Emily and Spencer and Hanna are packing up Emily’s stuff in Ali’s shrine room when Emily’s vision latches onto a bottle of blue nail polish and her brain flashes back to this time when Ali was torturing her by painting her toes and insisting that she break up with Ben because of how he’s the leftover mushy squash at the buffet and she’s a raging homosexual. She says if you don’t take care of yourself, don’t make your own decisions, you’ll spend the rest of your life getting bent into the shape other people want you to be in. It’s really wise advice, actually, but Ali follows it up by saying she’ll do the deed with Emily, which causes Emily’s eyeballs to bug right out of her skull. (“What deed?“) But really Ali is offering to break up with Ben on her behalf like she broke up with her doppelganger’s boyfriend one time, and at least Ben probably won’t pull a gun on her.
Back in the present, Emily goes, “Uh, hey, Spence, did Ali ever tell you about the time one of her friends’ boyfriends pointed a gun at her? Probably it was Wilden and Cece because of the way our weirdly selective memories about Alison tend to work. Like, Wilden was in love with Cece and maybe stalking the shit out her so maybe the only way she could be safe again was to kill him? We thought it was Ali and Wilden in Cape May, but maybe it was Cece and Wilden?”
And then, guess what? CECE DRAKE! She’s back! She’s milling around some kind of lair of her own — which: if she has that, why does she need to be living under Ms. D’s porch? — chatting on the phone about how she’s not coming back to Rosewood and whomever needs to keep whatever promise and there’s a red coat in the corner and pictures and newspaper clippings of Alison all over the place and a rucksack full of mannequin legs over there in the corner.
Hoedown, bitches. Almost as soon as the Liars arrive at the hoedown, the guy who’s been following Hanna around town all night asks her to dance. It is her custom to only dance with nerds at parties for hundred dollar bills, but she makes an exception for this guy, this Travis, because it turns out he was out at Face Lake the night Wilden was shot. He saw Wilden and Ashley fight and then he saw Ashley leave. Next thing you know, he saw a time-traveling ghost swooshing through the woods and a dead body on the ground and he rushed the hell out of there. The next day, his truck was back at his family’s tow truck business with a wad of cash in the front seat. He never went to the cops because his family, like all families in Rosewood, had beef with Wilden and he didn’t want to go to jail for cop-killing. He gave the money to Hanna as a kind of penance, but she doesn’t want his money. Pastor Ted has oodles of money. What she wants from him is some testimony.
I don’t really have time to talk about just how much I loved the music in this episode. You know I’m a country girl, born and bred in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains, so I just interpreted the whole thing as a love letter.
Toby spends his time at the hoedown standing around looking pissy, mumbling about how he could be listening to his dead mom music instead of dancing with Spencer who looks hotter than the damn sun in those overalls and hat, and then he gets a text about the location of Dr. Palmer’s car of patient records, and he splits. Spencer sends Caleb after him, just as he was about to enjoy two full plates of fried chicken, and of course the police show up when they’re looking super-duper suspicious, just as A intended. Ugh. Toby, I love you. But what in the world, man. What in the world.
Jake and Aria boot-scoot the night away, all smiles and heel-tapping and murder-free bliss. At one point, Jake tells Ezra, who is tending bar because he is the only person there old enough to tend bar, to back off. And at another point Emily, who is being just absolutely awful and ignoring Paige all day long, tells Aria she should stop ignoring Ezra and talk to him about how his not-son is moving across the country and so he’s going to not be able to be a not-dad to him up close.