Previously: Ian is definitely dead, but his suicide note/Ali-murder confession is made of A texts and A also showed the extended extended version of the Ali Knows You Want To Kiss Her video, in which Ian and Ali part ways with her still very much alive.
Never Letting Go
Sweeney: This is your semi-regular reminder that at least one of these four girls should now have been driven to full-blown insanity with the stress of an ever-changing cadre of blackmailers, murderers, and murders in their lives. The fact that 4/4 are still fully-functional human beings strikes me as implausible at best. Henceforth, I choose to view the story as all being some sort of vivid dream on the part of an institutionalized PLL. It makes the implausibility factor of all other events easier to handle too! You may all begin voting on which PLL’s brain my headcanon should be attributed to.
The nervous-break-induced story continues in Emily’s bedroom, where the PLLs are folding flyers for a fashion show because that is EVEN BETTER than another effing dance. They are discussing what the extended extended version of the video means. The girls are suggesting potential new murderers. Spencer is still on her brains-of-the-operation hiatus, and isn’t quite ready to let go of the theory she so ardently pushed. Plus, having been an attempted murder victim of Ian’s is pretty solid grounds for believing him capable of murdering your dead BFF.
Lorraine: The whole folding fashion show programs while talking about almost being murdered really highlights the WTFery of their lives. It was a perfect time to pitch your headcanon, Sweens.
Sweeney: Anyway, it’s the beginning of the episode, so let’s take a break from the murder stuff and talk high school girl stuff, like which lip gloss is ideal for kissing, the committee meetings that Spencer missed while being accused of murder, and the fact that everyone is simultaneously sort of seeing someone. Aria (who mentions that Ezrafitz is out of town and OMG does mean I get an Ezria free episode?) leaves when she gets a text. The girls assume it’s Ezra, and she doesn’t correct them, even though it’s really New Jason, who wants to meet up! Scandal!
Sara: Blech. I hate Ezria but I’m also not a fan of NewJasonria.
New Jason pulls his car up outside Emily’s house. It’s a convertible. Is this supposed to be a sneaky meeting, because if so, you’re doing it wrong. Anyway, New Jason wanted to tell Aria to STFU about his confession that he has no memory of Ali’s murder day. Aria’s all, “NBD, on account of you not having my brother arrested.” I’m going to give Aria some sibling points for not seeking any retribution against Mike after he bodychecked her. Obviously we all love that shit, but I’m guessing she was less a fan. Aria, I know you’re going to find a way to fuck it up, but I’m trying really hard to find reasons to like you. Anyway, this conversation also serves to inform us that Ali’s Mom has been in charge of the fashion show since 4EVA and this will be her last one, what with her daughter being dead.
Lor: I’d like to give Aria any kind of points but between the sneaky meeting in a convertible right outside Spencer’s house and the fact that this dude was all, “can’t remember if I killed my sister,” and she felt the need to meet him in a convertible? Meh.
Sara: This is probably news that the other PLLs should hear about, too. The best way to not be caught off guard by A is to be informed, duh.
Sweeney: Hanna returns to Marin Manor to find her parents making dinner in the kitchen because Papa Shitbag Marin is getting rid to leave in the morning. Hanna’s having none of this and makes a sassy comment about saving dessert for his new family.
SPOBY are being adorable. Toby just walked Spencer home and in between kisses they are discussing the makeup tables he is going to build for her. Precious. Also, he owes her for that whole car-buying thing, which I still find super weird. (S: SO WEIRD.) Inside the house Spencer hears her Shitbag Dishonest Dad yelling about Jason DiLaurentis being in town. He quickly hangs up and lies about the phone call, and then not-at-all-casually informs the audience that Melissa is out of town. (L: WITH EZRA IN THE LAND OF LIMITED ACTOR BUDGET?) (S: THEY’RE BOTH A!) Once he leaves the room, Spencer hits redial (um, no caller ID menu on their phone?) to find out that Shitbag Hastings was on the phone with Ali’s mom.
