Mike has a big reveal, and we finally get our O.M.F.G. of the season.

Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC Family

Seven episodes into the season we finally got our OMG moment. Sure, there have been the occasional “oh em gee!”s, and tons of “omG”s along the way. And that’s what this season of Pretty Little Liars has coasted on—complicated sidenotes of corrupt cops, storage rooms full of murder evidence, and a crazy, Italian-speaking artist/inventor. You know, standard PLL fair. But Mike’s big reveal left Mona’s death and our mouths hanging wide open. O-M-effin’-G.

In classic Liars fashion, they baited us until the very end of the episode. Mike catches Aria pulling a vial of blood out of the nook of a tree, where he had stashed it earlier. Of course, as she drops her flashlight (girlfriend, why are you, any of you, still going into dark woods alone?!), Mike is there to pick it up for her. Oh, hey, Little Bro.

So this is where it ends, huh? Aria and Mike go into a death match, betraying blood with blood, and the whole series comes to a shocking finish when their dad comes home to find the carnage. Well, not exactly.

As predicted, there was an absolutely absurd explanation as to why Mike had been acting like a murderous asshole. Mona, apparently, had figured out a way to clear the fabulous four, expose “A”, and put Ali behind bars for murder. Mona’s murder. So she set about putting this whole plan into place, explaining to Mike that she would have to disappear for a while. So what does Mike do? He keeps a vial of her blood as a souvenir (like get a locket or something) and presumably has been funneling her money ever since.

Whew, glad we cleared that up! You looked pretty sketch there for a second, Mikey!

Does this abscond Mike from the suspicion that he has steadily cloaked himself in for the four episodes? Absolutely not. A tearful confession, even to your sibling, doesn’t cross you off of anyone’s list in Rosewood (see: the Hastings girls). Although Aria has been pretty hesitant to blame Mike in all of this, despite the snooping she’s been doing. Maybe, to her at least, this gives him a clear slate. The rest of the Liars? Not so much. No one seemed sold on the story that Aria, natch, reported back to them almost immediately. And they are probably wise to have their suspicions. In Rosewood, there’s always another side to the story.

But enough about Mike, IS MONA ALIVE? Mysteriously, she has not showed up to any of the prearranged meetings with Mike, which he rightfully assumes means that she was double-crossed and killed by “A.” And also, are we officially clearing Alison from being “A”? Mike’s evidence seemed to point to that, but could it really end that simply for her?

And to think, all of that in the last five minutes of the show.

NEXT: The less OMG moments of the episode

But don’t worry, there were plenty of the non-capital “oh my god”s through the rest of it. Namely, Hanna’s forays into the pageant world. Caleb sees that Kate, Hanna’s evil stepsister, has signed up for the pageant. Determined to win the $20,000 for college, Hanna gets Emily, who was apparently a 7th grade dance prodigy, to help her with the talent portion. Their all-day practice ended in dance moves that I would posit are too sexual for teenagers, “Bang Bang” being stuck in everyone’s head, and Hanna having some freak-out about her stepsister that was at first sexual and then spastic. Not entirely sure about the message here, but it did end up with Hanna’s coach giving up on her and our heroine going home to feast on pizza, which I choose to believe with every ounce of my being was a Miss Congeniality reference.

Meanwhile, Spencer is adding to her criminal record by helping Jonny break into a gallery to steal back the vandalism that was somehow recovered and framed to sell. Jonny sets off the alarm as he is lifting the last painting, and SURPRISE, who is the cop that catches them at a gas station moments later? None other than Toby. Somehow he still gives Spencer an out, allowing her to walk while Jonny was carried off in a cop car. Spencer and Toby’s days are numbered. There was almost inevitably going to be a time when he would need to choose between Spencer and his career, and it looks like he has made his choice.

Before treating us to a lot of Ariana Grande choreography, Emily also met her girlfriend’s husband. So Talia did tell the truth when she said that her husband knew that she was into women. The problem is that she presented Emily as her one-off fling, who her apparently progressive husband was giving her a pass on. This naturally enraged Emily, who confronted Talia later to tell her that she was calling the whole thing off. Somehow I doubt that, but she did get a pretty good lick in before she stormed off (“I’m not into girls because it’s trendy.”).

Okay. So that was a whirlwind of an episode. And to an extent, that has been the crux of this entire season—a series of rapid-fire dramas that do just enough to leave you reeling, but not enough to give you much satisfaction about it. It keeps the show exciting, but it’s kind of hard week to week to see what they were piecing together for us all. That’s why Mike’s build-up and subsequent delivery was so sweet. It was back to the formula that the show used to have.

And it had to happen soon. Season 5b is over halfway done, and there have been nothing but little incoherent bumps in the road for the Liars, that, in the scheme of things, we don’t actually care that much about. I miss the days when I actively worried about the status of Ezria’s relationship or if the girls would be killed on their next misadventure. Those times were simple. We were still learning the characters’ limits. But in this brave new Rosewood where the girls are indestructible and the ludicrous plotlines are aplenty, there is no limit to how much exaggerated minutia can be heaped on to keep an hour slot filled. The frustrating thing, aside from the lack of resolution, is that it works on so many levels. Still, in that excess it loses its allure.

But Mike’s confession was a turning point. Pretty Little Liars is about to release a world of crazy on us in the remaining five episodes. A kind of crazy goes beyond an hour-long primetime spot and gets into your head. The kind of crazy that made the show so irresistible in the first place. And, most importantly, the kind of crazy that will make you say O-M-G until next season.

Episode Recaps

Pretty Little Liars

Four little liars and a being named “A” (who may or may not be the fifth little liar) try to live their lives in Rosewood. It’s complicated.

  • TV Show
  • 7
  • TV-14
  • Freeform
stream service