Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Pretty Little Liars: Did You Miss Me?

by Melissa Parkin

Text message “M” for murder.

Emily confronts Mona after learning she was the one who called Charlotte the night she was killed. Mona confirms the suspicion, saying that she wanted to meet up with their former tormentor. Considering the amount of dirt Charlotte had on each of the girls, Mona wanted assurance that none of her misdeeds would come to light, but she tells Em that Charlotte never showed up at the Two Crows Diner for their get-together. On the other side of town, honeymooning Alison takes an accidental swan dive down a flight of stairs. Sure, she ends up in the hospital with a concussion, but it hardly seems like foul play. After all, distractedly standing at the edge of a second floor landing in towering high heels does leave you rather susceptible to mishaps. But since this is PLL, we’re supposed to believe that this is all the evildoings of “Uber A”…despite a direct close-up shot of Alison’s foot showing us that she blatantly took a misstep.

The Liars find it suspicious that both Ali and Aria are in the hospital now. Their reservations get confirmed when a get-well card arrives in Ali’s room with Emily, Aria, and Ali’s faces all crossed out of a cartoon drawing of the girls. Emily and Spencer go on a stakeout, following Mona around town where they spot her conversing with Sara Harvey’s personal driver. When the two conspirators part ways, Emily taps the back-end of the mystery man’s car while he’s in the hardware store. This gives Spencer an opening to search his belongings as he distractedly checks out the damage. Surprise, surprise. He’s toting around blueprints to Radley along with a room key to the joint, which he later hands off to a seemingly able-bodied Sara Harvey.

Top Cheese Ball Award of the Week goes to Aria and Ezra as the pair works together on their new co-written book. Ezra wishes to rewrite a pivotal scene, where Nicole and he have their last conversation before her death. Aria sits on the couch and reads the rewrite, with Ezra and Nicole reenacting the scene behind her in the cheesiest, most overacted play-styled sequence in recent PLL history. Later in the evening, Aria’s publishing boss, Jillian, arrives in town with an invitation to dinner. The co-authors join her, where Jillian says that she knows that Aria and Liam “used to be an item.” Now, if Aria wishes to talk with the publishing house, she’s to report to Jillian directly, not Liam. But…wait. What? Did we all miss something? Because last we checked, Liam and Aria were still very much together. Did Jillian talk to Liam and force the two to break up? And if so, why? Losing an adorably loyal boyfriend via your evil boss would leave any other girl on Earth distraught, but after all’s said and done, Aria doesn’t seem too broken up over it.

The same cannot be said about a bedridden Alison. The newlywed takes falling down the stairs as a sign that karma’s coming around to bite her in the butt for all the bad things she’s done in the past. All’s well fifteen minutes later after a concussed dream brings the deceased Mrs. DeLaurentis to Ali’s bedside. Her mother assures her that Elliott is a good man that can protect Alison in the ways that she couldn’t. This gives Ali the assurance she needs to return home when her new husband is sent away on business for the next week.

Meanwhile, Hanna and Caleb hatch a plan to catch the evil “Uber A,” whose greatest offense so far appears to be overusing text messaging emojis.

Spencer drops in to break the news to them that Sara Harvey is back at the Radley under a false name when a teary-eyed Hanna suddenly “confesses” to murdering Charlotte.

But not really. After relaying a detailed murder confession, Hanna suddenly goes into her best Resting Bitch Face as poor Spencer gawks in horror. Hanna turns to Caleb and says, “See? She believed it. And if she believed it, even for a minute, they will, too.” Turns out, it was all an act to see if Hanna could sell her story to “Uber A” to make he/she believe they’ve caught the killer. Talk about the cruelest form of “Gotcha.” When Emily gets brought into the mix, neither she nor Spencer are sold on this plan, but Caleb and Hanna tell them that they’re going through with it whether anybody agrees with them or not. We’re then treated to a flashback of Caleb and Spencer when they were in Spain, but it honestly serves no purpose other than to beat us over the head with the fact that the pair has good chemistry.

Hanna, who seems completely clueless as to the wedge she’s put between Spencer and Caleb, shares face time with another Rosewood beau, Lucas. Seriously, between her fiancĂ©, her ex, and this wannabe boyfriend, Hanna’s not just having her cake; she’s eating the entire bakery! Lucas sweeps in to save the day by giving the blonde beauty a million dollar line of credit and an empty factory for Hanna to build her own fashion brand with new designers, no strings attached. For a girl who seemed hell-bent on leaving this torturous small town, Hanna suddenly has a change of heart and wants to stay.

Yeah, because what says getting in touch with your roots better than crime scene tape and a high body count? As far as the Lucas situation goes, Hanna should know by now that nothing in life comes free. Proceed with caution, Ms. Marin.

It’s never an easy thing to rip on a show you enjoy, but honestly, PLL has fallen far from its prior glory. Each scene in this week’s episode is cheesy, melodramatic, unnecessary, downright silly, or worse: all of the above. Non-accidental accidents, an unimpressive villain, ghostly apparitions, and exaggerated story-lines leave us all with one sentiment…


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