*All of our episode recaps contain spoilers*
How do I feel? How. Do. I. Feel. Shocked? Kind of. Disappointed? Yes and no. Mad because I spoilered myself prior to the episode? You betcha. Currently irritated by the many still unanswered questions? So much. All I know is, my head hurts, my heart hurts, and my soul hurts. Everything hurts. Come, let us mourn my expectations and celebrate for those of you who are happy. To do so, we must go back to where it all started.
The episode began with a flash-forward to the roof of Radley. We watched as the girls begged ‘A’ not to commit suicide, careful not to use any gender specific terms. “I’ll do whatever it takes to help you”, Ali screamed. “Look, just because we know who you are, it doesn’t mean the game is over”, Spencer reasoned. “You’ve been such a bitch to us, but we heard your story – we understand”, Hanna said. How lovely are our Liars? Bargaining with their future, dangling their sanity on stick, forgiving five years of torture. Such sweethearts. Foolish sweethearts, but sweethearts nonetheless.
EARLIER THAT NIGHT.
Awaiting police questioning in the enchanted forest maze, the girls were ‘saved by the Mona’. Since Ali’s return to Rosewood, Mona has been ‘snarfing’ her. I have no idea what ‘snarfing’ is, but it meant Mona was aware of Charles’s texts. Unable to get a lock on his location, she “coded a programme to decrypt the signal source”. Said programme exposed Charles’s cellular network and the location of his servers – the Carissimi group. What’s more, Mona knew Clark was a cop. “Aria, maybe you thought he was always happy to see you, but I couldn’t get past the bulge in his pants”. Is there a better ally to have than a sassy genius?
Make that a sassy genius who is also a self-taught eideteker. There is nothing this girl can’t do – except crack the code to get into Charles’ secret room. Cue Sara and her shady stories. “Five days after he took me into the bunker, Charles gave me a red, white, and blue cupcake. But it wasn’t the 4th of July. I kept track of every day I was there. And every year he gave me a cupcake on September 7th”. And would you believe it, it was the correct passcode. If I could make Sara’s guilt a tangible object, I would smack every one of them in the face with it. I can try to forgive their naïve acceptance of her story, but to think nothing of her unwillingness to enter ‘Charles’ brain’? To not question her excuse that “it’s a little tight in there”? For shame, Liars! For shame!
In the room was a holographic screen, showing a live stream of Ali at Radley in Charles’ old room. Behind a set of bars, Papa D and Jason laid lifeless on the floor as Ali screamed at Charles, “Why would you kill them? We’re family!” Or rather, she screamed at Cece. That’s right, Cece is A! Congratulations to those of you who guessed it was her! Now, it is time for answers. I am going to approach this logically because if I relive it emotionally, a part of me will die inside.
The doll fetish – Cece told Ali “They never understood how much I loved you. From the moment mom brought you home, I never left your side. You were like my own living doll. And when my dolly was sad, it made me sad too”. Creepy or cute? Sorry A, still creepy; but I considered cute, so that’s something.
The bathtub misunderstanding – Kenneth, Kenneth, Kenneth. So overdramatic. It was not, as he implied, attempted murder. Well, if we choose to believe Cece. Taken back to the moment preceding Ali’s bath immersion, we watched as Charles tried and failed to get his mother’s attention. He knocked on the window, calling to her, but she could not hear. All the while Ali was crying, unheard by papa DiLaurentis. Wanting to make his sister feel better, he drew her a bath. Kenneth found the two in the bathroom and, pulling Ali out of the tub, screamed at Charles “What’s wrong with you?” His response? Crazy eyes. And I mean CR-A-ZY.
Kenneth and Charlie’s relationship – As we know, this incident led to Charlie’s Radley admittance. Cece never meant to hurt Ali, but the accident was all Kenneth needed to disown her. She told Ali, “For as long as I can remember, I asked mom to buy me dresses. But he wouldn’t let her, so I’d just play dress up in her closet. She thought it was cute, but dad found out”. Kenneth could not accept his son’s gender identity struggle, nor did he want to accept it. Once Charles went to Radley, papa D never saw him again, but he did see Cece… Oh, that it just as fun to type as it is to say! Mama D visited Charles as much as she could. When he turned twelve, she bought him a yellow dress; and from then on, every time she bought Ali clothes, she would buy Charles the exact same outfit.
Bethany Young and Mrs. Cavanaugh – We’re back on the roof of Radley but many years earlier. Charles, clothed in his yellow dress and a scarf, is joined by the infamous Bethany Young.
Charles: “I wish we could find a way out of here.”
Bethany: “Leaving is easy Charles, it’s staying gone that would be tough.”
Charles: “My mom always says that nothing is more believable than a really good lie.” (A “Rosewood Mothers’ Guide to Parenting’ book NEEDS to be commissioned).
The two toy with ideas until Mrs. Cavanaugh arrives. Not wanting to be seen in a dress, Charles runs off and hides, leaving Bethany to talk to ‘that goody two-shoes Mrs. Cavanaugh’. I say talk, but I mean push off the roof like a psychopath.
Charles was blamed for the murder, and morally corrupt Mrs. D paid Wilden to rule the death as a suicide. To quote Emily, “Mr. D abandoned him, but Mrs. D taught Charles how to be A”. At least she was a good teacher, right? Wrong? Move on? You got it.
Charles’s grave – Charles was diagnosed with intermittent explosive disorder. For the next few years, he was heavily drugged, so much so that he almost drowned in his own drool. Following his death scare, he was let out for a funeral – his own. Charles was buried at Aunt Carol’s house, and ‘Charlotte’ was born.
Our spectators’ attention was suddenly diverted as a motion sensor was triggered. Fiddling with the control board, Mona changed the live feed to a Radley security camera. Red Coat was the cause of sensory alarm, and she was on a mission for her boss. “Oh my god, that’s why she’s telling us her story. That’s how she’s going to end it. Cece is going to blow up Radley”. OMG! WHAT? NO WAY! That is as much as I can fake.
Jason and Cece – With no one to trust and no way to break free, Charlotte ‘found a way to escape Radley without ever leaving’ – studying. The board granted her permission to attend classes at Upenn, but they failed to stimulate the mind of our evil genius. One day, she called in a bomb threat to the school (as you do) and went to Rosewood High to see her siblings. It was love at first sight for poor Jason, and so Cece was created. “I know what you’re going to say, it’s screwed up that I dated my brother”. Uhhh, yeah! Ali asked if the two ever… you know… and Cece replied, “Why do you think he was so mad all the time? He was so frustrated”. EWW. I hate the saying ‘I can’t even’, but really, I can’t even.
Mama D wasn’t aware of the incestuous relationship until the day the family left for Cape May. Panic stricken, she exclaimed “So all this time you’ve been pretending to go to school while you’re running around Rosewood with my children”. OUCH. Cece asked Jessica what would happen if Kenneth found out about her, only to find out herself that he thought Charles was dead. “All this time, I thought you did that for me, but you did that for you. You didn’t just bury Charles; you buried your dirty secret”.
Ali’s attacker and Bethany’s murderer – Bethany found out that Mrs. DiLaurentis and her father were having an affair. Knowing that Cece had out privileges, she stole her clothes and snuck out of Radley. Cece snuck out as well, fearing that Bethany was going to hurt her mother. She went to her family home, and standing before the house was a blonde girl in a yellow top. Cece recognised the top as her own, and she hit who she believed to be Bethany on the head. But it wasn’t Bethany, it was Ali! Mama D buried her one daughter to protect the other, and she paid Wilden to say he found Cece on the highway outside of Radley.
As for Bethany, it was Mona who killed her. She had been sending Ali threats, not to hurt her but to scare her. That night, however, she found Ali alone in her yard and she snapped. “When I hit her, all I could hear was Ali berating me. Every awful thing she had ever said to me all at once. But if Cece hit Ali… I killed an innocent person”. You also tortured four other innocent people, but who’s counting.
How Cece stole the game – Remember when Mona was deemed criminally insane and sent to Radley? Well, she met Cece during her time there, but she was so drugged up that she mistook her for Alison. Cece exploited Mona’s intoxicated state, finding out all she could about the girls and the game. She was careful not to trust Mona, nor to let her know of her existence. “I could never trust Mona. She was Hanna’s legit friend and she ran her over with a car. Where’s the loyalty in that?” ß Coming straight down from the moral high ground. Before Mona ‘snapped out of her drug days’, Cece stopped her visits, communicating through riddles and twisted rhymes instead. She made a deal; if Mona could help her out of Radley, she would play the game with her.
The Thornhill Lodge Fire – The Lodge was a plan concocted by Cece to determine if Ali was alive. She knew that if she was, she would show up if the girls were in trouble. If you can remember, Red Coat arrived by plane that night. But it was not Ali, as we thought. It was… SARA HARVEY! I knew it! I am so proud of myself. Sara was Red Coat when Cece needed her to be, and that night she was supposed to keep Mona busy whilst Cece trapped the girls. “But Shana showed up and all hell broke loose”. Eurgh, Shana. We have had some terrible characters over the years.
I am team Liars, always. But damn it, I love A. Just look at her faultless reasoning:
Ali: You attacked me in my own living room. Cece: You were going to leave, and I couldn’t lose you again.
Ali: You almost froze Aria and Spencer to death. Cece: Almost.
Ali: You drove a car through Emily’s house. Cece: Yeah, and I almost cut her in half too. But is she hurt? No.
Seriously, guys. Fault-less. She told Ali and the girls, “I love all my dolls. That’s why you’re still alive. I would never let anything really bad happen to them”. Heart strings officially tugged.
Detective Wilden – Cece killed Wilden because he found out Ali was alive, and he wasn’t going to let her come back and tell her story. The Black Widow who attended his funeral? Sara. This time, Cece told the girls Sara’s part in her game. Oh, Emily. Yeah, that’s all I can say. The news unhinged Emily, so Spencer located an escape and Mona executed it. She pulled off her high heel to reveal a spike (IN LOVE) and broke through the wall.
Mama D’s death – Before Cece saw Ali in New York, she went home to say goodbye to mama D. But Jessica was dead. We have no idea who killed her. We are none the wiser. We do not know what happened. Do I sound mad? Good, I am.
Sara interrupted story time by setting off the alarm to the bomb. Cece and Ali fought for the detonator, but Cece won – kind of. She pressed the button, but it was too late. Spencer had deactivated the bomb. And that is why she is my favourite. The best moment of the episode, however, goes to Em punching Sara in the face! I am welling up just thinking about it. It was spectacular.
And so we’re back to the roof of Radley, present day. It was not nearly as dramatic as we were led to believe. Cece didn’t jump off the ledge. She hopped back onto the roof, lowered her hood, and told her dolls “Game over”. Ah, riveting.
LABOUR DAY WEEKEND – I am going to wrap this up as quickly as the show did. Emily is going to Pepperdine, Aria is going to Savannah, Spencer is going to George Town, Hanna is going to New York, and Ali is staying in Rosewood.
FIVE YEARS LATER – Ali is a teacher, but her name is now Mrs. Rollins. The girls rush into her classroom. “He’s coming for you, Ali”, “We came back here for you Ali, so move it”, “It’s too late. He’s already here”.
HUH? NO! I can’t wait until next year to find out what the hell they’re talking about. This show is going to be the death of me.