Mary Drake's secret is out -- and one Liar's fate hangs in the balance
2016 Episode Gallery: 8/30/16 All Crops: Pretty Little Liars "The Darkest Knight" TROIAN BELLISARIO
Credit: Freeform/Ron Tom

I’ve been staring at a blank screen for 15 minutes trying to parse everything that happened tonight. We got answers we weren’t expecting to get until next (the last!) season. We got relationship reunions all over the place. And we got way more deaths (and possible deaths) than I can even comprehend right now. Hanna kidnapping Noel feels like it happened years ago!

But obviously, it didn’t, so let’s get into the weeds…or the cobwebs…or the formaldehyde jars…of PLL‘s last summer finale ever. I can’t believe I’m writing that!

When we begin, Hanna’s in that dank room with a barely conscious Noel and she starts filming what she hopes will end up being his confession. Unfortunately, “Wake up, bitch” doesn’t actually wake him up, nor do her repeated questions about whether he’s A.D., nor does her cutting his leg to get some blood. I initially thought she was straight-up torturing him, but apparently she just needs to take a blood sample to a lab. Still, I think the cut was a little deeper than it needed to be, right?

Meanwhile, the other Liars are obviously freaking out since they haven’t heard from Hanna and haven’t seen Noel — so for once, they do call the cops this time. Soon enough, Hanna’s a missing person (conveniently, Ashley Marin’s in London at a “conference” and doesn’t immediately fly home, despite her daughter’s face being plastered all over the news). They all end up with a police detail at their doors. It’s funny that this still eases their concerns, even though the last time a Liar got a police escort, they ended up trying to kill Ali. Mona, the productive one, is very obviously (but successfully) listening to Jenna’s phone calls, and when she calls Noel for the third time, they realize Jenna probably isn’t in on the kidnapping. At the same time, Hanna hears about her missing-person status on the radio and does what any of us would do if we’d tortured and kidnapped someone and it started to go awry: She calls Mona.

Mona gets there and immediately finds the flash drive. Knowing what’s on it, she tells Hanna she can stop the torturing — this is enough evidence to put Noel away. But Hanna still thinks he’s A.D. (and her barn torturer) and thinks getting him arrested for just the dollhouse would be settling. She wants him locked up for EVERYTHING. She just wants to wait until the DNA sample comes back. So Mona compromises and helps Hanna rehearse a story about where she’s been. It seemed like it was a lie for the cops — but actually, it was a lie for the other Liars. Well, and a cop (Marco!). This is the perfect time for Noel to wake up…and realize he’s not tied to that chair too tightly. And back at The Radley, Mona tries to compromise with Jenna: If she stops looking for Noel, they’ll tell the cops she had nothing to do with it.

Okay. Now it’s time to talk COUPLES!

Caleb sees Hanna and is overjoyed (subtly, of course) that she’s back. He takes her home, and Hanna’s annoyed because Caleb keeps asking if she’s okay. Then, he launches into a speech that sounds so When Harry Met Sally / 10 Things I Hate About You in the best way: “You don’t do dishes until they mold… You send food back if the waiter breathes on it.” And in the middle of all those annoyed-yet-loving complaints? He mentions she doesn’t understand that they’re meant to be together. Hanna makes him back up, and he says: “I never want to spend another day without you. Ever. For the rest of my life.” Was that…almost a proposal?! They immediately have a beautifully romantic kiss and spend the night in front of the fire. HALEB, finally back together!

Ali has been annoyed all day after Emily brought Paige around to the Missing-Hanna-Stakeout at the Hastings’. Is this a jealous Ali or just a classic, bitchy Ali? Well, we don’t exactly get an answer, but Emison shippers might have gotten the next best thing… Emily goes back to Ali’s that night, where Ali confesses something huge: She’s pregnant, and Elliot’s the father. After the shock wears off, Emily tells her she’ll be there no matter what Ali decides to do. Then, later on the couch, a long-awaited Emison smooch finally happens. Emily’s hesitant, but Ali promises it’s not because she’s in a vulnerable place. I guess those #EmisonEndgame T-shirts really had it right? But not if Paige has anything to say about it: After calling Emily her girlfriend to a cop, Paige realizes who Emily spent the night with and tells her to call when she’s stopped being Ali’s puppet. Ouch. Sabrina, care to mediate?


As for Ezra and Aria: Ezra’s still numb from finding out Nicole wasn’t one of the hostages, and even tells Aria he understands why she deleted the call (so he wouldn’t have to mourn someone twice). But when she offers to pick him up at the airport, he says he’ll just take a cab — though he asks her to be home when he gets there. Hours pass after his flight was supposed to arrive, and Aria is freaking out. She gets on the phone with the airline trying to find out whether he was actually on the flight, but apparently they’ll only give that information to a spouse (add that to the list of reasons they should have just eloped before any of this mess came back).

But while she’s on the phone, she turns to see the news: A second search party went out in Colombia, and it’s like seeing a ghost. There’s Nicole, shell-shocked and dirty-haired, emerging from the woods very much alive. And then who runs in from the left side of the screen and immediately starts hugging and kissing her? Ezra. So he didn’t get on the flight after all. I wouldn’t call myself the biggest Ezria fan in the world…but even my stomach sank at the image. Poor Aria! I cannot imagine a worse situation for her to be in right now.

NEXT: The Liars head out to meet Noel

Despite these happy — and heartbreaking — events, all the Liars have to put their romances aside for now. Hanna’s forced to tell the truth about her kidnapping when she gets the lab results back proving Noel isn’t Mary Drake’s kid. In fact, they’re not related at all. So he’s a red herring, as usual! The Liars are pissed at her at first — she goes rogue, but then the minute she’s in trouble she starts saying things like “We need to deal with this”? Not cool, Hanna. But Liars stick together, and when they get a text with an address where they can meet up to exchange Noel’s flash drive for Hanna’s self-incriminating video footage, they ditch their police detail (disturbingly easily) and head out.

