Alexis and Catie here, for a classic posted-late novella!
#5YEARSFORWARD: BIGGEST SHOCK/BEST SURPRISE
They somehow continue to find ways to make Ezra worse at every beat, while thinking they’ve made him more sympathetic. Like, you can *feel* the show’s wish/need for us to pet and pity him rolling from the tv screen in toxic waves, even as he is spitting lines that are meant to excoriate Charlotte but for real describe his exact own behavior and lack of consequences. It is genuinely impossible for us to believe that this can go on, or that the team behind the show will follow it through to its most horrifying “happy” ending, and yet…
#5YEARSFORWARD: BIGGEST NO-DUH
Lucas is a high-rolling Silicon Valley bro?
Runner-up: Getting drunk in Radley is always, universally, a bad idea.
MOST UPVOTED NEW COMMENT ON TRIPADVISOR: ROSEWOOD
When I’d heard that Ashley Marin had joined forces with an anonymous investor to refurb the Radley Sanitarium into a luxury hotel and spa, I definitely had my doubts! But Ms. Marin and her mystery partner have far exceeded anyone’s highest aspirations. My girlfriends and I took a weekend to drive over from Raven5wood last month to give ourselves a well-deserved ghost girls’ retreat, and we were SO IMPRESSED. From that ~very~ distinct incense in the sauna to the atmospheric dead-eyed funeral gown mannequins propped up at the bar, Hotel Radley has everything! We’d even heard rumors that Ms. Marin had gotten her hands on a **Jonny Raymond** original, I ~think~ even the first installation he ever made in the local coffee shop, but we couldn’t find it. Next time, I guess! I will DEFINITELY be coming back! – Miranda C., October 2016
MOST LIT ALLUSION
We…didn’t catch one this week? Well, except for the fact that the new terror-text sign-off emoji bore a striking, queasy resemblance to the Red Devil from Scream Queens. No thank you!
If any of you caught an allusion we (Alexis) missed, shame us (Alexis) in the comments
THAT’S SO FREEFORM
Courtesy Rosemary (absent from this week’s recap, never absent from our hearts):
@cattyglower @AlexisKG A has upgraded to emojis? #thatssofreeform— Rosemary Hallmark (@rohallma) January 27, 2016
PREVIOUSLY ON PRETTY LITTLE LIARS
Having learned nothing from their many years of being murdered every time they insisted on not immediately communicating secrets (and the group’s suspicions thereof) with each other, the Liars have returned to Rosewood and immediately divided, not to conquer. Aria is lying about having left her best friends passed-out drunk in Hotel Radley at 3AM while she met up with stand-up drunk Ezra to wander the street of Rosewood and accidentally spy on a wandering, newly freed Charlotte DiLaurentis. Her best friends are lying to her that they snuck a peek at the hotel’s security footage and saw her do the very same. Emily is lying by omission to her best friends/mom about how messed up her life has been since her dad died, and also about some mysterious medical Treatment. Spencer is lying to her best friends/herself about her true feelings for Hanna’s old OTP, Caleb. Hanna is lying to no one about anything because she is perfect. Well, okay, except for the future lying she’ll have to do to Lorenzo/Toby/her mom about the fact that she did sneak back alone into the snuck-in security room to be loyal as a Liar and delete that incriminating footage of Aria, after all. Like we said: she’s perfection!
Summit and Chill/Spill
We open this week on the first true Liars Summit since high school graduation. Why true? Well, for one because one of the Liars (Aria) is absent due to *murder mystery reasons.* Secondly, the remaining Liars are sharing dire secrets openly, in public, where any old crazy avenging blondie might overhear them. Thirdly, Spencer is racing down the crazy train of certainly-wrong certainty like she’s a seventeen year old sleuth savant all over again. And finally? Because Hanna deflates the whole dramatic balloon with a) a shocking admission (she deleted the security tape!), and b) a completely unrelated observation about how utterly creepy their hometown is (the Radley sauna smells like burnt hair!). HANNA. MARRY US (for real—it’s not like Jordan is long for this world, anyway).
