Pretty Little Liars Episode 609 Recap: Drunk In Love

Previously on Pretty Little Liars, Ella and Ashley and Veronica and Pam spent too much time in Out of Town and not enough time getting straight up boohonged with each other on expensive merlot and solving the mysteries of Rosewood by laying everyone’s shit bare. There was other stuff too, with dolls and a thousand yellow tank tops and a magical parrot and a dazzling tornado named Paige McCullers, but mostly it was the Pretty Little Moms not being sozzled — but, my darlings, their day has come.

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The Present: Where’s the milk for my Cheerios?

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The Future: Where’s the merlot for my Cheerios?

The Liars’ moms are all in town and breaking the bad news to their children that Rosewood’s epidemic of victim blaming will continue right on into prom and graduation, and instead of the people in authority doing whatever they can to keep the predators out of the high school, they’re forbidding the victims to attend either of those formative events so the predators will stay away too. This is the most awesomely filmed open PLL has ever done; it’s one conversation cycling between all the Liars and their moms with overlapping transitions, like moms looking on as Liars smash their heads in the refrigerators and throw themselves out the window. The moms offer an alternative: A Liar’s prom in the Hastings barn, the least safe barn of all the six thousand barns in greater Rosewood, PA. One in five girls get snatched from that place every time five girls are in that place.

On the upside, the moms say they will watch over the whole entire thing from the porch to make sure Charles doesn’t roll up in there with a jeep full of mannequins and weapons of mass destruction.

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Bless this meal we are about to receive and please strike Lorenzo with lightning.

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Amen.

The Liars adjourn to the Brew to talk about how batshit bonkers it is all their moms are in town on the same day, and what could that even mean, but then Lorenzo pops in there with his dumb arm still in a dumb sling and looks over at these girls who are talking about how they’re not allowed to go to their fifth senior year graduation because of how they’re constantly getting attacked and chopped into pieces, and makes a face like no one has ever felt pain like he feels because of how Ali swiped his RPD key card. Some people have real problems, Emily!

While Lorenzo continues to radiates his singular misery, Ali gets a text from her dead brother who keeps killing her, inviting her to prom so he can kill her some more. But how will accepting that invitation affect Lorenzo, Ali? Won’t anyone think of poor Lorenzo!

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Hey, it’s me, the man whose feelings are more important than any dumb girl’s.

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Ezra: I’d like to be your date to barn prom.
Aria: I thought you said you didn’t want to go to prom with me.
Ezra: I didn’t want to “share a punch bowl” with my former students.
Aria: …?
Ezra: I mean, my former students I haven’t slept with/stalked.
Aria: Oh, okay. ‘Cause I was like, we’re gonna have a punch bowl at barn prom, Ezra!
Ezra: Haha, I know. That’s not what I meant. I’m totally cool sharing a punch bowl with students I’ve seen naked!
Aria: Charles is probably going to show up to kidnap at least one of us.
Ezra: I”ll keep you safe.

The fact that he continues to say that with a sincere, straight face never stops blowing my fucking mind.

Ella arrives to tell Aria that this is her lucky day. She’s won a photography scholarship at the American Murder Girl Doll School of Art & Design in Los Angeles, California! Ella says Aria should go and get the heck out of this town and be safe, because she doesn’t know about the time that A flew to California just to run Caleb’s mom off the road.

Also leaving town today is Caleb, who has packed one of his indestructible hacking laptops, which makes Hanna thinks he’s not going to visit Uncle-Dad Jamie on the Bean Farm, as he claims, but is instead going after Charles. He assures her he is not doing that. He also assures her there’s no reason for him to stay here and hang out in a tux in Spencer’s barn. She kisses him, but only with a fraction of her usual affection, because she feels suspicion.

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Wait, Sara Harvey is going to be around after the time jump?

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Okay, Google, is Emison #Endgame?

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Emily is lesbianing with Sara Harvey, loading and unloading bikes onto the rack on her car, when out of the blue clear sky she issues a promposal. It’s not like a regular prom, it’s a barn prom. And, you know, just statistically speaking, the more people who show up, the less likely it is that everyone will get lured away to the kissing rock and/or stuffed into the Hastings/DiLaurentis mass grave. Sara thinks Emily’s promposal is super romantic. Not many people these days give it to you straight re: your chances of being kidnapped and tortured when you choose to leave the house, but Sara’s prom at her old school is that night, and even though Emily “means a lot” to her — for reasons that have not been communicated to me on my TV screen with any real effort — she’s going to have to pass.

