Aria goes even darker in this episode of Pretty Little Liars as the cops close in on Spencer for Rollins’ murder. The liars finally discover how Lucas fits into the endgame, Ali and Emily grow closer, and poor Mona is still on the outside of the liars’ circle, looking in. Plus, for an episode titled “The Glove That Rocks the Cradle,” Hanna and Caleb unbelievably refuse to wear gloves while destroying evidence. 

They’ve been under police investigation so many times that I’m pretty sure Spencer has a frequent customer punch card at the precinct. How are they still so bad at all of this? This is the exact reason you bring in Mona early.

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This dark Aria storyline has been so unbelievably fun to watch play out, especially because throughout the run of the series Aria is often the one stuck in lame romantic subplots with Ezra. And while the Ezria relationship is still sticking around, at least now Aria is able to take part directly in the action and get a little twisted. Who knew that watching Aria rip the head off a teddy bear was all I ever really needed from this show? 

Time to Solve Some Mysteries

There are some seriously great moments in this episode, and yet the closer we get to the series’ ultimate “end game,” the more concerned I get with each individual episode. There are now only four episodes left (with a two-hour finale) to answer the millions of questions this series has left dangling open. And while I don’t expect the show to tie everything up in a neat bow, it does feel like it’s time to start solving a few long-simmering mysteries. 

The last ‘A’ reveal was problematic for so, so many reasons, but one of those was definitely that the show waited until the last possible moment and turned the finale revealing Charlotte as ‘A’ into one long exposition info dump. As the series winds down, the specter of watching two hours of exposition in the series finale just makes me tired. 

The Truth About Lucas

At the very least, it’s finally revealed what Lucas’ whole deal is, and it turns out to be way less interesting than you might have thought. It turns out that Lucas was never on Charlotte’s ‘A’ team and never knew that Charlotte was the whole mastermind behind everything. He did, however, continue to correspond with his childhood friend, revealing all the terrible things Ali and her friends did to him along the way. 

(It must be said that once again, this show is dealing with the Charlotte storyline in ways that make me very uncomfortable, including misgendering her multiple times in this episode. You would think they would have maybe consulted with a trans person by now to get these things right, particularly considering the understandable backlash from the initial Charlotte reveal.) 

In Lucas’ mind, he’s one of the reasons Charlotte targeted the girls for harassment. Except … didn’t Charlotte give a whole explanation of her motives in the season 6 mid-season finale that never mentioned Lucas at all? Poor Lucas always seems to think he’s more important than he actually is to people. This is proven later when Hanna kicks Lucas out of his own loft. “I’ll just sleep in the hallway. Could you toss me out some pajamas? No? That’s cool.” 

Hanna explains that she always believed in Lucas, even that one time she tried to murder him with a boat paddle. Lucas explains that he has also always believed in Hanna, and that’s why he’s broke now. “As it turns out, neither of us know anything about fashion. Guess I better go create another app. If I wear enough hoodies, do you think someone will think I’m the next Zuckerberg?”

Lucas tells the liars, who are confronting him, the truth about his connection to Charlotte and then reveals that there was another chapter to the Arcturus comic saga. 

“Where’s the comic now?” Spencer wants to know. “It’s a graphic novel,” Lucas corrects, in what might be the funniest line in this whole season. Of course, Lucas is that guy. 

The storyline in the second comic involves turning torture into a game, which definitely sounds pretty familiar. The name of the comic is End Game, which doesn’t seem like good news for the liars. Also bad news? A.D. is finally finishing the comic, and it involves a grave. 

Dark Aria is Betrayed by Her Earrings

Season 7 might not be the show’s strongest outing, but it’ll always hold a special place in my heart for the rise of Dark Aria. Aria wearing a hoodie and hanging a mobile of creepy dolls and disembodied gloves feels like the Aria we’ve always needed on this show. 

Aria is still getting messages from A.D. telling her what to do, and she obviously doesn’t want to cross the terrifying Snapchat filter Aria again. So she spends most of the episode skulking in corners during group discussions and making ominous pronouncements that are about as subtle as a brick to the face. I’m no fan of the Aria and Ezra relationship, but they both do evil at the same mustache-twirling level. Dark Aria is the can of chickpeas elevated to high art. 

Hanna is sent to a computer store to get a hard drive with a Patsy Cline song, the same artist they heard in the Dollhouse. They don’t have much time to ponder this, however, because Hanna gets instructions from A.D. to put the hard drive in a locker at the school. Of course, Aria tips her hand about knowing about the locker when she shouldn’t because she’s new to this whole “being relevant to the plot” thing. 

Unfortunately, the liars don’t send their A-team to scope out the locker, instead sending the non-stop romantic drama that is Emily and Alison. You really want to send Emily Fields to do a job that she can’t just walk away from halfway through? Play to people’s strengths! 

Of course, Emily and Alison end up having a romantic heart-to-heart instead of actually watching the locker because Emily Fields can barely go to work without macking on several women. It’s not her fault; it’s just what she does. When Ali runs after the person in the school (who turns out to be Mona), she falls down and Emily takes her back home.

