing on quicksand, and the more you struggle, the faster it will pull you under. HE thinks he’s talking about all the lies she and her friends have been weaving since Dunhill’s disappearance, but we know the truth—especially when he adds that he, a benign but still very real representative of the patriarchy, is the only one who can provide the rope with which she might pull herself free. That he probably isn’t wrong only makes the message sting more.

Spencer (Twincer?) doesn’t bite, just asks if she’s free to go. She is, but Marco doesn’t let her disappear without telling her to either come clean or get a lawyer, because he’s two days away from having a copy of Dunhill’s credit card receipt with HER signature on it from that night, and when he does, it’ll come with a warrant for her arrest.

Across town, Emily is also leaning hard into the patriarchal quicksand she’ll never be able to escape, leading Alison into her childhood bedroom with her eyes covered. SURPRISE! Emily made things weird and built a crib and a nursery for the Emison baby that’s little more than six cells and a wish at this point. Thank god we only have to endure like four more episodes of this storyline.

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Ours either, tbh.

Aria’s at Ezra’s apartment, watching EvilADSnapchatAria yell at her about sending him/her to voicemail when Ezra comes downstairs, at which point she abruptly hangs up, which, maybe the video wasn’t a live call, but a recording, an actual Snapchat that Aria was watching over and over and over? She’s kind of a glutton for misery, so that tracks.

Anyway, Ezra has come to tell her that he wants to take ballroom dancing classes for their first dance at the weddi—BARFFFF. Sorry, couldn’t commit to finishing that sentence, just like Aria can’t commit to taking dance lessons with Ezra r/n. Before he can pursue her sudden squirreliness any further, though, she gets an Official Summit Summons text from Spencer and bolts, leaving Ezra to sit alone thinking about all the bad decisions he made to get him to this point in his life (jkjkjkjk, his ability for meaningful self-reflection is nonexistent).

Pre-Game Summit

Spencer has summoned the Liars to Alison’s to deliver the bad news: she’s basically about to get arrested for murder by her quasi-boyfriend. Alison jumps right into bitch mode. “Did you screw anything else up that night?” she barks. Spencer swears she didn’t, but Hanna, with equal bitchiness retorts, “How would you know, you were trashed!” It’s actually insane to watch them team up on her like this considering that Spencer has saved them from being arrested and/or killed at least six times per season since this show debuted but ~*~ oKaY ~*~. Hanna, having forgotten about her own mother the same way the writers apparently have, suddenly recalls that she knows where Ashley keeps the Radley’s receipts and will break in and steal the receipt during some upcoming event, while HackerCaleb erases any trace of her from the security cameras.

Fifty Ways to Fail Your Lover

Just how will HackerCaleb control what lives and dies on the Radley cameras? Well, he is the tech genius behind the entire system, natch, so he has an automatic in. This makes sense from a “Caleb and Ashley are low-key BFFs” standpoint, but makes no sense at all from the “through little fault of her own, my daughter and her friends are constantly getting themselves wrapped up in legit dangerous and illegal things in which (the) Radley often plays a central part” perspective. Still and all, Caleb has the in, and so he is now officially on board!

Hanna is NOT all about it, because even though he’s supposedly recovered from his mysterious game board poisoning, he was nevertheless the collateral damage the last time he joined Liar shenanigans—plus, his fancy security system can only be shut down for ten minutes before it triggers an unkillable alarm to the cops, so like, how is Hanna supposed to even use that? But while they're arguing about it, MurderJumanji whizzes to life, telling Hanna she must pick up A.D.'s homework or go to detention. She is texted the address of a computer repair shop, while simultaneously Aria receives a text telling her that it's not *actually* Hanna's turn, it's hers…and she had better not let A.D. down this time.

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Here, have a nightmare.

Aria! Your backstabbing had ONE JOB, and that was to avoid having to take a turn in the game! Criminy.

Once the rest of the Liars take off for parts unknown (two doors down, probably), Caleb refuses to let Hanna go to the computer repair shop alone. And tbh, it makes sense; after the death trap a mere shoe repair shop turned into however many weeks ago, we wouldn't trust Hanna’s safety around computers, either. But Hanna needs Caleb to focus on helping Spencer instead, because they owe it to her—Spence, Hanna thinks, probably would've never gotten hammered and careless and made out with a cop that night if Caleb hadn't basically dumped her for Hanna (#Spaleb forever). Hanna had totally encouraged her to go for Caleb (yup) and given her her blessing (YUP) so Spencer probably felt extra bad when Hanna went against all that and got back together with him (YUP YUP). So now, Hanna feels like she owes it to Spencer to help her out of this manslaughtery situation she's in. "The only thing scarier than playing this game is losing a friend over it."

Spencer, meanwhile, has followed Em “home” to Ali’s (told you) to help her put together the nursery. She is doing all of her thinking out loud, and her thinking is saying that if she can just get Marco alone, she can convince him to help her. Emily thinks this is a terrible idea (Narrator: it is) and that Spencer might be overestimating Marco's feelings for her. To which Spencer, along with the rest of the whole audience, looks around the nursery and gives a hearty laugh like "LOL babe WTF do you think you're doing right now?"

Speaking of risks not paying off: in what comes as a shock to absolutely no one, Alison is being totes cavalier about her role as a surrogate mother, and Emily is being overbearing about Alison's eating habits and prenatal vitamin schedule. As Ali tries to rush off to work after the summit without breakfast or folic acid, Emily freaks. "I can't believe you're already bailing on me," she exclaims. "I'm looking down the road and I see you tossing the baby and running off to Paris." Which is very season two Alison and one we're totally kinda here for, but also is clearly Emily projecting. Ali takes her vitamin and snipes that she hopes Em is happy now, and look who’s having all the crazy hormonal mood swings! And for real, we are not on board with this, at all.

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Besides, Alison gets all the nutrients she needs from feeding off the emotional vulnerability of others.

Ezra, meanwhile, is meeting with his publisher Jillian over at the Brewberry House of Murder and Mayhem about the press tour to promote his and Aria’s new book, but of course, all the talking points Jillian has prepped for the tour are about him and Nicole. He points out to Jillian that Aria, who once WORKED for this woman if you can remember back two seasons (We’ll never forget you, LitBro Liam!), will be with him, you know, since she CO-WROTE the book. Jillian may be a traitor to all of womankind, but at least she has the guts to say what we’re all thinking: "For goodness sake, Ezra, you couldn't wait until after the book was published to get engaged?"

Back at the apartment, Ezra, as he is wont to do, digests this turn of events by wallowing in the dark. Jillian, traitor to her kind, finally came down, apparently, on the side of wanting Ezra to do the press tour alone, even though Aria was a co-author on the book. Ezra, to his credit, said he wouldn’t, but Aria encourages him anyway because hey! If he becomes rich off his crappy book, then they can be rich together. Honestly, that was her reasoning for giving up her dream of being an acclaimed author to sit on the front row cheering Ezra on for a book she wrote half of, we legitimately hate everyone.

Later, Spencer makes good on her bad out-loud nursery thinking and shows up at Marco's apartment to try to convince him to back off. Being the good cop that he is, Marco is SUPER UNCOMFORTABLE with her being there. Like, won't sit down or let her take her jacket off uncomfortable. They argue, Spencer saying that Dunhill was a monster and deserved to die, etc. etc., and isn’t justice just another word for someone getting what they desertved? while Marco explains that no, it’s not, and it's his job to figure out who broke the law, not why. Through tears, she begs him to let this one slip through the cracks (omg lol wut) but he refuses.

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Say "crack" again.

Which, we mean, sucks for Spencer but congrats to Rosewood on actually getting a real cop in that town. His phone rings, and he excuses himself to another room to take the call (his one mistake!), so of course while he's gone, Spencer happens upon a flashdrive with Lucas' name on it and STEALS IT from him. God, Spencer, you're really digging your own azalea grave over here.

Hack Attack (Don't Talk Back)

Flush with guilty adrenaline, Spence heads back to the barn for show and tell with the flashdrive, and WHADDAYAKNOW it's a video of Lucas being interviewed after Charlotte's murder. Hanna recognizes it because he’s wearing the same shirt he’d had on when they'd been interviewed together that night (she does FASHION DESIGNS, recall), and is shocked to see that it turns out Lucas went back alone later on to recant his original testimony. He may be willing to lie for Hanna, but a big fuck you to all the other Liars. He honestly wouldn't be surprised if they killed Charlotte, cuz, ya know, they were mean to him in high school!

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The Liars are aghast, but Aria comes up with a plan to stake out the locker. Whenever Hanna plays her turn and leaves the hard drive in the locker for A.D., someone will be there to watch and see who comes to retrieve it. Easy peasy! No reason whatsoever why this plan shouldn't work! “What locker?” Hanna asks, baffled. “Uhhhhhh isn’t that what you said A.D. said?” Aria fumbles, while Spencer looks on warily. Hanna is unfazed, though, and agrees grumblingly to let everyone help her out while she takes advantage of A.D.’s supposed busy-ness to get rid of the receipt at the Radley.

