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Pretty Little Liars: Welcome to the Dollhouse

Part 1 of 2: Creepiest DIY Ever

You guys, all these years we’ve been watching A play with dolls, but I never expected A would LITERALLY turn the Liars into dolls. But that’s what happened when the kidnapped Liars woke up in the bunker from hell (take that, Kimmy Schmidt!) that looked like their bedrooms. So with only Spencer and Totally Not Dead Mona’s brains to help them figure the place out and escape, the girls plan the prom from hell and almost escape — except A has an electric fence. Outside of the bunker, Caleb and Mrs. Hastings are the only competent humans around, while the cops, Toby, and Ezra are 100% useless. Goes to show that maybe telling Mrs. Hastings about A earlier would have helped. And that Caleb works really well with any brain belonging to a Hastings. And after all of this, all we know is that A is named Charles and he really likes proms and the DiLaurentis family. So basically, we know nothing.


For a second, I bet Spencer and the others had a moment of relief. Like "thank god I wasn’t falsely accused of a crime I didn’t commit (this time) and sent to prison and kidnapped along the way."


Alas. It wasn’t just a bad dream. It was the beginning of a living nightmare orchestrated by A. With a friendly note to welcome you to the dollhouse.


And a camera to watch your every move.


And family photos of the Old Navy mannequins, in case you weren’t already creeped out by the level of detail this psycho went to to create your bedroom in an abandoned underground bunker.


And to create your former BFF’s living room.


Creepier still is that the unseen A has broken Mona down enough to dress her up like Ali.


But hey! Mona is totally not dead! She’s just dressed like a dead girl and hosting tea parties. Frilly tops must be one of Mona’s worst nightmares.

As you do in Rosewood. I bet she wishes Ali had worn something with a little more style on the night she was buried alive. That and her imprisonment in the dollhouse bunker.


In between sips of tea, Emily is seriously questioning this color on Mona.

Fair. I’m not sure blonde is her thing.


So what does a girl do when she’s trapped in a bunker? Play Mystery Date, of course!

Would anyone else in Rosewood find it weird if Ezra, former Rosewood High English teacher made an appearance at their actual senior prom?  I wish they would, but I assume they’d all act like this is totes normal. Including his former colleagues. This town is messed up.


And if you don’t like the games? Too bad! A has a siren!


Of course, they didn’t get kicked out of the playroom before Spencer’s brain catalogued this seemingly insensitive gem:


Just a pile of blocks? Not at all! It’s an artist’s signature

Seriously, I mean it when I say that a top secret government agency needs to recruit Spencer Hastings, teen detective. They may also want to grab Mona while they’re at it.

She’s not only rolling with the A game, but she’s figured out how to best use the three minutes of generator downtime each night. She’s like a teenage Sydney Bristow.


Once A was done locking the girls in their fake rooms, there was a new plan: re-create the prom from Melissa Hastings’ high school days.

Why? Damned if anyone knows. But the prom is on and the girls, still in the same outfits, have to put it together.


Thankfully, Spencer and Mona figure out that some copper wire, Christmas lights and a camera are all they need to escape the prom from hell. These two also have a future as MacGyver. Because they actually put this scene together.


Both practical and pretty. Too bad the only ones to appreciate are a room full of mannequins.


Although, on the upside, that means fewer witnesses to the prom dresses of days gone by.


In addition to be a creepy fixation on a prom that was well before their time,  I feel like this is a bit of a judgement on the proms of 2006 (or whenever the girls were in middle school. Who knows what year it is in Rosewood anymore. They’ve been in their senior year for three years now.) Look, prom style does not age well. Trust. This was once a very good look:

Unfortunately, not so much anymore. Which is why Hanna is dressed like a figure skater performing to Carmen, Emily is in crushed velvet with a giant bejewelled middle, Spencer looks like she's at the Outlander prom, and Aria is a reject from a 90s vampire movie. This is not the Liars' finest hour. 


So, the MacGyver plan does work – but it only gets them to more rooms of the bunker.

Is that a psycho behind me? The same psycho who is making me wear a choker and dressed like I belong in a Scottish clan? Why yes, yes it is.


A seems to be fixated on the DiLaurentis family, which other than the name Charles, is the only clue we get this week.


