Pretty Little Liars recap: Season 7, Episode 9
What a night! New relationships collided with old, secrets (that I, for one, didn’t see coming) emerged, and Hanna showed her toughest side yet — but will she ultimately succeed in her plan?
This week, Hanna was determined to take down Noel Kahn all on her own. Armed with duct tape, rope, a video camera, and some powerful powdered pills, we first see her camping out in that sparse, newspaper-covered room recording some sort of goodbye message. “My name is Hanna Marin,” she says into the camera. “If you find this video before I finish what I need to do, something went terribly wrong. Please give this to the police.” Right off the bat, we know one thing: She’s not 100-percent confident.
The others are aware Hanna’s not around, but at first, they seem to believe her story about going to New York on business with Lucas. What they don’t understand, though, is why she isn’t answering any texts or phone calls aside from a quick, “I’m in a meeting, Emily!” hiss (when she’s actually in the car with a slightly creepy dude buying pills). Spencer, Aria, and Emily split up the rest of the plan among the three of them: Spencer will look into Noel Kahn, Aria will hunt for adoption records, and Emily… Emily will join after her next swim-coach interview.
Before the interview, she pops by The Brew to say hi to Sabrina, who’s testing out different red-velvet cakes for a new customer whose name just happens to be Noel Kahn. Emily tries to warn her about him and finally urges her not to work with him at all, even on a cake, but Sabrina isn’t convinced. She’s frustrated Emily would react that way and then not tell her what’s going on, but Emily has to leave for her interview.
Meanwhile, even though Ezra is in Colombia and hasn’t called Aria since he landed (dude, come on!), Aria has quite an interesting situation on her hands. Jason comes over to ask about the fire at Aunt Carol’s, and eventually Aria relents and admits she was not only there, but she also read something about him potentially having another cousin via Mary Drake (who, again, just isn’t answering any calls and is nowhere to be found). She tells him she’s going to check out the adoption records, but he reminds her they won’t give her any information because she’s not a relative. “No,” she says, realizing. “But you are.”
When their number is finally called, the clerk is reluctant to give them any information on closed adoptions, but Aria gives her the CliffsNotes version of Jason’s story (which we knew was rough, but man, hearing it all in succession like that? Brutal!). He just wants to connect with some family, she says. “You’re lucky to have a fiancée who cares so much,” the lady smiles to Jason, who agrees. (Aww!) The files aren’t digitized, but she’ll do some digging and fax something over to them later in the day.
Spencer’s having pretty good luck with her mission and is able to find Noel Kahn’s address from her mom’s campaign manager. (Also, can we talk about how in Rosewood, Google is called XSTER? Was there really not a better fake name for a search engine? I do appreciate the consistency with XSTER Maps, though.) It turns out he’s been living with his parents, and their address is curiously close to the barn where Hanna was tortured. That can’t be a coincidence… Can it?
NEXT: A shocking discovery at Noel’s house
Of course, Emily and Spencer head straight to the house, despite the eerie feeling someone might be home — or watching from afar. Spencer smashes a security camera just to make sure. They don’t find Hanna’s torture room inside the house, but upon further scouring of Noel’s room, they find a wooden box with a symbol on it that Noel’s brother used for admission to parties (what is this, True Detective?), and inside, there’s a flash drive with folders clearly marked Spencer, Aria, Mona, Hanna, and Emily. In the folders are a mind-boggling amount of videos. And these are no N.A.T. Club clips — this is footage of Noel Kahn himself, in the torture dollhouse, pouring fake (or maybe real?) blood all over an unconscious Spencer to make it look like she’d killed someone. “I really thought that I hurt someone,” Spencer says quietly while watching. They agree he’ll definitely go to jail for this — which means the flash drive obviously won’t end up in the hands of the police, right? That would be way, way too just.
In the episode’s regular “Why we can’t go to the cops?” segment, Aria strangely decides they can’t because Hanna has to be there. They wonder aloud if Hanna actually went to the police on her own, but Spencer says she would have done it by now. That reminds them to look a little harder for her, but Mona, Lucas, and Caleb all deny it.
Sabrina interrupts their detective session by knocking on the door with cupcakes to surprise Emily. She’s really sweet and doesn’t deserve to be lumped into all of this. Plus, Emily’s last girlfriend met an…untimely end, so as much as Sabrina begs to know what’s going on, Emily stays firm about not telling her. She asks her to stick around at least until tomorrow, because she’ll be able to tell her then, when it’s all over. Yeah, famous last words on PLL, Emily. It’s never “over” and you know it (at least not until the season finale next week)!
