Pretty Little Liars Season 7 Episode 17 – TV Review
But you know that thing I said about new lows every episode?
Not even Ashley can stave off that.
TL;DR PLL devolves into a pointless fantasy musical sequence; Aria feels guilty for helping AD, but does reap the rewards; Caleb proposes to Hanna; because Ashley’s back, bitches; the Hastings endure more Mary drama; Mary leaves (hopefully) for good; Emily pretends to be relevant by hanging out with Mona; Alison isn’t here.
So we have two things to be thankful for, then.
I’m not feeling as apathetic as last week, so let’s get to the Liar-by-Liar, baby:
I’ll put Aria out in front this episode, as she does the most AD-relevant stuff. Despite starting to crumple under the pressure, she continues to be their little slave, and drops off a phone to the Hastings residence (we’ll get to that in a moment). Ezra thinks her moodiness is due to cold feet, and reaffirms his commitment to her. But hey, AD delivers, literally, and Aria gets one of the final puzzle pieces for the game board. Oh, and she has a nightmare sequence where she envisions Ezra in prison, and Mona sings Jailhouse Rock. With choreography. Why?
The Hastings job is a phone recording of Peter and Mary discussing Jessica’s murder. This doesn’t impress Peter or Veronica, and Spencer is also kept busy fending off Marco’s angry (and accurate) tirade against her. Mary also pops up, via carjacking (obv), and offers for Spen to leave Rosewood with her. But although Peter admits he and Jessica had indeed conspired to murder Mary, and Veronica announces she’s forfeiting her senate appointment because the scandal would likely get out, Spencer chooses to stay on this pathetic, sinking ship. Mary is gracious in the rejection.
Marco also goes after Hanna and Caleb for the Hotel Radley receipt flooding (again, accurately). Ashley finally returns, but is wasted on some minor scenes, one of which leads to Caleb proposing to Hanna. Cute? Inevitable?
Alison isn’t here. Thank God.
And Emily doesn’t have anything to do, so PLL pretends she matters by sticking her with Mona as they root out the fertility doctor from whom Doctor Dude bought the sperm to impregnate Alison. They don’t get a name. But we do get a shot of Mona’s apartment, which includes a sprawling conspiracy board, and the implication that she’s AD.
But with three episodes to go, that’s clearly a fake-out.
I’m still astonished at just how glacial the pace is of this final season. PLL, for better or worse (usually, mostly, worse), has always been its most compelling when it was being batshit insane. I complain about the secret spaceship hologram room a lot. But that’s because it’s memorable.
So then why is PLL’s last hurrah such a dull slog? The time for Mona fake-outs and doomed relationships is over.
Give us something to gasp over.
Or, failing that, something to puke over.
Just like the writers have puked over this show.
Why I hate this episode:
We’ll get to Aria’s nightmare sequence first, because just fucking why? Why, after seven seasons, and having had Janel Parrish on staff the whole time, did we get a musical number now? Sure, not five seconds ago I was demanding that PLL do something memorable, and this is memorable. But it’s also wasted on a confusing, useless subplot. Something about how AD has something Aria said about Ezra once that could be construed as incriminating, and this snowballs into Aria worrying he could go to prison? If you’re gonna go full bonkers with a choreographed musical sequence, make it count, show. Fuck. New lows. Every episode.
And why was Mona the one singing? She’s not related to this at all. Yes, Janel Parrish is a decent singer. But it didn’t make any sense. Hell, Lucy Hale is surely a good enough singer for an eleventh hour fantasy musical number on a Freeform show. Why wasn’t she singing it herself?
Aria also contributes to the “Mona is AD” obvious fake-out. She has trouble finding the puzzle piece reward, and when she does find it hidden in the cafe, Mona happens to be there. We don’t have fucking time for this!
I wish Emily would join Alison on her numerous day trips out of town. She’s so useless.
Ashley’s return made me smile even more than I expected, but for fuck’s sake, she’s wasted on some bullshit, nothing scenes. Show us her being questioned by the police. I don’t care about her hugging Caleb.
Speaking of Ashley and Caleb (and Hanna, for that matter), holy shit just tell Ashley what’s going on. After all this time, none of these characters have learned that lies and omissions from their loved ones always, always, always, always, always blow up in their faces. Jesus. And Ashley’s a badass boss bitch. She could help.
So Peter did conspire with Jessica to actually murder Mary? Yikes. That’s a pretty hard pill to swallow. Maybe AD is Peter?
The fertility doctor doesn’t have the sperm donor’s name, but they do have an arbitrary ID number. We don’t have time for this.
Oh, and not that I want Toby, but where’s Toby?
But it’s not all bad:
I think we’re safe to count out Marco as possibly ending up with Spencer, as he is going all in on his (again, again, accurate) accusations towards her and her friends. It’s about time we had a detective in Rosewood who manages to combine competence and tenacity, and not just one or the other.
Praise be to the return of Ashley. The Liars’ parents always helped provide a bit of credibility, or at least a distraction from the girls’ bullshit. And Ashley “Sydney fuckin’ Andrews” Marin was always my favourite. I assume Ella will have to be thrown a bone for Aria and Ezra’s wedding.
Wouldn’t it be fabulous if Hanna and Caleb, now they are engaged to be wed, stole Aria and Ezra’s wedding thunder? I’d be cool with it.
Speaking of Hanna, she spends some of her episode trying to track down the shovels the girls used to bury Doctor Dude, which they had carelessly left in the woods. But they’re gone. Because Mona has them.
Yes, I’d like to instead believe that Mona’s conspiracy wall, ominous glances, and stolen evidence is not an indicator that she’s AD, but a result of her regressing into her obsession with life-meddling that she warned Hanna about. I reckon she’s whipped this all up only in the last couple of episodes. Because she’s that good, dammit.
Aria may be a whiny bitch, but she’s a whiny bitch who got a double-sized puzzle piece.
Oh, and I’d like to believe Mary is gone. What else is there for her to say or do?