Pretty Little Liars Season 5 Episode 12 – TV Review
Sadly, it’s not Toby.
And I’m not going to tell you who does die.
Until after this sentence.
TL;DR It’s Mona; A kills her, and also Alison is probably A; Alison is also mustering her own army from Mona’s former hit squad members; Alison might also be legitimately crazy; it looks like she killed Bethany out of jealousy (we’ll get to that in a bit); but Spencer, the poor dear, is arrested for Bethany’s murder.
It’s always Spencer. Why can’t Aria get thrown around by the cops a bit? She actually did kill someone, you know.
Anyway, this is our plot:
The Liars mostly keep together this episode. Fearing what Alison might be telling the police (and that’s Cute Cop aka Holbrook. Not Roma, who is mysteriously absent), the Liars go to Mona for help in hacking the cops’ shit and finding out. What they end up with isn’t revelatory in Alison’s answers, but rather the line of questioning the police are taking. Further investigating by the Liars plus Mona plus Caleb into Bethany Young’s Radley files uncovers the shocking truth: Jessica was having an affair with Bethany’s father, which Bethany had found out about and was not impressed. Later, alone, Mona dicovers a second, even more shocking truth: that Alison knew about the whole situation, and was murderously jealous of Bethany. Present day Alison is now successfully leading the police into thinking Spencer killed Bethany in a misguided attempt to impress Alison, which leads to Spencer’s arrest. Before Mona can show the remaining Liars the proof of Alison’s murderous intent, she herself is murdered. By a blonde in a hoodie. Subplots include: the Montgomery family inviting Ezra to Thanksgiving; Paige and Emily getting back together; Mona’s mum being worried about Alison bullying her daughter at school (I suppose that’s moot now); Toby getting into a minor car crash on his way to police academy graduation; and Hanna being a secret genius.
Go back to Glee, Brittany.
Not as dizzyingly explosive as season 3’s mid-season finale, and not as Red Coat-a-riffic as season 4’s, this time around is more of a slow burn. And it works. We finally get to see Mona in action on the Liars’ side. And for real this time (or as real as Mona is capable of).
Despite my disappointment over the fake-out of Toby being the character to die, I couldn’t be more pleased with the decision to slice and dice Mona. And PLL even has the gumption to decisively show her pale, dead body at the end of the episode (it had been removed from the murder scene). No crawling out of a gazebo hole for this girl.
Why I hate this episode:
But not all that glitters is golden. I still stand by my unending disbelief that a bunch of teenage girls would be interested in or capable of doing any of this. Mostly because there seems to be no reason. This episode offers up the possibility that Alison is an unqualified crazy ass bitch, and literally everything has just been a product of a game she’s been playing with her “dolls.” Firstly, I don’t believe any conclusion that PLL draws, because they always get weaseled out of promptly and dissatisfyingly. And secondly, way to shit all over the intricate, monumental mystery that you’ve spent 4 and a half seasons constructing. “Lol, she’s just cray. Bitch be cray. Thanks for watching.” Next thing we know it’ll have been all just a dream.
Aria and Ezra are back on. Yuck. The Montgomery family are even including him in their Thanksgiving Day feast. So there you go, Serena Van Der Woodsen. You should have just stuck it out on the boning your teacher front. Your family would have come around eventually.
Emily and Paige’s reunion is just tossed in there with not much more than a shrug.
Alison is building an army. Good god, stop it. Put down the Sun Tzu and come back to reality, PLL. What does she even need an army for, anyway? If she is A, she seems to be doing a pretty good job of running things all by herself.
Toby’s already graduated from the police academy. Okie dokie.
Alison taking a polygraph in a finale-esque setting (I know it’s only mid-season, but it’s close enough) is so ripping off Bates Motel.
Mona’s mum seems to only have been introduced so we feel badly when Mona dies. You know what’s a good way to make characters’ deaths impactful? If we care about them. Not just because they have sympathetic family members slapped on at the last second.
The Liars are all terrified of Alison pinning Bethany’s murder on them or whatever. But ladies, she doesn’t have any evidence. Again, I understand that you have reason to be worried about the investigative ability of the Rosewood police, but come on. Alison’s going to need more than a few little concoctions and text messages to get all 4 of you put away for a murder you didn’t commit. Which makes the decision not to bale up Aria for the killing she actually did commit all the more confusing.
Aria and Emily suggest showing the Melissa confessional video to the police to get them all out of the fire for being suspected of killing Bethany, but Spencer refuses because the video suggests that Spencer attacked Bethany in the first place, and “accessory to murder” is the least she would get charged with. Umm, I’m no lawyer, but wouldn’t Spencer have been charged with assault or something (and possibly mitigated by her being under the influence of drugs)? Melissa and Spencer didn’t work together to kill Bethany. Melissa killed her by accident. Not even Melissa knows if Spencer intended to kill Bethany or not (assuming that Spencer hit Bethany), and again, she was drug fucked into next millennium, anyway. Ugh, who cares.
Toby looks ridiculous in his full dress uniform.
Spencer gives Toby a graduation gift of a pocket watch with the engraving “You are my once upon a time. -S” Okay okay, cool it with the cross promotion, ABC.
Like I’m not a lawyer, I’m also not a detective, but I don’t think you announce somebody as having been murdered if you don’t have a body, right? Especially not, like, 5 minutes after the fact, before any kind of meaningful investigation has taken place?
Toby crashes his car because he’s a fucking dipshit who can’t handle his phone while driving. God, it’s not like it’s that hard, you know?
Oh, and the cops’ theory that Spencer killed Bethany as a way to impress Alison is so fucking retarded and impossible to prove. Their major source would be Alison’s testimony about how loyal Spencer was. And Roma has already made it clear that she doesn’t believe a fucking word Alison says.
But it’s not all bad:
Mona’s dead, baby. And in slasher movie fabulous style. It’s what she would have wanted. The real treat is the confirmation of her dead body, which means we won’t get any bullshit resurrections 3 and a half seasons later in a Halloween episode. Unless Mona just likes lying in car boots, motionless, with lots of grey makeup on.
The Liars’ confirmed decision to oppose Alison makes their break-up with her about as official as you can get without posting about it on Facebook. Not only do they (mainly Hanna) actually declare that they’re no longer friends with her, but they go to Mona for help in fighting her schemes.
The grand scheme to infiltrate Radley is predictably sloppy for PLL (Gossip Girl would have done a much better job), but it’s the closest thing we’ll get to a multi-man mission with actual precision. Spencer and Mona pose as nurses to bust into the Radley records room (which is where they find all the juicy deets about Bethany knowing Jessica was fucking her dad, finding out Jessica was a scumbag, and also having had contact with Alison), Aria takes up her art class volunteering to distract the real nurse in the way, Emily keeps Alison busy back at home, and Hanna and Caleb play tech support. Credit where credit is due, team.
The theory that Alison is now A seems believable. Mona also suggests that Alison only ever became friends with the Liars so she could play with all their personality types, and now that they’ve revolted, Alison is ending the game by going nuclear on them. Alison being a stone cold psychopath is not far-fetched at all, honey.
Best line of the episode goes to Mona when the Liars first visit her. Mona immediately discerns the reason for their visit:
Hanna: “We need your help.”
Mona: “What did she do to you?”
Should have been asking that question for yourself, Mona.
Lucas is the only one of Mona’s Hit Squad who doesn’t desert her. Aww.
Spencer is arrested before Mona’s murder, so the opening of the episode (which takes place in the aftermath) has her notably absent, which is an adorable, if obvious, fake-out. I liked it.
The A who murders Mona appears to be Alison. It looks to be a female, and they have long, blonde hair. But we never see their face. To my eye, though, the blonde hair that we see on that A looks like a different cut and shade from Alison’s hair soon after when she comes to watch the chaos unfold in the emergency services scrum. So I’ll put my money on Alison not being Mona’s murderer for now.
Holbrook visits Alison to tell her something, but we don’t get to hear what it is. I want to know.
Toby gets injured in the car crash. It’ll do for now, I guess.
Oh, and now we don’t have to put up with Hanna’s not-really-that-different hair for a few months. Halleloo.