Pretty Little Liars Season 7 Episode 19 – TV Review

PLL Farewell, My Lovely group shot

Sorry, Em.

Can you feel the soothing waves of relief washing over you, with the knowledge that after this, only one more excruciating episode of Pretty Little Liars will ever darken you life?

We’re almost free.

TL;DR Mona isn’t AD (shocker), but she did kill Cece (accidentally); everyone forgives Aria; Mary betrays the promise of her departure and resurfaces to take the blame for Doctor Dude’s death and spare the Liars; the board game is over.

No. Please. Come back. What is a TV show without a computerised, mechanical evil board game? Whatever will we do?

There will be no Liar-by-Liar this week, because things are kept mostly cohesive. By aimless, sprawling PLL standards, anyway.

Things pick up where last episode left off, as Aria manages to avoid the police seeing Doctor Dude’s body in her boot. AD promptly snatches it back, anyway, so who cares? From there, it’s the Mona Show, because the gang is convinced Mona is AD. Caleb, Hanna, and Spencer tail her for a bit, eventually culminating in Hanna finding her broken and crazy atop the church’s bell tower. Here, she admits (via flashback, so fucking Cece gets to be onscreen again. Yawn) that she met Cece up there on the night she died, having deduced that Cece’s “I’m all better now” act was an act. Cece gloated about her impending evil deeds, so they fought, and Mona accidentally killed her. Whoopsie. Upon this revelation, AD gifts the gang the final pieces of the puzzle, which in turn leads to that cabin where the fake Charles grave was. Despite a last minute attempt by the Liars to walk away from all this nonsense, Roma catches up to them with some arrest warrants and an excavator, uncovering the planted remains of Doctor Dude. But pysch, Mary returns this episode to do two things: 1) give Spencer (and Alison, weirdly) ownership of the Lost Woods Motel; and 2) to confess to the murders of Doctor Dude and Jessica. Roma concedes to the freed Liars that she doesn’t believe Mary killed Doctor Dude, but the evidence backs her up, so whatever. And thus, the Liars are free to plan Aria’s wedding, which I assume will be the centrepiece of the finale. And we still don’t know who AD is. Minor subplots include: Ezra harassing the girls into forgiving Aria; Caleb and Spencer revisiting and putting to rest their UST; Hanna not really taking ownership for Mona’s mental breakdown; the board game’s final clue being delivered by a bizarre augmented reality waste of time (not quite secret spaceship hologram room, but it was a decent effort); and Toby’s mysterious absence.

So Toby’s AD, right?

You know, it’s a shame that PLL’s production is just as incompetent as its writing.

How much more fun and tantalising would Mona’s reveal have been if it was staged or filmed or edited with even the slightest of enthusiasm? She killed someone in a fucking bell tower, for God’s sake. That should be juicy. Hell, I’m pretty sure the hanging of Ian at the end of Season 1 (it was Season 1, right?) had much more effort involved.

Present-day PLL is basically a glorified daytime soap when it comes to aesthetic.

If you’re going to feed us tripe, at least make it look like it thinks its important.

How else do you think HBO keeps its shows on the air?

 

Why I hate this episode:

Let’s not forget about that horrible writing, though. Mona’s unearned, inconsistent regression into Nerdy Mona was so fucking stupid. Would it have been so unrealistic for her to just tell Hanna, in the depths of her paranoia and exasperation, about what happened? Why did she have to do a costume change and play the “You’re Cece” game? Jesus Christ, show. Give it a fucking rest. Just tell your goddamn story.

And bloody Mary coming in for a last second save sucked all the power out of the entire season’s arc of whether or not the Liars, manipulated as they were, are responsible for their actions. The answer PLL is giving us is a hard “No.” Because who would want drama and tension and difficult choices, when a crazy, evil twin, twin-murdering hag can be your scapegoat?

Also, back to Mona for a moment: could AD really not have figured out that Mona killed Cece by themselves. Again, the entire point of AD going after the Liars was to force them to find out who killed Cece. So why waste all that effort when AD could have figured it out for themselves? And Mona is literally insane, compared to the others. So it wasn’t difficult to pick her as the killer.

The AR result to the board game’s puzzle being completed was so unnecessary. Like the secret spaceship hologram room, how did the dozens, if not hundreds, of people working on PLL allow that to make it onto the screen?

Why did the episode end with AD (not yet identified) driving off into the sunrise? Don’t they still have to get revenge on Mona for killing Cece?

Why would Mary give Alison half share of the Lost Woods?

Oh, and what the fuck was with the Liars deciding, after all this, that leaving Doctor Dude’s body in the ground would be better than digging it up? Do they think AD didn’t have some kind of contingency for that? What the actual fuck, bitches?

 

But it’s not all bad:

Roma shows those bitches how it’s done, though, by turning up seconds later with a goddamn excavator. Someone has to give a shit about getting to the truth around here.

It’s disappointing that Roma, after being so tenacious last episode, is content to simply let the Liars walk away now that Mary’s confessed, despite telling them that she thinks it’s all bullshit. Do something, then. Fuck. But I appreciate her honesty.

I also appreciate that PLL has given us a concrete answer on Cece’s death. And despite the blandness of the presentation, it makes sense that Cece, of course, was not a healed woman. And that Mona figured out her shit.

Hanna may be slack in taking responsibility for Mona’s mental breakdown, but she is generous enough to refuse the others’ suggestions to turn her in.

Hanna gets the best line of the episode with some textbook Hanna sanity during early discussions about how Mona simply must be AD because she has the board game: “Maybe Mona’s not AD.” A-doiiiiii.

Is it wrong that I was into the scene of Spencer and Caleb being adults about their past sex? Hey, if Toby is AD, then Spencer’s still in with a chance. Watch yourself, Hanna.

Speaking of the AD mystery, Toby’s absence is not only suspicious in and of itself, but the characters make specific mention about how he isn’t with them. I don’t know why Toby would be at all invested in discovering Cece’s murderer. But PLL has gone so far as to pull the Evil Twin Card, the Trans Card, and the Mission Impossible Face Mask Card, so anything’s possible.

If not Toby, then maybe Jason? Because he’s related to Cece (right? I forget whose parents are whose at this point)?

I’m loving how superfluous Alison and Emily have become. Their only contribution to the episode is to get gassed to sleep so AD can re-plant the board game back in their house.

Oh, and if Cece was going to obligatorily cameo, I suppose a flashback is better than some kind of fantasy sequence or nightmare.

PLL Farewell, My Lovely Cece flashback bell tower

You never know when an exposed piece of metal will strike.

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About ijusthateeverything

Sincerity is death.

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