Pretty Little Liars – Choose or Lose
By: Michelle Lopez
We open on a peaceful morning for Emily (Shay Mitchell) and Alison (Sasha Pieterse). Ali apologizes for tossing and turning all night, but Emily doesn’t mind. In fact, she decides that a rough night is deserving of a good morning so her and Ali head to their bedroom. A bucket of ice water is dumped on the mood when Ali spots the game board sitting on their bed with Aria’s new piece added. Before they can think about AD scuttling around their house, they hear sirens and someone knocking on their door.
The Rosewood PD aren’t messing around. They’ve acquired warrants to raid each of the liar’s homes at the same time, cell phones included. Aria (Lucy Hale) manages to shred the police report on Ezra (Ian Harding) while Emily and Ali worry about the police discovering the game board. When Detective Maple (Jim Titus) enters their bedroom the board game is nowhere to be seen.
Spencer (Troian Bellisario) storms into Rosewood PD to give Marco an earful, but he’s been replaced by Lt. Tanner (Roma Maffia). Spencer plays innocent about why Marco might be off the case, but Tanner’s no dummy. She explains that Marco told Tanner ALL the details of his involvement with Spencer before removing himself from the case. Spencer knows better than to talk to Tanner so she leaves.
At The Brew, Ezra follows the cops demanding the paperwork of the search warrant. The cops tell him to ask for it at the station. Ezra chases the cops out to exactly that leaving Aria alone. A phone, courtesy of AD, starts ringing in an air vent. On the call, Aria tells AD the police report she got wasn’t enough for all the stuff she’s done for them, she wants a meeting. AD agrees as long as Aria wears the “uniform.”
Hanna (Ashley Benson) strolls into The Radley headed to a suite Ashley (Laura Leighton) gifted the liars with since the cops have their places under lock and key. Ashley stops Hanna in the lobby and asks if there’s any truth to the police allegations. Hanna has never been able to lie to Ashley so she admits that she is in trouble, but she refuses to allow Ashley to help her. Ashley has done so much for her over the years and it’s time for Hanna to deal with her own problems.
In the suite Spencer, Hanna, Emily, Alison, and Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) meet up. Spencer hands out some burner “vintage” flip phones while everyone wonders where the heck Aria is. Emily mentions how freaked she is since AD was presumably watching Ali and her sleep the previous night. Everyone freezes and Hanna asks if they have finally gotten together. Their shy smirks tell the story and all Hanna can say is that it’s about time. Caleb takes the spotlight off “Emison” to update the liars on his plan. He’s writing a program to trace the IP address of the game board the next time it goes online. Hanna sees some trays of food and goes to check them out. Instead of food, she finds the game phone. AD pops up a message telling the liars they have 36 hours for one of them to turn themselves in or the entire gang goes down. Before the liars can start to panic, Mona (Janel Parrish) enters to let them know that she has proof Aria is on the AD-team. She points out Aria being MIA during the nursery attack, her being the only person around when the Peter/Mary tape attacked Spencer’s house and seeing her retrieve a puzzle piece at the brew. The liars aren’t convinced so she plays a bit of Aria’s call with AD. As someone who’s fallen victim to Mona’s adrenalize hyper-reality, Spencer demands concrete proof of Aria colluding with AD.
At the Hastings’ barn, Tanner updates the DA on her progress and an officer provides her with a few fragments of glass found in the shower drain along with traces of blood.
At The Radley, Spencer runs into Toby (Keegan Allen) who has just left the police station after being questioned by Tanner. Spencer wants to know how Toby’s doing after Rosewood claimed Yvonne. He’s hanging in there, but it’s a struggle if his beard is anything to go by. Spencer admits that everything happening is overwhelming her so Toby invites her to visit him at his cabin to embrace the relative silence of nature. Spencer would love to escape, but she’s got to figure out Tanner’s game. Toby tells Spencer that Tanner’s confident about whatever she’s cooking up. Toby asks her point blank if she had anything to do with Dunhill’s murder, but Spencer’s not about to drag Toby into another one of her messes so she leaves.
Aria tries to sneak out to meet AD, but Ezra catches her and asks what’s going on. His phone rings and while he deals with that she sneaks out and makes her way to the meeting place in the woods. She hears some leaves rustling nearby and goes to check it out. Instead of finding AD, she’s de-hooded by the liars. They ask her if she did all the things Mona accused her of and she can’t deny it. She explains the police report and AD threatening to send Ezra to jail. The liars can’t believe that after everything Aria put Ezra over them. Ali gets a call and wanders off to take it while Aria explains that she doesn’t know anything about “Choose or Lose.” She tries to justify her actions by bringing up Spencer’s stint on the A-team where she kidnapped Ezra’s not-kid, but nobody was actually hurt during that ruse. Spencer’s done with Aria and begins to storm off when Ali stops her to let her know that Tanner called and they’re all needed at the police station.
