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Pretty Little Liars: Game Over, Charles

Part 1 of 2: Sorry, Who’s “A”, Again?

Give yourself a pat on the back — you made it to the end. Along the way we shared some laughs, some tears, some blinding rage and, at least on my end, about 57 bottles of wine. I’ll be honest, I lost sight of the end goal at certain points of the journey but we relied on each other for support in those dark times; what the hell even happened with Ravenswood? CeCe Drake is A — it’s here and it’s real. Granted there are some gaping plot holes and several of the “answers” feel a little too convenient but you know what? I DON'T CARE. Did you want this A bullshit to continue for another season? Did you want to spend another year of your life sweating who was behind the damn mask? NO. Girl, I’m 30 years old – it needed to stop before I literally become Ashley Marin and begin my collection of silk blouses. I took that Buzzfeed quiz and I’m like one box of wine away from that truth.


We left the Liars at Barn Prom 2K15 and open on the same scene — only now there’s a mystical trap door that appears to lead them right onto the Carrisimi Group property. (I know they drove there but that editing job.) Everyone is still serving their sickening prom looks and are joined by Mona, who’s on the case in a red robe and dress. It’s cute. Here’s a candid photo I snapped of them breaking into A’s secret HQ. 


Once again, there’s another trap door that reveals CommAnd Central, and as the Liars stroll in without a damn care, Sara hangs back because she’s claustrophobic. I’d argue it’s because she doesn’t want to be in close proximity to everyone’s stunning prom looks while she’s wearing something Nana definitely sported during happy hour in Miami Beach, 1981. How did no one think this was suspicious? “Oh, you’ve presumably found the answer to the riddle that’s literally ruined our lives for 5 years? LMK HOW IT GOES BYE.” 


Now, if you didn’t already suspend most of your belief in reality as a fan of Pretty Little Liars, here’s where that mental exercise is going to coming in miiiiiighty handy. That final trap door reveals a room that’s straight up fictional science, complete with an starship console and holographic, plasma screen which just starts floating in the room like it’s totally normal and not a stunt to bring back Tupac for an “impromptu” collab. Join us next season when Tom Cruise guest stars as a crooked cop in Minority Report: Cold CAse Files: DiLAurentis Edition, She Wrote.


And once you’ve accepted this ethereal portal into another world as a genuine item not stopping the girls in their tracks to reflect upon the wondrously advanced technological age we live in, you get to learn that A has been…

CeCe Fucking Drake. And you besta believa she pulled out the tightliner trick for this reveal. 

Yes, after all the speculation it turns out that CeCe transitioned at young age, lived her life with the name Charlotte and abandoned that once the A Game took over, gifting the world with CeCe. There’s a TON of exposition and plot filling that happens on a Passions-like level after the reveal, but the biggest surprise that Red Coat and Black Widow were actually…

Sara? New girl in town, Sara? The character that’s been in my life for a hot minute and barely offered me an opportunity to like her?

Oh, right, one more thing — Bethany is legit deceased and Mona’s the real culprit, but it’s turns out lil ol’ Bets is the one that sqaushed Mrs. Cavanaugh with a sharp shove off Radley roof. The real crime Bethany should have been locked up for was owning that sweater and not using it for kindling. I know the 90s were a dark time for everyone, but even sociopaths can has taste. 


Speaking of taste, what’s the deal with DiLaurentii and the color yellow? It takes a special kind of person to acceptably pull it off, and I’m not here for this shitty cardigan. I bet she turned that into a shrug later in the day for a "casual look." I say we shrug that trend off this history books and forget that boob hammocks were a serious style.


Maybe CeCe just needed some time away because this tbt in the coral/orange print with complementary geometric necklace is something I can be present for. Three snaps down boots, gal!


Speaking of TBTs, let’s enjoy this PLLers throwback as well. They were not feeling CeCe. I’m not even getting into the whole, “You sound just like our friend Ali” insanity because I have functioning ears and those two women sound nothing like each other. Second side-note: Aria, so glad you got rid of that vest. The Sons of Anarchy aesthetic isn’t yours. 


Pretty Little Liars: Game Over, Charles

Part 2 of 2: The Party Don’t Stop

I’m physically exhausted trying to condense this episode into an easy-to-read recap but after 45 minutes of listening to answers that just barely did their job of answering shit, I’m worn down. Not to mention the fashion didn’t change an ounce during the reveAl except for some black sweatsuits. I suppose Mona’s weaponized wedge deserves a shout out — who keeps a spike in their shoe?

For the instances that we did get a taste of fashion, it all came back to CeCe and this side-by-side proves she was slaying the game from Day 1: 

The hair seems to always have been on point as well. If she had the chance and wasn’t stifled by her conservative family and their fetish for keeping elaborately complex secrets, Ali wouldn’t have been half the queen bee.

Look at the DiLaurentis fam before they headed off to the lake or cottage, or wherever the hell they ended up that summer. Mama D is still rocking some yellow, Alison’s sundress is appropriately beachy, I’m ignoring their asshole dad, and Jason is giving me mid-2000s bro for days. Sick board shorts, bro. You wouldn’t think to look at them they’d be four of the most manipulative, secretive, untrustworthy people in the state of Pennsylvania. 

To save you some time (and from reliving the long-ass explanation again), Sara didn’t go in the room with everyone because she planned to blow up Radley, but because Spencer is this generation’s MacGyver (look it up) she defused the bomb before it went down. Then CeCe threatened to jump off the roof but everyone begged her to stop (not before Hannah called her out because that’s what Hannah do). So it all ended nice and wrapped-up like.

We’re treated to a lil' good-bye scene between everyone as they head off to college while Ali stays behind. I know the actress is substantially younger than everyone but I can’t remember if Ali was actually younger, too. (Ed note: No, but someone had to stay behind in R'wood, because future plot something something.) Anyway, Hannah’s polished punk look is still turning me out, and Aria’s hip-hop inspired jumpsuit has me living; that keyhole though.

I’m not sure if Spencer’s going to be painting houses in an 80s rom-com while in Georgetown but it’s a cute casual look. I left out Emily because she was wearing a printed t-shirt with a surfer on it and I’m not here for that lazy Old Navy bullshit.

As the Liars drive away Ali’s left standing in front of the house that, by all accounts, should be torn down since it’s got some illegal burial plots and has been the site of several kidnappings and assaults. She actually looks content in her Stevie Nicks “Sisters of the Moon” drapery – very suburban witch and I can feel that. Sometimes, after you’ve ended a 5 year odyssey of trauma, murder and suspicion, you just want to be comfortable.

Oh… but… but did you think it was actually over? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA NO *bursts into flames*

Yeah, get a snootful of FFFY Ali (that’s Fast Forward Five Years):

GUURRRLLLLL. Who knew a little eyeliner and mascara could age someone so flawlessly? I am living out loud for Ali’s new look. We catch our first glimpse of the gang when they rush into a classroom and tell Ali, “he’s coming for you.” I’m no genius, but the fact she’s writing “Mrs. Rollins” on the board and has a quote from The Scarlet Letter written on the blackbloard suggests that we’re in for a much sexier mystery next season.


Granted this isn’t the best photo of the FFFY PLLs, but I had to get you feasting on Emily’s leather pants. If this is an indication of what’s to come, you can give me butch femme for days and days, honey. Aside from her evolution, the rest of their styles seems fairly consistent, but with an edge of sophistication you’d expect after five years.


Is it my wine-soaked eyes, or is Emily giving you serious Pam vibes? Aria’s gone a lil lighter with her hair so by 2025 she should be full on blonde. Hannah’s pulled back on the eye makeup and I’ve gotta say, looking fresher than you. Spencer, I don’t know where we’re going to start with these bangs but I suppose we’ll have to take it from the top. Finding the hairstylist that recommended those better be the subplot next season. 


Y’all, at this point I don’t even know how to sum up this finale. I’m on board with CeCe, not happy about Sara being so important, worried about the Wine Moms, curious about what’s wrong with Rosewood and all the towns surrounding it because it seems like their either oblivious to the absolute fuckery that’s going on, or they have their own shit to deal with (Ravenswood!); I feel like I was in a fight with an 8-year old on a playground who kept making up answers to questions no one asked just to win a game of tag, y’know? I’m going to talk to some pizza about this — bye.


Pretty Little Liars: Last Dance

Wine Moms Solve Crimes: Part 1 of 2

Y’all, it’s the greatest time of the TV fashion year: it’s prom season, and I for one am salivating to see what the PLLs have in store for us. Also this week, some stuff with the plot like we’re still pretending to care about that, and also the PLL Moms come together to pitch their own spinoff. NGL, I would call it Wine Moms Solve Crimes and I would watch the hell out of it. 


