Previously on Pretty Little Liars, Devil Emoji stole Emily’s eggs from her ovaries. Aria and Spencer broke into Sara Harvey’s room at Radley and discovered that she’d punched a giant hole in the brick wall. (Aria shimmied down into the closet hole, obviously.) Hanna asked her mom to steal the hard copy of the Radley security footage from the night Charlotte died to cover Hanna’s tracks for deleting the digital security footage from the night Charlotte died, and then Hanna ripped into Ashley for doing what she asked her to do. Caleb hacked into Yvonne’s phone to dig his way into the Phillips campaign server, in what has become the most elaborately schemed about and hotly contested city council race in American history. And, instead of saying “no” when the Liars asked him “Did you kill Charlotte?” Ezra galumphed out into the night and has not been seen or heard from since.
Spencer climbs down into that hole with Aria and what’s down there is a long, thin, unlit corridor that leads to a dust-free file cabinet that leads to another hole created by a girl who continues to claim that she can’t use her hands. And that hole leads to outside. Sadly, Aria and Spencer split up after their escape and don’t even do one small lesbian ghost waltz, which was always the best thing in the Radley basement besides Miss Aria You’re a Killer, Not Ezra’s Wife.
On Aria’s plate today is writing more chapters of Ezra’s book. Remember that little hobbit Holden from fight club, the one with Exploding Heart Syndrome? Aria’s new boyfriend looks like him, but only half as hobbit-y. He’s in town, by the way. Came in from Boston to talk to Ezra Fitz (he’s not here), and to see if he’s written any more pages (he has not), and to clarify some of the tonal shifts in his most recent writing (uh oh). Yeah, see, HoldenLite knows the rush that is Aria’s writing and also the masturbatory opus that is Ezra’s writing. (She shoulda got Dan Humphrey to ghostwrite this thing.)
Aria confesses that HoldenLite is correct, that she has been writing Ezra’s book because of how he ran howling into street a couple of weeks ago, and then disappeared. H.L. is fine with all of it: Ezra dipping out indefinitely, Aria writing his book for him, both of them lying to their boss.
Of course, just when you’re starting to think this is it, that your dreams have come true, that Aria’s going to write this book this whole season and H.L. is going to edit it and Ezra is never, ever going to come back, Ezra comes back.
Ezra: I’m sorry I went hulking out of town like that. I just didn’t want you to know your parents were getting back together.
Aria: So you chose the alternative of letting us think you were a murderer?
Ezra: Yes. Look, Aria, every time I’ve ever lied to you or manipulated you, it’s been for your own good. Anyway, I’ve decided not to be mad at you for thinking I did a murder I told you I’m glad happened and didn’t deny doing and for which I have no alibi. I’ve decided to be flattered instead.
Aria: Sure, okay.
Ezra: Hey, well, and I wrote three chapters of my book for you!
Aria: You wrote ten percent of something you were paid to have 100 percent completed months ago?
Ezra: Yep! That’s why I’m standing here looking like a hero!
Spencer spends the day hovering around her mom and trying to decide if she wants to talk to her about this secret file Caleb found on the Phillips campaign server. It’s Veronica’s medical records from a few months ago. They indicate that Veronica is recovering from some kind of cancer scare or something, and Spencer is worried that the Phillips campaign is going to leak the records and that it will cost Veronica the election.
I’m no political expert or anything, but wouldn’t you think a more damning thing to talk to the press about would be that period of time when a dead body was found in Veronica’s back yard at least once a week? And that one of those bodies was her husband’s mistress’ body? And how her daughter has been arrested for murder more than once? And is, in fact, a suspect in the most recent murder in this town, of a girl who kidnapped Spencer from the back of a police van and held her hostage in an underground life-sized dollhouse? If Spencer really wants Veronica to get elected, she should worry more about stopping her own personal criminal activities (she broke and entered this very morning!) than her mom’s medical records.
Every time Spencer sees her mom or her mom’s campaign manager, he’s all, “We need Melissa’s flight number from that time she flew! If she didn’t memorize it, she’ll need to look on her boarding pass or her luggage tag! We need that flight number!”
Spencer takes on this arduous task of finding a physical piece of paper with a flight number on it, instead of just looking it up online, and what she discovers is chilling. The handle on Melissa’s rolly suitcase is missing! And the handle on a metal suitcase is exactly what Tanner described to Ali when she was talking about the weapon used to kill Charlotte. Verbatim: “a hollow piece of metal with a rectangle piece at the end.”
Honestly, what? And secondly, what?
Do you know how long it would take to beat someone to death with a suitcase handle? No one would plan to kill anyone with their bag. It’d be faster to paper-cut them to death. And it’s not like it’s convenient for impromptu murders either. Oh, just wait’ll I break this bag into pieces and detach the pully part from the wheely part! You just wait. No, really. I’m going to need you to wait; disassembling this thing is going to take me a minute.
The best thing to happen to Spencer all day is that she runs into Mona and is immediately sucked into her mental vortex.
Spencer: You told Yvonne to leave her phone because you knew I would steal it, right?
Spencer: And you wanted her to know she can’t trust me?
Spencer: But what you really wanted was for me to use the phone to hack into the Phillips campaign server?
Spencer: So I would get caught. Wait, no. So I would find that file about my mom being sick. Because you want to punish me? No. Because you love me? No, that’s not it. Because you want me to get my mom to tell it to the world before the Phillips campaign does?
Spencer: So she’ll lose? No, so she’ll win! ...right?
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are Vanderjesus’ ways higher than our ways.
To wit: Caleb corners Mona in an elevator at Radley and menaces her with his big hulking dude body, threatening to take her apart like a person would do if they wanted to use their suitcase to whack someone to death with the handle, if Mona’s messing with Spence. Mona’s just like, “I’m sorry you can’t stop thinking about how I’m a better kisser than both Spencer and Hanna. I’d be real mad, too, if I knew I was never going to get to smooch my lips again.” And then she just gliiiiiides out of that elevator with the most delightful smugness.
Remember when Glee tried to make a New Rachel and a New Santana and New Quinn, and the only thing it accomplished was proving what singular talents the OG New Directions actors were? That’s how I feel about Sara Harvey juxtaposed to Mona and Jenna. She is dwarfed by their charisma.
Emily starts her day at the fertility clinic. There’s a paper sign on the door that says, “Egg emergency, go away.” But Emily knocks anyway. The doctor comes sneaking out and explains that last night all the regular power and the backup power went off and dozens of other ladies’ ovarian eggs were destroyed. I can’t understand why she won’t allow Emily inside to have this conversation, instead of doing it right out here on the sidewalk in the middle of town, but I also never understood that screaming pharmacist or how Wren Kingston had a catch-all health care provider license, so. The medical profession in this town is as enigmatically incompetent as the police department.
Obviously Emily finds a way to convince herself she’s responsible for the destruction of hundreds of human seedlings. Hanna tells her to snap out of it, that she didn’t do anything wrong, that she got the money and now she can finish college, and also that every one of the Liars is going to have some beautiful babies and they’re going to have playdates and wear matching outfits and celebrate their birthdays together and they’ll share a pair of traveling pants. At one point, I thought Hanna said, “Boys don’t need a reason.” As in: “Boys don’t need a reason to not feel guilty. They just live their lives and don’t assume responsibility for things they didn’t do, and a lot of times even for things they did do.” But she actually said, “Bullies don’t need a reason.” Which also is true.
Emily’s day is not over. She ends up on an accidental coffee date with Detective Tanner, who amazingly says to her that no one got murdered in all the time the Liars were away at college, and as soon as their collective asses showed up again, the homicides started anew. She tells Emily the Liars can’t leave town, which: Yes, they know that and that’s why they’re all still hanging around the Hellmouth. And also she tells Emily not to drink coffee so late in the day because it’ll cause a fitful sleep.
Hanna spends most of her day with her boring boyfriend, waking up in some garish hotel room that looks like it was decorated by Austin Powers for Valentine’s Day. I don’t know if this one is Jordan or Liam. A placeholder love interest by any other name. He does some sex with Hanna and then brings in the room service that someone left outside the door. It’s amazing. It’s the best room service I’ve ever seen. It’s Liam’s face made out of fried eggs and a fork is stabbing one of his eyeball yolks. I don’t know who Devil Emoji is, but I’m going to believe this particular thing was all Mona.
The other thing Hanna does on this day is meet Caleb for a drink and flash back to how they broke up in New York. What happened was … have you ever seen the film The Devil Wears Prada? Or 13 Going on 30? Or Erin Brockavich? Or Baby Boom? Or The Proposal? Or His Girl Friday? Or One Fine Day? Frazzled Working Woman Comedies, I suppose, is what Netflix would call them. Yes? Okay, then you know what happened with Caleb and Hanna. Hanna was putting in the kind of hours literally everyone in New York works, especially when they’re paying their dues their first year out of college, and instead of supporting her at her work parties, literally just hanging out at the bar and enjoying a couple of free cocktails, Caleb started sitting out in the alleys behind the parties and pouting and forcing Hanna to come track him down and coddle him and not bothering to memorize Hanna’s boss’ name and telling her not to turn into her boss. He was feeding a cat, which was cute, and you know I have a soft soft place in my heart for homeless New York City kitties, but also he was being a real butt.
This is a thoroughly unbelievable flashback. Caleb’s not that guy. I’m so sure he wouldn’t know Hanna’s boss’ name. Caleb would know even all of Hanna’s stuffed animals’ names. And anyway, if he were that guy, that last person on the planet he would have chosen to date after Hanna is Spencer Hastings. She’s ten Frazzled Working Woman Comedies stuffed into one tiny espresso-fueled body.
And now let us check in with Alison DiLaurentis: She’s in a relationship with Charlotte’s psychiatrist, who obviously killed her because he didn’t want to compete with her for Alison’s affection. Also, I will bet you ten full dollars that he’s the one who’s after Alison in the flash forward when the Liars come screeching into her classroom telling her to get her things and get in her plane and let’s go. Ali tells Spencer she fell in love with him because no one had ever looked at her and really seen the truth of her and still wanted her anyway.
Am I the only person who did not get hit in the head with hollow piece of metal with a rectangle piece at the end during the time jump?! Did I imagine the previous seasons of this show?? Am I trapped in some kind of Study Aid fever dream!? Emily looked at Ali like she scattered the literal stars out into the universe for the singular purpose of delighting her!
I don’t like this season very much. Nothing anyone is doing or saying makes sense based on the things they did and said for six and a half seasons, except for Ezra displaying the perpetual unearned confidence of a mediocre white man. It’s breaking my heart.
At the end of the day, Devil Emoji cleans off his electrocution devices while listening to the Snow White soundtrack. I wish it were the Robin Hood one. I love that oodelally song. Oodelally oodelally golly what a day.
Thanks for the screencaps, most perfect Nicole (@PLLBigA).