Pretty Little Liars: The DArkest Knight – Midseason Finale Wow (Review)

ASHLEY BENSON, SHAY MITCHELL, LUCY HALE, SASHA PIETERSE, TROIAN BELLISARIO

Wow. Pretty Little Liars pulled out all the stops for their midseason finale. “The DArkest Knight” has more reveals than Marilyn Monroe’s skirt blowing up in The Seven Year Itch. It also has a number of shocking moments and at least one gruesome, if not totally believable, death.

(Note to Dead of Summer, the decapitated head in Pretty Little Liars looked, BOSS. Look and learn chaps.)

Some things in last night’s episode were merely a follow on from previous events.  For example, one huge downer for Aria is the news that “dead” Nicole is alive. (Of course she is, Liars has prior for bringing characters back from the dead.)  Ezra looks ecstatically happy,  but now, like the old song says, he is going to be Torn Between Two Lovers.

Oh dear.

Revelations:

The amount of shocking, or disturbing, revelations were many.  Ali is pregnant with her psychotic former, and dead,  hubby’s baby.  Noel is not Mary Drake’s second “out of wedlock” child.  Apparently that second baby was (drumroll please) Spencer.

Cue jaw-drop.

Of course Mary could be wrong or delusional.  Either way it was a real “what the fudge” moment.

Other reveals were equally surprising.  Jenna and Noel were working seperately from A.D. (although why Drake was hanging out at the former school for the blind has yet to be explained).

Jenna being kidnapped by A.D. was a brilliant touch. More of the old latex masks and a hooded figure driving the van away gave things an added fillip.

Meow:

Paige and Alison really do not like one another. However, it seems that Emily’s old girlfriend may be right about Ali. That kiss on the couch signals the sort of controlling behavior that Paige accused DiLaurentis of.  All of a sudden, Alison is interested in Em just as her former lover turns up? More than a little suspect.

What the Fudge:

Noel deserved to die for being such a crappy partner in crime to Jenna.  A little help would have made her, “Now you can see what I can” moment really effective.  As it was, when Jenna turned out the lights, the Liars could see well enough to move out of the way of a black bowling ball. Later, they all step gingerly around the decapitated body of Noel.

And for the record…A bowling ball?

The death of Noel was a case of poetic justice but…

What are the odds of the axe falling with on one bladed edge up and Noel falling hard enough to cut off his own head? Logic fail on this one. (Although to be fair it was pretty darn cool.)

Shocking Moments Times Two:

Toby and Yvonne slumped in the cab of the mini truck that has crashed into a tree. Are they dead? Probably not as A.D. (who clearly had something to do with this) does not want Spencer’s ex to leave. The more the merrier.

Mary Drake cooing to a wounded Spencer that she would never hurt her own daughter.  Once again, Drake may not be completely compos mentis, she did after all, aid Archer in his torturous treatment of Alison.

Ain’t Love Grand:

Hannah and Caleb share a special moment. So too do Marco and Spencer. Not wanting to be left out, Alison and Emily also “connect” or at least it looks like they do.

In Pretty Little Liars no amount of tension or fear will stand in the way of a little “lovin'”

Although in Ezra’s case love may be a grand pain in the backside. While it is nice that Nicole was not killed in that jungle, Aria is screwed…and not in a good way.

Final Thoughts:

Jenna being kidnapped was a case of irony in the extreme. Clearly she and Noel were attempting to exact revenge over and above what A.D. wanted. As The Joker says in Batman, “Never rub another man’s rhubarb.”

It was odd that the blind woman would choose a handgun to dispense her version of justice.  It could be argued that her sense of enhanced hearing would enable her to get close when shooting at the Liars but… The gang were making enough noise that Jenna should have heard them repeatedly before finally pulling that trigger.

Regardless of the few bits that irked, Pretty Little Liars  really upped the stakes.  This double cliffhanger, (Triple?) has given fans enough fuel for thought that the long wait for the next installment will be filled with more than a little angst.

This was an impressive midseason finale.  Rock on 2017 and the next chapter in the lives of the Pretty Little Liars.

Cast:

Guest starring  Brant Daugherty as Noel Kahn

Pretty Little Liars: The Wrath of Kahn – Marco…Polo (Review)

 NICHOLAS GONZALEZ

So Noel Kahn is A.D. (the flash drive footage confirms that he plays a major role in things if he is not) and Nicole was not one of the hostages.  Those are the two big reveals in Pretty Little Liars “The Wrath of Kahn.” Hanna goes on the offensive, although not successfully at first, and Emily’s ex, Paige (Lindsey Shaw) is acting suspiciously like a stalker. 

Aria, who has been forced to team up with Jason DiLaurentis  (Drew Van Acker), keeps having flashbacks to when they were an item. She and Jason find out that the man who did the adoption paperwork for Mary Drake’s second child was Judge Kahn. Doing the math, she works out that the Judge adopted Noel. 

While Hanna is attempting her own black ops attack on Kahn, the rest of the Liars are gathering information on Noah. A flash drive is discovered that shows an unconscious Spencer. Noah come out and pours blood on her and the floor. It is clear that Kahn has something to do with everything bad that has happened to the girls.

Kahn throws away Sara’s phone and Hanna retrieves it. She arranges a meet with Noah telling him she has the cell with his prints on it. She drugs his beer but Kahn refuses to drink.  He grabs the phone from Hannah and leaves.

Emily keeps putting distance between what she and the other Liars are doing and Sabrina (Lulu Brud).  

Rosewood  is hit withs a huge thunderstorm and Spencer gets a call about her mother’s car alarm going off. She goes to the house to retrieve the keys and turn the alarm off.  Seconds after she arrives the power goes off.

TROIAN BELLISARIO

Spencer watches the footage on the flash drive again and calls Marco to come over.  Aria is having second thoughts about where she stands with Ezra.

Scant seconds  before Marco arrives, a tree branch crashes though a kitchen window. Spencer notices that the outside kitchen door is open and she sees a shadowy figure move through the house. She grabs a knife just as Marco arrives.

He got to search the house and Spencer notices that the drive is gone. He returns saying that he could not find anyone.  Marco goes on to tell Spencer that Archer is not in France.

Marco still appears to  be very interested in Spencer. Although the timing of his arrival and the missing flash drive looks an awful lot like a Wes Craven Scream tactic.  Was that Marco in the house and if so did he take the drive?

He could be working with Noel or he could be working for Kahn’s father, the judge.  Either way, Kahn will have a chance to give his side of the sort as Hanna punched his ticket with a steel bar.

Next step: Rope, a chair and a camera. Go Hanna!

Next week is the mid season finale and it should be pretty interesting.  Will Kahn crack under questioning? If he does what will he reveal?

It is interesting to note that the dead Archer is leaving a trial a blindman could follow so there must be an accomplice.  Kahn is in Rosewood, so it cannot be him. Mary Drake is missing however as is  Jenna Marshall (Tammin Sursok), could it be either of these two or someone else.

Someone like the new detective in town… Who could be playing his own game of “Marco Polo” with Spencer. 

Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays on Freeform.

Cast:

Guest starring  Brant Daugherty as Noel Kahn

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: Hit and Run, Run, Run – Goodfellas (Review)

 KEEGAN ALLEN, TROIAN BELLISARIO

At the start of “Hit and Run, Run, Run,” we are treated to the Pretty Little Liars reenacting a scene from Goodfellas, shown as the teaser for episode one of season seven.  After killing Elliot Rollins the Liars are now digging a shallow grave in the woods. Although unlike the characters in the 1990 Scorsese film, who are enjoying their dark work far too much, the Liars are squabbling, bickering and yelling at one another loud enough to awaken Elliot from his enforced slumber.

*Elephant in the scene; part 2. Where the heck did all those shovels come from? Although the question becomes less pressing when Ali come up to the grave later and only Hanna is putting tiny shovelfuls  of dirt over Elliot.*

Elliot is not disturbed enough to came crawling out of his new grave, but Alison can hear them arguing about getting her back into the hospital.  She walks up to Elliot’s final resting place and drops to her knees. Reaching unto the freshly shoveled dirt, Ali pulls up his key card.

Driving away from the murder scene the  only Liar not taking is Alison. The rest of the group are still freaking out, making plans and  arguing.  Toby pulls an all-nighter looking up Rollins and later Hannah finds a sliver of glass in her hair.

(We will not say anything about the lack of windshield glass in last week’s episode but  now we know where it all went, in Hanna’s hair.)

Spencer is cleaning the mud and dirt tracked in from the woods and as Hanna offers to help,  Caleb tries to open the door and fix things with Spencer. He holds a tearful conversation walking down memory lane and Spencer cries as well. Finally Caleb leaves.

Aria and Ali make it back into the psychiatric hospital.  Alison goes missing immediately. Spencer and Emily go over the details of hiding  Elliot’s death and discuss the Caleb problem.

Back at Welby, Aria finds Alison who has problems with going back. After a pep talk and a promise that Ali will not get hurt she finally   agrees to go back. Alison is uncomfortable being strapped to the bed and after Aria reassures her that they will come back, Ali has the mask put back on as well.

Before Aria leaves, they talk about Charlotte and Ali reveals what really happened in the church. She did not kill Charlotte and heard a noise in the building before she left.

Hanna and Aria head back to find the murder weapon; the car, and it has been moved. Cue two liars arguing and having simultaneous meltdowns. Meanwhile back at the bar, Marco and Spencer almost have wild sex in the elevator.  Drunk  Spencer may be, but she manages to stop herself before it is too late.

Back at the woods Hanna is yelling about Keebler Elves and Aria says that they just hid the car too well.

After  Aria and Hanna give up looking, the car appears with a new windshield and Mona (Janel Parrishis driving it. She later explains that their plan to torch the car was a bad one. She has had the windshield replaced at “a place that won’t ask questions and doesn’t give answers.”

Mona also asks about Rollins’ burner phone.  “What burner phone,” asks Hanna.

Emily tells a drunken Spencer off for messing up when they needed her most. Spencer explains that this has put her right back at the beginning and apologizes.  Later at the club the Liars and Mona talk burner phones.

Aria worries about the security cameras recording their conversation. Mona talks about pinging the phone and as the conversation pauses, they hear the tapping of a cane.  The source of the tapping is a blast from the past in the form of Jenna Marshall (Tammin Sursok). 

Aria gets the line of the episode after Jenna leaves:

“So the day after we run someone over she comes tapping through town.”

Toby meets Jenna outside the precinct and asks what she is there for. She claims that making amends is on her mind. Mona cannot ping the burner phone.  Hanna and Mona share a moment  and Mona notices that Hanna’s engagement ring is fake.  Hanna reveals that she and Jordan have broken up and she has not told anyone.

Suddenly Hanna notices that her bracelet is missing and that it must be in Rollins’ car. Aria and Emily go to see Ali and find Toby and more of the Rosewood PD at the hospital. Spencer finds that Caleb has collected his things and moved out.

Ali has had the restraints removed and Mary Drake tells her that she is in charge now. Toby tells Spencer, Emily and Aria that Elliot Rollins was a fraud. The real Rollins died of a stroke. The police think the dead man has gone into hiding.

Spencer gets the second best line of the episode:

“If Rollins isn’t Rollins then who the hell did we kill?”

Mona and Hanna break into Elliot’s car and find the bracelet and the burner phone after it starts ringing. The caller says “hello Archer,” and follows up by saying “it’s Jenna Marshall.”

Things have picked up nicely. Not only has Hanna’s secret, about Jordan, almost been revealed but it seems that Mona may also have a few “Goodfellas” connections as well. Mary Drake is becoming even more of an enigma. Did she remove the straps to keep Rollins in the clear or is she not a villain after all.

We have, at least, learned that Elliot Rollins is, in fact, someone named Archer.  Soon the Liars will have a new bit of information and can begin more Nancy Drew investigations.

Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays on Freeform. Tune in and catch all of the final season.

Cast: