I imagine that all of you are asking yourselves some questions right now, chief among them: How is this already the “spring finale?” But in posing this (totally reasonable) chronological query, you are forgetting one of the fundamental rules of PLL viewing for adults, and for these recaps: There is no time in Rosewood. Also, it feels rushed because this “five years forward” time jump took place, inexplicably, in the middle of a season, and because Freeform likes to break up normal seasons of its flagship shows into miniseasons. Anyway: Old couples are back together (kind of), old corpses are coming back to life (sort of), and a new champion is taking the top slot in the spring finale Pretty Little Power Rankings.
1. JESSICA DILAURENTIS HAS A TWIN (last week: not ranked)
Although I didn’t read the books, I have it on good authority (the entire internet) that the “twin theory” is a big deal in our source material, and I 1,000 percent co-sign the way that trope is being integrated into our fair series. I kind of laughed out loud when I saw J.D. in her Walking Dead makeup — and holy eye roll for the idea that there is yet another female Radley patient whose backstory we are going to have to learn, R.I.P. Bethany; if A held a gun-emoji to my temple, I probably still wouldn’t be able to list three important things about you. But when creepster Elliot peeled off his Wilden mask and, with a straight face, talked to “Mary Drake” (ooookay) about his devotion to her daughter, which was so complete he could “marry her cousin,” I was all about it. And finally, praise be, Elliot is about to be interesting!
2. Elliot (last week: not ranked)
I don’t like him, but I can’t pretend he doesn’t have the upper hand. At least, for now.
3. Emily (last week: 3)
She’s right about everything one could reasonably expect her to be right about in this episode. She knows that Aria was a dumb-dumb for ever expecting her co-writing experience with Ezra would be “simple”; she takes a break from babysitting Ali to vote; she believes Ali needed medical attention, but is also wary of having her admitted without even checking in with the new husband.
4. Mona (last week: 1)
She keeps it low-key this episode, but she definitely knows more than she’s letting on. I love that she’s so offended at the idea that Spencer or Toby “brought” her to that inn. “I followed them,” she snaps, because she is too sharp for this weak, soft crew.
5. Jillian (last week: 4)
I know we barely know her, but she’s right: “Love” is an overused word.
6. Hanna (last week: 2)
What a surprise: Hanna’s brilliant idea of being bait doesn’t actually work out so well for her! Girl starts editing history as soon as the episode begins: “We all decided this was the right thing to do.” Hanna, in the last eight minutes of last week’s episode, you and Caleb literally invoked the almighty phrase, “This is not a democracy,” Bring It On–style, as he and Hanna made this decision without consulting anyone else in their clique.
A moment for flashback Hanna: After a blow-up with Caleb about her demanding job (again: did Caleb ever have a job?), Hanna skedaddles. But oh, the romantic rain and Starbucks indie playing in the background gets to her. She contemplates the meaning of life and lattes and bolts from the backseat in the pouring rain — very Taylor Swift, Fearless era — and returns to the room to say, “I am so sorry.” But she is soaked and he is gone. He even left his phone behind, which is EXTREMELY RASH. In the present day, she tells him: “I never stopped loving you.” This, of course, is not news to us, but it’s news to Caleb! He’s making out with her faster than you can say, “But what about Spencer’s too-tight-for-underwear dress?” but whatever, these two should kiss, just in case A kills her or whatever.
7. Spencer (last week: 7)
Glad she had that Cosby sweater lying around for the Radley-demolition part of her plan. Congrats to Veronica, by the way. And I’ll throw some points her way for responding to Mona’s “hi” by saying, “You must be, because I can’t think of another reason you’d be crazy enough to show up here.”
8. Gratuitous almost-nudity (last week: not ranked)
Caleb’s crack might be covered, per Hanna’s report, but that’s about all that’s covered. Cute underwear, Spence.
9. Aria (last week: 5)
The most realistic thing on this show is the writer paraphernalia sprawled around Aria’s laptop.
10. Ezra (last week: not ranked)
The least realistic thing on this show is the speed with which Ezra and Aria can co-write an entire novel.
