Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


Pretty Little Liars recap: Game On, Charles

Charles’ dollhouse games are far from over.

Posted on

Eric McCandless/ABC Family

Pretty Little Liars

TV Show
run date:
Ashley Benson, Troian Bellisario, Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell
Current Status:
In Season

Welcome back, Liars! It’s our first episode in the apparent “#SummerofAnswers,” and I just want to say off the bat that I’m so glad we spent almost the whole hour still in Charles’ dollhouse. As much as I obviously wanted the Liars and Mona to escape, I’m glad we didn’t start the season months later with a cursory explanation of what happened. Still, our “answers” didn’t really come this week—just a loooot more questions.

First question: There’s a new girl (well, to us) in the dollhouse, looking freaked out and a little feral, wearing that yellow tiered tank top Ali was wearing when she went missing. Rows and rows of tallies on the wall tell us this girl’s been here for a long time, but who is she? We’ll find out later.

The girls, still in their prom dresses, are locked outside after their attempted escape. We don’t know how many days Charles has left them out there, but it’s enough for them to make disturbingly serious comments about drinking their own pee. PLL has always been sort of terrifying, but this episode approached horror movie levels. After “A”/Charles (not really sure which to use at this point) lets them back in, he sprays a gas that knocks them out and grabs Mona. Next thing we know, the Liars are waking up on metal tables covered in white sheets, like they’re in a morgue. “I think ‘A’ wanted to make us look dead to send a message to our families,” Spencer says. Mona walks in dressed as a candy striper, playing her “Ali” role again. 

When the voice on the loudspeaker says, “Please return to your rooms and find your surprises,” a newly defiant Mona says, “No!” into the security camera—but quickly obeys anyway, explaining that if you disobey, “‘It’ steals you in the night and puts you in the hole.'” Over the course of this episode, Mona gets pretty familiar with this hole.

Second question: What happened to the girls when they went back to their rooms?! After each of the Liars went into their respective rooms, they gasped and screamed in utter terror—and then the episode jumped to three weeks later. In the next dollhouse scene, the girls emerge from their rooms wearing their season 1 outfits, and Aria says, “We cannot talk about what we just went through.” 

“I don’t know if I could even find the words,” says Spencer. Clearly, we aren’t going to find out what happened in those rooms for a while, but I’m not even sure I have a guess at this point. Did “A” show them footage of the worst moments in their lives? Of their parents mourning them? My first thought, which doesn’t really make sense, was of those jabberjays in The Hunger Games that can mimic your loved ones’ screams. 

Back in the real world, Ali, rocking a demure new haircut, gives a press conference about finding her friends. Apparently, the police and press are going after Andrew Campbell, beyond any shadow of a doubt. He’s the prime suspect. This is a bit of a shock to me, because I feel like we only just realized he was sketchy at all when he was listening to their phone calls at the end of last season.

Third question: Maybe I’m slow… but how does Andrew go from relatively harmless background dude to number one kidnapping suspect so quickly? Later in this episode, Detective Tanner reads from one of Andrew’s notebooks that was stored in a police evidence file, where he writes about being disgusted by the girls, something about “Aria’s doe eyes” and Spencer being smug. Oh also, Andrew is missing, so Rosewood is on high alert.

The whole police department is camped out in Ali’s house, trying to figure out how to lure Andrew to Ali—because suddenly everyone also seems to understand that Andrew really wants to kidnap Ali. It’s nice to see the Rosewood P.D. on our side for once, but they’re a little less than competent, because Ali, Caleb, and Ezra easily fool them with a fake phone call, allowing Ali to escape the house and set herself up as bait for Andrew.

Super spy Caleb has somehow rigged a tracking device to a pair of shoes, which they give to Ali so they can follow her movements. Ali walks through the woods and finds a car with the GPS all queued up to lead her… somewhere, as Ezra and Caleb follow close behind. Ezra says, “I hope this isn’t a colossal mistake.” Yeah, same.

In the dollhouse, the girls are instructed to “Please proceed to Ali’s room and prepare for arrival.” A solid 10 minutes later, as they unpack boxes full of Ali’s actual possessions, Emily says, “Oh my God, I think we’re getting ready for Ali’s arrival.” Um, yeah. Did you not hear the robot lady on the speaker? That’s literally exactly what she said to you guys, but sure, pretend you had a revelation.

NEXT: The Liars discover The Lair