This turns out to be bad news for Darth Aria, who is at that moment painting their brand-new nursery with the blood of the innocent. Obviously, when you want someone to go ham and trash a room, you call in the big guns. You call in Aria Montgomery. At least, A.D. knows how to play to the liars’ strengths. 

Aria is nearly caught by Emily and Alison and rushes out of the house, but not before getting her arm snagged on something and getting a nasty scratch. The next day, Spencer marvels over what kind of monster could possibly do something as terrible as messing up the nursery. “Okay, but did you ever consider the nursery might have had it coming?” Aria asks. “Just saying.”

Spencer also quickly spots one of Aria’s earrings and seems to be putting it together with her shady behavior of late. Aria tries to recover like the earring had just fallen off, but Spencer is definitely suspicious now. 

Aria being betrayed by her own earrings is honestly the most Aria thing that could possibly happen to her. The only way it could have been better is if the earring was a giant feather or small doll head. Poor Aria; to be betrayed by her own earrings, the source of her sartorial power.

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Spencer Hastings is Suspect Number One

Spencer begins the episode being questioned by a very “bad cop,” Barry Maple. So you’re gonna play us like that, Barry? I think the power has gone to Barry’s head. Spencer is very rattled but tries to stay calm as they question her about being at the Radley the night of Rollins’ murder. 

Later, Spencer has to reveal to the liars how badly she messed up with the receipts. Hanna immediately goes into a rage because she’s the one who ran Rollins over with the car. But she backs down as soon as Spencer reminds her of the Spaleb of it all, reminding her that the reason she was drinking heavily was because Hanna was about to steal her boyfriend. 

Hanna goes into damage control mode and decides that if they’re going to save Spencer, they need to find and destroy the receipt with Spencer’s signature. Because her mom owns the Radley, she volunteers to break in and get the receipt with some help from Caleb. 

Speaking of Caleb, he seems to remember the Spencer and Caleb relationship about as well as the writers and needs to be reminded that their break-up was why Spencer got trashed that night. He has an awkward moment with Spencer when he tells her that he and Hanna are on her side.

There is a lot of stuff about time windows, delivering the hard drive across town, a Radley staff meeting and Caleb’s security system. What it comes down to is Hanna riffling through the boxes of receipts without any gloves on, leaving her fingerprints all over everything like an idiot. 

With not enough time, Caleb just tips the box of receipts on the floor and then breaks a water pipe, ruining all the evidence. “Done!” he yells and then wipes his fingerprints all over the room as well. “What’s a glove?” they wonder as they run out of their 50th breaking-and-entering scheme. 

Meanwhile, Spencer is trying to use her feminine wiles to get Marco off the case, which just ends up making her look even more guilty to Detective Fury. It turns out that neither of them really knew each other at all. Spencer is used to dealing with corrupt cops with a taste for underage girls, and Marco clearly didn’t look very heavily into Spencer’s police file before dating her. This is about the seventh murder that she’s been accused of in Rosewood. One more murder and she’ll get a free froyo!

Angry over the ruined evidence, Marco swears to go after the rest of her friends. Uh-oh. It might be time for the rest of the liars to embrace Mona the way that Hanna has, as she is clearly the only one smart enough to properly cover up a crime. 

Speaking of Mona, the scene where she declares that she’s willing to play the game to help Hanna just to discover that Hanna hasn’t told the rest of the liars about her is heartbreaking. Mona points out rightly that she’s always on the outside of the group looking in, no matter how many times she’s saved the liars from themselves. “How many times do I have to save all of you until I’m finally part of the group?” she wonders. As usual, Janel Parrish really knocks it out of the park. 

Romance, Books and Babies

In the episode’s romantic plotlines, Ezra’s publicist wants Aria out of the press tour. She’s dealing with stringing together doll parts for a nursery mobile, so she’s fine with being out of the spotlight. However, at his book event, Ezra says that he’s in love with Aria and that she’s the next chapter of his life. 

Elsewhere, the Ali and Emily drama is just getting more complicated now that a baby has been added to the mix. When Emily tells Spencer that going to see Marco is a bad idea, Spencer points out that this whole baby thing is also maybe not the most healthy thing for Emily. This causes Emily to have a downward spiral about her relationship with Ali, freaking out on her over pregnancy vitamins and whether she’ll jaunt off to Paris and leave Emily with the baby.

This sparks a heart-to-heart in which Alison tells Emily that the reason none of her other relationships worked out is because she was always in love with Emily. Also, a lot of her other relationships involved creepy older men, being stabbed and people that sedated her and put her in a mental hospital. I’m not saying she doesn’t love Emily; I’m just saying that Emily’s competition for Ali’s heart is not all that impressive.

Ali says she wants to do the whole baby and family thing together with Emily, and then they kiss. This storyline remains horrible, and yet Sasha Pieterse and Shay Mitchell are doing some great work to elevate these scenes above the soap opera trappings and into something that feels earned and real. I wish we could have gotten to Emily and Alison literally any other way. 

What did you think of the episode? Do you think Lucas is telling the truth? Will Aria come clean? Does Spencer know Aria is on the ‘A’ team? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Pretty Little Liars season 7 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on Freeform. Want more news? Like our Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of Freeform)

Morgan Glennon

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV