Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of “Pretty Little Liars.” To catch up on the previous episode, click here.
In a huge departure from last week, this episode of Pretty Little Liars managed to be more than just filler. This week, we got to see some interesting scenes and subtle revelations that will likely affect the rest of the season.
Emily and Sara: Please let them make out already!
Emily’s mother, Pam, tries to get Sara and Emily to see Dr. Sullivan. While Emily eventually gives in, Sara is hesitant. Pam becomes concerned later on when she finds Sara on the roof of their house. While Pam was nervous Sara would jump, apparently all Sara wanted to do was watch the sunset.
When Sara overhears Pam and Emily discussing the situation, she decides to run home so she doesn’t cause anymore problems for the Fields family. Sara eventually opens up to Emily and tells her she lost two years of her life from being in the dollhouse. She doesn’t want to waste any more of it while sitting in a room having someone analyze her. Instead she wishes to do simpler things like walking on the beach or swimming in the ocean.
Emily understands Sara’s need and decides to take her swimming. Sara is grateful and tells Emily she forgot what it was like to swim and feel weightless. No one has ever looked out for her the way Emily does.
What makes this potential love story entertaining is that Emily never really had a girlfriend like Sara. Previous love interests like Maya and Paige had obvious sexual tension from the start. With Sara, it looks like they are developing as friends first and will slowly build into a romantic relationship. This will make it even more satisfying when they finally share that first on-screen kiss.
Aria cries and it makes us cry more!
Aria’s father, Byron, attempts to get through to his daughter by letting her know he’s there for her. He even tries to offer taking her to a movie or playing mini golf. She unintentionally pushes him away by saying she needs to go to the photo studio at Hollis. Aria does not wish to talk about her experiences at the dollhouse. Instead, she wishes to move forward.
Moving forward is made difficult for Aria when A locks her in the Hollis dark room. This brings back memories from the dollhouse when A sent her messages in her room asking to dye her hair. While that sounds a little ridiculous, it was actually more diabolical than it seems. First, A sent Aria a message saying “Use it or you’ll get a surprise” next to some hair dye. When Aria refused to be A’s “doll,” A cut her hair while she slept. A told her to “Dye it now or lose it all.” It makes sense now why Aria is rocking a shorter haircut now.
After frantically pounding on the door, a guy named Clark lets her out and releases a wedge from the door that A left. The two end up bonding over each other’s photos, and we learn that Clark wants to work for National Geographic one day. After admiring some of her photos, Clark tells Aria she should get some “feedback” about her photos because it could help. Clark ends up giving Aria something to remember him by, a photo of a tree that Aria loves. Something tells me this won’t be the last we see of Clark or the photo. Could this be a potential clue we aren’t supposed to know about yet?
Aria ends up listening to Clark’s advice about getting feedback on her photos. She shows a photo of her bedroom to Byron and explains how it was similar to her room at the dollhouse, even going into details of the dirt wall behind the window, the constantly-locked door and the empty closet. As tears stream down her face, Aria’s father puts his arm around her. This was an incredibly well-acted scene for Lucy Hale and it was nice to see Aria show a vulnerable side for the first time in awhile.
Haleb is in trouble!
With Caleb constantly keeping tabs on Hanna, she is starting to feel suffocated. Personally, I would feel a little more than suffocated if my boyfriend put a tracker on my car, but this is a TV couple and we need to root for Haleb! Toward the end of the episode, Caleb brings a bag so he can stay with Hanna for a few days. Hanna tells him that when he constantly keeps tabs on her, it feels like she is still being held hostage in the bunker. This is obviously something Hanna doesn’t need right now. When Caleb asks what she does need, Hanna says she just needs space. Caleb responds by grabbing his things and sadly walking out.
What makes this pseudo-breakup interesting is that it’s easy to sympathize with both sides. You feel for Hanna because her need for alone time is understandable, but you also understand why Caleb is feeling so protective. Neither side seems to be angry at the other, though. In the end, it seems like Caleb truly wants to give his girlfriend some space and Hanna sees why her boyfriend is constantly worried. We know Haleb is (hopefully) end-game, though, and we’ll likely see them get together again once they are ready.
From the beginning of the episode, Spencer is starting to crave pills more and more. After learning Aria threw her pills away, Spencer even attempts to dig through Aria’s trash to find them in an #OMGSpencer moment.
After learning Ezra’s new baker at the Brew, Sabrina, uses medical marijuana for migraines, Spencer enlists her help. While Sabrina refuses to sell marijuana, she does offer to make Spencer some cookies to share her stash. As she walks out of the Brew, Ezra tries to tell her that her problems will still be there when the marijuana wears off. Spencer tells him she just needs to “quiet the noise,” because she can’t sleep at night.
The “noise” Spencer is referring to is the buzzer that would blare whenever she attempted to sleep at the dollhouse. One of Spencer’s most painful memories from her imprisonment was when she woke up covered in blood and the floor looked like a dead body was dragged in. The next morning, it was gone. Did Charles trick Spencer into thinking she hurt someone, or did Spencer actually do it? This storyline seems like a complete reboot of when Spencer thought she killed Ali. While that story was an original concept then, it seems like the writers ran out of ideas and decide to rehash what worked a long time ago.
So THAT is Charles!
Ali and Jason’s father, Kenneth, finally reveals the truth about Charles’s connection to the Dilaurentis family. It turns out Charles is their brother, born fifteen months before Jason. He was a troubled young boy, and this forced Kenneth and their mother, Jessica, to send him away to Radley for treatment. However, he couldn’t have held the girls captive in the dollhouse, because Charles overdosed on pills when he was sixteen. Jessica spread his ashes on the lake and did not want Kenneth’s help.
However, as Hanna eloquently puts it: “No body. No grave. No proof.” Just look at Ali and Mona. The girls decide to locate Charles’s old file from the currently closed Radley. Spencer calls the investment firm that owns Radley and finds out all files of former patients will be shredded at the River Hill Davis Center. The girls travel there and hope to locate Charles’s file before it is destroyed. One mystery I must know the answer to is why does Radley only have paper copies of their files? They need to join the 21st century immediately.
When they locate his file, they can only find records detailing his years from ages thirteen through sixteen, with nothing mentioning his death. They learn he was prescribed with medication for severe depression and that he only had two visitors during his stay at Radley–Jessica and his aunt, Carol Ward, who died when the girls were in 10th grade.
Ali shows the file to Jason and asks him about their Aunt Carol. Jason recounts a time when Jessica was looking after Carol’s house, an old home that no one has supposedly lived in since Carol died. Jason wanted to crash there for the night but Jessica wouldn’t let him because of a plumbing issue. He heard a loud crash come from inside the house, but when he asked his mother, she said it was just the wind.
After deducing that Charles could be living in Carol’s old home, Jason, Ali, Hanna, and Spencer decide to investigate. They stumble upon his grave in the backyard, where roots have been growing around the tombstone for years. It doesn’t look like the grave was planted by Charles to trick them. Spencer thinks A might just be assuming Charles’s identity and it may be someone Charles knew at Radley.
But if Charles really is dead, what secret was Jessica keeping about the house? Also, how old was Alison when she disappeared? Could he have possibly attempted to kill her before he died?
At the end of the episode, Kenneth tells Ali why they sent Charles to Radley. When Ali was eleven months old, Charles filled the bathtub with scalding hot water and watched baby Ali as she slowly drowned. Ali tells her father she doesn’t want to hear any more of the story and that she just wants Charles to rest in peace.
It’s possible Charles may be resting in peace, but A is not. A enjoys saltwater taffy as he/she/it stalks the girls’ moves on an electronic map.
Current A suspect: Whichever character likes saltwater taffy. I wish I had time to rewatch all five seasons to see if any characters ever eat saltwater taffy, but I unfortunately do not have enough hours in the day. If anyone has seen a character eat saltwater taffy on this show, let me know! Seriously!
Another potential A suspect: Mona, only because I miss her and I want to see her in action again!
Do you think Charles is really dead? Have you ever seen a character eat saltwater taffy on the show (I swear this is a clue and I’m not giving up on it)?