The episode continues it’s introductory rounds with Emily. She’s unpacking stuff, now that she’s not moving, and her mom is on the phone with her dad. After the call, Emily suggests to her mom that maybe in the few months left in the school year (because weird seasons are weird) Mama Fields could go to Texas and be with her husband and Emily could stay with a friend, before joining them once school’s out. Mama Fields is anxious about this plan, having taken her road to parental redemption so seriously and all, but agrees to think about it, because seeing her husband sounds nice.
(My dad has had to travel 5 days a week for work for the better part of the last 18 years, with a few long exceptions scattered about. I totally remember this child-wanting-to-help-a-parent-out feel. Especially when you know that they’re putting themselves through that hardship for you. Big hugs for Emily.)
The next morning, Aria is over at Spencer’s and Spencer is telling Aria how weird it is that her dad flat out lied about the call. Also they are drinking coffee and Spencer pours them big cups, which causes Aria to say she kind of wanted to drink it and not swim laps, on account of her being tiny. Cute. More importantly: Spencer/Coffee is my PLL OTP. (L: Nice one! +1)
Anyway, Aria’s focused on the, “Why did he lie?” question and Spencer’s all, “NOPE, LET’S DISCUSS NEW JASON.” Aria dislikes that conversation shift, what with him liking her pink hair. I want to side with my beloved Spencer, but ever since we realized that New Jason was getting the Toby Edit, I’m inclined to like him. But I’m also inclined to dislike anyone whose only PLL defender is Aria. Struggles.
Lor: My struggle is that Spencer is always wrong. I mean, I love her, but she’s always loud and wrong. Let me remind you:
Sara: Maybe they’ll discover it was just the Toby Edit and Spencer will end up dating New Jason, too!
Sweeney: UNACCEPTABLE. (But yes, Spencer’s vocal wrongness is a problem that she needs to work on.)
This is interrupted by the girls getting emails from Ali’s mom. It turns out that Ali’s mom wants to take the girls to lunch! Dramatic music plays.
Cut to THEPLACEWHOSENAMEIFORGOTBUTITSTHEONLYPLACEINROSEWOOD, and the girls are all awkward. Ali’s Mom makes it more awkward by noting that Hanna’s order was also Ali’s favorite. Emily cuts the bullshit and points out how weird it is that New Jason moved back into that house, which allows Ali’s mom to tell
the audience the girls that he came into “some family money” which he used to buy the house and do whatever. From informational gifts to physical gifts: Ali’s Mom has presents in the form of large clothing boxes. The girls exchange, “WTF? IDK. WHATEVER, PRESENTS!” looks before opening the boxes.
Sara: That’s my general reaction to free gifts!
Sweeney: Ali’s mom asks if the girls have seen the dresses, which is our cue for an Aliback, in which Ali is terrible as ever, taunting Emily with her sexy dress and fat shaming Hanna, before making a creepy comment about how the dresses are all one of a kind and all hers, “just like you guys.” Spencer gives A+ “Bitch, please, I belong to nobody,” eye roll.
Sara: Alison seems like a full blown sociopath 99% of the time. What a creep.
Sweeney: RIGHT? Alison murdered herself and came back as a ghost to be A. Or because of some contrived reason, the body thing was also part of an elaborate hoax and Ali faked her own death so that she could harass the other four girls. For all the pedophiles, philanderers, and murderers that we’ve met, nobody seems to be quite the sociopath that 15-year-old Alison DiLaurentis was. Well, like Alison and A. That’s it. OR A IS SOMEBODY WHO WAS OBSESSED WITH ALI AND WANTED TO BECOME A SOCIOPATH JUST LIKE HER. Some Lifetime Movie nonsense. I’ll stop now.