It’s cool, they’ll do something special later, like probably get married during the time jump or something.

Lorenzo has taken his bullshit to the town square, where Spencer and Toby are having a conversation about how the gummy bears he stole from her and ate in a single sitting got him suspended due to them being laced with weed. And Lorenzo also has been suspended for going with Toby to the horror arcade that night.

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Nothing is my fault.

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Why doesn’t God answer any of my prayers?

Lorenzo: This is all Alison’s fault, and by extension, your fault, Spencer Hastings!
Spencer: Actually, this is Toby’s fault on account of how he hijacked the plan I presented to him about Charles’ birthday, stripped me of my autonomy, nicked candy that didn’t belong to him; and it’s your fault for letting him convince you to leave your beat and not tell your supervisor. But hey, thank you for continuing to be the embodiment of all the gross realities of Rosewood.
Toby: I blame myself for this, though.
Spencer: That’s because you’re a good guy, honey, who sometimes makes dumb choices.
Lorenzo: MY ARM HURTS! I WAS HIT WITH A TENNIS BALL, YOU KNOW!

Lorenzo’s specific kind of worstness reminds Spencer of Garbage Art Johnny, and in a moment of inexplicability, Spencer begs him — seriously, just fully grovels with him — to forgive Alison and come to barn prom for her. He says no.

I hate Lorenzo so much, you guys. For all the reasons I’ve said before, but also because of how Lorenzo is supposed to make Alison nice. A nice girl. A real sweet nice girl seeking redemption. Alison is not a nice girl, though. And what I want is to see the reasons why she’s not a nice girl. All that shit she did, blinding Jenna and blackmailing Toby and shaming Paige into the closet and giving Hanna an eating disorder, all of it, she did it for a reason. Part of it was selfish and part of it was noble and but most of it was an indistinguishable mash-up of both of those things, good guy stuff and bad guy stuff braided together in a cacophony of greyness. Alison is a bitch. Bitches get stuff done. Bitches keep themselves and their friends as safe as they can in a hard, dark world. If you want Alison DiLaurentis to be a nice girl, you don’t deserve to even look at her. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but you know how Mike loves Mona? That’s the kind of relationship Ali needs in her life. (For example, the way Emily has always loved her.)

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Cooper ate all my Cheetos again.

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I told you to order him a pizza if you were going to leave him home alone.

Over at Marin Manor, Hanna is tearing herself out of the frame because she can’t get in touch with Caleb. He’s not answering her calls, he’s not answering her texts. For all she knows, Lucas is giving him a gloved massage without his consent right this minute. She goes outside to yell at his voicemail some more, and Ashley comes downstairs with the Heart of the Ocean necklace her family has been passing down on prom night for generations. I mean, yeah, it’s a barn prom, but it’s still a prom, and even though the Liars are going to get burned alive in it, they deserve to go up in flames looking fancy. Emily can’t wait for the day when Ashley Marin is her mother-in-law. For now, she just squeezes her hand and smiles sweetly at her for understanding what it’s like to want to look pretty while you’re dying.

Alison is standing in the dark in her living room, not wearing a scarf thankfully, at least she’s learned one thing, when her phone rings. She answers it. It’s no one. She assumes, however, that it is Charles. “Charles??!” she shouts into the phone. “Charles, I know you are the silence!”

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Who wants to get jagged?

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Ashley?

Barn Prom! But first, the moms unite in the Hastings kitchen with potluck options and a firm commitment to staying sober and watching over their children. Well, no. I mean, not a firm commitment. More like a slightly flexible commitment. A pliable commitment. Their commitment to say sober is a little wobbly, let’s say. It’s yielding. Their commitment is tested to its breaking point when Veronica offers wine not once, but twice. They say yes, yes, of course, one glass. Veronica pours and everybody guzzles. They wander to the window, quaffing that pinot like Gatorade, and see Ali in the yard. She’s leveled up her yellow tank top of perpetual death to a yellow ball gown. She looks like Belle, but without the Disney-eyed wonder.

Ali waves. Moms wave. Then Ali scampers off into the night, with a red cloaked red coat right behind her.

Inside barn prom, Aria is dressed like what Snow White bought in the vintage store on vacation in Panama City; Hanna is wearing a fuck-you-I’ll-die-a-literal-princess ball gown; Emily is wearing a Maleficent: The Early Lesbian Years sparkling pantsuit; and Spencer just took something out of Melissa’s closet because it’s just going to end up getting ripped to shreds in a bear trap anyway. Ezra takes their photos while Aria creeps on his phone and notices a confirmation for a flight from Philly to Los Angeles, which she assumes is him preemptively setting up his surveillance station at the American Murder Girl Doll School of Art & Design.

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Ezra, hurry up. What is taking you so long?

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Sorry, I accidentally pulled up one of my romantic videos of Aria. Switching it back to camera.

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After photos, everyone retires to the couch where they spend the evening looking at Instagram photos of everyone else at prom and being assholes about who’s doing what and who’s there with whom. Realest teenage behavior in the course of six seasons. Noel Kahn is at prom and so is Lucas and so is Jenna, so definitely one of those guys could be Charles. Either way, I sure would like to see what Jenna is wearing.

The Liars spy Alison, and realize she’s there to meet Charles, so they decide to go after her.

Out on the porch, a storm is brewing and the moms are getting more newted by the minute. It is majestic. It is true heavenly splendor on this earth. They are sprawled out, talking shit about everyone in the neighborhood, most especially Jessica DiLaurentis, with her boning of Peter and hiding that Jason is Peter’s son and letting Melissa make out with her half-brother, and birthing a whole crop of kids who ended up at Radley and pretending one of them was dead, and everybody getting massacred in Veronica’s backyard and ruining her hydrangeas. At one point, Veronica legit points to the grave, says, “And there’s where that fucking dog dug her up!”

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Have y’all ever seen Now and Then?

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The real question is, have y’all ever had a lesbian orgy?

Veronica hops up and totters inside, and the other moms follow her because this gossip about Jessica DiLaurentis has been six years in the making and who cares if the barn gets exploded with acme dynamite? It was going to happen anyway. What were the moms going to do to stop it? Nothing, that’s what, and anyway, obviously their daughters have already sneaked out of there to go to the one place they were forbidden to go.

Rosewood prom is insane. The theme is like: Okay, But What If Stanley Kubrick Planned Pride in The Forbidden Forest? Masks and cloaks and capes and centaurs serving champagne and a minotaur DJ and everyone is covered in blood and everyone else is cool for the summer. It is exactly zero percent difficult for the Liars to get into prom. They achieve it by walking into prom in a herd with their dates and standing in the doorway lit up by a spotlight and being still and glowering around. V. sneaky. V. subtle. Clark is taking photos, even though he doesn’t even go here, a thing the Liars find suspicious but not enough to investigate at length.

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Look at this!

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I found a photo of when I had an emotionally resonant love interest like everyone else on the show!

Meanwhile, in the Hastings kitchen, the other moms are pickled and Veronica is straight trousered. She throws back another glass of merlot, decides her best plan of action is to stomp across the yard and crash through the DiLaurentises back door and start getting some motherfucking goddamn information from Vernon. It is truly shocking that it’s taken Veronica this long to decide alcohol and rage will provide the #SummerOfAnswers she needs in her life, but she’s there now and no amount of placating or small talking by the other moms will satisfy her. She throws the blender through the window, just because she can, and marches out into the stormy night.

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Pam, put down that popover and drink your wine.

The best moment in television history: Pam watches the moms go after Veronica, starts to follow, comes back and inhales the rest of her wine with the most panicked look on her face, and bolts after everyone.

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Okay I’m sorry.

What if after the time jump it’s the moms playing the Liars? My god, I would be so happy. Mona would still be Janel Parish though.

