After last week's excellence, I guess it was too much to ask that this episode also be a stunner. But couldn't it at least have been, I don't know, marginally less mediocre? This episode was so boring I had a better timing scrolling through Instagram and Twitter, looking for all the best Melania/Michelle jokes — personal favorite: the ones that compare them to the Toros and Clovers — than I did remembering to take notes on all the nothing that went down in Rosewood. Even the promise that not one but two thought-to-be-dead characters might still be running around couldn't put a spark in this hour. Get it together, PLL! You know you're slipping when Kim Kardashian's Snapchat offers better drama than your show.
1. Emily (last week: 4)
Hair and makeup look absurdly perfect after sleeping on the couch (?) in her own apartment (??) without even taking off her jeans (???), while Sabrina From the Brew chit-chatted away, and then, I guess, slept on a different surface, like in Emily's bed (????). I know that we don't watch this show for its steadfast grip on reality, but stuff like this drives me bonkers. It would not be hard AT ALL to stage this scene in a way that isn't so distractingly inauthentic.
Also, Emily had an apparently very important exam that morning and she still had a slumber-party first date? She didn't think to just say, "Hey, I have this test on Thursday, can we go out Friday night instead?" She didn't set an alarm? Honestly, I know we're supposed to be in this girl's corner, but maybe she doesn't deserve to graduate from college just yet. And yes, I am aware this is not "the point" of the series, but if any of you even know what the point of this series is anymore, Vulture should send you my paychecks.
Anyway, in spite of all of this — and, let's be real, because it was a weak episode all around — Emily takes the top spot, because A's means of torturing her involves helping her get a 92 on an exam she straight-up slept through, she does decent work piecing together clues at Elliot's burner apartment, and her hair is mesmerizing.
2. Ali (last week: 9)
Sure, she's wearing that cat-face sweatshirt, has retro Shakira roots, and is basically under house arrest now with Aunt Mary. But at least Ali seems to be displaying a teeny bit of agency. She calls out Mary for her obviously bananas and inexplicable offenses, like, "How you could agree to help a stranger drive another person insane?" Her language is getting quippier by the day — "She bailed when things got murder-y" — and she stays impressively calm considering Elliot stole all her money and froze her accounts. I also love her impatience for Hanna's inability to do the same: "God, when she panics like that I can't even think."
3. Mary Drake (last week: not ranked)
Eagerly awaiting a remotely plausible explanation for literally everything she has done on this show. Assuming that is impossible, I will accept a remotely entertaining explanation in its place. "There's a particular shade of blue in the evening sky. It settles me." Uhh, cool story Mary. Tell it at parties.
4. Jenna (last week: not ranked)
Not really sure where to put this girl. Her presence seems to put everyone on edge (plus points), but she's slumming it with some of my least-favorite gang members, including Sad Robyn and Noel Caan, whose mentions-to-appearances ratio is about 10 billion to one. Every time I see her, I remember that these Liars, with Ali as their captain, BLINDED her when they were still young teens. No points for that one, just bringing it up to remind us all that this show used to be legitimately creepy within the realm of possibility instead of … whatever it is now.
5. Spencer (last week: 5)
Ah, the classic "I don't believe we've met" move upon discovering elevator hook-up Marco isn't just a detective, but also Toby's new boss. Very slick, Spence.
6. Hanna (last week: 3)
Mostly useless this episode, still wearing her phony engagement ring — I find it hard to believe no one has asked her why she didn't text/call/see Jordan in however many days it's been, and also WHERE IS ASHLEY MARIN — and still hung up on Caleb, who is probably living off the land surrounded by animals who really get him, Mowgli-style.
7. Aria (last week: 7)
Aria is living every girl's dream: That one day, when you are still kiiiind of young for this whole scene, your statutory rapist — who is still so preoccupied with memories of his (presumably, but who knows) dead ex-girlfriend that he co-wrote a novel about her with you, because sure — will propose to you. Nice casserole, by the way.
8. Implausibly straightforward texts (last week: not ranked)
"Ali didn't kill Charlotte." Well, that settles everything!
9. Sad Robyn (last week: not ranked)
Was sort of hoping she'd died in some plot twist I couldn't be bothered to remember but, anyway, she's alive and back in Rosewood now. So, there's that.
10. Everything about Elliot's burner apartment (last week: not ranked)
By this, I mean both the state of the apartment — disgusting and littered with psycho-killer paraphernalia — and the careless manner in which Aria and Emily go about investigating it. I get that the show wants these girls in cute outfits with their luscious locks a-flowing, but seriously, they must know by now that they leave trails of evidence everywhere they go. They should be in, like, Jesse and Walt's old-school Breaking Bad getups. At the very least, they should be wearing gloves. That gross den is lousy with those dumb-dumbs' fingerprints.
11. Sabrina (last week: not ranked)
CRIMINALLY BORING. If you're going to disrupt the Liars and their very complicated hybrid of crime-solving and murder-obscuring, at least be fun to watch. Sabrina has exactly one personality trait and it's "works at the Brew."
12. Nicole (last week: not ranked)
CRIMINALLY BORING even though she is a ghost with an international calling plan. You would think that automatically makes her super-exciting, but no; every time I hear "Nicole," I fall asleep like Emily while Sabrina is talking.
Don't propose. But if you have to propose, wear a tie.
Lingering concerns: Seriously, why even bother airing an episode of this drama if Mona isn't going to be here? What are the odds the Liars didn't bury Elliot's body deep enough and he's just running around Baltimore?
Right now we're thinking, not drinking,