Spencer went on a hunt for Charles DiLaurentis and Andrew was released by the police in Pretty Little Liars’ “Songs of Experience.”

Pretty Little Liars “Songs of Experience” Recap:

After Sara (Dre Davis) dropped a bomb on Emily (Shay Mitchell) and told her she didn’t think Andrew (Brandon Jones) was the man who kidnapped her and kept her prisoner for two years, everyone went to sleep, but the next morning it’s back to detective business as usual. Emily spreads the news to Spencer (Troian Bellisario), Aria (Lucy Hale) and Hanna (Ashley Benson), who all agree there might be something off about the working theory of Andrew’s guilt. How could Andrew keep Sara captive for two years and go to high school at the same time? “You can’t exactly ask for a hall pass to go feed your hostage,” Spencer notes. Either way, Hanna doesn’t want to discuss it: all she wants is to go back to school and try to be normal, but she doesn’t want to do it alone and begs the girls to show up.

Unfortunately for Hanna, the others aren’t so ready to get back to school. Emily is half way out the door when she changes her mind. Sara, looking scared and clearly not happy with the idea of going home to her mother, gets Emily to stay home and take care of her. Emily gives Sara a burner cell she has lying around (from Caleb) and programs her cell number in it so that Sara can call her whenever, or use it to call her family. She also goes through her old clothes to find some stuff for Sarah, who reveals to Emily that her own mother threw out all of her things after she had been missing for a year. “She said she needed the space,“ Sarah said.

Aria stops by the Brew to get some coffee and ends up spending the day with Ezra (Ian Harding). She can’t go back to school, she doesn’t feel safe there, and Ezra tells her she’s safe at the Brew with him. Instead of walking the halls of Rosewood High with Hanna, Aria spends the day looking at her photographs and wondering about who Andrew really is. She and Ezra try to do some detective work, calling a hospital where he was a patient to ask for records. They don’t get anything, but do learn that Andrew was adopted. Could he be Charles DiLaurentis?

Charlie DiLaurentis “Doesn’t Exist”

Meanwhile, Spencer skips school to focus on the search for Charles DiLaurentis. Ali (Sasha Pieterse) is adamant that her father wouldn’t lie to her, but Spencer knows that’s not true. The truth is that Ali is afraid of uncovering another family secret, another piece of the puzzle that will point back to her and all the mistakes she’s made. “I’m under every stone that somebody turns over. I make people into people they never were. It’s all my fault,” she tells Spencer.

Ali is convinced she doesn’t deserve a second chance, and is surprised when Lorenzo (Travis Winfrey), Toby’s partner and Ali’s new Church buddy, offers her a position coaching a girls’ soccer team. She tells him that “being a leader of girls hasn’t worked out for me,” but Lorenzo doesn’t care. Lorenzo appears unrelenting in his pursuit of Ali, but Toby (Keegan Allen) is not so thrilled. He even goes so far as to ask Spencer to tell Ali to stay away from his partner. He doesn’t trust Ali, and he’s convinced Spencer shouldn’t either.

Despite Ali’s protests, Spencer goes to Jason (Drew Van Acker) to ask if he remembers anyone named Charles DiLaurentis. At first, Jason dismisses the name, but then he remembers Charlie, his imaginary friend from when he was a young boy. One day, his father sat him down and told him Charlie had to go away, and he never saw him again. Jason’s father convinced him Charlie had never existed, but Spencer is positive that isn’t true.

At school, Hanna ran into Dr. Sullivan (Annabeth Gish), and she is desperate to talk with her friends and get everything out in the open. She drags Aria, Emily and Spencer to Dr. Sullivan’s office for a session, hoping that they can deal with their Dollhouse trauma together, but they don’t even make it into the office. After Spencer informs the girls about Charlie, Emily gets a video chat call from the burner phone she gave Sara. Only, it’s not Sara on the other end, it’s A with a message – talk about me and I kill her. The girls run out before even saying hello.

After making sure Sara is unharmed, the girls head over to Ali’s house. Ali, now convinced her father lied to her, helps them search the house for any proof that Charlie existed. Hidden in Mrs. DiLaurentis’ workshop, Aria finds a photo of Mrs. D with two toddler boys – one is Jason, and the other must be Charlie. Ali sends the others home as she waits for her father to return.

Andrew Is Released From Jail

The girls leave the DiLaurentis house and are heading home when they run into Andrew, who is being released by the police. As Mrs. Fields (Nia Peeples) explained earlier to Emily, the police don’t have any hard evidence against Andrew and can’t charge him with anything. Moreover, he has alibis for the nights Sara and Mona went missing. With all the new information about Charles DiLaurentis, the girls are almost convinced of Andrew’s innocence. (I am still very suspicious.) Aria attempts to talk to Andrew and apologize for lying to the police, but he lashes out at her and the rest of them. He yells that he was just trying to help them, accuses them of manipulating him into searching for them and then getting himself arrested. “Other towns have nice toxic dumps. Rosewood has you,” Andrew tells them before walking away.

Stunned by Andrew’s outburst, the girls finally have a heart to heart about their time in the Dollhouse with A, and reveal that they all were forced to torture each other. Turns out, none of them were ever shocked – it was all an elaborate ruse. A wanted them to know that they could be pushed to hurt each other, he wanted them to feel alone and isolated from each other even after they left.

When Spencer returns home, her mother (Lesley Fera) confirms all of our fears: the people of Rosewood are going to believe Andrew. They are going to think the girls somehow manipulated him into looking for them (how does this make sense?) and turn on them. Even Spencer’s mom asks her if it’s true, which pushes Spencer over the edge. Before going to sleep, she takes the anti-anxiety pill she stole from Aria.

Finally, at the DiLaurentis house, Ali sits waiting for her father when Jason comes home. She shows him the photo, and both of them stand united to confront their father (Jim Abele) when he finally comes home. “Who is the other boy in the photo?” Ali asks. The camera pulls back and Mr. DiLaurentis’ response is muffled…A lurks outside watching.

Aside from the disorienting camera work in this episode, “Songs of Experience” was certainly a fun episode. The only thing that strikes me is how little we actually know about Charles DiLaurentis. For a ‘Summer of Answers,’ we’ve had very few so far. That said, the fact that the show is actually taking the time to explore how the girls are dealing with their kidnapping is refreshing and more than welcome. I’ll take character development over plot any day.

We’ll find out more about Charles DiLaurentis on next week’s Pretty Little Liars, airing Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ABC Family.

In the meantime, let’s discuss “Songs of Experience.” I have major problems with this Andrew storyline. Was all of the evidence the police had against him a set up? His final words to the girls were eerily similar to the creepy journal the cops believed belonged to him – could he be working with Charles? (My new theory is that Charles and Andrew met at an orphanage and have been working together, or at least have a shared twisted past.) Speaking of Andrew, how could Spencer’s mother believe even for a second that she somehow “manipulated” Andrew into implicating himself in their abduction? The police saw where the girls were, they saw the video, and Sarah Harvey was trapped down there for two years. Were they supposed to be controlling Andrew that entire time?

Other burning questions:

– What is up with Sara and her mother?
– Should we trust Lorenzo and his intentions towards Ali?
– Who is Andrew, and who are his adoptive parents? Why did the police believe he had been “manipulated” by the girls, and what does that mean?
– Seriously, what is up with Sara and her mother??
– And where is Mona?

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