Hanna, donning her most blinding sequin bomber jacket and honky tonk belt, survives her trip to the computer repair shop and comes home with a hard drive for Caleb to hack. (Lucas? Possibly? IDK.) Of course, as soon as he whacks into it, it starts playing a Patsy Cline song, which Hanna remembers from the Dollhouse. Hanna continues to insist Lucas isn't A.D., but she's the only one.

Hard drive finally in hand, the Liars plus Caleb figure out a plan to get Hanna where she needs to be and everyone heads their separate ways, leaving Caleb and Spencer alone. He tells her, in a refreshingly candid way that even Hanna couldn't accomplish, that he knows that this whole receipt business is partially his/Haleb's fault, and promises not to let her down this time (#Spaleb forever).

Be The Mona You Want To See In The World

Hanna, who has gone to the loft presumably to change out of her blindingly shiny jacket, is just leaving when she swings open the door and Mona (!!!!!) appears. She asks Hanna what she's up to, then stops her when Hanna blubbers nonsense. "Don't even bother," she says. "It's like watching a frog trying to jump out of a pot of boiling water." So Hanna fesses up to, well, everything, and Mona realizes that Hanna STILL hasn't told the other Liars that she knows about MurderJumanji. The hurt flashes across her (and our) eyes. "They still don't trust me?" she asks. "How many times do I have to save all of you until I'm finally part of the group?"

YEAH LIARS. HOW MANY TIMES DOES MONA HAVE TO SAVE ALL OF YOU BEFORE SHE'S FINALLY PART OF THE GROUP.

 

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It is one million percent like that.

Nevertheless, Mona jumps aboard, committing to being an extra set of eyes at the high school, just in case the other Liars fall down on their jobs.

Night of 1,000 Unforced Errors

So, despite Aria telling the others that she couldn’t join in on the locker stakeout because she had to be at Ezra’s book launch, Ezra has the stupid thing and Aria isn't even there. Instead, she's in a Signature A Hoodie(TM) hanging a creepy doll mobile over BabyEmison's crib.

Cut to the other half of the gang (Emily and Ali) over at Rosewood High, watching from a classroom as Hanna drops off the hard drive according to A.D.'s directives. Emily whispers an apology for being such an overbearing baby mama to Alison, and Alison says she—and YEP, these idiots got all up in their feelings and forgot that they're posted up on a STAKE OUT, and naturally, a locker slams from offscreen, telling them and us that they totally missed whoever it was. Good job, ladies! They start running in opposite directions, but Emily turns back almost immediately as she hears a cry from the direction Alison went. She arrives to find Alison sprawled out on a staircase. Whoever it was "pushed" her down but she didn't get a good look at them. Honestly? It's a little fishy, NGL.

While this is happening, Aria's going HAM on the nursery, slinging fake blood everywhere and beheading stuffed animals. It's a little overkill but we know Aria loves drama!

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:: Aria's themed outfit/fashion powers are triggered and begin to intensify ::

Unfortunately, due to Ali's “fall,” she and Emily have come home a little early, and they hear all this commotion from upstairs. Aria, meanwhile, hears that they've come home but is somehow unable to get out of the room she's in without stepping on literally every object around her. Emily grabs a Pottery Barn candle holder and starts stalking through the house, ready to bonk anyone on the head, but she somehow does not check every room or even hallway, because Aria remains hidden from sight behind a wall.

We swear to god, we check our houses for strangers better than that when we *don't* hear suspicious noises.

Oh, and in case anyone on this website page cares: at his press event, inquiring minds (lol yeah right like anyone would show up to Ezra's book signing) want to know if Ezra plans to "continue his journey" with Nicole, to which he replies that he's actually marrying his co-author (and former student! jk he didn't say that) Aria, so TAKE THAT, Jillian! Aria seems to be in the back of the room as he says this, so apparently she made a pit stop there between getting rid of her blAck hoodie and returning to Ali’s house to give comfort, but also, we don’t care.

A Monster Calls

The Liars seem weirdly shocked that A.D. would trash a nursery—this, the same A.D. who got Alison knocked up with Emily's stolen eggs and has also probably murdered people, but HOW DARE THEY knock that Precious Moments lamp off the changing table! Aria stands around twiddling her thumbs while the others speculate that Lucas must have a helper (Nothing screams red herring like the Liars deciding *insert name here* is A and jumping to the conclusion that *insert name here* is responsible for something even if they have no proof. Like, the moment Emily says "Lucas definitely has a helper in his A.D. shenanigans" you can confirm that Lucas will NOT be A.D.). Anyway, while they speculate, Spencer finds one of Aria's earrings on the floor and curiously/suspiciously hands it back to her. Because of course Aria's tacky taste in earrings would eventually come around to kick her in the ass and OF COURSE it would be old Eagle Eye Hastings who found it.

