by Melissa Parkin
On Tuesday, FREEFORM--the new name for ABC Family--launched, with the Winter Premiere for PLL.
Summer’s finale hinted at the impending danger awaiting the Liars upon their return to the town of Rosewood five years after “A”’s reveal. Hanna’s taking the fashion world by storm in New York. Spencer’s political aspirations have taken her to D.C. Aria’s pursuing her artistic passions in Los Angeles, and Emily seems to have lost her way in sunny California. And…that’s about it. For anyone who caught the Thanksgiving special back in November, none of this is news.
And this snooze-fest of exposition isn’t the only pain that will have to be endured. After investing years of interest in the show’s beloved couplings, everything has gone up in smoke upon this winter’s return.
Hanna’s engaged to . . . someone who isn’t Caleb.
Spoby is no more.
Emily didn’t rekindle her relationship with Paige, even though they both wound up on the west coast.
And the forbidden romance between Aria and Ezra is nothing but a distant memory.
Anywho . . . .
After extensive rehabilitation, the courts believe that Charlotte, a.k.a “A,” may be ready to be reintroduced into society. Given how broken her home life has become, Charlotte is the only real family Alison has left. To ensure Charlotte’s best chances to be freed, a hopeful Ali begs her old friends to put in a good word. Time may heal all wounds, but half a decade still isn’t enough for Hanna, Emily, Aria, and Spencer to be overly forgiving. Old habits die hard though as they eventually (and nonsensically) cave into Alison's request by speaking up on Charlotte’s behalf. They tell the courts that they are no longer afraid of “A,” despite the fact that she tried killing them all on more than one occasion.
Everyone flat-out lies…except Aria, who breaks down in front of the judge and confesses to the extent of her PTSD. Despite her heart-wrenching statement and the extensive documentation, the courts still decide to release Charlotte into Alison’s care. Disillusioned by the verdict, the Liars drown their feelings in alcohol.
Lots and lots of alcohol.
When they awaken the next morning, the town’s painted red with a dead body on the grass outside the church; it's Charlotte. Despite the murderous history of Rosewood, everyone simply assumes Alison’s sister committed suicide . . . after just being released.
Yeah, because that makes sense . . . .
The Liars go to the funeral, only to see the illustrious Sarah Harvey in attendance. Upon the service’s dismissal, Alison’s past fling, Officer Lorenzo, informs the girls that they shouldn’t leave town. “Why?” Because Charlotte . . . was murdered!
The decision to time jump was apparently implemented to reinvigorate the series, but if the winter premiere is any indication of this show’s shelf life, then PLL isn’t looking too good.
(editor's note: I absolutely LOVED this episode. Maybe I'll write or record something.)