PRETTY LITTLE LIARS surprised fans by letting Charlotte go free and then killing her as the show time jumped five years into the future. Now the girls back in a familiar position: murder suspects. And so we pick up this episode soon after the events of last week, with the girls reeling from the murder and discussing it in the lobby of the Radley hotel.
Aria is eager to leave Rosewood, but the others caution her to stay. She’s insistent, however, saying that she can’t afford to lose her job. But before she heads off to the airport Hanna drops a bomb: she knows Aria left the hotel room the night before. Where did she go? Aria played the situation off, but it’s clear she’s hiding a secret. Later, she visits Ezra to tell him he needs to lie about them seeing each other the night Charlotte died.
Meanwhile, it’s clear that Charlotte’s death could be a problem for the Hastings family. Mrs. Hastings is convinced that her opponent is using Spencer’s connection to Charlotte to smear her family and her campaign. Spencer’s concerned that her presence in the campaign could hurt her mother’s chances, so she volunteers to miss her next interview. Back at the hotel, Hanna gets a nice surprise in the form of Jordan, her fiancé. He’s arrived bearing food from New York and the offer of a lawyer for Hanna’s next police interview.
At the police station, Lorenzo is telling Allison that Sara Harvey’s hand burns means she could not have committed the murder. Ali is disbelieving, but she tells Lorenzo that she doesn’t believe her friends killed Charlotte. Of course, things get strange when Spencer later tells Caleb that she wrote a paper from a criminology class that closely resembles Charlotte’s death. Is someone once again looking to frame the girls?
The next morning, Emily is undergoing some mysterious treatments at a doctor’s office. While she’s busy with that, Hanna and Spencer are meeting with Ali to discuss Charlotte’s death, Sara being removed from the suspect list and Aria bailing from Rosewood. And back at work, Aria reunites with her boyfriend/co-worker, Liam. But her boss is concerned about Ezra taking a break from writing and not delivering on his next book. Aria insists that she can get Ezra to start writing again and tells her boss not to send Liam to talk to Ezra instead of her.
Later that night, Ali hosts the remaining PLLs, Caleb and Jordan for dinner. Lorenzo calls Ali with news of Charlotte’s time of death and Ali recites a prayer for grace that clearly insinuates one of her friends may be guilty and the others may be covering for her. As a result, Hanna secretly tells Emily that Aria left the hotel the night of the death. And Aria isn’t the only PLL who is lying — Emily is covering up her medical appointments, lying to her friends about still being in school, and lying to her mother about her current job.
Enter Aria, who has returned to Rosewood to talk to Ezra about his second book. He hands over a USB stick with the book (which we later learn also contains information about Nicole’s disappearance) and she asks him where he went after they saw each other the night of Charlotte’s death. He tells her he went home, but it’s clear that she’s suspicious. At the hotel, Hanna, Emily and Spencer have dug up the security footage of Aria seeing Ezra the night Charlotte died. Since Aria got back after Charlotte’s murder her friends were suspicious. And when the girls confront Aria about that night, we get a flashback with Aria and Ezra. Apparently Aria had called Ezra to talk about the hearing and Charlotte’s release and as they roamed the streets they spotted Charlotte enter the church. Ezra seemed particularly upset about Charlotte walking free as Aria headed back to the hotel. Back in the present, Aria was forthcoming to her friends and told them she suspected Ezra was the killer.
The girls are concerned that Aria could be implicated in Charlotte’s death if Ezra was named a suspect, so Aria insists that they get rid of that security footage. Later, Emily visits her father’s grave to tell him about losing her scholarship and leaving school, but Sara Harvey stops by the cemetery and Emily bails.
In the end, Hanna deletes the security footage, while Ali calls Lorenzo to her house to tell him she suspects her friends could be responsible for Charlotte’s murder.
Don’t miss the next new episode of PRETTY LITTIE LIARS on January 26 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform.