Wednesday, June 24, 2015

'Pretty Little Liars': Rosewood Roundup ("Don't Look Now") [Contributor: Megan Mann]

Rosewood Roundup: "Don't Look Now"
(Original Airdate: June 23, 2015)

Hello and welcome to the first episode of the Rosewood Roundup! As this is my first recap of the Pretty Little Liars, allow me a slight background setup. I never wanted to watch this show. I saw people freak out all over my Twitter and was like, “Ugh, I can’t do this! It’s just bad television.”

Oh, how wrong I was my friends.

I purchased the DVDs on Black Friday one year and watched the first four episodes on a flight home from LA in 2013 and then just never touched them. I randomly decided to watch an episode or two when my boyfriend was at work one day last year and here I am now writing a recap. I came to the dark side and boy am I glad to be here. Okay, let’s get to the episode now, shall we? First, a bit of a recap for those in need.

We started this season off back in the dollhouse that A has hid the Liars and Mona in. Once the premiere episode starts, we discover quite early on that we are in for the darkest season of Pretty Little Liars yet. While we don’t get to see exactly what happens to them once their doors slam shut, we do hear screams before we cut to two weeks later. We are now closer than ever to discovering who A is and with that information being within arms reach, it ups the stakes. The episode ends with the girls escaping the dollhouse.

In the second episode, we see the girls try to cope with being out of the dollhouse and back in their homes. You know, the rooms that A managed to duplicate in the dollhouse. Weirdly, only Hanna seems to freak out and realize that she needs to change her room. For all that they went through, you would assume she wouldn't be alone. Ella tells Aria that her dad has talked to the police and the girls won’t have to talk until they're ready. Duh, of course they’re not ready, but Aria blames Andrew anyway. Girl, why are you lying? Sarah shows up at Emily’s house and says she’s run away. Well, that’s weird.

Then LAST week, it’s all basically a big to do about Andrew being A and how the girls just have to be right because otherwise they’re no closer to the truth and to being free from A than they were before the dollhouse. The girls try to go back to school but can barely manage to do so. Something seems super fishy about Sarah and by the end of the episode, Andrew is released because obviously him being A is too easy and he gives the girls the total verbal beatdown they deserved. Also, there was that super uber creepy last scene where Jason and Ali are finally getting answers and A IS RIGHT OUTSIDE. I almost quit then and there, guys. But answers.

Now, in last night's episode "Don't Look Now," we actually started to get answers. Or sort of, I guess. The episode started with Ali telling the girls what her dad had relayed to her and Jason the night before. Charles became dangerous just before the DiLaurentis clan moved to Rosewood and Mr. and Mrs. D placed him in Radley. This leads Spencer to make one of the most astute observations of the series: “All roads lead back to Radley.” Duh, everything happens at Radley.

Ali's parents wanted Charles to get better, but his mental state continued to spiral and they wanted Ali and Jason to have a normal childhood (hence why they never told them about Charles). Ali then drops the bomb to the girls: Charles couldn’t be A because... he’s dead. He had committed suicide at sixteen by overdosing on pills. Hanna doesn’t buy it and says, “No body, no grave, no proof.” It seems the girls, especially Hanna, are getting colder after the dollhouse.

The Liars believe Charles might still be alive and decide they need proof before they rule him out. Aria attempts to do some online sleuthing but comes up short. Her dad enters her room and reminds her that now that Andrew has been released, Tanner would like to speak to the girls when they’re ready. Aria snaps and doesn’t want to talk about what happened in the dollhouse. Ever. Okay, dad? She says she’s going to Hollis to develop some photos and denies his escort. Who would be alone after that experience? I would utilize the buddy system for every minute of every day, so I agree with Caleb that anything can happen in a ten-minute window between cops switching shifts outside of Hanna’s when A is still at large. Real Disney Prince of Rosewood is always right, guys.

Spencer, who somehow always to find the most information, sees an article about Radley being purchased by a company for $16 million and calls about Charles’ medical records by creating another story. Jeez, they’ve earned the name Liars. After discovering his records would soon be shredded, Ezra approaches her and asks if she’s alone. She says her mom will be back from the bank shortly. Ezra, master of wishful thinking, says that now that the Charles is out of the bag, they’re going to find him. Sir, you haven’t yet and I support Spencer’s skepticism, at least at this point so early on in the season.

Aha! Finally! More flashbacks from the dollhouse happen! Spencer sees a spilled cup from the hands of yet another new character (Sabrina, a waitress at the coffee shop) and flashes back to waking up in the dollhouse covered in blood. She doesn’t know whose it is or where it came from, but she’s visibly shaken. She starts to panic and I’m sitting here like, “Does literally anyone want to discuss what happened? You would probably feel like, 100 times better.”

The girls get together at Spencer’s to discuss the information she got. “If we get the file, we get the truth.” (Aria, we’re four episodes deep. We all know answers are not within reach right now.) They could go in and ask for the file, but what if that doesn’t work? Obviously... break in. I find it almost disheartening that a plan to break into the center came so easily to them, but I guess when you have a psycho stalker on your case who recently kidnapped you and you’re desperate for clues, you’re down for whatever.

