Previously on Pretty Little Liars, Alison had to break the news to Jason that their mom had been hiding photos of his imaginary childhood friend in her button jar. After escaping from the dollhouse and spending one night in the home of Emily Fields, Sara Harvey cut her hair like Megan Rapinoe and turned gay. Spencer stole a single sleeping pill from Aria and gulped it down to drown out the noise of her mother accusing her of everything from letting Andrew out of jail to Greece’s trouble with the IMF. Hanna wrangled up the Liars and hauled them off to therapy so they could get over how they were forced to emotionally terrorize each other in the dollhouse, and get back to being best friends. And Aria told Ezra three hundred times that she was not going to write down her dollhouse experience for him, so would he please just drop it. (He did not drop it.)
Behold Alison DiLaurentis forgetting that one time she got perpetually murdered by a shovel-wielding mob on Labor Day and buried alive by her own mother and pulled from her grave — where she’d been holding her breath for two to four hours — by a little old lady from the Walden Filter Forest, and plucked off the street by Mona Vanderwaal, and remade in her own image of Vivian Darkbloom’s image; after which, she hopped into the cockpit of her private plane and flew off into the sunset.
Alison: So, Charles?
Mr. DiLaurentis: Dead.
Alison: Well, that settles it!
Ali tells the Liars her tale about her eldest brother, Charles, whose DiLaurentisian psychosis was of the early onset variety and manifested itself in advanced ways from the get-go. Like that next-door-neighbor kid in Toy Story. Jason did the marijuana and sexually exploited young girls with his video camera; Charles ripped the spleens from live deers and boiled them with Barbie doll heads to make soup. Alison told Hanna she was fat; Charles set the mailman on fire. So, Jessica and — what is Mr. DiLaurentis’ name, even? Vernon? Let’s call him Vernon. Vernon DiLaurentis. So Jessica and Vernon packed up Charles and bought him a lifetime pass to Radley Institute for Troubled Youths and Sapphic Sambas, and shipped him away. When Jason was like, “Hey, where’d my brother Charles go?” They were like, “Charles was your imaginary friend, idiot, and he’s dead.”
Hanna: What happened to him?
Ali: He’s dead.
Hanna: Like you were dead? Like Mona was dead?
Ali: They cremated him.
Hanna: So no body, then? Same as you? Same as Mona?
Ali: My dad told me he’s dead.
Hanna: Like your mom told everyone you were dead?
Ali: My dad wouldn’t lie about Charles.
Hanna: Honey, your dad has been doing nothing but lying about Charles since you were born, apparently.
The Liars want to investigate at Radley, but their off-set budget in this episode has already been allotted to BREAK MY HEART so Radley is closed.
The next morning, Emily tries to get ready for school while Sara scurries in and out of her bedroom between showers, frowning at her new pixie cut in the mirror. Is it alternative lifestyle enough, though? Has she coded herself gay enough to be noticed by other queer women? Emily is like, “Well, for starters, femme invisibility isn’t a problem in this town when it comes to lesbianism, which you should have known by spending three seconds in my presence. And for seconders—” but Sara has rushed out of the room to take another shower and fails to hear the part where the invisible danger in this town is an omniscient serial killer.
Hanna wakes up and finds Caleb sitting in a chair glaring down at the cops who miss-timed their trade-off and so Hanna was without the protection of the most incompetent police force in history for ten minutes. I mean. Caleb. You literally just helped Alison escape from inside a house swarming with Rosewood police, one of whom was standing right outside the closet Alison was locked inside. The Liars were kidnapped from the back of a police paddywagon. Those dumbasses could miss-time their trade-offs by ten days; it couldn’t matter less.
Byron’s contribution to Aria’s emotional healing is to stick his head into her room and suggest french toast, water slides, new shoes, and therapy (in that order), and then leave her to type “charles dilaurentis” into her website page search engine over and over when she refuses.
“charles dilaurentis” “charles dilaurentis dead” “charles dilaurentis dead radley” “charles dilaurentis dead radley big rhonda” “radley big rhonda” “radley big rhonda art” “radley big rhonda art better than aria montgomery art” “aria montgomery”
Spencer is hanging out at the Brew, trying to not make eye contact with Ezra, when this new barista named Sabrina (who looks eerily like Cece Drake) spills coffee all over the place and causes Spencer to have a full-blown PTSD meltdown because spilled coffee reminds her of spilled blood and spilled blood reminds her of that time in the dollhouse when she woke up covered in blood.
Sabrina’s like, “You okay, girl? Can I get you a flat white? A double espresso? You know what, I think we need to go in the opposite direction. You want some weed?”