Pretty Little Liars Season 7 Episode 1 – TV Review
Yes, I was foolish enough to hope that maybe, with one final season premiere to attempt, that PLL would somehow claw its way out of the swamp of bullshittery in which it has mired itself.
And again, it didn’t.
Sink ever lower, show.
TL;DR Evil Twinanigans and Mission Impossible face masks are here to stay; the gang throw Alison under the bus to AD as Cece’s killer; Aria and Ezra get back together; Mary Drake has some shadowy past with Spencer’s parents (because who doesn’t?); Hanna escapes a life or death situation.
Or does she!?
So the episode starts off with Spencer, Aria, and Emily digging a grave after an implied failed scheme, and then we flash back four days to where last season left off. So already PLL’s pulling the “how we got here” card, which is pathetically desperate. AD (I wanted to keep calling them B, but I don’t have the willpower) gives everyone twenty-four hours to cough up Cece’s real killer or they’ll murder Hanna (who spends her episode getting tortured-ish), and all fingers logically point to Alison. They split into teams and go spelunking, while also spying on Jessica’s twin sister, Mary Drake, who owns the Lost Woods or something. Yada yada yada, they find a jacket that seems to prove that Alison was at the church when Cece died, and despite Emily (and only Emily) protesting telling AD, they do, and the episode ends as Doctor Dude enacts some kind of revenge on her while she’s in the psychiatric care facility, implying he’s AD. But don’t put that in concrete yet. Because PLL. Elsewhere, Aria is more interested in Ezra’s dick than saving Hanna’s life; Mary tells Spencer she has some history with her parents; Emily still has UST with Sabrina the cafe girl; Mona and Caleb make a good spy team; and, because having a homicidal transgendered demon child isn’t backstory enough, Mary also was apparently responsible for the death of a child when she was a teenage babysitter.
How do you solve a problem like Mary, huh?
Look, from about the first five minutes of this episode, I was already checked out. I was so close to just dropping this show and finally being rid of it.
But PLL only has another nineteen episodes to go. I’m determined to hang in there.
No matter the cost on my attention span.
Why I hate this episode:
The “how we got here” clichè? Really? Why do I even expect better from Pretty Little Liars? Maybe it’s my fault?
The stupid super latex face mask garbage is also still hanging on. Literally. Near the front of the episode, the gang find Hanna hanging, dead, in the church bell tower. But psych, it was just a mannequin played by Ashley Benson. Fuck off. For fuck’s sake.
While everyone starts off pretty keen on saving Hanna before the deadline, as the episode wears on, they get pretty blasè about it. They’re just making lunch and driving around aimlessly and having tea and stuff. Get the lead out, bitches.
Worst of all is Aria. Mona and Caleb manage to locate the phone of someone Mary has been talking to, and they discern that it’s a man with a British or Australian (represent!) accent. So Aria is sent to the location, a bar, to find him. Seems proactive enough, right? Well, not if you’re Aria. She just sits sullenly at the bar for a moment and doesn’t even talk to any of the patrons before she decides that hopping back into bed with Ezra is more important than saving Hanna’s life. She literally leaves the bar immediately because she needs to be close to Ezra or whatever. You know what would be better to be close to? A way to intervene in your friend’s impending execution.
Emily, like last episode, is mostly sidelined because even PLL has given up trying to make her compelling. She spends her episode waiting around Alison at the hospital and listening to her psychotic ramblings (she suffered a psychotic break), and later having a teary in Alison’s bedroom, remembering one time when they banged as fifteen year-olds. Cute?
She also still has something going with Sabrina. Do we still care about that?
Oh, and though it soils me to say it: where’s Sara?
But it’s not all bad:
No Sara, tho.
What surprised me the most was only moments into the episode when Andrea Parker’s name was included in the regular cast. Less Than Perfect’s Lydia rides again, baby.
And Mary Drake, despite her Evil Twin moustache twirling last episode, is the best thing about the episode. She’s playing her game innocuously enough while the Liars and co relentlessly try to snoop into her. And I feel optimistic about her chances of maybe killing one of our main characters. She’s killed before, apparently.
Mary’s best scene is her Teatime With Spencer sequence. She’s come to visit Veronica and Peter, but Spencer convinces her to come in for tea, anyway (the Hastings are on a post-election victory cruise). Mary barely tolerates Spencer’s sad attempts to needle her for info, but is happy to tell her the vague version of why she left town back in the day: there was some unpleasantness, and Jessica turned all her family and friends against her and drove her out.
And, naturally, she gets handed the best line of the episode to follow up:
Spencer: “May I ask why you’ve come back? I mean, why now?”
Mary: “Because I found out she’s dead.”
Keep it simple, Spencer. Duh.
As Mary’s leaving, Spencer happens to mention that Toby is her friend and ex-lover. Mary ominously says that her own ex-lovers aren’t friends. Jesus, did she fuck Peter, too?
Speaking of copying somebody, Hanna gets held in a spooky barn. So now Pretty Little Liars is borrowing from Scream. It’s full circle.
Emily is the only one to hesitate when it comes to handing over the evidence jacket to AD, thus condemning Alison. I lol’d.
Doctor Dude totally does complete whatever his revenge scheme is, injecting Alison with something that it seems will keep her crazy forever, I think? Cool.
When Hanna has a comforting/motivational dream in the barn, it’s a vision of Spencer she imagines. Hanna and Spencer are the only Liars I haven’t entirely given up on. So it’s nice to see the show plays favourites with them, too.
Oh, and when the gang first vote anonymously on who they think Cece’s killer is, Mona and Spencer each get a vote. Fair.