The investigation still goes on now that the police and everyone else knows about Charles. Spencer and Hanna try and see where the scholarship money really came from, Alison attempts to try and understand the investigation underway about Charles, while Aria prepares for her photographs to be in an official open gallery. Unfortunately, the night is cut short when "A" gives them a surprise, leading to more distrust with the police. Furthermore, it appears that Red Coat has returned.
Black Hoodie and Red Coat: Charles and Accomplice?
I find it fascinating that Red Coat has returned now, of all times. So far we've only seen the black hoodie representation near the end credits and little moments here and there, and Red Coat hasn't been in the picture for some time. It does lead to speculations on who these individuals could be.
To get this out of the way, regarding the whole Reese and Clark situation, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it's just a mere coincidence, possibly even something to throw off the girls by making them second guess everything. While this Reese guy does look strikingly similar to Jason, it's not enough to prove anything, let alone assume that he's actually Charles. If anything, I think the whole scholarship thing is a scam, or something not entirely legal. It would explain why the website gives absolutely no other information and that the "businessman" behind the name wants to remain hidden, along with the fact that the organization isn't listed anywhere accessible, plus the small slip that Clark gave at the gallery about that function being his "first" ever. Maybe they're working the scam together, or maybe Clark is another unsuspecting victim of being duped and went to privately confront Reese. Basically, it might not be "A" related, but it is certainly shady business and behavior.
As far as Black Hoodie and Red Coat, assuming that they're not just cronies for Charles, we're going to go with that they're Charles and his accomplice. So, who could be Red Coat?
I have two possibilities in my mind. First, is Cece Drake. She was the decoy Red Coat initially when they were attempting to capture who was Red Coat in Ravenswood that one time, as asked by Alison. But who is to say that she hasn't returned, or that there is more to her than just her being Alison's friend? Remember, she did visit Radley that one time, in disguise as Alison, mostly as a joke dared by Alison herself. Her mother got really angry about that, and now it's probably because of the association with Radley and Charles. Perhaps Cece knows Charles, or knows someone who knew Charles while he was staying there. Also, keep in mind that while Cece and Alison have been seen being on friendly terms, there is no guarantee it has remained that way. But that is just my own personal speculation.
My other theory about who else could be Red Coat this time around? Sarah Harvey.
Now, this one is quite tricky, because while my feelings about her character is still rather undecided I don't want to villainize her if there is no evidence supporting that she did anything malicious towards the girls. As we all know that "A" recruits certain individuals due to their vulnerability and their ability to follow orders in forms of manipulation and personal motivation. Considering that Sarah had been taken and held down in that underground silo for years, it's quite possible that she may have developed some sort of Stockholm Syndrome. We saw her deliver food to the girls in the dollhouse, unseen by them of course, but she was doing these tasks. Also, her apparent living area down there was just a cemented area, no doors to keep her locked in or anything. Being held captive for so long, she probably believed she belonged there, and after not resisting anything for a long time "A" finally deemed her broken enough to not be considered a threat of destroying their plans, and allowed her to roam freely, even assigning her tasks to do.
With her being Red Coat it seems like a stretch, I'll admit that, but it is a probability if she did develop a kind of Stockholm Syndrome while being held down there. Almost similar to one that Alison is having, though with her it's mostly the shock of being lied to and wanting to feel sympathy for someone who was betrayed by their parents, whereas with Sarah it's just a victim having an understanding with their abuser, connecting to them in such a way.
Also, it's very convenient that Red Coat has appeared now just after Sarah had left temporarily living with Emily. Never mind how it seems that everything that happens to Sarah happens off screen. Again, a stretch, but it's the only thing I can go on with the coincidences that leave some clues.
Things I liked about the episode:
++ Even though it was insensitive to say at the time, Hanna just basically saying directly was everyone was thinking and feeling was something I think most of the audience can understand. Hanna has never been one to lighten up and can be quite tactless, especially with just speaking her mind, and after everything they've all been through Hanna just wants answers, she wants justice, she just wants this to be over. And despite her insensitive timing, she does have a point. Alison is feeling sympathy for the situation that placed Charles where he was as a child is understandable, feeling sympathy for him now, especially if he constructed everything that has happened to them, is not. However, I do think in Alison's defense she feels guilty for a long of things, and she does want justice for the shit he has done but not for the police to shoot on sight, because considering her history and track record she probably sees herself in that position, had her mother discarded her instead.
++ While Hanna's paranoia is nothing to laugh about, her antics in that office was pretty hilarious, mostly because of Spencer's reactions.
++ Their staged morgue pictures being placed in that art gallery, I mean that was pretty unsettling just for the notion of having pictures from when you were kidnapped, drugged and unconscious on display as a huge message to not just the girls but to the detectives and everyone. That no matter where they went, "A" would be one step ahead of them, and always there with a message, taunting them. It was creepy and disturbing. Aside from the slideshow at the fashion show many seasons ago, "A" has never been this public with haunting the girls before, in front of everyone and police.
++ Although what Alison did wasn't exactly the best, it's understandable that she would want to get answers that nobody else is telling her. Because this affects not just her friends, but her as well and her family. Instead of having ulterior motives, she wants to actually help, which is a huge character development that I love.
++ I also love seeing how everything that "A" has been doing is affecting the parents, as well. Seeing Ella and Ashley together, finally, makes me super happy. Although sad because Ella had to be there to witness this horrible incident that affected her daughter (and her friends) yet again, traumatizing them by reminding them of their experiences. It most be terrifying realizing how helpless you are, and how inefficient the police are at protecting their girls, and the need to want to do something themselves if the authorities won't do their job. And part of me really wants the parents to be involved, somehow.
Things I didn't like:
++ The only thing I didn't like was the whole Lorenzo thing, but that's nothing new.
++ Oh, and how incompetent the police are in Rosewood. It's kind of unbelievable that they have a dangerous predator on the loose and yet they aren't that efficient at their jobs. Tanner seems relatively calm, but goddamn.
Overall: This was a really good episode, I'm anxiously waiting for the next two episodes where the reveal of who we're dealing with is finally revealed. Also, I'm curious as to when the time jump they're doing is going to occur, if it's going to occur in the mid-season finale or after. And whether if they are going to have a Halloween or Christmas episode this year.