‘Pretty Little Liars’ Recap: Burn This
Previously on Pretty Little Liars: The Liars are five years older now, yet they have the careers, dating lives and flawless blowouts of someone 10 years their senior. Oh, and everyone broke up. I'm conflicted about these uncouplings —despite the fact that all four couples enduring into adulthood is statistically improbable — but I know most of the splits are to introduce new plot threads. This week's Spoby activity was nice. Maybe the scenes between Aria and Ezra were too, if you're into that kind of thing. Onto the recap.
Aria, Emily and Hanna are packing. Hanna’s stress-eating mashed potatoes, ranting about how insane it is that Ali married Dr. Rollings so fast, and soon her anxiety about her own engagement surfaces (again). After reminding themselves they can’t go to the cops because they’ve been threatened, they decide to distract themselves by reviewing Aria’s photos from her parent’s remarriage on her camera. Because this is PLL, they immediately discover that Uber A took a bunch of photos on it: Three place cards are revealed, which collectively say “Give Me the Killer By Election Night...Or You Lose!”
After the credits, Mr. Spencer’s berating Spencer for letting Caleb leak the medical info about the opposing party (even though he just took the blame to protect Spencer). Caleb was “Social Media Consultant,” which HAHAHA because what does that have to do with hacking? Mr. Spencer pressures Spencer to release a statement distancing herself from Caleb. For some reason this prompts a grim, grey-lit Spoby flashback, ostensibly in her dorm room and seemingly mid-breakup.
Hanna’s mom asks her if a game called “Are You Naughty?” is too gross for her bridal shower (yes), and tries to keep it light through Hanna’s insistence they cancel it. “My friends are scattered, I’m part of a murder investigation,” stuff like that.
Meanwhile, Aria visits Ezra, and he tells her he wants her to be co-book writer instead of ghostwriter. At first she demurs, which is a bummer. Please don’t hide your shine for your ex-boyfriend’s sake, Aria. But he says her boss is open to the idea.
Emily calls Hanna from the center of town, and is distracted by a sound of a hauntingly familiar vehicle. Maybe the truck that tried to plow her down last week? Then she runs into Ezra, who tells her that’s the sound of “whistle tips” meant to make an exhaust pipe louder. So she’s searching for someone with a truck AND a Napoleon complex.
Caleb’s at the Radley Sanitarium Turned Hotel, and Caleb shows up asking for a room. She’s like “no pay no play,” but he can stay in the Marin guest room again? YES. Highway to HalebTown, please.
Toby shows up at Spencer’s in full-on pout mode, because he actually bought that Caleb was the one who leaked the info Yvonne’s abortion. They’re good friends, so this instant gullibility is strange, but okay. Have I mentioned Spencer’s horrifically ugly outfit? She looks like a Heather in Heathers, if one of the Heathers was a used car salesman.
Caleb comes in and lies again to Toby’s face, saying “I did what I had to do.” Toby stone cold punches him out.
Mrs. Marin tells Hanna about her guest room offer to Caleb, and she explodes. She accuses her mom of liking Caleb more than Hanna’s own fiancé, and Mrs. Marin doesn’t completely deny it.
While Spencer wipes the blood off Caleb’s face in the town center and they have another mushy conversation, Aria’s brunching at The Radley with her editor boyfriend. When she tells him about her book collabo plan with Ezra, he does a super bad job of covering up his anger.
Spencer finds Mona and accuses her of framing her mom’s campaign. Mona basically says, “bitch, I did you a favor and was fired by the opposing campaign for my data tampering, and now you’re accusing me of screwing you?” Spencer’s face is like, “I got served. Consider me served.”
Ezra and Aria are now writing together, and it’s so annoying to watch. He tells her he wanted a “female voice” in the book because his girlfriend Nicole can’t speak anymore. Is that morbidly sweet? Tanner shows up and asks Aria to come in for a lineup — of people who may have called Alison’s house from the Two Crows Diner the night of Charlotte’s death.
Emily shows up at some biker hangout, where old white guys with beards drink beer while listening to the blues. She asks whether someone’s been in to have their exhaust pipe worked on and is rebuffed, and so she sneaks around to find the damaged truck under a dropcloth. The same mechanic shows and appears to warn her to run away. He also shakes his head at a photo of Melissa.
Aria’s sprung from the lineup, but sticks around to ask Tanner who the witness was, since she thinks she sees Sara Harvey leaving the station after. Spotting the file on the table between them, she peeks at the witness statement, which says something about a pink-dice keychain.
Spencer’s dad tells her Melissa went to Europe because she was being blackmailed by someone who said they had a tape of her burying Bethany (when she thought it was Ali). She paid it, but freaked out when Charlotte turned up dead and fled. Mr. Hastings is addicted to lying for self-protection, yet it backfires every time.
Everyone’s at Hanna’s bridal shower. She looks incredible, and is being kind of a sulky brat. Mona shows up and gives her the dorky wedding dream book they made together when they were nerds in high school. Aww!
A wedding game quickly reveals nobody knows Hanna’s fiancé at all, and then the party truly goes south: A blip in the wireless security system makes the loft go haywire, with deafening death metal and sirens blaring on the speakers, some kind of wind tunnel (???) and a damn FIREBALL. Hey, you know who’d know how to remotely program that security system. LUCAS. Just saying, he remains my number-one Uber A suspect. Aria gets slightly injured.
Spencer returns to her Spoby flashback, and it turns out they weren’t mid breakup — they were waiting on pregnancy test results. Whoa. Townie Toby would’ve been cool with keeping a possible baby, while Spencer wanted to keep her future open. Like Hanna and Aria, Spencer essentially split with her high school sweetheart because he was holding back her dreams. It’s literally the same dynamic with all three, just slightly varied.
She zones back into the coffeehouse, where present-day Officer Toby’s standing in front of her. They sit down and she explains to him why Caleb’s taking the fall for the info leak about Yvonne: A new A’s in town. She also says she needs him to know she doesn’t judge Yvonne for her abortion (they never say “abortion”), because she would’ve done the same had their pregnancy scare not been a false alarm. Their truce doesn’t sit well with Uber A, who texts to say A’s about to light a [fire emoji] under Spencer’s ass.
In the hospital waiting room, Hanna apologizes to her mom for being a jerk about the bridal shower. Mrs. Marin asks why Hanna doesn’t talk to Mona anymore, and Hanna runs away mumbling about coffee. Ezra visits Aria at the hospital, bringing her a “feel better” kit complete with gummy bears, because he’s clearly still in love with her. Ezra’s nursing is interrupted by her actual boyfriend, who says Ezra and Aria are officially writing the book together.
Spencer makes a late-night call to Yvonne, saying she’d like to patch things up and she’s there to talk whenever. A regal move, Spence.
Mona and Emily finish after-party cleanup, and Mona fishes her sweet, fire-singed “wedding book” from the trash [sad face]. Emily asks Mona if she was the one who called Charlotte from the Two Crows diner at the night of her death. Mona stalls, and Emily says, “GET IN THE CAR.”
In lieu of an Uber A scene, we close on the mechanic who shooed Emily away from the truck that tried to smush her. He reaches underneath its front bumper to retrieve an envelope full of hundos. Who paid him off?
The Pretty Little Liars Cast: Season 1 and Now