After sharing the information of what her father revealed about Charles DiLaurentis, Alison and the girls try to verify whether Charles is actually really dead by salvaging what they can from the Radley records. Meanwhile, Spencer and Aria individually deal with their own PTSD from what happened to them, including having things being triggered and trying to cope with the aftermath from their escape.
The Other DiLaurentis Child
We learned quite a bit about Charles DiLaurentis. First and foremost, he is a real person. He was Alison and Jason's older brother who showed signs of being troubled and mentally unstable at an early age. By the time Alison was born, he had gotten really dangerous to the point where something had to be done. They decided to send Charles away to the Radley mental institution and remove everything remembrance of his memory from their family, even by telling Jason that he had imagined his brother. They moved to Rosewood shortly after that because Jessica wanted to be close to Charles, something that their father didn't like. Which leads back to her visiting Radley so much.
Unfortunately, Charles is said to have committed suicide by his sixteen birthday, and Jessica had his remains buried behind their deceased aunt's home, the home that she kept from being sold and refused to let anyone near it since.
This is where things get more complicated, since we're getting more pieces to the puzzle and yet there are still some things not adding up to this particular story.
If we're to believe that Charles is, in fact, dead, it could mean that someone has definitely taken his identity. Like what Spencer mentions, it would most likely be someone he bonded with at Radley who knew and understood his story and would take over to finish what he wanted to do after he was gone. Bethany Young is the strongest candidate, given her relationship with Jessica DiLaurentis when she continued to visit Radley, and who she ended up hating so severely. I know that we're to believe that she is also dead, but we never saw what she looked like so it's highly possible she may be involved. However, there are some discrepancies with this when you consider Jessica's behavior around that time and even afterwards, especially with Aunt Carol's house and why she didn't want Jason to be there. It wasn't because of the grave. So, if Charles is still alive and Jessica had been planning on keeping him hidden away all this time, what is the point of him doing all of this? Of course, if someone is that mentally unstable to the point of having zero empathy about their baby sister and even wanting so much for her to drown in scalding hot bathwater, it would explain his hatred towards her, but not for her friends.
But regardless, I was correct with everything coming back to Radley. Obviously, the show is kind of connecting things with the book, just with a different setup with adding another brother instead of a twin sister. But it would be interesting if they added in the switched places bit, which perhaps is what may be happening with the possible theory of someone assuming his identity to continue unfinished business.
Things I liked about the episode:
++ I am really impressed with how the show has been handling the girls and their PTSD, including seeing them being triggered and how they, individually, are coping with it all. It also allows us to see what actually happened to them while they were trapped down there in those rooms and how much they were toyed with and how it truly does affect each girl and their relationships with each other and those around them. They aren't going to be the same, and I like how they're keeping with that instead of just dismissing it altogether.
++ I'm also liking the responses everyone else has around them. The girls cannot just sneak around like they used to without going unnoticed. Everyone they care about is worried that something might happen to them again, and while I can understand the frustration of being hovered over 24/7 while still trying to secretively solve something on the side, it's understandable that their parents and loved ones would be worried about them not checking in. Things aren't the same anymore, they know it and everyone else knows it, and one misstep could land one of them back into the hands of their predator. Not that the girls don't know this, of course, given everything that they're still going through and how "A" is still a huge threat to them, but it's something to consider with recent events. Because the girls are both independent but also not entirely dealing with things, and they need to be alright before moving forward.
++ Troian continues to be an amazing actress. I love how she responds emotionally as Spencer and seeing the way she is psychologically (not) dealing with her trauma. That flashback with her in that room, seeing what happened to her, at least on one of those days. JFC. "A" was definitely playing a horrific mind game on her, playing on her previous memory loss with drugs by inducing her to become sleep deprived. The fact that she cannot sleep even now proves that it has worked even more sufficiently. I just want to hug her.
++ Jason and Alison hugging. ♥
++ I'm happy that we got more information about who Charles is, which leads us to having more answered and unanswered questions, but at least it's a start in the right direction into getting closer to the truth. Everything is slowly coming together, it's all connected.
++ Aria finally opening up about what happened to her, to her father no less. Which I'm happy that she finally was able to talk about it despite wanting nothing more than to just forget that it ever happened. I like that the show is showing the different ways the girls are dealing with it, demonstrating that some of it is healthy (talking about it) while others unhealthy (finding alternative means through drugs).
Things I didn't like:
++ Hanna and Caleb being on a break, at least temporarily. I mean, on one hand I understand Caleb's reasoning for keeping tabs on her after everything that has happened (this goes for everyone), but I also understand Hanna's need for space and to have some breathing room, and being suffocated by someone who you love isn't what she needs. But Hanna also needs to deal with what's been bugging her, they all do. So I understand why this needed to happen, I just don't like it. Hopefully things will get resolved soon because I adore them together.
++ Still no update on Mona, or even more
Overall: I really liked this episode, it gave us answers about Charles and it brought us more closer to the truth, even though we still have unanswered questions and need more pieces to the puzzle to solve. But at least it's a start and now we have a place to go on. Radley, and anyone associated with it. I'm looking forward to learning more as the season continues.