Pretty Little Liars Season 5 Episode 1 – TV Review
Just kidding. Nothing’s as abhorrent as Ravenswood.
But I’m not kidding about how much I just don’t give a shit about Pretty Little Liars anymore.
Season 5? Really?
TL;DR Alison is outed to the world as being alive; Shana is apparently Big Bad A, and dies after trying to off the Liars + Alison; Ezra doesn’t die (goddammit); Cece flees the country (and isn’t evil); Mona starts an anti-Alison club.
Does she think Alison is a supervillain? She’s a fucking high school student. Chill out.
Seeing as the Liars kind of stick together this episode, we’ll eschew the usual Liar-by-Liar plot rundown. Most of the action takes place still in New York (“EscApe From New York” is the episode title. Cute, huh?). The girls are desperate for Ezra to tell them who A is, so they scurry around trying to prevent A from getting into his hospital room and finishing him off. Once they realise he’s more or less secure, Aria hangs back and the remaining four take refuge in a theatre, since Alison will be A’s next logical target. Moping occurs. Shana turns up at the hospital under the guise of being there to protect Aria, but twist, she’s actually A and wants to murder Alison (and the Liars, I guess) to get justice for Jenna’s blinding. She pulls a gun on the the theatre foursome, but Aria turns up in time to smoke that bitch. Moping occurs. Meanwhile, Cece escapes police custody. Alison and Noel help her flee the country (she may not be evil, but she did kill Wilden, after all). Meanwhle, Peter, Veronica and Melissa all react to the news announcement of Alison being alive. Peter and Melissa are in on some super mega secret that they’re desperate to keep quiet. And Mona rallies Lucas, Paige (reluctantly), Melissa, and a gang of random Alison bullying victims to prepare to cause Alison grief when she returns to Rosewood.
Again, these kids are in high school, no? This would have seemed excessive on even Gossip Girl.
If this episode is to be believed, things seem to be taking a turn for the better. Mona’s got her little group together, and A appears to be put to bed for now. I’d love to take this as a sign of a long-awaited new direction for the show.
But we all know that’s not going to happen. I’m sick to death of PLL trotting out more and more bizarre, ridiculous shit from Alison and the Liars’ pasts that would be hard to believe in a bona fide soap opera like Revenge, let alone this high school drama-rama. Remember, Alison is what, 15, in these flashbacks? What the fuck, PLL?
I used to be 15. I’ve met 15 year-olds. They’re not this bloody exciting.
Why I hate this episode:
I just don’t care anymore. Much like I do with Glee, I’ll stick around out of entrenched completionism, but I honestly don’t give a fuck what happens to any of these characters anymore. Hell, TVD might be loose with the resurrection stick, but at least they’ve had the balls to kill off the occasional main character for real. Ditto Revenge. PLL can’t even keep the character whose death was central to the plot in the ground. 5 seasons in, and it’s becoming ever more clear that there is exactly nothing at stake.
I’m also done with pretending that I can actually keep up with PLL’s continuity. So if I have a whinge about something that would make sense if I could remember some insignificant snippet of throwaway dialogue from 28 episodes ago, please tell me. Because I’m not paying attention.
Shana as the Big Bad A was some weak bullshit. Wasn’t Shana supposed to be used in the blasé web series and then thrown in the trash? How did we get to here?
Ezra is alive. There is no greater sin.
Watching college student Ezra romance 15 year-old Alison in the flashback is just gross.
Mona’s little hit squad is absurd. What are they planning for? Alison’s life will be a circus enough with her return to the living world. I don’t think she has “return to alpha bully post” on her to-do list. Calm down, you fucking idiots. Alison even appears to be convinced that Shana is A and that’s that. Why is she going to be a threat to you?
Alison makes an Art of War reference, which is evidently a surprise to Spencer. 1) Art of War reference in a high school drama? Try harder next time. 2) Is that really much of a surprise, Spencer?
Cece loses all her badass points. Alison even reveals to Emily that Cece wasn’t even Red Coat, and rather than trying to saw Emily in half in Ravenswood, she was actually working with Alison to save her. Pfft.
A mob of hooded, masked goons attack the girls when they’re about to corner A. It’s not explained who they were. I presume it was a flash mob. But flash mobs are so 5 years ago.
Shana is the new poster child for disproportionate retribution: “You blinded my lover? Better kill you and 4 of your closest friends.” Jenna is an incestuous, sexual predator, Shana. I’m sure she’s not that hard to impress.
Oh, and while I love that Aria now has a death on her hands, I fear for the inevitable torrent of melodrama that will accompany her guilt. Emily was bad enough with not-so-Cousin, and she’s infinitely more emotionally stable than our resident shaking leaf.
But it’s not all bad:
Shana’s dead. Ain’t nobody gonna complain about that.
I’d like to believe that, at least for a little while, Mona’s little hate club could be taking PLL in a new direction. It might be fun to know who our villain pranksters are, instead of the endless, ominous hoodies.
Paige is initially disgusted with Mona’s plan, and tries to leave the meeting. She decides to stay when a fiery Melissa shows up and announces they better move fast on their plans. It looks like Paige is going to be our double agent.
The one mystery I am keen to have solved is Peter and Melissa’s little secret. Whatever it is, it’s earth-shattering enough for Peter to vehemently oppose Melissa’s suggestion to tell Veronica, because it would be too destructive. It also drives him to drink. I hear you, buddy.
Aria is a manslaughterer. I lol’d.
Holbrook (it was time for Cute Cop to get his long-overdue name upgrade) does some investigating and figures out that the theatre belongs to Ezra’s family. So now that the police have found Shana’s body, it won’t be hard for him to figure out the girls’ connection to it.
In fact, he calls the theatre phone and Alison answers. So he can already place them there.
Additionally, Alison seems to be extremely upset at hearing his voice. She plays it off as nothing to the girls, but it looks like we’ve got our newest A suspect.
We’re still waiting on Jessica to be reported missing. But it’s still the same night in-universe, so I’ll remain patient with that one.
While in the shadows at the hospital, A does send a group text. So Shana isn’t alone. We’ll see.
During her motive rant, Shana reveals she’s the one who tried to kill the Liars in the lodge fire. Good to know.
Oh, and I’m dropping Fashionistard. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to give Hanna any love.