We open with the Liars being informed by their moms that they’ve been disinvited from prom. The Liars are outraged, but honestly that seems legit to me. They’ve never once in the course of this show gone to a party that hasn’t ended with them finding human bones sewn into their corsets or having satanic rituals projected onto the wall, and why should the rest of the senior class have to put up with the drama?

Aria is feeling leopard print even more than usual this season. This is what, her third leopard piece in nine episodes?

Has she abandoned birds for leopards in the wake of her PTSD? Instead of ripping feathers off birds in her spare time has she started to maniacally skin leopards for their spots?


She’s inspired Ella to follow in her footsteps with a print of her own.

I mean, floral’s nowhere near as adventurous as animal, but Ella usually sticks to a solid-color drapey jersey top. This is downright daring for her. Just don’t let Aria talk you into a safari-themed outfit of your own, Ella.


Hanna continues to combine her girly season 1 look with her grunge season 5 look to good effect.

This sweet little blue frock would be almost too girly, but the front zip edges it up just a little and the jacket adds attitude. Get the blue underside of her cuffs—those little details are what make her look so polished.


Ashley continues to display her closetful of silk blouses.

The red is not her worst (looking at you, fuschia tiers from 6x06), but it’s not her best either.


Emily continues to define bland with her daywear.

You can barely see this outfit. Doesn’t matter. You’ve seen it before.  It’s what she wears every week. It’s a tank top and jeans, and there’s a flannel tied around her waist. Let’s not talk about it anymore. Isn’t Emily pretty?


Hey, wasn’t Pam a really conservative dresser when we first met her? I seem to recall a lot of severe button ups and flat-ironed hair. Props to her for letting her look evolve with her politics!

The shirt isn’t doing much for her, but she’s got that Rosewood hair going.


But oh, Spencer, my Spencer, what are you wearing?

I know the word basic is so 2014 but I can think of no other way to describe this look. This is a sweater and black jeans. There are no embellished details, no animal prints, not even any accessories. This is something a normal teenager would wear to school. What the hell, Spence?


I mean, it’s slightly better than her other daywear look this week, in that you can tell that she has a waist in it.

But on the other hand, this sad, droopy pinafore is exactly the kind of endearingly nutty outfit we depend on this show for. Be bold, Spencer! Let your outfits be either spectacular or spectacular failures!


At least Veronica is repping for the WASPs.

She’s serving classic nautical chic like she was born to do it, ready to hit the country club at a moment’s notice.


And meanwhile Alison continues her phase of wearing dull outfits and being kind of mopey and boring.

Remember when she was a delightful Machiavellian mastermind and everyone trembled below her satin espadrilles? And now she’s this kind of dull sadsack who’s pretty sure her stalker could be redeemed if she could just talk to him and who’s wearing this perfectly pleasant but nothing special sundress-and-cardi combo. I guess prison really does change a girl.


The moms decide to throw the PLLs a pity prom in the Hastings barn and then come together to chaperone drink wine and talk shit about the DiLaurentises.

Ashley’s lavender silk marks her as the most fashionable of the moms, but Pam in her sensible cardigan is the most hilarious drunk, earnestly whispering, “I love it” about Veronica’s hors d'oeuvres platter as mom-jeaned Veronica goes on a rant full of conspiracy theories. Ella is, you know. There. Like mother like daughter.


So all of the wine-drunk moms break into the DiLaurentis house, confront Rhys, and get locked in the basement by possibly A. This is supposed to teach them a valuable lesson about what their daughters went through, but my main takeaway is that I would really enjoy a TV show about a bunch of suburban moms who fight crime.


Pretty Little Liars: Last Dance

Once Upon a Vaguely Threatening Text Message: Part 2 of 2


Now let’s get into the part of the ep we actually care about: prom fashion.



Oh, you pretty little liars. Bless you all.

If you’ll recall, the prom is fairy-tale-themed, hence Emily’s tiara and Aria’s rodeo Snow White look. I actually like things about all of these looks but that’s no fun, so let’s rank these worst to best, shall we?


I know! You thought it would be Aria at the bottom, but I’m putting my beloved Spencer there instead! 

Look, this is a lovely, tasteful gown and Spencer looks lovely and tasteful in it, but bitch, this is the Pretty Little Liars prom episode. This is not the time for tasteful restraint! I do give her props for wearing satin without turning into a wrinkled mess, though.


Props for the hair, too.

It’s very Reign, which is all to the good.


Hanna’s walking the fine line between “prom dress” and “wedding dress,” which is a place she tends to go at formal dances (remember the Winter Ball last season?). 

Still, this is romantic and pretty, and the little flowers tucked into the back of her hair are a sweet touch. And get the shoes! Fierce as hell.


Now see, Aria’s spectacularly weird outfit is the kind of thing that makes this show’s fashion worth recapping.

1. It is not exactly a look that you would call pretty.

2. Nor would I say, as Aria did last week, that this dress was “made for twinkle lights.”

3. I thought we had all agreed to leave the crop top prom dress with Bianca Stratford in the last millennium, where it belongs.

4. She appears to be wearing a wrestling belt directly below the crop on her top.

5. I still kind of love it???


It’s just so nuts that it loops right back around again to being a delight. 

Those of you tracking Rosewatch 2k15, please note that her skirt is printed with roses.


And now for our winner.

That’s right, mark your calendar: Emily Fields just won a PLL fashion challenge. She never lets her clothes have this much personality, but this Evil Queen ensemble is so much fun. The tiara! The high, beaded collar! Plus, everything is perfectly proportioned: look how the fishtail hem balances the pointy padded shoulders to give her that dramatic silhouette without drawing focus from her hourglass figure.


Also, check out these knuckle rings.

I am normally opposed to knuckle rings on principle, but when they have a lace filigree pattern and you are dressed as the Evil Queen, I will allow them.


So the PLLs hear that Ali has gone to the prom to look for Charles and promptly crash it, and then meet up with the Significant Other Auxiliary Unit.

The other half of Spoby continues to fall at the bottom of the pack.

That boxy gray suit is not doing anyone any favors. Seriously, if Toby isn’t being gratuitously shirtless than what even is the point of him?


This sad little blur is the closest we come to a head-to-toe shot of Sara’s prom outfit.

Is it that ugly? All I can tell from the shot we got is that there are beaded straps involved, which seems so far so 80s so business as usual for Sara. Maybe she’s pulling an Ashley (RIP Revenge), and her outfit is so good that the show refuses to give us an h-to-t on principle.


Ezra is also there, slow-dancing with his formal pupil at his former place of employment. Let’s not think about it too hard. 

The black-on-black’s a little sleazy, but that’s appropriate given the situation.


Hanna dressed Caleb, and boy howdy does it show. I can maybe see him getting an impeccably tailored slim-cut suit on his own, but there’s no way he would have come up with that ascot.

This scene is hilarious because as Caleb is explaining how he, teen hacker extraordinaire, got an amazing tech job he just casually mentions that he’ll be covering Hanna’s tuition and she does not react at all, like, that’s how this works, right? Lots of 18-year-old boys out there pay for their girlfriends’ college tuitions, yeah? Shame he didn’t mention that before she had her insane dance meltdown trying to get that scholarship.


So while the PLLs are not at all getting kicked out of this dance that they were formally barred from, and apparently Lucas and Jenna are beginning a beautiful romance offscreen (shipping it hard), Ali is running around accosting randoms and yelling, “Charles?”

Full props for her Belle-themed gown: it’s lush and dreamy and romantic, and her makeup is on point. The eyeliner is Swan Lake levels of dramatic and she’s totally making it work.


The gown is also doing some plot work. First of all, the yellow and the flounces recall the World’s Ugliest Shirt that she wore in the pilot and all subsequent flashbacks to the night of her disappearance.

Second of all, this dramatic entry echoes her entrance to the Winter Ball from 5x13, where she’s also framed standing on the stairs, gazing out at the dance.

Only then, she was surrounded by an army of minions. Now she’s alone. (Seriously, what happened to her minions after she went to prison? Did they all defect?)


Anyway, remember how in 5x13 Ali wandered off by herself to a twisting labyrinth of mirrors, where she was surprised by someone in a mask and a hood?

And you know how in this episode she wanders off to a twisting labyrinth of mirrors, where she’s surprised by someone in a mask and a hood?

