I love Pretty Little Liars. I usually live tweet each show, but because we live in the hot, new, digital age, I do it at 2 AM after its west coast showing. In the future, I’ll probably write these more as recaps as I watch them. They’ll be quite poorly written, and will likely be just as manic as the show itself. You get to experience the deep dive, without the 140 character limit. Buckle up.
Disclaimer: There are certain television shows that stand head and shoulders above the rest. They come define a genre, an era, a generation. Seinfeld. The Wonder Years. The Wire. Breaking Bad. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Pretty Little Liars is not one of those shows. But oh my lord is it ever one of the most fun, captivating, angsty, pseudo-guilty pleasures in the history of ever. If you haven’t started watching, grab a seat, fire up the Netflix, and dig in for a hell of a ride. You have four seasons of catching up to do. God speed. Follow me after the jump.
At the end of season 4 we left our four heroines on a roof in New York, watching Ezra do the bright-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel bit as he took a quality GSW to the abdomen. Let’s check in on our boy, shall we.
Nah, Fitzy ain’t looking too hot. Good thing there’s not a black hooded scoundrel running around the hospital trying to kill my mans. Oh there is? Cool. In what seems like a classic good idea, the Liars decide to split up to try to lead “A” astray. Which would be brilliant except “A” is constantly one step ahead of them. Emily is very happy to point this out, but is met with much naysaying and far too many Sun Tzu quotes. My main girl Aria is left to look over an unconscious Ezra before Shana shows up, apparently sent by Ali. If we’ve learned anything about Shana, it’s that you shouldn’t believe Shana, and she rewards our disbelief in her by attempting to kill Fitz and end my dreams of an EZRIA reunion.
Aside: Yes, Ali is back. Yes, I named the post title ALI’S BACK like it matters. It doesn’t. She’s more or less been there the whole time, and everything in the first four seasons has been dictated by Ali, Ali, Ali. Her returning from the dead means one more person to lose, and one more set of lies to work through. I’m sure she’ll actually come into play later, but so far she’s told us nothing.
Notoriously evil Melissa Hastings returns after a hiatus that could’ve gone on for the duration of the show. It seems fairly obvious that she’s here to take the fall for whoever is in Ali’s grave, which means it’s probably the direct opposite of that. Also, I recognize that there will come a point where Lucy Hale, Troian, AshBenzo, and Shay will cease looking like they could have conceivably been in high school in the last four years, but Melissa shows up looking borderline 35 and I refuse to accept that she’s only a couple years older than Spencer.
Mona, in all the downtime afforded her by being in high school and free from being in the halls of Radley, has assembled a precious little anti-Ali club, populated with a bunch of losers with uninspiring nicknames, sweet, sweet Lucas, and the insufferably salty Melissa Hastings. A heartbroken Paige makes a cameo, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say she’s either going to tell the Liars about Mona’s plans down the road, or she’s going to end up dead. She has a history of sharing secrets she’s been trusted with. Mona’s hit squad ends up cornering Ali and the Liars-sans-Aria out in the open before a Rosewood police officer finally finds a way to make himself useful. It only took four seasons.
E1 eventually leads to a creepy old theatre, which Ezra apparently keeps around as a hangout/makeout spot for all of his underage lady friends. The Liars are confronted at gunpoint by a black hoodied “A” who is unmasked as *gasp* Shana. Aria arrives just in time to make sure none of the Liars die and that none of the important questions are answered. Shana though? Pretty dead.
Thus far, the members of the “A” team have been untouchable, outside of some quality R&R at the insane asylum. This is the first time we’ve seen the “A” team as anything less than an unstoppable, largely faceless force of high school bullies and master criminals. There’s a joke somewhere in here about how the black guy always dies first, but I mean, yeah. She gone. (Nothing will ever touch 24 killing off its first good guy of the season and one of my all-time favorite characters, Curtis, in an episode that originally aired on MLK day. Nothing. RIP Curtis.)
The second episode in season 5, “Whirly Girly,” is essentially setting the stage for the season to come. There’s a lot of posturing over what to do now that “A” is supposedly dead. There’s Mona beginning the machinations of another sinister plan. Ali is living with her pops, and gets a dog, which seems incredibly pointless until about the 40 minute mark. Jason DiLaurentis is doing Jason things, being a miscreant and general ne’er-do-well. To the surprise of nobody, Jason was in New York when the girls were. Spencer gets curious and digs around in Jason’s trash, which leads to the elder DiLaurentis throwing around massive amounts of shade at our Liars. This entire episode is an exercise in laying the foundation of suspense, and its capped off when Ali’s new found pooch has what is sure to be its single, shining moment of the season.
Yo, there’s a body in your backyard, DiLaurentis family. Second one in a while. Y’all gotta get it together. First your daughter, who, by the way, totally still alive, and now this. This has got to be really destructive to the family’s psyche. Jason, tell us how you feel about it.
But who is the dead body? What intrigue of death, lies, and mystery lie in wait for the next 8 months? WHO DIED?!
Bye Mrs. D. I never liked you anyway.