Are everybody’s arms and legs inside the vehicle? Is the metal bar that locks in across your laps securely fastened? Because if you thought You was already leaning hard into twists and turns then you are not prepared for the what-the-fuckery that takes hold here, in this sixth episode of our fair series. You is flinging any pretense of verisimilitude aside, like one might stash an ostentatious, Clifford-red automobile in the forests of Greenwich. You is going FULL BATSHIT this week. And you know what? I am here for it. Reality is, to use a technical term, garbage. Let’s make like Peaches and Beck and leave it all behind for a little getaway, shall we?
But first: Joe, plodding up the steps, carrying the saddest little balloon you ever did see, praying he isn’t marching into a trap as he approaches Beck’s apartment, where Peach — who survived Joe’s extremely amateur brick-to-the-head attack in Central Park — is convalescing.
This episode makes fine use of the Inviolable Rules of Television Health and Medicine, which readers of my Pretty Little Liars Power Rankings will recognize. For everybody else, allow me to review: These rules require that Peach, whose gorgeous cheekbones smacked the pavement when Joe tried to murder her, will have exactly zero scratches on her face, and that Joe will later emerge from a nasty car wreck with a Harry Potter–style gash on his forehead that can easily be hidden beneath a baseball hat.
Before Joe can approach Peach, he is instructed by Beck to remove “anything that has touched other people or the subway”; he gets to stay for all of 20 seconds before Peach whines that “male energy in my healing space just isn’t optimal.” The best part of this exchange is that Peach is talking about “Joseph” to Beck, while Joe is standing right in front of her. Beck, who is doing some kind of sad handmaiden thing for Peach, pouts at Joe to leave. But on the bright side for Joe, Peach hasn’t made him. She assumes it was a stalker she must have acquired as an unfortunate side effect of being a celebrity but does not assume the stalker is Joe.
Joe discovers that Peach has booked tickets to Paris for her and Beck, because, sure, Peach would have printed out that itinerary instead of keeping it on her phone. Joe is in a panic. So when he learns that Peach is fleeing to heal at her family’s Connecticut estate and is taking Beck with her, Joe makes all the same mistakes he’s made with Beck before, namely, calling her “crazy” and insisting that she is too dumb to realize Peach is manipulating her. (This is true, by the way! But people do NOT like to be told that they are being manipulated. They find it very manipulative.) Joe tells Beck that Peach’s suicide attempt was “a show,” to which Beck responds, “The whole victim-blaming is starting to sound a little 4chan.” This sends Joe straight to the nuclear option: “She’s in love with you. You know that, right?”
On this note, Beck storms out of the bookstore. Lots of storming in and out of places on this show. Joe speedily finds the Salinger estate online, puts on some of Benji’s gear — okay, hold up. He still has Benji’s watch? And some of his clothes? Why didn’t he burn all this stuff with the body??? Again I swear I have never done a homicide, and I don’t mean that in a Brett “I’ve never blacked out” Kavanaugh kind of way. Truly, never have I ever, and still I’m like … bro. BURN THE EVIDENCE. What a moron.
Where were we? Right: In the spirit of that book Benji only pretended to have read, Joe’s going to go … On the Road.
By the way, before this happens, Joe runs into the stairwell urchin who is now a sidewalk urchin. This ragamuffin flings his little arms around Joe in the most desperate hug you ever did see. His mom emerges and I type oh nooooo she’s pretty what if Joe like-likes her? She reports that Ron is out of the picture, because Joe is a superhero who rescues maidens from abusive and/or unworthy boyfriends, and pleads with him not to press charges. To protect the sidewalk scamp from the nasty results of a tox screen, Joe agrees, and now this woman “owes him one” and I am extremely nervous.
Joe is popping pain meds and again, as the Inviolable Rules of Television Health and Medicine decree, a character who is seen taking drugs, even if those drugs were prescribed by a doctor, will take far too many of those drugs and immediately become addicted to them. Since this whole episode is like “what if Get Out, but no black people?”, it is fitting that Joe’s journey is interrupted by a deer-prompted accident. Joe swerves to miss big Bambi and crashes into a tree.
It is here that Joe hallucinates Candace for the first time. Candace is that ex we’ve been hearing so much about. In Joe’s memory/imagination, she’s licking an Ariana lollipop and wearing Lolita sunglasses, because Joe’s memory/imagination, like Beck’s poetry, is very, very subtle.
