“Pretty Little Liars” recap (5.4): Chaos is what killed the dinosaurs, darling!

 
 

Emily and Paige spend their weekend training sweet little Sydney Driscoll. It starts with Paige and Emily bumping into each other in the locker room again, more civilly this time:

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Paige: It’s cool you’re spending your weekend helping Sydney. People think Spencer has the market cornered on Being Hermione Granger, but you’re the best parts of her.
Emily: I don’t know. Hermione never got pissy being the best friend of The Boy Who Lived.
Paige: Speaking of which Voldemorts … just kidding. How’s Alison?
Emily: I dunno. We’re all dodging her for reasons we can’t quantity.
Sydney Driscoll: Sorry I’m late. The mirror was throwing me this morning. Usually it’s like half-Jaime Murray/half-Jennifer Garner, but there’s something Hathaway about the way I’m holding my mouth today.
Paige: Cool, well, I’ll let you guys get to it.
Emily: You could train with us if you want.
Paige’s face: I guess this is what it feels like to be poisoned by your sports cream.
Paige mouth: Yeah, OK, let me get some water.

After running sprints they end up at a pizza place and Emily and Paige laugh together about something for the first time I can ever remember in all of history. Have y’all ever seen Emily laugh? It’s like the goddamn sunrise.

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Paige thinks so too, and then a different light catches her eye: the holy glow of The Vanderjesus. Mona’s eyes narrow and Paige tries to get back to the business of eating her buffalo ranch chicken pizza (girl, no!) but she can’t quite shake the feeling that before this day is done she is going to come face-to-face with her reckoning.

Emily’s bitching about it with Aria and Spencer at an afternoon meet-up where they all take turns accusing each other of not doing right by Ali. Emily’s like, “It was like joke-joke-joke and then she shut down.” And Aria is all, “I’m not taking sides, but didn’t you, like, break-up her heart into ten billion pieces? Maybe she’s just a little bit afraid to get close to you again.” Emily stops folding laundry long enough to realize that maybe she oversimplified a situation involving multiple tortures of girls she loved and took the chickenshit way out by breaking up with Paige so she didn’t have to sort through how deeply, darkly complicated it was going to be for everyone if Alison came home. I’m just kidding, Emily keeps folding laundry, but hear me out:

One thing the Liars say out loud this week is: How are things still so borked up when we got exactly what we wanted? A is gone and Alison is alive and home. And it makes sense that of all the Liars, Hanna and Emily would have the hugest existential crises about it. Hanna’s is being explored a little more overtly (and it’s truly awesome to watch), but Emily’s is super internal. Right because Ali was the first girl she ever loved and also the genesis of Emily understanding her sexuality and she never knew if Ali reciprocated her feelings — in a legitimately gay way — or if she was just messing with her.

The only closure she got on that whole situation was Alison’s death, which hit her harder than it hit anyone because she was the one person on the planet who was truly, wholly in love with Alison. And also because she was the only person on earth who ever got to see Alison roll over and expose her softness. So Ali coming back rips open all those old wounds, the most gaping, bleeding one of which is: Did/does Alison love me (again: in a legit gay way)? To complicate that to infinity, Emily knows that despite the goodness she sees in Ali, the girl has the capacity to wound people in their actual souls. And the proof of that keeps popping up and staring at her with the saddest love eyes. Emily loved Alison, Alison hurt Paige, Alison hurt Emily, Paige hurt Emily, Emily loved Paige, Paige dimed out Alison, Emily broke up with Paige. Emily’s capacity for love and forgiveness is bigger than the oceans. I’ve been too hard on her. Love is a bloodbath.

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But Emily can’t deal with that right now. She just keeps folding and folding and folding laundry, until Aria is like, “Hey, do you have feelings for our dead friend who’s not dead anymore? Oh, never mind. Let’s talk about how you killed the guy that killed your girlfriend who actually is dead.” Somehow Emily does talk about it instead of punching that hat off of Aria’s head.

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