Hanna’s contributions are enough to send Spencer and Emily bolting for the door. Hanna is (naturally) baffled at their reasons/outraged that they’d let Ashley’s voucher gifts go to waste, but one trip down Radley memory lane is enough for Spence, who has a meeting with her mom’s campaign handlers to get to anyway. Emily’s got a “meeting” (appointment) with her “mom” (for Treatment) to go to, too. So sorry, Han! Might as well storm out with the rest of them!
Unfortunately (fortunately?) the impact of Emily’s storm-out is cut down by the fact that she has to immediately turn around to retrieve her forgotten car keys. And when she does, who should she spy but a be-gloved lover of showers lying silently in the “quiet room” two feet off the main room Em and the rest of the Liars just filled with all their loud secrets!
“WHY ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME,” Emily hiss-demands. “MAYBE *YOU’RE* THE ONE FOLLOWING *ME*” Sara Harvey spit-replies. She is wearing a hooded spa robe. Her goth eye-liner is delicately and perfectly applied. This show is (literally) nuts. Anyway, Emily doesn’t believe that Sara has any pure motive for being in Rosewood in the first place, let alone “saying goodbye” to the person who allegedly “scrambled her brain and stole her soul.” But as always, the person most likely to be secretly plotting to terrorize one/all of our Liars just glares back like she is the true victim and forces Emily to scream hysterically and storm (again) out of the room.
So where was Aria all morning, if not at the spa with her friends/Sara? Obsessing over Ezra, obviously! Or more specifically, obsessing over the “pages” from his new manuscript that Ezra had promised (had he really tho?) were on that flash drive that seemed actually to contain hundreds of graphic news stories about murdered foreign aid workers in South America.
“Do not even WORRY about those pages, or even the book at all!” Liam and all of us say, interrupting her mad paper shuffling as Liam stares at her lovingly through his work computer. “Our boss doesn’t even want that drunk’s angry ramblings anymore, anyway. Wait—is that a stuffed pig behind you?”
“Whatdoyoumeandon’tworryaboutthemthemanisageniuswhoisgoingTHROUGHsomethingokay????????” Aria bites back. And while her reason for being shocked is depressing/vomitous, the surprise itself is understandable: their boss basically fired Aria for not being able to wheedle any pages out of Ezra “Modern Genius” Fitz’s hands on her first try—48 hours is a bit short for such a dramatic turnaround on acceptable profit losses!
Speaking of losses, Detective Inspector Gadget Lorenzo is back at Hotel Radley waiting to confront Ashley about the missing twelve hours of security footage from the night Charlotte was killed. He’s got EXPERTS (lol), Ashley! Expert RPD technology officers (lolol) who are picking through the device as they speak to discern if it was some kind of technical malfunction or… “Or what,” Ashley cuts him off. “I’ve been to jail over a pair of muddy manolos that cost more than you make in a month. Spit it out.” Or if someone deleted footage, Lorenzo finishes. Anywhoooo they’ll be calling Ashley and her staff down for questioning later, just FYI!
Nice Guy Vs. Nice Guy
Here’s another FYI: there’s not a single health food store in all of Rosewood, Hanna’s dumb new fashion world friend! Literally the closest thing to a health food store would be Pot Gummy Sabrina’s pantry. So, we guess Hanna getting coffee at Brewbies is actually pretty close!
Unfortunately, Hanna loses her fashion job call to ghosts interfering with cell service just as she is monstrously miscalculating world time zones. FORTUNATELY, those ghosts vanish just in time for her to look up and see none other than Nice Guy Lucas, coming to Nice Guy it up by waving his fancy tech bro money at her. (He legit looks good.)
“What are you doing here!” Hanna laughs, shocked at the sight. “What? You didn’t see me waving?? From my very expensive silver Jag??” Lucas replies, managing to sound juuuuust casual enough to keep us from justifying the use of “gross” while simultaneously not answering her question in any satisfactory way (conspiracists, take note). Lucas, it turns out, sold some (presumably tech startup) company and moved to Seattle, but now splits his time between Palo Alto, Hong Kong, and Rosewood working as a game developer. “Try to look a little less shocked, Hanna!” Ugh. Lucas.
Anyway, two seconds later it is Lucas’ turn to be shocked—first at the sight of Hanna’s finger rock, second at the news that her fiancé isn’t Caleb. “But my new guy…Jack…no, um…Jayd…no, er…JORDAN,” Hanna assures him, “he’s super great! And anyway, Caleb and I are still friends.” Before she can continue, though, she is interrupted by a surprising text, and the flash of glee that crosses Lucas’ face before he concernedly asks if Hanna is alright is either v suspicious, or just one more blip of oddness from this ep’s newbie director. Either way, Hanna is fine.
Across the street, Melissa—not a ghost—strides into Spencer’s hand-built barn like she owns the place, so, like normal. She draws up short when she sees Caleb camped out in the living room, a mock-up of Veronica’s campaign sit up on his laptop. “Oh YOU’RE still here,” she grimaces, as though he never made bank being the tech genius for a top secret company after getting his GED and is somehow rubbing hobo cooties all over her old dining set (hey, it wouldn’t be the worst thing Caleb’s rubbed all over a Hastings’ furniture…). Spencer—no joke wearing a backpack—comes barreling in before Melissa can find a way to insult Caleb any worse, so distraught about how the campaign manager wants her to lie (“hey, don’t knock it until you commit to it for several years and then record the truth on actual tape!” – Melissa) that after handing her his own coffee, Caleb immediately gets up to make her eggs and toast (burnt—their mutual preference).
“When did THAT happen??” Melissa asks when Caleb heads to the main house to retrieve supplies, all razor-toothed smiles about how Spencer is the original Miss Steal Your Guy.
How is she still such a bitch! “Anyway, just do the non-denial denial with the journalists at Hollis. That’s what we all do.” Oh. That’s how. Welcome back to the world of the Hastings!
Around the corner at the Fields’ house, Em is busy fleeing her mom’s many good-faith attempts to bond with and support her daughter, like by reaching out to her dead husband’s old EMT buddy to write a recommendation for Emily for grad school! Wow, that overreach makes for a real Gordian knot of guilt, huh, Em? The mere thought of it is so overwhelming that Emily doesn’t even think to worry that she should be checking the mail obsessively while she’s home, you know, just in case any one of her many secrets accidentally turn up there. And while normally the worst thing to come of that would be having your parents know *something* is up, we all know how little Pam Fields respects her child’s boundaries, so. Yes. She opens the letter from Pepperdine addressed to Emily, right out there in the open where any mail fraud agent might see. PAM. PAM.
“Oh, Hanna,” Ashley sighs three feet away in the lobby of Hotel Radley. “If you or your friends tampered with ANY—” But she is interrupted twice, first by Hanna declaring that no one older than seventeen would ever need to tamper with evidence of any sort, and second by Hotel Radley’s Michel coming to deliver a message from Lorenzo (sorry, Detective Calderon) that his “experts” (lololol) have confirmed that the security tape was erased, not glitchy. And now Ashley has to go down to the station to give a statement! Because, Hanna, the only people in Rosewood who are ever guilty of anything are the ones who have been long-suffering victims!
Any Board Shorts Ale You Have On Tap, Please
Speaking of long-suffering victims: please see Aria’s shirt. What did your closet ever do to you to deserve THAT, Montgomery?
Oh, also, Ezra. Ezra is a very long, very suffering, very victimized victim. He is in PAIN. Which obviously sets the stage for two things. One, for him to be a writer of vast genius. Two, for Aria to forget every tome of good sense she’s picked up since high school and commit one thousand percent to him, his genius, and his bodily freedom.
“Why CAN’T this poor, wounded man have a beer?” she demands of Ashley when Ashley comes around to remind him that not even a hotel cobbled together from crazy ghost stories can serve him alcohol in public these days. “Why DOESN’T this poor, lovelorn national treasure have a National Book Award, a Pulitzer, a Nobel Prize in Literature already???” she demands of Emily after forcing Em to listen to her read aloud the five handwritten pages of the blatantly mediocre draft Ezra finally gave her at the Montgomery home later that afternoon. “Why WON’T you let me transcribe, proofread, and edit your entire book for you?????” she demands of Ezra when her stockholm whiplash proves so strong that even Ezra is mad at her for it. Look, she just wants the entire world to know exactly who he is—us too!!!
Oh, wait. She doesn’t mean what she ought to mean. She means something else. Fuck it all.
What’s Hanna up to?
Utterly freaking out about the prospect of her mom going to jail (again) for something that Hanna did (again), Hanna follows her gut instinct and races to the one man in Rosewood who has always had her back: Lucas.
“Can you lie and say you brought takeout to my hotel room that one night that Charlotte was killed and me and my friends were passed out drunk?” she begs, barely hearing herself. “Um, that sounds bad, but okay,” Lucas says, probably with less concern than he should have had. Hanna immediately walks her request back, because now she HAS heard it and it IS bad, but too late—Lucas is in. Lucas is always in.
Safe in the knowledge she has an alibi ace in her back pocket should needs arise, Hanna returns home to start researching munchkin kittens for her Devil in Prada boss, which is how Spencer finds her when she comes barging in through the Marins’ unlocked back door (srsly, ladies) to apologize for how she spoke to Hanna earlier. (Oh, right—Hanna interrupted Spencer’s spiraling “be the change you want to see by voting” interview with the Hollis journalist to ask Spencer to get her mom to play lawyer, which Spencer immediately shut down.) Hanna is very forgiving, though; these girls have been through all of this before. She understands just how complicated protecting your family members from your friends, and vice versa, can be.
Their lovely reconciliation is interrupted by Jordan calling to say goodnight, his ringtone the very funny “Let’s Get Physical.” Hanna’s reaction is so adorable, it makes our hearts squeeze.
Spencer’s, too. And seeing Hanna so happy inspires Spencer to chance her own potential happiness…with Caleb. What follows is a really quiet and lovely performance from both actresses: these two characters know each other well enough to know what they’re each talking about without either one of them actually finishing a single sentence, and after barely a minute of saying everything without saying anything, Hanna has given Spencer her blessing. HANNA KNOWS WHAT HANNA MEANS.
Em’s Dark Cloud
Get it?? Because clouds rain, and rain is just a shower from the sky. (Look, it wasn’t our punny nickname in the first place.)
Anyway, later that day Pam finally chases Emily down to demand some answers (like, literally chases Emily’s car, on foot). Pam is beating herself up—not over the fact that she opened her daughter’s mail like some sort of common postal criminal, but over how dumb she must have looked for all those years, sending off care packages because Emily “didn’t like the cafeteria food.” Knowing that Emily probably needed those packages because groceries cost money she didn’t have, that hits us right in the soft places.
Em is reticent to come clean about her poor decisions (been there), but the less she talks, the more Pam talks over her, and wouldn’t you know but there’s Sara Harvey, creeping in the park and staring at the Fields women’s confrontation with the focus on a laser, just like she has been creeping on Emily all over town ever since Emily arrived. And so Emily caves, and sits down with her mom outside the Grille to give her the rundown of her early-20s failures. It’s rough, but we for two are glad it’s over with. Em! You’re going to be okay! As long as alt-A doesn’t make your 20s the end of your life, your 20s aren’t the end of your life!!
Bolstered by her successful “talk” with Hanna, Spencer gathers up the ladyballs the next day to run a sting op on that smugass Hollis journalist to double check he isn’t trying to turn his candidates’ daughters puff piece into a surprised “bunker girls be legit murder suspects, y’all!” takedown.
“You’re so paranoid,” he breathes patronizingly at her, wide-eyed and faux shocked. “I would NEVER.” But then Spencer spies a post-it above his monitor reminding him to “call back Mona V,” and her Spencer-alarms start blaring. Unfortunately (for her), blaring Spencer alarms almost always mean that she is wrong. This time is no different.
Turns out, Mona is working for (um, more like running?) the campaign of Veronica’s opposition, and so is a source for deets on that candidate’s kids. “Mona’s on a campaign?” Spencer asks, shocked. Um, Mona tried to run YOUR MOM’S campaign, Spence. But Veronica turned her down! “Must suck to be outside of your own mom’s inner circle,” the smug journalist smugs. HA, WELL. Joke’s on you, buddy! You’ve no IDEA the number of Hastings Inner Circles Spencer has spent her life on the outside of! She’ll be just fine.
While Spencer is busy setting as many fires as she’s putting out over at Hollis, the rest of the squad (coven?) is gathered at Aria’s, where Hanna is pacing and worrying about just everything while wearing a tiny silk robe with giant shoulder pads and a truly hideous flower pattern on it…as a shirt. Y’all, is it possible that Hanna is *also* lying about where she works? Because if that counts as Fashion, we quit life.
Anyway, the third thing she is doing while pacing a trench in the carpet and burning our eyes with Fashion is eating frozen orange juice concentrate straight from the can, which is an extremely, delightfully, perfectly Hanna-weird thing to do. Oh, and the fourth thing is shouting about how obvious it is that Ali is not their actual friend, has anyone even HEARD from her since that prayer-curse dinner?? OKAY, Hanna, you and your shoulderpadded mini-robe can stay.
Aria’s computer dings as Liam RGWB FaceTimes in to change sexily from one RGWB buttondown plaid shirt into another while blabbing to her about Ezra’s book. Aria’s eyes bulge. Emily’s eyes bulge. Liam laughs and hangs up. Hanna is like, LITERALLY who cares about Ezra’s book, what about REAL STUFF like this ACTUAL MURDER. Bless, Hanna. Maybe we want a tiny robe shirt too.
But seriously, Hanna has zero time for any Ezra bullshit—she’s got a real defense strategy ready to go to cover up all the lies Ezra’s telling about where he went after Aria saw him the night Charlotte was killed, and a crew waiting to hear it. Well, okay, so her defense strategy is basically just a lot of lying, which: haven’t you learned your lesson yet? But before anyone can point that out to her, Emily’s phone alarm bings, and she takes off totally unsuspiciously to the bathroom. As she goes, Hanna tries again to get Aria to budge on her lie about not leaving the room all night—not because it will change Hanna’s Lucas plan, but just because you don’t lie to a Liar, it’s the principle of the thing. But duh, Han, you are all trained Liars! Like Aria doesn’t know how to stick to a single narrative?
Frustrated at their continued impasse, Hanna rolls her eyes and drops the rest of her OJ snack straight into Aria’s bedside trash, but Aria is like “um, ew”, so Hanna grabs the can out of the trash, takes another bite (hearteyes), and goes downstairs to the kitchen. And wouldn’t you know it, but she is just in time to spy Emily through a crack in the bathroom door, injecting herself in the thigh.
Hanna confronts Emily right away, which is refreshing. Also refreshing (although unsurprising!) is how kind, mature, and gentle she is about it. Y’all, Hanna is just the best, bitty robe and all. Her most pressing concern is that Emily is sick (ours, too!!) and at first Emily freezes up at the question. But she barely hesitates a minute before spilling the beans. ALSO refreshing!
So, we already knew that she dropped out of school during her grief over her dad’s death, but now she confirms to Hanna—and us— that she blew through her dad’s money, and has been working as a bartender, not a researcher of ambiguous disease cures. Seeking both a purpose and some cash, she seized on a suggestion from a friend at work: donating her eggs. (Major props to the commenter who suggested this last week!) And she’s actually feeling like she’s doing some good in the world now, helping people have a baby.
Hanna, once again, is the best: “They’re the luckiest couple in the world.” Damn right they are; who wouldn’t want a baby that is one half Emily Fields??
Paranoia, thy name is Hastings
Fresh off her failure at Hollis, Spencer comes home to find Melissa sitting ramrod straight and staring at a wall in the dark, like a true robot Hastings. Melissa is upset because she thinks she botched things with RGWB Reporter: she saw his notebook and it was covered with words like “source!” “cover-up!” “tape!”, which are words that are only ever associated with terrible misdeeds, and never, like, being a regular reporter. She’s terrified that he’s somehow gotten his hands on that tape she recorded confessing to killing Bethany on the Neverending Labor Day Night. Side note: we’re not sure we properly addressed at the time what a truly poor idea it is to record a TAPED MURDER CONFESSION if you don’t want other people eventually listening to it. Like, this is kinda on you, Mel.
Spencer is all, “god, don’t be so f-ing paranoid,” as she frantically opens her phone and shoots a text to Aria et al, leaping wildly to the conclusion that these reporter-pad-words mean that someone has seen the hotel tape and is Out To Get Them.
While Hanna and Emily are busy holding down the fort in Normal & Mature-opolis, Aria is still a passport-carrying citizen of Crazytown. Now alone in her room, she gathers up her laptop and Ezra’s notebook and starts typing up his batshit chickenscratch, presumably editing in actually good prose in all the spots that have been made illegible by man tears.
At the sight of Spencer’s text, however, she drops the Next Great American Novel and races over to Ezra’s to force him into a shared alibi before her friends can reach him and force the Truth. She’s waving her arms and groveling, all “I’ll do anything you want if you just type literally any words on this page!”, but she is interrupted from making good on this promise—THANK GOD—by the arrival of every single one of her friends, wielding pitchforks and torches. (Well, we wish). They all stand around, hurling insults at Ezra, and you know what? We could get used to this. We crack open a Board Shorts ale and settle in to watch, popcorn at hand, while Hanna yells, “YOU DIDN’T PROTECT ARIA, I DID” at him.
Why isn’t the episode just like, at least 75% this? The girls accuse him of killing Charlotte and urge him to turn himself in, so that people stop suspecting them.
Unfortunately, the Liars (save Aria—no really: save Aria) leave before they can bodily remove any of Ezra’s flesh or whatever. He turns on Aria, all WHO DO U THINK I AM. “Well, frankly, who knows??” she says, throwing her hands up in the air. “Ever since five years passed and I went to college and graduated and started working on my own and dating someone normal and possibly age-appropriate, and you went to South America and your girlfriend was kidnapped and you fell into a depression and also possibly alcoholism, it’s almost like we aren’t the exact same people we used to be!” Okay, we just wish she said that.
Ezra says the Liars are right: “The person who made your lives a living hell…” he starts, and we start nodding enthusiastically along with him. “She doesn’t deserve to—” Oh wait, he’s not talking about himself, he’s talking about Charlotte. Yawn. Anyway, he’s not mad Charlotte is dead, but why doesn’t Aria believe that he just doesn’t have murder IN him these days, when there’s so much moping to do?
On the “bright” side, later Liam tells Aria that their boss LOVED those chapters of “Ezra’s” that she sent over, and “whatever you’re doing, keep doing it!” And (cue sarcasm—) there’s really no better (“better”) end to this love story (“love story”) that we can imagine besides Aria doing all of the work and writing the next great American novel, and FUCKING EZRA getting ALL OF THE CREDIT.
Show-er of Hands
Shower Harvey keeps stalking Emily all over town. And while her eyeliner may be on point (who’s applying it every morning?), SHE is not. Or, she is. If what needs being on point for is stalking. When Emily finally stomps up and confronts her at the bar in Hotel Radley, Sara stares at herself in the bar mirror and says, “I KNOW you feel guilty.” Wait—what? About what?? Her burned hands? We still don’t know what she’s talking about, but Emily, frankly, does NOT feel guilty. It all happened so fast! But Sara studied the Liars through Charlotte’s eyes long enough to know that answering logic with a smirk is usually plenty to kick the girls into destroying themselves, and Sara? She smirks with the best of them.
When Emily makes it home, she finds her mom sitting on their porch, waiting for her. Em’s prepared for another argument, but Pam just puts her arm around her daughter and reminds her that she never wants Emily to feel like she has to go through tough stuff alone—that they’ll do it together. Aww. This sort of makes up for the mail snooping.
Meanwhile, at the police station, Hanna is being interrogated by Lorenzo. Her tiny robe somehow grew even MORE shoulder pads over the commercial break, and if you thought wearing a shortie robe top around a bedroom looked nuts, just imagine how very cool and normal it looks in a police interrogation room! Yes, wasn’t that a fun time for us all.
Anyway, Lorenzo is really working his Detective Inspector Gadget skills: after hearing half of Hanna’s alibi story, he invites Lucas into the interrogation room with her. This does not feel like proper prisoner’s dilemma procedure! Not that that matters: even with the two of them there to share meaningful looks in order to not contradict one another, it becomes clear extremely quickly that this alibi which they barely established and did not rehearse even once is not holding up ALL that well. Lorenzo is like, “but what did he LOOK like” and “what KIND of water did you drink” and “there isn’t even an ice bucket on the THIRD FLOOR” and Lucas is like, well, this was a mistake. Lucas also makes a really charming and not at all dangerously loaded allusion to coming over to see Hanna because she sounded drunk and he wanted to hook up with her, and Hanna and every one of us who has ever accidentally asked a Nice Guy for a favor is like, WELL…this was a mistake.
Hanna and Lucas meet up at his place later to debrief about said mistake, and he just asks her straight out: “DID you kill Charlotte?” She says no, and she’s glad he was brave enough to ask, unlike her mom. Then she complains about living at home, and without a second’s thought Lucas hands her the keys to his Rosewood Loft and tells her he’s off to the Bay Area and she’s welcome to stay anytime. This seems potentially very kind…or very suspicious and creepy. Time will tell.
The Spaleb Thing
Later that night, Spencer gets home late to find Caleb sitting ramrod straight, staring at the wall in the dark. What is up with this Hastings House of Horror, and why is everyone in it a robot? At least Caleb has the wit to fake like he was reading a gardening magazine, but let’s be real: he was waiting up for Spencer, because he looooooves her.
She asks him what his first thought had been when he’d heard Charlotte had been murdered. “Like, who did it?” he clarifies, because yes, that is always the question in this town. “Well, Shower Harvey IS pretty creepy, even though her eyeliner looks great.” Spencer says something vague about “she remembers more than she’s saying…” and then finally fills us in on…The Sara Thing. See, the girls were playing a prank and they didn’t KNOW she was in the garage when they dropped in those firewo—oh wait, sorry. That was the first one. This time, while they were all pursuing Ali pursuing Charlotte, Emily punched Sara in the face (ah, better times), and Sara just fell over and burned her hands on some box of electricity, from which none of the Liars saved her before racing up to the roof to save Charlotte. Honestly it wouldn’t have been on the Liars if they hadn’t saved either kidnapper/torturer from anything, but that’s how things roll in Rosewood!
Back in #FiveYearsForward, Spencer seems a lot less sure of her lack of guilt than Emily did to Sara’s actual face five minutes earlier. “What if I’m hardened from being tortured?” she confesses to Caleb, breaking down. He just caresses her leg and tells her never! She wears her heart on her sleeve—it just happens to be the sleeve of a flak jacket. They laugh tenderly together and then she confeses further: The Sara Thing is not the only thing she’s been judging herself for. And then they…[PAUSE FOR A COMMERCIAL BREAK IN WHICH WE SQUEAL LOUDLY FOR THREE MINUTES]
…they grab hands in all sorts of weird conformations, and THEN they START KISSING (!!!) and HAVE SEX ON THE COUCH (that’s so #FreeForm)!!! A raspy lady cover of “Ring of Fire” plays, underscoring how this is both extremely hot and possibly a little dangerous. SPALEB 4EVER!
Over at Aria’s, she’s still typing away at some traditionally female invisible labor, when she gets a text. And GUESS WHAT? IT’S…wait, what do we even call these any more?? It’s a text from a mysterious being, holding out secrets for blackmail or revenge, and it’s signed with a literal devil emoji. SatAn?? That’s impossible to take seriously. alt-A. Let’s go with alt-A.
As the scene changes, we see that the song is coming from a little record player propped up on a shelf full with some very familiar objects… the creepy papier mâché Alison masks, doll heads, reams of close-up photos of Aria’s face. alt-A opens a box full of black hoodies and dumps them straight into the trash. Yeah! You tell em! Oh wait—alt-A isn’t just disposing. alt-A is UPGRADING.
Real terrorism!(?) Real sleuthing!!(??) Real and really cool new Capital-U Uniforms maybe, if alt-A’s* Website Page search went well!!!(???)
*If they up their game and start putting something a bit scarier than black hoodies in barrels, we’ll upgrade the new moniker to CTRL-A. Fingers crossed!
A(lexis and Catie)
About the Contributor:
Alexis Gunderson is a TV critic and audiobibliophile. A Wyoming expat, she now lives in Maryland, where she runs the DC chapter of the FYA Book Club. She can be found talking about Teen TV on Twitter, and her longform criticism can be found on Authory.