An emotional episode shows how the Liars are dealing with Ali's return
Thrown From The Ride
Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC Family

In a teen drama where high schoolers rule the world, parents are capable of the unthinkable, and cyber bullies literally try to saw people in half, it can be difficult to bring things back down to earth, to ground things in a believable way. And that’s probably why it’s rare that Pretty Little Liars steps away from the text message threats and the black hoodies to delve into the emotional trauma at the center of it all. But after four years of torture, these Liars really should be emotional wrecks.

In the past, we’ve seen them deal with their trauma in a number of ways. Spencer went crazy; Emily turned to pain pills; Aria ran away; and so on. But creatively speaking, even those were deliberate dramatic choices that fit into the more extreme side of the show. So when this episode let go of all the bells and whistles and just let the Liars reflect on what has happened to them, it resonated more heavily than some of the big, unforgettable moments this show is known for.

In the first four episodes of this season, we’ve seen Ezra survive a gun shot, Ali return to Rosewood, Aria accidentally kill Shana, and a dog discover Mrs. D’s dead body. And because of all of those things, it’s about time that the Liars stopped chasing after hooded figures and just cried. It’s refreshing, and despite the show’s normal pace, not at all boring.

For Hanna, it’s about trying to find herself. Who is Hanna now that Alison DiLaurentis is back? Well, for one thing, she has black streaks in her hair, so that’s something. And apparently she hits inquisitive people with dodge balls, shop lifts, yells at Spencer, and has an all-around pretty negative outlook on life. Oh, and she doesn’t really care that Lucas is back at school. Then again, nobody really seems to—sorry, Lucas—other than maybe Mona, who needs him to help take down Ali.

But despite her own inner turmoil, Hanna is still able to be a good friend to Ali. With Spencer, Emily, and Aria all avoiding their recently undead friend, Hanna ends up being the one to go with Ali to her medical examination. It’s something the police need her to do, but that she’s been putting off. Why? Well it might have something to do with the new scar on her thigh. Although Ali tells a story about how she fell on a rock, the doctor all but calls her out on how the scar looks like a slice, as in from a knife. But when Hanna asks about it, Ali ominously tells her, “I wish I was blindfolded when I got that scar.” Ali decides against telling Hanna how she got it because “once you know something, you can’t un-know it.” Okay, so there was still a bit of the old PLL flare among all the low-key drama.

NEXT: Did Peter Hastings kill Mrs. D?

For now, Ali is less worried about her scar and more worried about the Liars memorizing the lies she told the police to corroborate her story. It’s a plan Spencer isn’t on board with, but Spence is a little preoccupied with trying to figure out if dear old dad is capable of murder. In the middle of a breakdown of her own, Veronica fesses up that Mrs. D once thought Spencer had something to do with Ali’s disappearance. She was going to go to the police before Peter threatened to tell Mr. D about their affair. However, once Mr. and Mrs. D decided to get a divorce, there was nothing stopping Jessica from going to the cops, except potentially Peter. So did he kill her?

The toxicology report claims Mrs. D’s cause of death was some sort of pill mix up. Mrs. D had Losartan in her system, which is prescribed for high blood pressure. But Mrs. D had low blood pressure, so the Losartan actually stopped her heart. And guess who has Losartan in his medicine cabinet? Yeah, it’s not a great day to be Peter Hastings. Then again, it’s not a particularly good day to be Veronica Hastings, either, who is conveniently sent away to a “spa” by her husband. All of this hits Spencer like a ton of bricks, but instead of turning to pills or doing something worthy of a good eye roll, she simply panics and cries, you know, like a normal person.

At school, Aria is coping with the whole I-killed-someone thing when she comes across a video of Shana’s funeral. (Please tell me people don’t actually put funeral videos online.) After watching Shana’s grandmother sing and weep and sing and weep on repeat, Aria heads over to Ezra’s place looking for comfort. He offers her advice about forgiving herself along with takeout and board games, but sadly, it doesn’t seem like enough for troubled Aria. In fact, her obvious feelings for Ezra only add to her emotional baggage.

As for Emily, she works through her troubles by training Sydney, trying to figure out how to be friends with Paige, and worrying about Ali. But more than anything, she’s lost, as they all are. But they’re all coping in their own ways. After years of emotional (and physical) torture, it’s time these teens focused on their feelings.

That being said, the episode offered enough in the manner of moving forward, what with Peter’s probable involvement in Mrs. D’s death and Ali’s new scar. The puzzle continued to expand, and the Liars got a much deserved moment to breathe (and cry). It’s not something we’d want to see every week, but once in a while, a more reserved Rosewood is enjoyable, even if it’s filled with tears.

(Current) top suspect: Jenna (because where is she?)

But what did you all think of the episode? Do you think Peter Hastings killed Mrs. D?

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.

  • TV Show
  • 7
stream service