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Title: Pretty Little Liars S7.E08 “Exes and OMGs”

AWARDS

This Week’s MVP

Spencer, no longer distracted by the lesser sex, is back to her sleuthy ways, wasting nary a moment to track down Dr. Cochran, and then using whiskey to ply the truth from that old dude. Also, we have her to thank for maybe the best line this episode. I am at the ready to yell “Curb the perv” as soon as an opportunity presents itself.

This Week’s LVP

I hate to give this week’s LVP to Hanna, because her actions are the direct result of the world’s worst case of justifiable PTSD. However, Hanna’s been known to get riled up, talk lots of nonsensical crazy talk, and then do SOMETHING BIG. And her something bigs usually end up a big old hot mess. This week was the build up to next week’s something big. I don’t *think* she’s right about Noel Kahn, only because Noel is clearly this season’s red herring, so I can’t imagine whatever she’s planning will end well for her.

Biggest Shock/Best Surprise

Despite having the phrase “OMG” in its title, this episode barely had a plot, much less a surprise. The return of Grunwald AND Paige would’ve been a shock if they hadn’t been telling us for weeks that they were coming back. And both those returns ended up pretty fruitless anyway.

Biggest No-Duh

Ezra “Manpain” Fitz telling Emily that she wouldn’t understand how he feels because she’s never had to deal with dead ex-girlfriends coming back to life or whatever. It was “SOME PEOPLE HAVE REAL PROBLEMS, EMILY” redux.

Me r/n

Most Questionable Liar Outfit

My husband and I debated over Aria’s final outfit. I thought it was more bull-fighter, while he thought it was more Seinfeld puffy shirt. Either way: questionable. And apparently the internet also hated it so much that I can’t find photos of it anywhere.

PREVIOUSLY ON PRETTY LITTLE LIARS

In a weirdly vague plotline, Ezra’s girlfriend Nicole was “kidnapped” by “rebels” in “South America”. At some point, a call came through on Ezra’s phone from Nicole, but Aria deleted it. Then she and Ezra got engaged and planned to elope in Tuscany. Healthy! Emily’s high school girlfriend Paige moved away after being tortured by A. Alison had to quit her job as a Rosewood High English teacher because of ::insert anything that’s happened in the last two seasons here::. Noel Kahn came back to town and teamed up with Jenna Marshall, stealing Mary Drake’s file from Toby and possibly killing Shower Harvey. Hanna was kidnapped and tortured in a barn somewhere and definitely still has feelings for Caleb.

THIS WEEK

Now I Lay Me Down to Summit

The Liars plus Caleb are strolling casually along Rosewood’s only street, weighing the pros and Kahns (lolz) of A.D.’s identity. Hanna is certain that Noel is their man, delivering a great line about him having the most “A-ness” which prompts a quick quip from Spencer. It was Noel, after all, who wrote I SEE YOU on Ezra’s car the night of Camp Mona (still waiting on my Camp Mona t-shirt, btw). Hanna and Caleb run out into the street to fight it out when a car speeds down the road, and Caleb is hit. From the driver’s seat, Noel Kahn flashes her a grin. Hanna screams, then wakes up. It was all a dream, guys!

Sorry About The Thing With Your Ghost Girlfriend

Finally, Ezra’s where he belongs: with the authorities. Unfortunately, he’s there because they have a lead on Nicole, and not because he’s a statutory rapist. C’est la vie! Aria is having a panic attack with Emily over the fact that she deleted the call on his phone from his probably-not-dead girlfriend that one time. Ezra walks in mid-freak out, wearing loungewear as per yuzh, and explains that one of the trucks that took her was spotted near a rebel camp in Colombia, and the military’s going into the jungle to try to find the hostages. When Aria spills her guts about the phone call, Ezra gets pissy that she kept it secret from him, not unlike that time he kept an entire LAIR OF LIAR PARAPHENALIA a secret from her.

Later, he’s watching the news about the military finding the camp when Aria walks in. She’s bought him a plane ticket to South America even though he will be of absolutely zero help there.

Aria: “I cashed in our tickets to Italy.”

The point when this show crossed from “suspension of disbelief” to “omg stop this fantasy” because seriously who can just CASH IN plane tickets like that?

Hot for Teacher(‘s Screwed Up Past)

Alison and Emily meet at Ezra’s Brews-A-Billion before Alison’s first day back teaching at Rosewood High. Baby girl’s got a clean bill of health and a cleaned out bank account. A girl’s gotta work, even if it’s a *little* soon since she was wrongly institutionalized, tortured, kidnapped, robbed and generally duped by her fraud of a husband. She heads off to class and Rosewood High’s Principal Hackett walks in. He’s picking up danishes and tells Emily that the Head Swim Coach position at Rosewood is available and she should totally apply! Hackett seems like a cool dude, but his lax hiring practices are probably the reason his high school is the academic equivalent of a dumpster fire.

When your whole class spent the summer binging Mr. Robot.

Alison’s classroom greets her with a disturbing A-style greeting that morning, which she chalks up to “usual pranks” when she tells Emily about it later. She loves the idea of Emily coaching at Rosewood, though. Emily gets a text from Aria, asking if she can bunk at Lucas’ with them that night, since The Good Ship Ezria is sailing on rocky seas. Emily feels guilty about telling Aria to lie about the Nicole call, so she goes to Ezra in an attempt to take the blame. While she’s there, Ezra makes a really hilariously Ezra-y remark about how Emily wouldn’t understand what he’s going through, even though Emily has pretty much been through everything Ezra’s going through, only backwards and in heels, as they say.

The next day, Alison’s called to the principal’s office, where Hackett really wants to double down on making sure she’s okay to come back so soon. While they’re talking, someone comes in for a student file, and Alison watches them pull the file from the Class of 2017 drawer. Later that night, she breaks into Hackett’s office and goes through the filing cabinets. Noel Kahn’s file has been replaced with a note from A.D.: “I WARNED YOU BITCHES. DO YOU REALLY WANT TO END UP DEAD?”

The next day, Emily goes in to apply for the coaching job and Hackett walks out. “What a coincidence! One of your old classmates was just here to apply!” And out walks the one and only PAIGE MCCULLERS. Emily and Paige go out for drinks and talk about why they broke up, because apparently they were back together again during the time jump. For all the build up of a Paige return, the scene is ultimately disappointing. Yeah, there’s wine and some flirting, but I didn’t get the sense that it was leading anywhere further than another notch in the writer’s old-character-comeback bed post.

Curb The Perv or The Bottle Walks

Last week, when the Liars realized Noel had stolen Mary’s file, the doctor he called was a Dr. Cochran who delivered Mary’s babies at Radley lo so many years ago. And with a little Googlin’ Spencer has found a Dr. E. Cochran in Brookhaven. But when she and Aria get to Brookhaven, E. Cochran is a young woman, not nearly old enough to have delivered babies some 20+ years ago. Dr. Cochran tells them that her father was actually an OBGYN who lost his license years ago. She doesn’t know where he is now, and warns them not to look for them.

The girls actually make good on that promise, but Spencer receives a call from Dr. Cochran the next day. Someone ransacked her office and she blames the girls for sending one of their “guys” to find information about her father. “I can’t afford to have your guy come back here again,” she says and gives Spencer her father’s address. “You want him to talk? You better bring a bottle of whiskey.”

Spencer and Aria whiskey-up and head to the seedy apartment complex on the outskirts of town. The robed cretin almost slams the door in their faces, but when Spencer holds up the whiskey, he lets them in. “I don’t normally get visits from such pretty girls,” he starts, explaining that the only girls who come to visit him, he has to pay. “Curb the perv or the bottle walks,” Spencer barks, in what might be the best Spencer line of all time.