A cop pulls up and I write in my notes I wonder if this affluent-seeming white man will have any trouble with the white male police officer. Joe is quite smug about his ability to get out of this situation relatively unscathed, giving the cop the douchiest prep school name he can think of on the spot — “Spencer Hewitt” — and promising to take him out on his yacht sometime. The cop runs his plates anyway, but by this point Joe has scampered off to the Salinger estate. He is breaking and entering and bleeding from like five different parts of his face.
Peach has made an astonishing recovery and is doing her smother-you-with-rich-girl-charm thing, which Beck is alternately repulsed and thrilled by. (I love her reaction to Peach’s suggestion that they go to the mall: “You haven’t shopped retail since the Steve Madden incident freshman year.”) While they’re out on a shopping spree, Joe passes out while trying to stitch his forehead closed with a needle and thread from a sewing kit. Productive day all around.
They come home and there’s a little matroiyska-creeper situation, wherein Joe is watching Peach watching Beck take a bath. Joe loudly pees in a Mason jar, the most hipster of all emergency-pee receptacles, and he says he’ll go back for it later, but you know that he won’t which means his DNA is just chilling on that mantle, waiting to be found by someone who will be extremely grossed out by it. Joe also sees that Peach has a gun! DUN DUN DUNNNNN. Do Chekhovian rules apply in the unhinged world of You?
Peach makes Beck get dolled up in this dress they bought, and then Peach floats the Paris offer to Beck: Drop out of school and stay in this apartment that some distant relative needed to renovate because, as Peach puts it, “She had a pet ocelot. There was damage.” This leads to a fight, and Peach just runs circles around Beck — “I hate to see you conforming to a system that is designed to crush individuality” — while Beck is, I guess, completely forgetting that her most recent academic effort is one that earned her glowing praise from Blythe and job opportunities from her professor. (Did she ever follow up on the offer to do some essays and reviews?) I’m not sure why all of a sudden Beck is talking about her writing career like it’s stalling out when her MFA experience is, as we just saw the other week, finally clicking into place.
But enough about plot and character continuity, there’s a hot guy with drugs! Nice to meet you, Raj.
This little trio takes “MDMA with a dash of opium” and Beck starts purring about her dreams to “write a book about an injured soul … someone on the outside,” which no one has ever done before and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with! Beck then cries out for a “platonic massage train,” which is definitely not a thing. Peach kisses Beck and Beck is appalled. “I have a boyfriend.” She flees the scene to go dance alone in another room. Joe’s heart flutters so hard his rib cage shatters. Peach is like, okay, fuck it, and goes at it with Raj. Joe is trapped under the bed and must listen to Peach and Raj settle for each other all night long, but at least Beck is texting him, assuring him she misses him and doesn’t want to be in a fight anymore. (Also, ten points to Raj for his delivery of, “Oh, GOD, that’s interesting.”)
By the harsh light of the morning, Beck announces she’s leaving early. She accuses Peach of trying to make out with her (accurate) and Peach is all, “Don’t make your desperate, unending need for attention about me” (fair) and then says Joe is “trash.” Beck is already out the door, and as Peach yells at her, “go slum it with the proletariat,” I wonder, how is she going to pay for this exorbitant Uber back to the city?
Joe takes a brief detour from reality to hallucinate Candace once more, who is calling him “jealous” and “paranoid,” and when he comes to, Peach is slapping him across the face and also is holding the gun. Though she’s fuzzy on some of the details, Peach has all the highlights right: Joe stole her book and her laptop, he attacked her in the park, and he’s trying to get her out of the way. Joe fesses up but points out this means he has her stash of naked photos of Beck that “my associate Paco,” LOL, can release to all the world at a moment’s notice.
Joe encourages Peach to go to Paris and get away from him, which is not the worst idea! But Peach shoots Joe instead. There is a struggle, a gunshot, and then —
Peach gets a voiceover. Because Joe killed her and made it look like a suicide. And wrote her a fake suicide note. Perhaps I should be dismayed by this turn of events — I feel like Peach was really getting entertaining! — but all I can think is FINALLY SOMEONE WATCHED HEATHERS.
Of course Joe’s fingerprints, not to mention his sun tea, remain in the house. But he is cashing in on that favor, having his associate’s mom stitch up that gunshot wound without asking any pesky questions. Now feels like a good time to let you all know that you do not want to DIY treat your gunshot wounds and it is scenes like this one that have us all wildly misinformed about what bullets really do to bodies.
Beck tells Joe that Peach is dead via text message. Wow, okay! Through her tears, she asks him to stay over, because of course she does. Beck just doesn’t want to be alone right now, or ever. How convenient for the both of them.