Pretty Little Liars recap: We've All Got Baggage
After the snoozefest of last week, this episode started off with a bang and kept on exploding. Things we’ve been wondering about — Does Hanna even want to marry Jordan? How long can Aria secretly ghostwrite Ezra’s novel? When will the Veronica Hastings’ medical news come out? — finally surfaced. But in true PLL fashion, for every answer we get, we can be sure to expect even more questions. For the record, this week my main question was: WHERE did everyone get their outfits?! Style on point, from Emily’s velvety jumpsuit to Aria’s ’90s Nickelodeon-looking pizza tee. It’s so much fun now that they aren’t all dressed like high schoolers about to hit up the under-18 club downtown.
So, let’s get to it! Emily, Ali, and Hanna return to Sara Harvey’s hotel room only to find it a giant mess (“This must be what the inside of Sara Harvey’s head looks like,” Emily quips) — it looks like she left in a hurry. But when they head over to the giant hole in the back of the closet it’s…not there anymore. This is just like in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when they try to get back to Narnia but they just run smack into the back of the wardrobe! Except instead of a crying Mr. Tumnus, the hidden world just had some dusty torture machines. Anyway, room service comes in, so the girls sneak out the front door — but when they close it, the maid PEELS OFF her face (and her sunglasses). So “A” was in the room with them after all. Eerie. Do we think this “A” / Evil Emoji was in cahoots with Sara Harvey and would sneak INTO Sara’s room through the hole? We’ve only really talked about Sara going OUT…
Meanwhile, Caleb is working his hacker magic on the Hastings campaign and assures Spencer he made her mom’s medical files disappear from the Phillips campaign’s server. Further, he promises that his meddling is essentially untraceable. Spencer decides to talk to her mom about being sick after all and convinces her that she needs to get ahead of the story. Veronica holds a news conference, and all goes well…until they find out that someone from the Hastings campaign leaked information about Yvonne Phillips getting an abortion years back — which doesn’t look good for Yvonne’s mother’s pro-life campaign. To fast-forward things a little, Veronica is furious because someone traces the leak to Spencer’s IP address, but Caleb takes the fall. Veronica kicks him off the campaign and out of the “barn” (lol, it’s nicer than any apartment I’ll ever own), and Spencer is like, “Why are you lying?” And he basically says he’s sacrificing himself for the good of her campaign because the election’s two weeks away. Always the hero, that Caleb. My eye is on Mona on this one — remember when she got so mad that the Phillips campaign wasn’t being “honest”? Was this covered-up abortion possibly one of the reasons she feels that way?
Elsewhere in Hastings-land, Spencer tries to ask Melissa how she broke that suitcase (you know, because it might be the murder weapon) after Melissa comes home with a completely new one. She dodges the question by talking about a cab driver in Philly taking backroads to avoid baseball traffic. But Caleb (this is before he’s fired; I’m messing with time here), being a smart cookie and a sports fan, tells Spencer he knows Melissa is lying: The Phillies were away that weekend.
The Liars (except Spencer) suspect Melissa, but then they’re reminded that if they’re just looking at people who didn’t want Charlotte to walk the streets again, then pretty much all of their loved ones look guilty. Hanna, though, remembers a time she ran into Melissa in a London bathroom a few years back.
FLASHBACK: Melissa is upset and surly. (“I live here,” she tells Hanna when asked why she’s at a Fashion Week party. “Well, not in this bathroom. But nearby.”) Wren is gone, but Melissa tells Hanna, “That scheming nutjob who made your life hell is now after me.” She also calls Charlotte a “twisted sister,” which is so hilarious. Apparently Charlotte called Wren and told him about Melissa’s Bethany Young stuff (you know, burying her alive, blah, blah), and now Melissa wonders who else she’s going to tell. “Someone needs to shut her up for good,” Melissa says, ominously. Then, to prove a point, she calls Charlotte at the hospital, pretending to be Ali, to find out what Charlotte has on Hanna. She isn’t getting through, but Hanna gets upset anyway: “I don’t want to hear her voice!” she screams and throws Melissa’s phone into the mirror. END FLASHBACK. Melissa Hastings: Always. Seems. Guilty.
Aria has a lot to deal with this week: Not only does she have to officiate her parents’ wedding (which, by the way, Mike’s trust issues are causing him to skip), but she also finally tells Ezra she’s been writing his book. Surprisingly, he’s not mad. He tells her not to tell Jillian (because that would only get her fired). Plus, he understands that she did it from a place of love for him — not as a way to sneakily better her career.
NEXT: Ezra (accidentally) drops the bomb
Then the bomb drops: Liam and Ezra grab a quick drink at The Radley while waiting for Aria, and while neither one confesses they both know Aria has been ghostwriting, Ezra feels the need to assure Liam that the woman he’s writing about is based on someone he traveled the world with, not Aria — they only ever went to Philly, he says. Just as Liam is piecing it together, Aria arrives. “Now I know that Ezra Fitz was more than just your favorite teacher,” he tells her. “Is this why you wanted to stay in Rosewood?” And just like that, the elevator doors close, leaving Aria no chance to respond. Yikes. But in Liam’s (and Ezra’s) defense — she should have told him earlier!
So, about this wedding: Apparently when Byron and Ella said they were getting remarried (which…ugh — but I will spare you my thoughts), they meant like right now. So Aria has to get her online officiant’s license, and our resident fashionista Hanna becomes the de facto stylist. While Hanna’s helping Ella find a dress, the conversation keeps turning to Hanna’s wedding, too. What, she hasn’t picked a date? What, she doesn’t know what dress she’s going to wear? Tellingly, in one of these exchanges, while Hanna is ostensibly talking about Byron and Ella, she says, “Well, I think it’s fate. People who are meant to be together take a break and then find their way back to their first love.” Um, Hanna? Sure you aren’t talking about yourself and a guy whose name rhymes with Bae-leb? Anyway, Ella has a perfect retort to that: “Oh, Byron wasn’t my first love.” Maybe that gives Hanna hope for Jordan, in a way? If she sees that she and Caleb aren’t fated (which I think they are, but whatever; it’s not my relationship), then maybe she’ll feel free to let herself be happy with Jordan. By the end of the episode, Hanna leaves Jordan a voicemail telling him she’s picked a date and that she loves him. She’s smiling and trying on a veil even after the call, so maybe that talk did help?
Who else is letting themselves be happy? Ali and Dr. Rollins. For a while, she’s avoiding him, but then she tells him she had confessed her feelings to Charlotte the night Charlotte was killed and that Charlotte had “stared at me like a cat,” then left. Ali feels like she delivered Charlotte into the hands of her killer. But Rollins says Charlotte’s behavior was his fault — his was the bigger betrayal. And then — he tells Ali he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. At the end of the episode, he and Ali show up on Aria’s doorstep, giggling like lovestruck kids, and ask her to marry them now that she’s licensed. Will she do it? I kinda have a feeling she will. Especially since she just made up with Liam, who appeared at her parents’ re-wedding, after all, where she told him that writing Ezra’s book helped her clarify her feelings. She knows what she wants, and it’s Liam (for now).
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Now for the stuff I’ve been avoiding, just because it was so…confusing? Strange? Totally in character? Emily goes to Hollis, and this guy Damian invites her to attend a psychology lecture with him (lol, because everyone on this show is crazy), so she agrees because she’s a naive puppy and is eager to make new friends all the time despite past issues (case in point: Sara Harvey). She also gets a package sent to her home, which seems like it’s going to be her textbooks, but turns out to be a book of baby names and a note that reads, “You need to start talking before the baby does.” I wish Evil Emoji had included the critically acclaimed films Look Who’s Talking and Look Who’s Talking Too.
Damian asks Emily to get coffee, and she agrees — but then she gets a text from one of the Liars reminding her that this Damian is the reporter who was digging into the Hastings campaign/Spencer’s connection to Charlotte. But instead of ditching him fast, she suggests, “Actually, let’s get dinner.” I’m guessing she was planning to confront him over a longer meal?
Okay. So the next time we see Emily, she’s wandering through the woods because Rosewood is apparently a town of a thousand abandoned forests (and I just now realized it’s called Rosewood, so I’m the idiot for being surprised). She arrives at this creepy, closed diner but can’t get inside. Then a huge SUV (or Jeep? or Hummer? I’m not good with cars. Someone correct me) comes barreling toward Emily, so she has to run for cover, and then it drives away. I thought, wow, this is scary. We’ve seen this behavior before from various “A’s.” But then, the car comes racing back as Emily tries to get a signal on her phone, which obviously isn’t going to happen. Emily trips, and when her phone flies out of her hand, the car crunches right over it. It drives away. I thought, wow, still scary, but maybe it’s over. She climbs up onto the roof of the diner, which makes absolutely no sense to me, but lo and behold, she finds the possible murder weapon on the roof! I can’t exactly tell if it’s the piece of Melissa’s suitcase or another hollow-but-rectangular metal rod, but that’s beside the point because it’s suspicious regardless.
So Emily climbs down the ladder with the rod, and the car comes roaring back again!!!!! The weapon falls to the ground as Emily scrambles back up to hide on the roof, even though the driver probably knows she’s there. When it drives away again, the rod is gone, so someone must have climbed out of the car and grabbed it. GOOD. GRIEF. That would have been an emotional rollercoaster if it weren’t so ridiculous!! Why didn’t Emily run into the woods or something? Eventually she gets back, though, because as she sits down with Hanna in Lucas’ apartment, she shares her realization: “Sara Harvey wants this murder solved,” Emily says. “And whoever this was, they want to cover it up.”
“What are you saying? There’s more than one person after us?” Hanna asks.
“There’s definitely two,” Emily says. Two “A’s” or “B’s” or “Evil Emojis” — and on opposing teams?! I’m going to need to build my own lair just to keep track of all these evil-doers. And I’ll be sure to put extra padding on the walls and floor of that lair for when this show finally causes my complete mental breakdown. On that note, what did you guys think?
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.