Pretty Little Liars “Burn This” Review (Season 6 Episode 18)

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On the latest episode of “Pretty Little Liars,” as we head into the final run of shows of the season, things are heating up- literally and figuratively, as it turns out, in “Burn This.” As per usual, the girls remain wary of the cops, but who can blame them there? Not in the least when Tanner and company keep sweating them like it’s going out of style.

Therefore, when the girls got a new message from…one of their stalkers, they didn’t even give the cops a second thought. This time around, it was from someone at Aria’s parents’ wedding, who somehow managed to leave not just a message, but a series of them on a table and photograph them somehow without anyone noticing!

“Give me the killer by election night…or you lose,” it read, and naturally the girls went right back into freak-out mode. What I don’t get is why whoever this is remains so convinced the girls know anything in the first place. Granted, if it’s one of them, then they’re obviously on the right track, but I’m not so sure it is. But given how crap their sleuthing skills often are, the blackmailer would do better trying to find out themselves instead of relying on this lot, you know?

I guess they must be convinced that they know more than they’re letting on or that they can find out, but one would think there would be easier ways to go about it than this elaborate scheming. Oh well. I suppose if they weren’t going to such lengths, there wouldn’t be a show in the first place- overtly insane set-pieces is sort of where this show lives, right?

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Speaking of which, as you’ve no doubt heard, actress Lucy Hale revealed on Late Night with James Cordon that the show would indeed be ending its run next season, so enjoy all the craziness while you can, folks, because there’s only one more season to go after this one. We may complain about how dubious a lot of this is while it’s going on, but I for one will miss it when it’s gone, as I’m sure many of you will agree.

This episode also saw the return of Peter Hastings (Nolan North), who shared some fairly vital info along the way, while spending most of his screen time berating Spencer for the company she was keeping- in other words, Caleb. Wanting her to distance herself from him sooner than later, especially with word out that Caleb was the source of the leak about Yvonne and had been let go for it, accordingly, Peter wasn’t having any backtalk from the likes of Spencer, that’s for sure.

Topping that off, he informed her that Toby had spoken in a press conference, taking some nasty swipes at the Hastings campaign and their dubious campaign tactics, which wasn’t exactly helping matters. Finally, he informed Spencer that Melissa had left town to return to London- an occurrence that did not sit well with the girls, to say the least. (Said Emily, in the night’s funniest line: “She probably has some special fugitive rate from the airlines.”- lol- ain’t that the truth?)

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Meanwhile, Ashley prepared for Hanna’s bachelorette party, with not much help from her daughter, who wanted to cancel altogether, in light of everything going on. Given the way things turned out, she would have been better off, that’s for sure. Aria certainly would have! Either way, Ashley wasn’t having it, so the show went on.

Side note: Did you notice that the bachelorette party game Ashley held up had what appeared to be twins on the cover- okay, technically one person split into their “angel” and “devil” sides, but still…might this be a nod to the long-rumored appearance of an “Evil Twin”? We shall see, but I don’t think its Hanna, much less Ashley, so at best it was sort of an in-joke, I think.

Aria has a conversation with Ezra in which he reveals that he pitched the idea of Aria co-writing his book with him to her boss Jillian, which she apparently loved. The idea is for it to be a sort-of “he said, she said”-type thing, with alternating points-of-view from a male and female perspective, which is actually kind of a cool idea.

Unknowingly determined to make Hanna’s life even more miserable, Ashley runs into Caleb at the hotel, where he’s trying to rent a room, only to be turned away. Turns out the entire area is booked, for reasons unknown, and he’s at a loss as to where to stay. So, as one does, Ashley invites her daughter’s ex-boyfriend to stay in the guest room at her house, which does not go over well with Hanna, though, for the record, he says no anyway- no fool he.

Emily gets a clue as to who tried to run her down when she hears a familiar noise around the neighborhood. Ezra fills her in that it’s the sound of a so-called “whistle tip,” which is some sort of device one puts on their muffler to emit a whistle type noise, though why anyone would want such a thing is beyond me. I guess it’s to announce the arrival of a douchebag in the area or something, kind of like one of those musical horns.

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Next up, we had the scene a lot of people were buzzing about, in which Toby came to Spencer’s looking for Caleb to “have a word.” He isn’t there at first, but comes in to grab the rest of his stuff and words are exchanged, with Caleb refusing to admit why he really did what he did, and allowing Toby to keep believing that Caleb was actually the one who leaked the info about Yvonne, even though he didn’t.

