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Title: Pretty Little Liars S7.E01: “Tick-Tock, Bitches”

Good citizens of Rosewood! Welcome back for another season of the craziest show we’re probably too old to be watching (J/K, never). Sadly, Alexis and Catie have had to step down from recapper duties, but you can still find Alexis recapping Jane the Virgin. Catie’s in med school, so to find her you might have to go to the ER or something and I can’t recommend that in good conscience. I’ll try to fill their shoes in the only way I know how: snark and Ezra-bashing. LET’S DO THIS.

AWARDS

THIS WEEK’S MVP

Mona generally gets my MVP vote simply for showing up, but this week she was especially on-point, offering up invaluable ideas and rallying the troops by reminding them of their awesomeness, even though she has more awesomeness in a single bedazzled earring than the rest of them do combined. She is nothing if not charitable.

THIS WEEK’S LVP

It hurts me to do this, but Caleb has fallen long and hard from grace. He used to be the only respectable dude on this show and now he’s spending the whole episode being a total dick to Spencer, who told him she loved him about 18 hours ago and who is maybe still his girlfriend. But then again, neither relationship statuses nor time are to be trusted in this town. It’s like, OMG we get it. You pick Hanna. WELL WE PICKED YOU CALEB, AND YOU LET US ALL DOWN.

BIGGEST SHOCK/BEST SURPRISE

Literally nothing about this episode was surprising. Every character did what they have always done, and the writers…did what they have always done. Le sigh.

BIGGEST NO-DUH

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MOST UPVOTED NEW COMMENT ON TRIPADVISOR: ROSEWOOD

“Booked a room at the Lost Woods Resort hoping to have a relaxing, quiet weekend, but the resort is crawling with intense millenials, rifling through everyone’s belongings like rabid raccoons. When I reported this to the owner, she simply sipped her tea and told me I was very inquisitive? One star.” – Jerry, West Virginia

PREVIOUSLY ON PRETTY LITTLE LIARS

YOU GUYS. What even did happen on PLL last season? Like our newly of-age Liars, I must’ve been wine drunk for every episode because my memories of 6B are fuzzy at best. I do remember teaching myself how to use Tumblr for the sole purpose of looking at Spaleb GIFs (I WILL GO DOWN WITH THIS SHIP). And there are some Ezria memories that the self-preservation part of my brain has replaced with roaring flames. Emily was so broke she was selling her eggs and had nary a romantic partner in sight, while Hanna had a rich fiancé, made out with Caleb, AND had Lucas offering her a million dollars and possibly some weird sex stuff to start her own fashion line in Rosewood.

As for Alison, visions of her zombie mom turned out to be Jessica D’s twin sister Mary Drake assisted by Alison’s new hubby Elliot (mother and lover of Charlotte, respectively). With a bit of bad makeup and a couple of Wilden masks, they successfully convinced Alison to check herself into a mental hospital so they could steal all the money she apparently had.

Oh yeah, and someone (???) killed Charlotte, and someone else thinks the Liars did it, and started torturing them with off-brand emojis before kidnapping Hanna and dragging her to the MurderChurch. #SaveHanna

THIS WEEK

As every PLL season premiere should begin and possibly has, the Liars-sans-Hanna are in the woods, covered in mud, crying, and, of course, digging a grave. How could we let this happen, and There has to be another way, they sob. Spencer yells that whatever plan they had ended in first-degree murder, so no, there is no other way. CUE CREDITS.

FOUR DAYS EARLIER

Picking up where the 6B finale ended, the gang is headed across town to City Hall, where Toby will use his Rosewood PD clout (LOL) to come clean about everything that happened at the Lost Woods Resort. But before they get there, they see Jessica DiLaurentis’ long lost twin walking down Rosewood’s only street and right into City Hall. Toby barges in after her, flashing his plastic badge, and she tells him she just bought the Lost Woods and is there to report a break-in. Toby turns tail and goes back outside to tell the Scooby gang, but he’s interrupted by a group text:

A lie for a lie, an eye for an eye. The bell tolls for Hanna. – AD

Suddenly, the church bells are, indeed, a’tolling. The gang rushes to the church where they find Hanna hanging from the belfry. Except turns out it isn’t Hanna but rather a LIFE SIZE HANNA DOLL with a pull string.

“You have 24 hours to get me Charlotte’s real killer,” the doll says, “or Hanna dies. Tick-tock, bitches.” My nightmares will never be the same again.

23 HOURS, 30 MINUTES LEFT

Since Spencer’s parents are on a Just-Won-An-Election victory cruise, the gang declares her house Catch Amoji HQ and doubles down to figure out who killed Charlotte. Ezra’s like “How can we solve this new mystery in 24 hours when we couldn’t solve the OG mystery in six years?” Our Mona of the Holy Souls points out that they never all worked together as a Scooby gang before. Now, they are three Liars, three bed buddies, and one Khaleesi strong, which surely is enough brain power and murder know-how to figure out who killed Charlotte. 

First order of business: take a whodunit vote by writing on slips of paper and drawing them from a bowl, as though they are voting for Beta Club secretary and not trying to catch a murderer. Most of the gang votes for Alison, while Mona and Spencer vote for each other probably. Aria remembers the night she and Ezra snuck out of the Radley hotel. They saw Charlotte, wearing Alison’s red hoodie, getting out of Alison’s car, and going into the church, but you know, on second thought, maybe that was just Alison they saw after all. Emily balks at this – Alison has no motive. Toby’s like “Um, am I the only one here who remembers that she blinded a chick?” and Spencer, compromising, points out that Charlotte was mad about Elliot and Alison being together, so it’s possible Alison killed Charlotte in self defense.

They get another group text from AD then: a black and white photo of Hanna with a bloody lip looking like an American Apparel ad tortured. Mona thinks Mary Drake is the fastest way to Hanna, so they decide to tail her.

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That’s what happens when there’s only one road in your town.

Emily goes straight to the mental hospital to try to convince Elliot to let Ali out. Obviously, Alison was seeing her mom’s twin and not a zombie version of her mother walking around town. But Elliot tells her that Alison’s had a complete psychotic break paired with a lot of shame. Probably from extreme guilt but we don’t know what that could be! ::shrugs:: Alison screams from her room and Emily watches as Alison thrashes around until she’s pumped full of medication.

18 HOURS LEFT

At the Lost Woods Resort, they watch Mary Drake unload some dubious looking duffle bags from a pedo van. When she leaves, Caleb of the Newfound Toxic Masculinity snaps at Spencer that they don’t all need to tail her, so he and Mona leave while Toby and Spencer break in to see what she was unloading. Toby deftly picks the lock, which we all know is the fastest way to Spencer’s heart and pants (RIP SPALEB). Inside, they find that the bags were full of textbooks. Chemistry, German, German Chemistry. Also a passport that puts Mary Drake on a flight from Heathrow to Philly about a week before Charlotte died. However, being the super sleuths they are, neither of them noticed this TOTALLY NOT DAMNING textbook on Mask Making sitting right on the shelf:

Across town, Ezria breaks into the DiLaurentis house looking for any clues, but Elliot comes home and they have to hide in the closet as a metaphor for the de-gaying of PLL probably. They watch as Elliot fetches a key from the wall sconce and opens the bench at the foot of the bed. It’s filled with black hoodies! And black backpacks! He grabs a backpack, then goes to get his old timey medical bag from the living room, opens it to make sure all his medieval torture devices are accounted for, then heads back into the bedroom. He opens the closet door, but of course, Aria and Ezra are gone.

Meanwhile, Hanna is being kept in a dark barn, stripped to a tank top and a pair of panties. (Which, by the way, introduces an all new bone-chilling element to this story line. All the A’s before might’ve been murderous creeps, but at least they weren’t rapey murderous creeps.) (Except Ezra, of course.) She’s being tortured with a water hose and a cattle prod and it’s absolutely terrible.

Everyone has left Alison alone for the moment, so Emily sneaks into her room and keeps asking her if she killed Charlotte, even though Alison is obviously unconscious. This is what Emily’s story has become: she is so desperately lonely, she talks to unconscious people and expects them to talk back. Suddenly, Alison jerks awake and says something along the lines of “Oh god, please forgive me!” which Emily, bless, takes as a concrete confession to Charlotte’s murder.

7 HOURS LEFT

Caleb and Mona watch Mary Drake buy literally everything you would need to cover up a murder, including charcoal.

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Mona, I am so glad the Lord of Light chose to resurrect you.

They trail Mary’s pedo van to Spencer’s house. When Spencer answers the door, Mary asks if her parents are home. Even though they are on their political victory cruise, Spencer invites Mary in for tea and small talk. Mary tells her that Jessica D turned everyone against her, then warns Spencer to lock the doors as she leaves. Casual. Mary’s visit to Spencer’s house seems totally pointless except for the fact that she was looking for Spencer’s parents – why would she do that? 

Back at Lost Woods, Caleb and Mona watch Mary talking on the phone. They tap in and hear her talking to a British man, triangulating the signal to a bar called Snookers. Aria is tasked with going to the bar and finding the British man, but she literally has, like, one beer before giving up and going back to spend the night with Ezrugh. YOU HAD ONE JOB ARIA AND IT WASN’T EVEN A HARD JOB OMG.

Emily goes to Alison’s house, sneaks by a sleeping Elliot and up to Ali’s old room, where the Emison shippers are spoon fed a kissing flashback before Emily finds a boxed marked “Goodwill.” Inside, under approximately twenty yellow tank tops, she finds a red hoodie.

In the barn, Hanna dreams that Spencer visits her. They hug, and Spencer promises Hanna she’ll make it through this. She says something very Spencery about dreams and experiences that Hanna totally doesn’t understand, but then Spencer tells her that if AD can get in, then there’s got to be a way out. She makes Hanna repeat it so she’ll remember it, then Hanna goes back to sleep in Spencer’s lap.

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Remember when the other girls would hallucinate Alison but it turns out it was never hallucinations? This coupled with Spencer’s mysterious lack of bangs here has me dusting off my Spencer-Has-A-Twin conspiracy theory. I’ll never totally give up on it.

When Hanna wakes alone later, she starts trying to find her way out.

38 MINUTES LEFT

The gang reconvenes at Spencer’s where she shares what she learned during tea time with Mary. After a kid she was babysitting died, Mary was put away in Radley until she was 18. After that, she was readmitted every few years until she finally got out for good 23 years ago.

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No, babe, YOU are the babysitter from Hell.

Emily runs in then, saying Ali maybe confessed to killing Charlotte. Although, I don’t think a drugged up person who has been admitted saying “God forgive me” counts as a murder confession, but life’s been tough for you lately, Emily, so we’ll let it slide. She produces the red hoodie she found at Alison’s.

37 MINUTES

Emily loves Hanna as much as the next guy, but we all know how Emily feels about Alison, and she is not ready to hand her over so quickly. As they argue the pros and cons of saving Alison versus Hanna, they realize Caleb has disappeared – with the hoodie.

1 MINUTE

Caleb goes straight to the Lost Woods Resort, texts AD that Alison did it, and leaves the hoodie on the ground as evidence.

3 SECONDS

But Caleb’s too late, and Hanna’s time is up! AD is headed to the barn to do whatever terrible thing they’d planned to do to her, but Hanna’s gone! She’s running through the woods, sees a car, and runs out into the street for help, only to find that it’s Mary Drake driving.

Plans foiled, AD picks up the hoodie and puts it in an evidence bag.

THE NEXT MORNING

Elliot walks in to NuRadley and into Alison’s room, where he fills a needle with medication. “I’m going to make sure you live a long life, rotting away in here. I know you killed Charlotte.” He sticks the needle in Ali’s arm.

NEXT WEEK

Some important stuff probably happens next week but all that really matters is this sneak peek of OUR TINY INFANT ANGEL LIAM telling Ezra that the Lolita myth makes people’s skin crawl and he needs to stop justifying it. Praise Mona!

Counting my sleeps till then!

Kisses bitches, 

rosemAry

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Rosemary lives in Little Rock, AR with her husband and cocker spaniel. At 16, she plucked a copy of Sloppy Firsts off the "New Releases" shelf and hasn't stopped reading YA since. She is a brand designer who loves tiki drinks, her mid-century modern house, and obsessive Google mapping.