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Pretty Little Liars Review: The Ultimate Frenemy

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I'll give Pretty Little Liars this: dolls are really scary. Whoever came up with the idea to go all Chuckie on "Over My Dead Body?" Bravo. A frightening job well done.

I wish I could say the same about the storytelling, however. The midseason finale produced plot holes galore, prodded along by dialogue that, I'm sorry to say, was simply too unbelievable to accept.

Emily, Girls in Trouble

I mean, Jackie hasn't really made a move on Ezra all summer and then she suddenly blurts out that she wants to get back together? And Aria happens to be standing there? And then she gives Aria an ultimatum? Out of nowhere, the show decided to move this character front and center.

Yes, I know Pretty Little Liars is meant to be a guilty pleasure and viewers should just go along for the fun ride. I mostly do, trust me. But there are only two possibilities for the conversation Jenna and Garrett held at the conclusion of this episode:
  1. It's just another red herring, which would be a lazy, desperate, lame way to mislead viewers.
  2. It's the truth, Jenna and Garrett are behind Alison's death... and they simply delivered that information in a straightforward, expository manner via an exchange that no two people would ever have.

For that reason, I'm leaning toward scenario number-one. I just refuse to believe the writers would give us Alison's killers in such a boring, sloppy fashion. Hmmm... how should we make this major reveal to the audience? A-ha! Let's have Jenna and Garrett just talk openly about it in the police station!! I don't buy it.

I also don't buy the supposedly major cliffhanger: the shovel was the murder weapon and now the cops have caught the girls in the act? Okay, but in what act? There's no evidence at all here, except more proof that the adults in Rosewood are utter morons.

It's illegal to question a minor without an adult present. In the absence of an arrest, each parent should have walked in and demanded to take his/her child home. Done. Case closed. There's no legal means by which authorities can detain a minor who is not under arrest. I'm sorry, my family is made up of lawyers, and it may not be fun to read a review that regurgitates the law, but it seems like an important detail for the show to consider, doesn't it?

Fortunately, while the concluding events left me irritated and empty, the build-up to them was tremendous. The time-jumping aspect of the episode was executed very well, leaving me wondering every step of the way just how the girls came to be dirty and sitting in an interrogation room.

Dr. Sullivan really should have been killed, though. Imagine if the police had come upon the girls holding that shovel AND standing over a dead body. Now that would be a cliffhanger! It would also give A some weight because, as I continue to say every week, she never actually does anything. She threatens, she texts, the girls panic... and that's about it.

Just once, wouldn't it be nice to see the Liars not give in to a demand and to find out if A actually follows up?

As we wait until new episodes in January, at least the show has given viewers many questions to ponder:

  • Is this the end for Ezria?
  • Did Spencer really just kiss Wren? Where did THAT come from?!?
  • Is Mr. Hastings the father of Jason?
  • Who is Pretty Eyes? (My guess: anyone but Jenna. Another example of a misdirection.)
  • So everything with Mike was meant to.... hmmm.... what?
  • What did Jason find in the house?
  • Will we see Dr. Sullivan again?
  • Is referring to a girl's "back fat" the greatest diss of all-time?
  • How did Emily escape the barn?
  • Might Alison be alive?
  • And, oh yeah, who is A?!?

Review

Editor Rating: 3.4 / 5.0
  • 3.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (118 Votes)

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

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A does some things. Hitting Hannah with a car, giving Emily an ulcer and ruining her swimming career...etc

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It's not jason, they're tryig too hard to make it seem like its him, and i doubt that it's toby, noel, or garrett. i think A is more than one person, and i think the person who met up with dr.sullivan was jenna, because she called her 'pretty eyes', and that could be because she's blind, or because (in one of the flashbacks) when she had her glasses off, she has beautiful dark green eyes. it could be mona, because she's just that much of a bitch, and hana was targeted directly; or it could be maya,because emily's getting a lot more attention now that maya's back then before when maya was in rehab.

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Something else--in the conversation that Garrett and Jenna had in the police station, he said something about waiting this long to get into the storage room. Couple that with him saying he can't wait to be out of that uniform, and it would seem that he took the job as a cop, just so he could have access to something--evidence, I suppose--of his and/or Jenna's implication in what happened to Allison. I think it's possible that Jenna and/or Garrett are the ones that hit Allison with whatever weapon--but didn't kill her. She died after she was buried--question is--did they bury her or did someone else? (A!?)

