Catie and Alexis here! First of all—huge props to Rosemary for womanning the helm so expertly last week while we were both on vacation. She’s a treasure! Second of all—we really, really hope episode this week was meant to be a backdoor pilot for a spinoff that’s all about the PLL moms. Drinking wine, gossiping about their (ex-)spouses, drinking wine, breaking into houses, drinking wine, getting locked in basements, drinking wine, etc. Marlene, if you need someone to write a spec: call us!
And if any of you at home want to play your own #PLLMoms drinking game, take a big ol’ Hastings swallow every time the directing, costuming, or dialogue delivers a callback to previous seasons. Then make sure you have your silver-eyed Winter Queen PROBABLY CHARLES BFF on hand to hold your hair back, because you will be SMASHED.
THIS WEEK’S MVP
Proms: Caleb. He lost a few points for lying to Hanna, but more than made it up when his big secret was a new job featuring an impossibly high salary—enough to pay for her college tuition AND an apartment for the both of them in New York City.
Moms: Veronica Hastings got wine drunk, spilled all the DiLaurhastings dirt to the MomProm, broke into a house and started demanding answers. It’s ABOUT TIME.
THIS WEEK’S LVP
Proms: Alison spent probably 45 minutes of this episode standing at the edge of the ballroom, looking around, while A sent her increasingly obvious text messages. “I AM THE ONE IN THE RED CLOAK. FOLLOW ME, YOU IDIOT.”
Moms: All the dads, for missing the best parent episode of the show yet. Plus, having all the moms in one room talking about their deadbeat spouses only highlighted just how terrible the Papa Liars really are (special exemption: Wayne Fields, although we’re considering revoking his immunity if he never shows up again…).
BIGGEST SHOCK/BEST SURPRISE
Proms: Clark is an undercover agent.
Moms: Ashley saying no to any glass of wine ever.
Someone pull up the fainting couch!
Proms: Ali entered a shadowy mirror maze in the middle of a dance with a cloaked and masked figure…AGAIN.
Moms: “Wow, it sucks to be locked in a dark basement by an evil force beyond your control!”
THAT’S ALI, FOLKS
She will always and forever know better than everyone else, and will always and forever end up getting conked over the head for it.
PREVIOUSLY ON PRETTY LITTLE LIARS
Toby accidentally ate all of Spencer’s gummy bear edibles and his POT BRAIN ruined his and Lorenzo’s vigilante sting on Charles’ attempt to murder Jason in an abandoned arcade. Ali turned into a toothless mama lion who forgot how to Ali and got caught two seconds after using Lorenzo’s stolen police ID to snoop around Lt. Tanner’s useless murder board evidence room. Two minutes spent calling her new bff Mona could have solved a LOT. The school board decided that a group of teen girls who have been victimized by a faceless monster for their entire high school career are just Too Much Trouble and so declared them uninvited from Prom.
The Moms & The Proms: A Summitless Summit
In one sustained conversation that volleys from house to house and LiarMom to Liar, the Liars and their moms argue about the prom. The school board has banned the five of them (not Mona, though; no one would even CONSIDER trying to ban Mona from anything) from attending for Safety Reasons, and the girls are—understandably—pissed. Aria, at least, has the perfect solution: sacrifice the RPD.
For her part, Spencer especially is annoyed to learn that they’re all ALSO banned from going to commencement, you know, considering all that time she spent on that dumb valedictorian speech she was strong-armed into writing. “Why so glum, chum!” Veronica exclaims, completely oblivious to her daughter’s very reasonable ire. “I’ve saved the day!” How? By arranging for the Liars to have a super safe and casual and not at all dangerous un-Prom in the Hastings’ backyard barn! You know, because no one ever has been kidnapped from that barn, or murdered in front of it, or buried alive next to it, or nearly poisoned by rat poison, hit over the head with a shovel, threatened by any number of adult men, arrested for possession of half a blunt, OR menaced by half of Rosewood’s finest in the lee of it.
Great idea, Veronica!
To gush over just how great an idea this is, the girls convene at the Brewkstore to debrief sans mothers. Everyone is extremely annoyed. Their last prom ended with them #trapped in a tiny fenced yard in the middle of nowhere, huddling under their poofy dresses for warmth and protection from the pouring rain while they literally entertained the idea of drinking their own urine—can’t they have just ONE normal thing in their lives??
Ali quietly reminds them that they would feel weird being stared at at the dance anyway, and ALSO, we all know how into proms Charles is, just, like, as a general rule. It is unclear if she means to say that they should be grateful for the added measure of protection the un-Prom will afford, OR if she means that she’s extra pissed that they’re being kept from the one place Charles most certainly will be waiting. Does she want to meet him? Does she not? Does she want to keep her actual face skin on her actual face? Does she not? WHO KNOWS.
While Ali is pondering her whole THING, the other Liars move on to break down their THING, which is all the sketchy dudes currently hanging around:
- Clark, whom Aria hasn’t heard from since the others saw him rendezvousing with Rhys at the abandoned doll factory, but who she is certain must have SOME reason for having been there in the first place.
- Rhys, who remains a creepy Jason-doppelgänger, and maybe murdered Clark, for all Aria and the other Liars know! But is for sure probably almost certainly maybe Charles, for real.
- Lorenzo, who turned out to be the ultimate fairweather friend, and PS is suddenly now at the Brew Town Fair for some reason, looking weirdly at Ali?
- Ezra, who isn’t actually namechecked, but you just know is eavesdropping on their every last word from SOMEWHERE behind the espresso machine.
Bored of the other girls’ preoccupation with dumb boys, Ali steps away from the group. She immediately gets a text on her phone from the dumbest boy of all: “Better be at prom. It’s our last chance to dance. Come alone.” EW. CHARLES. THAT IS YOUR SISTER.
But whatever. Ali is nothing is not her mother’s daughter: she’ll meet Charles alone, or die trying!
No, for real.
Before all of the various murder proms and barn proms and mom proms are underway, the girls each split off to deal with their respective issues (mostly: men, to their universal exhaustion).
Staying behind at the Brew-Mart, Aria calls Clark and leaves her billionth anxious message, with Ezra lurking and eavesdropping as usual (called it). He swoops in to second-guess all of her personal choices: namely, why is she calling Clark and not the police? No—why are YOU not calling the police, Ezra, and instead sitting on that true crime manuscript that almost certainly holds a thousand clues to Charles’ identity and whereabouts? Yeah. Shush, Ezra.
Ella shows up then to tell Aria that once the creepy shots of her and her friends naked on a gurney were taken down and replaced by the creepy shots of broken doll heads, the Cardillo committee loved her work! She won the whole dang business, and now an internship is waiting for her in LA the Monday after senior year ends. Aria’s excited, of course, but also (and mainly) nervous. “What about A?? What about MY FRIENDS??” Ella prepares us all for the upcoming #Answers and #Timejump by saying: “None of us can move on until this thing is over. But in the meantime, focus on tonight’s super fun and not at all punishing un-Prom!”
But nope! That’s ruined, too, when Ezra manfully offers to be her date. He also (jokingly) offers to dress up like a troll to fit in with the fairy tale theme. Do it! Do it!!!!!
We’d like to note that Aria is the only one who expresses any sort of hesitation about having the un-Prom/murder party in the Hastings barn by connecting that location to the place where MANY PEOPLE have been murdered and/or kidnapped.
Emily takes off to meet up with Sara outside the Fields home. The two are flirting in half-sentences, taking a very long time to affix bikes to a bike rack on a car. #JustLesbianThings. Emily invites Sara to un-Prom at the Hastings Murder Barn but Sara is already going to HER old high school’s dance with her old friends the very same night. Em’s like, OK, but it’s clear that inside she FEELS SAD. They keep attaching those bikes to the rack. The bikes aren’t real. They’re a metaphor. Everything is a metaphor.
Old Truck Toby pulls up at the police precinct, and Spencer runs up to accost him before he goes inside to face his sentencing for being HIGH AS BALLS while policing. She offers to take the blame; if she had just admitted how messed up she was after returning from the dollhouse, she LiarLogics, then the whole sequence of stoned Toby–>Lorenzo injury wouldn’t have happened. Toby refuses her offer and insists on shouldering the responsibility himself, because he is Ultimately Good (and also a bit of a martyr). As he’s heading in, though, Lorenzo pops out to report with a pout that he is suspended, too—indefinitely. But because he is, apparently Ultimately Douchey, he is NOT okay with having to shoulder any responsibility for the decisions he, an adult man in a position of authority and, presumably, reason, made in the romantic pursuit of a teenager.
Anyway, with these two gone you have you wonder, are there even any cops left in Rosewood? Wait, actually, that might be better.
Caleb is acting like a jerk to Hanna; he’s taking off to see his dad in NY instead of going to the doom un-Prom with her. But he’s acting awfully evasive, and for some reason he’s dragging along an industrial-strength hacker laptop with him, so Hanna is rightfully suspicious. After he’s gone, she calls his dad several times, finally learning that Caleb’s not there at all. So she jumps to a perfectly reasonable conclusion: Caleb’s gone full vigilante and is off A-hunting on his own.
Later, at Hanna’s house, she and Emily are grumpy and despondent about their prom prospects. Ashley tells them to make the best of it: senior prom only comes around once (maybe twice if you happen to be locked into a basement bunker by a homicidal maniac with a high school fetish), so they should dress up in all their nutso finery, go crazy, have a good time.
Ali’s phone rings with a blocked ID. She answers to silence, standing right in front of a very clear and open window (“So that is one of the girls who is being stalked? And she is hanging out in front of an open window with no blinds or curtains at ALL??” – Alexis’ v wise Grandma). Guessing it’s Charles, Ali shouts at the silence that she isn’t allowed at the school prom, so why doesn’t he just come to Spencer’s barn prom, maybe? Great idea, this will end well.
While Ali is inviting murderers to come dance in the barn with them, Lorenzo meets Spencer at the Brew to talk about Ali. She says it was dumb of Ali to steal his badge/key card; “She didn’t think it through.” LOL uh Spencer are you sure? Even Lorenzo knows Ali’s reputation as a master planner and manipulator. But Spencer insists Ali has changed, and that Lorenzo’s ability to see her squishy and vulnerable core was really important. And then she invites HIM to the un-Prom. GIRLS. STOP INVITING PEOPLE TO THE MURDER PROM.
And now…the main event.
While the girls+Toby+Ezra gather in THAT barn, the moms assemble to eat fancy appetizers in the Hastings kitchen and keep watch over their children. “Should I feel weird insisting on being so close to Aria right now?” Ella wonders. “You were closer to her when you were her English teacher,” Veronica points out. EVERYONE was closer to Aria when they were her English teacher!
Pam is glad to note that she knows the two cops stationed outside, even though they’re low-ranking officers (RPD code for sleepy labradoodles, probably). The MomProm starts out respectable, if a little weird, like a cocktail party for shellshocked society ladies but then Veronica dips into the Hastings wine cellar and pops a bottle of their finest vintage. At first, the moms—EVEN ASHLEY—demur, but once Veronica pours herself a generous glass they all shrug and say WHY NOT. And thus begins an absolutely delightful series of escapades. It’s time for Pretty Little Wine Moms!!!
First, the moms head out to the porch to stare at the DiLaurentis house and gab about how completely nuts everything is over there and can you BELIEVE Jessica knew their eldest son was still alive somewhere and didn’t tell Kenneth? “Lying is like oxygen to them,” Veronica says, and then promptly starts spilling both gossip and wine all over the place, including the lowdown on Jason’s parentage. Sloppy Secrets of the Liar Mom Sisterhood! The moms all agree that MEN ARE TRASH.
Next, Veronica starts going on about how difficult it is to sit out on this porch and stare RIGHT THERE at the spot where Jessica’s body was dug up by Pepe the forgotten dog. (“I completely forgot about that!” Pam/half the audience exclaims.) Here we are, in our murder yard! Aren’t you glad the girls are safe and sound in the barn right over there?
Veronica is getting more and more worked up about how Jessica DiLaurentis tried to steal her husband, and then had the gall to go and be murdered and buried in the Hastings’ own backyard. Bitch! Pam floats the theory that maybe it wasn’t Charles who murdered her at all—maybe it was… Kenneth! The moms leap into conspiracy theorizing, mystery solving, gasping, pointing, drinking more wine. They’re acting just like their daughters only significantly drunker and it’s a goddamn delight. In true Hastings determination fashion, Veronica leaps up. If they really want to know if it was Kenneth… “MAYBE WE SHOULD ASK HIM!” she cries, leading the charge across the yard.
Like can you do anything BUT see Spencer doing this exact same thing, tho
Soon they’ve broken into the (unlocked) DiLaurentis house and are literally just yelling for Kenneth. “I CAN SEE YOUR SCOTCH!” Pam looks worriedly at an envelope on the table, identifying it as police evidence. Inside is a snapshot of Jessica with the two little boys, Jason and another one who looks a lot like Jason…
Speaking of looking a lot like Jason, the moms are surprised in the darkened DiLaurentis living room by none other than Rhys Carissimi DiLaurentis—uh, Matthews. In an extremely DRAMATIC LURKING fashion, he explains that he’s looking for #Answers of his own. “Are any of you DiLaurentises?” he asks. “ARE YOU??” The moms ask right back. When he leaves (having given precisely zero justifiable excuses for being INSIDE the DiLaurentis home) they’re all like OMG THAT WAS CHARLES with the most Liars Season 1 fear and amazement. Whereas you just know that *our* Liars would have marched up to him and demanded answers (Hanna), while simultaneously taking secret snapshots of his face from every angle (Aria), picking stray hairs off his lapel to send of for DNA testing (Spencer), and silently backing out of the room to lock the front door and block his exit (Emily)—while outside Mona would be bugging and GPS-tracking his car while blue-snarfing the whole conversation to be stored in a military-grade hard drive in, like, Switzerland.
Really leaning into her Season 1 Spencer role, Veronica insists on continuing to drunkenly case the house for more photographic evidence of Charles/physical evidence of Ken Dad’s continued existence (he COULD be a hologram! who knows!). Pam, in the most Season 1 Emily tone, reasonably suggests calling on the RPD puppy dogs who are about forty feet outside, but nope! Instead they all traipse down into the basement looking for hidey-holes. Moms, don’t you know that all secrets at the DiLaurentis house are tucked into false bottoms of birdcages and in towering boxes of creepy dolls? Or that you never gather in a dark, lockable space without any recourse to outside assistance? Because yeah, IMMEDIATELY the door to the basement slams shut and locks, and the moms DO A SYNCHRONIZED WHIRLAROUND of pretty hair and gasping faces—like mothers, like daughters—and realize that #MomsAreTrapped!!!
Charles is probably heading for the un-Prom barn, they reason, and lament their lack of phones. “We had one job tonight!” Pam LITERALLY SAYS, which was to keep the girls safe. They try to find an exit, but instead the industrial light above the stairs falls down, trapping them in pitch blackness.
Bold and beautiful Ashley Marin creeps into a tiny, dirty crawl space to see where it leads, but it’s only just dust and darkness and possibly something decaying (#RIPAli’sTwin). They all start tearing up and hyperventilating as they realize how dire their situation is—a situation that they are in, yes, because of some dumb decisions on their part, but mostly because a malevolent unseen force with powers beyond their ability to reckon was out for their blood, sweat, and tears, because that is how A works—and then it sinks in: How did our girls get through this?
Hastings Murder Barn
Lightning is lightninging and thunder is thundering as the girls gather in the Hastings barn for their horror movie of a fake prom. The moms wave out the window as Ali-as-Belle heads across the DiLaurhastings cemetery lawn of death and destruction toward the barn, but as soon as their backs are turned, she ducks into the forest and makes her escape to meet her Beast (ew, Charles—she’s your sister). Hot on her shiny golden heels? RED CLOAK.
(and the same yellow costume as the night of a million deaths)
Inside the barn, our four Liars are dressed up in their nightmare fairy tale finest. Ezra and Toby, the Last Remaining (quasi)Boyfriends, mope around in the background as the girls pose for pictures. Hanna tries to get Toby to call the cops on her missing boyfriend, but lol girl, he has literally negative favors to call in. Also he DOES NOT KNOW what his One True Bro is up to, so stop badgering! While that’s happening, Aria sees a text on Ezra’s phone, confirming a flight to LAX on June 16, and we dance a little dance of joy at the look of extreme annoyance on her face. TOO MUCH, EZRA. TOO MUCH.
Where’s Ali, you may be wondering, along with all four Liars who finally look up and realize she isn’t there? Oh, just making her second grandest fancy-dance entrance this school year, is all. Just—at the actual fairy tale party in the high school’s gym, not in the Hastings’ backyard. Standing illuminated under a beam of light on a sparkly bridge leading to the dance floor, higher than everyone around her, that’s our Ali!
It really is interesting how this mirrors her grand entrance at the Ice Ball back in the Christmas special; in fact, the whole party is giving us eerie déjà vu. This time, instead of a phalanx of matched, masked flunkies, Ali is alone; instead of a white cloaked figure haunting the edges of the party, there are several partygoers (or maybe bartender/caterers? what high school has a CATERED PROM?) hiding under red cloaks that match the one that was leading Ali away earlier. And that’s saying nothing for the direct callbacks to the masquerade ball at the end of Season 2, where Mona was revealed to be A. (In case you’re following along with the callback drinking game, go ahead and finish your drink now! You’ll need another shortly.)
Back at the cursed un-Prom, the party has devolved into a 100% accurate representation of what would happen if you put four teenage girls into a barn together while all the rest of their peers are dressed to the nines and drunkenly making out in their high school gymnasium: the girls sit on the couch and flick through the #RosewoodProm Insta tag.
Something about the combination of the Hastings’ murder barn with the Ultimate High School institution that is Prom (plus also being barred from attendance by the small-mindedness of school officials) brings out the cattiest Ali-years version of our girls, and they settle in to making the bitchiest comments about every classmate who has never been almost-murdered during every passing period for the past two years. Noel Kahn’s date is 85% tequila, naturally; Jenna and Lucas didn’t go to the prom together, but they ARE standing next to each other. And then: there’s Ali, lurking in the background like a glittering gold duckling.
“Well eff this un-Prom!” the girls decide, and make for the door.
Rosewood High Hell
Easily evading both WineMom and RPD Labradoodle perimeter watch, the Liars take the magic tunnel connector to Rosewood High. In moments they are entering the prom themselves, four abreast, boys (well, boy + Ezra, former teacher of half the promgoers) lurking behind. They eye the crowd, in which masks abound to a degree that would be insane for any real prom, but is like, kind of a weak showing for Rosewood’s? Anyway, girls and Toby, grab some of those babies right away—you are not welcome here. Ezra? You’re cool! The school board loves you!
Aria immediately spots Clark taking pictures of her peers (because okay), and rushes off to confront him while the rest of the group apparently decides to stand completely still and stare at the crowd. Ezra is still there for some reason. Clark tries to convince Aria that he was hired by the prom committee because of his excellent photography work, but he was afraid to tell her. “Cool, yeah, sure, right, I’m sure they loved your moody barn pics, whatever,” she says. “But what **I** want to know is just exactly what you were doing hanging out with probable murderers at an abandoned doll factory, because nothing about that sounds like a normal and fun activity for even the moodiest of freshman college photographers?”
He doesn’t get to explain himself, however, because a teacher sees who he’s talking to and rushes over to get her Blame the Victim points for the evening. “YOU don’t want to be taking pictures of HER,” she tells Clark, dripping poison. “You and your toxic waste friends, Miss Montgomery, had better BE ON YOUR WAY.” Cool, adult woman whose job is ostensibly to care for the positive growth and support of young adults. Good attitude.
Still operating at her least clever, Ali is busy, meanwhile, playing where’s wAldo from the fairy forest’s edges. Charles sends another eye-rollingly inane threat-text about how her time is running out and follow the red wolves or something equally ridiculous that she for reasons of insanity? we guess? sees as totally reasonable and not dangerous to chase after all alone. Spencer catches her right before she heads into the fake fairy forest, begging her to reconsider her life choices, but Ali is having none of it. For one, she knows what she’s doing! For two, Spencer’s never even really LIKED her, so what’s her deal nosing in on Ali’s business now? For three, she just needs to talk to Charles alone to find out what she ever did to him to make him hate her so much!!
