Sunday, January 24, 2016

'Pretty Little Liars' Rosewood Roundup ("Charlotte's Web") [Contributor: Megan Mann]


"Charlotte's Web" 
Original Airdate: January 19, 2016

The ladies of Rosewood had quite the shocker last week. After fast-forwarding five years, the girls are brought back to Rosewood to testify that they are no longer fearful of Cece, now going again by Charlotte, being released. After a whirlwind of emotions and a run-in with Sara Harvey at Charlotte’s funeral, the girls are cornered by the cops and asked to remain in town. The years may have passed, but the wounds clearly haven’t healed.

Later that day, the girls are sitting once again in the revamped Radley-turned-boutique hotel as they look across the lobby to see Sara. Her hands still in gloves and unable to even sign her own name, the girls mention that they still never told anyone what happened that night. It’s irritating me because I want to know what happened that night, so I’m hoping it’ll soon be discussed. Aria claims that she has to get back to Boston, but before she can even make it out the door, Hanna says she knows that Aria left the hotel the night before. Where could she have gone? Apparently when Hanna woke up around 3 a.m., Aria was missing from the hotel room. They’ve barely been back together for three days and already Aria is proving that old habits, such as lying, die hard.

That day, Spencer heads back home where Veronica and Caleb are looking at blogs trying to tie the girls to Charlotte’s death. Spencer fears that her mother will lose the election because of her and there’s still something fishy about the relationship between her and Caleb. Or is there more to it?

At the police station, Sara locks eyes with Ali as she’s informed that Sara is being taken off the suspect list due to the burns on her hands. Charlotte’s death was violent; someone with injured hands couldn’t have done it. Lorenzo asks Ali if he believes it could have been any of the girls that could have done it and without hesitation, she assures him that they wouldn’t have done so.

There’s tension in the Fields’ household but a fire burning in Hanna’s hotel room as we finally see her fiancĂ© Jordan. He surprises her with dinner featuring all her New York favorites and news that they can get married on his uncle’s Hamptons estate. He’s supportive in such a sweet way, but it still doesn’t feel like the heyday of Haleb. Across town, Aria stops by Ezra’s apartment in order to tell him not to tell anyone that they saw each other the night of Charlotte’s death. What could have happened that scared Aria and has Ezra blindly agreeing?

Back at Spencer’s barn, she, Ali and Hanna try to figure out who could have done this to Charlotte. Ali automatically assumes Aria could have had something to do with it since she was openly upset with the idea of Charlotte getting out, and Hanna starts to squirm. The subject is quickly dropped and Ali asks them all to come to dinner.

Up in Boston, Aria ignores a call from Ali before we meet her new boo, the bespectacled Liam in the cubicle next to hers. When he asks her if she saw Ezra Fitz, to him an author from her hometown, it’s clear that Aria has certainly not gone far enough into her past to discuss how well she really knows Ezra. But it’s clear that Hanna has told Jordan all about her past. He can tell that she’s worried about the dinner for more than just the introduction of her fiancĂ© to her friends, including Caleb.

Spencer is back in Rosewood sleuthing mode... and trying to find more and more ways to stress herself out. Five years later, and it's the same old Spencer. She wonders if her mother’s competition is willing to dig deep enough to find a case study she wrote her sophomore year of college about a very similar murder to that of Charlotte. Could they then say that it was premeditated and that Spencer already had the idea based on her previous research? “Nobody’s trying to hurt you. This is all just one big coincidence,” Caleb says. Oh, Caleb. How easily you forget how things in Rosewood really happen for these girls.

Back in Boston, Aria gets quite the line delivered at her when she tells her boss, Jillian, that Ezra is contemplating not writing a second book. “No writer is ever in a good place, Aria,” she says, after Aria explains that Ezra isn't in a good place. I mean, touche, boss lady. You have us writers pegged. Jillian is clearly upset with the current situation involving Ezra and his promised work and isn’t happy with the progress on Aria’s part. She tells Liam to take over, but Aria quickly vetoes that, saying that she’s capable of getting through to Ezra. Her boss doesn’t buy it and it’s immediately clear that Aria is uncomfortable and doesn’t want her two worlds colliding. What is it that she’s hiding this time (besides, of course, her past with Ezra)?

Emily stops in at The Brew and asks Sabrina to not tell anyone that she saw her outside of a medical center. Sabrina explains that she had cancer and that it was important to have a support system. Emily doesn’t reveal what she was doing at the medical center and it’s evident that whatever is wrong with her, whatever she’s going through, she really doesn’t want anyone to know. What injections are you needing, Emily? Does Emily have a drug problem? Cancer? What could she need injections for and why on earth would she be hiding it from everyone who loves her?

Ali sets the table as everyone starts to file in for dinner. Hanna hears Caleb and Spencer come in and whirls around in hesitation of her old and new flames meeting. It’s nearly painless but the real pain is in Ali’s voice when she asks if anyone has spoken to Aria. And speaking of Aria, Liam questions the problem she’s having with Ezra. Instead of being honest, Aria chooses the easy way out. In five years, it appears that Aria still struggles with telling the truth. Shocker?

Emily also has trouble telling the truth when she tells Hanna she’s going to be staying in Rosewood for a few more weeks without actually telling her why and skirts around the issue of her job. Jordan seems to be the only fully honest guest as he tells Caleb that Hanna refused to let go of a table that used to be in their apartment and to Spencer that it’s nice that she and Caleb still stay in touch. The story Spencer proceeds to tell of happening upon Caleb in Madrid leaves us feeling both wistful and confused; are they or aren’t they?

Caleb seeks out wine glasses and runs into Hanna in the pantry. He chooses to take the high road, as a Real Rosewood Disney Prince would, and compliments Jordan and congratulates them on their engagement. There’s some sort of significance to that table, as it’s referenced between them. And his backpacking through Europe was clearly a result of their break-up. They share a silent, tender moment together and it almost takes the sting out of them being apart. Almost.

Lorezno calls to tell Ali that Charlotte’s time of death was around 4 a.m. You know, around the time that Aria was missing from the hotel room. Hanna catches that and immediately asks if she’s okay, while still hiding what she knows of Aria’s disappearance. Ali stares Hanna down, making it clear she knows Hanna knows something and you better believe she’s going to find out.

“Why would Ali think Aria had anything to do with Charlotte’s death?” Spencer asks Hanna. The blonde then explains that Aria left and denies having gone anywhere but her car when asked. Spencer immediately continues sleuth mode, suggesting that they get the security footage to see what Aria was up to. But Hanna puts her foot down. Still, if it’s the only way to prove that it wasn’t Aria, will she have to go back to her old sleuthing ways too?

And then, poor Emily. She has to give her mother false hope of grad school instead of being honest and maybe hurting her. It clearly hurts Emily to lie to her mother and hear of how happy she is to see the person she’s become while hiding so much. As Emily looks away from her mother out of guilt, it’s another guilty party walking up the stairs to the apartment above: Aria. She knocks on Ezra’s door, only to see his apartment in complete disarray. At the mere mention of his book, Ezra pulls out the alcohol. Even though his first book was a hit, he knows the follow-up won’t even come close. He offers the flash drive with what he has to her, but before she goes, she turns with tears in her eyes and asks where he went after they parted that night.“What are you asking me?” Ezra asks. “You know what I’m asking you,” she returns.

Clearly even Aria isn’t sure what Ezra is capable of anymore.

Hanna gets the security room key from Ashley and the three girls see that Aria left the hotel with Ezra, but came back alone at 4:28. That doesn’t look good. And yet, the girls know that when confronted, Aria will likely not admit to anything. But they also know that now with the footage, she has no choice. She tells them that she couldn’t sleep that night over what happened with the judge, so Ezra came over to make sure she was okay. The two of them walked around Rosewood and as Aria was about to get in a cab, she saw a red coat and blonde hair (a throwback if I’ve ever seen one) walk towards the church. It was Charlotte.

Aria wonders if they should call the police, but Ezra reminds her that Charlotte’s free to do as she pleases now. Rosewood is as much her town as it is anyone else’s. His delivery of this has a hint of malevolence to it that worries Aria. He places her into the cab and says goodnight.

Aria tells the girls that Ezra went home afterwards, but that she believes he’s lying to her. Hanna says they should tell someone. Emily disagrees as it’s a huge leap, but Spencer disagrees with her. It’s not a huge leap to suspect Ezra as she’s pretty sure she told him exactly how to do it.

When Ezra was on his book tour a few years earlier, Spencer met him for lunch where they discussed ideas for his next book: a potential murder mystery. As she had just written that case study, she had told him about it. In detail. The girls are skeptical that Ezra could do something like this, but are any of them really sure what he’s capable of at this point? If Ezra did do it, Aria could be implicated, so the security tapes must remain a secret. Naturally.

Spencer shows her mother the paper to get ahead of the possible campaign-ending connected dots. Veronica reminds her that not only do they have Caleb on their side with his computer sorcery, but she also reminds her that she’s not a liability. From one touching moment to another, Emily sits in the misty cemetery telling her dad about the mess the girls they’ve found themselves in. It’s among the crickets chirping that Emily finally opens up about her flunking out of college and how she messed up. A twig snaps behind her as she sees silent Sara coldly stare at her from across the tombstones. If she didn’t give you bad vibes before, she certainly does now.

Aria opens the contents of the flash drive Ezra gave her to see news of Nicole, while elsewhere, Hanna watches the door for any movement as she deletes the footage of Aria. Could Hanna also be questioning her engagement now that she’s back in Rosewood and up to her old habits? Meanwhile, Ali tells Lorenzo that she believes her friends are capable of murder, and the new Big Bad sets a bouquet of flowers on Charlotte’s grave. Does Big Bad know Charlotte? It’s clear that he does... but is he the one who hurt her? Is Ezra really the culprit?

They’ve got secrets, but can they keep them? We’ll have to wait and see next week!

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