After the newest installment, it looks like Pretty Little Liars Season 5 is taking Alison in an even darker direction - and I'm not sure that's a good thing.
For the majority of the season, we've been told to suspect Alison and her motivations by every major and minor character while the narrative itself works to undermine those suspicious by painting Alison as a very scared and desperate victim.
The two threads created a nice amount of tension in the story, pitting the Alison the girls remembered (and yet still cared about despite her nasty attitude) and the apparently reformed Alison that no one wanted to trust.
However, Pretty Little Liars Season 5 Episode 10 started unraveling the opposing threads by suggesting that it was foolish to ever consider trusting or feeling sympathy for Alison to begin with.
The installment wasn't all about Alison, but a major portion of it was dedicated to how the other characters handled the appearance of her supposed kidnapper: Cyrus.
Spencer uses this as an opportunity to finally push the girls away from Alison and back to the truth. She's never been on board with Ali's lies, and now she has the perfect excuse to suggest they all go to Tanner before Ali turns on them. But each of the girls resist for their own reasons.
Aria's reason is pretty obvious - telling the truth could have serious legal ramifications for her. But instead of seriously considering what Spencer has to say or even fighting for her own safety, she spends the majority of the episode caught up in her relationship with Ezra and whether or not she should trust him again. Snore!
Let's just make this easier on Aria. No, you shouldn't trust a man who lied to you throughout your relationship.
Hanna would seem like the most likely candidate to support Spencer, but she's suddenly decided to purge the Alison and A drama from her life, along with fried food and a sedentary lifestyle. However, she does involve herself in the Cyrus mystery when Mona's panic attack leads Hanna to discover Cyrus' mugshot in Mona's bag.
Regardless, she seems to be headed in the right direction here.
Emily was always going to the hard sell, as she's mostly been relegated to being Alison's cheerleader. Emily still had faith her friend and genuinely believed that Alison had been brutally attacked. She loses that faith, however, when Alison positively identifies Cyrus for her own reasons, which she refuses to explain to Emily.
Just why did Cyrus confess to Ali's fake kidnapping?
We're led to believe that Melissa stole the Alison's recording and gave it to Cyrus based on that surveillance footage. This led to Spencer having another confrontation with Melissa in which not much is said. Melissa repeats her warnings about the danger surrounding Alison, but this time offers to take Spencer with her when she leaves again.
And she records a "confession" of her own. I wonder when we'll get to see that tape!
But the whole Melissa thing is another diversion from the real culprit... Alison! She meets with Cyrus in the woods after she identifies him to Tanner. After giving him a plane ticket to disappear like CeCe, Alison not-so-subtly suggests that the whole story of their relationship involved her calling the shots instead of being robbed and stabbed by Cyrus.
Quite the disappointment!
Her flashbacks in that basement seemed so real, as did her shame and fear in Pretty Little Liars Season 5 Episode 4. I guess she's more manipulative than I thought.
The whole scene showed a much darker side to Alison (hence the title of the episode), but it actually started making me question Alison's purpose in Rosewood. What was even the point of bringing Alison back on the show, other than to boost ratings? Unless it's to make the biggest reveal of all: Ali is A.
It seems a little obvious given all the the hints that are being dropped, but Ali has been rather Machiavellian since her return, so who knows?
Is Ali A?