Fathers and Daughters... Mothers and Liars!
For the most part, the parents of Pretty Little Liars usually just throw up roadblocks for the girls, slowing their progress or inconveniencing them in some way. In "Father Knows Best," the adults are no longer just obstacles to be overcome, though; they are actually integrated more fully into the show's primary mystery.
The question we have to ask ourselves is: Is that a good thing?
To be fair, we've seen Ashley, Ella, and the others involved in some of the major plot points of the show. However, those plots usually revolved around keeping the parents in the dark about A and avoiding honesty at all costs. That strategy hasn't worked out so well.
It's getting pretty frustrating watching these girls continue to come up with more and more lies, making their lives much more difficult in the process. When Hanna's mother confronted her about the police report, demanding her phone to get the answers she needed, Hanna's response was very childish. She dunked her cell in the dishwater (hope she backed up her contacts!).
I thought her actions were really unfair because Ashley is usually a rather cool mom. She's shown that she's willing to do Detective Wilden a lot to protect her daughter and she trusts her daughter enough to let her keep some secrets. Ashley is always on Hanna's side, no matter how damning the evidence against her child. Even Hanna admits that her mom is probably just trying to protect her.
And yet they all agree to a ridiculous plot to use Aria (the biggest liar, apparently) as a diversion from the A investigation. Ashley's smarter than that and the attempt to fool her only makes her even more curious. Bringing Ella, another suspicious parent, into her confidence has really opened up a new opportunity for the show. Should Ella and Ashley go the police?
Obviously, Hanna and the girls are also trying to protect their parents, but would it better to have some adult reinforcements for this very dangerous situation? It could lead to some danger for the parents, as the show foreshadowed by having a mysterious someone spying on Ella and Ashley. Is A going to start targeting the parents even more now?
Spencer's dad is also an interesting addition to the plot, but what will his role be? He did write a very big (and suspicious) check around the time that Ali disappeared, but it turns out he was just trying to find out what happened to the missing girl. His interest has less to do with Jason and more to do with Melissa. Spencer's sister was harassing Allison and her anger worried her father.
Melissa partially admitted to this earlier, but not much else. After the long buildup to Spencer's talk with Melissa last week, their brief conversation was very disappointing. Spencer refuses to ask the hard questions, especially about the video. I think that was the most frustrating part about this episode. The lack of real progress in solving the mystery is a common complaint, but in this situation we were lead to believe that Spencer was going to get some real answers. Instead, we didn't get much to clear Melissa or Garrett of suspicion. And Spencer didn't bring up any questions about the video.
Should we consider Melissa a prime suspect or is she just another red herring?
And what about Maya? Did she make it to San Francisco or did she fall prey to A's schemes? It could be that A had some information on Maya that caused her to run or Maya was working with/for A, like Dr. Sullivan.
With only three episodes left, the show really needs to start resolving things a little more and stop adding to the mystery. At the end of tonight's episode, a new character thought he recognized Vivian (it was only Aria) and we were left to contemplate what other secrets Allison was keeping from her Rosewood friends. It looks like the action is going to pick up next Monday, but I'll believe it when I see it.