'Pretty Little Liars' Recap: 'Game Over, Charles'

On this week’s episode of Pretty Little Liars, the identities of Charles, Black Widow, and Red Coat are revealed and the PLLs learn why they’ve been –A’s targets.

Immediately following prom, Ali and the PLLs have wound up at Radley. –A is standing on the edge of the roof preparing to jump and the police are on the ground. Ali and the girls try to reason with –A now having heard –A’s background. –A prepares to jump anyway.

Cue opening theme.

Earlier that night, the PLLs continue to search for Ali at prom while their moms remain trapped inside the DiLaurentis’ basement. The girls plus Sara are stuck while Toby and Lorenzo field questions from Lieutenant Tanner. Aria notices a figure in red nearby and the girls follow it. It’s Mona. Mona’s been blue snarfing Ali ever since she returned to Rosewood, but she lost her when the girls nearly exposed Clark. When Mona is able to recover the signal, she informs the girls that Charles has his own cellular network, which is located at The Carissimi Group headquarters.

Meanwhile, Ali wakes up at Radley only to find her father and brother seemingly dead.

Soon enough, the PLLs plus Sara and Mona arrive at The Carissimi Group and see the cops moving bags out of the facility. Curious as to what is going on, the girls sneak in and Sara helps them break the code to gain entry to the main room, which leads into a larger vault. Sara stays outside while Mona and the PLLs watch Ali on a live video feed. She’s with –A, who turns out to be CeCe. When Ali freaks out on her sister for killing their father and brother, CeCe informs her that Ken and Jason are not dead…yet.

Clearly in shock, Ali questions how Cece could do such a horrible thing to her. CeCe responds, singing, “Lord help the mister who came between me and my sister.” Simultaneously, the PLLs and Mona realize that the cops aren’t coming to help them and wonder if Lieutenant Tanner could possibly be working for CeCe.

Back at Radley, CeCe tells Ali she got in trouble, because no one understood her love for Ali and flashbacks reveal a younger Charles putting a baby Alison into a hot bathtub, as previously revealed by Ken. Additional flashbacks show Charles’ parents visiting him in Radley. In the present, CeCe claims the bathtub incident was an “accident” and that Charles secretly played dress up with Jessica’s clothes, since Ken refused to buy him dresses.

Back at The Carissimi Group, Mona informs the PLLs that CeCe once had her in a similar state to that of Ken and Jason and it was painful. At Radley, a series of flashbacks reveal Charles befriending Bethany and Bethany pushing Toby’s mother off the sanitarium’s roof. CeCe claims that once she was alone in Radley, she had to befriend someone, since she no longer had Ali to be her “twin.”

Later, CeCe reveals that Bethany blamed Charles for Mrs. Cavanaugh’s death, so a deal was cut with Detective Wilden to rule the incident a suicide. CeCe also discloses that Charles was diagnosed with Intermittent Explosive Disorder and was doped up on drugs. Charles’ father abandoned him, so eventually Charles “died” and was “buried.”

Simultaneously, the girls realize that Mrs. D taught Charles how to be –A and that CeCe and Ali are in the rear wing of Radley. When Red Coat suddenly appears on the live feed with explosives in hand, the girls realize that CeCe plans to blow up Radley.

As CeCe continues revealing secrets, viewers learn that she was able to escape Radley by studying hard and that the board of the sanitarium gave her special permission to attend UPenn. Already too smart for her own good, CeCe cut classes and wandered throughout Rosewood, befriending the DiLaurentis family as CeCe Drake, since Ken, Jason, and Ali were led to believe that Charles—or Charlotte—was dead. Everything was fine until Bethany’s father started dating Jessica and Bethany had a meltdown. Bethany snuck out of Radley, pretending to be CeCe, so CeCe knew she had to get rid of her. CeCe accidentally struck Ali with a rock on the back of the head, mistaking her for Bethany.

Once CeCe knew she hit the wrong girl, she apologized profusely to her mother, but that didn’t prevent her from being shipped back to Radley.

Back at The Carissimi Group, Mona realizes she killed Bethany while seeking to take her frustrations out on Ali. Mona claims she never wanted to hurt Ali; her –A texts were only meant to scare her, though things eventually went too far.

Later, Mona realizes CeCe’s been able to make The Carissimi Group successful by investing in all the right stocks and that Rhys is an unknowing pawn in her scheme.

At Radley, CeCe explains to Ali that she was all alone again until Mona was admitted and she tricked Mona into telling her about how she targeted the PLLs as –A while drugged up on meds. Mona thought CeCe was Ali, so CeCe used that to her advantage. Unfortunately, that stopped when Mona was weaned off her meds and she came to. After Mona was herself again, CeCe bargained with her: if Mona helped CeCe escape from Radley, she had to let her share the –A game.

CeCe said she got angry it seemed like the PLLs were happy that Ali was gone. At the same time, Mona claims she never said this and someone played games with her in Radley to make her hungry to torment the girls as –A again. Moments later, CeCe reveals that she employed Sara Harvey to be Red Coat.

Sara did her job well, but Ali being alive seriously screwed up her plans. CeCe said she used Sara as a decoy the night of the lodge fire.

Meanwhile, Ali tries to process why CeCe would keep trying to hurt her and her friends if she cared about her. CeCe claims she thought things were over when Aria killed Shana in New York and CeCe fled the country, but the –A game was like a drug for her and it felt good for her to succeed at something. CeCe says she only got mad when Ali didn’t listen and that she’d never really hurt Ali or the PLLs, because she loves her “dolls” too much. It sucks to kill someone, even unintentionally, and Ali realizes CeCe got rid of Wilden when he got too close to the –A investigation. Flashbacks reveal that Sara also acted as the Black Widow.

Mona shuts off the live feed and the girls wonder how Sara could be in on –A’s game when she was trapped in the dollhouse with them. They also break out of The Carissimi Group vault and rush to find Ali. Mona decides to hang back and hear the end of CeCe’s story.

Ali hears the end of CeCe’s story and how CeCe was devastated when she found their mother dead since Jessica was the only person who ever really “loved” her. Meanwhile, the PLLs make it to Radley, Emily takes down Sara, and Spencer is able to disable the bomb before CeCe is able to harm Ali. With another plan thwarted, CeCe rushes to the roof and Ali and the girls chase her. They reason with her as she prepares to jump and CeCe decides against falling to her death, declaring “game over.”

Flash forward to Labor Day Weekend, where the PLLs prepare to leave for college. Emily’s off to Pepperdine, Aria’s heading to Savannah, and Spencer will be attending Georgetown. Hanna’s school of choice isn’t mentioned and Ali is the only one who will be staying behind in Rosewood. They all hug and share emotional goodbyes.

Flash forward again, this time five years later. It appears that Ali is a teacher and she’s writing on a chalkboard in her classroom, when Emily, Aria, Spencer, and Hanna enter, looking displeased. They tell Ali that a male someone is “coming” for her and that they have to leave immediately. They also claim they came back for her.

End of episode.

Image Credit: Jennifer Graylock/INFphoto.com

Pretty Little Liars airs every Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ABC Family. The series will return with new episodes in the winter and will continue with the time jump during the second half of the season.

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