Spencer asks how the pills are working for Aria and gets wild-eyed with she says she threw them away. Uh, are you going to dumpster dive? You’re a Hastings! Then she goes and proves me right and lies to a cop and searches for the pills. In the trash. I’m like a disappointed parent right now. Ugh.

The girls reconvene and head towards the center holding the records. Spencer has to have her doctor or parent present to retrieve her own, so there’s no way they’re going to get to Charles’. Then Hanna is all, “Guys, let’s break the law and sneak into the building.” Yeah, SOUNDS GREAT. Aria finds the file on Charles and they find a visitors log with only Mrs. DiLaurentis and Ali's great aunt Carol on it. Only problem? Aunt Carol died when the girls were all sophomores, so there goes that lead. However, they do discover that Charles was severely depressed. They hear someone coming and they’re out the door.

When they get back to their homes, both Aria and Hanna lie about their whereabouts. I’m fairly certain lying to your parents about where you are went out the window once you were kidnapped, but that could just be me. When Emily returns home, her mother raises concerns about Sarah which of course she overhears. Where is her mother? Surely someone can call her? Something feels off about that situation to me!

Ali finds Jason in their living room and she asks how he’s doing. Not well, obviously, and he has an introspective moment about his parents lies leading him to constantly doubt himself. Ali tells him about the records and how Carol visited him. Jason reminds Ali that he almost got killed in that elevator shaft (thought we were just going to push that one under the rug), but that after he got out, he went to Aunt Carol’s and found his mom. Jason told Ali that he’d figured he would stay there while he recovered and Jessica came up with a terrible lie (that literally anyone could clock a mile away) for him not being able to stay there. Is Charles alive and she was hiding him? It always bothers me when the theme song is right because obviously this is one of those “two can keep a secret if one of them is dead” scenarios.

A few of the girls, Ali and Jason all head to Carol’s house that looks totally abandoned. Ali raises the question we’ve all been asking since this A took over, “Why would he do this to me? To us?” If we knew, the show would be over sweetie. While that’s happening, Aria is at Hollis developing really creepy doll photos and when she goes to find a product she needs, she finds pink hair-dye and a note from A saying that she is his doll. Well, yeah. Then we see a flashback of him telling her to dye her hair and when she wouldn’t, he chopped half of it off in her sleep. (Excellent way to tie in her between season bob, writers.) She panics in the darkroom and runs for the door which is obviously locked. Classic A. It almost feels like A is more menacing than ever now that he has to be more careful. Sporadic as they are, his threats are clear.

Back at Carol’s, the group splits in half to see if they find anything. Spencer sees a weather vane and flashes back to the cameras in her room and waking up covered in blood. She panics and asks Hanna if she remembers doing everything A made her do. When Spencer recalls the flashback, Hanna blames it on sleep deprivation, but she does have a point that A was playing a million games and this might have just been one he was employing to break Spencer. Jason and Ali find Charles’ grave and he thinks that’s why his mother didn’t want him staying there lest he find it. Hanna doesn’t believe it’s real and that it’s just A trying to throw them off their scent. Jason and Spencer point out the vines are wrapping around the stone and have been for years the stone and couldn’t be faked; it’s real, thus crushing her previous theory .

So, if Charles is dead, where does that leave us? Someone is assuming Charles’ identity? But why? Who was it the he knew at Radley that was either released or found a way to escape that would have a vendetta against the girls?

Aria finally breaks down and tells her dad about what went on in the dollhouse. Someone is giving insight! To someone who cares about them! This is such progress and I’m glad the girls are slowly starting to discuss what’s going on in their heads. Back at the Brew, Spencer gets pot cookies from the new waitress and Ezra, who talks to her for all of ten seconds, figures out she might have a problem and that those won’t help her while her parents, whose job it is to pay attention to detail, haven’t figured it out. You will not see me calling Mrs. Hastings if I need a lawyer.

We think the episode is going to end with a story. Ali’s dad explains to her that they placed Charles in Radley because when Ali was eleven months old, he had come in the house to hear her screaming. He discovered her in the bath that was scalding hot and quickly filling up with Charles watching... Ali asks for no further details and to let Charles rest in peace. What a sweet ending, right? WRONG. The episode ends with A staring at a screen with each girl's name popping up with a location and an ID number.

Am I wrong or did A place trackers in the girls while they were in the dollhouse so he always knew where to find them? Because that’s the conclusion I’m drawing. This just got so Hunger Games and the odds are not in the girls’ favors.

Question for next week: based on the preview, are we to assume A is actually a girl? Will it be the previously mentioned, but not since last year’s Christmas episode, and forgotten Bethany? Or is it someone else entirely? Oh, #SummerofAnswers. You haven’t told me much of anything yet.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter, @MissMeganMann, for my weekly freakout where I try to keep my Rosewood emotions in check and usually fail. See you next week!


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