Earlier today, when Emily was at her interview — which, by the way, what interview would ever require you to fill out forms alongside the person you’re up against for the job in an empty room? — she bonded with Paige over how neither of them could list all the crimes they’ve committed on the application, and eventually Paige senses something must be happening again. But before that, I was cracking up because Paige was reminiscing about Rosewood High and wishing she could come back, and Emily goes, “Really? You miss being stalked and having acne that won’t go away?” GIRL, PLEASE. No one on this show has ever had so much as a blackhead, let alone a breakout. None, I repeat, none of you had acne. Not even Paige.
Moving on. Hanna followed Noel to a dumpster earlier in the day, and dug through his bag of trash once he left to find Sara’s cracked cell phone. Later, this is what she uses to lure him to a dive bar, where she’s drugged a beer for him. She catches him off guard. “I’m waiting for somebody,” he snaps.
“You’re waiting for me,” Hanna says. “I know you killed Sara… I knew you’d eventually slip up.” Noel smirks and tells Hanna she got it all wrong; Sara fell in the shower. Was this basically an admission of guilt? Did Noel kill Sara? Hanna spins it like both of them need alibis, and she’s happy for them to be each other’s — but when she tries to get Noel to take a sip of his beer, he tells her to take a sip of his first. When she refuses, not only does he know she intended to drug him, but he also grabs Sara’s phone back. So much for that plan!
Since it’s a perfect time for a freak storm and power outage, that happens. Spencer’s mom’s car alarm is apparently going off, so she heads home and shuts it off just as the lights go out. She plugs the flash drive into what looks like Veronica Hastings’ work computer, and eventually, after having a couple more dollhouse flashbacks, decides to call Marco. Earlier, he’d given her his card after telling her Archer Dunhill apparently has fled to France, and is therefore outside his jurisdiction. Marco’s silver lining was that he and Spencer could finally get a meal together, but Spencer blamed their first makeout on her having just gotten out of a relationship. Still, she seems to change her mind, at least a little, when she’s alone in that dark house.
Of course, minutes after she calls, a tree (?) bursts through her kitchen window, and while she’s distracted by that, someone opens the front door and she sees a shadow creeping through the house. Marco arrives shortly after, but he can’t find anyone in the house and suspects the wind blew the door open. That would be nice, but the flash drive is missing from the laptop, so Spencer knows there was someone there — and not somebody on her side. She asks Marco to stay, and they sit together for a while.
Aria and Jason are alone without power, too, at Jason’s. He tells her he knows about Nicole/Ezra/Colombia, and when she expresses worry that she’s just Ezra’s consolation prize after Nicole’s disappearance, Jason says, “I don’t believe that for a second. You two were always meant to be.” Just the kind of sweet, perfect thing that makes you think maybe Aria and Jason are meant to be, eh? Anyone?
When the power goes back on, though, Aria gets a text from Ezra. “Nicole wasn’t one of the hostages,” it reads. “Coming home tomorrow.” Tears stream down her face, but is she feeling relieved that Ezra and Nicole aren’t back in love, or scared Nicole might still be alive elsewhere? The power also allows the adoption fax to come through, but to Jason and Aria’s dismay, all of the relevant information — sex, father — has been redacted. All of it, that is, except the name of the judge in the case: Steven Kahn, a.k.a. Noel Kahn’s father. “I think he adopted Mary’s baby,” Aria says. Could it be true? Could Noel actually be Mary Drake’s other kid? That would explain why he’d help Charlotte in the torture dollhouse — but how would Noel and Charlotte know about each other? And if they’d found each other, why would they need to torture everyone?
Though everyone else has someone during the storm, Emily sits alone on the couch, until she decides to pick up the phone. But it’s not Sabrina she’s finally calling to confess to: It’s her old familiar flame, Paige. Paige agrees to come over right away…but first she has to leave The Brew, where it seems like she was definitely spying on Sabrina. Oh, Paige, I really thought California would have mellowed you out! Should we be afraid?
We should definitely be afraid for Hanna — or maybe, of her? Noel pulls up to his parents’ house at the end of the episode and sees Hanna’s hat on the ground. At first, I thought this was an idiotic move — he JUST saw you in that hat at the bar, Hanna! But of course, she’s always smarter than we think. As Noel leans down to pick up the hat, Hanna smacks him over the head with a rod or a baseball bat. “It’s over, bitch,” she says. Um, is it? Definitely not, because there’s still one more episode in dear old season 7A — and judging by the scenes from next week, it’s gonna be a rough one.
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.