At real prom, the Liars finally peep Alison and clomp up to her yelling about how she’s going to get obliterated by her brother for like the fiftieth time in her young life by showing up at prom. Ali is like, “Let me count the places from which Charles has seized and slaughtered us, the places in which he has tortured us. Spencer’s yard. Spencer’s bedroom. Spencer’s bathroom. Spencer’s backyard. Every warehouse, every barn, every church, every haunted house, every abandoned ice cream factory, every doll hospital, every literal hospital, every graveyard, every forest, every boat on every river. Coffee shops, costume shops, restaurants, hotels, hoe downs, schools, swimming pools, my basement, Aria’s basement, empty theaters, crowded theaters, the tops of buildings and parks in New York City. Schools, cars, planes, trains, bicycles, mental institutions, hotels, cabins, and mobile lairs.” So yeah, she came to prom to meet Charles. It does not matter. He is everywhere and nowhere, how many times does someone have to say it?

The Liars realize she is correct, that their doom is inevitable, and so they decide to go out slow-dancing with the ones they love (except for Emily). I mean, Sara shows up and says she dropped by the barn prom and then decided to come to this prom because Emily is very special to her. I wish the story with these two had landed even a single emotional punch this season. It was so rote and empty. You can’t expect Emily’s relationship with Sara to feel as significant as the other relationships on the show when the other Liars’ love interests have been here since season one and Sara just arrived out of nowhere. I really, really, really don’t get it.

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TOO HOT HOT DAMN.

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Make a dragon wanna retire, man.

Caleb arrives dressed like Sherlock Holmes, but:

Caleb: I went to New York and got a job as a professional hacker for probably the Carissimi Group, I don’t know, and I found an apartment in Manhattan in one single day, which is the most bonkers thing to ever come out of my mouth, but what I’m actually trying to say is: If you want to move there and go to college, I will support you in every way because one time I was a hobo living in the air vents at this school and you took me in and fed me and accidentally got naked with me in the shower and fell in love with me and there is no one in this universe who compares to you in literally any way and I want to give you what you gave me, which is unconditional love and a white hot belief in the beauty of your dreams.

Oh, Caleb! You beautiful tropical fish with that hair! I am so glad you came home from Ravenswood! Good for you for using your power to empower Hanna, to provide her with opportunities to make her own big decisions to become the person she wants to be!

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We have to get out of this town before I grow up and am infected with the awful disease that plagues the adult men in this town who are not Wayne Fields!

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Reverse Cinderella! Let’s go!

Spencer and Toby dance too. She says she’s put him through a lot. He says he knew what he was signing up for when he fell in love with her. Spencer’s Spencerness was never a secret.

And also Aria and Ezra.

Aria: I’ve been thinking that I don’t want you to follow me to California.
Ezra: Oh, I’m only laying over in LA on my way to Thailand to hang out with a whole other group of underage girls for the summer.
Aria: Oh, cool.

The moms are rooting around in the DiLaurentis house in the dark when Rhys Matthews arrives for some reason and gets shifty with them about what they’re doing in there, when WHAT IS HE DOING IN THERE? He says he let himself into the house in the middle of the night to talk to Vernon about Jessica’s Carissimi Group donations, totally normal non-profit CEO stuff, but then he slinks away into the shadows and out the door, and the moms are like, “Fucking Charles DiLaurentis, am I right?”

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Nobody look up into the knot holes on the ceiling. Aria almost lost an eyeball doing that down here.

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I FORGOT MY WINE.

(That motherfucker still looks like the perfectly proportioned time-traveling son of Jason and Wren, I don’t care what you say.)

They creep around a little longer, finally following a noise down to the basement like a kitten with a string, and obviously they get trapped inside. They bang on the door and wail and wonder how their teenage daughters have handled this happening to them once per week for six seasons, and still managed to find time to have sex and frolic around in Spencer’s noir dreams. I mean, remember that time one single car drove through Pam’s living room wall and she had such horrific PTSD that she had to go to Texas to stay with Wayne on the military base and Emily had to move into Hanna’s bedroom? They agree that they’re not cut out for this shit.

Pam for real goes, “We had one job tonight!”

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The Liars are ostensibly keeping an eye on Ali while they dance, but they’re as good at that as their moms were at keeping an eye on them at barn prom. She sneaky-creeps around all these nooks and crannies in the papier-mâché Forbidden Forest, and the whole time Charles is texting her about how they’re alone at last and it’s time to dance and she looks in all these mirrors and some of them are broken and probably that means Charles is Cece, right? Or maybe it’s Jenna because this is fairy tales and she plays the flute like the Pied Piper and is leading Ali to the river to drown herself? Probably it’s Wren, though. It’s always the handsome British guy. Maybe he’ll speak in an American accent. Maybe he’ll talk about how hard it was to keep his beautiful face under a hood this whole time. Maybe he’ll give me the answer I’m looking for: Where where where is Paige McCullers?

