We’re halfway through the final season of Pretty Little Liars and I’m more worried than ever about the Liars’ love lives.
One miraculous thing about the Liars has always been how full they manage to keep their love lives, no matter how much they’re being tortured. Because of this gift, it makes perfect sense that romance is still prevalent, even in the final season of the show. The four original ships, Emison, Ezria, Haleb and Spoby, have been a huge focus of Pretty Little Liars season 7, which was always to be expected.
These four ships have been around, in one way or another, since Pretty Little Liars season 1, so they should be getting pretty close to a resolution, for better or for worse, right? Wrong! Despite how close we’re edging to the end of the series, we’re arguably no closer to seeing these couples live happily ever after than we were in season 1. In fact, in some cases, we’re even further from that goal.
Assuming that these four original ships are meant to be endgame (even if we think that they shouldn’t be), I’m getting seriously worried that the show won’t have enough time to do these epic romances justice. Emison, Ezria, Haleb, and Spoby are all in serious trouble right now, and with only a few episodes left, things look pretty bleak.
Read on for my thoughts on how these couples have been doing in the final episodes of Pretty Little Liars and let me know what you think, in the comments.
Emison – a watched slow-burn never boils
There’s nothing wrong with a slow-burn relationship, but when Emison shippers have been waiting since Pretty Little Liars season 1 to see this ship sail, it might be best to give them something before the last episode of the series. Unfortunately, it looks like that may be too much to ask for.
Emison has had 7 years to develop. That means, that assuming they’d planned for an Emison endgame, they’ve had seven years to decide how to bring them together in the perfect way. 7 years to build up to the perfect moment between Emily and Alison, leaving fans doubtless to the fact that they belong together. The perfect set of circumstances for Emison to really get their start, making it clear that an Emison endgame is the only option.
Well, apparently Pretty Little Liars decided to go another way.
There are 5 episodes left of Pretty Little Liars, and Alison has still barely acknowledged that she even has feelings for Emily. The moment that she came closest to admitting it? When Paige, the girl that Emily had essentially just chosen over Alison, asked her. The circumstances that are bringing Emison together? A forced pregnancy at the hands of their torturer.
Despite the fact that I personally disagree with the choices they’ve made to begin laying the groundwork for Emison, that’s not the biggest problem with this ship in Pretty Little Liars season 7. The biggest problem is, without a doubt, how much groundwork there still is to lay, and how little time is left.
Like I said, Pretty Little Liars has had 7 years to create moments between these girls, transform them into the people they need to be for each other, and develop their relationship. There are 5 episodes left, and they’re starting now. With all that’s left to accomplish, I just don’t see how there will be enough time to create a convincing, satisfying relationship between Emily and Alison.
Ezria – you and me and Nicole makes three
Aria and Ezra actually have a pretty interesting storyline in Pretty Little Liars season 7. Ezria reunited and got engaged in Pretty Little Liars season 7A, and just as they were leaving to elope, they found out that Ezra’s presumed dead girlfriend wasn’t so dead after all! Ezra has sworn that Nicole’s return changes nothing about his feelings for Aria, but he’s been distant and cold toward Aria as he’s been trying to help his former love.
As far as romantic storylines go, it’s quite intricate and intriguing. There’s just one problem with the way it’s been applied on Pretty Little Liars. That problem has a name, and that name is Ezra Fitz.
With the whole murder mystery book storyline, Pretty Little Liars turned Ezra’s character upside down. So many things that we’d thought we knew had been lies. A character who we’d always trusted turned into a character who we knew to be dishonest and, at times, even malicious. Fans who weren’t still stuck on the “teacher dating a student” thing from season 1 suddenly saw Ezra in a whole new light.
In season 7, we were just beginning to forgive Ezra for his past mistakes. But, that doesn’t mean we need another reason to think he’s a bad person! Unfortunately, with the situation he’s been put in, it’s pretty tough for him to come out looking like an angel. Either he continues to hurt Aria with his presence in Nicole’s life, or he abandons Nicole, who desperately needs support from him. It’s a lose-lose situation, and his character can’t really shoulder that, at this point.
While I’m sure Ezria could work their way through this dilemma before the end of the series, it will be difficult for the show to pull it off in a way that leaves us with the same love for Ezra that we had in the earlier seasons. They, like Emison, have a lot of work to do in very little time!
Spoby – caught in the headlights
If one of these couples isn’t going to be endgame, it’s probably Spoby. That’s interesting, because before Pretty Little Liars season 7B, the show had been doing a decent job of slowly bringing Spencer and Toby back together. Yes, Toby was engaged to Yvonne, and sure, Spencer fell in love with Caleb, but they always threw in just enough subtle Spoby moments to keep hope alive.
When Toby told Spencer that he had been building the house for her, but that he’d decided to leave Rosewood to “start a family” with Yvonne, I was positive that Yvonne was pregnant. Toby, being the chivalrous one of the bunch, would obviously sacrifice a blissful future with Spencer to be there for Yvonne and his child. I figured they’d play right into a classic trope where the baby was tragically lost, or turned out not to be Toby’s, leaving Spoby free to get back together.
Then, Toby and Yvonne were in a nearly fatal car crash, and Pretty Little Liars season 7A ended with the lives of Toby, Yvonne and Spencer all in limbo. I thought, “perfect!” It’s not the classic trope I was expecting, but obviously only two of these people will make it to the next episode alive, and sorry Yvonne, you won’t be one of them. Spoby is free at last!
Then, Yvonne lived. But she didn’t live to move to Maine with Toby and start the family that they’d talked about. She lived just long enough for us to realize that she’d never been pregnant, meaning Toby had fully chosen her over Spencer, and for Toby and Yvonne to get married!
The reason I say that Spoby is the one ship that might not be endgame, is because I just can’t see them getting past this. Despite the obstacles that Emison and Ezria have to get through in very little time, their troubles seem far more surmountable than Spoby’s. He chose to leave with another woman, and subsequently marry that woman, knowing Spencer was an option. Then, that other woman died. He should not be in a position to rebound any time soon. Certainly not within the time frame of Pretty Little Liars.
All of that said, there’s one thing that makes me worry that the show will still try to force a Spoby “happily ever after.” One thing that has me beyond concerned that all of this will be overlooked, and that they’ll get back together as if nothing ever happened. What is that thing? That thing is Haleb.
Haleb – setting the precedent
My concerns for Haleb have nothing to do with whether or not they’ll end up together. At this point, it’s all but set in stone that they will, unless one of them dies before the end of the series. These two have been the most solid couple in the back half of Pretty Little Liars season 7, being a constant source of love and support for each other, among all of the craziness.
The reason that Haleb is causing me to lose sleep is actually related to how good they’re doing in season 7B. Because let’s not forget, in Pretty Little Liars season 6 and season 7A, they were a disaster.
When we met Hanna after the time jump, she was engaged to a really great guy, making really great strides toward a career that she wanted, and overall just doing really, really great! Caleb was enjoying a hugely successful career, and helping Spencer’s mother with her campaign in Rosewood.
Throughout the course of the campaign (and apparently even before that, in Madrid), Caleb and Spencer developed feelings for each other, which believe it or not, isn’t actually where the trouble began. Sure, the most die hard Haleb and Spoby shippers were never going to get behind Spaleb, but many fans actually preferred the new pairing. Caleb and Spencer had always had a friendship and an understanding. They got each other on a different level than their previous partners.
In the beginning, Spaleb was handled with great maturity and respect. The whole “I want to date your ex” topic is never going to be a fun one to breach, but Caleb and Spencer took things slow, and went through all the appropriate channels (namely Hanna and Toby) before acting on their feelings. The situation was never going to be ideal, but they pretty much all handled it in the best way possible.
Then, things went downhill, fast. Hanna and Caleb kissed at the Lost Woods resort, Caleb basically implied that he wanted Hanna but carried on dating Spencer like it was no big deal, Hanna broke up with Jordan, Spencer said she loved Caleb, Caleb stayed in the middle until everything culminated in one uncomfortable, emotional doorway scene between the three of them. It was quite the saga, and one that I’ll never forgive Pretty Little Liars for.
Why? Because Caleb Rivers was my favorite character, and by putting him between Hanna and Spencer like that, they ruined him. What’s worse, is that they forgot to fix him. Sure, he’s back to being his old, reliable, Hanna-loving self, but he never put in the work to get there. It’s as if everyone just woke up one day and forgot that the whole mess happened.
Even after everything Caleb put the girls through, I probably would’ve welcomed a Haleb reunion after a significant period of apologies (to both girls), grovelling, and personal growth on Caleb’s part. But that’s not what happened. One day he was screwing everyone over, and the next day he was the world’s best boyfriend, again. Haleb will live happily ever after, but it’s not our Haleb. It’s a shadow of what they could’ve been, if they had been given the time to reunite authentically.
Like I said, Haleb’s fate is pretty much sealed, so my concerns aren’t really for them. My worry is for the precedent that Haleb sets for the rest of the ships discussed in this article. My worry is for what the Haleb debacle could mean for Emison, Ezria and Spoby. They can’t just send everything up in flames and pretend it’s still intact when the fire’s gone. They tried it with Haleb and it didn’t work.
Let’s hope for better for whoever the endgame Pretty Little Liars ships will be. Is it possible to deliver in so little time? We’ll just have to wait and see.