Previously on Pretty Little Liars, all the Liars had one or two love interests each, except for Emily, who had zero love interests, like maybe instead of jumping five years ahead, Pretty Little Liars jumped back to 2004 where only straight characters can kiss each other and the lesbian’s gotta run around town on her own doing storylines by herself that involve tragedy and sadness and general horror at the fact of being alive. Also, Devil Emoji stole her eggs from her ovaries.
Emily, Alison, and Hanna walk right into Sara Harvey’s room at Radley, bold as brass, bright as day, just let themselves in the front door. Her crap is strewn everywhere, which Emily thinks is indicative of what’s going on inside her brain. They have returned to this place to crawl back down into the basement through the hole in the closet wall, but there is no longer a hole in the closet wall. It sealed itself up to them because they became aware of the power of female sexuality. Just kidding, this isn’t Narnia and they’re not Susan Pevensie! Sara patched it up, probably with her elbows. The Liars are forced to hide inside the closet when the maid lets herself in to clean up Sara’s mess, but they escape without being seen. Just kidding again, the maid is actually Devil Emoji. She peels off her face and tosses it in with the dirty towels.
Where is Spencer, you ask? Having quite a day, let me tell you. She confronts Veronica about her cancer with all the tenderness of a rabid water buffalo. Veronica was going to tell Spencer and Melissa about the cancer after the election, she swears, but Spencer, who has been interning on the Hill for 12 entire months, knows everything about how politics work, okay, and Veronica is going to be in big trouble with the voters when this whole cancer thing comes to light. Especially if it’s someone besides Veronica who tells them about it.
Having convinced Veronica to go public before the Phillips campaign can do it, Spencer then turns her attention to Melissa, who has returned from a trip to Philadelphia with a brand new suitcase. Spencer spends an inordinate and aggressive amount of time questioning her about her old suitcase. Not even just Spencer, though. Spencer asks her a million things about her old suitcase when she sees her the first time. Then, Spencer and Caleb accost her about it together. Melissa is like, “Why are you being even more intense and weird than usual?” And Spencer legit goes, “I told Caleb about your broken suitcase because he likes to fix things.” And then they keep asking her questions. When did it break, exactly? At what hour in the day? Where was it when Melissa wasn’t holding it in her hands? The trunk of a car? Was it alone in a hotel room? Did she blink maybe when she was standing out on a sidewalk with it and someone sneaked up and ripped off the handle?
STOP THIS MADNESS. No human has ever, in the history of space and time, been beaten to death with the aluminum rod of a suitcase handle! You couldn’t bust a pinata with the aluminum rod of a suitcase handle! You couldn’t even break up a pan of peanut brittle!
Oh, but Spencer cannot let it go, especially after Hanna tells her this story about what happened one time in the tiny village of London where she and Melissa both lived at the same time. Hanna was in this restroom, right? At a party? Well, while she was reapplying her lipstick and leaving a message for someone about fashion things, Melissa came stumbling out saying English slang and yelling about Charlotte. Apparently Charlotte called Wren to tell him about the time that Melissa buried Bethany Young in their back yard when she saw her dead body just laying back there, all lifeless and not breathing, because she assumed Spencer had killed her during one of those Ritalin-fueled murder sprees she was always having sophomore year. So Wren left Melissa (because up until that point he had been operating under the delusion that Melissa wasn’t the shadiest motherfucker in the entire Hastings family, for some inexplicable reason). Melissa got so angry in that loo in London that she speed-dialed Radley and started screaming at the receptionist about, “This is Alison! Wake up my sister!” And then at Hanna about, “Somebody’s gotta make her pay!”
I can’t believe the Phillips campaign can get their hands on Veronica’s medical records but not on the Snapchat Melissa used to confess to Spencer about the Bethany Young thing.
Veronica does make the announcement about her cancer. But then somebody makes an announcement that Yvonne had an abortion in high school, which is a problem because they’re a pro-life campaign, and the Phillips IT people track the announcement to Spencer’s IP address. (How do they even know Spencer’s IP address?) Spencer didn’t do it; she was burning Caleb’s toast all afternoon. Which I guess means Caleb didn’t do it either. But he confesses to it anyway so Spencer doesn’t get in trouble, and Veronica kicks him out of the campaign barn, to wander the streets as a hobo once more.
