With a name like “The BetrAyal,” the Summer finale of Pretty Little Liars promised to be full of twists, turns, and of course lies. The episode jumped right into action, opening sometime in the near future at a hectic crime scene with a hysterical Hanna being consoled by two of the three other Liars; Emily, meanwhile, is off talking to the police, clearly in shock. Could it be? Is our favorite Rosewood lesbian, in fact, the betrayer? Say it ain’t so, Marlene (King, PLL executive producer)!
Cut to the present, where the Liars meet to tell Emily that Paige is at the top of their new A list. They reveal to her that they found an earring in Paige’s bag - presumably the earring Aria laid to rest with Alison. Emily, playing Devil’s A-dvcoate (ok, ok, we’ll stop with the A jokes), defends her girlfriend saying, “We found a lot of other things exactly where A put them.”
Since she tends to dress like a mid-century equestrian to begin with, Spencer decides to take the reigns and confront Paige herself. She picks a mildly inopportune time in the school hallway because Paige seems to be brandishing some sort of blunt object. No matter, Spencer still gets in the last word by telling Paige, “I know who you are.” The scene is set. Is this the end of Pailey?
Meanwhile, back at the mental ward, Mona has managed to sneak out wearing a nurse’s uniform. Rosewood has a lot of things, but a decent nighttime shift security guard to look over the criminally insane doesn’t appear to be one of them. We see Mona later in her ultra creepy A-cave, telling another hooded figure (presumably A #2), “change of plans.”
Things heat up for Spencer as Toby turns up in Rosewood for and the parted couple gets a pretty damned steamy love scene for ABC Family. Okay Troian!
Needing a break from the girls, Emily goes to spend the night with Nate and his parents at the Lighthouse Rock Inn, which is kind of sort of always a bad idea to spend the night with a guy who became angered when you rejected him even if he is your murdered girlfriend’s cousin, but then, Emily has not always been renowned for her decision making prowess.
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The other Liars, meanwhile, receive an anonymous text, asking them to meet at Alison’s (now empty) grave. Hannah brings Caleb and Caleb brings a gun. When no one comes to meet them, they decide Paige must be after Emily. Knowing that she can only be at one of two Lighthouse Rock Inns, they split up - the Liars to one, and Caleb and his secret weapon (literally) to the other.
At the cabin, Emily gets a spooky anonymous phone call, saying, “You have one minute. Get out now.” She’s relieved to see Nate, but not for long.
She notices paint on Nate’s shoe, and remembers a paint-covered sneaker in a picture of Maya at Tru North. While I try and figure out why Nate hasn’t bought new shoes yet, Emily realizes that Nate is not who he says he is. He must be the stalker Maya told her about from Tru North!
After Emily unsuccessfully tries to escape, Nate (really Lyndon James) explains that he loved Maya and that’s why he killed her. He thought that Emily could replace Maya’s love, but (duh!) Emily’s a lesbian and chose Paige instead. Not-Nate then says, “I am gonna do to you what you did to me. I am going to take something from you, and you are going to watch me do it,” and he reveals a petrified Paige tied up (ironically) in the closet.
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Meanwhile, in homage to The Silence of the Lambs, the Liars approach a cabin we are supposed to believe is where Not-Nate is holding Emily and Paige, but they open the door and voila – the cabin is empty.
While Not-Nate is distracted by a noise outside, Emily runs out of the room and escapes to the lighthouse, because apparently the Liars always follow the scary movie rule of making sure that when being chased by a psycho killer, you run upstairs to a confined space. Not-Nate finds her in the lighthouse, and after a struggle, Emily stabs him in the stomach.
As she breaks into hysterics, Caleb comes to console her, and right before commercial, we hear a gun go off.
Back where the episode began, we learn that Caleb was shot, but not killed, and Emily struggles to talk to the cops about what took place in the lighthouse. Meanwhile, Paige and Spencer exchange glances, an understanding that maybe Paige really does love Emily after all. While waiting on Caleb at the hospital, the Liars get a call from A (sounding a lot like Ghostface from the Scream movies), and the masked voice says, “Emily, I owe you one.” Soon after, Mrs. Hastings arrives with a freed Garrett Reynolds. Mrs. Hastings attributes Garret’s release to Emily’s having offed Not-Nate (Maya’s killer), but Garrett’s got some shifty grins for the Liars, indicating it won’t be the last we see of him in the PLL future.
And as the betrayals continue, we see Mona back at the mental hospital, lamenting that she and A #2 weren’t able to frame Paige for Maya’s murder, as they had previously planned. As she heads back to the hospital, new A turns, and it’s - Toby! Is he a part of the A team? Is he the mysterious voice who kept calling the Liars? Will the writers ever do us all a favor and bring Samara back into Emily’s love life? We’ll have to wait until October 23 to see!