Alexis and Catie here! It’s late, so let’s make like a Marin and just dive right into the good stuff (wine, cereal, backtalk—take your pick!).
#5YEARSFORWARD: BIGGEST SHOCK/BEST SURPRISE
The scheme our favorite genius heart-eyed sleuth team came up with for the decoy drive Hanna dropped for alt-A was an aggressive slash-and-burn virus showing their hand, and not a subtle surveillance bug they could use to figure out what the actual hell. Caleb! That is NOT HOW PHISHING WORKS.
#5YEARSFORWARD: BIGGEST NO-DUH
The girls’ absolute first move in looking for the backup hard drive is to dig through the Marin pantry carbs.
(TBH the fact that the writers can pay attention enough anymore to even make a callback to this beloved Season One detail deserves a Runner-Up Biggest Surprise award…)
MOST UPVOTED NEW COMMENT ON TRIPADVISOR: ROSEWOOD
On our latest visit to Radley Hotel, we were thrilled to discover their new feature that allows you to learn about the mental patient who previously inhabited your room. It really brought us together as a family to read about the person who was locked in this room, day in and day out, while they recovered from a terrible psychologic trauma! Plus, when all of the banging and wailing started up at night, we knew we could just yell ‘Hey Karl, keep it down!’ and the ghost would actually listen! — Ruth H., October 2016
MOST LIT ALLUSION
Unintentionally, the Twilight Zone episode “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street,” in which an isolated small town neighborhood’s power is shut off and, stuck in the dark, everyone turns on one another.
“The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices – to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill – and suspicion can destroy – and a thoughtless frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own – for the children – and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is – that these things cannot be confined – to the Twilight Zone.”
Intentionally, Downton Abbey, Jeopardy!, The Devil Wears Prada…all pop culture phenoms coded as adult. We get it! These girls aren’t kids anymore! And also they are always in jeopardy!
THAT’S SO FREEFORM
Aria using the ultimate au courant snake person technology to infiltrate Sara’s hotel room: the selfie stick.
Runner-up: every au courant snake person SIGNING THEIR GD TEXTS. We would totally buy this if Caleb had long ago armed each of them with a private app to scramble their phone numbers for any network searching to identify them, but look, we do not write this show. That is not what is going on here.
PREVIOUSLY ON PRETTY LITTLE LIARS
In the mildest of possible retributions for being A’s right-hand Red Coat all those many high school senior years, Emily punched Shower Harvey right in her smug face, at which point Sara fell back and electrocuted her own damn self on the livewire box she’d been planning to use to blow up the Liars and half of Rosewood. Now, #5YearsForward and one dead Charlotte later, Sara is lurching around the haunted street of Rosewood/halls of The Radley making a pitiable showcase of her begloved, burned hands, cattily blaming the Liars for her predicament. Meanwhile SOME OF US HAVE REAL PROBLEMS, SARA, like Emily being so poor from sadness that she has to donate her eggs to get herself some money and a fresh start. Or like the daughter of Veronica’s senate race opposition being a friendlier version of Spencer who is about to be engaged to Toby. Or like the fact that there was a hard-drive backup of the security footage of Aria leaving The Radley the night Charlotte was murdered that Hanna secretly erased, which Ashley had to go steal like she was some lowly bank vault keeper all over again. Or like alt-A blackmailing the girls with a photo of Charlotte’s supposed murder weapon, which supposedly incriminates one of their number (like possibly Byron!). Or like Hanna giving Spencer and Caleb the go ahead to Spaleb already, we’re all mature adults here. Oh wait! THAT isn’t a problem! That’s a gift!
Montgomery Family Summit
Okay, nevermind alt-A and Shower Harvey and Six Flags Mailman and whatever fairy changeling took over Alison DiLaurentis and made her a shell of her former self—what the Liars really need to be using their short time back in Rosewood to investigate is what the hell is wrong with the city’s electric grid, and why everyone left alone in a room without light will just patiently sit there, staring at a wall, until a Liar appears.
Yep, after spending all of last week trying to track her dad down and demand a) why he’s sneaking around The Radley, b) why he left a cryptic answering machine message for Ezra back in 1993, and c) why his 9-iron is missing from the trunk of his car, it turns out that all Aria had to do was wait until it looked like the Montgomery house was empty for the night and walk through the front door. SURPRISE. DAD’S JUST HANGING OUT IN THE DARK.
“Did I scare you?” he asks Aria, bemused, as she stares at him in horror. “Why are you sitting in the dark??” she asks in response. He doesn’t answer her, just launches straight into the secret he’s been keeping that he has to tell her, that he’s certain she figured out already, that he just needs to confess… “I’ve been seeing someone.” Wut. “What?” Aria echoes us.
But before she can ask any more questions, ELLA walks in from around the corner, looking sheepish and sporting a shiny new engagement ring. MAN we do not know what is best about this whole scene—the fact that Byron waited silently on the couch in the dark while Aria stood at the door texting Spencer, or the fact that he refused to acknowledge to Aria the utter creepy weirdness of the way he was waiting for her, or the fact that that whole entire time, Ella was in the other room. LETTING him sit there, alone and silent in the dark.
Anyway, Aria doesn’t notice the ring until after she asks her mom how long she’s known about her dad’s dating sitch and Ella responds, “since he asked me!” But we think Aria deserves a bit of a break, considering how ten seconds ago she was convinced she’d sat down to hear her dad confess to a murderous hate crime. In any case, despite her lingering reservations that her dad is again, still, all the time a terrorizer of young women, she tells them she is happy for them. Furthermore, she doesn’t spoil the mood by reminding them that Mike graduated from A-college and ran away to Beacon Hills to terrorize their local monsters, which is the REAL reason he’s never answering his dorm phone when Byron and Ella call. That Aria, she’s a real peach!
Coffee? Is that what we’re calling it now?
Apparently Spencer and Caleb spend about 90% of their time now in bed. Drinking coffee! Yes, we’re sure that’s why all the blankets are on the floor, coffee. Anyway, Caleb brought this particular cup of coffee because he wants to make sure Spencer is awake when he tells her that he thinks they should…go to the cops.
Caleb! Will you never learn! After ambigousRosewoodnumber years with these girls, you must know by now that just mentioning telling the cops anything activates the high-powered LiarLogic system, threat level: vermillion. And yep, the words have barely left his mouth when Spencer starts arguing, some train of thought that eventually boils down to: if they can just get the golf club murder weapon, everything will be fixed!
As far as alt-A is concerned, Caleb doesn’t think it’s Sara, bc she burnt. But Spencer is like, “Well, she can’t really type, so maybe emoji are easier?” WE’D argue that an alt-A worthy of the name/Mona’s legacy would have developed a way to text with nothing but brainwaves or gtfo, but alas, this alt-A only recently even learned what uniforms are and definitely (spoiler) doesn’t have a healthy respect for the black box nature of modern technology, so, maybe they’re NOT worthy of the name. Emoji-A. Let’s switch to Emoji-A. They can *earn* the title of alt-A back when they really bring their alt-A game.
After they finally get up so that Caleb can feed Spencer before her busy campaign-kid day (Hanna trained him well), Spencer gets an alert on her wrist computer reminding her of a lunch with Veronica’s campaign advisor that she doesn’t even remember scheduling. “You have been pretty distracted lately,” Caleb murmurs while kissing her all up and down her neck and NOT FEEDING HER FOOD. But Spencer doesn’t mind, and neither do we.
Sidebar: WHAT is Spencer wearing? It seems to be a bra in the back, apron in the front, like some sort of reverse lingerie mullet of anti-feminism. Somehow it still looks pretty hot, although that might just be because of all the Spaleb action it is getting.
Don’t go ::broken heart emoji::-ing my ::heart emoji::
At Lucas Loft, Hanna’s ambiguously-accented fiancé is stumbling around dropping (empty) wine bottles all over the place. They overslept and are late for their fancy car. Why are there suddenly so many luxury cars and drivers all over Rosewood? Oh god, we just remembered that time that Ezra hired a limo to drive him and his sixteen-year-old student to a museum on a date. Ah, memories. ::explosion emoji::
Anyway, as Jordan is bumbling around trying to gather their things, Hanna gets an emoji-A text saying, “Bring me the drive or I’ll make you ::broken heart emoji::”. Honestly this is a bit too ambiguous to be properly threatening. You’ll make her upset? You’ll break up her relationship? You’ll give her a heart attack??? But it seems to do the trick, because she makes up an excuse about how she has to be near a landline to make the seven thousand last-minute emergency phone calls her demon fashion boss requires of her, and sends Jordan on his way with promises to follow soon.
Emily x3 Hormonal Macchiatos
It’s a good thing Jordan’s on his way out, because Hanna’s true love Emily has just arrived at Lucas’ door, rolling hard on her last horse shot of egg donation hormones. She’s normally a pretty laid back person, but hormones are NO JOKE, and even just Hanna insisting on referring to Pam by her first name is enough to set her off (although tbh, we’re with Em here, that is a universally awkward social protocol to move on from as an adult).
So what else is really twisting Em’s knickers today? Well: lying to her mom about everything, still, always; the fact that Hanna hasn’t even asked them to be bridesmaids yet; IS she going to ask them to be bridesmaids???; the fact that she’s going to be out of comission for a few days because of the dumb egg procedure; how completely weird that TEXT was; no, not the one from Aria about her parents getting back together; no, not the crazy cynical possibility that Byron might have set it all up to rope Ella in as part of some spousal privilege long game; the fact that OMG did she miss some memo where everyone calls parents by their first names today, for real??
Anyway, no, what really chaps Em’s tits is the text! from Ali! who is back in town!; ugh, the fact that OF COURSE Ali sent a text JUST TO EMILY and now OF COURSE she just expects Em to come running and GOD it’s hard enough to keep ONE secret from her mom and THESE HORMONES ARE JUST—
“Just tell her you’re busy,” Han interrupts.
LOL. We mean, lol at the whole scene, and at the stellar delivery of the most lines Emily has had at one time in forever, but also lol at the reminder that so much of everything the Liars have been through over the years could have been avoided if they’d just known as young teens/remembered as old teens that the best lie they could ever tell was to tell Ali, always, that they were to busy for any of her toxic nonsense.
Em’s like, “I dunno why I didn’t think of that. Oh right—hormones.” But also, Em, you’re the goddamn nicest human being in the whole world. Of course it would never occur to you to intentionally inconvenience anyone else. Good luck on your procedure! You are such a cinnamon roll (in the parlance of the modern internet you Freeformers are all about) that we are sure absolutely nothing terrible will happen and that you will have your most favorite people there with you.
Ella Gives Good Alibi
Back at the Montgomery house, Ella is taking advantage of the fact that it is daylight to speak with her daughter face to face in a not-pitch black room for what apparently is the first time since Aria has returned to Rosewood. “We sprang something pretty big on you last night,” she says, “if you have any concerns, I do want you to share them.”
Aria does have concerns, but since they are mainly of the “for real, is dad a murderer or nah” variety, she abstracts the truth and is just like, yo, sneaky sexy times in THIS family, in THIS town? Maybe not the best move!!
Ella is charmingly (infuriatingly) baffled by this line of reasoning. “What else could you have thought was going on, us sneaking around??” And then she seems to imply that aside from that one exchange Aria had with Byron about Ezra of all people before Charlotte’s release hearing, neither Montgomery parent has made much of an effort to even check in with Aria about how she’s feeling, you know, just about life. DEFINITELY no effort since the night of the hearing, when Charlotte was killed, because that night they were too busy taking advantage of Aria’s Radley sleepover to have an, ahem, sleepover of their own…
Man. What a charmingly (infuriatingly) Rosewood Parent thing to do: use the fact that their child is getting knockdown drunk to distract herself from the fact that her kidnapper and torturer was just let loose as an opportunity to get a little action.
“Maybe we shouldn’t have given you so much space before, during, and after the hearing after all??” Ella asks, to which Aria, to her credit, is like, nope, probably not! But the fact that Ella can charmingly (infuriatingly) provide a real alibi for Byron is enough to make up for that fact, and Aria smiles wide and gives her mom her real blessing.
World’s Most Incriminating Cereal Box Prize
After Jordan leaves and Emily calms down and all of Hanna’s Prada Demon bosses’ racist runway model needs are virtually taken care of, Hanna sets off on a mission to track down that hard drive. You know, so she can avoid that very dire ::broken heart emoji::.
She guesses that since the drive ~conveniently~ went missing right after she told her mom about deleting the file, Mama Marin has pulled one of her classic “totally illegal thing to save Hanna’s ass” moves, so she heads home to confront her. Ashley is stone-faced and evasive—“The only person in the minuscule whole of Rosewood who thinks I stole the drive is YOU, Hanna Banana, so maybe you should start thinking about why you’re so paranoid and stop grinding my gears, hm??”—but Hanna knows better, and tries to get her to hand over the drive so she can hide it. Oh sure, Han, since YOUR “hiding things” track record is so great. What are you going to do, bury it with a martini glass in the courtyard of Tri-Delt’s Manhattan HQ? Finally Ashley gives an inch and tells Hanna the drive has been destroyed—and Hanna should be glad her mistake has been erased. “Now,” says Ashley, “it’s time to think about wedding cakes and bridesmaid dresses and private jets and how another vicious cyber stalker seems to be targeting you and your friends, AGAIN… just like a normal 23 year old!”
Hanna doesn’t believe the drive has been destroyed, though. She figures that since emoji-A (Shower Harvey?) is asking for it, it must be around somewhere. So she enlists Aria to come over and ransack the Marin home for it. And where do they go first? Why, every single box of pasta and cereal and rice and flour in the kitchen. This is not a joke. MONA BLESS YOU, writer-of-this-episode Bryan Holdman, for remembering where Ashley likes to keep her valuables.
Their search is ultimately fruitless (um, actual fruit aside), but Aria has a better idea: what if they just PRETEND to have the drive, to lure Sara out of Radley, so Aria can sneak in and steal the golf club? This plan has all the makings of a total disaster. We’re in!
As in, “Elliot, PLEASE go away.” As in, “Elliot, PLEASE do not act like Alison has ever needed a man to solve her problems or fight her battles ever before, or like she needs one to now.” As in, “Elliot, PLEASE go investigate the basement of the new mental hospital and see if there isn’t a portal to Faerie there after all that might explain where the changeling that is the new Alison came from.”
But also as in, “Dr. Rollins??” Emily says, opening the door of Lucas Loft, and “Elliot, please,” Wren+Ian’s dread doppelganger says in reply. He’s come to apologize on Alison’s behalf, to explain how yes, her behavior was “alienating” but that she really does need her friends now, but Emily’s hearing none of it.
Her reasons are legit, and beyond that, Elliot, Please should know well enough to know the No is a complete sentence, but Em’s Egg Donation discharge instructions catch Elliot, Please’s attention at just the wrong moment, and he ascribes all her hesitation and anger to that one female-specific situation instead. “This wasn’t the right time for me to ask you for anything,” he apologizes, then leaves.
“If I’d have known how upset it would make Emily, I wouldn’t have sought her out,” Elliot, Please tells Ali later that afternoon in the halls of the high school, where she is still working to exorcise her own personal demons. He tried to get in touch with the rest of Ali’s friends, but…::shrug emoji::, to quote emoji-A.
“I’ve done enough to push them away, I don’t want to make them accept my apology now, too,” Ali says, telling Elliot, Please to stand down. Unfortunately, what with Jason and Ken-Dad doing nothing these days to reach out and even talk to Ali at all (jeez), the Liars are the closest thing she has to real family (DOUBLE jeez), and Elliot, Please is not about to let Ali forget that. He’s also not about to let Ali wallow at home alone, if you know what we mean, wink wink—a fact he reminds her of as he strokes her hand in the middle of the school hall, so totally lost in her eyes that he is oblivious to Sara Harvey creeping on them in full black leather and beanie seven lockers away…
Not Out of Character, Out of Practice
So that Campaign Calendar boop that surprised Spencer with the reminder that she had lunch plans with Gil, GWB Reporter? It’s a double surprise! Because when she gets to the Grille, 1) Gil is not there; 2) Gil has no idea he was supposed to be meeting with her; 3) Yvonne IS there; 4) Yvonne thinks they are supposed to be having lunch; and 5) Yvonne thinks it was all Spencer’s idea.
Spencer looks sort of shell-shocked, but plays along so masterfully at least one of your recappers thought she knew what was going on the whole time, and soon enough (after Spencer calls Caleb to update him on the latest possible move of possible emoji-A) the two of them are having a v delightful lunch, chatting about what it’s like having a parent running for office and how they’ve both developed an inherent distrust of others—Yvonne due to a lifetime of politics, and Spencer because of that whole being-kidnapped thing. Spencer declaims on how growing into herself in the crucible that was Rosewood #5YearsBack left her hardened. In response, Yvonne looks her right in the eyes and says warmly, “There’s nothing wrong with being an iron lady, Spencer. In fact, they’re my favorite kind.” Ooh, are they going to kiss now too??
At the end of the lunch, Yvonne pays then jets so fast she accidentally leaves her phone behind, and Spencer does something that she later describes (adorably) as being “not out of character, but definitely out of practice” and grabs the phone to bring back to Caleb like a dog with a hackable tennis ball.
Back at the barn, Caleb is mocking up a fake hard-drive for Hanna to use to bait emoji-A-maybe-Sara. Spencer feels pretty guilty, but Caleb is thrilled to have a second phone that emoji-A has possibly tampered with, because blah blah hacking triangulation blah blah blah, and very quickly they go all moony at each other, which (whoops) makes Hanna super uncomfortable.
After Caleb clones Yvonne’s phone, Spencer takes it back to the Grill and pretends to have found it just outside. Unfortunately, Mona (Mona!) (the Phillips Campaign Coordinator) (MONA!) has beaten her to the scene of the crime. She promises not to tell Yvonne about Spencer’s role in the phone-napping, but Spencer’s sure that she’s been set up. “No, Spencer,” Mona says, too calmly. “We don’t do those kinds of things anymore, do we.”
Meanwhile, Hanna takes the new fake drive to Rosewood’s only back alley, and leaves it wrapped in a brown paper bag in a trash can, as instructed by emoji-A. As she walks away, the camera flash-zooms! right on a fancy black car lurking like a shiny, high-end lurker, and SERIOUSLY. How many luxury hired cars are touring around Rosewood these days that NO ONE HAS NOTICED THIS YET.
Sara, Ya Burnt
Sara knocks on Ali’s classroom door spinning some lies about being lost, but Ali just gives her terse directions and stares until Sara admits that no, okay, she came to see Ali. She meanders thorugh the classroom, weaving a story the whole time about how, after the “accident,” when her hands were still numb and wrapped in bandages, Sara had to be hand-fed by a nurse every day for six months. And every day for six months she resented it, and mistreated everyone who was trying to help her. And now what is she supposed to do herself, but go to some high school class and talk about living with disability as if her experiences might help someone else. UGH, right?
Anyway, Sara does want to help someone—Charlotte. Because she really did care for her, regardless of how hot she burned her at the trial. “I thought of her like a sister, you know?” Sara says, to Charlotte’s ACTUAL SISTER, trying to convince Ali how the two of them have more in common than Ali thinks. Because Sara was there for Charlotte when no one else was! No one in the world knew Charlotte better than the two of them, Sara and Ali, best pals and basically-sisters! Ali’s ears are practically spouting steam.
It is super gross. Everything about Sara’s storyline this season is super gross, disspiritingly ableist (in that the show has now featured two women with disabilities as maybe-villains and definitely-sinister), and just lazy. It’s one thing to parallel story beats from the beginning of the series to make for a more complex mystery now that the girls are older; that’s not what this is. This is just straight cribbing, with a character who can’t possibly be sympathetic because we know nothing of her motives or who she is outside of Charlotte’s dollhouse, suffering an injury in which the Liars’ non-guilt is completely evident. This is not Jenna 2.0. This is Jenna Beta, the trial edition that was never meant for public consumption.
Thankfully, there is just enough of the old Ali left inside that changeling shell that she knows how powerful silence is, and it is that with which she responds to Sara’s insane ramblings, maintaining eye contact as she gathers her things, stands, and leaves without saying a single word.
And Sara? She apparently loves every minute of it.
Sorry, Em—There’s No Escaping #Emison
Straightaway, Alison heads over to Lucas Loft in the hopes she’ll work up the nerve to actually knock on the door and beg Emily to help her process. Fortunately, Emily opens the door before Alison can make up her mind not to knock after all. Unfortunately, it’s because she is on her way out.
“Just can I talk to you for two minutes,” Ali asks, storming in anyway. “Sara just came to see me, at the school, where I WORK, where I am supposed to be SAFE.” (She didn’t actually attend Rosewood High long enough to understand how laughable that expectation actually is, remember.) “I think she knew Charlotte better than we all suspected.”
“Why would you believe anything she says,” Em says exhaustedly, incredulous that *she* has to remind *Alison* that there are cruel, manipulative people running around the world. That’s all the time she’ll spare for Ali’s tales of woe, though—she’s got an appointment to get to.
“…” Ali says silently, just staring. “Oh GREAT, SURE. OF COURSE Elliot, Please told you everything already, awesome. Well they are my eggs, and I make my own choices!!!”
See: silence. It’s the key to everything.
Anyway, no, Elliot, Please didn’t tell Ali anything about Em’s medical plans. Hm! Maybe he really IS a doctor who cares about the welfare of humanity in general, and not just one girl’s care and comfort! He’s still a dread Wren-Ian amalgam, though.
So Ali insists on accompanying Emily to the hospital, since Hanna had to head back to NYC to wrangle the Devil’s fashion show and Emily, inexplicably (and inexplicably un-angstily) still hasn’t come clean to Aria and Spencer. She promises to be right by Emily’s side when she wakes up, and it is clear that Em is grateful to have someone there who knows and loves her, when everything is said and done, even if it is Ali.
The procedure itself goes well, but because Emily Fields attracts tragedy like comets to the g-d sun, her story can’t possibly end on a happy note. First, Emily’s PTSD rears up when she’s coming out of the anaesthesia and she hallucinates Sara sneaking into her room dressed like a nurse, putting something in her IV and holding her arms down on the bed while Em thrashes helplessly. Or… was it a hallucination after all?
Ali comes in and reassures Emily that everything is alright; she’s been keeping guard. But THEN the nurse returns to break the news to Emily that the couple who had been waiting for Emily’s eggs just found out they’re pregnant naturally, and so are backing out. That’s a good thing, on the whole, but now Emily has a hard decision—store her eggs for a fee she can’t afford, or destroy them?
Smart and kind as she is, Emily picks option 3: donate to an egg bank. But not even THAT generous, good decision lets her off the hook for a happy ending, because now emoji-A has her number, and a very precious thing to hold ransom until Emily, somehow, magically, turns in Charlotte’s killer.
The Devil Wears Claudia
So, we’re a little concerned that several minutes of The Devil Wears Prada was accidentally spliced into the middle of the episode—did that happen for anyone else? Except it seems to have been recast, with some sour-faced redheaded lady standing in for the inimitable Meryl, and…oh! It’s Hanna! Hanna as Anne Hathaway! Nevermind, this is the right show after all.
So recall, when she wasn’t busy searching for electronics at the bottom of every noodle box in her kitchen, Hanna spent the entire day running herself (and her phone skills) ragged making sure her Hell Bitch Demon Boss had seventeen hundred packs of peppermint gum at her fingertips—not to mention finding six extra feet of runway the night before a trunk show and firing a whole suite of models and replacing them with “Asians. I’m very into Asians” (egads, we’re just quoting here). But alas, no amount of ninja assistant skills are enough for the Fashion Satan, who unceremoniously dumps Hanna and her panda mug for arriving back in New York five minutes late.
This of course sucks for Hanna, who earlier in the episode had outlined how this job fit into her five-year plan to ascend to the heights of pop icon stylist (although she was planning to make it happen in three, naturally). But HANNA, y’all, HANNA MOTHER F-ING MARIN: When she realizes she’s been canned, instead of groveling to get her position back, she remembers just how few fucks her own Rosewood crucible left for her to give, and she just whips out that Marin mouth and tells Runway Hades how it is: You’re a bitch, and GET YOUR OWN DAMN GUM.
It’s not until she’s back in the fancy limo outside (seriously, is Jordan emoji-A?) that the regrets catch up to her. But Jordan is—as usual—all too ready with words of kindness and connections to help. He’ll call some people connected with the magazine he…owns?…and she’ll have interviews lined up in no time. And in the meantime, they can do whatever she wants. And what she wants is not to go back to Rosewood, nor to their New York apartment—she just wants to drive. Ok, Han, you know you’re going to run out of road or gas EVENTUALLY… but bon voyage until then.
C’mon, Team Sparia!
So Hanna made good on her end of the newest LiarLogic plan, dropping the fake hard-drive on the other end of town (lol) in order to lure Sara out of her hotel room long enough that Aria can break in and look for the golf club emoji-A has been taunting them with. That is, presuming the 9-iron really is the murder weapon, and presuming Sara really is emoji-A, and presuming emoji-A-Sara is trying to use the golf club to frame Aria’s dad, and presuming reality is even reality.
But those are all things the Liars DO presume! And so Aria books the room next to Sara’s, and moves in ready to surveil. There’s an initial close call, when Aria hears the strains of Final Jeopardy wafting through Sara’s door, and worries that Sara’s still inside… and another close call, when Aria overhears Sara screaming at Ashley about how DARE the housekeepers clean her room when she doesn’t even EAT BRUNCH (okay, that is a step too far, Sara) and then Sara creepily stares back at Aria staring at her through the peephole. But eventually Sara disappears (almost literally), and Spencer arrives, lock-picks in tow, and NOW Aria is ready to investigate.
Honestly, we suspect whatever window Hanna’s fake drop opened for them, it’s closed by now. But Team Sparia leaping The Radley’s newly installed cement balconies (no way they were in the original mental hospital plans…or wait…maybe, actually) and ribbing each other over snake people technology and freaking the eff out at the true body horror that is Sara’s many glove mannequin hands is just so charming, who are we to complain?
Aria heads to the closet to investigate (“It’s bigger than my whole apartment!” said no one until now about a standard hotel room’s closet), and Spencer heads to the dresser. Spencer strikes gold almost immediately—creepy, crawly, gloved mannequin arm gold. Or rather, the set of rolled-up blueprints for Radley Sanitarium and The Radley Hotel, the former with a big red circle in the center labeled “CHARLOTTE” that, when overlaid with the latter, reveals the true reason Sara’s stayed in Rosewood all these weeks: she’s in Charlotte’s old Radley room.
“Aria!” Spencer calls excitedly over her shoulder, repeating herself when Aria doesn’t respond. After the third failed try, Spencer gets worried and crosses to the closet to see if the armless mannequins presumably stashed within ate her. When she opens the door to reveal no Aria, but yes a giant hole broken through the back of the closet, revealing a ladder descending into many stories of darkness, we wish we hadn’t joked about those mannequins. Aria’s missing! In the guts of the old Radley! Which a purportedly disabled Sara Harvey has been digging her way through to with what are presumably two perfectly good hands!!
Can’t spell “conspiracy” without “confidence,” and Sara’s got that in spades.
Caleb sits in a darkened room, doing all of his Hacking Things. There are letters, and files, and drives. The text is green! Lines of code run up and down the screen! Yeah, we don’t know what is happening but through his mirror of Yvonne’s phone, he ends up on the Phillips Campaign HQ cloud drive. Mona’s got a computer on there… Yvonne does too… but he’s most intrigued by the red folder labeled HASTINGS OPPOSITION RESEARCH. Which, of course, is password protected—but this is Caleb we’re talking about. He just needs to find Yvonne’s childhood stuffed animal’s middle name, and he’s all set!
::computer emoji:: ::explosion emoji:: ::sad face emoji::
Not too far away, in another darkened lair, Emoji-A plugs in Hanna’s fake drive to its laptop, and boots it up… only for Hacker Caleb’s hacker face to fill the screen, laughing maniacally. Well, no, but he does loom imposingly and say “If you can change the rules? So can we.” Then a virus takes over emoji-A’s laptop and shuts everything the fuck down. BOOM.
Emoji-A sadly closes the laptop, throws it in the trash, takes off their creepy old man mask and gloves, and leaves Rosewood forever and never bothers the girls again. Psych! That was good for the drama, Caleb, and we totally get the urge to slash and burn every hint of new cyberstalking before it grows real legs, but what a dumb move—now emoji-A knows where you are and what you’ve got.
Is it possible that more than one person in Rosewood has a hard-on for crazy person revenge? Is it possible that Detective Roma Maffia is returning to emotionally assault the girls for being victims yet again? Is it possible that Mona and Ali will get back their teeth, and use them to rip Sara’s throat out? TUNE IN.
In the interim, keep your eye on murdercAbin! We will be rolling out a whole pack of 2016 PLL Galentines all week and weekend, because (#banmen) we love you.
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.
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.