'A' takes things a little too far, and Haleb reunites (kinda)
Credit: Eric McCandless/Freeform
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I’ve gotta be honest — aside from learning how much Caleb hates the name Cybil, this was a slow episode. Evil Emoji seems to have overreacted a bit on the egg front, there’s a new potential murder weapon (which seems less scary than a golf club, but okay), and the lovemaking between the ladies and their fellas continues to scream, “They’re not in high school anymore, remember?!”

Case in point: We open in a cheesy love motel that gave me serious The Sims: Livin’ Large flashbacks, where Hanna and Jordan are taking a break from both New York and Rosewood. The next morning, Hanna wakes up to a flurry of frantic texts from the other Liars (just like Spencer did a couple weeks ago). One thing I really love about the new onscreen texts is that when someone has 10 unread messages crowding the screen like that, I feel a lot more overwhelmed than when we’re just zooming in on a phone. It makes the panic feel so much more visual. Hanna freaks out because of the texts and because Jordan’s not there, and when he comes back (he was just downstairs making phone calls), she says they have to leave now. He tells her to eat the breakfast room service brought before they leave — but she didn’t order any. The tray sitting outside the door comes with a note that reads, “THE HONEYMOON IS OVER.” On the plate, in ketchup scrawled above a pair of fried eggs and bacon arranged in a sad face, it says, “Poor Jordie.” The question is: Did Evil Emoji place a long-distance order or somehow follow them to this middle-of-nowhere hotel?

Meanwhile, Spencer and Aria are investigating the hole they found in Sara Harvey’s Radley closet, which leads to a secret, skinny hallway, where they find things like a dust-covered torture machine similar to the one Charlotte used on them in the Dollhouse. Ah, so now we know where she found her inspiration! And since this secret passage leads all the way out of the hotel, now the Liars understand how Sara Harvey (OR someone else) has been sneaking in and out despite looking like she never leaves her room.

They tell Caleb about their find, but Caleb’s more concerned with what he found in the Phillips campaign server — specifically that “Opposition Research” folder, where he found photos of Veronica Hastings’ medical files. Turns out she’s not well but hasn’t told Spencer, and the Phillips campaign is planning to leak the news to convince voters she’s too sick to hold office. Here’s my plan for the rest of the season: As Veronica gets sicker, she realizes she needs to hire a body double to finish out her campaign. Who does she choose? Her long-lost twin sister, Mariska Hargitay! Can the people of Pennsylvania spot the difference? No! And everyone lives happily ever after. Anyway, that hasn’t happened yet. For now, Spencer decides not to confront her mom because she’s so happy running for office and not using her law degree to defend her family from 7,000 different potential murders of half-siblings and stuff.

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Ali and Dr. Rollins are meeting with Detective Tanner, who tells them that someone from a restaurant called Two Crows called the DiLaurentis house the night Charlotte was killed and talked to someone for three minutes. Ali and Rollins swear they didn’t hear a phone ring (Rollins was really adamant about that, even though he wasn’t there the whole night… Weird), so we’re left with two questions: Who called, and who answered? Oh also, Tanner lets it slip that the murder weapon we’ve been chasing after wasn’t a golf club: It was a hollow, metal rod that’s rectangular at the end. Sounds…a lot less threatening, but what do I know about murder?

Ali tells Emily and Spencer about the murder weapon, and they finally confess to Ali that Evil Emoji thinks they know who killed Charlotte. Emily, meanwhile, decides to go check out the fertility clinic to see if anything’s gone awry with her eggs, and of course, when she gets there, the worst has happened. The freezers and all the backup power supplies were destroyed, so Emily’s eggs and those of 30 other couples and women were all compromised. WOW. Is it just me, or did Evil Emoji really not give Emily enough time to act on the threat from the end of last week? That seems like a rash move — not to mention unnecessarily cruel. Since when does the “A” person hurt strangers?

Talk about hurting strangers: Mona admits that she told Yvonne to leave her phone at the lunch with Spencer as a test of trust. “You wanted me to take it,” Spencer says. Mona agrees and explains that the campaign (not Yvonne herself) is planning to leak the documents, which Mona things is wrong and unfair. I like when Mona is using her conniving spirit and brains for the Liars, not against them. Isn’t it fun to be on the same team?

Spencer begs Caleb to just get in and delete the files, but he explains that his position will be compromised. Now he’s just a fly on the wall, but if he actually makes moves in there, the Phillips campaign will know they’ve been infiltrated. Ever the moral compass, Caleb thinks Veronica needs to get ahead of the story and just put it out there herself.

NEXT: A Haleb reunion!

Caleb leaves Spencer to go get a drink with Hanna (aww!), who had a bit of a fight with Jordan earlier. Is she crawling back? He was brimming with sage advice for Hanna, calling “A” a bully. Hanna says, “You said ‘A’ — it’s not the same person.” Caleb says, “It’s not the same person, but they want the same thing. They want to make you miserable.” Well, he’s definitely not wrong. Is he giving us permission to be lazy and just keep saying “A,” too? Anyway, after Caleb leaves, we’re treated to a little flashback from near the end of Haleb’s relationship. They’re at a glitzy party for Hanna’s job, but Caleb is in a back alley playing with a cat. When Hanna comes out to find him, Caleb says, “I don’t think Cybil likes me very much.”

“Her name is Celeste,” Hanna says.

“That’s probably why she doesn’t like me…. All these designers that you work for look like Cybils. I can’t keep track,” he says. Hanna thought he wanted to come to the event, but really he just wanted to see her. She asks if he wants to go to the Hamptons next weekend, and he’s not interested — clearly isn’t into this Manhattan life in the same way Hanna is. But it’s sad, because they both still seem to want to be with each other, they just don’t know how to reconcile their differences. When Caleb leaves to head back home before Hanna returns to the party, he calls out to her, “Don’t turn into a Cybil.” Who is Cybil, Caleb, and what did she do to you?!

Back in the land of new relationships, Aria’s boyfriend/co-worker, Liam, comes to see how Ezra’s book is going. Jillian likes the pages she’s been getting (i.e. the ones Aria’s been writing) but has “some notes.” Liam wants to see the new pages before they’re sent, so Aria shows them. But Liam’s clever — he recognizes Aria’s writing, especially when she writes in a character they once saw together at the airport. Oops. But Liam doesn’t exactly tell her to stop. “There’s a fine line between trouble and high adventure,” he says. Weird.

Of course Ezra comes back at the end of the episode, and they talk about how all the Liars thought he was a murderer and how he didn’t do a great job denying it. Apparently he saw Aria’s parents the night of Charlotte’s murder but couldn’t tell Aria because they asked him not to. I think when you’re being accused of murder, you could spill a tiny secret like a divorced couple getting back together, but whatever. After he saw the Montgomerys, Ezra says he went to a place called House of Pies and had a three-hour conversation with a trucker named Earl. Anyone else feel like we might have to track Earl down in a later episode? Sounded sketchy to me. And perhaps House of Pies is somehow connected to the restaurant Tanner asked Ali about, The Two Crows? It just seems like too much of a coincidence that we learn about two new restaurants that came into play on the same night…don’t you think? Anyway, the other important thing is that Ezra wrote three more chapters of his book — and wants Aria to read them before he sends them to the publisher. Uh-oh, will she confess? Whose book will they choose?

At the Brew, Tanner makes kind of a dumb threat to Emily and basically says, “Thanks for sticking around. You guys have to continue sticking around. Murders only happen when you guys are in town. Drink your tea.”

Caleb has a threat of his own, but for Mona: He stops her in an elevator and says, “I have a message for you and all those little Monas running around inside your head. If you’re messing with Spencer, I will personally take you apart.” Big words from Caleb, but they don’t faze Mona a bit. “Out of curiosity, who kisses better?” she asks. “Hanna, Spencer, or me?” Slick, Mona. Why am I so inclined to trust her?

Ali is inclined to trust someone, too: Dr. Rollins. As we all suspected, they fell in love while he was taking care of Charlotte. But Ali is tired of secrets — she just wants someone to take her to the movies and out to dinner, like a normal relationship. Lest we forget, the poor girl did spend her high school years playing dead and running away from a murderous family member, so it’s really the least she can ask for. I don’t know about him yet, but she seems happy, so…whatever.

Back at the barn, Spencer and Caleb are settling in for a cozy evening. She’s decided to hope that Yvonne’s mom’s campaign takes the high road and decides against leaking the medical records, which definitely will not happen. “A” will leak them, in my jaded opinion. Before she can totally relax, Spencer has to get some flight information from Melissa’s suitcase, per her mother, but when she reaches down to pull the handle, she realizes that it’s broken. What’s missing, exactly? Oh, just a hollow metal rod with a rectangle at the end. You know, like the murder weapon. Melissa, girl — what are you doing?

At the end of the episode (hey, this week was Sara Harvey free!), we see Evil Emoji cleaning off that dusty torture device, and listening to “Whistle While You Work” from Snow White. Very, very creepy. Also, does this mean we have a Torture Dollhouse 2: Charlotte’s Web to look forward to? When is Evil Emoji going to realize they don’t know who killed Charlotte?

Do you guys feel like there’s less at stake this season because “A”/Evil Emoji’s motive is kind of murky? Sure, this one knows a few secrets, but it doesn’t seems as omniscient as previous “A’s,” right? Did you also think this episode was a snooze? Here’s hoping the plot moves forward next week (and those families miraculously recover their eggs).

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.

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