TV Review: ‘Pretty Little Liars’ 6×13 “The Gloves Are On”

pretty little liars

Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of Pretty Little Liars. To catch up on previous coverage, click here.

The latest episode of Pretty Little Liars featured several important plot points. We find out Emily’s secret, how Sara Harvey got the burns and the (sort of) return of a sinister foe.

However, these reveals did not make the stakes high enough for the liars. Find out how in the recap to “The Gloves Are On.”

The truth about Spaleb

Spencer (Troian Bellisario) and Melissa (Torrey DeVitto) are busy doing publicity tours for Veronica’s senatorial campaign. While being interviewed by a journalist named Damian (Blake Berris), she inadvertently learns Mona (Janel Parrish, who does not appear in this episode) is working for Veronica’s competition. Looks like Spencer’s mother shouldn’t have said no to one of her daughter’s biggest enemies!

Meanwhile, we also get answers about what’s really going on between Spencer and Caleb (Tyler Blackburn). Spencer confesses to Hanna (Ashley Benson) how how she has feelings for Caleb and she’s not sure if he feels the same way. In a surprising move, Hanna says Spencer should find out. And it turns out the feelings are mutual when they share a kiss.

Hanna’s surprising approval of Spencer’s relationship with Caleb shows how far this show has come from the typical backstabbing teen drama. Rather than indulging in a typical love triangle, it’s refreshing to see these former teens deal with this situation like adults. Also, and I’m probably going to get a lot of hate for saying this, but the Spaleb kiss was surprisingly sexy and powerfully illustrates the chemistry between Bellisario and Blackburn. Rather than keeping these characters pining after their high school sweethearts, it’s refreshing to see them grow up and explore new possibilities.

But wait! Does Hanna have an eye for someone other than her fiance?

Hanna might not be pining for Caleb as much as we thought she would be. With the return of Lucas (Brendan Robinson), it looks like she will have her sights on someone else. In a typical trope, Lucas, the once nerdy guy whom Alison and her squad bullied, is now a successful man with multiple houses and condos, a silver Jaguar and a successful career with a game app company.

After Lorenzo (Travis Winfrey) questions Ashley (Laura Leighton) why there is no surveillance footage of the hotel during the time of Charlotte’s murder, Hanna quickly asks Lucas to be her alibi. However, the alibi proves to be ineffective when Lucas says he left Hanna’s room to grab some ice water from down the hall in an ice machine. The problem is that there is no machine on the floor the girls stayed on.

When Hanna mentions how hard it is for her to wake up in her old room every morning, Lucas gives her the key to his Rosewood apartment. He says she can stay there as long as she wants while he’s in San Jose. Could Hanna’s stay go beyond that? Maybe. It should be fun to see the story possibilities for Lucas’s return.

pretty little liars

Aria, are you still defending Ezra?

While Aria’s (Lucy Hale) boss is reluctant to read Ezra’s (Ian Harding) new novel, Aria is not done fighting for him even though he yells at the girls for accusing him of Charlotte’s murder. Aria transcribes the hand-written novel and her boss ends up loving it. However, while it was unclear in these scenes, it seems like Aria is actually helping Ezra co-write the novel. Could she be writing words that aren’t his?

3 Not-So-Big Reveals

Three reveals happened in this episode that are sure to set up bigger events for future episodes. It turns out Emily (Shay Mitchell) blew through all of her money her dad left her after dropping out of college and decided to donate her eggs to make some extra bucks. While it seems like the show’s writers are trying to duplicate a plot from Sara Shepard’s books where Emily gives up a baby for adoption, the stakes for this storyline don’t seem as high. But hopefully, it ends up surprising us.

Meanwhile, we learn Sara Harvey’s (Dre Davis) burns came from touching an electrical generator after Emily punched her. So it wasn’t even necessarily the girls’ faults. While the Jenna Thing painted Jenna as sympathetic with a somewhat justified need for revenge, the “Sara Thing” paints Sara as annoying and bitter.

Lastly, in a moment that surprises absolutely no one, Aria gets a text message saying, “You know who did it and I’m going to make you talk.” It’s signed using a skull with horns emoji rather than an “A.” Looks like the blackmailing games will begin, shortly!

Creepy A/Skull Emoji Epilogue

We see an Alison mask stuffed in a plastic bag along with a box being opened. Inside the box, we see A’s trademark black hoodie and black gloves. The unseen character tosses the items in a trashcan and Googles “UNIFORMS.” This is likely symbolism to show how this new villain will be nothing like A!

Closing thoughts

Even after we learned about several reveals, it still doesn’t seem like the stakes are high enough for the liars. However, that does not mean there isn’t potential for future episodes. It has definitely been a joy getting to know these characters in a more adult setting to see how much has changed and how much has delightfully stayed the same. Hopefully, this new villain will make the game even more entertaining than Mona or Charlotte could ever do!

Rating: 8/10

What did you think of the big reveals? What do you think this new villain will do? Sound off in the comments below!

Jeremy is an aspiring entertainment reporter from New Jersey. He has collected countless issues of Entertainment Weekly and TV Guide since he was a child and loves reading the behind-the-scenes scoop of his favorite TV shows. His proudest moment was when he had laryngitis while interviewing B.o.B and was told by the “Airplanes” singer himself that he had “a great interview voice.” Jeremy spends his spare time obsessing about fictional characters, watching Disney movies (he’s not ashamed to admit he was 23 years old when he saw “Frozen” in theaters with absolutely no kids by his side) and plowing through endless hours of soap operas on his DVR. He is still trying to replace the void he has in his heart from when “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was canceled in 2003.