Pretty Little Liars Recap: Unfortunate Son

Pretty Little Liars, "O Brother, Where Art Thou." Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC Family
Pretty Little Liars
Episode Title
O Brother, Where Art Thou
Editor’s Rating

It’s still a few weeks until graduation (right? Who even knows), so of course our Liars are wearing jeans and jackets, as one does in early June in the greater Philadelphia region. But why focus only on the seasonless climate of Rosewood when there are so many other nonsensical elements at play here, begging for our attention? There’s the loop-de-loop logic somehow preventing every single person in town from communicating effectively with the police and/or each other. There’s the somehow not-fatal, too-real game of Operation everyone played to remove chips from the napes of their necks — sans anesthesia — but no worries, it's not like anything vital is in the back of the neck, it’s just where your brain stem connects to your spinal cord. There’s Sad Robyn. Needless to say, “good decision-making” appears absolutely nowhere on this week’s Pretty Little Power Rankings.

1. Charles (last week: not ranked)
A is winning, if not being able to get over the family that hid you away/abandoned you in a sketchy mental institution/literally left you for dead, when you think about it, qualifies as a victory.

Fun party game: Pretend that notes from A/Charles are cover lines from a kind of sadistic version of Cosmo. For instance, “Come alone or not at all.”

2. Magic Mike Montgomery (last week: not ranked)
Why is Magic Mike dressed like Ponyboy from The Outsiders? Whatever, I like it, and anyway, he is a voice of reason and friendship in this bonkers, frenemy-filled world. I missed a bit of what he said to Mona, but I’m 97 percent sure the gist of it was, “I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, what you did, as long as you love me.

3. Hanna (last week: 1)
“Well, Spencer and I have been studying videos online.” Honestly let’s just hold Rosewood High accountable for this insanity because I assume their idea of a science class is just a bunch of YouTube clips from old episodes of The Magic School Bus.

4. Mona (last week: 3)
Magic Mike asks, “Do you want me to go?” Mona, pitifully, can only shake her head. YES MONA FINALLY YOU ARE CORRECT ABOUT SOMETHING. Never let this gentle, handsome soul leave your side. He called your mom to make sure you were okay.

5. Ali (last week: not ranked)
At least she can break out of house arrest (hotel arrest?) using some MacGyver solution involving sleeping pills. I like her little Amy Schumer ponytail. I like that she actually calls 911. It doesn’t work out because PLL has been renewed through season seven, but still, it’s a good idea.

6. Jason (last week: not ranked)
Has he always had the same haircut as Brad Pitt circa Gwyneth? Looks good, just wondering.

7. Sad Robyn (last week: 7)
I’m so ready for the show to convince me I should be at all invested in this person. A haircut and mysterious references to a family we’ve never met do not a character make! And what is she even wearing, a denim jacket with a dirt-brown collar and pockets? Why does this jacket exist? Should I assume she got it at the same store from which Aria purchased her jacket, which is two different shades of denim stitched to leather (or faux leather; even with HD I can’t confirm or deny this fact) sleeves? Who keeps Frankenstein-stitching together mostly inoffensive fabrics and ruining the American classic that is the denim jacket?

8. Toby (last week: not ranked)
Seems like he’s got everything under control. Great police work as usual.

9. Aria (last week: 6)
So Aria’s entire character arc for the episode is that she’s ready to stop taking photographs of creepy dolls. Okay.

10. Emily (last week: 8)
Are chokers a thing, or is PLL just trying to make them a thing again? It’s all very “I cut seventh period in 1995 to go to Claire’s and then Blockbuster,” but considering the other mock-worthy fashion in the episode (ahem, Sad Robyn’s sad jacket), I’ll let it slide. What is harder to let slide is Emily’s utter lack of chill when faced with Claire. Yes, Claire and Sad Robyn did that annoying thing wherein they just looked at pictures on one of their phones in a way that obviously excluded Emily from the conversation, but you have got to be cooler with the competition, Em! Playing the “I have police protection” card is not going to make you an attractive girlfriend. You may as well say you’re going to keep Sad Robyn locked in a dungeon, which, not to bring up a sore point, would not be the first time someone locked her in a dungeon.

However, plus points for: “What do you mean, where? Dr. Amateur Hour cut your neck open.”

11. Spencer (last week: 4)
It pains me — much like it might pain a person to have a microchip removed from her neck by a high-school student — to put dear Spencer so low on the PLPR. Yet I must be fair: How many ways was Spencer wrong this episode? Well (deep breath): She lied to Toby, then told him the truth under the impossible condition that he not reveal said truth to anyone else for the next 24 hours, then waited maybe 30 seconds into the plan they had just agreed on to bail on said plan and bring her buddies along for the ride, a maneuver that accomplished nothing and only endangered the Liars (again). She also apparently had the just mind-bogglingly idiotic idea of performing surgery on all of her friends so that A wouldn’t track them (a bit of plot that went nowhere, much like all of Spencer’s plans last night) instead of, I don’t know, calling Wren, who, for all his flaws (cheated on his fiancée with her kid sister, is possibly a pedophile since he hit on Spencer when she was 14 years old), is at least a medical doctor. Oh, plus, she left her extra-special gummy bears lying around and is indirectly responsible for Toby’s untimely trip.

She also thinks Toby will be able to keep all of them safe — from a criminal mastermind/superstalker who has evaded law enforcement and the Liars for their entire postpubescent lives — because “he has a badge and a gun.” Not sure how long ago this episode was written, but that’s not exactly the prevailing narrative at the moment re: police officers.

Cute braid-as-headband, though. I know her inner Blair Waldorf just wants to be free.

12. Mr. DiLaurentis (last week: 12)
Really, Pops? Now you’re the dummy who thinks everything will be okay if you just don’t go to the police? Why do you even still live in Rosewood?

13. Sabrina the Teenage Stoner (last week: not ranked)
Hello, Captain Conspicuous! Do not leave laced gummy bears in someone’s bag when she isn’t even available to confirm delivery upon receipt!

Lingering concerns: Does anyone want to explain this scholarship thing to me? Why are all the DiLaurentis's home videos on a projector? They’re not from ancient times/the 1950s; all this Charles footage would be from the early 1990s, so shouldn’t they be on VHS?

I’m pretty sure it’s pronounced “Cyclops.”