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Pretty Little Liars Review: Toby, Plot Holes Exposed

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I know there are typically plot holes aplenty on Pretty Little Liars, and one has to leave logic at the door in order to enjoy this ABC Family guilty pleasure.

But there's only so many times I can have my intelligence insulted, and here are the reasons shy "My Name Is Trouble" pushed me toward that edge...

Liars in the Dark

Issue #1: We've seen Jenna literally sniff out the Liars multiple times in school. Now, she suddenly can't even tell it's Aria until after they hold a lengthy conversation?!? And can the show just rely on its storytelling for the suspense, please? That entire, supposedly eerie scene with the candle just felt contrived and forced.

Issue #2: So... Melissa lost her engagement ring and it was just sitting behind the toaster? That's a random enough plot device. But we got a good look at that rock. It was large. And, trust me, I've gone engagement ring shopping: that thing was worth well above $2,000. Like 10 times above that.

It's also one thing to be protective, but it's another thing to just be immature and self-serving. Spencer pawned her sister's ring?!? Hanna deleted her father's fiancee's text message?!? I know, these are just young girls, they make mistakes, they are impetuous. But they crossed a few major lines this week and I didn't find the actions endearing, I found them despicable.

Issue #3: This is subtle, but important: something clearly happened to Alison during that party to which they flashed back. There's interesting material to mine here. But that close-up of her face? When she was holding back the tears and looking at herself in the window?

Whose mind were we in? When a show flashes back, there must be a point of view established by a current character - but that one, key scene was of Alison and no one else (Spencer entered the picture after a few seconds). It doesn't make any sense in a narrative context.

Issue #4: The entire we-can't-be-seen-together-because-our-therapist-who-hasn't-appeared-in-two-weeks thing is, I'm sorry to say it, just flat out stupid. The girls get scared when someone else enters the bathroom because... why? People at school are gonna report them to the psychologist? We haven't actually see the Liars together any less since this credo was thrown down; we've just seen them act all worried about it for no season.

Issue #5: A won't be revealed until the series finale, creator Marlene King has already said that. At that point, it's unlikely viewers will remember every little incident, but maybe I should make a list. Because, let's face it, this stalker pulls off the impossible every week.

We are meant to believe she got into Emily's room, wrote a note, copied the fake letter from Danby and sent it to Emily's mom? Nothing A does is even shocking anymore, which removes all mystery because the answer to any question is always: A did it. How? Who knows! Just go with it!

There were a few positive developments this week: Alison's mention of money from her grandmother was intriguing. I hope Ezra's fiancee causes some mischief. Toby sweated a lot without a shirt on.

But I had to vent for a bit because the plot holes were just too glaring. I still enjoy Pretty Little Liars, I still look forward to it for the snark and twists and turns. I just ask the writers to give us some consistency and treat viewers with a bit more respect.

What did everyone else think? Should I shut up and enjoy the show for what it is? Or am I making a few legitimate points?

Review

Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
  • 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (81 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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The programme seems to be fast dissolving into nothingness, much like Covert Affairs. What's wrong with the script writers this season. They seem sapped of ideas and the episodes drag on without any bite but a lot of blah. And the stretching of the show is so obvious, it threatens to make Pretty Little Liars really mundane. Tell me, how many hiding behind the bushes, have we witnessed? What about the figure in the window? And the tedious conversations between parents who break up and want to make up? Tired, tired, tired.... Please do something to uplift the show again.

Fortyseven

I liked the Aria/Jenna scene though it didn't achieve what it should have (spooky/mystical/scary/whatever). I thought Spencer took out a loan on the ring. The flashback was fine. I'm going along with omnipotent A for the time being as I'm hoping that it will be revealed that there's more than one A or A has a whole network of spies or something.

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What was really, really stupid was Hanna deleting the text from Isabel on her father's phone. She just spent 2 weeks being pissed that Mona threw the letter from Caleb out, tells Mona that it wasn't up to her to try and fix her relationships but then she turned right around and did the same to her dad. That made no sense. I don't get why Aria was so scared of Jenna. I see no harm in approaching her and saying "hi Jenna, it's Aria. I'm joining the class" etc like why does the one incident mean they can't even say hi? It's a little too overdramatic, but whatever. I don't know if this bothered anyone else, but the way the show does the "previously on PLL" at the beginning of each episode, it doesn't just show what happened in the LAST episode. Last night they showed some scenes with Wren and, knowing they weren't from last week, means he would make an appearance in the episode. So the whole "dramatic" ending lacked the spark it could have had. Although that scene was a bit of a cop out anyways. Next week's episode looks to be good, though.

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Your issues on 1 3 and 5 may be correct. 4 seems logical to me but whatev. However, your issue 2 makes no sense to me. These were both believable decisions by the girls. Spencer's sister is horrid and may be helping to harbor someone who tried to kill Spencer. Stealing from her seems okay to me, but I understand others may draw a more strict line about theft. Nevertheless, isn't that good? Moral dilemmas occur in life, and often people do the "wrong" thing. I have no problem with that happening in PLL. The girls don't have to be angels. Same can be said for Hanna's actions, though her's were a little more uncharacteristic, which is far more bothersome than possible amoral behavior.

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Your issues on 1 3 and 5 may be correct. 4 seems logical to me but whatev. However, your issue 2 makes no sense to me. These were both believable decisions by the girls. Spencer's sister is horrid and may be helping to harbor someone who tried to kill Spencer. Stealing from her seems okay to me, but I understand others may draw a more strict line about theft. Nevertheless, isn't that good? Moral dilemmas occur in life, and often people do the "wrong" thing. I have no problem with that happening in PLL. The girls don't have to be angels. Same can be said for Hanna's actions, though her's were a little more uncharacteristic, which is far more bothersome than possible amoral behavior.

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i do like this show, don't really like the books if i have to be honest(they are straight up bitches in it), but i have to agree with the 3rd issue, and i have to say that it was very stupid of the producers to tell us we were gonna find out who a is in THE SERIES FINALE, i mean, how patient can we be?there are other mysteries other than a in the books...

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while i believe that jenna wouldnt have known it was aria until she spoke. how are we supposed to believe the teacher in what looked like a small class wouldnt know Aria's name. and i thought spencer and toby werent aloud to see each other but their more open and public about their relationship than the girls spending time together.

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spencer didn't technically pawn the ring. she had plans of going back and retreiving the ring she was just using it to get a loan, even though it seemed suspcious, why would she go under the pretense of picking it back up she would have just sold it and gotten much more money. and plus if she wasn't planning on picking it up A going and buying the ring wouldn't have been a big deal. i think the show is making a huge mistake not revealing A till the series finale. they can't stretch it out that long. they need to take from the books and do more than one A, they could even make it that there were two As all along (unlike the books where it was one then the other) and they find out one soon and the other at the end! but they can't drag the A mystery out the whole series if they wanna make the show last for any period of time.

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Of course she can't tell its Aria. She's blind. She needs to hear her voice to identify her. They talk in the corridor, Jenna hears them and can then tell where they are. That's not a plot hole. Its a pawn shop. Pawn shops don't give you the full value of the object. They don't have that kind of money on hand. I'm not a kid from divorce but I know people who are and most would give anything for their parents to get back together. Hanna's actions, while wrong, are understandable. Mike(Aria's brother) would have prob done the same thing to get Ella and Byron back together. Plus its not a big deal. All Tom has to do is call her the next day and she'll tell him herself. As for Spencer, that was awful. Spencer asked for help and Melissa threw it back in her face so I can see why she went every-girl-for-their-own. That said, what she did was terrible. While I love Spencer, she deserves everything she's got coming to her on this one. And how didn't she see A coming? Even I saw it coming. This is the person who ran over her friend on a whim. Spencer's a clever girl. How did she not forsee this? A will prob do to her what s/he did to Hanna to get her mom's "loan" back. I doubt s/he'll tell Melissa and throw Spencer under the bus. Melissa clearly dated the ep when she said that Ian had been missing for a week. One session a week with a therapist isn't out of the norm. As I've said before, I firmly belive that A has little microphones hidden in the girl's mobiles and that's how they know so much. And if A can break into people's garages(the Liars think its Ian but I think Ian's dead so it has to be A), they can sure break in to Emily's house and write a note. And if Issue#3 is really that big a deal for you, you have way too much free time on your hands. This ep was amazing. The awesome one liners were everywhere and just hilarious.

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Excellent points ... all blocked out by Toby shirtless! The show does push it to an extreme, but come on it has to be a guy with those leather gloves. I think A will turn out to be a conglomerate of people like Jenna and Garret or Jason and Ian. So that season 3 there will still be a stalker we don't know, one of the original stalkers... I've read the books which tied A up pretty well, but I think that the show needs to have a really good excuse as somethings have just been ridiculous and aren't plausible for one person to do alone. But a good element would involve the teens like Caleb, Mona, Noel doing minor things without being A