Pink satin and blonde hair are not Mona’s friend. And that much bedazzling is not anyone's friend. Ever.

But honestly, I need some answers on this. Even more than when I wanted to know who was in the barrel. (Who was in the barrel by the way? Clearly not Mona).Why the old prom? Why the DiLaurentis family? And why these girls? Do I really have to wait until the end of season 10 to learn the answers to this? Because let’s face it, there will be no answers at the beginning of season 6. 


Pretty Little Liars: Welcome to the Dollhouse

Part 2 of 2: Meanwhile in Rosewood

Above ground in the town that time forgot, #TeenCop is telling the Hastings family that their daughter has disappeared.


In spite of being in uniform, this is not an official visit. He’s telling them to be nice and so they don’t get a surprise when they try to visit their daughter in prison. Which leads to Veronica Hastings throwing some serious shade on the Rosewood PD.

“So, what your telling me is that the local police have lost my daughter? And they think she stole the van? And they’re not telling  the media or the other parents? And there is a psycho still trying to track her down? Right. Imma fix this.”


Look, Mr. and Mrs. Hastings. I’m not trying to encourage helicopter parenting, but, you know, maybe being a little more active in your child’s life might have tipped you off to some of these things? Like the psycho. And the incompetent police force. As you’d expect from the adult members of the Hastings clan, their casual wear is very much straight off the pages of an LL Bean catalogue. Sometimes I’m surprised they don’t have a golden lab with a customized LL Bean dog bed. They seem like they would.

The entire above ground story line is basically Veronica Hastings takes charge. First she tracks down Ali for lowdown on A.

 “My husband can’t be bothered to wear more than a members only inspired sports coat, but listen Missy. I’ve got my camel blazer on, which means business. Now spill, you borderline evil teenager.”


They they bust in on Caleb and the clueless duo of Toby and Ezra.

“Okay teenage boys and former teacher who slept with his underage student, I’ve got my Saturday casual blazer on, now give me the dirt. And hand over all of Ezra’s creepy stalker notes so I can figure this shit out.”


It’s pretty bad since A is now just openly mocking everyone with vintage cartoons.


After Rosewood PD arrest Caleb for aiding and abetting the Liars, Veronica goes for outfit number four of the day. Her Serious Lawyer Bizness Look.

“Tell me again how you think four girls who can barely get accepted into college managed to Houdini their way out of a prison van? No really. This is a good one. I can’t wait to tell my friends at the next Bar society luncheon.”


While the other men in the Liars life are about as useful as a hole in the head, Caleb — the Logan to their BSC, the Mac to Spencer’s Veronica — is so useful that even the cops need him to find  A.


Hopefully this evidence will convince Detective Tanner that something is rotten in the state of Rosewood.


Because what else do you do with a wall of monitors? Other than monitor teenage girls.


Pretty Little Liars: Welcome to the Dollhouse

Welcome to what might have been the creepiest episode to date! Which is saying a lot. And to A's finest DIY project ever! A real life dollhouse in the bunker to beat all bunkers. But let's back up. A kidnaps the Liars and brings them to a life-size dollhouse built in one of Rosewood's many abandoned warehouses. Each room looks like a girl's bedroom, but is juuuuust different enough to let you know we're not in Kansas anymore. The girls are forced to re-create the prom theme from (roughly) 2009. Meanwhile, the cops assume four teenage girls overpowered their prison guards and are evading police. Fortunately, Mrs. Hastings has been apprised of the situation and lays down some hard truths about this (hint: her daughter is smart, but not that smart). Caleb is doing all the heavy lifting as a teen detective who leads the cops to the abandoned farm/warehouse, while Toby is mildly useful, and Ezra hurts his hand hitting a shelf. Andrew is tapping the Hastings' cell phones for reasons unknown. And Spencer's brain is on overdrive and helps her figure out A's name and rig away to blow the circuits in the joint, but an electric fence stops their escape from the Prom from Hell. Forget Ivy League, the CIA should be scooping her up after senior year.


Only in Rosewood
Do the cops not bother to tell families that their teenage daughters (at least one of them is still a minor, right?) has gone missing from the prison van, after the guards were roofied. 