He’s so emotionally damaged from writing “the last chapter” of his book with Aria — more on this later — but there are approximately 159,872 characters in the greater PLL galaxy, and that’s just counting the kids we met in seasons one through four. So, maybe instead of expecting us loyal viewers to be even remotely invested in people so insignificant that someone who watches this show professionally (hey guys, I’ll be here forever, ’til Ali’s real death do us part) can’t even remember that we met Nicole, Ezra’s M.I.A. honey, before last week, just focus on one of the many central characters we actually recognize on sight? (Also: A+ to EmmyLoser for pointing out in the comments that Nicole was last seen trying to recruit Emily for a Habitat for Hookuppery trip.)
Am I supposed to feel things about his inevitable sex reunion with Aria?
11. Caleb (last week: 6)
In an act of rebellion against weeks of short-sleeve button downs, Caleb reminds us who he really is: a rebel who wears black T-shirts with blue skulls on them. Caleb Googled “how to build an electric fence” and I wrote in my notes: Is there a reason he could not just purchase and install an electric fence, like the kind people get for their dogs all the time? But why make things simple when they can be unnecessarily convoluted? That’s the PLL way!
All of you who interpreted Caleb and Spencer’s breakup as a just-for-show thing, you were right, they are technically still together and sharing coffee and having flirtatious back-and-forths about whether Spencer’s dress is too tight to wear underwear. But as we learn in flashback-land, perhaps he should have stayed with Hanna all along. (Sidebar: Caleb was definitely too old to care about his girlfriend missing his birthday for her job.)
12. Toby (last week: not ranked)
“I look like a guy who needs glasses.” You’re not wrong, friend. And you better hope Spencer finds out about Hanna and Caleb’s little lovefest and comes running back to you, because something tells me the engagement with Yvonne is about as likely to end in a marriage as Hanna’s engagement with Jordan.
13. The text messages from the new “A” (last week: not ranked)
“If you’re lying, I [gun emoji]all of you.” “No [pig emoji].” Look, I’ve never attempted to threaten to murder someone via text message — what can I say, I’m an old-fashioned girl — but if I were to do so, I wouldn’t use emojis. And I definitely wouldn’t use off-brand emojis like whatever the hell this A has on her bootleg iPhone. Why is the best emoji available for “police officer” a pig wearing a cop hat? Off-brand emoji is the new “characters on the CW doing research on Bing.”
14. Okay, sorry, but everything about Charlotte (last week: not ranked)
If PLL wanted us to care at all about Charlotte, then maybe Ali bond with her offscreen after seasons of Charlotte/Charlie being the alleged mastermind behind the torture inflicted on all the Liars was … not the best move. Is there seriously a universe in which everyone isn’t dancing in the streets of Rosewood cheering, “Ding dong, the witch is dead!” after Charlotte kicks it? When Hanna says Sad Robyn “deserves more than a few volts” from that D.I.Y. electric fence, I have to scrape the bottom of my brain to remember: What is it we think Sad Robyn did again? Did she kill Charlotte? Or is she mad at whoever killed Charlotte so she’s stalking the Liars? WHO WOULD EVEN BE SAD THAT CHARLOTTE IS DEAD? None of these girls even knew her until 20 minutes ago.
15. Ali (last week: 12)
“This is my punishment,” Ali says, curled up in a dark, abandoned church, which is not spooky at all, can totally see why you’d run there in a moment of panic. And I know she’s in a bad way now, but she did fake her own kidnapping for … reasons? Before that, she was the most manipulative mean girl this side of Westerburg High. So, she might not be wrong, re: her status in the karma department. I’m glad Emily took her to that creepy mental institution with a staff made entirely of Nurse Ratcheds instead of a normal, brightly lit hospital. (How are all the Liars paying for this repeated inpatient care, by the way? Is all of this covered by their insurance? If so, damn, thanks Obama.)
Lingering concerns: What’s with this episode and insinuating girls don’t know anything about tools? Between Hanna and the screwdriver and Spencer and the power saw, I am not pleased with the recurring motif that girls can’t handle/would be unfamiliar with these basics. So, the DiLaurentises adopted Charlotte from someone at Radley just to turn around and send that kid back to Radley?