When it's Hanna's turn to play the game, Caleb ends up in the hospital, and someone else ends up dead.
Much like Ali is “out of town” this week, your regular recapper, Isabella Biedenharn, is unavailable, so I will be temporarily babysitting that crying pillow (translation: recapping this week’s episode). And for what it’s worth, I do want to say one thing: I am a fan of this “game” and the entire structure that it brings to the final episodes. What can I say? I’m a fan of A.D.’s playful-but-deadly vibe, though I really could’ve done without the freaky mannequin in tonight’s episode.
Speaking of which, the episode starts when what I’ll call the “game phone” won’t stop crying. I know that sounds weird, but think of it this way: Remember in middle school when you had the option in Home Ec to take home that doll that simulated a newborn and made all teens shy away from having sex? This is that, but a few years too late, and instead, it’s an iPhone that won’t stop crying.
Spencer, unable to sleep, does the only logical thing: She calls and wakes up the other Liars because misery loves company. Well, everyone except Ali because she’s out of town (and isn’t too far away from dealing with a real baby crying). The Liars argue about who has to babysit the pillow that Spencer stuffed the phone inside, but in the end, the phone decides. It’s Hanna’s turn to play the game.
Step 1: Hanna “hides” the phone from Caleb by putting it… in her purse. As she tells Emily, “Guys aren’t going to go through a girl’s purse because they’re too afraid to accidentally touch a tampon.” Yeah, I feel like that logic worked in high school, but I’m hoping adult Caleb has matured past the point of being scared at the mention of PMS?
But none of the matters, because Hanna won’t be able to keep the game a secret for long. After Mona follows through on her promise to get Hanna in the newspaper — the senator’s daughter ended up wearing her dress to the charity gala — Emily finds another article on a blog, and it’s all about whether Hanna stole the dress design.
The blog claims it got its information from an anonymous source, but Hanna is convinced that “you can’t spell anonymous without A.D.” (Not literally, of course.) Furthermore, Hanna thinks Jenna is behind the post, because as her flawless logic explains, “blind item, blind girl.” Sure, we’ll just let that one go.
Caleb chimes in to reveal that Jenna checked out of Radley late last night, and he already has an idea of how to find her: use Sydney. As for Aria? She’s in, because she could use anything to keep her mind off of Nicole, who’s giving television interviews all about how seeing Ezra again was the thing that got her through everything.
But before Caleb can finish up his plan to find Sydney, Hanna gets a delivery from the game. And in case you forgot just how creepy this show could be, it’s a mannequin with what looks like Hanna’s skin sewn onto its face. Sweet, right?!
So Hanna is forced to tell Caleb about the game, which is described as “like Simon Says… but meaner.” Also, the doll talks. IT. TALKS. And it says something about “please see the appendix.” Of course, Hanna takes that to mean the appendix of a book, but come on Hanna, when have you ever read a book? We all know where this is going, right?
Caleb then leaves Hanna with the doll while he heads to Spencer’s to try to crack this game, and Hanna eventually figures out that she needs to cut open the mannequin to get to the doll’s appendix. Listen, I have no idea what this doll is made out of, but I know that you can cut into it and that it bleeds when you do, so it’s a good thing Hanna goes full Grey’s Anatomy and drapes the heck out of her table before she makes the cut (with a butcher’s knife because precision is so last year). Inside, there’s a sealed bag, and A.D. wants Hanna to wear what’s in it.
While all of this is going on, we briefly check in on Yvonne and Toby. Yvonne is finally awake and starting to talk. Even better? She can squeeze a ball! And as soon as that happens, Toby decides they need to get married. Right now. In the hospital. AND SO THEY DO. I have no idea if this ceremony is legal — they don’t show anyone else in the room — but hey, at least Toby’s not rushing into anything, right?
As for Spencer, she spends the day getting her mind off of her mommy troubles by playing ping pong (and making out) with Marco. He finally tells her a bit more about how he grew up and how his mother was addicted to prescription pills and just basically lets her know that she isn’t the only one with family drama. And you know what? She appreciates it.
With Caleb working on the game, Emily and Aria are on Sydney duty, and it seems whatever morning tutoring session Caleb gave Aria worked, because she’s now officially a genius at hacking, technology, and all kinds of crap. (I, clearly, am not a genius.) Emily and Aria quickly discover that Sydney attended the same charity ball where the senator’s daughter wore Hanna’s dress. And if Sydney is the anonymous source, could she also be the other shooter? I’m sorry, can we talk about this jump? Sydney attended a charity ball SO MAYBE SHE ALSO TRIED TO KILL SPENCER. I mean, what’s the connection?
Regardless, Emily catches up with Sydney, all the while carrying some device that allows Aria to hack her phone from a nearby car. Sydney then tells Emily that she was at the Radley Hotel when Spencer was shot. She claims that she delivered the message to Caleb and Mona because Jenna said it was a practical joke, but after high school, she and Jenna drifted apart.
Spoiler: She’s lying. Well, maybe. Aria and Emily follow her to the Vogel Vision Institute, where she makes a deposit for a surgical procedure for Jenna. And when asked for a name for the donation, she says “A.D.” As in “anonymous donor,” duh. She then texts a blocked number to let them know “it’s done.”
And cue the best part of this episode: feisty Aria, who in addition to being a hacker now is also potentially a ninja? She quite literally twists Sydney’s arm until she explains that the donation was from a client at her bank. Sydney claims Jenna hasn’t answered any of her calls or texts. Apparently, Jenna’s games became a little too dangerous for Sydney’s liking. With that, Aria lets her go to her yoga class (after putting a tracker in her bag). Sydney’s epic farewell? “Namaste, bitch.”
Getting back to Hanna, A.D. has requested she wear an offensively short dress to her meeting with Japanese investors, and as Caleb puts it, it’s “like everyone’s gonna see your spicy tuna roll short,” which is arguably the second grossest thing to happen in this episode (behind the creepy mannequin). But Hanna has no choice, so she throws on a trench coat, thanks Lucas for his friendship, and prepares to head to the meeting before she’s stopped by a text: Caleb is in the hospital.
Let me back up a bit. After Hanna left for the meeting, Spencer came home to find Caleb still working on the game. But when he popped the church figurine off the board, a gas was emitted, and it left him unable to speak or breathe. Spencer called 911 and then texted Hanna, which brings us back to the hospital, which is where Hanna learns that she doesn’t get her puzzle piece because she failed to complete her turn. (Where it goes is still TBD.)
But Hanna isn’t the only person who loses something. After Toby and Yvonne tie the knot, they start discussing honeymoon locations and all the places they want to travel. Somehow, Toby doesn’t realize that Yvonne’s eyes are closing while she talks about some ice rink in Moscow, but by the time he senses something’s wrong, it’s too late. She drops her bouquet, which isn’t a pretty way of saying she dies. It’s literally how the show symbolizes her death.
The one bit of good news? Spencer is there to hold Toby when he collapses in the hallway.
As for Sydney, Emily takes “first watch” while Aria heads home… to find Nicole sitting alone in the dark in her apartment, because that’s not creepy! Also creepy? The severed finger that’s delivered to the Rosewood P.D. and just might belong to Mrs. D.
And that’s where it leaves us — wanting more, as always. Overall, I still like the board game, and this episode had a lot of great lines, not to mention the badass Aria stuff. The Yvonne stuff, however, didn’t have the impact I think they were hoping for, and I still don’t care about Sydney.
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