Whetting his whistle with whiskey seems to work, because soon he tells them all about how sometimes the Radley girls got themselves “in trouble” and he made the “problems” go away. He delivered two of Mary’s babies. The first one, Charles, he gave to Jessica. Several years later, he delivered a second baby, which he described as “underweight but tenacious” (which, of note, sort of means “small but mighty” which is how Aria is frequently described). But that baby went into temporary custody of family services and he never saw or heard of it again. As the girls leave, he asks them to deliver a message to his daughter. “She can run from me all she wants, but in the end…you can’t deny human nature. People always return to family in the end.” Hmm…

Her Spidey Senses Were a’Tingling

After her nightmare about Caleb, Hanna rushes to his room at the Radley to make sure he’s okay (he is, because it was a dream). They have a grope at each other and he tells her that he can’t “crack the code” in Mary’s file. But he does give her a phone that can’t be tapped or followed or replaced with explosives, which is very nice but also LIKE FIVE YEARS TOO LATE?!

She’s Fashion Designing back at Lucas’ when there’s a knock on the door. And what d’ya say! It’s Mrs. Grunwald, come all the way from Ravenswood to deliver an on-the-nose “Goodness, you look like you’ve seen a ghost.” We do love a good Ravenswood ghost joke around here, Grunwald. Please do come inside. She tells Hanna that she was pulled here because she sensed a darkness around Hanna. Uh yeah, Grunwald, anyone with basic cable and a newspaper subscription would know that Hanna’s got some darkness happening. She’s been kidnapped twice in the last five years.

At the Radley, Hanna tells Grunwald that someone’s been trying to hurt the Liars. Grunwald knows, because her eyes are psychic. She senses that the threat to Hanna is very close. As close, say, as Noel Kahn standing at the bar looking like the dumb hired thug from an action rom-com. Hanna throws her wine glass on the floor and it shatters at his feet. He comes over to say something dumb when Grunwald takes Hanna’s hand. Hanna gets a flash of being kidnapped and tortured in the barn. Grunwald’s nose starts bleeding. Noel’s like “uh, okay freaks” and walks away.

Hanna calls for an emergency Liar Summit to tell the girls about all of the above. She is so sure that Noel is A.D. “He’s bad!” she cries. “Remember when he pushed that sorority girl down the stairs?” Which, on a scale of 0 to Rosewood Men, that actually ranks at like a 4. The girls refuse to listen to her though, so we can see the wheels turning as Hanna comes up with her own alternate plan.

Now Everybody Kiss!

Alison shows the note from A.D. to Emily, Spencer and Hanna. As they talk about their options, Hanna keeps having PTSD flashbacks from her kidnapping, so she goes outside and makes a sort of ominous phone call, making a deal with a stranger. Then she goes to Caleb to tell him she’ll be “off the grid” in NYC for awhile. He offers to go with her but she declines, giving him a hug.

“Caleb…I…I…I…think the writers want to drag this out until the finale.”

Turns out she could’ve totally shared a cab to the airport with Ezra, because he’s headed out of town as well. He doesn’t turn away from Aria, however, and we’re forced to watch them make out awhile before he goes to find Nicole in South America. That night, Aria gazes longingly at her (admittedly gorgeous) wedding dress before putting it away. And as we all know television works: if we see the dress before the wedding, we probably won’t be seeing it again. Count your stars, readers. We got lucky tonight.

Emily and Sabrina drink by candlelight as Emily tells her about the swim coach job. The camera pans out and we see that Paige is still doin’ Paige and creeping on Emily from outside the window.

Spencer is sitting at her house looking through a family photo album. It’s mostly photos of her as a kid, and nothing strikes the viewer as unusual, but Spencer has a very strange look on her face, like she’s having A Revelation. What did she figure out about her family? Is she adopted? Is SHE Mary’s other baby?

And finally, we end on Hanna in what appears to be a seedy apartment or motel room. She’s wearing black and taping newspaper over the windows.

NEXT WEEK

Hanna films herself, telling the camera, “If you find this video something went terribly wrong.” She is clearly up to no good, and I will be highly disappointed if she doesn’t bring in the big dogs (aka Mona) for help. We also get a flash of what appears to be Aria sleeping with Jason, but I get the sense that’s a red herring and the flash is from a flashBACK during the time jump. Paige is back! And someone definitely breaks into Spencer’s house. There’s also a bloody handprint? Clearly they’ve been saving up the excitement for us.

Till next time –

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.