‘Pretty Little Liars’ Recap: Charles DiLaurentis’ Radley Past Is Revealed
The girls find Charles DiLaurentis, and A returned to torment Aria in Pretty Little Liars’ “Don’t Look Now.”
PLL 6×04 Recap “Don’t Look Now”
Mr. DiLaurentis (Jim Abele), has spoken. As Ali (Sasha Pieterse) later recounts to Hanna (Ashley Benson), Aria (Lucy Hale), Emily (Shay Mitchell) and Spencer (Troian Bellisario), her dad finally came clean about Charles after being confronted by both Alison and Jason. “Charles is my brother,” Ali says.
According to Mr. D, Charles, or Charlie, was born a year and a half before Jason (Drew Van Acker) and, throughout their early childhood, they knew something was wrong with him. It wasn’t until Ali turned one that Mr. and Mrs. D realized that Charlie was no longer safe to have in the house, so they sent him to Radley. According to Ali’s dad, it was only then that they moved the family to Rosewood, which explains why none of the townspeople noticed Charles went missing – they never knew he existed. As for why they never told Ali and Jason that Charlie was real, they wanted them to have a “normal childhood.” So, why hasn’t Mr. D told the truth until now? It turns out Charlie couldn’t have ‘killed’ Ali or tormented the girls because he died when he was 16. Mr. D claimed that Charlie committed suicide and died of a pill overdose in Radley while he was out of town. It was Ali’s mother that informed him of Charlie’s death, and she told him that she had Charlie cremated, and later spread his ashes alone.
Ali is desperate to believe her father, but both Hanna and Spencer are convinced Mr. DiLaurentis is lying. They are not willing to take Mr. D’s word for it, and, to their credit, Jason seems equally suspicious of his father’s story – as he should be. Hanna said it best: “He’s lying… No body, no grave, no proof.” With Ali still on the fence, Spencer, Aria, Hanna and Emily decide to continue investigating Charles on their own. If Charlie didn’t die and was checked out of Radley instead, then his records should reflect that. With Radley now closed, Spencer finds out that the medical records are being stored at a nearby facility, awaiting destruction via shredder.
In the wake of their recent abduction, playing investigator isn’t as easy for the girls. Aria’s father, Byron (Chad Lowe), is growing increasingly concerned for her, and is scared to let her out of his sight. Aria feeds him a story about using the darkroom at Hollis to develop her photos and convinces him to let her go alone so that she can get out of the house. In reality, she goes to the Brew to meet up with the girls and go to the record facility.
Byron isn’t the only one feeling a little over-protective. Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) has been hovering ever since Hanna’s return from the Dollhouse. Ashley gave him the okay to sleep over, but he can’t sleep. Instead, he stays up sitting by the window, watching the cops exchange shifts outside. When the girls hatch their plan to get Charles’ Radley records, Hanna wants to tell Caleb, but Emily shuts her down, insisting that telling Caleb could put Sara (Dre Davis) in danger (which is ridiculous). So, Hanna gives Caleb the slip and the girls are off.
What Happened To Charles?
When they find Charles’ medical records, they find that they are incomplete. The file, which only covers ages 13-16, contains no mention of Charles being either discharged or dead. One thing that might be helpful in the files is that before he died, doctors increased his dosage of ‘Zylotrol,’ a medication for severe depression. The file also contains the visitors log, which shows only two names: Mrs. DiLaurents and Carol Ward, Ali’s great aunt, who died when they were sophomores.
The girls are able to run off with the file, but after both Aria and Hanna are caught in a lie, investigating becomes a lot harder. Caleb ends up meeting them outside the storage facility. He put a tracker on Hanna’s car. Hanna is, rightfully, upset, but Caleb explains that he needs to be proactive. He spent three weeks feeling helpless and unable to help find Hanna, at least with a tracker on her car he feels a little more capable.
After sharing Charles’ records with Ali and Jason, they decide to investigate their aunt’s old house. Jason remembers that after he was injured in the elevator fall (did anyone else totally forget that that happened?), he decided to get away and thought he might be able to stay in their aunt’s abandoned home. But, when he got there, his mother was there gardening. She claimed she just wanted to fix it up, and told Jason she was alone, but she became jumpy when Jason expressed his desire to stay the night. Jason heard a crash from inside, but his mother told him it was the wind and sent him on his way. Charles must have been there, and if he had been there then, he could be hiding out there now.
What’s confusing here is the timeline. Pretty Little Liars has always felt like it existed outside of time – yes, the girls are now seniors, but the seasons in between have been less clear. But, one thing I’m very sure of is that the elevator crash happened after Jason was in high school, meaning Charles was definitely supposed to be dead at the time. If he was living at his aunt’s house, even for a little while, it confirms that Mrs. D faked his death.
Anyways, Jason, Ali, Spencer and Hanna go investigate and find the house to be just as abandoned as it was supposed to be. But then they see the headstone: “Charles DiLaurentis – Beloved Son.” Ali is willing to take that as proof that Charlie really did die, but Hanna is still suspicious. Just because there’s a headstone doesn’t mean there’s a body underneath. She grabs a shovel and starts digging, but Jason stops her. Look at the roots, he tells her. The roots have grown around the headstone, meaning they have been there for years. Charles/A couldn’t have just planted it there recently to throw them off his scent. For some reason, Spencer accepts this as proof (maybe because she’s preoccupied with her own trauma?), and they go home with a new theory about Charles/A: A could have been with Charles at Radley and adopted his life after Charles’ death. (Note: I really hope that’s not the case and that Charles is actually alive. This new theory is just too much for me.)
When Ali comes home after a long day of chasing Charles, her father tells her what Charles did for them to send him away. When Ali was a baby, their mother was out in the garden with Jason and Mr. D put her down for a nap and left the house to start up the grill. He was only gone for a second, but when he came back into the house, he heard baby Ali screaming. Charles had put her in the sink and turned on the hot water – he was standing there watching her cry out in pain, waiting for her to drown. Ali stops her father from saying anything further – “Let him rest in peace,” she says.
Caleb is waiting for Hanna when she gets back, and he knows she lied to him about hanging out at Spencer’s house. Hanna finally tells him he’s suffocating her and asks for some space. It’s hard to tell whether or not Hanna really meant what she said, or is still trying to keep her A investigation a secret in some misguided attempt at protecting Sara. We’ve been down this road before – multiple times – and Caleb helping is always the way to go. Why won’t she just come clean and give Haleb fans some much deserved happiness?
Old ‘A’ Returns
Meanwhile, after Byron realizes that Aria lied to him about booking the darkroom at Hollis, he confronts her and she claims she mixed up the dates and actually booked time for tomorrow. Byron insists on driving her there himself – he’s not going to let her out of his sight. So, while Spencer and Hanna are off chasing Charles, Aria goes to Hollis to develop her creepy doll photos she took in her room at home. Alone in the darkroom, Aria finds a gift from A – a bottle of pink hair dye with a note attached: “You’re my doll, bitch. –A.” Aria has a flashback to the Dollhouse, where A/Charles brought her a similar bottle of dye and told her she’d get a surprise if she dyed it. Aria refused, screaming that she wasn’t his doll. But the next morning, she woke up with a stylish bob, a new bottle of dye and a new message: “Dye it now, or lose it ALL.”
After finding the dye in the darkroom, Aria panics and goes for the door, but she’s locked inside. (It’s just like old times!) After a minute of screaming for help, a cute guy named Clark (Titus Makin Jr.) lets her out. Someone wedged the door shut, but he didn’t see who it was. The two trade photo compliments and go their separate ways, but something tells me we’ll be seeing more of Clark before the summer is over. (RIP Ezria?) When she returns home with her dad, she finally breaks down and tells him about the Dollhouse. She shows him her photos of her room, and tells him that she was trapped in a room just like hers, unable to escape.
Aria is not the only one having flashbacks in this episode. Spencer’s memory is triggered and she suddenly remembers waking up in the floor of her ‘room’ in the Dollhouse, covered in blood and unsure of how it got there. There’s a blood stain on the carpet leading to the door, but the door is locked. “What did I do? What did you make me do?” she screams to the security camera. Shaken with her new memories, Spencer is convinced she hurt someone, but Hanna tells her it was probably just a hallucination caused by the sleep depravation Charles/A tortured her with. Still, Spencer’s nerves are only getting worse, and she still can’t sleep. With her mother forbidding anxiety medication and a failed attempt at getting Aria’s out of the garbage (poor Spencer!), Spencer goes to Ezra’s new baker at the Brew who smokes medicinal marijuana. The new baker offers to bake Spencer some special cookies to help with her anxiety, but won’t accept money for them – she’s not a dealer, she says. Ezra (Ian Harding) catches Spencer leaving the Brew with her special cookies, and he warns her that all the problems she has will still be there when she comes down from her high. But Spencer doesn’t care. She just needs to quiet the voices in her head, just for a little while.
We Need To Talk About Sara
Finally, when not running around town hunting down information on Charles, Emily is consumed with trying to help Sara, who is still living with her and her mom. Pam (Nia Peeples) is concerned that Sara needs to see a therapist, but she doesn’t want to – she’s not ready. Emily insists that she can help Sara, but Pam knows that’s not necessarily true. Emily may have been kidnapped like Sara, but she was only there for three weeks, not two years. And, as much as Pam wants to help, she can’t be responsible for Sara forever.
After overhearing Pam and Emily talk about her, Sara runs off and later tells Emily she went home to see her mother. She hoped that once her mother got over the shock of having her back, things would be different, but they weren’t, so she went back to Rosewood. (I don’t know what that means, but I don’t trust Sara. She’s definitely hiding something, and I don’t understand how Emily can blindly accept what Sara says about her mother.) Emily wants to help Sara enjoy life, so she takes her to the pool, where they swim and have a contest of who can hold their breath the longest. I am going to be completely honest: I thought Sara was going to try to drown Emily. She did not, but they did share a strange moment that was either murderous or romantic, I can’t tell.
In the final scene, a hooded ‘A’ figure watches dots on a computer screen, each corresponding to a different girl. Did A put trackers inside them while they were in the Dollhouse? This could explain why Spencer woke up bloody and with no memory – A could have made her help, or maybe they all helped and all woke up bloody one morning. Curiously, Sara Harvey does not appear to have a tracker on her – the dot that shows Emily Fields is at the community pool is alone, though Sara is right there with her. Something tells me Sara isn’t just another innocent victim in all of this…
Next week, it looks like we might find out more about Sara’s past, so hopefully that means her time on PLL is coming to a close. I’m not a fan of Sara’s presence or storyline, and she felt especially burdensome this week. But, as eager as I am for Sara to be gone, I’m also frustrated that PLL appears to have completely shifted focus from Andrew to Sara. I am still reeling from Andrew’s outburst in last week’s episode and his claim that Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily somehow manipulated him into trying to help them, making him look guilty of their kidnapping. It’s not just that it doesn’t make any sense, it’s that every character in Rosewood seems to understand his insane logic without any real explanation!
Pretty Little Liars has always left their audience with more questions than answers, but this summer we were promised the ‘Summer of Answers.’ So far, the answers they’ve been providing have been confusing at best. Here’s hoping we get some clearer answers before the summer is over!
Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC Family.