Return of a Minor Major Character
Mona! She's alive! And she's been living in the Dollhouse as a super creepy Ali stand-in that, for a moment, had me questioning if Ali was really Ali and Mona was really Mona. 

Best outfit
Sorry, no winners this week. Mona was dressed like The Night Ali Went Missing and the Liars were in orange. The almost 10 year old prom dresses were no great shakes, either. 

Best A Message
A lair/prison that is A DOLLHOUSE of all the rooms you know. Damn, A. You've really outdone yourself this time. 

Current A Team suspect
Charles. That's the big reveAl. Who's Charles? Damned if any of us know. It's a dude and he's really into the prom theme from Rosewood High in 2006. He is maybe Jason's twin. Or he's Andrew. Or possibly he's Ali's baby?


There won't be much fashion on Friday, but I'll be back with a full recap. 


Pretty Little Liars: I'm A Good Girl, I Am

Part 1 of 2: Tongue Tied

So, Ali's clown trial continues with a few last-minute twists, including this show's version of "if the glove don't fit, you must acquit." Aria does her best to protect her brother, which of course leads to him leaving this show for Teen Wolf going missing. Emily and Spencer strut around doing some investigating, which seems to lead to something hopeful but amounts to nothing. And as Ali and Hanna reenact their fav OITNB scenerios, Caleb runs around being awesomely confused by how terrible Rosewood PD is. Including, of course Teen Cop Toby, who when forced to choose between being a Teen Cop and Spencer makes the obvious choice. Oh, and then Ali's convicted for murder and the other PLLs are all thrown in jail too. Just another day in Rosewood.  


We pick things up with the most surreal opening maybe ever, and this is a show where teens receive giant cow tongue deliveries on the reg. Yes, beloved Parks & Rec character Perd Hapley opens the show interviewing Sara Shepard, the author of the neverending Pretty Little Liars books. 

The look in her eye is like, "I wrote the novels they based this show on and even I have no idea WTF is going on this season." 


On the actual show, the Liars model their first courtroom looks. Like all teen girls, they have a wide variety of business casual-meets-funeral chic ensembles. 

Let's start with the good: their hair is its usual amazing, especially Aria, whose new straight lob is slaying me. But this may be collectively the most boring these three girls have ever been at the same time.


Things pick up when Mona's former BFF who-we've-never-heard-about-until-now Lesli stomps into court with her ginormous hipster glasses, throwing lies around to make Mona look like a saint and the Liars look like supervillains.

Passably cute skirt and sweater. But nothing to write home about. If girl wants to become a recurring character, she needs to pile on a few dozen more patterns and accessories.


Not that the Liars themselves are serving up anything of interest in the first court scene. Guys, this is Rosewood, not the Banana Republic.














Spencer's dress is completely shapeless, while Emily's ready for a choir concert in this black and white. STEP IT UP. We don't tune in on Tuesday nights to see girls in outfits half of us already have in our closets. 


OK we have a fashion CODE RED SITUATION. Aria's got her hair in a messy bun and she's slouching around her house in a tee and leggings. What is this, The Fosters??* (*great show, boring outfits)

Oh, and then we scroll down to see the giant mouth on her tee and I feel OK again. Still, when one of the Liars skips her curler, you know shit's getting real.


I want to say her leggings have... apricot print? While the patterns are cray, this still feels very normal teen girl, which is not something anyone has said about Aria even before. You can tell her spirits are low because her Uggs are just plain, not studded or leopard print or leopard print studded. 


But just when you think this is your everyday girl next door chilling at home, she gets the surprise delivery of a GIGANTIC SEVERED COW TONGUE.

Aria looks surprised, but not entirely grossed out. Her tolerance for weird scariness is pretty high these days, I guess. But she has spent the last countless month/week/years being almost murdered on the daily, so.


Meanwhile on the other side of town, Spencer and Emily take their legs out for a walk. Hey: when you got it, flaunt it.

... even if you're taking it out to crawl around a public park/abandoned playground. 


Remember awhile ago (probably like two weeks ago, Rosewood-time) when Ezra took Aria sort of hostage in his cabin and was going to maybe murder her with a can of chickpeas? My memory may be bad, but so is Aria's, because she thinks it's a good idea for Ezra to kidnap another Montgomery sibling to keep him from testifying. Maybe she's hoping to make him think of their good old days in this sheer pink top and questionable chain necklace.


OK, what's going on with this episode and short black flared skirts? First Lesli, then Emily and now Aria? Did they but these in bulk? 

Also, not the best choice to tuck in this tee. It's supposed to say Tres tres bien, which means Very very good. But between her tiny torso and the high-waisted skirt, it's just saying Very very mrrrmrmrmr


Oh, yeah, before she hits up Ezra for the brother-napping, she has a bit of heart-eyes time with her boyfriend Andrew, World's Oldest Teen/Not-so-secret Stalker.

SHOW, PLEASE. Aria's ostensibly same-age high school BF looks at least as old as, if not older than, her illicit adult ex.


Of course, Ezra's looking extra Boy Scouty in this henley: 

Except wait... Andrew's the award-winning pathfinder scout. But more on that in the next part...


Pretty Little Liars: I'm A Good Girl, I Am

Part 2 of 2: Jailhouse Rock

So the saga of Hanna and Ali, jailhouse BFFs, is as completely realistic as anything else they've ever done. I mean, I'm sure what we see here is the everday experience of young beautiful blond teens in adult woman prison. Just everyday things, like intentionally harming yourself in the laundry room for convoluted reasons.


Or like passing notes in front of your lawyer, instead of discussing how to get you acquitted from a capital murder charge.

I will hand it to the show (and the actresses): girls look ROUGH here.


With his gal off in the big house, Caleb becomes even more take-charge than usual. First order of business: taking about five seconds to school Ezra and Mike about how stupid their "hide in the cabin" plan really is. 

Love how when Ezra and Mike show up at Murder Chickpeas HQ, Caleb's already waiting there to give them the ultimate Get A Grip talk.


But then oh no! If you thought the tongue delivery was this week's only Pretty Little Horrifying Moment, you were SO AWESOMELY WRONG. Because Mike gets hog-tied and shot with arrows like he's in the Hunger Games. And Caleb and Ezra's reactions are AMAZING:

I think this screenshot perfectly captures the moment that EZRA TOTALLY LOSES HIS SHIT.


Because look at their appearance when they go to talk to the cops about what they saw. Caleb's like "Whatever, I'm part werewolf ghost or whatever. Scary things only make me hotter." While Ezra's like, "But do you have a comb I can borrow?"

And of course, because this is Rosewood, the cops don't believe anything they say and brush it all off. Caleb amazingly calls out the entire surreal existence that is Rosewood, and the Lady Cop's just like, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Oh, sorry, I almost forgot the other Pretty Little Boyfriend plotline. Teen Cop Toby is torn between life as a Teen Cop (for a corrupt police department where all they let him do is make coffee) VERSUS life with his preppy lady love. As if that's a hard decision at all when the girlfriend in question is Spencer Effing Hastings.


And then entirely coincidentally, just after Ezra, Caleb and Mike were attacked by a mysterious archer/woodsman, Andrew shows up late to meet up with Aria and we learn he was an award-winning pathfinder scout.

Totally a coincidence, I'm sure!


And then here's how our girls dress for the verdict in their friend's murder trial. Aria: sweet party dress. Spencer: prep school confidential. Emily: IDGAF.


To the surprise of no one (right?) this clown court finds Ali guilty of first-degree murder, despite having no actual evidence other than the Gone Girl trail Mona left to clearly frame her. Aw, sadface.

Like, legit sadface. There won't be any more flutter-sleeve floral dresses where Ali's set to live out the rest of her days.


And then for some reason that I must have blinked and missed, suddenly all the other PLLs are going to jail too! Which means: more glamor mugshots!




And it wouldn't be an episode of PLL if we didn't close things out with the latest spinoff of Mona's homemade PLL doll line: new prison dolls!


Oh, and then we see that A (or whoever's playing around with the dolls) is totally a GUY! A guy with a BOUTONNIERE!

All I have to say is: if this turns out to be Caleb and Caleb turns out to be any less than the unofficial fifth liar, the Logan to their BSC, I will SMACK A BITCH. Because this show has vilified every other boyfriend and I refuse to let them sully his name, too.