Pretty Little Liars recap: 'Power Play'
Charlotte's father and Jessica DiLaurentis's killer are both revealed — and Aria makes a dangerous move.
This episode packed in so many reveals that my head is spinning. Since when has PLL given us the answers to more than one mystery at a time?! I wasn’t ready! I’m still not ready!
Before we get to the big stuff, though, let’s take care of the housekeeping. Ezra gets home, and Aria flatly tells him, “Nicole’s upstairs sleeping.” Apparently she fled to Ezra’s because her clinic made her feel like she was still in captivity, so she escaped to the last place she felt at home. You know, given the whole captivity/PTSD thing, I think Nicole has a lot more in common with the Liars than they realize. Regardless, Aria doesn’t yell at Ezra like I want her to when he tries to apologize about how Nicole’s therapist wants them to reintegrate her into the world slowly — meaning not telling her about their engagement. He (finally) tells Aria this whole thing hasn’t changed how he feels about their relationship, which he should have said weeks ago. Eventually (off camera), Nicole’s parents come to get her — but not before Nicole finds a copy of their book and annotates it a bit… like marking the memory of Ezra she held onto to stay alive, which he fictionalized for the book. Yikes.
Meanwhile, the game has appeared at Ali’s house, and it’s going berserk. Ali seems to be really confident — and correct — in her analyses of the game: Every time people speculate (“Is there any chance it’s broken?”) she answers with firmness (“It’s not broken. It’s deciding”). I don’t think she had any part in it, especially given what happens later, but it’s still kind of weird that the writers have Ali just magically know what’s going on. Maybe she’s just hypothesizing from experience.
Spencer has an unwanted visitor (okay, resident) at her house: Daddy’s back from wherever he’s gone this time. And Spencer obviously wastes no time in confronting him about, oh, having a second secret child with a woman who wasn’t his wife — and also for not coming home when his daughter was shot. Seriously, dude. You’re not winning any Father of the Year prizes for quite some time. He tells her he was looking for Mary Drake, and he even hired a private investigator. Spencer wants to find her, too, but is worried that when Mr. Hastings does, he’ll just drive her away for good. And she still wants some answers.
Over at school, Ali tells Emily she’s decided to terminate her pregnancy. Understandably, she says it feels like Rollins is still controlling her — so Emily offers to drive her to the clinic. Their moment is interrupted, though, by Detective Furey (who incidentally came straight from Spencer’s bedroom). Emily leaves, and Furey tells Ali about the severed finger he was sent. Turns out it belongs to none other than — speak of the devil — Archer! And now, since they know how long this finger has been decomposing, they’ve turned Archer’s missing person status into a murder investigation. Greeeeat!
The Liars reconvene at the game board to figure out the next steps. They wonder whether A.D. will send the cops another piece of Archer every time they do something wrong. Is this punishment for not finding Charlotte’s killer? For Hanna not finishing her turn? Either way, it’s Alison’s turn: The game sends her to a mystery location.
Spencer and Hanna are searching for their own mystery location, as they decide to take the hunt for Mary Drake into their own hands. Hanna gets an address from Mr. Hastings’ investigator, but when they get there, they get a shock: It’s the new home of Hanna’s mom’s ex-fiancé, Pastor Ted. They figure it must be a mix-up and get on their way, though Hanna wants to keep in touch. When they leave, though, Mary comes to the door behind Ted, and he says, “I need to know why you’re really here, Mary.”
Across town, Aria hangs up a video call with Ali and receives another one right away. A hooded figure with a scrambled voice appears on screen holding a file with Aria’s name on it and saying that if Ezra knew what was in the file, he’d choose Nicole… and she’d be visiting him in jail. Aria finally snaps and hurls her game piece at a wine glass, shattering it. Then, she casually goes to meet with Ali.
Turns out the mystery location for Ali’s turn is a baby store, and A.D. has set it up so Ali is forced to register for gifts all around the store. It’s a particularly cruel punishment for a woman who’s just decided to terminate her manipulative captor’s child… but it gets worse. The chirpy saleswoman gives Ali the package she was told to set aside for “the egg donor.” It’s a personalized necklace — and whose name is spelled out in beads? EMILY.
CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS?! When A stole Emily’s eggs forever ago, I thought it was the sickest, worst thing A had ever done. But it turns out that fertilizing one of those eggs and impregnating Ali with it while she was being tortured in Welby is even worse than just stealing them. This is truly, truly twisted and insane. Unless A.D. is lying (which, let’s be honest, they probably aren’t), this is a massive event. And, uh… a way for Emison to live happily ever after and raise a baby together? (Also, Ali gets her puzzle piece.)
Meanwhile, when Ali went into the baby store, Aria had gotten a text from A.D. instructing her to meet them now, and sent a GPS pin. Aria goes and is invited into a black limo, where who is waiting in a black hoodie? Sydney Driscoll. NO! BORING!
Offscreen, Sydney apparently tells Aria that she shot Spencer, helped Jenna escape, and made up the A game. (Seems like a massive reveal to happen without us seeing it, so… definitely isn’t true, right?) Aria asks why she’s telling her all this now, and Sydney says it’s because Aria’s desperate — and she could use desperate. Aria asks how she gets out of all this, and Sydney says, “There is no ‘out.’ But you could change sides and be part of the winning team.” Then she turns her head and accidentally reveals an earpiece, which Aria points out.
So, A.D. was clearly feeding Sydney lines. But does this mean Sydney did shoot Spencer as a task assigned by A.D.? Or she just said she did because she was speaking for A.D.? I think it’s the latter. Either way, it’s time for Aria to leave — she’s not totally a lost cause to them, because she did ditch Ali when she needed her. But on her way out, Aria asks Sydney why she’s really helping. “Because it’s no fun being on the losing team,” she says.
Speaking of teams, we don’t know what team Ted is on — but he comes to see her at her/Lucas’s apartment and comes clean about Mary Drake. They dated for a while in college, he explains. Oh, and they also had a son — he pulls out a photo — a little blond boy named Charles. Yes. Hanna’s almost stepdad is Charles’ dad. One more tiny twist: Ted worked at a camp for troubled boys, including Charles, and Charles only had one friend there — Lucas. Does this taint his already weird motivations for letting Hanna live there? This is just getting weirder and weirder.
In boring news, Paige was about to leave the job at the high school for one in Iowa because she couldn’t handle being around Emily and Ali. She changed her mind when she accidentally saw Ali’s abortion pamphlet, realizing that Ali has problems too and that Emily was just comforting a friend. Then Paige and Emily kissed, and they seem to be getting back together… but now that this whole egg/baby thing is happening, I highly doubt this rekindled relationship is going to go smoothly.
For the next reveal: Mr. Hastings sits Spencer down to yell at her about looking for Mary Drake, and obviously, Spencer demands answers. So he proceeds to tell her about the night Jessica DiLaurentis was killed. Mary had dropped by the Hastings house, lurking in the shadows. Jessica had told her Charles was dead, so she came by to get revenge — and killed Jessica using Mr. Hastings’ pills. Spencer tries to be skeptical (“They were sisters!”) but seems convinced. (So am I. She’s evil.) Mr. Hastings says that now, he just wants to protect her. (He is also evil: He knew about Charlotte before his daughter was tortured in the dollhouse!)
Back at Ali’s, the Liars, sans Aria, have gathered to comfort each other and share all the terrible things they’ve learned (like how every dad on this show sucks aside from Mr. Fields, may he rest in peace). Ali cancels her abortion appointment because “we” need more time to think, and she and Emily sit with Spencer and Hanna, totally traumatized. Aria waltzes in late, and they ask where she was. She lies, and Spencer tells them they all have to stay together: “We cannot let this game rip us apart.”
That’s going to be hard, though: The game starts shuffling through old photos of the Liars to decide whose turn it is, and it lands on Hanna. “No! I just went!” she screams. “I just wrecked my life! I can’t do it again!” Emily agrees: “It’s supposed to be Aria’s turn!” Ali, ever the wise one, knows it’s no mistake. “It’s not broken. It knows exactly what it’s doing,” she says.
Then, privately, Aria gets a text. “Made a decision yet? — A.D.” Hmm… has she?