This show has always been dark — um, what’s the Rosewood death count again? — but this new season feels darker, in a way. Maybe it’s because the girls have more outside problems than just some faceless demon texting their phones, or maybe it’s just hard to watch them get pulled back into this sick town from the healthy lives they’ve been cultivating for the past five years. Or maybe it’s because Sara Harvey doesn’t seem to be going away, and that girl makes my skin crawl like no one else. She’s worse than Jenna, I swear.
We begin this episode with the girls gabbing, still wearing their sexy black funeral dresses. They ask Hanna when she told her fiancé, Jordan (more on him later), about Rosewood, and she says, “When I knew I was falling in love with him.” Aria can’t say the same about opening up to her new boo, Liam, though. Then things get a bit tense — Aria says she has to get back to work in Boston; she can’t lose her job. The others are all, “Uh, like our jobs don’t matter?” (except Emily… More on her later, too). Hanna reminds Aria that the police are going to ask them about “that night” — a.k.a. when they all got wasted at Chateau Radley — and Aria reminds her that they were all together. No one left the hotel!
One problem, Aria: Hanna’s not an idiot. When she woke up at 3 a.m. “to hydrate,” she saw Aria leave the room and knows she didn’t come back anytime soon. Hanna confronts Aria alone, but Aria just says there’s nothing to tell. She just went to her car. A likely story! Another likely story? Sara Harvey isn’t on the suspect list because she apparently had some selective memory loss. Also, for some reason, she’s still wearing those gray gloves she wore at the funeral and still has that fella doing things for her — even things like signing her name. What in the world happened to that girl’s hands?
Ali gets some facts about Charlotte’s death from Lorenzo, and they’re not pretty (get it?): Not only was Charlotte’s neck broken, but her fingernails and hands had been wiped clean. Oh, and the cops are looking particularly closely at the people Charlotte targeted. Which makes sense but is also TOTALLY UNFAIR because…remember how Charlotte locked them all in a torture dollhouse and the Rosewood PD still released her? Okay, just making sure we’re all still on the same page.
And now for some lighter fare: Time to meet Jordan! Hanna’s fiancé not only looks about 10 years older than everyone else on this show including Ezra, but he’s also British, which means he’s very obviously filling a hole our dear, sweet Wren left when he returned to the motherland. He has access to an estate in the Hamptons, got Hanna a bunch of different New York cuisines delivered to their hotel room, and overall seems to be a great guy. (Despite looking suspiciously old. No, I can’t get over it.) Most importantly, it does seem like Hanna really loves him — girl was smiling ear to ear when they were together.
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Aria, meanwhile, is off to do some damage control. She shows up at Ezra’s (who is not looking too healthy, by the way) and tells him, “We didn’t see each other the night Charlotte was killed. You did not call me. We didn’t walk or talk or leave the hotel.” Which means they did all of those things. Very, very fishy.
Here’s something that’s fishy in a much sadder way: Emily is getting “treatments” at Hollis Medical Center, and the nurse administering the injections is surprised to hear that she lives in California but is getting treatments here. She highly recommends staying in town, and Emily seems ready to comply: “I just…really need this to work,” she says. Is it chemo or what? Can’t the girl who’s suffered the most actual tragedies get a break for once?
Ali decides to have a dinner party with all the girls because her house is empty and lonely. (What happened to Mr. D, by the way? Was that explained in the premiere? Can somebody help?) Everyone’s down to attend except sneaky little Aria, who zips back to Boston to work. Hanna and Jordan offer to bring plenty of booze (because THIS IS FREEFORM and the girls CAN DRINK NOW, in case you forgot), and Spencer and Caleb plan to go…while continuing their not-so-subtle flirtation this week.
In Boston, we meet Aria’s bespectacled beau, Liam — her co-worker at the publishing house. That girl loves a forbidden romance, doesn’t she? He asks about “Ezra Fitz,” which at first made me think she had told her new dude about the old flame, but actually he was just asking about Fitz as an author they publish. He seems to know Fitz was Aria’s teacher, but that’s about it. When Aria tells their boss Fitz wants to give back the advance, boss lady wasn’t having it. She tried to put Liam on the case, but Aria stepped up and said she’d try again. Sure you will, Aria. Boss lady seems to have no sympathy for the fact that Ezra’s girlfriend is most likely dead in South America, but that’s business, I guess!
And now for a familiar face: Pot Girl! Apparently she’s been managing The Brew in Ezra’s stead. When Emily can’t get money out of the ATM (because she doesn’t have any), Pot Girl loans her some. Not sure if this is another instance of “Emily’s been single for 3 minutes so we must bring in a girl to instantly fall in love with her” or she’s just being a friend. But she does tell Emily that she used to have cancer (casual small talk) and that, whatever Emily’s going through, she needs to lean on people for support. Obviously, Emily has not been doing that. But this looks like more evidence — plus the pills that spilled out of her bag last week — that this beautiful creature actually might have cancer, doesn’t it? Poor Em.
NEXT: Spencer senses something familiar…