Pretty Little Liars
Ashley Marin returns and Mona is peak Mona? You know I’m going to be here for this week’s episode. Sure, we get some infuriating decisions — swear to God, I will crawl through the TV and scream at the next Liar who talks to the police without an attorney — and some, uhh, not-so-stellar revelations about Spencer’s deadbeat dad. But that’s what these final episodes are about: separating the weak (Papa Hastings) and the boring (Emily, off-screen Ali) from the badass (Mona) and the deserving (Caleb, Hanna).
1. Mona (last week: 5)
I can’t just tip my hat to Mona this week. I have to take my hat off completely, chuck it in a fire, and also throw away all the other hats I’ve ever owned in my entire life because HOLY SMOKES, MONA. How does anyone do anything on this show without this snappy, slick little mastermind? An incomplete rundown of everything she crushes this week: She finds the doctor who should definitely be stripped of his medical license because he forcibly inseminated Ali with Emily’s egg and some rando’s sperm (“Still takes two, hon”; omg, bless her); she tells Emily they’ll pretend to be a couple and go see this doctor (“Dress appropriately”); she knows the details of the off-the-books transaction that made Ali’s pregnancy a reality; she steals a copy of Fertility Now to find out the doc’s home address; once she has this information, she basically blackmails him with it to find out what she needs to know. Then, at the end of the episode, Mona has this whole setup that makes it look like she is the game master! Now, do I think she is the real big bad behind all of this? No, because there are too many episodes left. But I love it when she knows more than all the Liars combined. They really do not deserve her.
2. Caleb (last week: 2)
Even though this boy starts the episode in a real weak spot — by being cute with Officer Marco Elevator instead of CALLING A LAWYER BEFORE SPEAKING TO THE POLICE — he makes up for this foolishness with the rest of his performance. First, he talks to Ashley Marin. He lies to her, but in doing so he is protecting all the important Marins (Ashley and Hanna). Then he kind of proposes to Hanna? It’s a weird strategy and Hanna has to ask him about it later to make sure it wasn’t just some decoy, but because he really meant it, I’ll give him points.
3. Hanna (last week: 6)
Marco barges into Hanna’s loft — I’d call it Lucas’s loft but I guess we’re done with him forever? — and Hanna, like the rookie she still is, answers his leading questions without a goddamn lawyer present. Later, she earns back some of the points she lost by arranging a very cute faux-wedding ceremony with the foil rings from cigars and Champagne. Bonus points to both of these sweethearts for having this ceremony in a tent, the same place where they had sex for the first time. All together now: Awwww.
4. Aria’s black-and-white musical nightmare (last week: not ranked)
Usually I’m not a fan of dream sequences, but you know what? I’m here for this. Maybe it’s Mona’s singing. Maybe it’s Ezra getting the daylights kicked out of him. (Sorry, Ezra.) Maybe it’s Mrs. Hastings straight-up calling Aria a “selfish little bitch” and saying, “I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire.” Whatever the reason, I enjoyed this brief interlude in Aria’s subconscious more than I have enjoyed the overwhelming majority of Aria’s waking hours.
5. Officer Marco Elevator (last week: 1)
I know, it’s tough to fall from the No. 1 spot, especially when you’ve held it for so long. But while Marco continues to do some solid investigative work this week, he’s letting his sad-man insecurities creep into his professional life by stalking Spencer and asking if she was only dating him because she needed a cop on her side.
6. Spencer (last week: 8)
Has Spencer ever been so alone? She’s at least being cordial with her parents, but I can’t imagine how long that will last. Her curiosity about Mary Drake does not extend to really wanting to spend a significant amount of time with her and/or trusting her at the expense of the people she already knows. One of her besties is actively sabotaging her. She has to call Marco “Officer Furie” to prove how strong she is or whatever. Spencer is vulnerable enough to jump back into Toby’s arms when he inevitably returns in the next week or two, and I want to state for the record that I am not onboard with that regression.
7. Ashley Marin (last week: not ranked)
She doesn’t really do much, but (1) great if severe haircut, (2) quality scenes with Caleb and Hanna, and (3) Ashley’s back!!
8. Mary Drake (last week: not ranked)
The least effective parent in Rosewood, and that is saying something. This whole afterlife makeover where Mary was bad and Jessica was good is so Sweet Valley Meh. Didn’t Jessica do this thing with Ali where she threatened to let Ali hold her breath until she died or something? I liked that Jessica! She was brutal and complicated and dark. Making Mary the sole bearer of all the DiLaurentis evil is a boring way out.
9. Ezra (last week: 13)
Remember how Ezra had that terrible, clichéd rich family and also that cute brother? Me either, but they’re back, in the sense that they are people Ezra is talking about in the context of wedding plans. I get that he doesn’t realize Aria is Benedict Arnolding with the A team, but is his first guess for why she’s acting so jumpy really that he wrote that book a billion years ago about her and her friends? Ezra, that was a whole problematic manuscript ago! Does he seriously not think this might have to do with Nicole? (It doesn’t, because Aria is … Aria. But it would make more sense!)
In case you couldn’t tell from years spent watching this program that Ezra spends the lion’s share of his time with teenagers, he unironically refers to his wedding as a “perfect day” and is shocked to discover that what he thought would be the unfiltered expression of his true love actually involves catering to “everyone else’s agenda.” Speaking of catering: Whatever happened to Fight Club Lite? Oh, he wasn’t actually important and he sucked up valuable screen time during these final hours of PLL? Cool, just checking.
10. Emily (last week: 10)
Honestly almost forgot to include her in this recap, girl was such a non-factor this week.
11. Veronica Hastings (last week: not ranked)
It pains me to place Veronica so low in the rankings, but these are about power, not favoritism, and the truth is Veronica is struggling. Her relationship with her husband is a wreck. Her relationship with Spencer is … probably not the best right now. No one has seen Melissa since 2012. And she has to forfeit her Senate seat! As I wrote in my notes: YET ANOTHER AMAZING WOMAN’S POLITICAL CAREER DERAILED BY A TRASH HUSBAND. We should all go live on that Wonder Woman island where Robin Wright can teach us how to do badass sideways archery on horseback.
12. The recording of Peter and Mary (last week: not ranked)
I guess this is supposed to be dun-dun-dunnnn-type information, but Peter Hastings has never been anything but a volatile, untrustworthy scumbag, so why would it surprise any of us that he was game to eliminate a troublesome twin? Really, dude, the “deranged sociopath who tried to shatter our lives” is Mary? You’ve had a baby with every woman on the block! Maybe the deranged sociopath is in your pants.
13. Aria (last week: 12)
This show should really be called Pretty Little Liars and Also Aria, Who Has Never Told a Convincing Lie in Her Entire Life. Girl can’t even feign enthusiasm for her basic pre-wedding dance classes? Come ON. Also, considering the fact that this is the first time all season Ezra hasn’t mentioned or rushed to Nicole, it would be way more plausible if Aria just said, “I’m still processing how objectively horrid you have been about your out-of-the-jungle ex situation.” Anyway, she is still trying to work with the big bad in exchange for Ezra’s freedom, which brings us to…
14. This whole thing about Ezra being “one document away from going to prison” (last week: not ranked)
So A keeps threatening Aria with the line: “Ezra is one document away from going to prison.” In addition to being your devoted power ranker, I moonlight as a real reporter who is covering the trial of alleged serial rapist Bill Cosby. Fortunately for this recap, this means I am already well-versed in the statutes-of-limitations laws in the state of Pennsylvania, where both Mr. Cosby and Ms. Montgomery reside. In the land of the Liberty Bell, it is illegal for even consenting lovebirds such as Ezra and Aria to have sex if one party is 18 or older and the other is younger than 16. However, the statute of limitations in these cases is 12 years after the victim turns 18, which means if Aria was 15 when she and Ezra were first canoodling in that bathroom oh those many episodes ago, she has until she’s 30 years old to report the crime, after which point all she can do is, I don’t know, call Gloria Allred, hold a press conference, and hope to score a victory in the not-exactly-lucrative court of public opinion. Twelve years is not that much time! Honestly, if the girl can keep A on the ropes for a little while longer, it’ll be too late to report and Ezra will be olly olly oxen free.
Because the time-space continuum in Rosewood is a squiggly line that loops back in on itself indefinitely, keeping us trapped in some indeterminate fall-ish season and also in the Liars’ sophomore year of high school for many moons, it’s not totally clear if Aria was 15 or 16 when she and Ezra met. The thing is, if Aria were 16 they would technically have nothing to worry about from a legal perspective, even though their relationship would still be, to use a non-legal term, gross. Aria’s panic suggests she was 15 when she and Ezra first hooked up, which means Ezra could be facing a fine of up to $25,000. Better hope people buy that book: “My true love — no, not my co-author and bride-to-be, my other true love — got kidnapped in Colombia and I thought she was dead!” Oh, also, Ezra would face up to 20 years in prison. He would also probably have to register as a sex offender, which means no more high-school-English classes for you, buddy.
All of that being said, it seems super unlikely that a district attorney would even bother trying to bring criminal charges against Ezra if Aria didn’t want it to happen, so I’m not sure what she’s so riled up about. If it only took “one document” to get a rapist in prison, we’d be living in a very different world.
15. This Doogie Howser–looking prick (last week: not ranked)
Oh, really, kiddo, you don’t think Emily and Mona are “here for the right reasons?” Who do you think you are, the Bachelor?
16. Papa Hastings (last week: not ranked)
Everything we learn about this guy makes him seem dirtbaggier than the thing before. I love when he tries to dismiss a damning piece of evidence by being all, “How should I know? It was 100 years ago!” and Spencer just coolly goes, “Six.”
Lingering concerns: Who do we think is getting married next week, Hanna and Caleb or Ezra and Aria? Where did Mary even think she and Spencer would go? Like Spencer wants to live on the lam with this woman who talks in fortune-cookie sentences and has no known address?
Six feet isn’t deep enough for you,