Pretty Little Liars “Hit and Run, Run, Run” Review (Season 7 Episode 4)

KEEGAN ALLEN, TROIAN BELLISARIO

On the latest episode of “Pretty Little Liars,” we had the expected cover up alluded to in the premiere, as most predicted would be the case, though a few thought there might be more to the story, in “Hit and Run, Run, Run.” Instead, we basically hit the ground running, no pun intended, picking up right where that flashforward left off at the beginning of the season.

As both Hanna and Ali were left reeling, the rest of the girls did the dirty work, at least until Hanna joined them towards the end of things, and then, even more surprisingly, Ali, who seemingly reverted right back to the wilier Ali most us loved and miss, albeit still rattled.

When she overheard the girls wondering how they would get her back into the hospital so she wasn’t missed, she nonchalantly walked over to her husband’s ad-hoc grave, reached right on into the ground and came up with his security badge, as if she knew exactly where it would be- and, of course, it was.

Aria was still wondering, along with a lot of the audience, if they should back out and go to the cops while they still could, but was vetoed down by everyone else. After all, they technically hadn’t done anything wrong beyond accidental manslaughter, and they even had the SOS from Ali on their phone and Ali to back them up that she’d been essentially kidnapped, so they had both reason to be there and reason to suspect foul play.

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But liars will be liars and these girls can’t seem to help themselves when it comes to complicating things. In the end, they concocted the usually wacky plan, it being to leave the car, which proved to be Lucas’, not Hanna’s, as some thought, and return later to burn the evidence, while Emily fake-packed a bag to make it look like Elliott split town on the fly and Spencer went to the train station and popped in a car long enough to leave Elliott’s phone and make it seem like he was headed out of town, in case the cops used GPS to track him.

Naturally, most of this didn’t happen, because, you know, it’s “PLL” and things rarely do happen the way the girls hope they will. In this case, it was because of a combination of Spencer going off the rails, getting drunk and nearly hooking up with a stranger at the Radley named Marco (Nicholas Gonzalez, “Bordertown”) and thank the Lord, the return of Mona (the truly essential Janel Parrish), who set these Liars straight on how it’s really done.

While Spencer was blowing her end of the deal, Mona arrived at the scene, took Lucas’ car to a Chop Shop or the like, because of course Mona knows one she can go to, no questions asked and get a windshield repaired and a car cleaned up in the middle of the night. She then returned just in time to find a clueless Aria and Hanna looking for the car and give them a ride.

Telling them that burning the car was a terrible idea, she instead talked them into taking Elliott’s car and leaving it in a parking lot, I’m guessing, in the vicinity of a train station or the like, to further the impression he had left town. However, Mona did point out that the phone they found was a dupe and Elliott’s burner phone was what they really needed to find, as that was what had all the evidence they needed on it, which the phone they had did not.

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Granted, they did have to go back to the car later on and fetch Hanna’s necklace, when she realized she’d left it behind in Elliott’s car, but that actually turned out to be fortuitous, as Mona and Hanna, after finding said necklace, heard a phone ring, and Mona answered it. Who should it be but none other than Jenna (Tammin Sursok, back with a vengeance- literally, it would seem), calling for someone named “Archer.” So, one assumes, this would mean that Jenna is up to something with Elliott, being as how it’s his car that the phone was hidden in.

So, without that return visit and that subsequent call, they wouldn’t have Elliott’s secret phone- or know that Jenna was involved with him, so really, Mona should be glad Hanna left that necklace behind. Though maybe not so much if there were cameras in the vicinity, though one would like to think that Mona would have been aware of that and parked the car somewhere out of sight of them if there were.

That begs the question, of course, how the hell does Jenna know Elliott, aka “Archer”? And what exactly were they really up to? Was this all some long-con plan between the two to dupe Ali’s family out of their money by having Elliott marry Ali, drive her crazy, have her committed and getting controlling interest in the Carissimi Group for whatever reason?

