Pretty Little Liars Recap: Brother Knows Best

After their latest run-in with Charles, tensions are at an all-time high with the PLLs and the town of Rosewood. Photo: Eric McCandless/Disney
Pretty Little Liars
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As we continue the march towards the unmasking of A, Red Coat, and whoever else I. Marlene King decides to pull out of the woodwork, we must deal with some exposition. This week’s episode felt like an elaborate setup for whatever #FAceToFAce meeting is coming in two weeks, when the Liars make it to prom and maybe get something resembling an actual answer about A. As is tradition for the third-to-last episode of this wonderful chronicle of contemporary teendom, we didn’t really learn all that much.

Aria still has horrible luck with men and will eventually end up kissing Ezra again, much to my dismay. Emily keeps up her streak of falling in love with literally anything that looks at her twice. Hanna and Spencer continue their streak of being my two faves with the best hair. And not a single one of my favorite teen sleuths has gangrene or a serious bacterial infection from digging a microchip out of the back of her neck using only an X-Acto knife and some gumption.

Your trusty Power Ranker had to take the night off, so in lieu of that inimitable system, let’s get right into this.

The Carissimi Foundation Is Clearly the DiLaurentis Trust Fund
I refuse to believe that a foundation with $30K to spare for a student who was technically presumed dead/missing would issue said funds in a sketchy paper check printed on a dot-matrix printer. Spencer and Hanna agree. So, in a stroke of genius only present on a show where they solve crimes with just an internet connection, they arrange a face-to-face meeting so they can somehow give the money back (?). This occurs in a comfortingly bland office that looks like it smells like cleaning products and cheap scented candles. Who’s that behind the desk? Oh, it’s just “Rhys Matthews,” a poorly chosen pseudonym for someone who is either Jason’s body double or Charles Goddamn DiLaurentis. Later we see “Rhys” sneaking into a building after idling outside Aria’s big debut, talking angrily on the phone. Is this Charles? Is this Jason? Is this a triplet that we don’t know about? ONLY TIME WILL TELL.

Alison and Lorenzo’s House of Love
One day we will get an answer to the true mystery of this show: Why there’s a dearth of appropriately aged women for the hot 20-something dudes in Rosewood to fall in Serious Like with. Until then, we have Alison and Lorenzo.

Lo-Lo hurt his arm pretty bad when A shot a shitload of baseballs at his person, so he’s nursing his wounds with the help of Ali, who is seemingly not in trouble after drugging Papa D in a hotel room and sneaking out. After soothing him into submission with soup and folding his laundry, which consists only of Rosewood PD tees, she steals his police ID and waltzes down to the station, straight into the evidence room, where all the “sensitive” material in this all-consuming case is strewn about as if the dudes working this thing got up and went to lunch. Tanner, the fishiest of them all, catches her in the act and gives her a lecture that feels more menacing than anything else. Watch as Ali’s face crumbles when Tanner tells her that if they catch Charles — which they will, Rosewood’s finest is nothing if not efficient, LOLOL — they’ll shoot him on sight. Oh.

The Parent Trap
Apparently there’s a rule in Rosewood that only two parents at a time can be present. This week, it’s Ella and Ashley’s time to shine. They share a cute bonding moment at the Marin house as they both realize that their very fragile teenage daughters are not really being protected by the police as well as they should be. As for Veronica Hastings and Nia Peeples, my best guess is that they’re getting seaweed wraps and drinking bellinis at a day spa in Philly. Just to make sure that everything’s cool with the two that remain, Red Coat lurks in the shadows.

Didn’t We Almost Have It All?
I am a gullible viewer, eager to believe that every new character introduced on this show who manages to be decent for a little while isn’t going to turn out to be on the wrong side of history. RIP, Nice Clark. He seemed so good! Stable! Interested in Aria! Willing to help! It does appear that A’s empire has expanded to include mild-mannered photography majors who have no parents to speak of and an awful lot of questions for my favorite Hot Topic employee, Aria. Sorry, Clark. I will move you over to the “FISHY AS HELL” column on my Homeland-style PLL whiteboard that I keep in my armoire.

Gallery Openings in the Suburbs Are So Cute
So, Aria was going to be super-famous and have her creepy doll photos on display for the world to see, but A stole her thunder and replaced them with horrible photos of the Liars under a sheet on a metal table, as if they were dead. There is no context in which these photos are okay. Also not okay: Ezra trying to get it in with Emily’s cast-off from Projects for Humanity and Aria’s choice to wear a black sundress with teal ballerinas on it, because that feels more “downtown art scene” than the grungy, gingham baby-doll number she held up for Emily earlier.

Theory of the Week That Might Actually Be True: Tanner Is Working With A
“I find you very intriguing, Alison,” she says to Ali, who resembles nothing more than a PTA president from Milford, Connecticut. No shit, Tanner. It’s because you’ve been working with A the whole time.  Here are some musings involving butterscotch candies and the mysterious whereabouts of Holbrook if you don’t believe me.

Why is Tanner maybe working with A? I have no idea, but something about her weird, robotic explanation for the sign that read “No Son Linda” struck me as very, very odd. Why would A go to all this effort to prove that he/she/it can unearth info that doesn’t seem that hard to find just to prove a point? Think about it! She’s been just as slippery as A since the beginning. Something is not right. Discuss.

More Questions Than Answers, Really
Did Toby survive after eating, like, an entire eighth of weed gummies? Is there any crime in Rosewood that is not this kidnapping case? Is A going to jump-start a car and then hogtie the girls with that rope after dosing them? Who wants to bet $5 and a pack of gum that Aria’s secret fairy-tale prom dress will be a steampunk wedding dress with feathers?

See you in the Enchanted Forest!