Ali picked those outfits out and her mom thinks its an epic tragedy that she never got to wear them, so she would like the girls to wear them in a special tribute to Ali during the fashion show. The girls are accordingly creeped out and discuss it while Ali’s Mom is in the bathroom. Hanna refuses, but is convinced by the other girls who agree that they can parade around in some pretty ghost dresses in order to make their dead BFF’s grieving, drunk mother happy.
Lor: Shitbag is the term you’ve been applying to the Papas around here, but this was pretty fucked up of Ali’s Mom. I man, their faces were practically screaming, “PLEASE DON’T MAKE US WEAR DEAD PEOPLE CLOTHES.” Bitch didn’t even care.
Sweeney: True. I’ve reserved Shitbag for the terrible fathers of Rosewood (Papa Fields seems to be the only one who doesn’t suck and he’s gone!) so we need a name for terrible mothers like her. Douchepurse? Or maybe a clutch to go with the show’s many evening gowns?
Anyway, they discuss choosing pictures for the corresponding Ali photo montage. Emily and wants to know if they will need to run them by Doucheclutch DiLaurentis. Aria is all too eager to offer asking New Jason instead. The other girls are all, “Nope. Leave him out of it,” but Aria wins with the accurate point of him being automatically involved as brother of the deceased.
Spencer arrives at the fashion show set-up, apparently late. She has her box of programs and Mona asks her to sidebar so she can show her the glossy revamped programs. Spencer’s pissed because of all the work she did without being told. Mona’s all, “Uh, you were off maybe going to jail, so, you know.” Also, Mona has basically done all of the things that need doing including hiring her creepy boyfriend Noel Kahn (FUTURE DWTS CONTESTANT.) as the DJ. She also takes this opportunity to mention being committee chair, which makes Spencer want to cuntpunch her. Mona clarifies that Spencer wasn’t present for the vote. There’s not really much that Spencer can say to that, besides experiencing alltherage over not being the chair of a thing and also knowing that it will be way less awesome as a result.
Sara: All of this was so great. Mona and Spencer are a lot alike, and I like watching them screw with each other because it’s always a fair battle.
Sweeney: Agreed! I didn’t expect Mona being mean to the best PLL to endear me to her, but somehow it totally did.
Sexy music plays as we go to Emily’s room where she’s trying on her Ghost Dress for Samara, so she can tailor it for her. Emily invites her, but Samara has plans with someone else. Emily fails to pick up on the awkward way she mentions this and says she has the extra ticket for Samara to bring her friend. She agrees.
Lor: They were playing up Shay Mitchell’s hotness in this scene. Sometimes Emily is so boring, I forget just how pretty Shay is, so, like, I’m acknowledging that now.
Sara: She’s so beautiful that it makes me wish she was a bitch so I could hate her.
Sweeney: Mother/daughter chat time! Aria asks her mom if she’s ever blacked out. Awkward. Aria goes on to explain that there’s a guy who blacked out and everybody else thinks its weird, but she just wants to help him. PiperMom fails to see the enormous RED FLAG sprouting out of that story and only says that sometimes we repress memories and it takes time for wounds to heal enough for us to remember things. OK, yes, that is plot appropriate advice, but that is a weird ass motherly response to the thing that your daughter just told you.
Hanna is doing homework and adorably dancing around her kitchen to Savoir Adore – “Bodies.” This song will now be stuck in my head for the next couple days. She is interrupted mid-dance by Shitbag Marin showing up with takeout Thai food. She’s still grumpy, but he says he’s staying for the weekend to see her fashion show, because he doesn’t want to leave with her angry. He swears that he misses being around her (but no apology for running out on her in the aftermath of her best friend’s murder or the atrocious way in which he introduced her to his replacement family). Hanna’s having none of his bullshit and says he’s hanging around because he’s still in love with her mom and he needs to own up to that. He stutters and denies it, but Hanna’s not hearing it so he leaves. Then she throws out that perfectly delicious Thai food. Why, girl, why?
Lor: OMG I’m so happy you noticed that too. There is this wonderfully delicious Thai place down the street from my job that we used to eat at all the time, right until it was featured on a news segment about dirtiest restaurants in the city. NO JOKE. IT HAD ROACHES. I DIED. AND I HAVEN’T FOUND REPLACEMENT THAI.
Sara: WHY WITH THE TRAUMALAND COCKROACHES THIS WEEK?
Sweeney: Cockroaches lead to all sorts of Actual Trauma. I’m going to back away from this immediately.
At Rosewood Convenient Meeting Place And Also Maybe Occasionally High School, (L: A+) Aria is showing New Jason the photos they picked for the montage. There’s one that she hesitates on. It’s Ali getting out of the cab at Emily’s upon her return from “visiting her grandmother.” Aria claims to be hesitating because she’s not sure if it’s appropriate to show a picture from the day Ali died, but really she’s trying to shake memories out of New Jason. New Jason again insists that he remembers nothing from that day and is really pissy with Aria for asking him stupid questions. Dude, she’s showing you some pictures. She didn’t accuse you of shit. I can’t blame you being a dick on the Toby Edit. That’s just you being a dick.
Fashion Show Rehearsal. Mona is being a mega bitch to everyone as they practice walking and Spencer’s rage meter is about to explode. Hilariously, though, Mona does stop Aria while she’s walking to ask if her legs are always that short. Sorry not sorry, I laughed a lot. (Being able to laugh at Aria is a necessary condition for me ever liking her.) (L: In related news, Aria/short jokes might be my second place OTP.) (S: Yes. Absolutely.) Mona also scores points via Spencer’s hilarious ranty description of her:
Also amazing? Toby. He’s putting the finishing touches on the awesome makeup tables he built in a day or two and is the actual best boyfriend ever, letting Spencer vent while also calming her down, but reminding her that they can also celebrate the end of all the bad shit that allowed Mona to take charge in the first place.
Later, the girls are putting their makeup on and I’d be all about finding a friend with a truck to steal the super legit vanities that Toby built. Samara arrives with Emily’s dress and also her friend. The friend, Quinn, is holding Samara’s hand and wearing a suit and also has short hair, in order to allow the audience to form a hasty “lesbian” assumption. Samara enhances this by joking about ending up in Quinn’s lap. They leave and Emily asks the other PLLs if they seemed a little too touchy-feely to them. Aria responds about how you’d expect.
Lor: “What? People who aren’t me or older men who like my pink hair? *shrug*”
Sweeney: Spencer is passing out swag bags to the guests when Toby comes up to be cute and also be there when Mona crazies that she needs a headset and orders her to bring the slideshow DVD to Noel. After Mona walks off, Toby adorably cuts off Spencer’s rant to tell her to take a deep breath.
Sara: He’s the best boyfriend ever. If we could just cross Toby with Caleb’s wolfy good looks, I would call dibs.
Sweeney: You need to be prepared to throw some elbows in that scenario.
Elsewhere, Mama Fields is discussing her parent-wife conundrum with Ashley Mother of the Year Marin and PiperMom. She says it feels like she’d be quitting her job as a mom. LOL, she should check out our collection of negligent parents! Or read a Goosebumps book! That’ll make her feel better. Ashley Marin makes a comment about how easily you can “fall back into your groove,” and I have Hanna Feels. Then she spots Doucheclutch DiLaurentis and they all turn and gawk without actually going to speak to her, like a bunch of gossipy teenagers.
Sara: I love seeing the moms together. These bitches really need to form a Friendship Circle, where they can bond about having daughters accused of murder and almost dying and stuff.
Sweeney: RIGHT? I assume that they have some sort of club that we just don’t see because they mostly show us the girls. This has to be a thing that exists.
Spencer brings Noel Kahn the montage CD. He asks her if she wants to take a final look and she declines, which is how I automatically know that something is going to go awry with the CD. She’s too busy spotting some other Bad News Bears in the form of Shitbag Hastings fighting with Ali’s Mom.
