PRETTY LITTLE LIARS Winter Premiere Recap: Back to Rosewood for a New Mystery

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“A” was unmasked on the last summer finale of PRETTY LITTLE LIARS. And as one mystery came to a close, the girls left high school and Rosewood behind. Now, five years later, Alison is a teacher at her old school and she’s reaching out to her fellow PLLs to ask them for help with Charlotte. The girls are all returning to Rosewood to speak at Charlotte’s parole hearing, but are they willing to hear Ali out and speak in favor of her sister?

The four PLLs reunite at the local coffee house to catch up and drink lattes, gushing about Hanna’s impending wedding. Emily is lying about her current school status, but the conversation quickly turns to the upcoming hearing. Then Emily returns home (and we learn her father has passed away), while Hanna goes to visit her mother at Radley Sanitarium — which is now a restaurant, lounge and hotel managed by Ashley Marin.

At the Montgomery house, Aria’s father warns her that Ezra is back home and they discuss a mystery girl named Nicole. It sounds like Nicole — who was clearly close to Ezra — went missing (and possibly presumed dead) during a house-building mission in South America. Over at the Hastings’, Veronica is running for the Senate and we learn that she and her husband are still together.

Aria reunites with Ezra and they discuss Nicole, as well as his second book, which is supposed to be published by the publishing house Aria now works for. The reunions continue when Toby and Spencer meet up again (as he tries his hand at building a house). They discuss Charlotte’s hearing and he offers to buy her dinner before she leaves town — and she accepts. The girls finally reunite with Alison at the school and she’s trying to convince them that Charlotte has changed. But the girls can’t forget what “A”/Charlotte did and don’t seem eager to help Ali.

During a press conference for Veronica, Mona makes an appearance and we learn that she’s in Washington D.C. as well. Back at the Fields house, Emily and Toby are sharing a beer on the porch. He tells her that he was recently passed over for promotion and she reveals that college wasn’t what she thought it would be after her father’s death.

The next day, the girls and Ali are speaking to a judge about Charlotte’s release. Spencer is the first to give in to Ali’s wishes and say that Charlotte poses no threat to her and the other girls follow suit. Aria is slightly thrown off by Ezra’s appearance and she’s the first to break. Flashing back to everything “A” put them through, she tells the judge that she wouldn’t feel safe if Charlotte is released. Shockingly, though, Mona speaks in favor of Charlotte and asks the judge to let her go free.

Later, the girls reunite again at the Radley lounge and learn about Charlotte’s release. As they turn off their phones, they reminisce and discuss future plans. But Emily suggests they leave Charlotte and the past behind and move on. Of course, that’s all easier said than done as the camera ominously zooms in on a security camera trained on the girls.

The next morning, the girls are sleeping off their night of drinking in Hanna’s hotel suite. Ali calls in a panic and we get a quick flash at a variety of prescription drugs that Emily is hiding in her purse. Apparently Charlotte returned to the DiLaurentis house last night but now she’s gone. Alison asks if the PLLs can head over.

And here’s the shocker: Charlotte is dead! Her body was found in front of the church and it looks like she may have killed herself (although PRETTY LITTIE LIARS fans obviously know better). At the DiLaurentis house, Emily comforts a grieving Ali, while Caleb visits Hanna at her hotel room and reveals he may start working with Spencer’s company. He also tells her that he’ll be staying in Spencer’s barn, which makes Hanna feel awkward.

Charlotte’s funeral is a strange affair, made all the stranger with the appearance of Sara Harvey, who clearly makes the girls uncomfortable. After Sara departs, Lorenzo approaches the girls and asks if they’ll be staying in Rosewood. He reveals that Charlotte was dead when she was thrown from the bell tower and it’s clear that the girls are persons of interest in her murder.

Thus begins a new Rosewood mystery: who killed Charlotte? And who is targeting the PLLs now?

Don’t miss the next new episode of PRETTY LITTLE LIARS on January 19 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform.

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