Pretty Little Liars Season 7 Episode 4 – TV Review
So PLL already solves its flash forward mystery by only four episodes in, and even features a genuine emotional conflict?
What is this? Opposite week?
TL;DR The body they were burying was Doctor Dude, natch; Mona helps them cover up the murder (manslaughter?); Spencer drinks under the pressure of it all; Jenna’s back.
Bitches. And she knows… something, I think?
A couple of the Liars actually do stuff this episode, so the breakdown isn’t so barren for once:
Spencer is still back in the lead following Hanna’s PTSD gloom, and leads the charge in covering up this murder of Doctor Dude, yo. But alas, her breakup with Caleb swats her down again, and leads her to binge drink and hook up with some guy at a bar instead of helping with the murder coverup. Thank God for Mona, right?
Hanna, again making Aria tag along with her (the less Aria the better), finds Mona has been following them and knows they killed Doctor Dude. She helps with the coverup, and she and Hanna also manage to find his burner phone. And he receives a call from Jenna, who’s back in town, and also in kahootz.
Aria’s only solo contribution to the episode is to sneak Alison back into the psychiatric care facility, which is necessary to disguise Doctor Dude’s disappearance. And she almost fucks that up. Of course.
Emily doesn’t do anything. Of course.
And Alison tells Aria that she did follow Cece into the church bell tower the night she died, but she didn’t kill her.
Damn, Alison. You used to be cool. Old Alison would have at least teased that she had.
So yeah, all in all this was a competent, mostly satisfying episode of PLL. By pulling focus mainly to Spencer, the show was able to actually get some important story beats accomplished.
Who knew that not sharing screentime between four (five?) leads, like too little butter spread over too much toast, would work?
Why I hate this episode:
I find it hard to believe that, after all they’ve been through, the Liars and Alison think they could possibly get away with covering up a murder. Just go to the police, you idiots. A knows.
On the flip side, though, I also find it hard to believe that they would even consider the idea of going to the police. Which they do, and it wastes a small but not insignificant amount of screentime early on. Shut up, guys. We know you’re not going to do the right thing and tell the police what happened. Just hurry up and bury that bitch.
Continuing on the police thing, Toby’s investigation into Doctor Dude (set in motion by Emily last episode) threatens to expose the murder, as the police are now very much getting involved. This creates actual tension. But then the episode wusses out by having Toby hand wave it away by explaining the police think his disappearance is because Doctor Dude likely fled from fear of discovery. Convenient.
It’s no surprise that Jenna’s back. Because it’s the final season of a show that likes to connect every dot to every single other dot, and we’re probably going to be seeing a lot of this. But Jesus fuck, we didn’t miss her when she was gone. And now she’s connected to Doctor Dude, and knows his real name or something? Who cares?
She and Toby talk vaguely about some unpleasantness between them from the period of the time skip. Again, who cares? You know which character doesn’t need a fourth tier subplot? Fucking Toby.
Spencer cleans up a muddy floor (from their shoes after burying the body, you know?) with a spray bottle and paper towels. Bitch, get a mop.
Alison easily slips away from Aria during their sneak back mission to the psychiatric care facility. Because Aria literally can’t do anything right. Other than fuck her way to success.
Where’s Ashley, who is again namedropped, but not seen?
Oh, and in a world where Spencer’s actress is already about a decade too old for her, she hooks up with a guy in a bar who is another decade older. I’m no frothing feminist, but is age parity in romantic pair casting so hard?
But it’s not all bad:
He may be a decade older, but he’s a Latin hardbody, and she’s a drunk-on-martini business-casual. The lift makeout is a bit lame, but it’s hot enough. Gon’ get it, gurl.
Spencer is the treasure of the episode. Which is fortunate, because the episode is so heavily geared around her. To start, she leads the charge in covering up the murder, and is quick to smack those bitches back into line when they talk about, pfft, going to the authorities.
She then somehow manages to make a scene that could have been cheesier than my arteries work: the Caleb-through-the-door scene. She and Hanna are back at the barn after burying Doctor Dude’s body, and Spencer desperately tries to get Caleb to go away. To protect him from their terrible secret, I assume. But he begs and pleads and cries through the door, going on to explain how his feelings for Spencer are not a new thing. Spencer has to bear this with Hanna only centimetres away. At first I was laughing, but by the end, I felt for her. You got me, PLL.
She then gets inappropriately drunk and almost gets her friends arrested. So I can relate.
Emily, surprisingly, chews her out for this. And although Emily is hardly the poster child for sobriety, I dug it.
Hanna admits that maybe she didn’t kill Doctor Dude by accident. When she saw him jump out in front of the car, she purposely didn’t stop. Ooh, barracuda.
Mona does as Mona do, and secretly has the car fixed and detailed to disguise the killing. Hanna, naturally, left a bracelet in the car, so the duo have to go back to it, and that’s when they find the phone.
The phone Jenna calls, asking for “Archer.” Doctor Dude’s real name?
Jenna’s return isn’t particularly shocking, and Tammin Sursok has always been way too old for the role. But she certainly does Bitch well, doesn’t she?
With Doctor Dude “missing,” Mary now has control over Alison’s treatment.
Oh, and Alison even temporarily climbs out of the Obstructive Liability pile to help the Liars put her back in the psychiatric care facility.