Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of “Pretty Little Liars.” To catch up on the previous episode, click here.
Most seasons of Pretty Little Liars start strong and then end even more strongly. Everything between the premiere and the finale tends to be mostly filler. “Songs of Experience” was one of these episodes. Although the plot revealed several key details, pretty much all of them can be summed up in a quick “Previously on Pretty Little Liars.” I will give you the long version of the story in my recap, mostly so I can meet my word count.
Sara Harvey’s backstory is kind of sad (at least for now)
The Sara Harvey character was deepened a little in this episode by teasing her past. It turns out she originally ran away from home because she didn’t want to pretend to be happy anymore. She also didn’t want to act like her dad would come back one day and be a different person if he did. What does she mean by “different?” Who was Sara’s father?
While that may be in the past, Sara’s current problem is her mother. Sara sadly reveals to Emily and Pam that a year after she disappeared, her mother gave away all of her stuff and left her with nothing upon her return. But she didn’t give it away because it was too painful to see her missing daughter’s belongings. She did it because she “needed the space.”
In another turn of events, Hanna encourages the girls to see Dr. Sullivan with her. When the good doctor steps out for a second to take a phone call, the girls receive a video of A holding a knife over Sara as she lies in Emily’s bed. Attached is the message: “Mention me and someone dies. You have thirty seconds to leave that room.” And the countdown starts. (Side note: What are these random apps A uses? Can they be downloaded on the App Store?) They reach Sara in time to see that she’s safe.
One thing that makes me suspicious is that Sara has no idea A is in the room with her. If you were kidnapped and held hostage by a psycho, wouldn’t you be a little more aware of your surroundings? I’m not convinced Sara is the person she says she is. But it looks like she wants to be a completely different person to begin with. In an unsubtle form of symbolism, Sara gets a haircut with the help of Emily’s mother.
Ali and Lorenzo, a cliched “will they, won’t they”
There were several cliched scenes involving Ali and Lorenzo. We all know the story of the former villain: “Oh, I was such a bad person before. There is no way I deserve such a good guy.” Then the BFF (in this case, Spencer) comes in: “Oh no. People can change for the better. Don’t waste any time. We could have died! That experience taught us an important life lesson.” Then the former victim of the former villain (Toby) comes in: “That villain should stay away from my friend (Lorenzo)!”
To elaborate on that last part, Toby asks Spencer to tell Ali that she should stay away from Lorenzo. By the end of the episode, it doesn’t look like Spencer listens. She introduces herself and the rest of the girls to Lorenzo as Ali’s “friends,” much to Toby’s dismay.
Andrew is not A, a completely (not) shocking turn of events
In a series that prides itself in red herrings, this should not come as a shock at all. It turns out Andrew did not hold the girls captive in the dollhouse. He has an alibi for the night Mona was taken, and he was having his appendix removed the same time Sara Harvey went missing.
However, when Ezra pretends to be a detective on the phone, he learns one fishy piece of information about Andrew. Apparently, all of his records are sealed, but the kicker is that they are sealed with the rest of his adoption records. Who are Andrew’s birth parents? Is it possible he could still be a DiLaurentis? This is probably not the case, because that would mean we would fall for yet another red herring.
It might be a little difficult for these plot lines to be resolved anytime soon, though. With Andrew calling the girls “toxic dumps” and saying that the school will be glad to be rid of them, it doesn’t look like he will be willing to talk with them for awhile. I guess going to jail for a crime you didn’t commit can do that to a person. At least we can say Aria no longer holds a grudge against Andrew. That story had the potential to be drawn out and I’m glad it came to a quick resolution.
A’s electric shock game was a hoax
A’s twisted game referenced in the last episode, where the girls had to flip a switch to give each other electrical shocks, was a hoax. The girls all played the same game, but none of them actually received shocks themselves. They deduce that A just wanted them to think they would hurt each other.
Spencer gives in to temptation
After a tense confrontation with her mother, Spencer believes she will not receive the happy ending she wanted after getting out of the dollhouse. To relax, she ends up taking the pill she hid away in her drawer at the end of the last episode. Will Spencer go back to her drug problem? Maybe we’ll get another episode shot completely in black and white if this is the case! (Side note: Please don’t do drugs, kids. You will NOT have a cool black and white film noir episode of your own as a result.)
Charles’ identity is (kind of) revealed
Jason tells Spencer that he had an imaginary friend named “Charlie” as a child, only for his father to say that Charlie had to “go away.” Naturally, Jason believed this until he sees photographic proof of Charlie courtesy of Aria’s investigative skills.
At the end of the episode, both Ali and Jason confront their father with the photo. Naturally, this conversation will not be revealed until next week’s episode. For now, we just get a creepy shot of A watching them from outside their window.
Current A suspect: Sara. Yeah. I know someone was holding a knife over her, but I just believe she has to be involved in some way. No character can ever be that sympathetic.
Check out the promo for the next episode!