This review contains spoilers.
4.2 Turn of the Shoe
After recruiting Mona into their little clique last week, the Liars added a sixth member to their group in Tippy the parrot who, as Hannah explains, might know more than anyone about Alison’s disappearance (that’s right, I’ve stopped calling it a death). She’s proved right when Tippy is stolen back from the girls by A, but there are a few more pressing issues for them to deal with before they have time to worry about their missing bird. Is Mona really trustworthy? What about Toby? And could Ashley Marin have killed Wilden?
Starting with Spencer, she gets a bit of a shock when UPenn reject her application. It’s not surprising that even a type-A, over-achiever like Spencer would struggle to maintain academic excellence while also dealing with murder mysteries and stints in mental hospitals, but she takes it pretty hard all the same. She claims to be the first of her family to not attend the college and Ezra warns her against using the same essay, which details her experiences with A and subsequent breakdown, for other applications. With the knowledge that going to college would make the fifth series of Pretty Little Liars a little difficult, will she even go away next year?
Sadly, the show seems to be doing its best to keep all four Liars in Rosewood for the foreseeable future. Emily’s dreams of attending Stanford with Paige on a swimming scholarship are fading fast, as a shoulder injury she gets while saving Mona from A causes her to nearly overdose on painkillers. Her medicated state during an important swim meet puts her in the hospital and probably ruins her chances of winning the spot over rival Shana, so it seems likely the show will follow the grand old tradition of sending its graduating cast to the bog-standard local college.
This episode was very much about the girls’ individual struggles, only bringing them together at the beginning and end of the hour. After A attacks Mona at the start of the episode, Aria decides that it’s about time she learnt to defend herself, and she enrols in self-defence classes with Holden’s dishy teacher. Because this is a teen drama, her teacher is dishy, and because Aria has a thing for authority figures, the pair develop some sexual chemistry. The show quickly dispenses with any pretence to the contrary, and has Aria kiss her trainer during their very first lesson. I guess she’s moving on from Ezra but, then again, not really.
Hannah, as usual, doesn’t really have any problems with Caleb off packing for Ravenswood, and has to focus on the possibility that her mother is a killer. Hints about Wilden’s death are dropped throughout the episode and, after Hannah finds some muddy heels hidden under the kitchen sink, she learns from Mona that heeled footprints were found in connection to the murder. Ashley furiously denies such allegations, but the fact that she’s acting very suspiciously does more to convince me of her innocence. This show doesn’t make its villains obvious, and my guess is that Ashley’s covering up for someone else (possibly Pastor Ted? Or even Caleb?).
The show is doing its best here to insert some sympathy back into Toby’s plight, as the ‘truth’ about his mother A offered last week is revealed. It doesn’t take Spencer long to catch on to his suspicious behaviour, even if she’s been far too quick to trust his intentions this year, and he comes clean about the psychiatric report. We learn that his mother killed herself while staying in Radley, and a positive evaluation taken days before the event suggest to him that there’s some kind of conspiracy going on at the institution. We already know there is, as demonstrated by Mona last year, and I think it’s about time we met up with Wren again.
Next week the Liars’ mothers come under fire and Toby continues his investigation in Radley. Also, finally, Melissa returns to Rosewood! Will we get some answers from her? Probably not, but that would be too easy.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, A is for A-L-I-V-E, here.
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