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Can someone please clear up my questions?? :P

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Hello PLL-ites! Okay I've read every single comment with great interest and I think I may have some answers that'll possibly clear up some confusion. But then I don't have a PHD so forgive me if I'm mistaken. So, Kristyn said "if the police knew the shovel was the murder weapon why didn't they keep it as evidence?". -The police knew A shovel was the murder weapon. They didn't know it was THAT shovel. They didn't have it in evidence. They didn't find it by Ali's body. When they found the girls with the shovel they discovered that that particular shovel was the murder weapon. Before then they had never come in contact with it in any way. They knew a shovel killed Ali but only then did they find it. TVF168 said, "I'm a little puzzled about the shovel. It's been 1-2 years since Ali's murder. Does the shovel really contain trace evidence of Ali on it, even after the girls were JUST using it? And if page 5 is missing from all records, and page 5 lists the trace evidence found on Ali or at the point of impact with the murder weapon, how can the shovel be tied to Ali's murder? A shovel may have killed Allison but I doubt it was THAT shovel." -Well, DNA such as blood in dried stains is actually very resilient to degradation so it can be detected many many years later. As for the girls using the shovel, any scientist can tell what's DNA and what's dirt. But anyhow I don't remember it being stated that Ali's DNA was found on the shovel, does anyone remember anything being said?
Maybe they matched the shape/size/weight of the shovel to the indentation in Ali's skull? You know, examined the damage to her skull and made an estimate of what the shape/size/weight of the weapon must have been to have done that damage? Forensic anthropologists indentify cause of death and murder weapon from studying human skeletons.
Enough of the shovel-stuff though... OMG!!! EZRIA and SPOBY!!!! I love how Ella still thinks it's Spencer. She was all like Spencer's parents will not be happy. Question is will she be happy when she finds out it's Aria? If she does. Is Ezra going to tell or not?! I have no clue. Maybe we'll get the whole "It's not Spencer"- followed by a dramatic walk away. So Ella knows it's one of the other three girls...but not which one. I really want them outed already. Jackie Smacky-Arse Face can't blackmail Aria if everyone already knows. I love Ezria and I wish Ella hadn't said all that stuff to Ezra about him needing to leave because I want them to be an exclusive couple! OMG SPOBY!!! I cried when Spencer started running. Toby's face in the truck was heartbreaking. It was all heartbreaking. I swear to God they are perfect together I can't believe she kissed Wren that has got to be the biggest mistake the PLL writers have ever made I HATED THAT!!! But anyway as I was saying, it was the saddest break up scene ever you could see Toby was crushed to pieces and that it totally ripped Spencer apart to have to do it. And OMG who else started tearing when Toby was shouting he loved her at the police station? Can't wait for the next episode, winter seems so far away!!!!

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Agree with the editors, a few plotholes were there. Like, why didn't Em try to turn off the car's engine? Not really smart...
That kiss with Wren SERIOUSLY came out of nowhere (although I have a thing for Brits) and Ezra really needs to man up now. This can't go on like this, their relationship is starting to bore me.
And who the hell chose the German anthem as a wedding song? Not that I don't love my country, but it seemed a little... inappropriatte.

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we never found out what happened with Byron's brother

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Cross-posting from the reaction thread: Another thing that I noticed on a rewatch: Garrett and Jenna had that conversation in the room that was adjacent to the room where the girls are being held. There's a two-way mirror between them. You know this because someone locks the door to the room the girls in--I think Spencer turns her head to look, when she hears the noise--and the next scene shows Garrett finishing up the locking of what looks to be the very same door. Also, the way the camera starts to pan slightly up and to the left after Garrett and Jenna's conversation makes me think of the scene in Chloe King where Alek and Chloe kiss at the end, and the camera starts panning up and to the right--we only find out in the next episode that the camera keeps on panning over til it finds Brian looking at them. When PLL resumes, in the winter, it may show that the camera continues to pan over--and show us that either someone is listening or that a light is on, somewhere, indicating that the room was being recorded, etc.

Yougotmyreflection

i actually love reading other peoples theory's on here some of them are so interesting.

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One thing i'm confused about.. Someone said Jenna and Garett planted the box with the dolls saying 'Open or she dies' and that was referring to Emily being locked in the barn, but that would mean that Jenna and Garett knew someone had kidnapped Dr Sullivan and the PLL's would think it was about the Dr and go looking for her as Emily wasn't even in danger at that stage?? BUT if A was responsible for the box, how would Jenna and Garett know to plant the shovel right outside the barn?? And then A happily put coordinates on it to lead them to a fake grave so Garett could call the cops and bust them? How they heck did A get mixed up in it all and were they all working together?? Plz explain.. So confused!