After a Pretty Little Liars Season 4 premiere that featured some much-needed answers (mostly about Mona), tonight's followup stalled on the reveals.
While "Turn of the Shoe" may not have given us much to work with in terms of the show's bigger mysteries, it did a serviceable job of setting up the major conflicts of the season.
Naturally, episodes like this may not always be exciting, but they help us anticipate some of the more dramatic moments of the future episodes.
Even so, it was not the most compelling hour for the series.
We knew Wilden's death was going to be a major plot point after so much of the season premiere focused on his untimely death, and tonight's developments moved the mystery of his murder in an interesting direction.
Could Ashley have killed Detective Wilden?
Let's look at the evidence. She lied about her phone, and she had some pretty muddy Manolos hidden under the sink. All of that isn't very incriminating until Mona overhears those officers talking about the muddy shoe prints down at Torch Lake. Were those heel prints Red Coat's or Ashley's?
We know that Ashley has been harassed by Wilden again and again, and we know she'd do anything to protect her daughter (see the series premiere). But would she really murder someone? She's certainly acting guilty.
Of course one of the biggest issues the liars will face is whether to trust former A-team members Mona and Toby. After Mona's nearly murdered by either another A or Red Coat or Melissa or Jenna or Shana (whew!), it seems like they might be able to accept that Mona is definitely on their side. But what about Toby?
Despite the fact that he confessed to Spencer that he stole the RV in exchange for information about his mother, I don't think it's wise for Spencer to completely trust him. I was surprised by how easily Spencer and Toby returned to their previously blissful couplehood last week.
Sure, Toby's honest about his deeds lately, but Spencer should realize that she's not his top priority. This specific incident shows just how dedicated he is to discovering the truth about his mother's death. Plus, it drummed up some major sympathy for the character, which he needed after betraying Spencer last season.
With Ezra out of the picture, the show also has to work on providing Aria with a new love interest. Aria decides she wants to take fighting lessons because she's afraid she's more of a target as a small girl.
But of course this excuse is just the vehicle to introduce the sexy new fighting instructor, Jake. I thought the show might build up to a romantic relationship between the two, but then Aria went and kissed him during their first session. Awkward! But at least she knows he's interested now.
And the whole thing gave Jake a chance to utter the ironic line: "Maybe you're not comfortable with the whole teacher-student thing. Could be complicated."
This week also focused on an element that hasn't really been explored a lot on the show: the future. Spencer and Emily's dreams of the future involve college. Emily wants to go to Stanford with Paige, and Spencer's dream (which you'll remember from the "The Kahn Game") is to go to UPenn.
Unfortunately for both, A's involvement in their lives has made planning for the future incredibly difficult. Can Spencer really get in anywhere when she's constantly worried that A will spill her secrets? Emily's injury kept her from performing well at the meet (well, that and those pain pills!). These girls are reaching the end of their high school career, so it seems important to figure out what happens next.
Will A follow them to college?
There was only one development this week that was pretty out there. Tippy the talking bird was probably not as ridiculous as some of the show's other developments, but that's probably because we've become accustomed to unusual stuff on the show.
However, I do wonder if Spencer will ever get a hold of "beach hottie" or "board shorts" as Tippy calls him.