Well sinners, we made it. The final three episodes of HBO Max’s Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin have graced the dying streaming service, and hot damn are they something else. Episode 8 “Bad Blood” throws one of our main characters into a foot chase with A, and there is even an “evil dies tonight” moment. While Episode 9 “Dead and Buried” gives us the most chaotic end of episode stinger(s) that had my heart racing, and left me thankful HBO released the final episode as well.
Episode 8 “Bad Blood”
This episode should be called biological hazard because it gets weird. Fresh off receiving a picture of Tyler’s dead body from A, the Losers Club go to the bathroom to freak out. In the bathroom, Imogen and Tabby tell the rest of them about the sexual assaults. They hatch a plan to volunteer for the upcoming blood drive to get samples of DNA from the football players since they both think it was a football player. While people like Tyler and Greg are grade-A shitbags, actions don’t always line up with how we think they would. The way they handle the reveal of who the actual perpetrator is is really well done…but we’ll get to that when we get there.
Imogen and Tabby decide they need to go back and talk to Crazy Jo to try and get more information. Tabby’s mom Sidney gets a present from A; it is a copy of The Scarlet Letter, with a note inside that says, “silence kills.” Flashback to ’99 where Sidney (Kristen Maxwell) walks in on Angela crying in the bathroom, but rather than helping a friend she spreads gossip about Angela, just adding to the laundry list of assholes in her life. We later find out that Angela was sexually assaulted, wait until you find out who did it (!), and does nothing. This is a great parallel to Tabby. While Tabby has only told the girls up to this point, it is a great piece of character development that adds an indescribable amount of unease to the mother/daughter relationship for the viewer.
Back at Crazy Jo’s, Imogen and Tabby flat out ask him if he is the sixth signature in the check-in book. Crazy Jo tells them they need to leave, but Imogen is not ready to give up just yet. Imogen asks Crazy Jo if he knew that Angela was sexually assaulted, and his tone completely changes. Crazy Jo tells them to leave, NOW. Later on, Noa asks her mother if she would be willing to help with the blood drive plan, they would need Marjorie to take the bloodied cotton swabs and have her friend at the lab run the tests. Marjorie agrees, which is a great moment of bonding to fix their heavily ailing relationship.
It’s now the week of Thanksgiving. Mr. Smithee tells Tabby her short film idea is a little too provocative, though she will be able to make it if her mother signs a permission slip. We get a moment of bonding between “Kelly” and Imogen when Imogen shares her story of what happened to her the night of Karen’s party. It’s really sweet how “Kelly” is slowly getting included in the Losers Club bit by bit. Imogen asks “Kelly” if she and the girls can volunteer to help with the blood drive, and explains the whole biological hazard blood scheme. Since Elodie was kicked out of the house, she is staying in a motel room. Mouse visits her mom and asks her more information about her father and Angela, but it’s to no avail. Using her internet sleuthing skills IRL, Mouse goes to her mom’s pawn shop and finds her birth certificate with her father’s name on it: Aaron Stevens.
On Tuesday the girls go around the school trying to get every single student to do the blood drive, Principal Clanton even agrees to let students who donate take the rest of the day off school. Principal Clanton also tells Tabby she cannot do her short film. At the time, this seemed like a real dick move, but in hindsight it all makes sense. Noa talks with Shawn to try and get the football team to donate blood, he tells her they can’t. We find out the majority of the team is taking steroids. Now I highly doubt a group of high schoolers is taking steroids for football, but stranger things have happened. High schoolers using drugs in horror is commonplace, though it is usually weed and sometimes occasionally coke, so it’s interesting to see this whole other idea of addiction and the battle for physical perfection handled this way. After telling the rest of the girls about her conversation with Shawn, they decide the best course of action would be to steal and swab their football equipment for DNA. That idea is much better than the blood drive idea if one of the samples comes back positive for the blood drive that eliminates the football team, and if any of it comes back positive from the football team that eliminates the rest of the school.
Imogen and her mother have had an ongoing Thanksgiving tradition of volunteering at the soup kitchen, and Imogen doesn’t plan on breaking that tradition. There is a flashback of one time when Davie goes over to talk to someone at the soup kitchen. This leads to Davie rushing back over to Imogen and telling her they have to leave immediately. Imogen puts two and two together to realize it was Rose Waters her mom was talking with.
On the day of the blood drive, Imogen sneaks into Nurse Simmons’ office to do some digging and finds Angela’s home address. Not sure why that would have transferred over from 20+ years ago, but the endeavor is successful and Imogen now has a physical location. After handing the bags of bloody cotton balls and football gear, the Losers Club (and “Kelly”) go to a club that doesn’t ID for a night of relaxation. Upon getting back home, at 2 AM, Sheriff Beasley confronts “Kelly” where he basically says he wishes she was dead. “Kelly” has a power moment when she flat out tells him she knows of his goings on, where we get a quick cut of him and another man aggressively making out. The whole Sheriff Beasley arc is quite interesting. He has the fragile male ego of a small town Sheriff, and uses it to hide the fact of who he truly is: a closeted man who is afraid of himself. He uses alcohol, and a badge, to suppress his true self, which leads him to resent the ones around him who have tried so hard to give him love. Sheriff Beasley
may be is a Manhattan subway rat of a human being.
Oh, and we get a quick moment of Sidney finding Tabby’s collection of shower videos. This whole character move from Tabby is never really fleshed out. The only real justification I could make for it is that since she initially believed she was sexually assaulted by a football player, putting a camera in the showers was motivated by the hopes it would jog something in her memory of that fateful night. I…guess that makes sense?
On Thanksgiving Mouse decides to dress up like a girl scout and take cookies to her dad’s house, as an excuse to have contact with him. This brings us one of the most heartbreaking scenes of the entire series. Mouse gets to Aaron’s house and knocks on his door. Aaron’s young daughter opens the door, and soon his wife answers. Mouse says she has a cookie delivery for Aaron. Aaron comes to the door to say he didn’t order any cookies, but his attitude completely shifts when Mouse says who she really is. Completely taken aback, Aaron tells her she needs to leave and slams the door in her face.
While at Shawn’s for Thanksgiving dinner, Noa finds a baggie of steroid pills in Shawn’s bag. The idea of the two closest people in her life being on drugs must really be a lot for someone to handle; add on top of the fact there is a serial killer after them. Instead of going to the soup kitchen, Imogen goes to the address she found for Rose. It is a dilapidated and cliché-looking abandoned house. Imogen goes inside to find a true house of horrors. There is a bed with ropes affixed to the four sides, a cage full of hay, and Rose’s corpse. Imogen also finds A’s mask hanging on the wall. Having enough of this Imogen goes to leave, but the door is opening as she descends the stairs…in walks Crazy Jo! Crazy Jo chases Imogen through the house, but thankfully she gets away pretty easily.
Tabby tells her mother what happened to her the night of the party, which flashers her mom back to how she didn’t help Angela when she should have. Greg and “Kelly” make out again, and she tells him to call her Karen. Yeah, that’s weird, right? Don’t worry it doesn’t lead to anything ever again. The whole idea of is it Karen or Kelly is never handled and there is no payoff. It feels like a waste of our time and is used to pad out the episodes with false intrigue.
The Losers Club all go back to Rose’s house, but it is completely ransacked and in more shambles than it already was. This leads them back to the train car where they find Crazy Joe hanged inside. There is a note next to him, with her mother’s missing senior yearbook, that says, “Angela Waters did not die in vain.”
Episode 9 “Dead and Buried”
We start off on December 11th, whit the Losers Club sitting their moms down together and telling them everything. In return, they just want the truth from their mothers. The moms say they were the mean girls, who got Angela to do the things they wanted because it was like a game to them. They truly do seem sorry for the trouble they have caused everyone. I know I was a little harsh on the mothers previously, but this is a nice moment of self-reflection and repenting for their…sins. Later on, in the evening, Marjorie tells Noa she plans on detoxing, but will not go to rehab. Marjorie decides she will detox at home, but that Noa must spend the days at Shawn’s house. Oh yeah, also Noa needs to cover her mom’s shifts at the pizza place. Noa is elated that her mom is going to take this seriously and try to get clean.
On Noa’s first night with Shawn, she wakes up to him doing crunches at 4 AM because he said he couldn’t sleep. Knowing that 350 crunches in the middle of the night is a weird thing for someone to do, she tells him about the pills and that she wants him off of them. Shawn agrees to ween himself off of the pills. There is a real moment between Noa and Shawn, a moment that makes this seem like it will be more than a high school romance. It seems like they truly love each other and would do anything for one another, so the fact that Shawn would be willing to actively dissent from the majority of the football team for the woman he loves is really wholesome.
On Monday we get a classic Sheriff Beasley stinger when he tells “Kelly” that Karen was a better dancer than she is. There is a lot of spiraling that happens in this episode, and we are at the beginning of a long and horrible spiral Sheriff Beasley is going down. The Sheriff even tells “Kelly” it should have been her, and not Karen. This throws “Kelly” into a spiral as well when she starts dressing up in Karen’s clothes. Ash has a sweet moment where he says they should Parent Trap Mouse’s moms to get them back together. After that Chip joins Imogen on a trip to Nurse Simmons for her routine check-up.
Faran is a whole new woman in this episode when she reveals since she cannot dance due to physical therapy, she is choreographing a piece about Adam and Eve, she even changes her hair and her whole look. It’s a really great good for her moment, though Henry doesn’t even mention anything to her about it.
Tabby shows Wes the storyboards for her short film, and he really digs them. Wes even offers Tabby his Red Komodo camera, which is like $6,000. All while having this conversation, Chip looks on menacingly in the background. That same day Imogen goes to the county coroner to ask if her mom really committed suicide. The coroner says it was definitely a suicide, but he would be willing to exhume the body for a double check, Imogen just needs to get a form signed by Sheriff Beasley. When Imogen goes to talk to the Sheriff she surprisingly gets through to him. The Sheriff decides to let Imogen go forward with the exhumation, she just needs to get her father’s signature, too.
During practice for Faran’s piece one night, Henry and “Kelly” end up kissing. When Faran goes to confront “Kelly” about this she notices her upper thigh is bleeding and her pair of sewing scissors are covered in blood. It’s clear that “Kelly” has been self-harming. Self-harm is a big thing a lot of shows like this talk about, and it’s a complete surprise the show doesn’t really go too deep into it. The only real mentions of it we have are Davie’s suicide and “Kelly’s” self-harm. The showrunners really are just scraping the surface of their commentary on it.
Sidney thinks Wes is the one who sexually assaulted Tabby, so she goes down to the Orpheum to confront him. In a badass mom moment Sidney tells Wes she’ll, “cut his fucking dick off,” if he comes anywhere near Tabby again. Though Tabby does tell her mom she is 100% certain it was not Wes. While this is happening Mash goes bowling with Steve, Ash’s idea, but it doesn’t go well when Steve gets a random phone call. Mouse asks her “dad” what is wrong, and Steve tells her never to call him that ever again. Faran also pays a visit to Sheriff Beasley and tells him “Kelly” is self harming because of his verbal and mental abuse. This turns out to be a very bad idea for Faran, as she is now front and center in the Sheriff’s crosshairs.
We get one of the most awesome, and cliché, set pieces when Imogen goes to the Millwood Quarry to ask her father, Sawyer. Imogen’s worries are mirrored when Sawyer tells her that even though Davie struggled heavily with depression, once she became pregnant with Imogen she completely turned around. Sawyer says Davie would never under any circumstance leave Imogen, Sawyer signs the papers and says he will reach out to Imogen if he has any information about Davie or Angela that comes to mind.
This is when the episode goes bonkers with intense beat after beat of quick and abrupt moments. On Wednesday the girls get a match for their DNA, and it is not a football player. That’s a relief, I guess. This is playing more and more into my original thought that it was probably Chip. Sheriff Beasley calls Imogen to ask her what she’s on about. Imogen is confused when the Sheriff tells her Davie’s body was already dug up…and missing. This causes Imogen to faint in the hallway at school. Also that day, Steve calls Mouse and asks her to come to the hotel. When Mouse gets there she learns that Rachel’s body was found, and Steve is, also, in a complete spiral. Steve has Mouse put on Rachel’s clothes, even though she just wants to get out of there at this point, she does so.
Faran’s father gets falsely arrested by one of Sheriff Beasley’s deputies, which is obviously because of her confronting him. Noa stops by her house to check in on Marjorie, and her dealer is there. Marjorie says she called him because she needed his help, but Noa doesn’t care and chases him out with a bat. Ash goes to Mouse’s moms and tells them all about Steve, which is when they tell Ash that Mouse’s father is not named Steve. Elodie tracks Mouse’s iPhone and they rush to the hotel to find Mouse in Rachel’s clothes. Faran goes over to “Kelly’s” and tells her and her mother about Sheriff Beasley and the boys in community service.
Sawyer calls Imogen to tell her something he remembered, Davie used to date Tom Beasley. This was a complete shock and lends some credence to the idea that Sheriff Beasley might have quite a bit of involvement in all of this mess. Though back over at the Beasley’s, “Kelly’s” mom tells her and Faran that Sheriff Beasley was the one who sexually assaulted Angela.
HOLY SH*T. The last 10 minutes of Episode 9 were absolutely bonkers. They just kept throwing so much stuff at us, and it was paced so incredibly well. Episode 10 will have quite a bit of work to tie up all of these loose ends, but Episode 9 was a damn fine piece of television. It’s clear to tell the showrunners kept getting more and more comfortable with the material they were working with, and each episode just gets and looks so much better than the last. I have no doubt that Episode 10 will go out in a blaze of bloody glory.