Team Redcoater Noel Kahn brings the Liars and Alison together so that she can sit them down and inform them of the events of her death such as, who buried her and why she was everywhere in the universe that day. The answers are pretty good!
Like, the reason everybody except Spencer slept through that shit was because Ali was tired of getting harassed and decided to narrow down her suspects, dosing the Liars to eliminate them first and then running through her list of suspects. Toby came by the Barn to thank her for framing him because it was nice to be in juvie with a do-rag on rather than constantly getting raped by his sister. Oh and Ezra showed up just to call her an underage asshole, that was a pretty great scene.
But her threat of exposing the NAT Club didn't stop Ian from being pissy, which maybe has something to do with A's later activities and certainly has something to do with that time Alison saved Spencer by pushing Ian off the bell tower (although he didn't die right away, which brings his creepy fake life/suicide afterwards back on Mona). In the end, after a confrontation with the shovel-wielding Spencer that ended with tender embraces and a promise to help get her off drugs, Alison was clubbed with a rock directly in front of her mother, who then accidentally buried her ass to protect whoever did it.
The Grunwald dug Ali up again, and then at the hospital she ran off because A was still on the loose. A traumatized and wandering Alison was rescued by Mona, who took her to the Lost Woods Inn room adjacent to A's Lair, and acted very Mona Vanderwaal in all the greatest ways. Eventually she inspired Ali to take advantage of her seeming death and go on the run, which was always Mona's plan as A. In return, Alison advised Nerd Mona to transform into the hot beast we all know and love, protecting her from the bullies that were actually herself. They created each other!
Melissa's sketchiness, while it may matter now, was at any given point always what it seemed to be: Hastings bullshit, essentially. (Or she is A.) Jenna Thing was a creep who didn't really care about consent, just like mostly everybody else on the show. CeCe Drake killed Darren because he was awful, and maybe didn't even mean to frame Ashley for it. Ezra's "book" project swiftly became a "save the Liars from A" project (despite his reticence to share info and his willingness to sell the thing?). Alison first returned to Rosewood after Hanna got run over, and was also there to rescue Hanna from the Lodge fire, but the rest of her appearances we didn't manage to discuss. There was a lot going on! But mostly it was just Mona torturing everybody like she always said she did, and then whoever stole the Game that she never saw (because they are everywhere and nowhere!) coming back twice as hard, because of whatever happened later.
Back in Rosewood, Gabriel pulls in Melissa and the Hastingses, as well as CeCe Drake and Jessica, to try and figure out where the girls have gone off to. Eventually he gets a warrant to track them to Philly, but thanks to Noel's help they aren't with their cars anymore. So while Melissa is whispering to her dad about who the dead girl is and/or who killed her that night and put her in the same hole that Ali crawled out of -- which might be her, but we never find out -- the Liars find themselves on the run from A at the Philly location, and Mrs. D returns home...
Where she is murdered, and dropped once again into that same hole. So now the person who can identify the original murderer, at the very least, is dead. And then back with Alison, the Liars are rescued from the wild A bullets by Ezra Fitz, who believes so strongly that he's identified A -- and that saving Ali will win Aria back -- that he has tracked down Shana and found his way to their location. Which is nice because he saves the girls and has important information to share, but not that satisfying because A gets him in the abdomen. So as he's lying there dying, and Jessica is getting buried in her own yard, the Liars just kind of lose their shit entirely on a Philadelphia rooftop, and that is a wrap.
What did you think? I loved seeing that night through Alison's eyes -- minus the flying a plane around the world -- and loved seeing Mona Vanderwaal in her natural crazy state, kissing Ali's forehead while secretly celebrating her victory and generally acting like ten pounds of nuts in a very small bag of nuts, but the whisper cheat and Ezra cliffhanger leave me feeling unsatisfied in other, minor ways that I don't even really care about. But of all the driving questions for this half-season, almost all were answered: We still don't know who the dead girl is or her connection to the killer or who the killer is, but that seems like it's really just one question at this point, with a fairly straightforward answer that would end the show.
So I'm glad we didn't find out who A is, because really A is BOB and doesn't even exist, and I'm awful sad to lose Jessica DiLaurentis who never gave up trying to blow your mind, but it feels like this is the best way to close things out: Peter, CeCe and Jessica have been pulling so many of the strings, in different (and it turns out nonessential) ways, that taking them out of the game in time for Ali to come home and uproot a bunch of their reasons for even being involved seems like a fresh evolution.
10 June, Season Five starts with what we're told will feel like the second half of this episode, so maybe this stuff will get resolved, but either way simply having Alison back is the biggest and most impressive change to the show's DNA, if you think about it. There will always be an A to torment the ladies and there will always be skeeves and parents and SO's to fuck everything up, but adding a permanent fifth Liar -- who has certainly changed in some ways, but which and how much? -- feels like the biggest payoff of all. Well, that and a whole cumulative minute of Noel Kahn I guess. So give it a while to sink in, and I'll see you then. Kisses.
Ezra Fitz wasn't A, just your average perverted amateur journalist whose teenage girlfriend was murdered and he decided to become famous from it by seducing her teenage best friend, the better to investigate her murder. Alison's not dead, just on the run from whoever replaced her mysterious bully, but now the cops know she's alive and some random girl is in her sarcophagus. Her mom Jessica is some kind of lunatic but probably not effective enough to be a teen terrorist; Spencer Hastings is a different kind of lunatic who thinks she may have killed somebody and then forgot. The Liars have located Ali's latest bolthole in Philadelphia, and gone there to meet a beautiful stranger.
Everybody is dressed like spies. Even Noel Kahn is dressed like a cat burglar that means to steal your heart.
Liars: "I can't believe it was Noel Kahn that met us at this place! How great is that."
Aria: "Spencer, stop fidgeting. We are here for answers!"
Hanna: "I'm still not convinced this isn't another trick. Why would Ali trust Noel?"
Alison: "...Because he has secrets too. Don't even ask."
The Liars all wonder if they should hug her for not being dead, or beat the shit out of her. She suggests they opt for hugs. Even Spencer.
Spence: "Why are you glad to see me? Didn't I possibly kill you on drugs? Isn't that why you tortured Emily into an emotional insanity?"
Alison: "Yeah, whatever. Once you guys told me the cops are onto me, we have to make this the endgame. We have to figure out who A is, tonight, so we can all go home."
Liars: "Easy, that's your crazy bitch mother."
Alison: "Right? But no, not exactly. I am going to tell you everything now. And if we don't figure it out, that's it for me. I will disappear permanently. Again."
Throughout the episode, we check in with Gabriel Holbrook, who is holding the entire population of Rosewood in different interrogation rooms. Sometimes what they say is very meaningful, sometimes what they say seems to answer questions we never really asked, and sometimes what they say, they don't actually say, due to whispering.
CeCe: "I just wanna know who turned me in, because I was a very good Redcoat."
Gabe: "Tell me that he was intimidating you out by that muddy lake and that's why you killed him. Nobody is disputing that Darren Wilden was a beautiful jerk."