#5YEARSFORWARD: BIGGEST SHOCK/BEST SURPRISE
Nothing to joke about this week: the reveal that one major factor in the dissolution of Spencer and Toby’s relationship was a pregnancy scare in her sophomore year, the flashback for which was completely carried by Troian Bellisario’s serious acting chops. For all the serious ethical missteps PLL has had in the past (and present), this topic at least was handled with nuance, kindness, and respect.
#5YEARSFORWARD: BIGGEST NO-DUH
All of the men of Rosewood make important decisions for the women in their lives, and then get mad when the women aren’t completely thrilled.
MOST UPVOTED NEW COMMENT ON TRIPADVISOR: ROSEWOOD
“Our car broke down outside of Rosewood, and this was the only garage in town. I guess they did a good job because the car eventually started again, only now it makes this strange wailing noise any time I drive it over 25 mph, and I may be crazy but I feel like someone’s following me. Also, it’s kind of weird that they make you pay by filling an envelope with cash and leaving it tucked into a secret location within the garage. Hasn’t Rosewood heard of AmEx? Two stars.”
– Leon, 2016
MOST LIT ALLUSION
“Did you see what I did with the bridge? I wanted to make it a metaphor for…” “Yes, I got it.” Ezra is every enthusiastic litbro taking his first college creative writing class. Aria is every world-weary TA, who just can’t believe it’s 2017 and stupid boys are still writing stories in which a bridge is a metaphor for connecting two things.
THAT’S SO FREEFORM
Continuing to push its nefarious Ezria propoganda on us while simultaneously writing Liam as one of a v. v. v. small handful of genuinely good male characters on this show.
PREVIOUSLY ON PRETTY LITTLE LIARS
Melissa’s broken suitcase handle matched the murder weapon description. Yvonne’s abortion secret got leaked and Caleb took the blame. Emily found the maybe-murder weapon, lost the maybe-murder weapon, and leapt to many conclusions. Hanna planned Ella’s wedding instead of her own. Aria used her newfound minister-ness to join Ali and Elliot, Please in holy matrimony. Please.
Liars’ Post-Wedding Summit
The Liars are packing up the remains of Ella’s dignity Ella and Byron’s wedding the next morning, and gossiping about Ali and Elliot Please’s midnight nuptials. Each girl responds exactly how you would expect:
Aria: “Actually, it was kind of romantic.” (All I want is to speed-wed a much-older man in the middle of the night.)
Emily: “Ali is just desperate for family.” (My dad died and my eggs were kidnapped, guys.)
Hanna: “She’s smart. No stressful bridal shower!” (Is it that obvious that I don’t actually want to get married at all?)
Spencer’s not there, but we assume she would say something like, “It’s probably a ploy to entice Ali out of the country, leaving Sara Harvey available to cover up the evidence about Charlotte! If only we can find the socks Ali wore last Wednesday, we can prove it! Don’t tell the cops.” (We can only assume the inside of Spencer’s head plays at 5x speed, chipmunk style.) IRL, though, Spencer is off still dealing with the Yvonne fall out, which sucks for Caleb (and Spence) but is also necessary because the cops can’t know about any of this. Cue five straight minutes of LiarLogic™ so speedy and complicated we can’t properly recap it. Just know it basically involves the fact that they can’t go to the cops, which is what all LiarLogic™ boils down to anyway.
Aria’s flipping through photos from the night before on her camera and finds one she’s in, and lest we not forget that Aria was into photography last season five years ago, she points out that hey! She didn’t take this one! She zooms in on a note on the table. “Give Me the Killer” it says in a curly wedding script. She clicks to the next picture. “By Election Night.” “Or You Lose.”
Going In Circles
For like the fifth week in a row, Emily doesn’t have much of a storyline, other than someone trying to run her over/steal her eggs/generally ruin her life. She’s on the hunt for the monster truck that tried to plow her down last week, and is now of the belief that Melissa definitely killed Charlotte. She tells Hanna this on the phone as she walks down Rosewood’s only street when a loud car interrupts their conversation. “I’ve heard that sound before,” she says. HMMM OH YEAH WHERE COULD THAT HAVE BEEN?
Emily hangs up and heads to the Punky Brewster where she hears the noise again. “Yeah, ugh,” Ezra complains. The noise she hears is whistle tips – Woo! Woo! – installed on a truck, and it’s really messing with Ezra’s ability to concentrate, sleep, stalk Aria, and be America’s Next Great Writer. Good job, whistle tips, tell us your secrets!
Emily tracks down a seedy auto shop that installs whistle tips. It’s filled with Hells Angels-types who have never once laid a single beard hair in Rosewood proper. The owner is a greasy woman in a jumpsuit who refuses to help Emily with her queries. So duh, Emily sneaks around and finds the truck in question hidden under a sheet. She snaps a photo, but the owner sneaks up and catches her, admitting “I probably loaned it to a friend or sumpin.” Oh yeah? Did your friend look…..LIKE THIS? Emily holds up her phone to show the world’s most hilariously weird photo of Melissa.
Anyway, no. The friend did not look like that. Emily accomplished zero things this episode. Poor Emily.
A Fighting Chance
At House of Hastings, Spencer is sitting uncomfortably next to Father Peter, who is back in town and back to being a dick as per ushj. Although maybe that is just because Spencer is dressed like the lost fifth member of a hipster barbershop quartet, and he’s more of a jazz fan. Anyway, Peter wants Spencer to issue a “statement” distancing herself from Caleb, because Toby put out a statement of support for Yvonne, so Spencer needs to show the same level of commitment, statement-wise. She’s shocked and really, so are we. Are state Senate campaigns really this big a deal? Where is this statement printed? The Rosewood church bulletin?
Toby sure thinks it’s a big deal, because he shows up at Hastings Manor pissed as hell—and understandably! It’s a low blow, and Yvonne isn’t even a candidate. When Caleb walks in, Toby basically attacks him. Spencer tries to get Caleb to admit that he didn’t do it, but he refuses to come clean. Toby grabs his shirt and yells in his face, but Caleb only says he did what he had to do. AND SO Toby dramatically punches him in the face, flinging Caleb back about fourteen feet.
Spencer and Caleb obviously haven’t gotten the news that the whole world is watching this small-town state senate race, so they relocate to a very public nearby park under a romantic tree. The mood is a bit sexier while she cleans the tiniest amount of blood off his upper lip. Spencer thinks that maybe it isn’t Shower Harvey who is doing this anymore. At least, she’s pretty sure it was Toby who punched Caleb. “I’m not going to let anyone hurt you,” Caleb promises. Which isn’t very reassuring coming from someone who just got his ass kicked. They kiss anyway. Sigh.
And, of course, the eyes of the relentless press are always watching. Or at least Peter has a stalker on retainer, because the next time Spencer is home he blindsides her, yelling about how “Caleb was in the house! And on a park bench! HOW DARE YOU.” He’s a reeeeeeal dick about it and Spencer is not having it. “You can’t ask me to cut someone out of my life,” she says. “DO I LOOK LIKE I’M ASKING,” Peter yells—Peter who hasn’t been around for at least three seasons. Peter who has a secret son with the neighbor’s wife. Peter who has probably killed someone with a shovel or baseball bat or porcelain face mask or rat poison and buried them in that freaking cemetery he calls a flower bed, BUT LOL YEAH OKAY, PETER. Dear men of Rosewood: STOP TELLING US WHAT TO DO.
Feeling peckish, Spencer heads to BrewTube where she’s confronted by Mona. “Is this how you thank me for using my magic earring power to get your mom’s medical records?” she yells. Spencer’s like “I mean but did you leak the Yvonne thing? Cuz it’s kinda vintage Mona.” No, Spencer, not only did Mona not leak the Yvonne info, the leak caused the Phillips campaign to go over All The Files with a fine toothed comb and they found out about her helping Spencer and fired her. Her future is ruined! RUINED!
Frequent Liar Miles
Spencer’s other Problem this week, is, as usual, Melissa. She’s jet-setted back to London post-haste (“Does she have a special fugitive rate from the airline?”). Peter tells Spencer she’s fled not because she killed Charlotte, but because she was being blackmailed for killing Bethany. Those don’t sound mutually exclusive to us, but okay. Anyway, someone threatened Melissa with a tape of her confessing to Bethany’s murder. She paid up, but then Charlotte got offed and Melissa was spooked, so she disappeared to London for awhile. The end.
After the shower, Spencer meets up with Toby at Brewington Acres in his cop costume UNIFORM, prompting the conclusion of a series of dark-hued, somber flashbacks Spencer’s been having all episode. It’s her sophomore year of college, and she and Toby are seated uncomfortably and silently in her dimmed dorm room, waiting three minutes for (presumably) a pregnancy test to ripen. No one ever says the words pregnancy, or abortion, or baby (#ThatsSoNOTFreeform) so they could just be waiting for the latest Avengers movie to download or whatever, but we’re going to give them the benefit of the doubt. Toby is all gung-ho, and explains to a skeptical and defensive Spencer just exactly how this will all work out: he’s going to move to DC (“Into my dorm room?”), they’re going to start their Adult Lives now (“I’m a sophomore”), why wait? (“I have plans.”)
As they talk it becomes clear that, as Toby says, when they’re picturing their future together, they’re “not looking at the same picture.” It’s painful, it’s poignant, it’s real—and it shows us clearly that Spencer’s empathy for Yvonne comes from somewhere deep and true. And so when she calls Yvonne up at the end of the episode, saying she’s truly, truly sorry and there if Yvonne ever needs to talk, we know she means it.
Back at the Brew, Toby snaps his fingers in front of Spencer’s face and is like “um, I have places to be…” so she quickly tells him what she came there to say: Caleb didn’t do it, he’s just taking the blame because A’s back. Or Copy Cat A. Evil Emoji. WHATEVER. This new tormenter thinks the Liars know who killed Charlotte and he’s trying to ruin their lives over it. Yvonne was just collateral damage. “I couldn’t have you thinking I’d ever judge Yvonne for making that choice,” Spencer says. “Not after we almost had to make that choice.”
Toby leaves and Spencer gets a new text:
Text reads: You didn’t take me seriously, so I thought I’d light a *fire emoji* under your ass.
Now that Hanna has officially said the name of a day in the year, it’s bridal shower time! As in, immediately; as in, tonight. Ashley is in full planning mode, asking Hanna about a vintage board game called “Naughty or Nice” with a creepy angel/devil picture that will definitely get co-opted and used by Evil Emoji at some point this season. She’s wondering if it’s too risqué for the shower, which, bee-tee-dubs Hanna would just rather… not. Like, any of it. Hey, Hanna—Aria’s still ordained, right?! Ali can’t come to the shower anyway because she’s honeymooning on an Amish dairy farm. Ashley suggests Hanna invite Mona. It’s rare for all her friends to be in the same place! “Uh yeah,” Hanna rolls her eyes, “we’re here because of MURDER.”
Later, at the Radley, Ashley is Businessing when she hears Caleb asking for a room at the front desk, because apparently EVERY SINGLE HOTEL room in Rosewood is booked. How many friends does Hanna have coming up from New York?? Is it all the press covering the great Hastings/Phillips senate race? IS IT FULL OF GHOSTS? Probably ghosts. Ashley senses a lost soul and offers Caleb his old digs in the guest room at Marin Mansion, but he refuses.
Over at Lucas’ Loft of Living Your Dreams, everyone’s decorating for the shower. Ashley walks in with an iPad that basically controls every aspect of the house, which isn’t foreshadowy at all, because the girls have never ever been attacked by fancy showers or freezers or sawmills or airplanes or technology in general. Ashley tried to turn on the AC but got Beyonce instead, so she asks Hanna to help her with this newfangled doo-dad. While Hanna is pressing buttons, Ashley mentions running into Caleb and offering him the guest room. Hanna freaks out over this, accusing Ashley of liking Caleb more than Jordan, which… well. She might be projecting just a little bit.
More Like Bridal (Blood) Bath
The bridal shower turns out to be quite a fancy affair full of strange women who are apparently Hanna’s NYC Fashion Friends, and so to impress them Hanna is wearing a white lacy bustier, which later turns out to be attached to a lampshade-like skirt. It’s Very ugly. FASHION.
The doorbell mercifully interrupts all of the standing-around-awkwardly that everyone was doing. It’s Mona! She brought a gift even though we should be the ones laying gold, frankincense and myrrh at her pedicured feet. Her gift is the Wedding Dream Book she and Hanna made in middle school (d’awww), featuring collages of their dream celeb crush weddings. Ashley invites her in, despite the girls’ iciness, and then tries to get everyone to play trivia games about the bride and groom, which nosedives when it turns out no one knows anything about Hanna or Jordan. “They met at a… work function? No! …Party?” It’s Tinder, Emily. Tinder.
“Yeah, okay, great! Let’s just do shots,” Hanna says, trying to change the subject. “Also is it hot in here? Someone give me that iPad.” She tries to turn the air down but an alarm blares instead, and also heavy metal music. Then the power goes out. Then a very strong fan begins to blow. Aria gets up to pick up a stray gift bag when the fireplace explodes into flames. Aria—whose entire wardrobe is HIGHLY flammable—is caught in the literal crossfire.
Aria continues to be unable to talk to Ezra (ugh) over the phone, so she has to go over to his house to talk to him about the whole book situation. She can’t stay, because Liam (::angel emoji::), but she asks what Ezrugh wants to do and by golly! She’s in luck! Ezrugh has handled (mandled?) it for her by going around her and telling her boss Jillian that Aria wrote the chapters. Even though this could totally get Aria fired, and even though he didn’t ask her what she wanted even a little bit, Ezrugh thinks he is some sort of savoir type for doing it, because he’s pitched Aria as a co-writer on the book with him (“man/woman in dialogue!”), and Jillian seems into it.
Liam takes Aria to brunch where she repays him the kindness by telling him about the book thing. Ezrugh did it, she says, almost by accident! “Nope,” says Liam. “He didn’t fall off a bicycle. He made a decision.” He’s SO RIGHT but he does feel bad for getting a bit snappish with her, because he’s perfect. Writing with Ezrugh is a good idea, he admits, and he’s happy for her.
So, Ezrugh and Aria meet up to write, or at least to say writery words. They are literally just passing a laptop back and forth. Two words for you guys: Google Drive. “What are your thoughts on metaphors? Also powerful female characters! I heart a good juxtaposition,” Ezrugh blabbers. Aria interrupts this to ask why he did it—kindly invited her to be a coauthor on the book SHE WROTE. “Nicole’s voice was taken away and I want to give it back,” Ezrugh says. Hey, Ez? Aria’s (Or Nicole’s!) voice isn’t something for you to GIVE TO THE WORLD. IT’S HER GODDAMN OWN.
Out Of Line
Knock knock! Heeerrrrreeee’s Tanner!
She wants to speak to Aria alone and Ezrugh goes into attack mode before Aria has to shush him and command he get back into his kennel. Tanner says an eyewitness from the Two Crows saw someone call the DiLaurentis’ house on the night of Charlotte’s murder, and Aria fits the description. Aria’s like “it’s not me bitch, and I’ve never ever even BEEN to that diner, on the corner of Main Street and Other Street, at 2 AM that night of the murder.” Good, Tanner says, then we can eliminate you as a suspect.
So Aria gets to be in a lineup! She looks incredibly shady and nervous; good job Aria.
After the lineup, Aria stalks around outside the station behind some bushes, waiting for whoever was supposed to be identifying the caller. Someone with a blonde pixie cut leaves, so Aria stomps back in and demands that Tanner tell her if the eyewitness was Sara Harvey, because that’s definitely a thing you can do. She sees the file on Tanner’s desk and while Tanner’s on the phone, she pulls the old “spill coffee on the thing above the thing you want to look at” trick.
Aria’s trickery is about as subtle as her sweater collection.
Tanner has to pick up the coffee-file and Aria can read the writeup beneath, which says that whoever made the call had a keychain with pink dice. “Five years ago you found me underground,” Aria says. “I just thought you’d take me seriously.” Tanner is an ice cold bitch. “I take everything seriously. Too seriously. For example: this hideous suit I’m wearing. Now leave.”
Aria’s in the hospital when she gets the Evil A text and Ezrugh shows up all panicked, because how dare Aria have an experience he’s not included in. He offers to bring her home, but the doctors want to keep her overnight. Luckily, he’s prepared for that too: he’s brought her reading material, some of his sweatpants (LOL, how does he part with them??), gummy bears. He is the MOST patronizing, telling her not to be scared—it was an accident! WHERE IS LIAM.
Fuck you, Ezra, Aria doesn’t say. She does say, “It wasn’t an accident.” But then she says it’s actually nothing; she shouldn’t have been standing so close to the fireplace in those highly flammable clothes she wears. Oooof. Hi, Aria. BEING ATTACKED IS NEVER. YOUR. FAULT.
Ezrugh is reading to Aria from a very dull fashion magazine when she interrupts him to admit that she had “creative baggage” too—she wanted to make him proud. Because he is BASICALLY HER FATHER. Thank god they’re rescued from this horrifying pronouncement by Liam appearing; his phone died just outside of Philly but he felt that “decent man” bat-signal tugging him back. He shakes Ezrugh’s hand warmly and thanks him for being there, and lets Aria know that Jillian approved the book. He kisses Aria, and basically he’s the best, and YET she still has the gall to look conflicted. ugHHHHHH!!!
In the waiting room at the hospital, Hanna apologizes to Ashley for being a Bridezilla. We think she’s sort of been the opposite of a Bridezilla (instead of wanting to control every aspect of her wedding, she just doesn’t want it to happen at all) but she definitely hasn’t been the nicest. She promises to bring Jordan around more often. Ashley wants to know why she iced out Mona. Clearly Hanna means a great deal to her – what’s up? This entire show is people saying “nothing, it’s nothing” when it’s definitely something.
Mona stayed to help Emily clean up and found her wedding book all burnt up, which she takes as a metaphor for her life: good intentions that look like trash. You’ll never be trash to us, Mona! As she walks off to her car, Emily sees that Mona is the hot brunette with a pink dice keychain from the eyewitness report.
“Was it you? Did you call Charlotte from Two Crows?” Emily asks. Mona says “I can’t tell you about that.” To which Emily responds, “Get in that car bitch,” not for the first time probably.
At the Auto Shop, the lady owner pulls an envelope from underneath the SUV, holding a shit ton of cash money. …Huh?
Everything that’s already happened is happening again! And if that isn’t an apt descriptor of this show, spinning its wheels in its 6th season, we don’t know what is.
CAtie and RosemAry