Pretty Little Liars Recap: Dancing in the Dark

It's prom time at Rosewood High — except for Alison, Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer, who have been banned due to "security" concerns. Photo: Eric McCandless/Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.
Pretty Little Liars
Episode Title
Last Dance
Editor’s Rating

In the universe in which we reside — you readers, the Vultures, and I — there are laws of physics that govern our lives. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. But in the Rosewood universe, this is not so. For in Rosewood, though the first half of an episode may be almost entirely dedicated to the notion that the Liars, for the safety of their fellow students, are not allowed to attend senior prom, the latter half of that same episode sees every Liar, every Liar’s boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, and Sad Robyn, run laps around that very prom from which they were quite dramatically uninvited. A chaperone posted inside the dance recognizes Aria on sight and tells her to make herself scarce voluntarily. Is security or any such backup measure employed to remove Aria and the gang by force? Nope! Are parents called? Not even one! Does anyone in the senior class, any teachers or buzzkill parent chaperones or randos in masks serving fruit punch, acknowledge their presence and panic? This is where I must say: LOL, no.

Onward to the Pretty Little Power Rankings: Prom Edition!

1. Emily (last episode: 10)
“Check this out, she’s 85 percent tequila and her dress is on backwards.” Yes, Emily! Also: outstanding eyeliner, perfect hair and crownlike accessory. You know what else I love? Her barely veiled disgust at Aria falling, yet again, for someone whom any human could see was not who he said he was. “You really had no idea?” Oh, Emily. She really didn’t.

2. Drunk Veronica Hastings (last episode: not ranked)
Chug, chug, chug! Throwing back the red like Tami Taylor downs white, our drunk Veronica Hastings is a queen, burning everyone who ever burned her. “I can’t even spend time out here anymore without being reminded of that woman. That’s where the dog dug her up.” Can it get better? YES, IT CAN: “It wasn’t bad enough that this bitch tried to steal my husband, but her sicko son had to bury her in our backyard! Ten feet away from my lilacs!”

She makes terrible decisions that endanger everyone she was ostensibly protecting, but forgive her: She is a character on Pretty Little Liars, after all.

3. Spencer (last episode: 11)
Naturally, Spencer dedicated two full weeks to writing a valedictorian address she claims she had no interest in giving, only to be wrecked at the news that she’s persona non graduata at her own commencement. (A rule I’m sure will be as strictly enforced as the one banning Spencer and the Liars from prom.)

Those heels she’s wearing in that first scene at the Brew are soooo good, I don’t even care that it makes zero sense for an 18-year-old girl to own them, let alone wear them for a casual coffee run. Her prom dress and those fantastic rings are on point as usual.

4. The Hastings’ Barn (last episode: not ranked)
I’m not going to say that barn is bigger than my apartment. But it’s not not bigger than my apartment. Should I put twinkly lights on my shower curtain?

5. Ali (last episode: 5)
I love that none of the Liars get why Ali doesn’t care about the prom. In case you have forgotten (as the show seems to forget approximately 87 percent of the time), Ali went missing a full year before this fine series even premiered. If we are being as close to reasonable as possible about the amount of time the rest of the Liars have spent fake-attending Rosewood High and say the start of the series was the start of their freshman year, Ali would have never spent a day as a Rosewood High student until she Buffy-ed back from the dead. Even if we go by another timeline — wherein Ali, as her “Missing” poster indicates, was 15 years old when she was (not really) kidnapped — that would still mean she was only in high school for, max, just the ninth grade. Girl has moved on from high-level, middle-school manipulation (sigh, I miss that version of Ali so much) to making it with hot cops and dressing like she folded down the corners of every page in a Land’s End catalogue. She hopscotched right over the high-school experience; obviously she doesn’t need the prom!

Great Belle dress, though. Perfect Veronica Lake waves, lovely red lip. Now we just need to work on her wardrobe for every other second she’s onscreen.

6. Pam Fields (last episode: not ranked)
Pam thinks maybe Mr. DiLaurentis — Kenneth, I guess? — is the one who killed Jessica. Alternate theory! I’m down.

7. Ella Montgomery (last episode: not ranked)
“It came from the basement.”

8. Caleb (last episode: not ranked)
Does Caleb get a haircut every time he’s not in an episode? Also: that suit? Noooo. He’s not wearing a tie, he’s got this crazy wide collar like it’s 1977, and is that an ascot, or a patterned shirt underneath his white button-down in case he needs to shed a layer? I refuse to believe that this is a suit Hanna picked out for him.

I look forward to discovering that this too-good-to-be-true job offer is somehow connected to the Cariwhatever organization that is mystically funded by the DiLaurentis family.

9. Charles/A (last episode: 1)
telling people to “come alone”? I’m not one to tell someone else how to do their job, especially when that someone is a stalker-murderer-recluse-phantom with a Zuckerberg-level hoodie obsession, but … maybe get some new material, bro. In related news: Could these girls stop actually following his ever-changing rules and maybe not show up alone to these little meet-and-greets?

10. Ashley Marin (last episode: not ranked)
Ashley: “The girls are fine.” Smash cut to: The girls are at the prom, waiting for Charles.

11. Hanna (last episode: 3)
If I had a dollar for every time Hanna learned a questionable, incomplete piece of information and immediately lept to the most A-centric, dire conclusion, my apartment would be so much bigger than the Hastings’ barn.

12. Aria (last episode: 9)
I would be remiss if I did not tip my hat to the best line Aria has had all season, and perhaps the truest line anyone in Rosewood has e’er uttered, as she explains to her mother why it wouldn’t be a problem to fill the prom with police: “It’s fairy-tale theme. They can go as the village idiots.” I know you and I play by the same Gchat rules, where “lol” means “amused silence” and only a caps-locked “HAHAHAHA” indicates actual laughter. My reaction here was somewhere in the middle: an audible, single-syllable HA. More than I ever thought I’d give for the young Miss Montgomery.

It’s been 16 years since this hot-pink number killed at the Padua High prom, so I guess it’s officially time to reintroduce crop tops into the formalwear category.

13. Lorenzo (last episode: not ranked)
So if Toby is suspended and Lorenzo is suspended, exactly how many officers who have been deeply involved in this case are still actively employed at the police department? Now doesn’t really seem like the time to slim down the staff.

14. Clark (last episode: not ranked)
Oh, okay, so at least one guy is still in the game.

15. Toby (last episode: 8)
Great kiss, boring story line.

16. Ezra
Habitat for Humanity in Thailand? Can you imagine the insufferable Tumblr you know he would keep during his “journey”? “I thought I would be able to teach the people I met here. But it turns out they were teaching me all along.” That is a completely made-up blog post this fictional character never even typed, but it is already making me want to scream: Ezra. Stop.

And what happened to not wanting to drink fruit punch with your former students while slow-dancing with a high-school senior who used to be your underage girlfriend ARE WE STILL PRETENDING THIS IS OKAY?

17. The blocking of the prom scenes (last episode: not ranked)
Literally 70 percent of this episode is the Liars just walking around in circles in the auditorium, checking their phones, then walking around in circles again.

Lingering concerns: Did Lorenzo really crash a high-school prom to surprise-date a teenager? Does he not know that he’s an adult? Could Ali maybe have a few more secret older brothers? Those DiLaurentis genes make for very dashing pyschos. Will we ever talk to Mona again? Why wasn’t Magic Mike at the prom as her date? Where was Mr. DiLaurentis, assuming he wasn’t hiding out upstairs to save himself from the wrath of Drunk Veronica?

Go get the ice sculpture before it melts,