Pretty Little Liars Recap: The Marriage Plots

Lucy Hale as Aria. Photo: Eric McCandless/Disney Enterprises
Pretty Little Liars
Episode Title
We’ve All Got Baggage
Editor’s Rating

Pretty Little Liars can sometimes be like your Facebook feed: With hardly a warning, one day you discover that everyone you've ever met is getting married. And then, you get oddly invested in the choices they make — really, should Aria officiate the Ella-Byron union when Mike is so against this whole Parent Trap scenario he refuses to attend on principle? — even as you try to tell yourself that you have no reason to care about their choices and you haven't even seen these people since high school.

Here, to restore some order to this chaotic, oft-irrational universe, is this week's Pretty Little Power Rankings.

1. Hanna (last week: 7)
Girl is putting her life back together and looking very chill-New-Yorker with her low pony. I'm into it. I like that Lucas is just straight-up letting Hanna live in his swanky Rosewood digs, that Emily is basically living there too, and that for some reason, Jordan has no issue with the fact that some random guy from Hanna's past is willing to let Hanna shack up at his place indefinitely. I also like Hanna's leather crop top at the Montgomery wedding, her valiant effort to choose a wedding date for a wedding we know won't happen, and her ability to stay as cool as humanly possible while watching her real OTP play house with Spencer.

I am always going to be down for a good flashback to the years we missed, even if it means learning that Hanna gallivanted about London with some daisy-chain hair barrette she scavenged out of a sale bin at Claire's.

2. Melissa (last week: not ranked)
Melissa might be screwed, just in terms of the whole "murder weapon from the suitcase" thing, but I have to put her high up for her fantastic, glamour-drunk turn in the flashback. Wren ditched her, and Melissa found herself being tortured from afar by Charlotte/A/devil emoji/I'm sorry guys I don't even know anymore. Melissa lived in London long enough to start saying "bloody," but thankfully, not long enough to adopt a fake accent. Anyway, I'm all about this cocktail of devastated-sloshed-dolled-up. Reminds me of Sad Clown Dress Betty Draper.

3. Aria (last week: 5)
What percentage of the time would you say Aria completely forgets she has a brother? Sixty? Seventy-five? How did she not already know that Mike wasn't onboard with their parents getting back together? Wouldn't Aria have wanted to call Mike the second she found out so they could hash out how they felt? Or at least a few cursory texts, because Mike's "dorm room phone" doesn't work. (If the show takes place five years in the future, how is Mike's college located in 1994?)

While there are things I can respect about Aria in this episode — her ability to mix patterns chief among them — I am most impressed by her ability to, miraculously enough, keep her relationships with both Ezra and Liam intact. Both of those scruffy bros have totally legitimate grounds to walk out of her life for good.

4. Ella Montgomery (last week: not ranked)
When Ella and Byron got hitched the first time, they didn't want to be traditional so they got married in a barn and kept everything casual, which is now the most basic, Pinterest-y thing you could ever do. "We made my mom sit on a keg." Okay, Ella. Also, I thought she made it clear to Hanna that after her youthful flirtation with avant-garde bridal wear, she wanted to actually look like a bride. Still, she seemed quite happy with the black-and-silver number Hanna whipped up out of nowhere.

5. Byron Montgomery (last week: not ranked)
Let's make a list of people who remember when Byron cheated on Ella with Jodi Sawyer: I do, Magic Mike Montgomery does, and … end of list? Aria, noted relationship expert, is totally sold. Ella feels like a 19-year-old girl in Byron's presence, which is convenient because I think 19-year-old girls are exactly what Byron is into. (Zing! I'll be here forever, just like this show.)

Father of the Year has the interesting idea of asking his daughter to get a license online, even though his son has never forgiven him for his infidelity. But Byron ranks relatively high on the list because he, like his daughter, manages to convince romantic prospects to stay invested in him, despite Everests of evidence that indicate they would be better off on their own.

6. Ali (last week: 11)
Ali and dead-eyed doctor sit together on the stoop, talking about guilt or whatever. The next time we see them, they are together again, and the doctor is asking Ali why she's avoiding him. Does the doctor know what "avoiding" entails? Never mind, never mind. I have a theory that the doctor maybe killed Charlotte to get her out of the way so he could be closer to Ali and, judging by the spooky way he looks at her, maybe harvest her organs? Anyway, mazel tov! I have a really good feeling about these two and their not-at-all impulsive or poorly thought out decision to wed beneath the twinkle lights in the Montgomery's backyard.

7. Spencer (last week: 4)
Love the pop of color with that pencil skirt, Spence! Very First Daughter of you. (We all know it's only a matter of time before Veronica makes a play for the Oval.)

Here's what I don't love: Spencer, after deliberating over how to gently, kindly, carefully tell her mother that she knows the cancer is back, decides the best course of action is an accusatory, "You should have told us." Yeah, no. Veronica wanted to tell Spencer after the election. Spencer, this being five years since last we saw her pre-bangs face, and who, as far as we know, attended a four-year college and graduated on time, has spent a whopping 12 months at most working on the Hill. Somehow, we are supposed to believe that it takes just over a dozen moon cycles spent fetching things for lobbyists to turn Spencer Hastings into some kind of political genius. "I know all of the traps," she says. Spencer, no. You don't even understand the traps that A literally sets in your own backyard. And you dealt with that bitch for ages.

8. Emily (last week: 6)
As Emily stood next to Damian — who, full disclosure, I did not recognize — I wrote in my notes: Hmm, Emily is too close to a generic-looking cute white guy for an interaction not to take place. And lo and behold, Damian chats Emily up, and again because I did not remember him (after a while, they all look like Bachelorette rejects to me) I was like, "Ooh, he's going to be so bummed when he finds out she doesn't date dudes." But it turns out he's a very enterprising Hollis reporter pumping Emily for information, just like that Wesley guy who got all buddy-buddy with Jane in her grad-school class so he could write "The Curse of the Solanos."

Although Emily made the power move of getting dinner with him so she could know what he knew, she slides down the list by making multiple rookie mistakes:

  1. Going to an A-related location that is, what do you know, outside of cell service and in the middle of some Twin Peaksy nowhere.
  2. Going there alone at night.
  3. Getting her hands on the murder weapon for all of 15 seconds before losing it again.
  4. Somehow also dropping her phone so A can run over it for good measure.

9. Magic Mike Montgomery (last week: not ranked)
Is Mike's final, great magic trick making himself disappear? Might have to start calling this kid M.I.A. Mike, to more accurately describe his status.

10. A's car obsession (last week: not ranked)
A, you really need to accept it. Even though you may get in a quick hit-and-run, and even if you ram a car-sized hole into the front of the Field's living room, you are not going to murder these Liars this way. They just can't be killed by car. Get some new material! The car fetish is a little tired. Besides, we're in the future! Can't you get a hoverboard?

11. Dr. Elliott (last week: 12)
Here's another great tip, friends: If just one week after a guy tells you he wants to keep your relationship a secret, he asks you to marry him? That's how you know he's the one (you should break up with immediately)!

12. Liam (last week: 9)
The worst thing is watching Liam sit across from Ezra, because they're like weird shadow versions of each other. It's like they're in the same fraternity and started styling their facial hair in the exact same way without even realizing it. (This is the male equivalent of syncing your cycles, I'm pretty sure. That's science.)  

He also brings up Ezra to Aria and asks, "Why did you hold back?" I just … is that a trick question?

13. Ezra (last week: 8)
Has Ezra always talked through clenched teeth, Brody-from-Homeland-style, when he's angry? Everything about this guy is such a mess, from his strange reaction to Aria covering his ass by writing his pages — clearly he is just paranoid that she's a better writer than he is, and hey, anything's possible — to his outrageous-even-for-him indiscretion in telling Liam that the girl in the book is "not Aria."

14. Caleb (last week: 6)
Oh, pour one out for sweet Caleb, who thought he could forever make his home in the magical fun house in Spencer's backyard, like one of the Lost Boys nestling inside a hollowed-out tree trunk. But ’twas not to be. First, Caleb and his partner in awkwardness, Spencer, interrogate Melissa in the most faux-casual way possible about what happened to her suitcase. Then Caleb takes the hit for a leak that supposedly came from Hastings Campaign Headquarters about Yvonne having an abortion in high school (her mom is, what do you know, running on an anti-abortion platform). Between this and the "I will force your eggs to turn into devil-babies" plotline we've got going on with Emily, I am very troubled by whatever this show is attempting to express about reproductive rights. So Caleb is back in his natural state: a homeless wanderer, a vagabond of suburbia, nothing but a song in his heart and a short-sleeve button-down to keep him warm.

Lingering concerns: Why are the A emojis so fake-looking? Can't the show just use real emojis? Could we get a flashback to the Ella-and-Ricky years? "Green eyes you could drown in" and he played the drums? Hell yes. Do I need to remember what the deal is with Bethany Young?

I'll sleep when I'm unemployed,