Pretty Little Liars season 5 episode 5 review: Miss Me X 100

Review Caroline Preece 9 Jul 2014 - 15:25

Pretty Little Liars reaches its hundredth episode, but has it lost the plot along the way? Here's Caroline's review...

This review contains spoilers.

5.5 Miss Me X 100

When a show reaches 100 episodes, it’s hard not to get nostalgic and look back at the episodes that led here, the state of characters and relationships now rather than five seasons ago and where, potentially, the series can go from here. The hundredth episode of Pretty Little Liars makes a lot of that hard to do, basically because we know there are still 70-odd episodes to come, but also because it’s meandered so much that it’s almost impossible to recognise what it is anymore.

Is it about the ubiquitous monsters under the beds of young women, as Spencer and Alison mused last week, or about the rise of cyber bullying in American high schools? Is it a camp soap opera focused on the ever-evolving relationships of these five girls or does it have something much more important to say? At one point or another, I would have said all of these summations were true, but now? The last two seasons have made more mistakes than any show should feasibly survive, and I guess a landmark episode like this was always going to return us to the status quo.

It’s a status quo I’m pretty bored with, as the only satisfying answer we’ve really gotten since the pilot is that Mona was orchestrating the early A antics. Bringing Mona back to the forefront (which, granted, she might be under that hoodie) was a masterstroke, especially with Alison coming back to school and the return of Lucas, and having yet another omnipotent villain for the girls to fight just doesn’t make much sense any more. Yes, this one doesn’t play with dolls or body parts – they play with explosives – but isn’t the collective force of Mona’s army of losers a more interesting threat for a ‘reformed’ Alison to face?

As an episode of Pretty Little Liars, there was obviously a lot for the shippers to enjoy. The return of Caleb didn’t really bring much except dodgy facial hair and vague allusions to Ravenswood, and Spoby is still alive and well, so it was the turn of Emison and (shudder) Ezria. The Emily/Alison pairing is no more or less interesting to me than any of her previous relationships, but the potential for Emily to side with her new girlfriend over the other Liars might finally give us a reason for Emily to exist. It’ll also push Paige towards Mona, which is what we all want, don’t we?

I could talk about how much the continuation of Ezria bothers me until I’m blue in the face, but something about that ‘Every Breath You Take’ soundtrack on that sex scene made me think that maybe – just maybe – someone behind the scenes agrees with me on the sly. Norman Buckley directed the episode, after all, and he’s always been the one to speak up against unhealthy relationships on the show. It’s glamorising stalking, statutory rape and many other icky and horrible things, but I’m glad to see there’s still subtext there for those who want to see it. Still, ewww.

Mystery-wise, this was as low-key as the rest of the fifth season has been, preferring to focus on Alison’s state of mind and the effect her return has had on each of her friends and enemies. We did see the return of Jenna, who appears to be genuinely upset about Shana’s death, and the revelation that Sydney is a black hat. It’s nice to have Jenna back, since Shana was just a stand-in for her while Tammin Sursok was on maternity leave, and I guess she’s now back on the A candidates list along with everyone else who wasn’t in that house (except Ezra – I’m sure Ezra is somehow behind all wrongdoing).

So A is back, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we get another 100 episodes to ponder who is after the girls this time around. Maybe we’ll find out it has nothing to do with Alison, and everything to do with Bethany Young. Of course, the identity of the girl in Alison’s grave brings us right back to Radley, where the only remaining plausible candidate for arch-villain – Wren – has resided all along. But then, plausibility has never been PLL’s strong-suit, so maybe I should just quit guessing and just go along for the ride.

Read Caroline's review of the previous episode, Thrown From The Ride, here.

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