Previously on Pretty Little Liars, ‘Last Dance’
This is it guys. This. Is. It. We are finally going to see the infamous “A.” Or so they say. Nina believes, but I am side-eyeing the hell out of this show because I have been fooled before. But let’s be real: I am crazy excited to find out. So without further ado, this week on the summer finale of Pretty Little Liars…
We open up on the roof of the school and all the Liars begging Charles not to jump. Huh? Considering all that this dude has done to them, I’d think they’d be fighting over who gets to help him up on the ledge. He raises his arms out sideways and the girls scream. Well, hello. Nice opening!
Flashback to “Earlier That Night” at the prom when the Liars lost track of Ali. They discover Mona – wearing the red cape – who had been tracking Ali’s phone. Charles has his own cellular network and the servers are at the Cassimi Group. This dude sure is resourceful for a mental facility jailbird. Ali wakes up in a jail cell- complete with teddy bear on the night stand and pictures on the wall – and her dad unconscious (seemingly dead) right outside the bars.
The Liars arrive at the Cassimi Group offices and see some suspicious bags being loaded into vans. You know, typical, legitimate business type stuff. Somehow, Sarah was able to track the date while she was in captivity and uses the date Charles always brought her a cupcake to break them into the offices. The Liars all enter, but Sarah stays behind and then the door shuts, locking them in. Coincidence, or is Sarah involved? I dont trust that Miley Cyrus wannabe. She’s in on this somehow. They see Ali in her cell on a screen and then…it’s Charles / “A”…and then they’re turning around and then…it’s CeCe? What in the…what?
So CeCe is Charles. Was Charles. When he was a little boy, he accidentally almost drowned baby Ali and they had him locked up. Daddy D shunned him but Mama D embraced him, even buying him dresses to match his beloved Ali. So I guess Charles had some gender identity issues. At Radley, Charles befriended Bethany and, to help protect his secret, Bethany pushed Toby’s mom off the roof. One mystery solved – though too rapidly and not as satisfying as I’d have liked. They let Charles out for a funeral – his own. Charles was laid to rest and Charlotte was born. She would later become CeCe (I assume a combination of both identities and a culmination of the crazy that was brewing in this kid from birth and was only exacerbated by a messed up childhood).
When Charlotte was let out, she was enrolled in school and began dating Jason. Her half-brother. Which isn’t gross or twisted at all. But they must not have gone very far around the bases because we never hear about a surgery so Charles still has his, um, little Charles, so I would think that Jason would get a feel of that at some point, wouldn’t he? She spends the summer with the DiLaurentis family and she and Ali become best buddies. Just the way they were when Ali was just a baby and CeCe wasn’t quite so insane. And that infamous summer night, with Ali in the yellow top, it was CeCe who struck her in the head. She’d thought Ali was Bethany and that Bethany was there to hurt her mom. Which would explain Mrs. D’s reaction when she saw it and why she never told the cops the truth about what she’d seen. Okay, that’s clever and I’m buying it. Let’s continue.
Back at the Cassimi Group (which looks startlingly like the Starship Enterprise), Mona confesses to killing Bethany – who she thought was Ali. Maybe that girl should’ve stayed locked up. She’s been really useful and is downright brilliant but homegirl is nuts. When Mona got sent to Radley, she and CeCe became friends – and CeCe picked up the “A” game. Using intel from Mona, and her knowledge from an intimate summer with Ali, CeCe implanted herself into the Liars circle. The seeming disregard the Liars had for Ali’s disappearance really “set her off.” Which I think is meant to justify her tirade against them all for years, to the point of deaths and ruined lives and insurmountable emotional trauma. Yeah, seems legit. We come to find out that there was a decoy red coat for when CeCe or Mona were unavailable – Sarah. I TOLD you. I so told you. Nobody intentionally tries to look like Miley Cyrus and doesn’t have some level of crazy inside them.
CeCe declares that she loves all of her dolls and she’d never let anything happen to them. Um, considering how many times each one of these girls almost died…I’m not buying that. The mystery woman at Wilden’s funeral was Sarah. She’d killed Wilden to protect Ali. I’m not all that moved by that. I was pretty glad when Wilden died. Never liked that guy. The Liars have had enough of show and tell and they break out of the Cassimi spaceship, but Mona stays behind. When CeCe finds Mrs. D. dead, it’s actually kind of heartbreaking. While the girl is batshit insane, it’s still hard to watch the last fragile piece of someone shatter like that. Mama D was all she really had. Not that I pity her, but, still a tad sad.
The Liars bust in and Spencer manages to disarm the bomb right before CeCe was about to detonate it – with Ali in the room and the Liars in the vicinity. I thought she’d never hurt them? See? Lies. All lies, I tell you. CeCe takes off running and Ali pleads with them to help stop her. Maybe Ali felt that twinge for CeCe after the whole Mama D death story (by the way – who did kill her? They said we’d get answers they didn’t say we’d get all of them…true PLL style). Emily grabs Sarah and punches her right in the face. Satisfying, but not entirely. Kinda wish there’d been an all-out girl brawl. But the Liars needed to get to the roof. CeCe doesn’t jump, much to their inexplicable relief. After all they’ve been through, they sure are quick to forgive. The girl has a sad story and is seriously messed up and had one heck of a crappy childhood, but these girls and their parents had their lives ruined, almost taken, were kidnapped for months and been tortured for years. A sob story does not erase all of that. It felt rushed and forced and just altogether not realistic. I get that this show is not based on reality, but I did feel it kept emotional realism in play. Until this whole debacle at least.
Flash to Labor Day weekend when all the Liars go their separate ways and say goodbye. Spencer has some touching Winnie the Pooh wisdom and they shed tears and laughter and it’s all very touching. And easy. That can’t be it. It’s never really simple and it’s never really over. Then we flash again to five years later – just long enough to have the Liars all graduate college and be in the “real world” now. Ali is a teacher and her name is now “Mrs. Rollins.” That is not Officer Handsome’s last name. I’m not pleased. The Liars rush in saying “He’s coming for you” and they all came back for her. Then Spencer (with some very fetching new bangs) says, “It’s too late. He’s already here.” Who? Why is someone always after Alison? Why do I have to wait until January to find out?
Well, it wasn’t as exciting as I hoped it would be. Thing seemed a bit tied up with a bow regarding the whole “A” situation, yet some questions remain (and probably will always remain) unanswered. I’m thrilled we got what we were promised. But…I’m not thrilled with what I got. Like wanting an iPod for Christmas and getting a Shuffle instead of a Touch. It wasn’t the greatest episode, but it was sufficiently satisfying. But mostly because I am so ready to be done with this high school nonsense and the “Five Years Later” concept for the remainder of the season sounds chock full of juicy possibilities. Until January…