Aria’s day is almost as weird as Spencer’s. Byron and Ella are getting remarried right goddamn now (despite invisible Mike’s invisible protests) and they want Aria to do the ceremony because “she’s the writer in the family.” Hanna has also been recruited to help; she’s designing and sewing Ella’s dress and also choosing the tablecloths for the reception.
By helping Byron and Ella on their very special day, both Aria and Hanna come to conclusions about their own relationships. Hanna, who has been sidestepping either Liam or Jordan every time he asks her to set a date for their wedding, calls him up and tells him it’s going to be May 17. She’d kind of been holding out hope that she and Caleb were going to get back together, because if you leave your first love and they come back to you, it’s destiny. But Ella blows that theory out of the water because before Byron, she was into someone named Ricky, who no doubt had one dangly earring and drove a Trans-Am and thought he was the only person on earth who really got Kurt Cobain. Ella says high school romances never really last, and then you marry a guy who fucks one of his students who then ends up locking your daughter and their friends in the basement, and then you get engaged to a predator. At some point, if you’re a straight woman in Rosewood, you’ve just gotta settle.
Aria has a similar epiphany. She confesses to Ezra that she wrote his book and passed it off as his work, because of how he skipped town in a furious huff when they accused him of murder. He thinks about getting angry, but then remembers his entire history of being the wooooorrrst, and decides Aria gets a pass. Of course then he tells either Liam or Jordan that he and Aria were totally boning when she was his student, and either Liam or Jordan gets really upset about it. He doesn’t like it when Aria isn’t forthcoming with him, and when she lies by omission, which: You are in for a ride, brother.
So Aria’s marrying her mom and dad, and she unearths the opposite truth from Hanna. Her future is either getting into a perpetual cycle of bullshit with a grown man who fucks his students, or she can try to make it work with literally anyone else. A piece of notebook paper. A loaf of white bread. An Amy’s frozen vegetarian burrito. All better options than Byron; therefore all options are better than Ezra. And so Aria chooses Liam. (Or Jordan?)
Alison is feeling wedding-y too. Not at first. It’s not how she begins her day. She starts it off with a text from Devil Emoji (by the way, the emojis this new A uses are ENORMOUS) asking if Dr. Rollins knows why Charlotte left Ali’s house in the first place the night she was murdered. Alison decides to just spill the truth to Rollins: Charlotte left because Ali told her about her affair with him, and while she was out, she got killed. Rollins, who just last week told Alison not to tell anyone about them, proposes to Ali on the spot. He’s already got the rings. (Does it seem to anyone else like the writers haven’t even read each other’s scripts this season? PLL has always been … less than seamless in tying individual writers’ ideas about these characters’ personalities and motivations together, but it is like whiplash this season with what someone says and does in one episode and then what they say and do in the very next episode.) Alison and Rollins go to Aria’s house because she’s a priest now, and they ask her to marry them together in matrimony.
Now. You will notice, I’m sure, that there’s one person missing from this episode. One person who has no tether to a romantic partner or to this theme of weddings or, just generally, to the plot of the show. It is Emily. First she meets a guy in the Hollis bookstore who, like her, is taking Psych 101 (is Emily starting college over at the very beginning??), but it turns out he is that reporter named Damian who was doing the scathing expose on the Hastings family. Emily realizes this with the help of her friends, but goes to meet Damian anyway. At a “diner” in the literal middle of the woods in the middle of the night. He is not there. No one is there. It’s just Emily and someone in a Jeep and for five entire scenes, Emily just runs around alone in the dark while this Jeep chases her. She climbs up onto the roof of the diner at one point and finds a hollow rod that was once connected to a rectangle piece. Charlotte’s murder weapon! On top of the diner! But of course she drops it to the ground, along with her phone, and the Jeep runs over them.
After being ostracized from love, Emily returns to Rosewood to proclaim that there are at least two Devil Emojis now. One of them, at least, is threatening to birth an army of Emily-shaped babies with her eggs and grow them into evil super-soldiers. Which makes more sense than getting killed by a suitcase handle, if we’re being honest.
The Risen Mitten enjoys a slice of wedding cake and struggles to program his new universal remote. Psychotic cyberterrorists, they’re just like us!