In this episode of Pretty Little Liars, “Exes and OMGs,” Emily and Paige reunite to compete for a swim coach job at the high school, Ezra and Aria’s wedding plans are very much over, Spencer begins to unravel the Mary Drake mystery, and Hanna takes Grunwald around town in order to see into the black void that is Noel Kahn’s soul.
Just when you think this season can’t get any crazier, the liars’ psychic friend who once pulled Alison from a shallow grave communes with the dead of Radley, and Hanna tapes newspaper to the windows and prepares herself for war. All in a normal Rosewood day, basically.
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Mystery and Drama and Exes, Oh My!
This is one juicy episode of Pretty Little Liars, full of so many twists, turns and weird supernatural nonsense that I can barely remember everything that happens. I’ve had a very “ugh” reaction to the supernatural Ravenswood nonsense creeping into Rosewood (after all, ‘A’ is scarier than any possible ghost could ever be), but I can’t pretend I don’t love me some Grunwald.
Her startling blue eyes and creepy presence give even the weirdest and most out of place scenes a sense of horror movie gravitas that I really enjoy, even if parts of this episode feel imported from a different show.
Thankfully, the rest of the episode is packed with classic PLL non-stop OMG moments: Nicole is probably alive! Paige is back! Spencer is bribing someone with whiskey! Hanna is using the power of the force to break into Noel Kahn’s mind!
I honestly have no idea what’s happening in this episode, since my brain is as melted as Grunwald after trying to penetrate the layer of Axe body spray that is Noel Kahn’s subconscious.
All I know is that Pretty Little Liars is firing on all cylinders this season, and I’m loving it.
Stranger Grunwald Things
The episode opens with Hanna’s nightmare, where Noel Kahn runs over Caleb with his car and then flashes Hanna a cocky smile. “Oh, so you think you’re the only one who commits vehicular manslaughter in this town? Joke’s on you, everyone in Rosewood has run someone over!” Meanwhile, somewhere a Rosewood auto insurance agent starts sobbing.
Hanna wakes up from the dream more convinced than ever that Noel Kahn was the one who locked her up and shocked her with a cattle prod. Throughout this whole episode, Hanna is coming slowly unglued, and most of the liars are too wrapped up in their own stuff to notice. Even when Hanna calls a liars kabal to discuss the Noel Kahn situation in order to tell them that Grunwald mind-melded with Noel, the rest of the liars are like, “Hanna is being only mildly weirder than normal.”
Speaking of Grunwald, our favorite blue-eyed and scary-voiced psychic is back in town. “Remember Ravenswood! Ghosts are real! I can speak to the dead! My eyes see through to another dimension, and in that dimension Ravenswood is going into season 5!”
What Grunwald really says is that she has a feeling of foreboding when it comes to Hanna and Caleb, and she just wanted to make sure neither of them had recently murdered a boring Englishman. “You’re very good.”
I mean, you really do not need to be a psychic to “sense” that the liars are in danger. The liars are always in danger. It’s the logical guess to make.
The combination of Grunwald’s creepy monologue about deafening ghosts and her own scary dream have Hanna totally freaked out. She calls over Noel by dropping a glass and then grabs Grunwald’s hand for some kind of psychic voodoo.
Unfortunately, Grunwald’s brain melts like Eleven in Stranger Things trying to crack the impenetrable shell that is Noel Kahn. “Hanna, I’m seeing a vast emptiness and I’m hearing, my god, I’m hearing ‘Turn Down for What.’ Hanna, what does “jeah” mean?”
Either Hanna or Grunwald — it’s not really clear who — gets flashes of Hanna’s torture. This leads Hanna to go all-in on her Noel Kahn is ‘AD’ theory. The rest of the girls are less convinced, especially when Hanna cities her dream as evidence.
(It’s never really followed up on, but was Noel Kahn pushing a girl down the steps of the sorority really what Alison had on Noel? Ali did seem surprised when Hanna mentioned it.)
Later, Hanna and Caleb share a moment when Hanna lies to Caleb to tell him she’s going to work on some fashion business in New York. The two hug and share a tense almost-kiss, and then Hanna runs off to do something crazy again.
It seems like Hanna should remember that the last crazy thing she decided to do got her kidnapped and cattle prodded. Hanna is not exactly the planner of the group.
As the episode ends, she’s taping up a window after a sketchy phone call. Is Hanna going to uncover Watergate or something? What’s happening here? What is her (terrible, I’m sure) plan?
The Other Child
To take her mind off her imploding love life, Aria decides to briefly become a part of the main plot in this episode. “Ugh, fine. But I’m going to talk about Ezra a lot between all the sleuthing.”
Spencer and Aria look up Doctor Cochran, the man Noel seemed to be talking to on the phone. They find a Doctor Cochran, but it turns out to be his daughter, who wants nothing to do with her washed-out alcoholic father.
However, after a surprise break-in that Spencer doesn’t even have time to deny, the daughter breaks down and gives out her father’s address. So Spencer and Aria are off on another mission, this time to see what information they can get out of the senior Dr. Cochran.
The original Dr. Cochran is a boozy, creepy old man, but he does have some information to share. (You know you have to be pretty creepy in Rosewood to be called a perv, since most of the male population of the town has dated at least one underage girl.)
It turns out Dr. Cochran was the doctor at Radley who was known for making “problems” go away — those problems being babies because apparently the security at Radley has always been “use a board game to find your way out” bad.
He delivered both of Mary’s babies, the first being Charlotte but the second being a baby of a mystery gender who was underweight and immediately put into family services. It’s not a lot of information to go on, but it’s more than what they had previously.
On the way out, Dr. Cochran gives them the longest ever message for his daughter, talking about the importance of family. This message seem to resonate with Spencer, who spends the end of the episode looking at her baby pictures. Is it just because his words sparked some Hastings familial affection or because Spencer is wondering if she could possibly be the mystery baby?
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Some People Have Real Problems Emily
Exes returning to cause problems is a theme when it comes to the liars’ love lives in this episode. First, Aria is still shocked that the FBI came to tell Ezra that Nicole might be alive. She feels really guilty for deleting that maybe-call from Ezra’s dead ex-girlfriend. Emily also feels responsible because she egged Aria on to delete it. When Ezra finds out what Aria did, he is less than happy.
To help out Aria, Emily falls on her sword and apologizes to Ezra for telling Aria to delete the call. Once again, Ezra goes into “Some people have real problems, Emily” mode, as if Emily isn’t familiar with dead ex-girlfriends coming back to life. Emily’s whole dating life is filled with dead exes clawing their way out of shallow graves.
Watching Emily apologize to Ezra “I Decided to Write a Book About Another Dead Ex-Girlfriend” Fitz is definitely the lowlight of the episode.
Ezra does seem to forgive Aria, especially when she cashes in their Italy wedding tickets so Ezra can go and see if Nicole is actually alive. “I’m definitely not pulling for your ex-girlfriend to be dead,” Aria says while bidding Ezra goodbye at the airport, clearly crossing her fingers behind her back.
Meanwhile, Emily has her own ex-girlfriend issues when she bumps into Paige applying for the same swim coach job at Rosewood High! We find out that Paige and Emily’s relationship fell apart after her father died, but Emily thinks they would have still been together if she hadn’t fallen apart. Paige, as it turns out, was obsessed with going to the Olympics until a car accident derailed her dreams. So everything has turned out great for both of them!
The two reminisce and drink wine, and it’s honestly so nice to have Paige back. I think the perfect solution is for the school to make both of them co-captains of the swim team. Paige can drown all new recruits, and Emily can walk out of swim practice after five minutes to go take care of liars business. They’ll have the best swim team around!
Of course, it might be awkward to be working alongside another of Emily’s pseudo exes: Alison. Ali has returned to work after being locked up in Welby, mostly because she’s flat broke and needs the money. Unfortunately, high school students at Rosewood are still garbage people, and they all wear black hoodies in Ali’s class just to freak her out.
Alison uses the opportunity back at Rosewood High to do some snooping in the Class of 2012 files but finds that AD already got to the contents of Noel’s file. The note inside reads, “I warned you, bitches, do you really want to end up dead?”
As the episode ends, Paige looks on sadly as Emily and Sabrina share a moment. So if you’re counting, Emily has gone from zero love interests last season to three love interests. It’s either feast or famine for Emily. At least they’re all alive … for now, anyway.
Is Spencer really Mary Drake’s baby? What’s Hanna got planned? Is Nicole still alive? Is Noel Kahn really AD? Share your theories in the comments!
Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8pm on Freeform.
(Image courtesy of Freeform)