Previously on Pretty Little Liars, A sucked out Emily’s brain through her ears while she was asleep and replaced it with a new lame brain wired to give up on all the best things in life, including swimming and puffy drapes and Paige McCullers. Hanna descended further down the rabbit hole of absolute madness when Veronica was forced to recuse herself as Ashley’s lawyer because of an ineffective little Radley tantrum she threw at Mona. Spencer and Toby got into the weirdest, sex-destroying role playing situation ever when she pretended to be his dead mom to trick a deranged former psychiatrist into spilling the details of Marion’s maybe-murder. And Aria sat around soaking up all the awesomeness of the world while eating vegan burritos with Kung Fu Jake.
Well, Cece is the supervillain now. Spencer has decreed it; thus it is so. She’s been wearing a Red Coat and living under the DiLaurentis’ front porch and flying planes and setting lodges aflame and staring up Emily’s skirt, all as punishment because the Liars were girls with Ali when she broke that sorority sister’s neck at Ian’s frat party and got Cece kicked out of college. Emily’s ready to pack up her shit and move literally anywhere else, but is willing to shelve her peeper creeper problems for the moment so Hanna can meltdown some more about how her mom doesn’t have a lawyer.
But the Liars even have to pause that conversation because Lt. Tanner swaggers right into the Rosewood High Courtyard to mess with them, all, “Emily, hey there. How’s homelessness working out for you? Actually, oddly enough, I was just over at the wreckage of your house picking through the rubble and I found one of the swamp shoes someone was wearing down at Face Lake the night someone murdered Detective Wilden. Isn’t that crazy, Hanna? Basically, we just do Reverse Cinderella Ballistics now, and then it’s off to the electric chair with someone.” Lt. Tanner waltzes out of there with a song in her heart, Hanna punches a hole through the table, and Spencer decides it’s time to offer up Cece as a suspect in Wilden’s murder investigation.
How is she going to put Cece on Tanner’s radar? Duh, she’s just going to lead an expedition to that crawl space under the DiLaurentis’ porch where Cece has obviously been living and sleeping and eating canned beans from Uncle Jaime’s Bean Farm while wearing masks of everybody’s faces, just interchanging them at her leisure like she and Ali used to do with their souls. Wearing a mask of Emily’s face, staring up through those kitchen holes at Emily’s hooha. The only problem is getting Ms. D out of the house long enough for them to conduct a thorough investigation. The task of keeping her occupied falls to Hanna. All she has to do is let Ms. D take her shopping. Hanna’s like, “Sure, OK. My life isn’t already enough of a shitshow. Let me just go try on dresses and see how many times Ali’s mom calls me ‘Hefty.’ That’ll be a balm to my blossoming PTSD, I’m sure.”
None of the Liars bother to ask Spencer what she hopes to find in that crawlspace to implicate Cece, or how whatever they find could be more convincing than Ashley’s fingerprints on the bullets inside the gun that shot Wilden in the face. Partly they’re just so strung out on evidence overload at this point, who even knows. But also the word “hoedown” gets bandied about, and so obviously they divert their attention to that impending glory. After the Liars break — Spencer to give it one last go at trying to care about Toby’s dead mom — Hanna bursts into tears and falls against the soda machine and then realizes some random guy is peeking at her from around the corner like a cartoon Spy vs. Spy kind of guy, so she wraps her Barbie blazer around her tightly and stomps off, glaring at him the whole way.
Emily is reading the
love college recommendation letter Rumer Willis wrote for her when Paige drops by the computer lab to firm up plans for the hoedown. She is wearing a Boy Scouts uniform, for starters, OK, and this is how come I know for sure that Emily’s brains have been addled by some kind of Dark Magic: She doesn’t even lose her breath or her balance or her sense of decorum looking at Paige McCullers looking at her in that outfit. She just hands over the letter and hems and haws about how she doesn’t really know if she’s got time to go down at the hoedown with her girlfriend because Spencer says they have to dig around in the dirt under the DiLaurentis’ porch to see if they can find like a letter from Cece confessing that she killed Wilden stuffed inside an empty Doritos bag. Paige’s eyes get narrower and narrower the whole time, not because Emily is getting cagier by the second, but because she’s reading Rumer Willis’ letter, and it’s basically like: “Clutched in her graceful hands, a power tool becomes a scepter. She is queen of the Habitat — her earth auger digging a well, unearthing my dirty thoughts. The ground is my body; it quakes in anticipation of her post hole digger!”