Pretty Little Liars: “Game Over, Charles” Review

Pretty Little Liars
Season 6, Episode 8: GAme Over ChArles
Air Date: Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Pretty Little Liars has concluded its Summer of Answers by answering many long-awaited questions, but also creating a great deal of new ones, and even more controversy.

But, before A’s identity is revealed, the Liars need to escape the enchanted forest.

At the prom, Aria sees a red caped figure reflecting off of 5 different mirrors, but since she hasn’t been right about anything this season, no one believes her. Hanna scoffs at Aria, saying that it is impossible for anyone else to be in the forest because they are trapped. Hanna, it turns out, is the secret key to their escape because when she states “there is no way out of here” two wooden fences separate like the red sea as though she had said “open sesame.” The girls proceed through the opening where Mona is waiting for them sporting a demon mask and a red cape. Mona has been following Ali for the past two days, but lost her when the Scooby gang jumped Clark. Ah, so that’s where Mona’s been hiding for the past few episodes. Mona pulls out her tablet, and she is so lost in her brilliance that she unable to finish a sentence to explain what she is doing. Turns out Charles has his own cellular network (take that AT&T) with its servers located at the Carassimi Group!

When the six girls arrive at the Carassimi group they spot movers throwing large duffles bags into the back of a truck right outside the building. Hanna gets worried that the bags contain Ali’s severed limbs. Has Hanna never watched Dexter? Those bags are way too soft and light to contain human limbs. The rest of the girls obviously have watched Dexter, and assure Hanna that Ali is most likely not in a duffle. When inside the girls try to crack the code to get into Carassimi vault. They try every date that they can think of. Mona tries Mrs. D’s birthday which apparently she knows by heart

Mona:I’m a self taught identicor.

Spencer: That’s not a learned skill, that’s a phenomenon.

I literally have no idea what either of them are saying in this interaction, but I LOVE it. Sara catches Emily’s eye and sheepishly asks permission to address the other Liars. When the permission is granted she provides the Liars with a date that opens the vault. That’s not suspicious or anything. 

Pretty Little Liars

They walk into the room, and it is just a boring room… until all of a sudden, the wall slides apart and they are transported thirty years into the future in Dr. Harrison Wells lab. Wait, this isn’t the time jump that everyone has been talking about? Am I not watching The Flash? Oh, my bad. Apparently this high-tech sanctuary is very much still whatever time continuum PLL usually exists in. Hanna is creeped out by the room asking the others if they just walked into A’s brain, while Spencer looks around in and replies  “Yes, I think we just did” as a look of amusement covers face.

Sara does not enter A’s brain though, saying the extremely large room is too small to fit her and on cue, the vault shuts, locking the girls inside  All of a sudden, a holographic TV screen appears in the middle of the room streaming a live feed of Alison, A and a paralyzed but conscious Jason and Mr. D.

A slowly turns around to reveal herself. AND IT IS CECE!

Ladies and Gentleman: CECE DRAKE IS A.


Before I continue with this storyline, I wanted to make a few things clear. In this recap I will be referring to A as  A, Cece or her chosen name Charlotte.  I will not use her dead name (unless it is a direct quote). There are a lot of issues with having the A be a transgender character,  but I do not feel that this is the right forum to discuss it. I would urge that you read the essay that Heather Hogan wrote over at Autostraddle that addresses such issues including the show referring to A as “he” and “Charles” all season as well as representation of trans women in media.

Cece starts to tell Ali the story, from the very beginning. From the moment that Ali was born, she loved her little sister. One day though, Mrs. D was outside in the garden playing with Jason so she put three-year old Cece in charge of watching infant Ali. When infant Ali began to cry, Cece tried to comfort her by putting her in a warm bath, but because most three-year olds don’t know how to properly bathe an infant she accidentally dropped her sister into a tub of scorching hot water. Mr. D comes out of whatever hole he was hiding in to save Ali from drowning and uses this as a perfect excuse to get rid of, and institutionalize, his “son who likes to wear girls clothing.”

Mr. DiLaurentis did not visit his daughter the entire time she was in Radley. Fortunately though her mother came to visit her. Jessica would buy two sets of all clothing, one for Alison, and one to bring to Charlotte. One day at Radley, Charlotte was chilling on the roof of Radley with Bethany Young while wearing one of the dresses her mother bought for her. While fantasizing about escaping, Charlotte reveals a nugget of wisdom her mother bestowed upon her “nothing is more believable than a really good lie.”  Again, Mrs. D, you got those parenting skills down pat!

They are interrupted though when Mrs. Cavanaugh joins them on the roof. First, does Radley just leave the door to roof unlocked every night? Second, why are three years olds put in the same mental institution as forty-year olds? Out of nowhere, Bethany pushes Mrs. Cavanaugh off the roof, and then blames it all on Charlotte. No one, not even her mother, believed that Charlotte was innocent, and Jessica paid off Wilden to rule the death as a suicide.

I think that Emily has the most accurate reaction to the story:

“Mr. D abandoned him and Mrs. D taught Charles how to be A.”

After the incident Charlotte was then misdiagnosed with Intermittent Explosive Disorder and doped up on a cocktail of meds for several year, while crazy Bethany walked around scott free. Finally though, after almost killing her, the Radley staff let her out to attend Charles’ funeral at which time she transitioned, and took the name Charlotte. Somehow, Mrs. D was able to re-institutionalize her daughter without a single doctor at Radley realizing she already had been a patient. What did they think that Mrs. DiLaurentis magically adopted a 16-year-old that looked just like her other child just to put them in Radley?

Charlotte spent the rest of her time at Radley getting really, really smart. So smart that she was granted privileges to attend classes as UPenn, an Ivy league school, without applying or taking her SATs.  She uses this time to get to know and date her brother and get him to invite her to Cape May (don’t worry Charlotte makes it clear there was no funny business between her and Jason). Poor Jason, he has now officially dated two out of his four sisters. When Mrs. D finally discovers what Charlotte has been doing, she flips a shit and says the worst possible thing she could say to her daughter “All this time you have been pretending to go to school while you have been running around Rosewood with my children.” The hits keep on coming though, when Charlotte then learns that her father doesn’t even know she is still alive, he thinks her body is buried in Aunt Carol’s front yard. Let’s give a hand to another example of Mrs. DiLaurentis exemplar parenting skills.

And then finally Charlotte reveals the mystery that has been looming since the pilot, what happened that night in the barn. When Bethany found out that Jessica was having an affair with her father, she freaks out (Man, Mrs. DiLaurentis really gets around). She stole Charlotte’s clothes (which happened to be the exact same outfit Ali picked out for the night) and snuck out of Radley to and kill Mrs. D. Charlotte came to her mother’s rescue and bashed the blonde girl in the back of the head with a rock. But she made a mistake, it wasn’t Bethany she hit, it was her sister. Meanwhile, a hop skip and a jump away, Mona came to Spencer’s backyard to confront Alison. When she see’s the yellow shirted blond girl, her mind is filled with rage so she bashes her in the head with a shovel. Lo and behold this blonde haired girl was indeed Bethany. I think the moral of this story is check to see who you are killing before you hit someone in the back of the head.

Mrs. DiLaurentis runs outside, and grabs a shovel and starts digging a grave for Alison in the front yard.  She doesn’t double check to see if her daughter is maybe NOT dead, instead she just starts to dig a grave for another one of the daughters.This is becoming Jessica’s MO.  Another one of Jessica’s MOs, pay a dirty cop to make sure your daughter doesn’t get arrested for murder, and send her back to Radley.

During Charlotte’s’ next stint at Radley, she meets a very strung out Mona. Charlotte would sneak in her room every night for story time. She got Mona to tell her all about the girls and how she fucked up their lives for fun, and Charlotte became obsessed. She made a deal with Mona; if Mona helped Charlotte escape Radley, Charlotte would continue the A game for her on the outside.

Charlotte’s first order of business: befriend the Liars. But where could she possibly find these girls? Is there a place that they all meet to drink coffee at least 5 times a day? You got it, Cece headed to The Brew where she practice her best Ali impression on the girls. When Charlotte leaves The Brew , and looks through the window at the girls, THERE IS A TV SCREEN. The show legit put a TV screen behind a window, for Cece to look at instead of real people. That is so lazy on the show’s part, it is ridiculous.

