Tuesdays 8:00 PM on ABC Family
Pretty-little-liars

Pretty Little Liars Review: A Versus A

by at . Comments

After a creepy and confusing mid-season finale, Pretty Little Liars returned this week with a special Halloween treat (or trick?), "The First Secret."

This flashback episode wasn't really meant to unravel the mysteries of the show, but it did give us some interesting peeks into life in Rosewood prior to Ali's untimely death and "A's" reign of terror. Plus, there were lots of spooky dolls.

The series regularly utilizes flashbacks to depict Ali from the perspective of each character, but this promised to show Ali as she really was. However, I felt there weren't any new revelations about her character. She was as mean and manipulative as ever. She didn't even exhibit much fear, even when being stalked.

In Costume

However, we did get to see her in a new role: she's the queen bee who's finally encountered a little competition.

Toby very rightly assesses his new stepsister, Jenna, by telling Emily, "She gets what she wants." Someone should have told Ali that before she tried to intimidate Jenna. Obviously, both girls are accustomed to getting their way, and I couldn't wait for their confrontation at the party. It was refreshing to see Ali seething at the sight of someone not immediately jumping at her every command or bending down to wipe her shoes.

Although I don't really like Jenna in the course of the regular series, I have to say that I preferred Jenna's Lady G over Ali's. Her costume was way more provocative and did get a lot more attention (unfortunately, that will easily become negative attention with Ali's help). Also, the fact that she didn't fawn all over Ali's offer of friendship made me like her a lot more than Ali's sheep-like friends.

AND...Jenna and Mona were friends?!? Did they remain close after Jenna's accident? Mona seemed pretty desperate to be popular and pretty forlorn with her position at the geek table. I wonder how badly she wanted Ali out of the way.

The episode had its up and downs, but mostly I liked how the flashback format showed us our little liars when they were under Ali's thumb. We returned to the days when Aria was semi-goth, Hannah was chubby, Spencer was (overly) determined, and Emily was still pretending to be straight. Plus, it was cute to see the "inside" nods to future events, like Aria bumping into Ezra at Hollis College. I definitely like the characters a lot more in the present because they can be themselves without Ali constantly terrorizing them.

Why were they friends with her again?

So what was "the first secret?" It turns out that "A" has been around a lot longer than we thought. He/she stepped into Noel's place as part of Allison's Halloween trick. Then, "A" sent Ali one his/her signature texts. When asked who it was, Ali merely responded that it was a secret. Does she know who "A" really is? Or was she just faking to keep from looking spooked?

I was really hoping this episode would give us some insight into "A" and the mystery surrounding Ali's untimely death, but I was disappointed by the lack of anything substantial.

Except... there was that creepy story from the opening. Ali tells a young boy about the psycho twin who stabbed her sister in the chest and was sent away to an asylum. Later, we see a car marked "Radley Sanitarium" in front the town's haunted house. Does Ali really have twin like the popular fan theories suggest? Or is this just the writers having fun with us?

Consider it a question to ponder under PLL returns in January. Hmmm....

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
  • 4.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (121 Votes)
Tags: ,
Like Us On Facebook

Want more Pretty Little Liars?

Sign up for our daily newsletter and receive the latest tv news delivered to your inbox for free!

More From TV Fanatic

Pretty-little-liars-clip-falling-apart

Pretty Little Liars Clips: Are the Liars Losing Each Other?

Pretty Little Liars Season 5 Episode 9 airs next Tuesday. Check out three clips fro the installment here.
A-new-ally

The Bridge Review: Going After the Beast

On tonight's The Bridge, Marco is made an offer that he initially refuses. Will he agree to go after Fausto?
The-island

Extant Review: Captured

Things go from bad to worse for Molly on Extant as she tries to escape the prying eyes of the ISEA but chooses the worst place for safety. Read on for a full review.
Crossing-boundaries

Graceland Review: Entanglements

Mike is on a war path on Graceland... but is he headed in the right direction? Read our review of "Los Malos" now to find out!

Leigh-r

Everything you said was so true. While it was great to see all the random characters make appearances, I feel even more confused now! The PLLs were such doormats then, especially Spencer and Hannah. I still don't see how they wanted to be friends with Ali but when you're that age sometimes you don't see past the popularity and school food chain. Noteworthy things: Lucas calling Ali a bitch, Jenna and Mona, the hot cop. Also Jenna looked beautiful!!! She's a pretty girl normally, but she was so different in this episode, so confident and stunning.

Avatar

i actually agree i liked jenna in this epsidode she really challenged alison , and i think there was another A becasue did you see two people in the same costume staring at them , i think it was lucas and mona

Alicegranger

I can't tell if the twin thing was setting up for the book's plotline of Alison's twin or if it was the show's writers paying homage to the book series that started the show. Either way, the story was creepy. I really, really prefer the girls (especially Spencer and Hanna) the way they are now as opposed to when they were with Alison. It was weird seeing them timid. I honestly can't understand why they put up with her for as long as they did. I'd actually love Jenna for standing up to Ali if it wasn't for the scene with Toby and Emily that showed that he was already suffering under Jenna's rule. Poor boy, I wanted to give him a hug. And as much fun as this special was, it was...weird seeing Alison for a full episode. It's one thing in short flashbacks where we see how manipulative she was, but a full episode showed that she was borderline psychopathic. Honestly, the smug, condesending way she would talk whenever she had a secret, is it any wonder she made so many enemies?

Avatar

Was it just me or Allot of --A text's (in parts) had been copy from what Ali had say on the past (this episode). Put attention on the episode and allot of what Ali says we can find it on the --A messages but on other way or just a little changed... The doctor is IN...

Danielle50

I must say that I enjoy this episode and think that they will probably go with the twin storyline but I don't know because why would they bring it up just now. I also like Jenna Lady G outfit and was suprise that Mona and Jenna was probably friends once. I think that is the reason that Alison threw the firecracker in Jenna's home because she was becoming more popular than her if she was invited to Noel's party without Alison knowing her.

Avatar

Courtney.