Okay, Ali. Okay. For one, that has never been less true than right now. For two…well, maybe that one IS true. But also NOT true, you know? Because that is the nature of youthful friendships—half the time you hate your friends as much as you love them. And Ali and Spencer have been through too much for them to feel anything simple towards one another. Hell, half the time Spencer doesn’t even like HERSELF. But the Liars all owe each other their greatest efforts at protection, if nothing else. So for three, when Spencer tells you you are basically asking to be murdered, maybe listen to her. The entire purpose of the underground dollhouse was to trap you, Ali. And if anyone knows what it’s like to hate and mistreat people for no real reason except that you can, it is you. You are not likely to get a satisfactory explanation from any psychopath, family or not.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter whether Spencer physically stops Ali from pursuing her worst gut instincts or not, because all Ali does for the next twenty minutes is just wander around the very small fairy tale gymnasium dance hall tapping randos not even wearing red cloaks on the shoulder and asking if they are Charles, or taking literal “potions” from complete strangers, or both. Exasperated, the Liars go off to squeeze what little real fun out of Prom that they can while Ali decides precisely when and how she is going to let herself be conked on the skull and murdered a second time in her life.
Emily’s fun comes in the form of a blonde (probably) she-demon with a pixie cut and a story about how no, she is not here for Emily at this moment because she just so happened to spot her from under the hood of her red cloak as she lured Ali to her doom; she just figured out where the girls must have gone, once she reached the Hastings’ murder barn and found it empty! Emily is totally primed to believe anything Sara has to say when batting those big, wounded eyes at her, and so the two swan off onto the dance floor, professing their unconditional fondness for each other. “You mean a lot to me,” Sara states, “whatever else happens.” Like her murdering Ali, is what she means. That’s whatever else.
Having been rebuffed by Creepster Clark, Aria is stuck finding her fun dance-spying with Ezra, which is actually a good look for them. Or at least, it is until Ezra interrupts whatever Aria is saying about Clark and/or Ali to say, “Relax—I’m here.” UGH EZRA GO AWAY…is actually how Aria responds! Well, more or less. What she really does is take the opportunity to bring up the flight confirmation to LAX she accidentally saw on his phone, stating with zero room for argument that she needs to go to LA alone; she does NOT want him to come.
Turns out, that flight is just a layover on his way to Thailand (who gets confirmations for layovers??). “I’m not following you to LA,” he reassures her, “but neither am I sticking around this shitshow.” To which Aria’s only response is emphatic agreement: “YES, it is a GOOD IDEA go v far away from me. Move on. Please. Change could be good for both of us. And I don’t just mean in the artistic medium through which I choose to express the creepfest in my soul.”
Spencer and Toby find their fun, naturally, in debriefing each other about love (their friends; each other), life (his firing; her canceled speech), and Ali’s eternal chokehold on their lives. “Why did she say I didn’t like her?” Spencer demands. “We’re trying to PROTECT her. We basically missed out on high school trying to solve the mystery that is Alison! The only reason we survived is because we had each other.” PRECISELY! Toby is as impressed as we are with Spencer’s succinct analysis of her last two years, and asks if that is what her canceled speech was about. Well—not quite, Spencer says. “I wrote about what it means to support someone unconditionally, even when they’re not honest. And how everyone needs someone to be inspired by, someone who…” blah blah blah, a billion nice things obviously about Toby, which he mistakes to be a billion nice things about her mom, which honestly is the worst mistake in the world. Veronica is not worth half of Spencer’s kind words.
Anyway, yes: Spencer’s speech to wrap up the years of hell that she only survived with and because of her best friends, as they suffered a trillion horrors from a billion different angles because of the cruel machinations of another best friend, is about her Toby.
Speaking of Ali, she is still just standing inert on the sidelines! But then ah, oh no! Spencer and Toby start making out! And she makes her escape! Lesson here: love kills.
Speaking of a killer love, a wild Caleb Rivers appears! Amazingly with the same crazy story about the abandoned murder barn as Sara Harvey. Man, those police officers are REALLY bad at watching that yard. Hanna immediately demands answers about New York. She talked to his DAD. She KNOWS things. Things except for what precisely he thinks he is doing, running off like a hobo Batman, vigilanteing all up into Charles’ business. Don’t you know that’s the LIARS’ job, Caleb?
But it turns out Caleb hasn’t suddenly become the worst of the bedbuddies—he was, in fact, establishing a new height as The Best. What he was doing in NY? Getting a job. A FANCY job, one that pays enough for the two of them to live well there (um, as Hanna suggests, that job is called BANK ROBBER). He is officially an “info risk analyst” for some confidential company, hired to keep the hackers out of extra secret places (not a Liars’ bedroom—the next security clearance level down). “It’s real and it pays enough to cover your tuition,” he says, “and a place for us to live.” See, okay, we take back anything bad we said about Caleb. CALEB IS THE BEST.
A Long Ali-vs-A Tag
Finally free from the prying eyes of HASTINGS & RIVERS, PI (& crew), Ali gets another text. “USE YOUR EYES,” Charles demands patronizingly. But it works, as Ali FINALLY FOLLOWS A RED CLOAK, straight into the fake papier maché fairy forest, and the Liars? They immediately follow her. It is, no joke, exactly like in the Christmas episode. The déjà vu is strong with this one.
Unfortunately, Ali is too deep into the maze of mirrors for the girls to catch up to. Who they DO catch up to, though, is Clark! Who is doing his damnedest to stop them, because SURPRISE he is an undercover cop! A fact which it is totally reasonable for the girls to distrust, given that nearly all the boys in Rosewood have used that line on them at some point, but Clark’s hidden piece and shiny badge seem legit enough to Toby, our resident expert. “You girls are ruining everything!” Clark exclaims, once Caleb and Ezra finally let go of his arms. “Now there’s no way I’ll catch up to her in time!”
UMMM we might argue that you and your bosses already ruined everything, always, considering that you were too blind to see the person who trapped Aria in an inescapable darkroom the first time you met her; missed entirely the hooded figure your camera caught in the curated junk yard the second time you met her; and showed up to case the prom that exactly zero of the Liars were meant to be at tonight. Pro-tip: you want to catch the person stalking a group of teen girls, probably find a way to be present at the actual event that those teen girls are attending. Like, we dunno, maybe accepting a phone invitation expressly extended to you by one of the stalkees? Far be it from us to tell you how to do your job, though, ofc.
Anyway, Clark was right: they lost Ali to the dark woods in all that kerfuffle. Well, okay, it’s not the dark woods exactly but it LOOKS LIKE THE DARK WOODS. A thorny maze of cardboard trees and mirrors, Ali wandering apprehensively through them all like some girl who’s never actually run for her life through a forest before. She reaches Red Cloak, finally, but jk jk jk! It turns out to be a dress form. She breaks several mirrors escaping the non-threat, and then gets a final text: NOW IT’S JUST THE TWO OF US. And she’s grabbed from behind! Obviously!
Outside the fake fairy forest, the commotion of Ali getting Ali-napped is loud enough to call Lorenzo in from offstage. Too late, buddy! Spence may have thanked you for coming, but honestly, who cares. Your inappropriately-aged crush has gone and gotten herself probably murdered for real this time. But yes, do call for backup. Or front-up, since you two aren’t in any way at all police officers anymore.
The boys split up to cover the school’s myriad secret exits, but the girls shoulder straight into the MIRROR DEATH TRAP FOREST, where they find Ali’s phone. Meanwhile, Ali is being led by A down some long hallway, screaming. For no reason but dumb dramatics, A stops, giving Ali enough time to wheel around and beg, “Please…Charles…TALK to me!” And like those words have some kind of magic that nothing cleverer have for the past five and a half seasons, A reaches up to remove his/her mask.
Charles will finally be unmasked, to everyone, for real, no take backs.
About the Contributor:
Catie grew up in Denver, Colorado, where she often stayed up past her bedtime reading with a flashlight and once sent homemade Hogwarts acceptance letters to her friends. Now an adult, she still loves books and TV meant for teens, but is grateful to no longer have a bedtime.