Welcome back to the Pretty Little Liars Round Table!
Up this week is Pretty Little Liars Season 4 Episode 14, "Who's in the Box." We know it's not Ali, nor Sarah from a town over. That's not one of the questions we're asking this week, but we do delve into the similarities of the new group of girls to our own Liars, the breakup of Hanna and Caleb and whether Mr. Hastings might be hiding something else about Radley that we don't yet know.
Join staff writers Teresa Lopez, Leigh Raines, Nick McHatton and Carissa Pavlica while they talk about all of that and more. Be sure to participate by dropping your own answers in the comments -- let's get a real round table discussion going!
What did you think about the similarities of the Courtland girls and our Liars?
Teresa: I think the missing girl and her friends is suppose to make the liars really re-examine their idea of Ali. They already know she wasn't a great person, but at least Emily is beginning to feel less invested in her former BFF's murder. But this development might just connect with Alison after all. Maybe both girls were involved with "board shorts" (or Ezra), which means he certainly has a type.
Leigh: Well I think that Sarah sounds a lot like Alison. Someone whose love you need to earn, who created a lot of drama with her friendships, whose disappearance left mystery. The last girl (forgetting name, Claire maybe?) said that it's still not over. I wonder if there's another A...These girls seem haunted too.
Nick: They were a sounding board for Emily. Those similarities allow all of the girls, especially Emily since she's harboring the most doubt, to take off the friendship glasses and see Alison for who she really was. Maybe they really don't want Alison back in their lives. Emily covering up Alison in the photo is telling: Ali might have brought them all together, but the real friendships are the ones they have without her.
Carissa: Their pain was so familiar to Emily and Hanna. I think hearing their story, especially that someone could be jealous they have "proof" their friend is dead (my how things change!) because they can let go will give them pause to getting so involved again. It's going to make them rethink the realities of their relationship with Ali and how far down the rabbit hole they want to get dragged now that they know she's alive. They might finally be able to let go of the pain she caused, because they don't have to feel guilty that she's dead.
Mr. Hastings seemed uncomfortable with the Radley developments. Why does he want it closed?
Teresa: Well his daughter spent some time at Radley, which doesn't reflect too highly on his family. But this being PLL, I'm sure there's another buried family secret somewhere at Radley.
Leigh: Who knows when it comes to the Hastings crew! That family is so shady. It probably has a negative association for him. I mean his daughter was there, so it's not unreasonable to see why he hates it. It's incredibly outdated and creepy as hell. It's a malpractice suit waiting to happen, and now it's happening.
Nick: When he first hears about what Spencer did I took it as a way to bring Radley down and profit handsomely for it. Spencer being a patient their is just a bonus that makes him look good.
Carissa: The way he tugged at his tie and so eagerly jumped at the idea of closing the place down seemed, to me, to indicate something more than just Spencer's stay at Radley. I have no idea what, but I smell a deeper story.
What did you think of Hanna and Caleb's breakup?
Teresa: So sad! Especially because there was no way he could explain all the crazy stuff that's happened since they last saw each other. I'm holding out hope that Caleb can come back...even as just a guest star.
Leigh: I got teary eyed and I will totally admit it. Those two nail every scene they do together. I love their relationship and it sucks that it had to end because they are on separate shows, but I think their chemistry might always allow them to come back to each other.
Nick: It had to happen. I, like Leigh, actually cried when they officially broke it off. Thankfully, they end somewhat amicable. Although Hanna is still in the dark a bit.
Carissa: It was really confusing. They didn't really break up, but sort of stopped talking about what was going on in Ravenswood, and then all of a sudden Caleb wasn't coming back. It was just ambiguous enough to allow Caleb a return if Ravenswood doesn't make the second season renewal cut.
What's under Ezra's floorboards?
Teresa: Another A lair? It would make sense for him to have multiple stalking stations.
Leigh: A's new lair! Caleb said the one in Ravenswood was cleared out. Was anyone scared for a minute he was gonna stick Aria in there?
Nick: Mona if she's not careful! Ezra might say that place is basically cut off technology wise, but it's probably wired to the teeth with surveillance and God knows what. If he can convince the ladies it's a safe space to talk, all the better.
Carissa: Huh. I hadn't even thought of a new lair. You guys are a lot smarter than me. I was imagining a bound Sarah or Ali.
What were your general impressions on the PLL return?
Teresa: Even though the focus was less on reveals and surprises, the episode showed that there can still be suspense and mystery even when we know that someone is evil (looking at you Ezra!).
Leigh: I don't think that they are all on the same page regarding Alison's return. Immediately Spencer was off to the side and you could tell she's tense. We know she's hiding something from the night of Ali's disappearance. Now that Ali's back, it's only a matter of time before it comes out. Hanna and Aria seem eager to find her. Emily wants peace and knows no peace will come with Ali's return. She just wants to move on.
Nick: Mostly more of the same. It wasn't particularly good or bad; just a run of the mill episode. My favorite part of it was when Mona was trying to get inside Ezra's head.
Carissa: I'm looking forward to things being a little more introspective, indicating the Liars are growing up. Hanna wasn't completely lost that Caleb left town, and Emily is ready to let Ali go -- I hope Aria comes to her senses with regard to Ezra and Spencer tones done a bit on her Nancy Drew activities. There can still be mystery and suspense while they grow up and move on.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.