Pretty Little Liars Season 7, Episode 16 Recap: "The Glove That Rocks The Cradle"

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The true genius of Liars' Lament became clear in tonight's Pretty Little Liars. It's not just a new way to torment the girls. It's a "game" in a more fundamental way — the board game provides a distraction. The Liars are so busy strategising about their next turn in the game, scared their pawn will be knocked out next, they aren't focusing on the questions we all have.
Starting with — how is Lucas (Brendan Robinson) involved? After finding a comic book last week written by both Charlotte (Vanessa Ray) and Lucas that is an illustrated step-by-step guide to bullying and tormenting people, the old Liars would have ignored everything else in their life to track him down and ask questions. In this new world? No, they are too busy decorating a nursery (Ali and Emily), being interrogated by the cops (Spencer), freaking out because of the game (Hanna), and betraying everyone (Aria).
We have seen Spencer (Troian Bellisario) get interrogated a lot over the last seven years. The police have probably had more face time with Spencer than with their own families. This time the stakes were higher. Why? Well, for the first time in Rosewood history, the cops have it right. Spencer slipped up big time. She did kill someone. She did cover up his murder. She did get drunk, tell a random cop she buried a body that night, and then used the dead man's credit card to pay for the police officer's drinks. Yet, I was cheering her on more than ever. Spencer deserves to be able to make a mistake every now and then. When all of her friends got mad she got drunk that night, I screamed, "thats the first normal thing she's EVER done."
I can promise you that almost anyone would get drunk after almost dying, accidentally murdering someone, and watching your boyfriend and best friend reunite. That is honestly not what her friends should be worried about. They should be worried about the fact this receipt isn't the only thing that ties them to the murder of Archer (Huw Collins); there is still a video that shows them all burying the body. They should be worried they still don't know who has been tormenting them all this time. Oh, yeah, and they should be worried one of their own has turned black hoodie. Honestly, someone get these girls a round of shots now.
I still don't by Aria (Lucy Hale) being such a bad A. She's always been the one who has snuck around the most, lied the easiest, and recovered the fastest. Yet, here she is tripping over things, making a lot of noise as she breaks into houses, leaving actual evidence at the crime scene, creating hasty lies that can easily be proven false, and almost slipping up a million times. She was so obvious, Spencer already suspects Aria is the one that trashed Emily (Shay Mitchell) and Ali's (Sasha Pieterse) nursery. Although, the mobile made of dolls that look like The Liars was the perfect reminder of pre-A.D. days. Wasn't the game so much simpler when the girls weren't actually committing the crimes the police were interrogating them about and A simply played games instead of making them play games?
A.D. made the game look more like a farce than ever. Hanna's (Ashley Benson) task is to drop something off in a locker. Nothing really that dangerous...backed up by the fact nothing happened as a result of her turn. While Hanna dropped the tape off in the locker at Rosewood High, Emily and Ali hid so they could see who came to pick it up. At the same time Mona (Janel Parrish) hid in the school to do the same thing. Now that she knows about the game, she wants to play, but Hanna refuses to tell the rest of the girls she told Mona A.D. is back. When Mona arrived she made a bit too much noise (also suspicious, this girl literally used to be A) and Emily and Ali ran after her. Ali was pushed to the floor, so they gave up finding A.D. Mona stuck around. She left Hanna a voicemail later saying she was still at the school waiting. As far as we know Hanna never acknowledged her because she spent the rest of the episode focusing on Lucas.
She should have tracked down Lucas, but Hanna should also be a better friend to Mona. They all should. The best case scenario is that they are all protecting a girl that has been tormented by A over the years as well. The worst case scenario is that they are being nice to A.D. and giving her less motivation to continually hurt them. Mona made a good point when she said, "How many times do I have to save all of you until I'm part of the group?" If it weren't for Mona and Caleb (Tyler Blackburn), none of the crew would have made it alive this long.
After dropping the tape off at Rosewood High, Caleb and Hanna go to The Radley Hotel. Since part of the reason Spencer got drunk that night is because Caleb and Hanna had reunited breaking Spencer's heart in the process, the happy couple feel like they owe it to Spencer to keep her out of jail. I'm pretty positive the death threats and murder had more to do with Spencer's decision making that night, but whatever helps people sleep at night. I am also pretty positive A.D. has the receipt in question, and depending on how Liar's Lament ends either the police or The Liars will get that receipt. This means Caleb and Hanna's trip to The Radley to look for the receipt was a waste of time, in my opinion.
However, it does get them back to asking questions about Lucas. Hanna sees Lucas on the security footage in The Radley and follows him back to his apartment. The Liars all magically assemble in his apartment to physically attack him first, ask questions second. It's an effective interrogation technique. We learn: Lucas and Charles were friends at camp, like Ted (Edward Kerr) said. Charles continued to email Lucas as they became adults, but Lucas never knew that Charles and Charlotte (Vanessa Ray) were the same person. He would send emails about how awful Ali and her friends were, how Ali tormented him and the girls all watched on. Charles would respond back with sympathy and anger.
Overtime these details became not just the comic book the girls found last week, but a second comic book. In this second version of Arcturus the bullying is turned into a board game (perhaps called Liars Lament?). This comic is not yet finished, so the ending is literally being written as The Liars play the game. Lucas claims he didn't know the girls were being tormented because of this, but I have a lot of problems with this explanation. We know that he was on the A-team at one point. Wouldn't he have wondered if the girls being bullied just like his childhood comic imagined them being bullied had anything to do with him? Wouldn't he have come clean to The Liars at some point?
Either way it is nice to see that part of A.D.'s motivation stems back to first season and all of those Halloween flashbacks. Just like how Mona was motivated by hatred for the girls after years of bullying, Charlotte was motivated by the same reasons. If anything this is more of a reason why the girls should call Mona and start including her. This story, much like 13 Reasons Why, begins and ends with the perils of isolation and bullying, even if the perpetrators aren't fully aware of the severity of their actions. Ali, Spencer, Aria, Emily, and Hanna never have never intentionally physically hurt someone pre-A. But they hurt so many people with their bullying and the group-think that led them to torment others on their quest for popularity.
In the end all of the girls believe his story. Hanna also learns that Lucas has been her sole investor and he lost all of his fortune trying to fund Hanna's budding fashion line. When she apologises he tells her that it was all worth it because of her. This makes no sense. He never dated Hanna, he hardly talks to Hanna in his day-to-day life. Sure, they are friends, but how does that make his torture worth it? And on top of that, if her friendship is that important than why didn't he ever try to stop A.D.? Why didn't he ever actually do something to protect Hanna?
In the last two moments of the show two other love stories that don't quite add up find momentum. Aria returns home and sobs because playing for both sides is exhausting. I still don't get why she is doing this for Ezra (Ian Harding). What document could possibly send Ezra to prison? I am assuming it's something about his relationship with Aria while she was underage, but that doesn't really add up. People knew about it. They attended prom together. They are engaged. I don't think he is going to prison for that now. If it's something else, then maybe Aria should check on what creepy thing Ezra has done before risking everything for him. This is the man that once had cameras on them 24/7 and a creepy lair he used as headquarters to stalk them.
And then a moment that we've been waiting for — Ali finally tells Emily she loves her. They kiss. It is a nice moment and I am glad Ali is opening up about her feelings, but it feels a bit weird. Ali and Emily are finally together when they don't really have a choice. Ali is having Emily's baby. A.D. forced them together, forced them into creating a family with some sperm donor they still don't know. I'm all for happily ever afters, but this storyline, much like the last seven years, seems a bit more like a nightmare than anything out of a fairytale.

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