Pretty Little Liars: Original G’A’ngsters – Boom (Review)

LUCY HALE

Pretty Little Liars “G’A’ngsters” waited till the very end to have the FBI knock on Ezra’s door and…Boom:  “We have reason to believe that Nicole is still alive.”  That will wipe that smile off Aria’s face.  Of course that call from Nicole’s phone, the one that Emily told Aria to ignore, was a real hint that this was a dead body that refused to stay buried. (Like many of the “dead” bodies in Liars.)

Sara’s body is taken out of the hotel while the Liars are in the club eating. Soon after the group all watch as Jenna cries for the police.  The Liars are not impressed by her award winning performance and say so. Aria’s expression when Jenna “looks” at them is priceless.

This episode managed to make the blind Jenna look downright menacing at least twice. In the above mentioned scene and then right after when Spencer sees Jenna move toward her. Never have black sunglasses and a white can been so threatening.

Jason reappears to take over duties as Ali’s caregiver he shows the papers to Mary and then orders out of “his” house. He and his sister argue about Ms. Drake and he enlists Aria to help him put some distance between Alison and Mary.

Ezra talks Aria into eloping and Emily takes her mother (Nia Peebles)  out for a birthday meal that actually puts a smile back on Pam’s face. (Sidenote: More Nia Peebles please.) Initially the meal is strained when a “hen’s party” enters the restaurant.

Later, the rowdy group send drinks to Emily and Pam. Em’s mother joins the women and has a blast. But the end of the birthday evening new friends are made and Pam has a new lease on life.

Hanna tells Caleb about the laptop which may have information on it that could lead to A.D.  and he promises to help her retrieve it.

Cue a funny scene where Caleb gives Jenna a massage, courtesy of the hotel, natch. He grabs her lockbox key for Hanna. “You know you could turn the lights on. She’d never notice,” says Hanna.

She and Spenser go and find the lockbox (no laptop) and Noah Kahn comes in. He puts something in the box as they hide under the bed. Noah makes a call to Dr. Cochrane and leaves a message. He then knocks over a table.

(Kudos to the set design folks for finding a bed tall enough for both Liars to fit under. Most hotel rooms have those “flush to the floor” beds…)

Spencer visits Yvonne (Kara Royster) as she checks out of the hospital and Toby reveals that the only thing missing from the airstream was the stolen file. She urges him to take Yvonne and get out of Rosewood. 

Jason lays his cards on the table, with a little help from Aria.  Mary reveals that she was there when Jessica turned Jason away before.

Toby tells Spencer that he might have started building the house for her, but  he really loves Yvonne. He plans to move to Maine, where Yvonne’s family lives, and start their family.

This episode had a double whammy. On top of Ezra’s “dead” fiancé coming back to life, apparently, things come to a head for the rest of the girls.

The Liars, sans Aria, head to the secret “lair” (as Hanna puts it) in Aunt Carole’s storm cellar. It was Jessica DiLaurentis’ hidey hole. The place has pictures of all the Liars and files for each. Hanna strikes again when she sees an old photo: “Damn, my hair looked good.”

As Alison takes a trip down memory lane, the car alarm goes off. They are rush outside and Spencer finds her keys are missing. A,D. has clearly taken them.  All four get in the car and close the doors to stop the alarm.

The doors lock and a countdown begins from a digital display on the dashboard. As it reaches zero (and all the girls put their hands over their ears) it reads: “If you find out who I am before I find out who killed Charlotte. YOU DIE. -A.D.”

Jessica’s secret lair explodes into flames and A.D.  writes on the back of the car window, “I see you.”  A mysterious figure takes Noel’s file and sets fire to it in a room full of boxes and a desk.

Pretty Little Liars managed to pile on the pressure this week. The storyline lowered the boom on all the Liars. It will be interesting to see how Ezra reacts to the news that Nicole may be alive. If he ever learns that Aria got that call it seems pretty certain that the elopement to Tuscany will be off.

There was a good blend of comedy and tension in this episode.  On a sidenote, Mary has dropped her all black ensemble.

The series airs Tuesdays on Freeform.  Tune in and see what the Liars get up to next.

Cast:

Guest starring Dre Davis as Sara, Tammin Sursok as Jenna,  Brant Daugherty as Noah Kahn and Drew Van Acker as Jason.

Pretty Little Liars: Wanted: Dead or Alive – So Long Sara (Review)

ASHLEY BENSON

Perhaps the least “believable” episodes of the series, “Wanted: Dead or Alive” tries to make us believe that the liars  think Elliot is alive, well and able to kick Alison’s arse.  The disguised policeman in Ali’s room showed no signs of being injured yet she asks, “Elliott?” This just before the cop smashes her head into the mirror. Pretty Little Liars manages to  throw caution and logic to the winds. It also looks like a case of “So long Sara…”

Before addressing the possible exit of Sara,  let us look at how long it took anyone to dig Rollins’ grave up to see if that nasty bit of work was still there.  Literally Spencer and Hanna wait until the last few minutes of the episode to stumble through the woods and start shoveling.

Once they do, under surveillance of someone using night vision,  the face of Rollins is seen and the two agree he is still there.  But is he really. With all the latex masks making appearances in this season, they should have pulled on the bloke’s face to see if it came off.

Alison got a big handful of mask when she grabbed at her attacker’s face (although when seen in the long shot, the mask looked undamaged). So A.D. is still using “Mission Impossible” tactics to terrorize the Liars.

Another big question has to do with Sara.  (It was nice to notice that she had her “ninja black” outfit on with matching beanie.) What was she up to and where was Jenna?  Where was she off to in such a hurry?

It was quite shocking to see Sara laying lifeless in the hotel room tub but is she really dead? So many characters have returned and done a “walking dead” (as Spencer put it) that it will be surprising if Sara does not return.

Alison being set up by “Rollins” to bring the cop into her house was pretty well done. So too was the “cop” adjusting his mask a’la Scooby-Doo. (A bit more subtly done than the 2002 film but all the creepier because of it.)  A nice touch was the “Honey I’m Home” message  in red lippy.

The Liars are now back together after the  red coat fallout.  Aria tells Ezra all her secrets and he asks her to marry him again. This time she says yes. Cause for celebration may be in order but there is still the issue of that phone call.

Mary Drake believes (she says) that Rollins is after her. She also reveals that she had no idea  Charlotte was her baby. (Congratulations on the world’s nastiest looking C-section scar.  Cece, aka Charlotte was wrenched out of his mother over twenty years ago, that huge black line was the worst scar ever. We hope that Mary sued the surgeon who did that.)

It is patently obvious that Noah Kahn (Brant Daugherty) is the guy under the mask.  Which makes it  look like Pretty Little Liars is running out of substitute boogey men.  Although it does look like Marco could be involved somehow. He is, after all, asking a lot of questions.  Except the  detective seems to think Rollins is really dead and not hiding at all.

Back to Sara.  The girl was clearly up to no good. Dressed all in black and rushing to leave made Ms. Harvey look very guilty of something.  Regardless of what she was really doing, Sara has been taken out of action.  Left languishing in a tub with blood oozing from her head, Harvey has been, it seems, terminated with extreme prejudice.

Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays on Freeform. Tune in and see if Sara is really dead.

Cast:

Guest starring Dre Davis as Sara, Tammin Sursok as Jenna and Nicholas Gonzalez as Det. Marco Fury.

Pretty Little Liars: Along Comes Mary – Morticia Adams (Review)

 ANDREA PARKER

Pretty Little Liars this week sees Mary Drake, in “Along Came Mary” as a dour version of Morticia Adams (The Addams Family). She must be, at the very least, the ethereal twin to the morbid yet sexy Morticia. The main differences being that she has more color to her face and her black ensemble is all shirt and trousers versus a long and clingy dress. (She also has a look on her face like a smacked arse…)

Last week saw the Liars hiding their inadvertent murder of Henry Rollins (who was not Henry Rollins at all) and Alison being smuggled back into Welby.  It also saw Spencer almost have hot and heavy sex in an elevator with a chap called Marco. She learns in this episode that he is Toby’s new boss and heading  up the Rollins investigation.

Whoops.

A Gathering:

Apart from Mary Drake, there are a number of old enemies gathering in the area. Sara Harvey (Dre Davis) and blind Jenna Marshall (Tammin Sursok) have even, apparently, joined forces.  At the tail end of the episode, Noel Kahn (Brant Daugherty) joins the two women for a drink and it looks like the Liars may have some trouble ahead. 

Jenna already has a tie to the dead Henry as does Mary Drake. All that remains to be seen is whether Sara had connections to Rollins (or Archer Dunhill)  and Kahn have connections to the dead man as well.

Random Thoughts and Questions: 

Why did gloomy Mary rip Rollins’ picture in half?

Was Henry’s motive theft all along?

Alison is very snippy now she is out of Welby and Rollins is dead. Granted she has been cleaned out and is stuck with morbid Mary but snapping at the other Liars who have done so much is pretty off.

Nancy Drew fail.  Emily and Aria both go to Archer’s apartment and look for evidence. Finding some, passports and so on, they proceed to get their fingerprints all over the stuff. Toby arrives and gives them five minutes to depart before a forensics team arrives.

Burner apartment. What a meta millennial phrase. Like burner phone but bigger, and in this instance, messier.

The Plot:

So Alison is allowed out of Welby now that Rollins has disappeared but she is in the care of Mary Drake.  The DiLaurentis coffers have been drained dry and Alison is one very  unhappy Liar.  Drake works hard to distance herself from “Henry” and things are not very harmonious in Casa Alison.

Ezra proposes to Aria. But… He gives her a heartfelt speech about lying and telling the truth.  Aria has more than a few secrets that Ezra is not privy to and there is the whole “Nicole” phone call.  Taking advice from Emily, Aria deletes the call.  Not a real great idea as this is Pretty Little Liars, and the late love of Ezra’s life could show up alive and well.

Emily is dating Sabrina (Lulu Brud) and misses her exam. A.D however takes it for her, apparently, and the police finally find Rollins’ car. Later the Liars learn that their “trail” set up for the dead man has been extended…by someone else.

Alison is going through her anger phase and she tells Emily and Aria that trusting Drake is not an option although she believes that Mary did split from Rollins when things got “murder-y.”

Spencer calls Hanna about Caleb and as the two talk Jenna show up. Spencer suggests Hanna follow her.  Hanna’s response gets the “line of the episode award.”

“Me acting normal doesn’t include tiptoeing around behind a girl with a big white cane.”

(Alison gets the “close-second” award with: “She’s just gonna keep acting like a demented den-mother if you’re here.”)

Jenna shows up at the DiLaurentis home and is surprised that Alison is out of hospital, she says, and Jenna  explains she  was looking for Henry.  As the blind girl leaves, Ali shouts at her  to tell Archer to go to Hell, “Maybe he is already there,” Jenna replies.

Alison meets Detective Marco Fury (Nicholas Gonzalez) and he offers help in getting her money back. He also mentions that the police believe it was about the money.  He also reveals that the faux trail set up by the Liars continues to Baltimore and beyond. Alison is unsettled by this information. 

SASHA PIETERSE
Alison (Sasha Pieterse)

Speaking of unsettled, Alison finds the jacket that Emily sent to the police the she thought her friend killed Charlotte. A note on the back is “signed” by A.D.

The episode ends on that proposal and after the scene fades to black, Kahn arrives for drinks with the terrible duo of Sara and Jenna;  making it a threesome.

Pretty Little Liars may be falling a bit in the popularity stakes but so far the last season has been, at the very least, interesting.  There were a not a lot of high-points in this episode but Spencer bumping into Marco counted as one.   Aria’s speedy hustle away from the head and her sudden jump up from the bed counted as two more.

The series airs Tuesdays on Freeform.  Tune in and see how Aria answered that proposal question and to see who is using Rollins’ credit card. Could it be Mona? She has helped the Liars recently.

Cast:

Pretty Little Liars: The Talented Mr Rollins – Dead in the Headlights (Review)

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS

Before going any further on a breakdown of Pretty Little Liars and “The Talented Mr. Rollins,” let us address the elephant in the episode; the “death of Rollins.”  After being caught dead to rights in the headlights of the PLL Nancy Drew club’s car, the uber villain has his face shoved through the windshield.  A great shot, Elliot’s head and face surrounded a space caused by broken glass and not a shard on any PLL or in the car.

What?

As the camera records the Liars and their reaction to the horror facing them (Sorry for the terrible pun.) there are a few scratched faces and not one little piece of windshield anywhere. (Another quick complaint here.  Why no airbags?  Was the collision with the faux Rollins not enough to register? Or was it more dramatic with Hanna getting a boo-boo on her face?)

“The Talented Mr. Rollins”  finished on a massively impressive note. Elliot’s lifeless face drooling blood from its open mouth framed by broken a windshield was priceless on a number of levels. A case of poetic justice combined with a sort of bitter irony since Toby only just discovered that the real Rollins is a 58 year old man. In other words the dead guy in the Liars’ windshield is not who he claimed to be.

Despite the lack of broken glass this was an enormously satisfying end to the episode.  It punished Elliot for being a cruel and sadistic douche and combined the hapless groups normal mode of operation. The PLL club runs headlong  into all of their investigations leaving  dangling threads,  incorrect conclusions and friends along the wayside.

(Another word of complaint: How is it that every time someone goes into Ali’s old house Elliot turns up soon after. Is this a case of supremely bad timing on the Liars’ part or does Rollins have E.S.P.? Of course now he is dead Elliot will not be turing up to  foil any further plans of evidence gathering…)

The Amish connection was an excellent touch. Another case of pure irony had Elliot and Charlotte heading to the community. Considering that the uber religious sect have some pretty strict views on life, the fact that former fella  Charlotte and Elliot were canoodling on the farm would have caused the farmers to have a fit.

Mary is conspicuously absent in this episode.

A lot detecting was done by the Liars.  Aria finding what was in that locked ottoman at the end of the bed and Spencer putting two and two together to find that Elliot was making latex masks all pointed to Elliot being the new Uber A.

