Pretty Little Liars Recap: Problem Child

Pretty Little Liars Recap

With Alison and Jason demanding concrete answers, Papa DiLaurentis was forced to open up his Big Book of Lies on Tuesday’s Pretty Little Liars and rattle off Charles’ (alleged) backstory.

If Alison’s dad is to be believed — pardon my skepticism, but this ain’t my first day in Rosewood — Charles was the eldest DiLaurentis, born 15 months before Jason. He exhibited troubling symptoms at a young age, and by the time Alison turned one, he was “too dangerous” for her to be around. (Example: Mr. D caught him trying to drown Alison in the bathtub.) Charles was then shipped off to Radley, where he committed suicide at the age of 16. So… no happily-ever-after there.

As for why no one in Rosewood has any memory of Charles’ existence, the DiLaurentis clan apparently moved to the troubled town after he’d already been committed. At the time of his death, Mr. D was out of the country, so Mrs. D had him cremated; there was no funeral. I believe Hanna’s response best sums up my thoughts about this convenient explanation: “No body, no grave, no proof.”

When the girls discovered that Charles had only been visited by Alison’s aunt Carol during his Radley stint, Jason conveniently remembered that he tried to stay at Carol’s house while recovering from his fall down the elevator shaft (which we’re now apparently allowed to address again). When he got there, he was surprised to see his own mother, who claimed there was no one else in the house — despite there obviously being someone else there. And since the girls were unable to find any records of Charles’ death, we have to ask: Could he have been alive, and hiding out with Mama D’s help, all this time?

Elsewhere this week…

HIGH TIMES | Because pills are so Season 4, Spencer is turning to a slightly greener substance to help ease her Charles-induced nightmares. (And can you blame her? If I was having flashbacks to my kidnapping, during which I woke up covered in a stranger’s blood, you can bet your doll collection I’d be smoking myself into a delightful stupor.) Ezra did his best to stop Spencer from nomming a batch of his waitress’ special brownies, but Spencer wasn’t exactly in the mood for an after-school lecture — and I can’t say I was, either. Bring on #StonedSpencer!

SWIMFAN | My Sara-is-Charles theory is starting to look pretty thin right about now, but fortunately for my ego, my other theory — about Sara and Emily getting their flirt on — appears to be proceeding as predicted. They even shared a moonlight dip, very reminiscent of Emily and Paige’s synchronized night swim from Season 3. Should we start taking bets on when one of the girls will make a first move? (I’m choosing to ignore the potential weirdness with Sara on the roof, but only because I really want Emily to be happy.)

‘WE [ARE] ON A BREAK!’ | But as one Rosewood couple is coming together, another is quickly being torn apart. Yes, friends, Hanna officially told Caleb she needs some “space” after learning that he’d placed a tracker on her car, the latest in a series of overprotective moves that left her feeling suffocated. If I may speak directly to Hanna for a moment… Girl, what are you doing? I know Charles put you through hell, but do you really think kicking this out of bed will help? I mean. I just. Please reconsider.

PICTURE THIS | In addition to learning the twisted origin of Aria’s new haircut — Charles apparently chopped it off, Jan Brady-style, after she refused to color it — we also saw the origin of a potential new relationship. Aria thought she’d suffocate in the darkroom after Charles/”A” locked her inside, but in true PLL fashion, a handsome stranger named Clark showed up just in time to save the day. (Disclaimer: I know I’m guilty of immediately thrusting characters into romantic connections, but with this show, I think I’ve earned that right.)

Do you have any new theories about Charles, Sara or A-nything else after this week’s episode? Drop ’em in a comment below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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56 Comments
  1. abz says:

    This whole Charles is A/Charles is not A plot is so annoying and stupid. If this show is trying to convince us that for the past 5 seasons Allison’s “dead” brother or someone he knew at Radley was A and the mastermind behind everything that happened they’ve done an extremely poor job. The entire A storyline should have ended back in the 2nd or 3rd season and they should have introduced a new mystery. I bet in the series finale we’ll still not know officially who this A. They’ve dragged this nonsense out to long now that any revelation is probably going to be underwhelming.
    Also, I get the basic premise of the show with the girls being liars and constantly lying, but just once I wish they’d tell the truth. They never learn. It’s like deja vu all the time. They think they’re little detectives and can figure things out on their own and they always get screwed in the end. Like Hannah withholding from Caleb. I get the part about feeling smothered. Yeah she needs her space, but after all they’ve been through the girls once again convince her to lie about something.

  2. Matty Si. says:

    Ok so the Di Laurentis family moved to rosewood after Charles was sent to Radley. But Spencers dad and Alison’s mom had an affair way before that and had Jason. So that timeline doesn’t match up. Unless I’m forgetting something.