At the station, Tanner gets right to business explaining the evidence she’s gathered thus far: the glass fragments from Spencer’s shower that match the fragments under Dunhill’s nails, Lucas’s car recently getting a new windshield, and whatever they find in the liar’s internet search histories. Hanna’s not impressed since lots of cars get their windshields replaced and Emily’s not impressed with the amount of evidence. Tanner tries to embarrass Spencer by bringing up surveillance footage from The Radley (and its elevator) the night Dunhill disappeared, but Spencer has nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s 2017 and shaming women for their choices is some patriarchal nonsense that’s way out of style. Spencer knows there’s a lot of evidence against them, but she’s wondering why Tanner is playing her hand instead of arresting them. Tanner doesn’t have enough evidence yet, but she’ll get it so she’s giving the liars a chance to tell the truth before her narrative becomes the only narrative. Spencer points out that Tanner is the one who rescued them from the bunker, but Tanner’s all about victim blaming. She claims the reason they ended up in the bunker was because they wouldn’t tell her the truth. The Rosewood police have done nothing but try and pin every crime that’s happened in Rosewood on them, why pray tell would the liars ever consider telling them the truth.
While driving home from the police station, Aria calls AD to let them know she’s done. They got her to turn against every person she loves and all she got was a file and the cops breathing down her neck. She makes to throw her phone out the window, but AD stops her with a promise that tomorrow’s another day and she’ll get what she deserves.
At The Brew, the liars discuss how they’re about to go to jail and for once they’re guilty. Hanna brings up Mona acting kind of weird when she ratted out Aria yet the other liars don’t think it’s weird that Mona’s acting odd. AD’s phone goes off letting the liars know that they have 24 hours left to decide who they’re throwing under the bus. Hanna and Spencer both offer to be the sacrificial lambs, but Emily’s relatively innocent and can see that AD is just trying to turn the liars against each other.
At The Radley, Ashley corners Caleb and asks for the truth. Not able to lie to his fiancé’s mom again, he tells her the complete story. As soon as he reaches the suite Caleb tells Hanna that he spilled the beans to Ashley. Hanna tries to be angry, but can’t hold it against Caleb. She asks for an update on Caleb’s search for the game board, but he doesn’t have anything yet.
Spencer found a picture of the liars in simpler times (seven years ago) so she stops by Aria’s place to apologize kidnapping Malcolm. Spencer wants to forgive Aria, but there’s nothing either of them can do to repair the hole AD ripped into their relationship. Before Spencer can officially apologize Tanner shows up to return Aria’s belongings since they found footage of her in New Hampshire the night Dunhill was murdered so she’s off the hook. Spencer swallows her apology and storms out because Aria ruined her family and got off a murder charge. After everyone leaves, Ezra enters asking Aria what the hell is going on. Aria tells him the story of the police report, but Ezra already knew about it. When she was acting cagey he found it and left it be because he knows he’s a pedophile and if Aria decides to call him out legally he’d deserve it. Aria needs to tell him what’s going on, but first she wants to sleep with him because she fears it’ll be their last time.
Caleb drags Hanna to the office of the justice of the peace to get married. Hanna’s a bit skeptical, but Caleb pulls out some wedding bands and she’s game. Ashley shows up because she arranged for this after hours service.
In the woods, Alison leads Emily to the kissing rock where she’s set up a romantic evening for them. They both know this could be their last chance to be together so they make the most of it and have some forest sex.
Spencer stops by Toby’s cabin because she’s a hot mess and needs some comfort. She admits she considered running, but she decided to visit Toby for some grief sex. She kisses him and he forgets about his recently deceased wife.
The liars sans Aria meet at Spencer’s barn to watch the clock run to zero. Before it does Hanna proposes they promise to understand whatever the others decide to do after the clock hits zero. It’s fair and it’s shitty, but it’s all they’ve got. The clock hits zero and Spencer destroys the phone before AD can get another word in. Caleb gets a lock on the location of the game and heads out with Ezra.
At home, Aria calls up AD to let them know that she’s going to turn herself in to clear her friends and make up for hurting them. Too bad the clock already hit zero so there’s nothing Aria can do for her friends. However, AD does grant her freedom for “winning the game.” Aria’s AD phone bursts into flames when the call ends and Aria rushes out the door to try and help her friends. While driving Aria notices something rattling around in her trunk so she pulls over to investigate. AD’s didn’t only gift Aria’s freedom, they also gave her Dunhill’s body.
Ezra and Caleb have found the cell tower the game is broadcasting from and notice that they’re a few blocks away from Mona’s apartment. They head over and Caleb takes a thermal scan of the apartment. Inside they see Mona moving around and what looks to be the game board.