This review contains spoilers.
4.22 Cover For Me
So here we are again – Pretty Little Liars gave us so much hope only to take it away just as fast, leaving us much like Aria last week, surrounded by the tatters of our clues and theories and wallowing in the truth that Ezra, of course, could never have been A. The moment at the end of season 4a was so delicious precisely because it was a shock – many of us had long given up hope that the show’s writers, so wrapped up in the epic love story of Ezria, would do anything interesting with the characters. The fact that their love story was so murky and immoral made the shippers fight harder and those watching for the mystery alone crossed him off their suspects list for years.
But then he strode into the Ravenswood lair with his cap and jacket, slammed that wardrobe door shut and reinvigorated my love for and faith in the show. After the double betrayals of Mona and Toby, both revealed to be exactly what the writers said they weren’t, I had optimism that, surely, they couldn’t do it again. But after the interviews following last week’s episode and various scenes in Cover For Me, I no longer hold on to the hope that Ezra could ever be confirmed as the dastardly villain he’s been written as. Who cares about the money in his sock drawer or the knives in Jake’s punching bag – he’s merely a struggling writer, and spying on teenage girls for two years is okay as long as his love for Aria was real all along.
Except it’s not, and a show fundamentally about the despicableness of cyber bullying and invasion of privacy should really know that. Is there still hope this isn’t a major exercise in misguided backpedalling and Ezra could still be unveiled as A? If we enjoy the show in a vacuum and ignore the almost-always-deceptive comments of Marlene King and the rest of the writers, then yes. But I don’t think that’s possible at this point and, this being only the first in a two season renewal for the show, we should have known it wouldn’t be what it seemed. God forbid the series reboot itself into something fresh and interesting when there’s ominous texts to be sent and red herrings to be investigated.
Another of those herrings was dumped this week, with Ezra’s manuscript revealing a hunch that Mrs. DiLaurentis has been A all along. This is about as likely as Emily or Hannah donning the black hoodie but, as that creepy scene in Spencer’s bedroom demonstrated, the writers want us to believe that it could at least be a possibility. My problem here is that, since we’ve actually seen the extent of Ezra’s surveillance system and bundles of notes on the lives of these five girls – doesn’t he have more than a theory by now? Shouldn’t he know exactly who A is and, if his love for Aria really is true, have told her about it? With what we know, he would also have known what Mona was up to for the first two years, and he kept pretty quiet about that, too.
The long and short of it is, if Ezra isn’t the person who “stole the game” from Mona at the beginning of season three, then the show no longer makes sense. Heck, it doesn’t even make much sense if Ezra wasn’t the one pulling the strings from the very beginning and, speaking as a hardcore (can you not tell from my current state of rage?!) fan of long-running mystery shows, I’m scared that Pretty Little Liars has just wasted the most compelling, thematically relevant, genuinely shocking and brilliantly executed card they had in their deck. The suspicion shifting to Mrs DiLaurentis proves just how disappointing any other reveal would be at this point, and that’s a hurdle I don’t think the show can overcome.
Can you sense the disappointment? With two weeks left until the big #AisforAnswers episode, am I being premature or can we assume that the EzrA theory is dead and buried? I really hope not but, if that’s the case, then they better have a corker of a plan B.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, She’s Come Undone, here.
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