    • T.W.123 says:

      I think that even though we think they met because they were neighbors, they were together on the board of Radley? Or at least Ali’s mom was on the board and maybe Soencer’s dad was one of the boards lawyers? Something like that. So they could have met/ had an affair from that work.

      Or Ali’s dad is lying about the timeline to cover something up.

      Or I’m completely wrong because I can’t keep any of the plot straight. All is possible.

    • kenny says:

      They met before they moved to rosewood. Watch Season 2 episode 20. He explains it.

    • Desiree says:

      I had the same thought last night. That is a HUGE inconsistency. Unless we’re supposed to believe that Peter and Ali’s mom just randomly met at some point, had a one night stand, and then they coincidentally end up as neighbors a couple years down the road??
      My bigger issue is that this was heralded by Marlene as the ‘season of answers’, yet we still know next to nothing. I mean, anyone with half a brain had already figured out that Charles Dilaurentis was either a brother or a cousin to Jason and Ali and most people even had the Radley connection figured out…the only real ‘reveal’ (besides creepy Sara being alive) has been that Charles is supposedly dead…
      Oh, and I hate that Hanna and Caleb are having tough times. They are hands down the best couple on the show, IMO. I hope they don’t stay apart too long. I can only take so much Emily and Sara. Seriously…their scenes are cringeworthy.

      • Rebecca says:

        They really need to give Emily some better love intrests. The only one I ever liked was Maya, and they killed her. Ali was just awful I don’t like even going there, Paige tried to drown her, baker girl was married, There was Samara in like season 2 but I have no idea what happened to her because this show has been all over the place I can’t remmeber who died/left/we’re supposed ot pretend never happened.

      • Alexandra says:

        I think he killed himself Turing 16

    • Katie says:

      Spencer is Charles!!

    • sony says:

      Exactly! Even if Spencer’s dad had met Ali’s mom randomly before, he should atleast know about charles already.. and why does Spencer not think this ? she is so smart.. she should atleast think .. why does my dad not know about charles ?

    • Kiki says:

      I thought Charles was the oldest, Jason the middle child, thus hardly any baby pics of Jason because his brother was in most of them. Jason wouldnt have this problem as if he was born first.

  3. Lia M. says:

    I still think Charles is alive, despite them founding the grave. There was obviously somebody in the house with Mrs. D, the reason why she wouldn’t let Jason stay not for the grave. Why would Mrs. D bury Charles in Aunt Carol’s backyard if somebody could easily see it. It just doesn’t make sense, because Charles “allegedly” killed him self when he was 16, but the girls said Aunt Carol died when they was in the 10th grade and Charles is way older, so that would mean Aunt Carol was still living in that house when Mrs. D supposedly buried him. Also, I believe Charles is the one that hit Alison in the back of her head back in season 1 when Mrs. D witnessed it and tried to bury her alive. Spencer said it herself the only way Mrs. D would protect her daughter’s attacker is if it was another one of her kid , so that made them all think it was Jason but then he was cleared because he was past out drunk. So yes I believe it was Charles that did that to Alison , I mean come on her father even said he tried to drown her in a hot water bathtub when she was baby , yet Mrs. D still wanted to be close to him when they sent him to Radley ,,, causing them to move to Rosewood. Also if Charles was really dead , why wouldn’t Mrs. D let her husband come to the funeral or burial or cremation to say his final goodbye if he was supposedly dead. Charles probably killed Mrs. D after she told him she couldn’t protect him anymore.

    • S says:

      Maybe it’s aunt Carol buried in the back yard

    • Amanda V. says:

      I also believe that Charles is alive despite them finding the grave. Possibly, he WANTS people to think he is dead and put that gravestone there himself before he moved out of that house. Because you’re right, why on EARTH would Mrs. D put that in such plain sight. Sure, in the backyard, but honestly. Not a smart idea if she wanted it hidden.

    • Nicole says:

      Carole was the only family member who knew about him. so thats y she buried him there.(i doubt he’s dead anyway)

    • s says:

      If charles is A, charles is not dead and charles is the one in Radley, who the hell is bethany ? who is the girl thats really dead in season 1 ? more qs than answers.

  4. Lia M. says:

    And if Charles really is dead then the only other scenario I can think of is that somebody that was really close to Charles in Radley is coming back to avenge his death. But that still wouldn’t make sense , why come after the girls and not just the Dilaurentis family.