PLL_TV Screen

As Cece started torturing the girls more and more, she noticed that there was a girl in the red coat following them around. She had a hunch that this was her younger sister but couldn’t be quite sure because she killed Ali two years prior, and then watched her mother bury Ali before her eyes. So Charlotte comes up with a fool-proof plan, trap the liars to force Alison out into the open and find out if she is alive. She couldn’t do it alone though, she needed the help of her own red coat who is…. dun dun dun…. SARA FUCKING HARVEY. Wanna know who else Sara fucking Harvey is, Black Widow!  Man, Sara gets around.

Emily is distraught to hear that her new boo works for the evil mastermind who tried to kill her, and pretended to be kidnapped for 2 years. Aria turns to Emily, and scoffs “Really Emily, you had no idea?” Just kidding, only Emily says things like that to people after they realize they have been used and abused. The girls all feel really bad for Emily, because apparently she has suffered the most, and finally try to find a way out. Spencer looks around the room, and Sherlock Holmes the shit out of it. She realizes that all the lights on only one of the panels are blinking in a constant pattern if, which means that it must be a secret pathway behind it. Mona removes the heel of her stilettos to reveal a blade which she uses to demolish the wall. Seriously, Mona and Spencer need to have a spin-off where they just fight crime together. While the other girls go to save Ali, Mona stays behind to see how the story ends.

PLL_Spencer Bomb

The girls use the teleport function of Charlotte’s lair, and instantaneously arrive at the Second Floor West Wing of Radley to find Sara assembling a bomb. Charlotte’s end game is to blow up Radley with her entire family inside. When she goes to push the detonator though nothing happens. Did the pitch of Sara’s voice defuse the bomb? No, Spencer comes to the rescue and diffuses the bomb.

Yes, you read that right. Spencer knows how to diffuse a fucking bomb and she doesn’t even have the intersect in her head! I will let everyone take a second to let the awesomeness of Spencer’s new skill sink in.

And then, in the only productive thing Emily has done this season, Emily grabs the hood of Sara’s red coat, and sucker punches her in the face.

Ali joins the Liars as they head to the roof to find Charlotte. They are trying to convince her not to jump. She climbs down the ledge, takes off her mask and black hood and says “Game Over.”

Labor Day

Flash forward to Labor day weekend as all the Liars drive off to college at the same exact time. Somehow between their senior prom and labor day, all four girls were able to complete and submit their applications and get accepted into college. Aria is attending SCAD in Savanah, GA, Spencer will be attending Georgetown, and Emily is going to Pepperdine University. No one said where Hanna was going, so I will assume she is living in a Tribeca loft with Caleb while attending FIT. Spencer quotes Winnie the Pooh and my heart grows three times bigger, as they say their final goodbye and head to their cars to drive into the next chapter of their lives. Yes, they are all DRIVING to college by themselves with no parental help. This means that Emily will spend the next week driving her Toyota (which she won at the season one’s homecoming dance) from Rosewood, PA to Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, and Hanna will spend an hour or so trying to find parking once she arrives in New York City. Great way to start off the next chapter.

5 Years Later (Time Jump Three)

All of a sudden, the PLL writers hit the “live” button on their DVR, and the show is five years into the future, meaning that I think that the show is back to real-time, but who can be sure. The four grown up Liars come back to Rosewood to warn Mrs. Alison DiLaurentis-Rollins that “he” has come to Rosewood for Ali and they need to run!

Hanna Quote of the Week

Hanna: “Wait, you don’t think that’s Ali’s chopped up body in those bags, is it?”

Spencer: Hanna!

Hanna:  What, isn’t that we were all thinking.

Everyone else in unison: NO!


Things that Have NOT been answered

  1. Why did the girls get kidnapped and tortured?
  2. How did CeCe know Sara?
  3. Who Killed Mrs. D?
  4. Are the mom’s still in the basement (follow-up question: if yes, do they have enough wine for five years?)
Alyssa Berkowitz
Alyssa Berkowitz
Alyssa (TV Editor) likes long walks on the beach, Greek food, talking about television, watching a good sunset, and girls who wear glasses. Wait, this isn't a bio for OKCupid? Alyssa got her start recapping in college when her friends got tired of her constantly talking about TV and suggested she start a blog. The idea was if she wrote about TV she would talk about it less. Well her friends succeeded in one of their goals...she started writing about TV.

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