So anyway, Ali is bobbing and weaving and the Liars realize she’s missing. They go chasing her through the woods and so does Clark. The boys beat him up but then he has a gun and also a badge because he is an undercover cop, and Aria will literally never trust another man again as long as she lives.

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Aria?

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No, I just borrowed one of her outfits.

Ali finally comes face-to-mask-over-mask-over-mask with Charles. She asks him to take it off and he does. Her face is like, “Of fucking course.” And my heart is about to explode right out of my chest.

Goodbye forever, Risen Mitten.

Thank you thank you thank you to Nicole (@PLLBigA) for the screencaps. She’s got so much good information about the time jump in season 6B. Follow her on Twitter!

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Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle managing editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 863 articles for us.

50 Comments

  1. “Alison is a bitch. Bitches get stuff done. Bitches keep themselves and their friends as safe as they can in a hard, dark world. If you want Alison DiLaurentis to be a nice girl, you don’t deserve to even look at her.” There were so many amazing parts of this recap, I could quote it all damn day.

    Also, totally about Emily’s dumb romantic storyline. PAIGE SHOULD BE HERE FOR THIS SHIT, tuxxing it up with the boys like before. Important shit is happening and she’s just checked out? You don’t check out of Rosewood! You only go Out of Town!

  2. – What? All four moms? This must be serious.
    – Boy Caleb, could you not be a little more transparent with your lies?
    – I can’t tell if they’re green or blue, but Sara’s eyes are so pretty.
    – No Ezra, you don’t have to DRESS as a troll. Seriously, are they just going to keep on shoehorning him into Aria’s life?
    – Should we read something into the fact that Emily is the Evil Queen? She even has the evil cleavage going.
    – I noticed that all of the girls are out of their traditional colors for their gowns, except for Hanna. Is that on purpose?
    – What kind of highschool is this that it has a prom like that? Mine just had a balloon arch.
    – How big is that dance party?
    – Who is that teacher? She looks familiar.
    – Yes Spencer, let your hate flow and strike Alison. Complete your journey to the dark side.
    – What happened to the teacher that was threatening to run them off? Did -A get her?
    – Yes Ezra, you’re going to Thailand for Habitat for Humanity, not for the child sex trade.
    – Ali, still the manipulator. She waited until Spencer was busy to make her move.
    – The mothers are trapped. It’s too bad that they don’t have an Aria to hurl through the basement window.
    – Does that mean that the guy from the Carissimi Group is a cop as well? How did they find such a DiLaurentis among the cops?

  3. That was amazing how not only did Ezra go to prom as a student’s date at the high school where he was recently employed, he went as a date with a student who was BANNED from said prom and yet still, nobody batted a damn eye. Teflon Ezra! Is it just that he’s so boring that he’s invisible to the naked eye to most humans?

  4. The stuff with all four moms together was some of my favorite stuff this show has ever done! omg I wish they could be together on screen more often!

    Also, whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy do Emily and Ashley have chemistry like that?! It’s so wrong but every time they have a scene together I feel like checking to see if there’re any fics of them. Ugh.

  5. Did the showrunners see my comment on autostraddle last week about The Real Moms of Rosewood? Because this was amazing. MAKE IT HAPPEN EVERY WEEK.

    Also, I love how Rosewood dances never have any budget. It’s just like, “Here, kids. Have all the money. Create the prom of your goddamn dreams!”

  6. Excellent recap as always, and I really enjoyed the screencaps of everyone’s phones. Also I feel like Spencer has given the exact same speech she gave to Lorenzo to another obnoxious love interest at some point? I might be wrong, all the men on this show kind of blur together.

  7. Yeah, right there with you on the things Ezra says for irony. Will you feel safer if your former stalker is with you? Or would you prefer me hiding in the fake shrubs someone constructed in your creepy forest prom? Why is he not in jail?!?!?! *sigh*

    Is Cooper going to rescue the moms from their basement doom? Since all the girls will be busy being murdered again. We know it won’t be the police. There is a gathering of underage girls for them to prowl, I mean protect.

  8. Loved the mum scenes. Emily’s outfit was fab. Alison’s dress was so beautiful I can’t even. Alison’s face when she saw Charles was everything. Was really annoyed when Spencer pushed Lorenzo to go see Alison. Spencer should just date her instead, despite that being a volatile relationship.

  9. Sara and Emily feel as hollow as season 3 Paily. Paily got together in s3 bc they dated for what a week in s1 and then 6 months later Emily was drugged and somehow got to Paige’s house. That was the reasoning given. That’s some shitty reasoning. In all of Emily’s mutal relationships i get why they like her but I never get what Emily gets from the relationship. What did Maya really bring to the relationship besides Pam’s hatred? At least with Sara I get how Emily has been using her to deal with her own trauma so it at least sorta makes sense. And on Sara’s end Emily is the only person she is close to after escaping.

  10. Don’t worry Heather–Emily is only completing her turn to date someone on the A-team! (OBVS Sara is redcoat right?) Hanna had Mona, Toby played on the dark side, and well…Ezra was…whatever. If this is not the case that screaming you hear to the west of you is just little ‘ol me at the reveal.

  11. I wish the story with these two had landed even a single emotional punch this season. It was so rote and empty. You can’t expect Emily’s relationship with Sara to feel as significant as the other relationships on the show when the other Liars’ love interests have been here since season one and Sara just arrived out of nowhere. I really, really, really don’t get it.

    I definitely feel like this is the point, though? I’ll eat my scarf if Sara isn’t Bethany Young or Red Coat or both, working with Charles the whole time. She doesn’t have a microchip, we have zero evidence that anything she’s said about her home life is true, and she’s just SO CAGEY. But I think that Emily’s kindness has affected her, which is why she was all, “You mean a lot to me, NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS.” I mean, how suss was that?

    But if I’m wrong and she’s exactly who she says she is & if she was literally just introduced to be a weak love interest for Emily, then I also really, really don’t get it. If Sara Harvey has just been a red herring this whole time and her and Emily are for reals in love, the writers have done their job terribly.

  12. So so on point about Alison and the problem with Alison/Lorenzo that goes beyond just the innumberable problems with Lorenzo himself.

    Also, it continues to amaze me that Caleb continues to be this good.

  13. I think my favorite (not really) moment of the show was when Clark was revealed as a cop and everyone, including toby, went “oh shit a real cop” – like it was the first time they had seen one.

    Emison is actually the reason I watch this show (though, I’m staying for Hannah and Spencer) – It was how Emily ran around in the pilot telling everyone that “Alison is surely dead, right” and then when Maya told her they found her friend – when Emily started running and proclaiming “knew she was alive!” – that’s when I went “nice emotional punch, show. I like you.” And I loved all the the stuff up throughout the seasons about Emily and Alison – the kiss in the library where Emily failed to hold back when Alison read aloud to her; Where Alison told a barely conscious Emily that she was her favorite and kissed her; When Alison saw Emily’s eyes being stuck on the wrong lady gaga and lashing out in jealousy of the attention not gotten and when Emily faced Alison in bed and knew she would kiss her back. I loved all of that so much – yes, I love emotional punches from complicated and painful relationships. Emily and Alison gave me same feeling as I get when I listen to any given song I currently keep obsessing on. But the truth is that there is no Emison anymore – if you interact less than Alicia and Kalinda, then the thing is no more. It doesn’t help that the creator tries to placate fans with tales of Emily and Alison being in always-special-relationship. And, that they replaced Alison and Emily’s relationship – or any and every Ali + liar scenes for that matter – with fucking Lorenzo, a guy who would be Alison’s arch-nemesis in a formalized world, is kinda simply just sad. So many shows end up with being just sad in the actual bad and real way and I think PLL has become one of them now.

    I hope A is a girl, I hope Charles is dead and he was A’s only friend. The liars was Alison’s friends – and the friendship thing is why A wanted to destroy them. The less it is connected to the adults, the more I will like it – that Charles is alive and hates his family, and parents especially, is boring – because the dilaurentis family never have been more than just guests on this show, expect for Alison of course – even if she moved to the 1960s and lives to please now.

  14. I always love the social critiques in these recaps. I think the “emotionally resonant” love interest part is getting at the heart of something lurking beneath the surface of this show. It seems like some of the writers and directors often deflect criticism by alleging that the show isn’t about ships or saying that romantic storylines are secondary. But that unwittingly falls into a coded feminization of the “romance” genre. Maybe the primacy of classic horror allusions and Hitchcock references portray things like “the uncanny” or mirrors as somehow theoretically “deeper” than frivolous “love” elements. It’s all Freud and Lacan at the expense of Butler or Foucault.

    Then there’s the issue of queer representation. I’m all about queering and fucking up things like monogamy, so it doesn’t bother if they have Emily’s character somehow less inclined to stable relationship arcs. But I think you hit the real problem right on the head by noticing that the emotional depth of Emily’s love interests are considerably less developed. The Sarah Harvey thing happens suddenly, without justification and creates a bond premised on unexplored psychological trauma. When it came to Paige, there was no character development outside her relationship with Emily. No encounters with parents, no fake love child, no biological father emerging from nowhere, no finding-out-who-killed-mom journey. It almost makes me afraid that this has all been leading up to a big “Paige is A” reveal, which would be fucked up for another set of reasons. At this point I’m more afraid of some psycho lesbian reveal than a trans storyline (I don’t think the writers would go there).

  15. So, I was thinking in the shower earlier today (as one does), and my brain went down this strange rabbit hole of thoughts. I started off thinking about Buffy, and how some people are all about Buffy/Angel and others are all about Buffy/Spike. Personally, I was team Angel when I originally watched the show as it aired. I think now, later in life as a full grown adult instead of a pretend college aged adult, I’m actually team neither. Neither of them were right for who she was and who she was going to become. It’s funny how you can change because as a pretend college aged adult, I was fully team Dawson, but as a real adult I don’t understand how anyone would ever pick him over Pacey. Anyway…David Boreanaz is absolutely right for Brennan on Bones. I started watching that show because Angel was going to be on it and stayed because Brennan was an awesome character. I stopped watching that show because I felt they moved away from who Brennan actually was – a full on INTJ who never once reasoned using feelings.

    This, of course, is where my thoughts turned to PLL and Ali Di’Laurentis.

    What the fuck, show? I’ve waited and waited and waited this season for you to remember who Ali is. The master strategist. The girl for whom logic will always trump emotion. The girl who looks at the way society expects a teenage girl to behave and says, fuck this bullshit.

    Even in this episode, where Ali finally said something that made a little bit of sense, it still didn’t ring true to who she was. When Spencer was asking why she was so desperate to meet Charles, and Ali accused Spencer of never really liking her either, and expressing the need to meet Charles so she could find out why he hated her, it was the first time this season that anything Ali has done has made sense to me. But it still isn’t Ali. She should want to meet Charles because she needs to know who the next person she’s going to crush is. She needs to know who this jackass is who thinks he can force her into being someone she’s not so she can teach them a lesson about how strong girls really are. She needs to meet him because it’s one of the steps in her plan to win. Where’s that Ali? Will she be there tomorrow night?

    It was a productive shower.

    Also, if anyone would like to volunteer as tribute to be my girlfriend so I’ll maybe stop obsessing over fictional characters so much, just let me know.

        • No. She will be the one lesbian who has no interest whatsoever in Pretty Little Liars and barely tolerates it when you watch it and then makes fun of your internet friends that you will still talk about it with because no one else will. Except for one of her coworkers, who will discuss it at length, to her infinite chagrin.

          It is really cool hearing the straight girl yet still mid-30s what the fuck is all this teenagers hooking up with adult men bullshit perspective, tho.

          • *Makes fun of you for having internet friends, not makes fun of your internet friends. She doesn’t make fun of strangers and you guys are awesome.

  16. First, thank you for your reviews, they crack me up. I was also very afraid you had been kidnapped by A because there was no review last week so I’m relieved to see you are still with us and not in a dusty hole dressed in a yellow top.
    Second, thank you for the “you beautiful tropical fish”. I am now picturing Leslie Knope crashing the Rosewood prom being all optimistic while A gets wasted on some Snakejuice…

  17. Everything you said about Ali was just so good to read after seeing episode after episode of her becoming this, not only nice girl, but nice little housewife. Also, you listed exactly why I want her with Emily. I’m not a teenager girl getting crazy about her ships (not even a teenager anymore… damn it, I’m getting old!), I just think Ali should be with someone who loved her for her and understood just exactly who she was and is now, and I can’t see anybody else who can do that besides whom was by her side during it all. It doesn’t make much sense to me that they make them now not interact that much or don’t even give this relationship a thought… I mean, remember Ali saying over and over while she was “dead” that Emily was the one she loved the most and the hardest to leave?
    Emily truly can’t catch a break in her love life! Paige was also a great chance for her to have a “true pair” in the show, but then… what exactly happened?

    I love this show and most of the writers choices, like really focussing on the Liars PTSD when getting back from the dollhouse, getting their moms together was BRILLIANT (I need this spin off more than I’ve ever knew!), allowing “crazy/dark Spencer” to happen (and that way, exploring Troian’s amazing talent more) and all the times they made Ali such a strong,contradicting and interesting character. But, if there is something that bothers me is the big difference between Emily’s love life compared to the other Liars… never seems very fair… About Sarah, I’m still in denial about her being around after the time jump, cause… cause… come on! I can’t even take her or Lorenzo as serious candidates to the girls, cause like you said, there’s nothing that sets a real emotional connection between them, these two are just there pissing us off (especially in Lorenzo’s case)

  18. I loved all of the scenes with the Pretty Little Moms, so much. Also agreed – the editing of the opening sequence was genius.

    I for one am unimpressed that Spencer wrote her valedictorian speech about Toby instead of her friends. Like, reeeealllyy?

  19. First of all: absolutely love your recaps! Found them a couple of months back and have read through a whole bunch of them since. Always super funny, but also thoroughly smart and educational.

    I found it funny how everyone’s reaction to Clark (allegedly) being a cop was basically just, Ooh, shiny! must be legit! Like, if he is with the Rosewood PD, why wouldn’t at least Toby be aware of that? (Probably the rest of them too, given there are about five people on that force, all standing watch outside their respective homes) And is he supposedly undercover as a college student for Aria’s protection? What? I know one should not think too hard about trying to make sense of this show sometimes, but still.

    Seeing the moms together was glorious, obviously.

  20. Stellar recap as always, Heather. I still shriek with delight every time the raccoon image pops up. Please never stop doing that. I can’t wait for this week’s episode, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

    Also, I totally respect how much you have your PLL timelines in order. Thank you for never failing to point out that Ezra is still a next-next-next level stalker who manipulates young girls and dated his student. It infuriates me that the show has such a short-term memory about this but always makes me happy to see you pointing out the utter absurdity of it in every single recap.

    Also also, I feel like there was probably some line about the prom theme that I *totally* missed, because clearly there was a loosely strung together theme involving princesses and woods, but I died laughing when Ezra asked “Will I have to dress like a troll?” Um, what? No, Ezra, no one is expecting you to dress like a troll. Unless the theme of prom was “Look on the Outside How You Are on the Inside”. In which case, yes, Ezra, you have to dress like a troll.

  21. Oh my god. I love your recaps so much but I almost want you to skip doing one for tonight’s episode. And like create a post right now where we can just talk to each other about our feelings. I have so many conflicting emotions right now!

  22. I’m so disappointed in Marlene, it seemed obvious that this plot was just thrown together and I felt like she did it just for the sake of doing it. It literally makes no sense and the timeline does not add up at all. I know that PLL is not always realistic and they’ve been in senior year for the last 5 seasons but this was just so unbelievable. Toby’s mom was alive when Alison was a teenager so there’s no way Bethany killed her that young. And Cece would be at like at most 25 now which means she transitioned when she was like 16? Because we saw her as Cece while she was still in high school. I don’t know much about trans community to be honest but I highly doubt that a teenager is going to be able to get a sex change and transition while their body and hormones are still developing. She had potential to create a great story for this character and she rushed it into an hour episode with no thought or care. I want to be clear I’m not mad that there’s a trans story line and I don’t mean to be offensive, but I think that if you’re going to commit to the storyline that is so major like this, that you better do an incredible job. And clearly from the amount of defending the PLL writers/people involved on the show are doing online, they did not tell the story in the best way possible.

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