They end up at Joseph Lloyd King School for the Blind, which operated until 2009 and then apparently fell into a state of disrepair that looks like it took 40 years. This is Rosewood! The Liars mention something about Jenna losing her sight, and then Jenna’s voice appears on an intercom: “I didn’t lose my sight. You took it from me.” She instructs them to leave the flash drive on the table, and the Liars hear Hanna’s video playing from upstairs and head up to look for it. This decrepit mansion is the stuff of Ryan Murphy and Marlene King’s nightmares combined. There’s a cobweb-laden hospital nursery with cribs full of busted-up baby dolls. There’s a room filled with shelves of body parts and fetal animals in jars of formaldehyde. What exactly were blind kids learning at this school? They’re about to leave when (obviously) Emily leaves her phone upstairs (BUY A NEW FREAKING PHONE), but it doesn’t matter because they’re locked in anyway. Hanna and Emily go upstairs to look for it, while Spencer, Aria, and Ali hang down below. At least they didn’t split up like usual?

In a second, Hanna and Emily come across Noel. “Did you really think we’d let you leave? You know too much.” He continues with the clichés: “You can run…but you can’t hide.” Okay, Noel. But then he gets creative, grabbing an axe out of a suit of armor in the corner (um????). “I taught Jenna a lot,” he says. “The one thing she taught Charlotte and me was how to smell fear.” Let’s pause for a second. Yes, this is terrifying. But also, CAN THAT BE TAUGHT? I sure don’t think so. No thanks, Noel.

Downstairs, Jenna’s walking around with a gun — exactly the tool a blind woman bent on revenge needs, right? Something rolls down the stairs. “Alison, is that you?” she calls out. “You’ve been the bitch, the missing girl, the dead girl… Tonight, you get to be me.” She shoots out the lights. YAY. “Now you see what I see.”

Then Noel decides it’s his turn to use the b-word. “You bitches never understood me,” he sneers. “I always get what I want.” Do you, Noel? Might want to rethink that: He lunges for Emily and Hanna, but they fight him off and the axe falls to the floor. Then he falls on it and…decapitates himself. Now it’s not just terrifying, it’s repulsive, too! But wait, it gets worse. His head rolls down the stairs, and then Jenna accidentally kicks it while climbing up them. UNREAL. Also, remember how A.D. was storing matches in that upside-down doll’s head? Was that a sign?

Jenna goes upstairs and shoots around. The Liars run downstairs…except for one. Spencer’s been shot and she crawls into a room to hide. “Is that you, Spencer, hiding in the corner?” Jenna calls. “I smell your blood.” JENNA, SERIOUSLY? Is she turning into Hannibal Lecter? Or I guess, if we’re smelling blood, Edward Cullen? “This is as much for me as it is for Charlotte,” she says. What the heck? What is going on?!

The camera pans to Spencer, and it’s worse than I even thought. I assumed she was shot in the leg — but she’s bleeding from a wound right in her chest. But immediately, someone rushes to her side: It’s Mary Drake. Spencer, losing more and more blood, doesn’t look so good, and that’s when Mary says, “Spencer, I would never hurt you. I’m your mother.” WHAAAAAT?! So Mary Drake’s secret child is SPENCER?! I mean, they’ve definitely hinted at this through the season — if it was going to be one of the Liars, I had my money on Spencer. She was looking through that photo album seeming to have her own doubts; she lived next to the DiLaurentis family so a stealthy adoption would have made sense…and Charlotte was freakishly smart, so her half-sibling Spencer must be, too. But is Spencer’s father really her father??? And does this mean Spencer and Jason are half-siblings and cousins? Either way, I don’t think Spencer is actually dead. The show needs Troian Bellisario’s acting for its last season, for one thing. And if she died, we probably wouldn’t have gotten these next deaths…

Away from the scary school, we see a truck crashed on the side of the road. I don’t even know how to type this. It’s Toby, head bloody, looking awfully not alive — and Yvonne, in the passenger seat, doesn’t look so great, either. Is this seriously how Toby meets his end? Did A.D. have something to do with this wreck? I’d be hard-pressed to believe they didn’t. (Also, poor Yvonne! She didn’t do anything to deserve this!) One of the saddest things, though, is Toby was about to text Spencer earlier in the episode, after their kiss. “Heading out soon. And I just wanted to say…” he wrote. But then he deleted it, and we’ll never know what he wanted to say.

After that shot, we see Jenna lying on the ground. “Who are you?” she asks to someone standing above her. “Did you shoot Spencer?” A.D. throws a rubber mask down on the floor with her. “You’re A.D.” she says. So she didn’t know? Does anybody know anything? Were Jenna and Noel even connected to A.D.? I repeat, what is going on?!

The last thing we see, after A.D.’s hoodie-covered head getting into a car, is a set of Liar toys. Not exactly dolls this time, but more like Polly Pockets? A.D. carefully picks up the Spencer doll, then places her into a little coffin. VERY OMINOUS…but again, I don’t think they’d kill her before the last season. Still, whenever she wakes up at the hospital and hears the news about Toby — ugh, I don’t even want to think about it.

So, Liars. Thoughts on this episode? On the penultimate season of Pretty Little Liars? Are you as confused as I am? Do you think Spencer’s alive? Also, do you think Jenna’s alive? (Why was she on the ground?!) And Spoby shippers… I’m so, so sorry. What a finale. Oh one last thing, I have no theories on Uber A right now, so feel free to send yours!

Episode Recaps

Pretty Little Liars

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.

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