In this episode of Pretty Little Liars, “Original G’A’ngsters,” the mystery of Mary Drake deepens, Alison finds out she might have yet another evil family member, Toby takes off to go inadequately police another small town, Ezra tries to elope with Aria, and Jason returns to show off his new holy hipster look.
For some reason, Jason has chosen “Jesus attending Coachella” as his new look. “After this awkward dinner party, I’m going to turn some water into wine. It’s gonna be lit at the DiLaurentis house tonight! It’s going to be a family reunion, and all our unknown relatives and illegitimate Hastings parents are invited!”
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A Choppy Episode
Not even our lord and savior Jason Christ can save this episode, which seems like it’s the victim of some editing blunders. Scenes feel weirdly truncated, and plot developments seem to appear out of thin air. The good stuff is pretty good, but the episode feels disjointed in a way that seems more sloppy than intentional.
For instance, I spend a good portion of the episode trying to figure out how Yvonne ends up in the hospital. Early in the episode, Toby gets a call, which presumably is a call about Yvonne getting injured, but we learn nothing more about how she ends up with a couple of cracked ribs or why Spencer is in the hospital with her.
Likewise, Ezra and Aria look overwhelmed by wedding planning … in the first scene we’ve ever seen them even attempt wedding planning. They jump from proposal to “screw all this planning, let’s just elope,” without the audience ever seeing them spend any time thinking about a traditional wedding.
In both of these instances, it feels like there’s a scene or two missing that would have bridged these plot developments and made the rest of the episode hang together more sensibly. Something as simple as watching Ezra and Aria deal with a pushy, overzealous wedding planner or seeing Toby run towards a hurt Yvonne would have done a little expositional legwork for the audience. As it is, I feel like we’re dropped into the middle of many of the storylines in this episode.
What saves this episode are some fun returning characters, some genuine emotional moments and the addition of a few extra layers to this season’s central mystery.
Just who is Mary Drake anyway? If she had another child, who is he or she? Does Alison have yet another evil family member? And how much did Jessica know? This episode leaves us with some intriguing questions going into the last run of episodes for this season.
And lo, in the seventh episode, Jason rises again in fulfillment of his contract, but he won’t shave and he won’t shower and he won’t stop making eyes at Aria in ways that creep Alison out. Jason finally shows back up in Rosewood to help out Alison, but probably mostly because he is also broke. It turns out that Rollins took all the money from the Carissimi Group that Jason was using for charity.
For some unexplained reason, Jason has spent the last five years auditioning for the sequel to Passion of the Christ. His long hair and beard makes him look like a combination of Jesus, a hipster trying to sell you artisanal pickles in Brooklyn and a homeless person. It is a strange choice. Obviously, Aria is feeling it.
Jason doesn’t trust Mary Drake because of that one time Mary made Alison go insane and check herself into a mental hospital to steal all her money. “Okay, but you can’t let little things like impersonating our dead mother get in the way of spending time with family, right?” says Alison, the person who was nearly choked to death by her sister, Charlotte. Alison has a real blind spot when it comes to family, and Jason is afraid that Mary Drake is exploiting it.
Ali, however, points out that Jason basically bounced with all the Carissimi money to go grow his hair out and do charity, leaving both of his sisters behind in Rosewood to get murdered or driven insane, so he doesn’t have much room to judge.
Jason goes to Aria for help getting Ali to see reason because at some point during the missing five years, Aria and Jason totally boned. He’s happy for her upcoming marriage to Ezra, even though he’s still making eyes at her in a way that tips Alison off to the fact that they’ve sexed each other up in the past.
We find out in a flashback that during the time Jason went to Aunt Carol’s house to recuperate from nearly being turned into a pancake by an elevator, Mary Drake was the mysterious presence that Jessica was hiding in the house.
Mary yells at Jessica about her son, and Jessica says she took care of him as best she could. Given the revelations later in the episode, the water is muddied over whether she’s talking about Charlotte or another child.
Toby Says Goodbye
Speaking of the weirdness of the Yvonne injury, after she gets hurt (however that happened), Spencer gives Toby the heads-up that now would be an excellent time for them to skip town. Despite his house building and his job, Toby knows that when Spencer Hastings tells you to get out of town, you run.
Toby reveals that he was originally building the house for Spencer, just like in The Notebook, but almost losing Yvonne because he happened to have the Mary Drake file made him reconsider his life. He decides to take Spencer’s advice and go with Yvonne to a small town in Maine where she has family. After Toby leaves, Spencer cries and, as usual, Troian Bellisario really knocks it out of the park.
Is Toby really gone for good? Who knows? But for now, it seems like Officer Toby won’t be around to help the liars.
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Noel Kahn’s Return
While the audience knows that Noel Kahn is back in town, the liars finally catch their first glimpse of him in this episode. He seems like he’s doing well and has money to burn, but then why is he talking to a doctor and angrily kicking tables? And why did he have Mary Drake’s burnt file? The Noel Kahn of it all in this episode certainly raises more questions than answers.
Noel’s partner in crime Jenna has definitely had better days. She’s heartbroken over finding out that Sara Harvey was found dead in the shower. Poor Sara Harvey. At least now she’s lathering up in that great big shower in the sky.
Unfortunately for Jenna, what she thinks is a complimentary massage is really Caleb pulling a total Lucas in order to get Jenna’s room key and pass it along to his former honeys Spencer and Hanna. They break into the room and find a lock box filled with information, but they don’t see much before Noel Kahn bursts into the room dressed all in black. That seems rather suspicious.
Later, Caleb and Hanna are trying to decipher what they found when Caleb realizes that Hanna isn’t wearing an engagement ring. They have a long, lingering moment that makes it obvious that there are still a lot of feelings between the two.
Elopement and the Storm Cellar
Marriage seems to be on everyone’s mind, as Emily’s plan for a quiet dinner for her still-grieving mom backfires when a bunch of rowdy bachelorettes invade The Radley. The two brides send over drinks to Emily and her mom to apologize, and Emily convinces Pam Fields to have some fun, have a pink drink and join a book club.
Meanwhile, Ezra sets up his previous stalker boards with his dream Pinterest wedding. “Isn’t it funny that these boards used to be full of surveillance photos of you and your underage friends, and now we’re getting married? I can’t wait to tell our kids someday about how we met.” In Aria’s defense, who could resist such romance?
The two quickly realize how intense wedding planning is going to be. “Instead of spending this special day in your life with family and friends, what if we just eloped? You know, really lean into this whole bad idea before we have any time whatsoever to think about what we’re doing? Also, let’s do it in Tuscany where there’s plenty of wine so we’ll never have to be sober enough to consider our choices!” Aria obviously thinks this plan sounds very mature and sophisticated.
Aria does have some second thoughts, especially after Spencer buys the girls name plate necklaces of friendship and Aria agrees that they’ll all be her bridesmaids. Soon, Aria is getting pulled back into the liars’ business, demanding that Emily accompany her on a mission to check out Aunt Carol’s mysterious storm cellar.
Emily, the genius who told Aria to delete a voicemail from a missing girl instead of call the cops, tells Aria that elopement is a great idea and she should get on it right away. Aria is down for this because it’s what she wanted to do anyway, so as usual, she leaves the actual investigative work to the rest of the liars while she goes off to deal with her love life. That’s so Aria!
Of course, things aren’t all smooth sailing for Ezra and Aria when the FBI shows up at Ezra’s door to inform him that Nicole just might be alive after all. And that’s why you should never delete someone else’s voicemail, Aria, especially if it comes from a ghost. Caleb could tell you all about exes who are ghosts.
Meanwhile, Spencer, Hanna, Emily and Alison go to check out the storm cellar and discover that it also doubled as Jessica’s lair (or, in Freeform speak, #JessicasLair).
In the lair, they find files on all of the liars except Aria, and Alison realizes that her mother must have known she was alive and was searching for her the whole time. They also find a file on Mary Drake that shows that her mom subjected Mary to electroshock therapy. Possibly more shocking than that, however, it also shows that Mary had another child who is around the liars’ ages. So it’s time to start the guessing on who that kid could be!
Just as this information is starting to sink in, Spencer’s car starts freaking out. They all jump in so the alarm will stop blaring, and the car automatically locks and starts a countdown. The liars freak out, sure that the car is about to blow.
Instead, AD just threatens them to stop looking into their identity, blows up the storm cellar and does a nice season 1 callback by writing “I see you” in the car’s back window. That certainly seems to point the finger squarely at Noel Kahn, but things are never that cut and dry on Pretty Little Liars.
As the episode ends, AD is looking at Aria’s file and burning the file on Noel. Just what is going on with Noel and how is he involved? We might find out sooner rather than later!
What did you think of the episode? Did it seem choppy to you? Do you think Toby will be back? What’s going on with Noel? And who is Mary Drake’s second child? Share your theories in the comments!
Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8pm on Freeform.
(Image courtesy of Freeform)
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV