Pretty Little Liars recap: Did You Miss Me?
In the lead-up to the spring finale, the PLL team tried some weird, experimental stuff this week — namely a few “artistic” shots I’ll get into later — that didn’t quite land. But luckily, we have a couple of answers (who called Charlotte from the Two Crows Diner) and a revenge plan that may or may not succeed. But given the cluelessness of Evil Emoji, my hopes are high.
So let’s get to it: Last week, Emily noticed Mona’s pink dice keychain and made the connection between our sporadically trustworthy pal and the person who was seen calling Charlotte from the Two Crows Diner — which happens to be the scene of Emily’s awfully cheesy near-death battle with a mysterious SUV. This week, Emily confronts Mona, who admits to calling Charlotte the night she was killed, asking her to meet at the Two Crows, but after Mona waited two hours, Charlotte never showed.
Emily obviously questions Mona’s motives, but Mona swears that she was just trying to talk to Charlotte — basically to figure out what she planned to do with all the information she’d learned about the Liars and never shared all those years. Emily is convinced Mona was going to kill her (a little dramatic, honey), but Mona flips the tables, her greatest skill: “What if you called and she showed up? What would you have done?” Of course, before Emily can pretend like she wouldn’t have done anything (but let’s be real, she probably would have run straight into whatever knife Charlotte was holding up), there’s a commotion. Was someone listening? Later, when she shares the information with Spencer and Aria, they decide to let Mona think they believe her. “A free-range Mona is more likely to lead us someplace,” Spencer says.
Checking in with our other disaster magnet: Ali and Rollins are on their honeymoon, making thinly veiled allusions to how much newlywed love they’re making, when Ali twists her ankle on the carpet at the top of the stairs at their bed and breakfast, then promptly tumbles down and gets a concussion. For the rest of the episode, everyone will swear this wasn’t an accident, and sure, when Hanna comes to visit, she finds a card with a staircase on the front and the emoji versions of all the Liars’ faces (cute) with Xs over a couple of them — but didn’t they put the camera on Ali’s foot during this scene? Wasn’t it kind of obvious that she fell because she’s wearing 5-inch stilettos to breakfast? Do the writers think we’re idiots? If you want us to think it’s not an accident, maybe don’t show us that it literally looked like an accident? Also, Elliott sent Ali like 20 bouquets of flowers (except the one from Evil Emoji), which is really fishy and, frankly, a huge waste of money.
In other news, Aria and Ezra are hard at work on their book but having trouble with the section where the Ezra character and the Nicole character part ways. As Aria reads it over on Ezra’s couch, the scene splits in this weird way to show the flashback, so it looks like Ezra and Nicole are performing a sad little play behind Aria on the couch. The show used the slightly faded, de-saturated lighting it’s been using for all the flashbacks, but Ezra and Nicole are way over-acting. It’s very weird and, to be completely honest, really distracted me from the actual content of their conversation, which was basically like, Ezra: “Don’t leave.” Nicole: “I have to.” Ezra: “No!” Nicole: “Don’t be mad at me.” Ezra: “I’m not. But I am.”
Aria and Ezra have to decide whether to write the scene like it actually happened (the play) or like it should have happened. They decide it should be “what’s best for the story,” because duh. Jillian the editor takes them to dinner and tells Aria that she can contact Jillian about the project directly now and says she knows she and Liam “used to be” an item. Did they break up? Did Jillian force them on a break? Aria is a little bit distraught but not really.
Meanwhile, Emily and Spencer are all in on spying on Mona. Emily sits outside a cafe and videochats Spencer when she sees Mona talking to Sara Harvey’s bland male escort. Then, when Mona leaves him sitting on the bench, he walks into a building and comes out holding a cardboard poster tube. Emily and Spencer waste no time in following him, and Emily is incredibly quick on her feet (maybe I take back what I said earlier) — she knocks her car into his just slightly, and then she and Spencer pretend they’re ditzy girls who are like soooo sorry for what they did. While Emily fakes apologies and begs him to look and make sure his car isn’t damaged, Spencer takes the tube out of his hands, crouches down on the sidewalk out of his line of sight, and opens the tube.
I honestly don’t know how she could have TAKEN THE TUBE from him and then HID AND OPENED IT without him really noticing (especially if he fetched the tube on an important errand??), but okay. In it, she finds the Radley’s floorplan, and a Radley room key falls out. They follow him to an ice cream truck, where he very creepily licks an ice cream cone; then Sara Harvey drives by, and he throws the tube in her car.
While Emily and Spencer are playing James Bond (or maybe Veronica Mars), Hanna and Caleb are hatching a plan. After Hanna tells Caleb he’s the only one who can help her with this, she explains that if Evil Emoji wants the killer, she’s going to give them the killer. When Spencer comes home (with the news that Sara is back at the Radley and has checked in under a fake name — which must be the thing that fell out of the tube), Hanna tells her she needs to confess something. She tells the whole story: She followed Aria and Ezra to the square, then saw Charlotte go into the church, picked up a candlestick (is this Clue?) stabbed her in the back of the neck, then threw her off the bell tower. She tells the story slowly and deliberately, her eyes pooling with tears. “I murdered Charlotte,” she says, crying.
NEXT: SO, DID SHE?!?!
I have to admit, she convinced me for a second, too. But then, before Spencer can reply, Hanna turns to Caleb and says, “See? She believed it. And if she believed it, even for a minute, they will, too.” Meanwhile, Spencer is like, “WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!” Later, Emily comes by, and Spencer, who is clearly not into this plan — which, by the way, has Hanna and Caleb HOLDING HANDS on the couch — says that if the other Liars don’t back Hanna and Caleb up, they’ll just go through with the plan anyway. “You’re just going to let the two of them do this?” Emily asks.
“What do you want me to do, wedge myself between them on the sofa?” Spencer asks. She’s really uncomfortable and with good reason. I feel like Hanna is being a bit inconsiderate — but then again, it must be so easy for her and Caleb to slip back into their dynamic duo. Maybe she doesn’t even notice what she’s doing? Then we’re treated to a flashback between Caleb and Spencer, where the PLL writers hit us over the head with the fact that they are IN SPAIN. They talk about bullfighting, the Prado, and at the end of their conversation, Spencer says, “It’s 10,” and Caleb says, “Time for dinner.” Get it, because they eat dinner late in Spain? Aside from the weird pretentiousness of the scene, it was just another reminder that Spencer and Caleb really are cute together.
Another of Hanna’s wannabe flames is back in town: Lucas is here, not just to fix his spastic apartment system that almost burnt Aria to a crisp, but also to check out an abandoned factory (of which Rosewood mysteriously has hundreds). Not only that, but when he asks Hanna what she’d hypothetically do with a totally empty, free space, she’s says she’d set herself up with new designers, start her own brand, and “get out of the city.” Because, by the way, all the drama and murder in Rosewood has apparently made her realize how much she misses her small town. Don’t ask me why. Anyway, Lucas is like, “Cool, well, here you go.” And Hanna is like, “You can’t do that.” And Lucas says (this is word for word), “What? Does someone else you went to high school with want to offer you a million-dollar line of credit? I’ve finally figured out a way to give you something no one else can.” So, wait. Is he trying to propose to her in his special Lucas way? Is he a masochist? Is he just trying to keep her around? Is he just trying to be some benevolent Rosewood Zuckerberg? Hanna, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, or a free factory. Beware.
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Here is another strange thing: I’m not sure we’ve seen a ghost since those twins visited Ashley Marin on Halloween years ago, but Mrs. DiLaurentis “comes” to Ali’s hospital room to tell Ali that Elliott is a “good man” and will protect Ali like Mrs. D never could (when she was hiding her other child in a mental institution). This vision seems to give Ali all the reassurance that she needs to let Elliott go on a business trip to Chicago, leaving Ali alone in her house next week. Let’s remember that. Also, in the past, “ghostly” sightings — mostly of Ali — ended up being real. But Mrs. D is actually dead, right? Or is she somehow pulling a Mona?
Speaking of Mona, she has a little meeting with Sara Harvey (“Someone told me you wanted to talk?”) Mona wants to know how Sara is doing, and Sara says, “Everyone has their own way to survive.” Hers is living in the walls of Radley and possibly sending emoji-laced threats. Mona basically says, “It’s crazy that we aren’t all crazy…isn’t it?” and reminds Sara, “Charlotte’s dead. You can’t get reparations from a corpse.” Sara responds, “You can if you know where to look.” Mona says no one blames Sara for what Charlotte made her do (which isn’t really true, but whatever). Then Sara gets on her high horse and tells Mona the Liars will never trust her. “You played with them too long,” she taunts. Is Mona going to go back to the dark side?
And for the super weird and pretty unnecessary final scene:
The Liars, Caleb, and Ezra (Aria told him what’s going on) gather around to take a final vote on the plan. Spencer is the one who breaks the silence and says, “Nobody here is going to let you do this by yourself,” because she’s too mature and trusting for her own good. That’s basically the “go” they needed, so Hanna dictates a text (why): “Leave my friends alone. I killed Charlotte. —Hanna.” Notice she did not use a single emoji because she actually means business.
So then — and this is the good part — we watch her text get translated into binary code (can anyone tell me if it was an accurate translation? Thanks), then fly through the sky to a cell tower, ping off of it, then fly down a cement wall (I am not making this up), into Evil Emoji / “A” / “B”‘s phone. That person reads the text while wearing white latex gloves. I’m so glad, after all these years of watching the girls receive text messages, that the showrunners have FINALLY decided to explain to us how text messages work. Have they been listening to too much Serial season 1 where cell tower “pings” were super important and then not important? What was that?
Anyway, despite being a bit harsh on this week’s episode, I am looking forward to next week. The question is, will we actually get answers? I don’t know how things work now that we’re in the future on PLL. Although fortunately, I now have a very primitive understanding about how texts work: You shoot dancing numbers through the sky, and they land in the right place. Don’t say this show never gave you anything.