    • Noel C. says:

      I’m so confused?!? So, Mona was definitely A in the first 2 seasons. I’ve got that down. It was said that Toby joined the “A-team” in season 3 to protect spencer. Did he work with Mona and the real A? Or did he only work with Mona? If A was Mona in the first 2 seasons, and was Toby and Mona in the 3rd, where the heck has this new A been? Its suspicious that the “new” A suddenly showed up right after Mona stopped being A. Has the real A been tormenting the girls since season 1, helping Mona in the process? Does Mona actually know who A is? I think Charles Dilaurentis might be A. But who the heck is this Sara Harvey girl?!? She has literally come out of no where. She doesn’t seem to be connected to any character that has been introduced in the series so far. She has a similar story to that of Bethany young (runaway/ Blonde hair). Did A kidnap her just because she had blonde hair? I don’t think so. I think she is working with A/Charles. How long did it take A to create his perfect doll house. It looks like everything is underground, except for the area above ground, surrounded by electrical fence, in the middle of the forest. It would be crazy expensive to make the doll house, so A has to be someone with a lot of money. Since Sara Harvey has been in the doll house for 2 years, A must have had his doll house ready before then. That means that A has been stalking the girls for a long time. Also it is suspicious that no city or state officials noticed the drilling or construction of the doll house. Kenneth Dilaurentis does own a construction company, which could explain why no one ever questioned the construction of the doll house. Anyway, here is my response to this confusing/amazing show. Any response to my questions would be great!

      • Regan says:

        Quick thought, when we first see Sarah Harvey in the doll house it shows that her door is open meaning she isn’t restricted like the other girls so she could be helping Charles/A?

  5. If Charles is dead, then Sarah Harvey is definatley really Bethany Young. But I don’t think he’s dead.
    I’d like to know why Hannah is so withdrawn the other three girls if they didn’t do anything to each other. And where the hell is Mona?!

    • Helena says:

      true that! everyone seems to ‘protect’ the girls and wants to speak to them about what happened but no one seems to care about mona? what happened to her? it’s creepy

    • Evan says:

      I believe it’s because Hanna is A….to me she seems more annoyed than anything with the other Liars! Her motivation for blowing up at Caleb is because with him hovering she can’t do what she needs to as A

    • shelton23236 says:

      I don’t think charles is dead and I think that sara is really bethany and she is helping charles. That’s why she doesn’t want to go back to her house because saras mom will recognise her. Sara is the girl in the grave. Sara is Bethany. Plus come on it can’t be a coincidence that 2 of Mrs dilarentis kids were in Radley at some point. Betting that bethany met charles in Radley.

  6. Sam says:

    First off, I agree in saying that they’ve dragged this show on too much. I’m not suprised because it is Hollywood. Cha-Ching Cha-Ching. I do have a theory though, a strange theory. After looking at each character throughout the seasons I think that Head A could be Kenneth Dilaurentis. He isn’t a character that is shown very much in the show. Which could lower the predictions of him being A. He also is “traveling” most of the time. This could be because of work related business. I think that the boy shown in the clip was Charles. I believe that Charles believes he was a girl inside (transgender) and Mr. D did not approve. This would explain why Mrs. Dilaurentis had two dresses. I think that Charles was jealous of Alison because she could be a girl and he/she couldn’t. Charles trying to kill Alison was the perfect way in getting him kicked out of the family. Maybe the Dilaurentis put Charles up for adoption and Charles’s new family aloud him to have surgery and turn himself into Bethany (young). Because of her past, Bethany is put in Radley’s. Maybe Mr and Mrs D had something to do with Bethany’s murder. Maybe Mrs D was going to tell someone and Mr D killed her before she could say anything. I think that there is a connection between where Bethany’s and Mrs D bodies were buried. They were both buried in the Hastings yard. This could be because Mr D found out about the affair between mrs d and mr Hastings. Also, spencer, when face to face with A, said A felt familiar. Or maybe Charles is still alive and torturing the girls because he is jealous of them all. It’s a hard mystery to solve! This theory is way out there and doesn’t answer all the questions, but I don’t think Mr. d should be ruled out.

  7. robertbennett says:

    I believe that this new girl and Charles (A) are working together. She ran away to be with him. They probably met at Radley. Shes been helping Charles all along. Thats how Charles was able to use Emily’s phone to record her sleeping. That is why shes suddenly becoming so relevant. Think about it…

    • Amanda V. says:

      I agree with that statement! I think that they are working together as well and that she is so insistent on staying with Emily so that she can infiltrate the girls by getting close to one of them!

      • Cee says:

        I think Sara Harvey was in Radley and she is big time associated with the A game. Remember, the old doctor told Toby to ask his mom to stay away from the blonde girl. Perhaps he was referring to Sara Harvey.! Not sure though!

  8. Scott21 says:

    So after what happened with Mona and Alison the writers really think that we would belive that Charles is dead? Come on…

  9. I think says:

    Last nights episode has really thrown a spanner in the works. At the end of season 5 we were all convinced that Charles was A. But Charles is apparently dead? Mrs D has as many secrets as Alison had so I don’t know what to believe anymore and I’ve given up on trying to find out who A really is because I know I will just get it wrong.

    Also here’s a side note, do you remember back in season 2 or 3 Toby was on the A team and he went to work in Bucks County? Well Charles’ underground dollhouse was in Bucks County. Do you think Tony has met Charles but hasn’t realised? Marlene has said that we have met Charles before so it is somebody we know.

  10. lauri5567 says:

    I’ve watched Days of Our Lives for years. Perhaps the DiLaurentis are related to the Dimeras with all the fake deaths, lol.
    I assume Mrs. D had Charles fake his death and then buried the coffin in case she asked. Wold also help explain why .
    I think Sarah is supposed to get close to Emily, but will fall in love with her which will protect Emily out of love from Charles at the end.

  11. anakl says:

    Charles, Clark ?? Maybe Clark is Charles… If he is, the Di Laurentis boys seem to have a thing for Aria…

    • Helena says:

      Maybe! Have you seen some photos of the dollhouse the pll wherever posted? I saw a picture from the dollhouse in a video on youtube and der was a blonde boy and a boy with a darker skin and marlene or someone wrote ‘brothers?’ unter the pic !! this is brilliant

  12. Helena says:

    so here’s my theory: pll has this special thing with twins and now i finally know who is the one with a twin-sister: Mrs. DiLaurentis! Carol ist her twin sister, jason didn’t met his mom at carols house, it was carol. The different voice made me think it wasn’t Jessica.
    so because only Jessica and Carol were visiting Charles in Redley, Charles has to be connected to Carol in a special way: he is her son!
    I don’t know why they were pretending that Charles was Jessicas son (maybe to hide an affair between Mr.D and Carol?) but I know one thing: Charles is definitely not dead! Pll told us that Charles is A and even Mr.D had a wrong information about his death/funeral so I don’t think it’s true.
    what are you saying?

  13. shelton23236 says:

    I think k that charles faked his death with the help of Mrs d. Why have a grave for someone if they were cremated?plus there was definitely someone there when Jason went to his grandma’s house. Also who would Mrs d be protecting if charles is dead? Obviously not some random stranger.

  14. shelton23236 says:

    It dosent make sense. So Charles is depressed enough to commit suicide but not depressed enough to apparently have someone in Radley to take over his work? I don’t think charles is really dead. Why make charles A just to have him be dead.

  15. heather says:

    I still think Sara is Charles. So Charles tries to drown Alison when she was a baby. Did you see how strange Sara got after the pool episode where she and Emily held their breath under water. That whole scene was very odd. It must have meant something.

    • shelton23236 says:

      I just thought of something. How can sara be charles? A/charles was standing over sara with a knife in Emilys room remember?

      • heather says:

        I don’t remember that scene :-( Argghh. Ok thanks so much for that theory. I just want Sara gone I can’t stand her.

        • Mary says:

          When the girls came rushing home after getting that video, they found pillows under the blanket to look like a body and then Sara came out of the shower. Maybe the video was taken by Sara. It could’ve been the blankets and a wig. Not an actual person. Also, the blonde haired girl walking into monad house when she was kidnapped could’ve been Sara.

  16. s says:

    Did you see the last scene ? How is A able to track the girls so accurately ? Did A put trackers in their bodies when in the doll house ?

  17. Alexandra says:

    I know A is because it Charles I think dead now there’s no body in the grave at all 🔫🅰

  18. Alexandra says:

    Charles is A and I might dead and he killed himself there’s no body in the grave -A

  19. Deb says:

    Here something to think about. ….I have been going over past episodes to see if I can pick up any more clues. And I came across this. …Mr.D said that no one in Rosewood knew about Charles and the entire situation because the Dilarentis family moved to Rosewood after Charles had been committed to Radley. And as we now know he was committed when Ali was about 1 yr old. So tell me this…….how is it that Jason is the son of Mrs.D and Mr. Hastings if they didn’t move there until after all 3 of the kids were born? I mean come on what are the chances they met some where else before and then just so happen to end up in the very same town? Considering it was not planned that way and as I already have said it was because Charles was now in Radley and his parents were wanting to be close to where he was. It sounds like Papa D is once again not telling the full truth.

  20. Deborah Jean says:

    Everything seems to be weird when it comes to Carol’s house. The gravestone has been there, at least that’s what it looks like. Season 4, episode 10, Mrs. D and Emily go into the basement to see that someone had been staying there. Mrs. D tells Emily that they must have moved out before Jason moved back in. Jason claims that she wouldn’t let him stay there after the accident in the elevator shaft which happened season 3 episode 19. If Jason did stay there like Mrs. D said, then I think he’d have noticed the tombstone. If she was protecting Charles and allowed him to stay there, then why would Charles need to kill her?

  21. Dani says:

    Charles hit Alison in the back of the head Cece and Alison are twins the mom loved both of her girls it was in season four that Jessica taught Cece to be A they were secretly meeting each other that Alison was alive