Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin Recap: An Epic Misunderstanding

Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin

Chapter Nine: Dead and Buried
Season 1 Episode 9
Editor’s Rating 3 stars

Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin

Chapter Nine: Dead and Buried
Season 1 Episode 9
Editor’s Rating 3 stars
Photo: HBO

December 11.

December! 11!!!

Nothing better encapsulate Original Sin’s incoherent relationship with time than jumping two weeks ahead of where we left off last week (Thanksgiving) but dropping us in the middle of multiple conversations that could only have reasonably happened later that same weekend. I mean, Thanksgiving landed on November 25, 2021. That’s sixteen whole days that the girls just, what, went to school (??) before finally deciding to confront their moms about the mystery that’s been terrorizing them for months? Make it make sense!

Anyway, it’s December 11, and we open on the Haworthes’ house, all done up for the holidays. (Maybe that’s what they spent the last sixteen days doing??) Inside, it’s a Final Girl phalanx on one side of the living room and a murderer’s row of Y2K moms on the other. On the docket? The truth!

From the Final Girls, this comes in the form of everything: Karen being pushed; Tyler being murdered; “A” stalking the girls all over Millwood; “A” sending their moms those “gifts.” (Presumably, a piece of information they gleaned from their moms offscreen during that same sixteen-day gap.) From the moms, meanwhile, we get … something. And I mean, I commend the Y2K Mom Squad for fighting their collective aversion to accountability long enough to be half as honest with their daughters in return, but pro-tip, friends: It was a different time, and She was such an easy target, and It was a game don’t have the exculpatory power you seem to think they do.

As for the why of it all: “It was a classic Agatha Christie revenge plot,” says Tabby. A boy in love; a man in pain; an act of protracted revenge on all those he thought deserved to be punished for Angela’s death. Or, as Imogen puts it: “The sins of the mothers, visited upon their daughters.”

Incredibly, the same women who spent the last several months stonewalling their daughters so hard that the girls felt safer chasing after a likely murder while armed only with a pile of butcher knives dare to ask why they never told them what they were going through. Because they were scared and you were silent, ladies! Keep up! Though I suppose that, given that those same Y2K moms end this uber-confab by urging the girls never to let ANYTHING they discussed LEAVE THIS ROOM, they may have a few lessons left to learn.

To test this hypothesis, you need look no further than the next scene, in which Marjorie gestures at making some long-needed changes — e.g., getting clean — for her daughter’s sake, but then immediately undermines the move by making it clear that any theoretical success on her part rides on Noa’s willingness to (A) pick up her Pinball Pizza shifts for the rest of the week, regardless of her track team commitments; (B) spend the next few nights crashing at Shawn’s (??), so she won’t be around during the worst part of Marjorie’s detox; (C) trust that leaving her mom alone in an apartment full of triggers won’t actually backfire. Sure! Sounds great!

As for Sidney, well, despite having apparently chosen to mount precisely zero follow-up questions anytime over the last two weeks, she’s decided that this is the moment to start. She immediately overcorrects, and rather than asking Tabby what kind of support she might need from her as a mom right now, she instead goes straight to, “Are you sure you don’t know who it was? Why didn’t you go to the police? Should we go now, together? Don’t you WANT him caught???” And fuck, it’s just too much! It’s so much that Tabby has to comfort her when she starts falling apart, realizing just how much she failed both Tabby and Imogen.

Failing just as spectacularly is Elodie, who rewards Mouse and Ash’s very cute Parent Trap pizza night scheme by dive-bombing Ash with just the most awful question about whether or not, “as a young trans man in Millwood,” he ever feels unsafe. That Ash doesn’t immediately burn Pinball Pizza to the ground is a testament to his character and how thoroughly he conceives of Mouse as her own (extremely good and cool) person.

Of course, the parent failing their daughter most hideously in this episode, Sheriff Beasley, initially seems like an outlier: not a Y2K mom or even a mom at all! So when we’re shown how fucked up his behavior is towards Kelly — like, I wish it had been you who died instead of Karen fucked up — it mostly feels like a continuation of his well-established villain role. Eventually, of course, we’ll get the big reveal that as Tom Beasley, he’s as deeply connected to Angela Waters as the rest of the Y2K Mom Squad is. Still, for right now, his “demons” (as Mother Beasley puts it) give useful context to the various meltdowns Kelly spends the rest of the episode having: showing up to school in Karen’s clothes (and sitting on the lap of Karen’s ex), forcing a kiss on Henry during a dance rehearsal, and turning back to her old patterns of self-harm.

Interestingly, while Faran is at first set up as an emotional foil for Kelly — exhaustedly exclaiming, “Not this shit again!” when she sees her come into the lunchroom in full Karen drag, then confronting her in the locker room about the forced kiss after Henry tells her about it — she flips into the role of ally/accomplice the moment she realizes just how close to gone Kelly is. Not only does she stand her ground until Kelly sees Faran’s a person she can trust, but she goes a step further, standing up to Sheriff Beasley by threatening to out his history of preying on teen boys unless he immediately stops his emotional abuse of Kelly, and immediately steps down from the teen community service program. He attempts to threaten Noa’s juvenile record for having spilled his secret, but Faran proves herself as good an actor as she is a dancer, treating Noa’s involvement as entirely new information.

Interestingly, Faran isn’t the only Final Girl in this episode to come out of a meeting with Sheriff Beasley having won the upper hand. Only in Imogen’s case, the “hand” is getting him to support her bid to have the country exhume Davie’s body — Imogen has a theory Slasher A is still alive and has established a history of framing murders as suicides — and “winning” is playing the Karen’s dead card. What Imogen doesn’t know is that the Sheriff also has a personal stake in whether or not Davie was murdered, but that’s bound to change once she makes her way to her father’s front door.

That’s right — Imogen’s dad is here! And while they shoot the big reveal as though he’ll be someone we’ve already met, he’s just … some guy. Who lives at a quarry. And seems to have fond memories of Davie and real affection for Imogen. It’s just that he couldn’t raise her alongside a quarry as a little kid (and apparently could also never visit?) and was legally barred by a clause in Davie’s will from taking her in after Davie died (and apparently hasn’t been able to visit, or even find Imogen a real OB-GYN since!). In any case, while he complicates her theory that Davie didn’t commit suicide by revealing she suffered from severe depressive episodes when they were first married — always worst around New Year’s — he confirms Imogen’s memory of Davie as a person who loved life. What changed? Imogen, obviously! So sure, he’ll sign whatever paperwork she needs, and absolutely he’ll call her if he thinks of anything else. Like, say, the name of Davie’s high school sweetheart. Tom … something?

But before we get to the rest of that reveal, a few words on what Mouse, Noa, and Tabby are doing now that Slasher A seems to be dead.

On the Mouse front, after having been thoroughly shamed by her moms’ their first time meeting Ash, she unwisely gets it into her head to lean into Grieving Steve’s lie about being her dad. Naturally, this plan goes downhill almost immediately, and by the end of the episode, Mouse is trapped with him alone in a motel room, dressed in his dead daughter’s clothes. Thank god Ash has the sense to go to her moms the SECOND he gets a twinge something is wrong, and thank god she’s rescued before anything bad can happen, but man, what a weird arc!

Over in Noa-land, meanwhile, our track star is contending not just with a painkiller-addicted mom who may or may not be getting clean, but also a steroid-addicted boyfriend who’s mostly still in denial. By the end of the episode, the Shawn thing has (it seems) resolved in Noa’s favor, but unfortunately, things don’t go quite as well with Marjorie, who Noa finds getting high with her creepy dealer rather than getting clean with her offscreen sponsor.

As for Tabby, well, what starts out as a blessedly neutral mini-arc about Wes supporting her reverse Scarlet A artistic vision turns first into Sidney deciding he’s got to be the one that raped Tabby over the summer — an “epic miscommunication” that ends with her threatening to “cut [his] fucking dick off!!!” — and then Chip going off on Tabby about what a creep Wes is, and declaring that he’s only with Imogen because Tabby shot him down first. Between this sudden display of ugly passion and Sidney’s reminder that “Nine times out of ten, [your rapist] is someone you know,” Tabby spirals into a series of flashbacks that make her realize Chip is actually a really good (read: bad) candidate for Imogen’s assault — a theory that isn’t helped when the DNA results come back the next day saying that it wasn’t a jock, but rather one of the 66 boys at the blood drive who’s a match to Imogen’s baby. Or rather, sixty-two, once Faran, Noa, Mouse, and Imogen all strike their boyfriends from the pool.

Presumably, Tabby’s already making plans to get Chip’s DNA to Marjorie for a second test, but in the meantime, she launches a secret investigation into whether or not Chip was at the summer bonfire party, too. I don’t know what else to say here except Chip, you better not be The Guy!

Speaking of The Guy … Tom Beasley. Davie’s high school sweetheart, and Angela’s high school rapist — a fact Kelly’s mom has known all along, just like she’s known about all the teen boys. (“He has his demons!”) And now, after being blackmailed by Faran and (he thinks) made a fool of by Imogen, he seems to be lashing out, this penultimate episode ending with Faran’s dad arrested under false pretenses*, and Davie’s body being dug up before the court order could go into effect.

Not good!

Detective SquAd

• *Unless, per Imogen’s theory that Trainyard Joe was just a patsy, that was Slasher A’s doing.

• Mother Beasley is for sure going to whatever hell she believes in.

• Halfway through this episode, I was convinced Chip was The Guy. But now that Tabby’s so deeply suspicious of him, I’m waffling. That kind of certainty never pans out when it comes to Pretty Little Liars.

• OMG, whyyyy are all the girls’ ringers turned to FULL VOLUME in the MIDDLE OF A SCHOOL DAY? This is chaos!

• Love Faran’s shift to a new natural hairstyle, choreography, and seeing the value in shaping the story. An excellent episode for Faran all around!

• So Noa trashed the inhaler after all! Well done. Never give any mystery substance that kind of power.

• SlAsh Count: 0

Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin Recap