How can an entire hour of television pass, with people fretting and fighting and making multiple field trips to Radley, and leave me feeling like nothing of note even happened? If last week was an explosion, last night was a whole lot of smoke: all these Liars treading water, pretending to make the plot move somewhere while winding up right back where we started. And by “where we started” I mean “before the events near the end of last week’s episode, when Mona revealed Ali had lied to the Liars and threatened to ruin Mona’s life.” You might think such a huge revelation would be discussed in detail this week, but nope! This is why plot continuity rarely earns a spot on the Pretty Little Power Rankings.
1. Lieutenant Tanner (last week: not ranked)
Probably the only cop in Rosewood who actually understands what police work entails. Definitely the first person to ask Ezra why Shana’s body was found at Ezra’s mom’s theater, and how was it exactly that Ezra was shot the night before Shana was found?
2. A (last week: 1)
Nothing says “I will ruin your life, xoxo” like a black-and-white video of someone burying your mom! If that doesn’t do the trick, you can just break into their never-well-lit house, choke them with their own scarf, assault their friend, and then run away just before anyone dies, so as to prolong your torture of everyone you know.
That said, I still don’t really understand what A wants. She threatens to kill Ali if Ali tries to leave Rosewood, but what’s the point of having Ali stay in Rosewood if A isn’t going to kill her? This confusion is why A is so high on the PLPR. If you can’t convince them, confuse them.
3. Caleb (last week: 18)
Faux Riggins is looking much less Riggins-y since he got that haircut, but I have to give points where points are due: Almost everything he says makes sense. For instance, his reaction to the Cavanaugh’s house blowing up: “A doesn’t shoot and miss. There has to be a reason.” Then he says, “The cops in this town should be driving around in clown cars.” Were truer words ever spoken? Then, in direct violation of crazy law No. 29, Caleb tells Hanna — this is not a drill, people — that he thinks they should go to the police.
Later he gets annoying with some double entendre stuff about his life/relationships (“I don’t want to commit to anything.” Okay, let’s not get method with our Rigginsing here) and threatens to move to Montecito to see whichever parent is now just barely back in his life enough that they want him to visit, but only every now and then. Caleb the minor is mostly left to dwell in the gutters or hideaways of Rosewood, relying solely on the generosity of strangers, ex-girlfriends, and the like.
Also, I see Caleb kept some of the old-timey trappings of Ravenswood, which is to say, I see Caleb is reading a newspaper in print. Keep supporting journalism, Caleb! This journalist supports you.
4. Travis (last week: 8)
Faux Saracen can’t be with Hanna if Hanna’s only in this halfway. “I like you too much for that.” You’re a good man, Travis. Too good for this harsh, unforgiving world.
5. Hanna (last week: 5)
I am into Hanna’s “little love triangle” even though Ali thinks its beneath her. And I believe in Hanna’s motivations for wanting Ali out of town. But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating to watch her go to the mat for someone who, in her time back in town, has really not proven herself to be anything but the monster she was before she left.
6. Veronica Hastings (last week: 7)
Keeps the house and the better Hastings daughter. Sends Papa Hastings packing. Doesn’t fall for any of Spencer’s attempts at Parent Trap–ing. “Leaving your dad isn’t about one lie.”
7. Paige (last week: 10)
Gives up some names to Emily, but seeing as those names are Lucas and Melissa, she doesn’t appear to have forked over intel that would have been difficult for the Liars to figure out on their own. What’s funny about this whole “who is on Mona’s team?” bit is that everyone in Rosewood is suspicious and everyone who met Ali has a reason to hate Ali’s guts. Basically, take the entire population of Rosewood, subtract the Liars and Ashley Marin (too busy with more important things), and that’s everyone who could realistically be working with Mona against Ali.
8. Emily (last week: 4)
I appreciate Emily’s season-five backbone and the way she calls out Hanna for her changing ways since Ali’s return. But Emily fails to do the grunt work of friendship — that is, find out what is really bothering Hanna underneath the surface. Emily also lets Ali stay for some platonic slumber party and winds up just watching her sleep. Whatever turns you on, Emily.
9. Spencer (last week: 11)
Even I cannot be blinded by favoritism here: Spencer’s outfits are a joke. She swapped last week’s overall shorts for an overall dress. The overall dress is, beige, maybe? Some sort of sad, sandy-looking dirt-tan? Anyway, she continues to wear that dopey hat — hats like that are for hangovers; they don’t go with overall dresses in blah-beige because nothing goes with overall dresses in blah-beige — even when she is alone in her bedroom and obviously would have tossed it on the floor.
Here is my transcript/interpretation of the conversation Spencer has with her dad:
Spencer: I can’t tell you anything.
Dad: But your mom won’t talk to me.
Spencer: Oh in that case, Mom thinks you and Melissa murdered Jessica DiLaurentis.
Spencer: Yeah I think so too, TBH.
Dad: That’s not what happened.
Spencer: What did happen, then?
Dad: Melissa and I drove … to the lake … to talk.
Spencer: Hmm, okay, that’s a pretty legit explanation. Lots of detail. Not at all vague. I take it all back! I hope you and mom stay married forever.
The only smart thing Spencer does all episode is give Aria that “you have got to be kidding me” face when Aria says she and Ezra had “technically, two slips.” Stop bragging about your hookups, Aria; your teacher is a sexual predator.
10. Ali (last week: 12)
Many of you were not feeling Ali’s cardigan last week. I was not that cardigan’s No. 1 fan, either. But even worse is this week’s powder-blue blazer-jacket thing with the pointy shoulder pads, like someone tried to design an '80s power suit using Cinderella’s ball gown as the inspiration.
When Tanner asks Ali where specifically she was in Philadelphia the night that Shana was killed, and all Ali can do is make that blank "uh-oh" face, I actually said to my television: "ARE YOU JOKING? That’s the whole cover story? The only thing the Liars came up with as an alibi for the night of Shana’s murder is 'Philadelphia'? SMH."
11. Aria (last week: 16)
“Hmm, where should we put these incriminating files of yours, Ezra? If we leave them here, someone could find them, and your storage unit is in your name. OH WAIT, why don’t you put them in my attic? I’ve never committed any crimes, like, for instance, murder, and we aren’t sleeping together, so this will work out super great for everyone.”
12. Ezra (last week: 15)
In the night, passion reigned at Casa Ezra. (By "passion," you all KNOW what I mean, am I really going to have to include the word rape in this recap every week? Sigh, I guess so.) But by the cold light of day, we see people for what they really are. As the sun rises on another day in Rosewood — the Rosewood Earth consistently spins around its axis, even as it fails to revolve at a measurable pace around the sun — Ezra and Aria are restored to their factory settings: They are boring again.
I love how Aria says Shana was “innocent” and Ezra makes this punched-puppy face, like “REMEMBER MY STAB WOUND?” How quickly we forget the stab wounds of our English teachers!
13. Toby’s dad (last week: not ranked)
Not that we’ve ever met, but man, sorry about your broken leg. Rough life, but honestly, have you considered moving? I can’t imagine anything about Rosewood being redeeming enough for you to want to keep your family here.
Lingering concerns: So Toby spending the entire episode offscreen means Spencer is going to hook up with Andrew, right? Is anyone following this Bethany Young stuff and want to explain it to me? Was there a dead mouse? Did I hallucinate the mouse? Why do Ezra and Aria have a hard-copy photograph from their courtship? When would they possibly have been photographed together, and why would they have had that photo developed? Did they secretly date in 1999?
Part of me wanted her gone,