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Maybe A.D. is just a tangle of Aria's feather earrings come to life like some sort of accessory pheonix rising from the ashes.

At the Radley, Hanna has found the storage room where her mother keeps all receipts from forever and is unsuccessfully attempting to go through them one at a time (as in, she literally does not have the skills to successfully examine anything, but also, she fails to find what she is looking for) when Caleb shows up, busts a pipe in the corner, and dumps all the receipts in the spray. "They're'll be nothing left for the police to find," he says. For once, we will admit, a man's way of doing things might've been the correct way IN THIS ONE INSTANCE. Ugh, take the rope he’s offering, Hanna. Save yourself.

Free of the storage room, they return to the security center, where he starts deleting the security footage of them entering the room, while Hanna listens to a voicemail from Mona: Mona had tailed the other Liars to the school but they chased her off thinking SHE was A.D., so she didn't see who got the hard drive. Meanwhile, the security cameras come back on and Hanna spies Lucas sketching around the halls of the Radley, looking like he's up to no good.

Back at the barn that night, Spencer receives an irate phone call from Marco, insisting she give back the harddrive she stole from him. "If I had it…that would mean I was in your apartment with you…alone…at night." She doesn't have to say another work: Marco hangs up. Ballsy and a little desperate, Spencer, but successful for now, we guess.

Lucas is trashing his loft, turning the whole place upside down when the girls appear as a group downstairs and tell him to come fess up to whatever it is he's doing. Lucas explains that he stayed friends with Charlotte but ONLY via email, so he had no idea that Charles = Charlotte. And also, Lucas might've been the reason the Liars were tortured, since he'd basically spent his entire life telling Charlotte how "Mean Queen Alison" made his life hell while her friends didn't do shit about it.

Spencer asks if that's why he stole the comic book. "It's a graphic novel," he hilariously actually-corrects her, and no, he was looking for the follow up book—an unfinished sequel that turns the idea of vengeance into a game. But alas! It's gone.

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Like Jumanji, but with more murder!

Before he leaves, Hanna asks him why he put the warehouse up for sale, and Lucas admits that he not only didn’t have any investors who’d bite on her Fashion Designs, he was also her ONLY investor, and had somehow managed to lose all his money on her? I’m not sure how many dresses she was sketching in that notebook of hers outside the Brew, but all those lattes cost Lucas his NuMoney millions and he was just too embarrassed to admit it to her. But hey! In Lucas’ eyes, there’s only one thing worth losing it all for: Hanna, apparently.

Back at the DiLaurentis House of A Million Nightmares, Emily and Alison are cleaning up the nursery. “Not sure why I thought I had to protect you. You’re the strongest person I know,” Emily tells Alison, who in turn tells Emily that she's always protected her. Alison doesn't know why she's pushed Emily away all these years *cough cough* emotional manipulation and always having the upper hand *COUGH* but she's ready to stop and dear god is that Dave Matthews Band playing behind them? Could this scene get any worse? Oh, yeah, apparently it can because Alison tells Emily she loves her and they share a sad kiss void of any chemistry whatsoever.

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Cool.

A.D.-Tag

The Almighty Gloved one does indeed have the other graphic novel. They turn to the blank page at the back, get out a pen, and start sketching a pretty terrible drawing of a tree with a headstone under it. "Here Lies…" but we don't see the rest.

Some v good art and also puns

NEXT TIME

Every single one of Spencer’s parents are back to threaten and harass her, Mona and Emily get engaged, and A.D. spills part of Aria’s secret—that she made a report for the police (presumably) in which she called Ezra a “twisted predator,” but which she, for reasons we will NEVER COMPREHEND, never filed. Honestly, girl, let that secret breathe! Be free of the patriarchal prison you’ve let yourself be boxed into!

KISSES,

RosemAry and Alexis

<-- Pretty Little Liars 7x15: In The Eye Abides the Heart

Pretty Little Liars 7x17: Driving Miss Crazy -->

Rosemary Hallmark's photo About the Author: Rosemary lives in Little Rock, AR with her cute husband and even cuter dog. At 16, she plucked a copy of Sloppy Firsts off the "New Releases" shelf and hasn't stopped reading YA since. (She's still got a soft spot for the swoony, contemporary stuff.) A former magazine editor, she is now a freelance writer, graphic designer, art director and photo stylist. The rest of her time is spent drinking cocktails, renovating her house and laughing at her husband's ridiculous Pretty Little Liars theories.
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