This is not conclusive proof of anything, but if I had to put money on it, I’d say that Cece’s under that hood.


Next week we find out for sure! Post your theories on the secret identity of ChArles in the comments, and come back next week for the mid-season finale and the big reveal.


Pretty Little Liars: FrAmed

Part 1 of 2: The ConversAtion 

We're only episodes away from the sixth big reveAl, and according to Troian Bellisario, all of the questions we've ever had re: PLL will be answered in two weeks. Because, y'know, if you can't rely on a celebrity's instagram account for honesty, I don't know what you can rely on. In the meantime, we're at that point in the season in which we find ourselves with more questions and no answers. Like, why are there no age-appropriate women who aren't being stalked by psychopaths for the handsome officers of the Rosewood PD to crush on? Does Aria's artwork belong in a gallery or an episode of American Horror Story: Doll Factory. And, are Hanna and Spencer really onto something or have they watched Chinatown one too many times? 


In the aftermath of the deflate-gate baseball and laced-gbear showdown, the girls gather for some coffee with a side of jugdement. 

These are the faces of four friends who really don’t care that you’re concerned for your psychotic brother who has potentially been harassing them for ages. We’ll focus more on the outfits later, but I do want to point out that Spencer is wearing a winter beanie, despite the show establishing last week that we are now in May/June territory. Maybe she chills easily?


Later, at the Brew, Aria meets with Clarke to talk about her upcoming art show whilst Ezra lurks nearby.

Aria’s bob is the best thing to happen to this show’s convoluted calendar since producers decided to hire an actual fourteen year old to play Alison 6 seasons ago. The hair is super cute and young and makes her look at least passable as a college (if not high school) student. Her black tank with sequin snake around the neckline is just “eh.” It’s by no means hideous but also doesn’t have me rushing over to google to purchase. Clarke is in a Member’s Only jacket that must have been ordered in bulk for the young men of Rosewood. Moving on.


We have the pleasure of viewing some of Aria’s lovely “art.” 

In the words of Mikhail B.’s daughter in the final season of SATC, “Hideous. Just hideous.”


After watching Gene Hackman in The Conversation and deciding she needs to join his level of cray, Hanna convinces her mother they should return the scholarship money she received in the last episode because it comes with strings. Puppet strings. 

Despite the pressures of A/Charles/?, both Marin ladies are bringing it. Hanna looks chic (albeit not age-appro) in a fitted, patterned shift dress that reminds us that it is May, Spencer! May! The belt creates a flattering waistline and the purse adds a nice pop of green.


Meanwhile, Ashley continues to be the coolest Mom on the block in a silk cream button down and leather-accented blazer. 

 Oh Ashley, if only your common sense was on par wth your fashion sense.


Over at Melrose Place Lorenzo's apartment, Ali and Lorenzo do some bonding that involves chicken soup, stolen keys, and whispered promises of romance.

Wait! You guys!! Maybe Lorenzo knows more than he's letting on?! Obviously, he has borrowed one of Jason's henleys!


 Ali does some un-Ali-like things like fetching water and folding laundry. She must like Lorenzo. Or want to do some snooping. Or both. 

 In our first photo, we saw the front of Ali's outfit. It was okay. The turqoise shoes were a nice touch. But here, here is where the PLL costume department loses me. What's with the Santa Fe earthtones/beaded belt and the lace cardigan? Are we at a tea party or are we in Montana? And no, we're not at a tea party in Montana. It doesn't work that way. 


Well, at least we know why Lorenzo needed to borrow a henley from Jason. Weird.


Over at Aria's, Aria and Emily have one of show's most realistic teenage convos re: prom and crushes. 

 "Y'know, teenage angst- it just hurts so much. It made me take a pair of scissors to a perfectly good t-shirt. But then, y'know, I put it on anyways..." Oh, Em. You're so pretty.


In the land of eavesdropping and two-way mirrors, Hanna and Spencer enter the office of Rhys MAtthews. 

Spencer hasn't changed from the top that Emily obvs lent her. I'm not even going to bother with describing it because, I mean, look at it.  


A great scene ensues that involves dressed-like-it's-winter-in-May Spencer being the sane one while Hanna avoids being "bugged" with a crumpled piece of paper which leads us to...

Rhys Matthews akA Charles Di'Laurentis??!!