“Pretty Little Liars” recap 3.18: Bienvenue, Dark Lord!


Meanwhile, in the least-anguished apartment in all of PA, Wesley and Aria chat about cactuses and trust funds and how they’re both sorry for not telling Ezra sooner that he has a kid. The phone rings and Aria resists lunging for it, deferring instead to Wesley, whose eyes are all wild and darty at the prospect of someone finding him here. He answers, finally, but no one is on the other end of the line, so off they frolic for some pizza and pinball downtown.

Also downtown is Spencer, who runs into Jason, who demands an explanation about why she is not coming to Ali’s one hundredth funeral. Also, he would like to know why she withdrew several thousand dollars in cash from the ATM, but he’s willing to let that one go because he knows a thing or two about paying off shady people for the good of the A-game. Spencer glowers at him and goes, “I would destroy you in a verbal argument any day of the year, but especially on this day, when I have been listening to hide-and-seek music all afternoon. So, I am going to go before I make you cry.” That’s when Jason knows something real is going on. When Spencer can’t find pleasure in making another person break down in tears, it’s a real good indication that her soul is dying.

Out at the Rivers Ranch of Regrets and Recriminations, Hanna thanks Uncle Jamie for letting them dig around. He says it’s no problem, that Caleb’s dad was a deadbeat, that Caleb’s dad was scared, that Caleb’s dad thought time would stand still while he got his shit together, that Caleb’s dad is so very sorry, that Caleb’s dad loved Caleb’s mom, that know one knows Caleb’s dad better than him, better than Good old Uncle Jamie. He hands over a baby photo of Caleb. Hanna checks out the ring in the photo and the ring on Uncle Jamie’s hand, and her brain is like: Cousins aren’t always really cousins, which means … uncles aren’t always really uncles?

Emily is pacing around her room like a caged lion. She picks up the Eiffel Tower postcard and stares into a flashback. Oh! It’s one of the ones when Emily is a burgeoning little lesbian! Khaki shorts and pastel polos and the inability to look directly at Ali’s face because her heart is beating “I love you!” so loud she’s sure Ali can hear it. And Ali is like she always was with Emily. Different. Gentle. Warm. That was Ali’s most awful trick of all, I think. She didn’t torture Emily with the secret things she’d done; she tortured Emily with the secret thing she was. The worst thing you can do to a girl who’s learning she’s gay is to make her believe the only time you can be you is when you’re with her. Because that little gay girl is trying desperately to figure out if her real self is safe with you too. Ali lays out a bunch of postcards, Memory-style, and weaves into Emily’s imagination the idea of a place they can go where they can be together, together, far away, forever.

Where’s the shovel? I’ll take care of Alison my own damn self.

Pam interrupts Emily’s flashback, and Emily is full of so much shame and so much regret that she can’t even allow herself to be comforted. She says she’s lost her innocence, her goodness, her very Emily-ness. Pam wraps her up like only a mom can and says, “Honey, I let you internalize guilt for far too long for something you never should have been ashamed of. I know you. I know your heart like only a mom can know a girl’s heart. What’s inside you is a magic that makes this world warmer and brighter and better because you’re a part of it.” And you know what? Emily believes her. And you know what else? So do I.

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