Pretty Little Liars season 4 episode 1 review: A Is For A-L-I-V-E

Caroline visits Rosewood for more mystery and revelations in the Pretty Little Liars' season 4 premiere...

This review contains spoilers.

4.1 A Is For A-L-I-V-E

Welcome to our first foray into the indecipherable world of Pretty Little Liars, ABC Family’s long-running murder mystery/teen drama that has made mincemeat of every other show of its type (expect maybe The Vampire Diaries) over the last three years. I apologise if you’re reading this and aren’t completely caught up with the show, as I think it’s best to just jump right in to this fourth season premiere.

So there is a dead body in the trunk of Wilden’s car, but it isn’t anyone we know. The producers’ tease that the thing the Liars saw at the end of last season was worse than everything they’ve ever seen, ever, once again proved a little bit untrue, and it’s actually just a dead pig. Creepy, sure, but not the worst thing these girls have been subjected to over the years. The more interesting thing to come out of this opener is the presence of Mona, and her willingness to help her former enemies out by cleaning up the mess.

Ad – content continues below

But Aria, Hannah, Spencer and Emily aren’t complete idiots, and aren’t immediately on board with Mona’s latest change of allegiance. We were promised answers, and Mona provides them. Ready? Here’s what we found out:

–          Mona had nothing to do with the car or the pig, though she did plant it in Hannah’s garage last season.-          Shauna and Jenna knew each other before she moved to Rosewood, and they’re both afraid of Melissa.-          Cece visited Mona in Radley and she thought it was Alison at the time.-          Lucas (remember him?) was the one who gave Emily a massage back in season two.-          Toby was recruited by Mona when he got the job in Bucks County.-          Mona wasn’t the one who pushed Ian off the bell tower way back in the first mid-season finale, and she doesn’t know who it was.

These snippets of information don’t provide us with anything mind-blowing, but it’s nice to know that the writers are already making good on their promise to answer some questions this year. It still doesn’t win Mona any real trust with the Liars but, as Hannah says, it’s best to keep her close than to drive her away. They trade their allegiance for everything she has on them, and she leads them to a trailer full of her secrets and stalker apparatus. Inside, they discover the identity of the Queen(s) of Hearts on the Halloween train – Wilden and, according to Mona, Melissa.

The constant finger-pointing at Melissa is getting a bit tired, since she’s been implicated since the very early days and has never really been proven innocent. It doesn’t help that Torrey Devito is never around, flitting around from The Vampire Diaries to Army Wives and only sporadically popping into Rosewood to say ‘Hi’. Was she the second person behind the mask? It’s more than likely that she’s the one behind everything (the biggest anticlimax of all time), but my guess is that she’ll prove her innocence all over again at some point.

And Wilden won’t be able to confirm what went down on Halloween, as his body is discovered in the street. A claims she has something on the Liars (and Mona) that will frame them for his murder, which turns out to be a video of them covering up the evidence, and they’re back in the same corner they’ve been in since the first episode. The only difference is that now Mona’s right there with them, and she may prove vital to getting one over on their omnipotent enemy. Hannah seems to think so, as she does her best to recapture their friendship in whatever way she can.

Spencer continues to be moronic over the whole Toby issue, as they’re back playing the happy couple after he caused her breakdown last year. I don’t believe for one second that he’s completely out of A’s clutches, or even that he was doing it for Spencer’s own good in the first place, and his lies about the texts do not bode well. We get a Toby/Alison flashback to reveals they might have been better friends that we thought, and A claims to know what happened to his mother. He delivers the trailer to her, so we’ll see how that thread plays out for Toby and, ultimately, Spencer.

Ad – content continues below

Meanwhile, a dream sequence concerning Aria and Ezra paints the relationship in an entirely different, and abusive, light and Aria finally realises that she might be better off without her teacher boyfriend. He accepted the job at Rosewood High so will still be around to torture his student/ex-girlfriend from the front of the class, but at least Aria now wants to see other people. I can’t have been the only one who wished that daydream – their relationship being rumbled by the Principle and Ezra getting arrested – was the real deal, and the show really needs to sort out its moral stand when it comes to this relationship.

And we end with another funeral, Wilden’s, where the girls have to find whatever piece of evidence A has planted in his casket. It turns out to be Hannah’s mother’s phone, and they now know who A’s next target is. Now that Wilden’s out of the picture, however, a new friendlier detective has stepped into his role, swearing he’s there to help them out. He’s either be killed off or revealed to be evil, but it’s still nice to see a new face in Rosewood. Speaking of new faces, A’s new half-burnt Ali mask is certainly creepy, and most likely has something to do with Jenna’s mysterious burnt arm.

Next week, Mona’s still acting dodgy and Toby’s sneaky antics are discovered by a none-too-pleased Spencer. I’ll see you there!

Read why geeks shouldn’t turn up their noses at Pretty Little Liars, here.

Follow our Twitter feed for faster news and bad jokes right here. And be our Facebook chum here.