Pretty Little Liars – Playtime
By: Michelle Lopez
After being hunted in an abandoned blind school turned museum of deadly curiosities, shot by Jenna (Tammin Sursok), Mary Drake (Andrea Parker), or one of the million cyber ninjas inhabiting Rosewood and being told that Mary Drake is her mother while losing a ton of blood, Spencer (Troian Bellisario) is a out of it in the ambulance. The EMT asks what her mom’s name is to keep her conscious, but Spencer can’t begin to wrap her head around that one so she passes out.
Aria (Lucy Hale), Emily (Shay Mitchell), Hanna (Ashley Benson) and Alison (Sasha Pieterse) rush into the hospital behind Spencers gurnee. They’re a frazzled because Jenna and Mary escaped after their leader got shot. Aria begins to suggest the game ends with Noel but Emily’s lived in Rosewood long enough to knows it’s never that easy.
One week after the beheading of Noel, the liars get a text from Spencer to meet at the Hastings barn where they discover AD’s latest gift, a liar-centric Rosewood Jumanji game named Endgame. Hanna wants to follow liar tradition and burn the game to ash but Alison, acting like a season one liar, would rather turn it into the police. Aria knows that the game would explode before they could get it near a cop. Despite feeling as haggard as she looks, Spencer figures that endgame is AD’s way to telling them the game is at its end if they play along.
Detective Furey (Nicholas Gonzalez) has called Spencer into the station for an update on the case and a mini-interrogation. Furey’s put together that Jenna and Noel were in cahoots with Alison’s psychotic con man of a husband. The existence of this secret cabal makes it less likely that Archer’s actually the one traipsing around France. Looks like the Liars extremely faulty plan is beginning to crumble. Furey also lets Spencer know that Jenna’s gun didn’t shoot her. Since Mary vanished the cops think Mary absconded with the second gun. Spencer’s inner turmoil about this maternity nonsense increases exponentially with the possibility that she was shot by the lady who may or may not be her birth mother.
At Hastings Manor, Spencer’s bombarded with hugs from Veronica (Lesley Fera), but she’s not exactly in the state of mind to accept it. Veronica wants to know what the hell happened while she was out of town being a senator. Spencer runs through the highlight reel: Ali’s conman husband, Noel kidnapping Hanna then getting beheaded, Jenna most likely shooting her and Toby’s (Keegan Allen) escape from Rosewood being cut short by a rogue deer. Veronica is not concerned about Rosewood’s standard chaos. She wants to know how Spencer’s doing, which happens to be the question Spencer has no answer for.
Never being one to beat around the bush Spencer drops Mary’s name and waits. Veronica’s hackles jump up and she demands to know what Mary told Spencer. Like a true Hastings, Spencer answers a question with a question, what does Veronica thinks Mary said. Veronica stays silent until Spencer relents and shares Mary’s birth mother confession. She expects Veronica to call Mary a liar, but instead she hollers about Mary being clinically insane which is nowhere close to denial.
Veronica finally spills the beans. One day Jessica casually stopped by as if she hadn’t gotten knocked up by Peter and starts rambling about her twin sister at Radley. Veronica wasn’t interested in Jessica’s family drama until she mentions that Mary was pregnant. Peter hooked up with Mary thinking she was Jessica since he’s incapable of keeping it in his pants. Spencer’s pissed at Peter for hurting Veronica again and she’s pissed at Veronica for letting him get away with it. Veronica couldn’t stand the thought of baby Spencer being thrown into the system so she made arrangements. Flashback to Rosewood in the early 90s when the world was a Noir film. In a running car outside Radley, Veronica waits for a man in a trench coat and fedora to deliver baby Spencer to her like some back alley drug deal. Veronica says she held Spencer five minutes after she was born, which is a completely impossible timeframe but this is Rosewood. Spencer can handle anything, but she can’t accept being lied to and Veronica just admitted that the very foundation of Spencer’s being is based on lies.
In the barn, Spencer is working her way through at least one bottle of wine when AD decides it’s time to play. With the offer of getting more info on her mother, Spencer agrees to a game of truth or dare. Her judgment isn’t 100% after wine time so she picks dare. The dare? Go visit Toby at the hospital.
Before the car crash and gunshot wound, both Toby and Spencer awkwardly danced around their lingering Spoby feels. Since then they’ve been avoiding each other and their feelings so the reunion is a tad awkward. Toby feels responsible for Yvonne’s condition but it’s not his fault unless you consider trying to escape Rosewood a mistake. They both agree Rosewood’s holding them hostage because it’s not a regular town, it’s a damn Hellmouth.
AD rewards Spencer with a letter Mary wrote to the child she never met. Mary wanted to hurt Jessica and the Hastings so pretended to be Jessica to trick Peter into sleeping with her. She was so focused on revenge that she never thought of the collateral damage it might cause. She’s sorry for setting up her child to live a rough life, but she hopes that someday she’ll be forgiven
High School Deja Vu
After fighting it out for the Head Swim Coach position, Emily and Paige (Lindsey Shaw) both end up with jobs at the school with Emily as head swim coach and Paige as Athletics Director. They decide to act like adults and not let history affect their professional relationship. Paige gets pulled away by Mrs. Horowitz (Cathy Ladman) and Alison struts into the room like OG Ali. Emily rushes over concerned since Ali’s been radio silent after the whole pregnancy revelation. Ali has blown off Emily who had offered help in favor of self-pity, snark and all the salt she can throw at Paige and her new job.
That night Emily stops by the DiLaurentis house to make sure Alison is ok. Alison has got no time for comfort from the girl she may or may not be pining over as she wants to get a picture of Paige and Emily’s current situation. Emily tries to get Ali to see that she’s not alone, but Alison has got her walls up and isn’t prepared to let anyone in. The last person she let in ended up strapping her to a bed and putting a Hannibal Lecter mask on her. She is not prepared to open herself up to anything that isn’t a sure thing at this point.
Mrs. Horowitz forgot or never noticed the all-out war between Alison and Paige so she foolishly places Alison, Paige and Emily on the same committee. Emily tries to prevent World War III by explaining to Horowitz the potential issues. Paige catches her in the act and assures everyone that their feud was a long time ago and they are all adults. Paige is annoyed that Emily thinks she needs protecting from Alison or Alison needs protecting from her. She clearly missed the memo explaining that adults are just kids running around on a bigger playground with more freedom and responsibilities.
In the inaugural committee meeting Alison carpet bombs Paige with praise that’s so passive-aggressive it’s actually aggressive. Paige tries to stay calm until the thin veneer of “mature adult” shatters and she throws some aggressively passive-aggressive compliments Ali’s way. Mrs. Horowitz realizes she’s made a terrible mistake and puts the meeting on pause as she runs out the door.
Emily wants to know if Alison is threatened by Paige or just reverting to her amazing bitchiness from way back in season one. Alison asks about Emily and Sabrina insinuating that Paige is the reason they broke up. Emily is too annoyed with Alison to see that she’s acting out because she, much like Spencer, is spiraling after having the rug pulled out from under her. Emily wants to know if Alison kissed her to manipulate her or because she wanted to. It’s a fair question and somewhere Alison knows the answer, but she’s spiraling and doesn’t know what to believe anymore.
Emily visits Paige to let her know she’ll be getting an apology she doesn’t want or need from Alison. Emily wants to explain what’s going on, but it’s not her place. Paige doesn’t care because she’s tired of hearing about Alison’s professional victimhood and she’s tired of watching Emily jump through hoops to take care of Ali.
Caleb wants Hanna to take a break from the A-ness of it all and focus on her career because he knows if she puts it off she’s going to regret it and him. Hanna doodles some designs in a cafe when Mona (Janel Parrish) uses her adrenalized hyperreality to apparate in front of Hanna. After looking over Hanna’s designs, Mona concocts a plan to get Hanna Marin on the fashion industry’s radar.
Mona’s arranged for Senator Daly’s daughter, Katherine (Emma Dumont), to wear an original Hanna Marin to an upcoming fundraiser. Katherine is sold after Hanna shows her a few dresses, but before any decisions are made a call has Katherine rushing off. She tells Hanna to have her boss, Mona, give her a call to finalize the details.
Mona is thrilled having heard nothing but good things about Hanna from Katherine. Hanna is pissed because, despite Mona spending years proving she loves Hanna and just wants the best for her, she thinks Mona is trying to use her to build up Mona’s own business. Mona laughs and makes a quick phone call to clear everything up. Mona is the best friend when she’s not busy running you under with a car.
To Wed or Not to Wed
After seeing Ezra (Ian Harding) and Nicole reunite on national tv, Aria decides that it’s best if moves out of Ezra’s place until things settle. As she makes her way toward the door, Ezra walks in happy to see Aria and also extremely confused about her heading out the door with all her stuff. Aria explains and Ezra assures her that the two of them are endgame.
Later on, Ezra debriefs Aria on Nicole’s condition. She is recovering in New York where doctors are re-breaking the bones that healed wrong during her time in captivity. Ezra tried to talk to Nicole on the flight to the states, but she wasn’t ready.
Aria is insecure about the status of Ezria since Nicole is a big unknown. Hanna “burned her engagement to the ground” Marin is going to help Aria plan out the wedding so everything is ready to go when Ezra pulls it together. They go to a one-stop shop wedding business who happens to be owned by Holden”‘my heart can explode at any second” Strauss (Shane Coffey). Hanna has a Mona emergency to deal with so she leaves Aria to plan her wedding with her former beard, Holden. He walks her around the property asking simple questions to get a feel for the type of wedding Ezria is looking for but Aria has no clue. Outside of getting engaged Aria and Ezra haven’t spent much time discussing their actual wedding. Back in Rosewood they go for a stroll and catch up. Ezra pops out of shop frazzled and in a hurry to get back to New York at the request of Nicole’s parents. Aria plays it cool, but her insecurities about Ezria being endgame increase.
The liars meet at the Hasting’s barn to debrief and they are pissed that Spencer played AD’s game. Hanna wants to stab the game to pieces, but AD streams footage of them burying Archer so our beloved liars have no choice but to play along one last time.