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Also, how much did Mary Drake know about all this? She didn’t seem to know or be onboard with Elliott’s torturing Ali after she was imprisoned at the hospital nor too keen about his abducting and torturing Hanna, assuming she figured out it was him, which would seem to be a safe assumption, given where she found Hanna that night she broke free.

I think maybe Elliott planned to make Mary the easy scapegoat for Ali’s death after he killed her the night he took her out of the hospital and told Ali his “plans had changed.” Sensing that the jig was up, he was going to take her out to the middle of nowhere, kill her and likely leave some evidence behind implicating Mary. As she had a record of mental instability, it wouldn’t have been hard to frame her and make it stick.

Unfortunately for Elliott, his plans came to a premature end when Hanna ran him down. Now, the main question is: What will Mary do with Ali in his absence? She seemed to sympathize with Ali’s plight being locked up and tormented, so Ali might just be okay, but on the other hand, Ali also knows, I think, that Mary was in on it with Elliott as well, which is bad for her.

Further, what will happen when “Archer” comes up missing, in terms of Jenna? Clearly, Jenna was in on things as well, and isn’t aware that Elliott was dead probably before she even got to town, under the guise of “celebrating Toby’s engagement” with the family. Yeah, right. Is she also going to celebrate her sexual blackmail of him back in the day? I haven’t forgotten about that, and I doubt Toby has, either, though some fans might have by now.

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Here’s another interesting question: how aware is Jenna of Mary’s involvement? Was the plan between the two to always frame Mary for Ali’s death? Or had Elliott even planned to kill Ali in the first place, but instead was forced into a corner by those meddling liars and driven to do it? Maybe their plan simply boiled down to get ahold of Ali’s money and splitting town with it, leaving Ali to rot in the hospital.

The questions don’t end there, either. We know from Mary that Elliott was romantically involved with Charlotte, and from Elliott’s reaction to finding out that Ali has supposedly killed her, that it seemed fairly genuine and not part of the plan. He seemed serious when he said that he was going to make life a living hell for Ali for as long as she lived, and keep her there in the hospital.

Granted, we don’t necessarily know that Elliott was romantically involved with Jenna, so she could just be an “inside woman,” as it were, who had the idea and inside info on Ali (and her family) to help things along. It could just be that the plan was for Elliott to seduce and marry Ali, drive her crazy and get her money, plain and simple and falling for Charlotte wasn’t part of it.

But then Charlotte was killed and Elliott went off on a tangent and started obsessing over who killed her, tormenting the liars, kidnapping Hanna and torturing her, and then doing the same to Ali when he “discovered” via the liars that Ali had allegedly killed Charlotte. In other words, Elliott is a crazy person who took matters into his own hands, going off-book and endangering the whole plan in the process by seeking revenge for his beloved Charlotte.

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This is why he and Mary argued at the hospital and part of why she was so angry about Elliott going too far with Ali. The plan was to get her family’s money and controlling interest in the Carissimi Group, not torture the poor girl, which must have hit a little too close to home for Mary, who spent most of her life in an institution, possibly for a crime she didn’t even commit.

But with Elliott gone, what will become of the plan now? Mary already said she didn’t have the money yet, as it was all tied up because of the Ali thing. Meanwhile, Jenna seems to be on Team Elliott and they might even had intended to double-cross Mary, so who knows what Jenna will do when she hears Elliott supposedly split town.

Yep, a lot of possibilities, and none of them seem good, especially on Ali’s end, but we’ll see. Regardless, it was cool seeing Jenna again, and her entrance was suitably epic, and I liked that the show let us know that they haven’t forgotten her and Toby’s checkered past, even if fans might have, by that charged scene between the two later in the episode.

Of course, Mona is always a welcome presence in my book, and it was fun seeing her step in and take charge, showing the liars, as per usual, how it’s done. You gotta love it. Here’s hoping she sticks around, at least in the short term, and the same for Jenna, which seems likely, given her limited presence so far.

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Other developments: Caleb seems to have split town, after a desperate attempt to get Spencer back, which mostly failed because Spencer couldn’t let him in because she and Hanna- who overheard everything- were still cleaning up after all that had happened earlier in the evening. Aria snuck Ali back into the hospital, leaving her tied down to the bed and in that pseudo-Hannibal Lecter mask, all the better to show what a creep Elliott was.

Ali also confessed to Aria that she had indeed been in the church the night Charlotte died and that the two had argued over her involvement with Elliott, which Charlotte seemed to take too personally- now she knew why. What confused her was why Elliott would think she killed her when she was Charlotte’s #1 cheerleader and worked so hard to get her out. Obviously, Aria knew the answer to this one, but didn’t speak up.

KEEGAN ALLEN, TROIAN BELLISARIO

Assuming this can be trusted, one has to wonder- wouldn’t Elliott have told Charlotte what he was up to if he really loved her as he said? If the flashback was true, then Charlotte seemed blindsided by the revelation. Indeed, if it hadn’t been proven it was homicide already, suicide wouldn’t be out of the question.

The fact that Elliott didn’t tell her would seem to indicate he didn’t really love her, but the extremes he went to, in order to avenge her seemed genuine, so…not sure what all that was about. He had to have known he would get caught eventually, sleeping with both sisters, right? That’s on him, not them, as neither seemed to know about the other affair.

But, as we saw in the flashback as well, someone else seemed to be in the church, which Ali suspected, but didn’t do anything about, something she obviously felt terrible about in retrospect. So, who was it? And what was their reason for killing Charlotte? Lots of questions to answer, to be sure.

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MVP of the ep: Spencer, who went through the emotional ringer on this one, almost as much as Hanna, who was bad-off, but handled it well. Spencer, on the other hand, compared herself to Lady Macbeth, had a wrenching scene with Caleb, in which she was effectively rendered powerless- and in front of Hanna, no less- then proceeded to fall back on bad habits, get wasted at the Radley and nearly hooked up with a rando in an elevator. Not good, all around.

Her “meet cute” pick-up talk with Marco was priceless. “What were you doing tonight?” “Burying a body,” Spencer said, without skipping a beat. Yikes! That would be a red flag to most guys, but I guess that’s what happens when you’re the last ones standing at the bar, lol. Spencer also had the line of the evening: “Coincidences are the Devil’s way of staying anonymous,” which is a bastardization of an Einstein quote, which said the same thing about God.

Hanna was a close second, though, between her catatonia at the site of Elliott’s death, to her determination to pitch in burying him, to her later wondering if she did it on purpose to get revenge on him for his torture of her.

Nice sleuthing by Mona figuring out Hanna and Jordan were broken up by spotting her faux diamond ring, as well, leading to a heartfelt old-school friends moment between the two, another solid scene. A true friend to the end, despite that whole unfortunate trying to, ironically enough, run Hanna down herself back when she was “A.” Takes a hit-and-runner to know one, I guess.

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So, what will become of Ali, now that Mary’s “in charge”? Now that Toby has the cops on the Elliott/Archer case, what will they find, if anything? Will the girls literally get away with murder- again? What will Jenna’s next move be? Where the hell is Shower Harvey and what has she been up to all this time?

Was Elliott, in fact, AD, as I thought? Or was that also a collective, a la “A”? If so, who else is involved, if anyone, besides Jenna and Mary? (Writer’s update: it was confirmed that, in fact, Archer’s last name is Dunhill, thus, Elliott is AD, aka Archer Dunhill, though he obviously had help. That said, the vendetta to track down Charlotte’s killer was his own, so his going after Hanna and Ali were both of his own accord, without the knowledge of anyone else on his “team.”)

Who is “Emoji A” and is that a separate thing? (I think so, and I maintain it’s Sara Harvey.) Is there an “Uber A” on top of all of this? (I think so, and I think the first two will be taken care of by the middle of the season, leaving only the final culprit.)

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Let me know what you think down below and see you next week!