Backstage, Hanna decides that the evening calls for booze, because Hanna. Is she going into rehab at any point in the series? I know, spoilers. I’d hate to put precious Hanna there, but they have been showing way too much Hanna + alcohol for this not to be headed that direction.
Lor: I think we’re just especially sensitive to the mention of alcohol. DID SOMEONE SAY ALCOHOL?
Sara: Thank God this isn’t Sweet Valley, where kids get drunk off of one tiny sip of alcohol and then crash their cars and kill their sister’s boyfriends.
Sweeney: It sounded so outlandish at the time, but that’s not too far off from a Rosewood plot. Really, holding their liquor a tiny bit better is about the only modification that story would need to fit right in here.
Out in the partay, Ashley Marin spots Shitbag Marin brooding at the bar. Well, crap. Those broody guys are magnets for magic vaginas like Ashley Marin’s. Hope is lost. Shitbag will win the day. Magica Vagina and Brooding Shitbag discuss their parenting woes. He says that he never complimented her enough and she says, “I wouldn’t say it was the worst thing you ever did,” and I want to be all BURN! but she says it like it’s a joke. “LOL, remember when you ran out on our family during a seriously fucked up period, and generally ignored our daughter, turning up less than a year later engaged to a replacement family? LOLOLOLOL!” She feels like they’re beyond all that. Ugh. Fuck him.
Back in the dressing room, Hanna’s on the prowl for champagne and spots this parental reunion dance and is so flustered and in need of a personal moment that she misses the very stealable bottle of champagne left lying about at an event filled with minors. She returns backstage and lies that they were out.
New Jason makes a weird face at Aria before going on stage with Ali’s Mom. Elsewhere backstage, Emily confronts Samara about her relationship with Quinn. Samara insists that they are just friends, but at the same time, their relationship is super new and Emily is the one who said she didn’t want to get too serious too fast. Emily says she has to
go shave her hands get ready.
Spencer appears and the other girls quickly touch her up and also discuss that a very hot looking Caleb (WHICH IS HOW HE LOOKS ALL THE TIME ALWAYS.) (Friendly Born-In-1986 Reminder!) (L: PHEW.)(S: +1) Mona comes backstage screeching at Spencer. Mona, I want to like your friendship with Hanna, but you need to back the fuck off Spencer Hastings. Aria has another cute, winning moment when she stops Spencer to apply last minute hairspray before she goes out.
Fashion show, complete with a range of adorable and ridiculous outfits. Aria is wearing a white and gold striped sunhat which I totally own. Target, yo. There are shots of the important people in the crowd and for reasons that I can’t understand beyond “because he’s pretty” Caleb is scene standing sort of just above the whole crowd. It’s weird. Also weird are the outfits Aria and Spencer are wearing when they come out together. But they’re so cute I don’t care.
After a Not Commercial Break the Fashion Show is mostly empty, save for a few people putting things away. The PLLs stand on the runway to lament what just happened. Aria spots Caleb and motions Hanna to go talk to him. His hair is looking weirdly feathery today and it’s got an awkward 70’s feel to it. Hanna don’t care, though, and agrees to let Caleb walk her home after she finishes her PLL powwow.
She rejoins the girls just in time to hear Aria stupidly suggest that they send Ali’s Mom a note. Spencer covers the snark for us, “I don’t think there’s a section for ‘I’m sorry you got traumatized’ cards.” NOT YET, BUT THIS IS OBVIOUSLY A THING THAT WE NEED TO MAKE HAPPEN. New business idea!
Lor: UM YES. PEOPLE SHOULD MORE OFTEN APOLOGIZE FOR YOUR CHILDHOOD AND ADULT TRAUMAS.