Leaving the main plot aside for a moment, romantically the pretty little liars got back on track. Emily sorts things out with her crush, Spencer clears the air with Caleb and Aria sent Liam packing.  Plus Toby gets engaged to Yvonne.

“The Talented Mr. Rollins” also brings back the doll theme when Aria and Hanna talk with the Amish girl who knew Charlotte. Ali’s sister gave the farmer’s daughter dolls that were dressed as the Liars.  Also at the Amish farm, Aria learns about Hanna’s introduction to the cattle prod when she was held captive.

Elliot discovers that someone has been in his trunk and reacts accordingly. He takes Ali from Welby and makes a run to the lake.  The good doctor forgets the first rule of taking drugs long term, patients build up a tolerance.  Ali recovers in the car and bashes Rollins’ head against the window. She then leaps from the vehicle.

The Pretty Little Liars are following, although they took a short cut to head off the car ahead. Ali runs past the headlights and immediately after, Elliot runs in front of the speeding vehicle.  He is struck by the front of the car and has his head shoved through the windshield.

TROIAN BELLISARIO
Troian Bellisario as Spencer

Earlier in the episode Spencer tells Emily that they are trapped in Rosewood until Ali’s issues are resolved. With the death of Elliot Rollins the Liars may be stuck in the small town for a lot longer.

Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays on Freeform.  Tune in and see how this last season pans out.  The remaining episodes should reveal much. For example, who Elliot really was and exactly how  Mary fits in?

Cast:

Pretty Little Liars: Bedlam – All Roads Lead to Radley…Again (Review)

ANDREA PARKER, SHAY MITCHELL, GWEN HOLLOWAY

You have to  love all the Pretty Little Liars with their tendency to point fingers at nearly everyone as suspect when things go pear shaped (wrong).  Last week saw A.D. texting out testily to the Liars and “Beldam” sees all roads leading to Radley, again.  In season six it seemed everyone who went to school with the Liars spent time the the town’s asylum. Now it appears that it may be a prerequisite for most,  if not all, of  Rosewood’s denizens to have spent time there.

Back to Emily:  In the previous episode she jumped to the conclusion that Ali killed Charlotte based on her friend’s delirious call to the Almighty after she questioned her. Now she thinks she could be wrong. Especially after getting the “midnight” phone call from Alison begging her for help.

Rollins, the secret Brit, who must be A.D. (if he is not he certainly seems to have a vested interest in torturing his wife Ali for no apparent reason,) changes the visiting rules. Only family are allowed in to see DiLaurentis, although that is not a firm and fast rule as he throws “Aunty” Mary Drake (aka Jessica DiLaurentis) out with Emily.

Drake has angry words with Rollins afterward and Em watches with interest through the glazed opaque glass wall.  Even the silhouettes look angry so it is easy to tell that someone is having a falling out.

Aria and Ezra’s book effort hits a stumbling block when Liam (who volunteered to help on their co-authored book) lets his green-eyed monster out of the bag. He pretty much accuses Ezra, Aria’s former English teacher,  of being Humbert Humbert from “Lolita.” Liam also demands that chapters be re-written so the rest of the world will not see a “Lolita” connection. Ezra is not pleased and sees through Liam’s anger dressed as constructive criticism.

Hanna, who has returned from captivity with the help of Mary Drake, has flashbacks of  meeting cute with her ex fiancé Jordan.  Hanna also has another  memory; her  breakup. with Jordan. She remembers what happened  when she  discovers that the bar where they met has been torn down. Poor Hanna reacts badly.

Spencer’s mother fires her for being unfocussed and spending too much time on her friends.  Mary Drake is working her way through the Liars, meeting them individually and, apparently, trying to befriend them all.

Jessica DiLaurentis’ twin sister trots out her own sad backstory, which manages to pin the death of an infant on her dead sibling, that ends with Mary in Radley. Lucas, Hanna’s savior with a multi-million dollar deal looks as trustworthy as a snake with a switchblade. He also looks a bit off…

Pretty Little Liars ends with Ali being drugged via her intravenous drip and having her gurney moved out of her solitary confinement space and down the hall.  As Alison looks on fearfully the double doors at the end of the hallway open to reveal a bright white light.

Season seven of the series has allowed the girls to grow up. It is, after all, five years (plus) later.  This has been a mixed blessing as the characters can now dress like grown women but still suffer from a “high school” mentality when it comes to their impression of the Scooby Gang.

In term of performances, all bring much to the table. They have had six seasons to really learn their characters and it shows.  Sadly, this last trip to Rosewood may be a little contrived (As if the first six seasons were not?).  It will, however,  be interesting to see who made those Mission Impossible type masks and  learn just who Rollins really is.

Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays on Freeform.

Cast: