TV Review: Pretty Little Liars Season 3 Episode 24
I’m gonna apply the same spoiler warning I did for PLL episode 12.
But don’t go thinking this episode has anything in common with that one.
Very few revelations are things we didn’t already highly suspect; it ends on a rage-inducing, piece of shit cliffhanger; and the Liars put on pimped out dresses, then immediately change out of them.
TL;DR It’s still juicy (like we should rightfully expect from a PLL finale), but much like the season 2 ending, it falls flat.
The “questions answered” to “questions introduced” ratio isn’t good enough.
Okay, so the plot’s pretty thick this episode, so bear with me. The major plot involves the A-team setting up a major scheme against the Liars at Spencer’s welcome home party (she’s out of Radley). The A-team officially consists of Red Coat as the leader, then Mona, Toby and Spencer, but we see extra collaboration this episode (possibly under duress) from Jenna, Melissa and wtf newcomer Shana. The plan falls apart, however, when Spencer leaks shit to the Liars and they are able to intercept Mona before she can meet with Red Coat and set it in motion. Toby is apparently a good guy after all and helps out. But Red Coat, always thinking ahead, smoke-chokes Aria, Hanna, Emily and Mona by setting the buidling they’re in on fire, then rescuing them from death and vanishing into the night. Mona, Spencer (in the woods) and Hanna see Alison in the Red Coat, but that couldn’t be true, could it? The episode closes out with all 4 Liars plus Mona finding Wilden’s car parked outside the church. They open the boot, react dramatically, then we get a cut to black. Yeah, that’s satisfying.
Individual subplots include:
Aria finally breaking up with Ezra because he gets a teaching job at Rosewood High.
Hanna babysitting Malcolm, who is able to identify “Alison” aka his kidnapper as Spencer.
Emily not doing anything.
And Spencer proving Toby’s alive, then boning him.
I know my expectations for this were too high. Because PLL can deliver most of the time. But fuck, this feels more like a mid-season finale. So many new mysteries are introduced, and the only real answers we get aren’t enough.
The only big revelation is Toby being alive, but I think we’d all guessed that already, hey?
Why I hate this episode:
Definitely, the most grating part of the episode is that bullshit cliffhanger. Oh, for non-Australia readers, when I say the “boot” of the car, that’s what we call the “trunk.” Hope that helps.
Also, what the fuck is going on with Shana? We already have enough suspects in the pool. We don’t need you.
She’s apparently having a thing with Jenna, too. I’m not buying that shit. Jenna’s pursuit of Toby over the first two seasons was obssessive. She likes the D, not the V. Maybe she’s playing her, but damn, that’s some bullshit plot twisting.
Red Coat is Alison? Okay. Not.
Toby was way more interesting when he was evil. He tries to explain away his allegiance to Mona/A-team by saying he did it to protect Spencer. Ugh, just get rid of him, Spence. Go back to that guy who worked at the country club. Or Hot Nerd. Anyone. I’m done with Toby.
Nobody ever actually reaches the party. Extra frustration points when the Liars (minus Spencer) are all dressed, then immediately change so they can play Charlie’s Angels with Mona. Can you imagine how late they’re going to be to that party? And underdressed. So rude.
Aria and Ezra’s break-up is played super serious and heartbreaking. It isn’t.
Ezra makes a reasonable point about how Aria will be graduating in 7 months and they could just wait until then. Aria’s flaps are apparently too insatiable to make it that long, and she has a big whinge about how everything’s “too hard” and generally acts like the bratty cunt she is. Yeah, I’m glad they’re broken up (VERY glad), but that was just pathetic.
Byron has a rage about how Ezra’s been offered a job at Rosewood High. Um, wasn’t that part of your plan?
When the building is on fire, the girls are so bad at escaping that they pass out and Red Coat saves them. Because breaking a window would have been too hard? The building is fucking on fire you idiots. Just go.
Toby sees someone in the woods before he is knocked out by a second assailant. The one he sees is obviously Jenna, but I get the feeling that PLL is gonna play it like the whole Black Swan thing. You know, when it was ridiculously clear that it was Melissa, but nobody could figure it out.
The episode makes an annoying point of bringing up Emily’s drugging, which we haven’t heard about in ages. Emily asks Mona if Red Coat did it, but Mona doesn’t know. Yeah, thanks for reminding us of that. Would have been cool if you’d answered it, too.
Oh, and it looks like Mona is part of the gang now. It’s like we didn’t learn anything from Edie Britt.
Reasons to watch:
It’s still a PLL finale, so the spine tingles, while subdued, still abound.
You’ve got Toby being confirmed alive, the (stupid) cliffhanger, Wilden’s car turning up, Red Coat being Alison, Emily witnessing Shana, Jenna and Melissa conspiring. And my personal favourite: Spencer telling Toby that she kidnapped Malcolm. Both spine tingles and lols. Perfect.
In addition to the cliffhanger, there’s an extra stinger, which ties into the “Red Coat is Alison maybe” sitch. We see the shot of the hand breaking through the earth that we saw in the Halloween episode. But this time someone else grabs the hand to pull them out. Could Alison be seriously alive? Ooh.
Toby has a shirtless scene. Always welcome.
He and Spencer have sex. That’s cool.
Best line goes to Hanna (always always always), who is incensed after Shana runs into the Liars, including Spencer, at school:
Hanna: “I hate her!”
Hanna: “Because she flirts with everyone except me.”
Honestly, what is wrong with Shana?
Aria comes close with this long-coming confirmation of all my ranting. She’s having one of several talks with Ezra about the state of their relationship: “Nothing about us feels right anymore.” Good!
There’s an awkward scene following the break-up where Ezra begins as the Liars’ new substitute teacher. They ignore each other. I don’t know about them, but I was having a good time.
Mona’s genuine fear once she realises Red Coat will be mad at them makes shit very real. Likewise, I can empathise with her eagerness to learn her identity.
Mona is angry that Red Coat stole her mission of revenge against the Liars (Mona only started working for Red Coat after she was sent to Radley, then Red Coat commandeered the whole operation).
As stupid as it would be if it were true, there is some value to the theory of Red Coat being Alison. Red Coat flies a plane into meet the A-team. Flying was something Alison was learning before her “death.” The mystery continues.
Spencer looks hot as fuck in her A makeup. Like, fuck.
Wilden’s car has the dashboard video playing, revealing that Shana and Jenna were the ones who pulled him from the road. Does this mean Wilden is on the A-team, too?
Oh, and Hanna turns out to be a pretty fun babysitter. And she wears a cute, pink blouse that works perfectly for her, and thankfully bucks the 80s vomit trend. For the final time this season, I give you Hanna wearing clothes: