Happy Birthday Charles!
As promised Charles did indeed return to Rosewood this week in honour of his birthday however as expected things didn’t exactly go to plan. After receiving the card from his long lost son last week Mr D promptly whisked Alison away to a hotel claiming that he was trying to protect her having come to terms with the idea that the son he thought had died years ago is in fact still alive. Meanwhile back in Rosewood Jason (who stayed home as he wanted to meet Charles and make sense of his childhood memories) received an invitation to the party and set off to be reunited with his big brother.
And here’s where it all went down… Having escaped from the hotel by slipping her father some sleeping pills Ali hitched a lift from Mona and headed to the party, worried that her brother was in danger. Whilst in the car she also did something completely unexpected on this show and called 911! (It's worth noting that Aria also almost caved and called 911 earlier on in the episode - these girls are starting to see sense!). Unfortunately her plan backfired as just when Jason was about to come face to face with their mysterious brother the Rosewood PD cops burst in and of course Charles escaped once again.
“My friends and family are in danger. I know who A is. His name is Charles DiLaurentis, and he's my brother.” – Ali
Also there for the big moment were Lorenzo and a completely spaced out Toby. Earlier in the episode we saw the return of Sabrina, the girl who baked Spencer those pot brownies a couple of weeks ago. Whilst Spencer wasn’t around Sabrina slipped a packet of homemade candies into her bag and Toby later found them and evidently decided to eat... well, quite a few. After Spencer filled him in on the Charles DiLaurentis info Toby insisted on following Jason whilst the girls stayed home but by the time he got to the ‘party’ he wasn't in any fit state to protect anyone.
Of course they couldn’t sit around and wait for news so the final attendees at Charles’ soiree were our favourite Liars. The girls managed to trick A into thinking they were all home safe at the Hastings household by removing their trackers and heading off to the action. Side note: teens performing DIY surgery on each other to remove the chips after only watching YouTube tutorials surely shouldn’t have gone so smoothly. Although this allowed them to gatecrash the party since things didn't quite go to plan they've now lost their advantage over A.
After failing to catch A/Charles Ali returned home to find her big brother Jason with a glass of scotch in his hand, about to ruin his sobriety. As the two had a bit of a sibling heart-to-heart, where Jason confessed he just wanted to meet up with Charles and have a moment alone with his older brother before telling him to turn himself in, they were interrupted by a child's cries of "Jason, Jason come play with me".
What the pair found waiting for them in the next room was another of Charles' beloved home videos sharing a snippet from their childhood. In this clip we see a young Ali and Jason celebrating the birthday of a boy named Freddie (who we now know to be Charles). Also present off-screen is Mrs DiLaurentis who the pair remember took them out of school for the occasion, telling them that Freddie was a cousin.
"I remember this day. Mom took us out of school."
"And took us to the arcade for some second cousin's birthday."
"She made us promise not to tell dad." - Ali & Jason
Now here's where it gets really interesting. I was watching the episode with the subtitles on (as I always do) and when the pair were watching the birthday party home video something caught my eye. Although it sounded as though Mrs D was off camera talking to her kids the subtitles suggest there are two women we aren't able to see as some of the speech is labelled 'female #2' and if you listen closely it does sound like there could possibly be two different voices. Whilst it could mean absolutely nothing at all I couldn't help but wonder if this is a clue as to how the DiLaurentis family may be connected to another of Rosewood's families? I know there are popular theories suggesting that Mrs D and Toby's mother Marion could have been twin sisters, or perhaps the voice belongs to Aunt Carol who was helping her sister hide the fact that Charles was still alive?
This week's video reveal also plays into the statement (I believe from Marlene King) that once we find out Charles' whole story we will feel sympathy for him. The young boy in the video ('Freddie') did not at all fit the descriptions we've heard of Charles, about how he was too dangerous to keep around and had to be shipped off to Radley because of his attempt to harm his baby sister. The boy seemed happy to be spending his birthday with Ali, Jason and Mrs D, running over to ask the face behind the camera "When do I have to go back?" - what do you think Charles' story could be?
Also this week:
Mike Returns - a familiar face appeared back in town this week as we saw the return of Aria's little brother Mike. As well as looking out for his troubled big sister we also saw Mike make up with girlfriend Mona in their first meeting since she disappeared after faking her own death. He also passed on some post to Aria, containing a letter revealing that she has been selected as a finalist in the photography competition - perhaps we'll be seeing her camera-in-hand after the time jump?
Sara’s Past Life - something that really surprised me this week was the return of Sara’s school friend Claire whom we first met back in season four. When Emily and Sara met up with Claire we saw a huge change in the latter’s personality as she caught up with her friend, chatting about old times and everything she’s missed out on. Much to Emily’s disappointment Sara jumped at the chance to head back to Courtland and stay at Claire’s for a little while, perhaps excited about experiencing a little of her old life again. Emily took out her frustrations on her recently removed tracker by smashing it to pieces.
Hanna’s Future Plans – Ashley had big news for Hanna this week when she revealed that she had managed to score her daughter the money for her college tuition. It turns out that whilst her daughter was
A Gift From An Ally - in this week's end scene we see the mysterious gloved 'A' receive a birthday gift labelled from 'your friend and ally'. Inside the package was a framed photograph from the birthday party home video Charles left for his siblings to see. Since we know there are others involved with all things A this may be a step towards us finding out the identity of his accomplice/s such as the faces behind Redcoat or Black Widow.
What did you think of 'O Brother, Where Art Thou'? If you have any thoughts or theories don't forget to leave a comment below - I'd love to hear them! Don't forget if you haven't seen it yet you can catch my previous roundup for the episode titled 'No Stone Unturned' by clicking here.