This culminates in Toby punching the crap out of Caleb, which I’m sure has been made into a GIF by now as we speak. I think forlorn, heartbroken Spoby and/or Haleb fans were hoping it would be related to the whole Spaleb thing, but sorry to disappoint you, it wasn’t. (Now THERE’S a sentence that would make absolutely NO sense to anyone not in the know, lol.)

Instead, it was simply about Toby defending his girlfriend’s honor, which makes perfect sense in light of what he thinks Caleb did. Sure, there might have been an undercurrent of upset feelings because of the whole Spencer thing, but mostly it was just understandable disappointment in what he thought was his friend sinking to horrible depths to help his girlfriend’s mom win an election, and not being above throwing his friend’s girlfriend under the bus to do so.

Spencer tells Caleb he should really tell him the truth, consequences be damned, but Caleb isn’t budging on it. Later, she runs into Mona, who informs her that she was fired because of the whole medical files thing being discovered, with Yvonne’s mom’s team thinking she was planning on doing some leaking of her own, even though she was just trying to help Spencer out.

Spencer informs her that she didn’t leak the files on Yvonne, and neither did Caleb, then adds insult to injury by accusing Mona of it, calling it a move out of her “old playbook,” which doesn’t go over well with Mona, needless to say. Though Mona certainly has a valid reason for being upset by all of this, as we’ll see later on, Spencer isn’t exactly wrong in suspecting her, and who can blame her after all Mona put her and the girls through once upon a time- if not currently as well?

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Aria gets a visit from Lt. Tanner, as she and Ezra are discussing the book, who informs her that they have a witness down at the station who claims they can ID the person who made the call at the 2 Crows diner. It just so happens to match Aria’s description, so she asks her to come down to the precinct for a good, old-fashioned line-up. Aria is not amused, but does it anyway, because what choice does she have, really? If she doesn’t do it, she looks guilty, and if she does and isn’t identified, then at least she’s cleared of it all.

In the end, she is basically cleared, but it isn’t made certain whether the witness said it was her or not, really. Indeed, as Aria discovers, the witness in question looks to be none other than Sara Harvey, who she spots leaving out the back of the precinct. However, Tanner reassures her that they don’t always act on every accusation they receive, implying that she’s not too sold on Sara, either.

While in her office, Tanner gets a call and Aria, spotting a file on her desk about what the witness said, intentionally spills coffee on the file so that she can try and sneak a peek in the ensuing kerfuffle. She does and sees that the witness spotted an attractive brunette at the 2 Crows making the call, and that they had a keychain with a pair of pink dice on it, which Aria does not, so she at least knows that Sara didn’t try and finger her for the crime, as she assumed.

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As all this is going on, Emily goes to the local mechanics to grill them about whether or not anyone came in with a damaged SUV. They are decidedly not cooperative, with a rough-looking woman in particular not having any of Emily’s questions.

Undeterred, Emily sneaks around the back and into the main garage, spotting the SUV in question and managing to snap a quick photo before the aforementioned mechanic catches her and runs her off again, albeit not before dismissing a picture of Melissa as not being the driver of the SUV in question, which could well be a lie, given what we find out later.

Peter confronts Spencer again about her being seen repeatedly with Caleb around town, and demanding she break things off sooner than later, lest she sink her mother’s campaign completely. Spencer counters by accusing Melissa of murdering Charlotte, but Peter says that she was actually being blackmailed by someone, who claimed to have the video of Melissa confessing to Spencer about burying Bethany Young.

It happened right before Charlotte’s hearing, so it couldn’t have been her, as she wasn’t yet free from the institution. In fact, that was why Melissa was in town before that happened, in order to pay off her blackmailer, who remains at large. Peter says he only kept quiet about it to protect her, but I wonder. It’s still entirely possible she tried to run down Emily, took the alleged murder weapon and got out of town while the getting was good.

Another possibility: the blackmailer told Melissa where to find the item and Emily was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and got caught in the crossfire. The fact that Melissa has the item in question with Emily’s fingerprints on it might just be a happy coincidence for her, and one she might think will come in handy if anyone tries to finger her for the crime of killing Charlotte. Now she can prove otherwise, but it still wasn’t enough to keep her from bailing Rosewood- not that I blame her there.

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Moving on to Hanna’s party, the girls, armed with all this new information, are at a loss and essentially back to square one. Mona crashes the party, armed with a genuinely sweet gift, a “Wedding Dream Book” she and Hanna made as teens that is beyond adorable. (Mona’s man of choice back then: Justin Timberlake; Hanna’s is Matt Damon!)

Ashley invites her in, despite Hanna’s reservations, although you’d think she’d be a bit more sympathetic to her daughter’s wishes, given what Mona put Hanna through in the past. I mean, the other parents still seem pretty wary of Mona, last I checked, and with good reason. That said, none of the other girls were as close to Mona as Hanna, so Ashley does have a point.

During a game of 21 Questions gone horribly awry, as it becomes glaringly apparent that the girls know as little about Jordan as Ashley does, things go even more south when Hanna tries to adjust the room temperature or something, using Lucas’ tablet remote, and things go completely haywire after that.

First, metal music blares, then an alarm goes off, then Ashley hits a light switch and the air conditioning goes bonkers, followed in short order by the fireplace, which wings Aria in the process, sending her to the hospital with second-degree burns. Yikes!

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Spencer gets a text from Toby agreeing to meet her, and she leaves to do so. We get a flashback, in which it is essentially revealed why the two broke up in the first place. It seems that Spencer had a pregnancy scare in her sophomore in college, which led to an uncomfortable discussion while they waited to find out the results of a test.

Toby thinks that Spencer is dubious of his being a cop, and wishes he would aspire to more, and the fact that he doesn’t is disappointing to her. She also bristles at the thought of their moving in together, leading Toby to wonder aloud if they even have a future together with that attitude. Given that they obviously broke up after that, it would seem he wasn’t wrong about that.

However, it also explains why the whole thing with Yvonne hit a little too close to home for Spencer- she, too had to make a tough decision regarding an unwanted pregnancy- and it was one that Toby obviously didn’t agree with. Though, as Toby later points out- he clearly has a type: strong, driven women. Amen to that, brother. Nothing wrong with that.

As such, Spencer finally comes clean about what’s really going on, telling Toby that Caleb only took the fall for the leak to protect her, and that he didn’t tell Toby because he didn’t want him to have to deal with yet another “A”-type situation, least of all as a cop. Unfortunately, Yvonne was merely collateral damage in the latest “A” game, but Toby says she’s holding up surprisingly well, all things considered. (Spencer later leaves her a considerate message, nonetheless.)

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Shortly thereafter, the girls get another text, this one reading: “You didn’t take me seriously, so I thought I’d light a fire (emoji) under your ass.” Literally, in the case of Aria! Okay, it was more in the arm region, but still, not for lack of trying on “Emoji” A.’s end. This “A.” is clearly not playing around, for sure.

Aria gets a visit from Ezra, who brings lots of goodies, and the two are well on their way to reconnecting when Liam arrives to gum up the works, sending Ezra off into the sunset, albeit with the good news that Jillian signed off on the book idea officially, so it won’t be the last time these two get together. So, there’s still hope, Ezria fans!

After cleaning up the bachelorette party disaster, Emily and Mona have a word with one another, after which, as Mona walks away, Emily notices Mona has a keychain with pink dice on the end- just like the witness saw someone with at the diner the night of Charlotte’s death. Calling her out on it, Mona clams up, saying that she “can’t talk about it here.” Emily asks- nay, demands– that Mona get in her car, and that is where we leave them for now, unfortunately.

We end with a return visit to the mechanics’ garage, as we see the woman from earlier working on the SUV, then after looking around to make sure no one is there, ducking underneath it and coming out with an envelope. Looking inside to see a sizable amount of cash inside, she smiles and that’s all she wrote for this episode.

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This was another solid, entertaining episode, with lots of twists and turns and some typically nutty “A.” moments, which, while as dubious as ever, were nonetheless highly amusing and as out-there as one could ever want. Best not to think about how likely any of this was, but then one could say the same for the events of the show in general. You’re either willing to go along with it or not, simple as that.

Granted, it would be nice if they still did a bit of ret-conning to explain some of the more gaping plot-holes of the past, but there’ s still time for all that, what with at least one more season confirmed. Will they get there by the end of this season? Um, not even. But I do think it’s safe to say that things are only going to get more and more bonkers leading up to it, to which I say: bring it on. The crazier, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

It will certainly be interesting to see what the level of involvement of Mona and Melissa is- or lack thereof- moving forward. I can’t help but wonder if both are red herrings to a certain degree, but I’m hoping they both have important parts to play in the final two episodes, at least. We’ll see, but as my two fave secondary characters, here’s hoping!

What did you think of the latest episode of “Pretty Little Liars”? Are you getting psyched for the big finale? Are you sorry it’s going to end so soon- not to mention that next season will be the last? How involved or not involved do you think Melissa and/or Mona are in what’s going on? Who do you think “Emoji A.” is? How about the one looking to cover up Charlotte’s murder? Is that person also the killer, or are they working for the killer, as a member of a team, as with the previous “A.”? How about that Caleb punch? Sound off on this and more down below, and see you next week!