Sweeney: The speakers to get all feedbacky and a note from A appears on the screen behind them:
The girls all GTFO in a hurry, except Aria who hasn’t packed all of her stuff. Kind of a shit move for the other three to not wait for her, even if she does suck. Creepy Noel Kahn comes up behind her all creepy-like and hands her the disc, saying that he’d hate to leave something lying around that could get them in trouble. What the fuck? New Jason appears and asks what the disc is. Aria says it was the unplanned finale, so he takes it and snaps it. I’m not sure what exactly the disc had on it, but I’m still annoyed that he did this. Given their propensity for losing actual evidence, I’m now convinced that something identifying A must have been on there too.
Back at the Fields house, Mama Fields comforts Emily and assures her that nobody thinks they were responsible because it was obvious that the girls were shocked. Emily asks her mom if her parents saw other people when they were dating. Mama Fields says she told him from the beginning that she wouldn’t put up with that shit, but with emphasis on this being a Use Your Words kind of deal. It’s cute. Mama Fields also says that Ashley Mother of the Year Marin has agreed to let Emily stay with them until the end of the semester, but with lots of, “ONLY IF YOU ARE OK WITH THIS!” stuff. Aww, guys! I’m so glad Mama Fields has turned out to be so awesome! I still have weird residual feelings of mistrust, but goodness this woman tries and that’s worth, like, everything.
Lor: Agreed! Even at her most, most, most misguided, you know she loves her daughter which is amazing in a fictional universe in and of itself.
Sara: She has definitely had the most growth of any of the moms. I think she would be the first to figure out that something is not right with the girls.
Sweeney: So, naturally, the writers are shipping her far away from Rosewood. “Shit! This parent’s becoming far too aware! Better get her the fuck out of here ASAP.”
On the subject of my inability to forgive awful parents, Shitbag Marin is waiting up for Hanna when she returns. He says that she was right and that he has stuff that he needs to work out with Ashley. He can only do that if he stays there. Hanna pauses, but says she’ll see him tomorrow. I still fucking hate him. Remember how you also have a fiancee? No? OK, cool.
Spencer has her big confrontation with Shitbag Hastings, asking him why he’s so upset about New Jason being back. Or newly magicked into existence where Old Jason once was. The music’s extra dramatic as Shitbag Hastings angrily tells Spencer that for absolutely no reason that he feels the need to explain to her, because YAY double-standards-about-honesty-with-your-kids, she needs to stay the fuck away from Jason DiLaurentis. Probably it’s because he’s a shape shifter. Tragic shape shifter discrimination. Jason just needs to go off to Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.
Segue Magic to New Jason and Aria discussing the latest Ali Memorial Sabotage. Aria wonders why people haven’t found a new tragedy to gawk at. New Jason says that if he were an outsider he’d be intrigued by the dark details. You see, they are the dark details. DEEP. Poetry for Aria’s 32-year-old soul.
Lor: Still better than anything Ezra’s written.
Confrontations continue when Aria asks why he came back. He says that he was trying to put pieces together, but he’s not having any of it when she points out that he still doesn’t know who wrote that note. He offers to drive her “somewhere,” which is a weird way to put it, but Aria accepts the ride home. While still technically a pedolationship, New Jason gets my Aria ship vote due to being (1) slightly less of a pedolationship -and- (2) most importantly, not her former teacher abusing his position of authority on the basis of one bar bathroom dry hump.
Sara: It’s too bad there isn’t another Old Soul in a 16-year old boy body that liked Aria’s purple hair. They just don’t understand how complex she is!
Sweeney: As they leave, we see that the candles have been arranged to make a letter A, and horror movie music plays to let us know what a BFD that is.
A-NONYMOUS: A is sitting at a laptop with those fucking leather gloves, which are not particularly conducive to using a laptop mouse or keyboard. A is getting her online shopping on, ordering some boots. See, A’s just like you and me! Also, A, we’re all amazing online shoppers, which is another reason you should hire us.
In more important news this was another Pedzrafitz-free episode! Score for me!
Next time: Pedo-y Ezra and slightly less Pedo-y Jason vie for Aria’s attention in Pretty Little Liars S02 E07 – Surface Tension.