Pretty Little Liars season 4 episode 23 review: Unbridled

Will next week's finale provide some long-awaited Pretty Little Liars answers? Caroline is hopeful...

This review contains spoilers.

2.23 Unbridled

There’s a dress up party in Rosewood and, even though it’s not strictly Halloween, that means that things are set to go seriously awry! And awry they go, with the penultimate episode of Pretty Little Liars’ fourth season committing to the conceit that Mrs. DiLaurentis is actually A and almost completely ignoring the still very likely (no matter what the writers tell us) possibility that Ezra could still be involved in some way. No, we’re no closer to discovering who A actually is and, as has been the case since the Halloween episode, the girls’ main concern is where the heck Alison is and how they can get her home.

And, presumably, this is the last episode in which the Liars remain a four-piece, and having Alison back in the fold is an enticing prospect. Unbridled proved more than ever how much of a dead end we’ve reached when it comes to a Pretty Little Liars still holding out on answers and, after next week’s much-teased exposition dump, that should be rectified at least a little. The truth is that, the Ezra reveal aside, things are feeling a little stale. Alison’s return has huge potential for more drama and, instead of listening to the girls talk about their individually fraught relationships with their former Queen B, we will finally get to see it firsthand.

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This episode, though, was a big letdown after a run of entertaining instalments. Even if I haven’t been a fan of the EzrA u-turn that has been going on for the last couple of weeks, those episodes were never outright boring. Without him (or Caleb, or Toby) at least present, it seems, the girls scrambling for clues and desperately recalling secrets isn’t as mind-blowing as the show itself seems to think. Did Spencer kill whoever was buried in Alison’s grave? Probably not, but with only the increasingly silly staring contests with Jessica DiLaurentis to go on, it’s slightly surprising that Spencer is convinced that this is the case.

The first of two boy-shaped returnees came with Jason (next week: Noel), lying about spending the last few months in rehab and probably helping Alison stay hidden. Eliminating that, he might just be back to facilitate new conversations about what the NAT club are up to as, despite not hearing from them since Melissa’s outburst earlier this season, they will likely play a big part in next week’s many reveals. Say what you like about the A-team, but the NAT club have always felt just as creepy and clandestine to me. Worse, it’s more than likely that everyone around the age of 25 in Rosewood (and London, apparently) is a member, including Wren and Ezra, and they all have a weird fixation on wooing teenage girls.

Somewhat intentionally I assume, Unbridled didn’t have much in the way of genuine clues or reveals, with the juiciest bit of A-gossip in the end tag. Does this confirm that CeCe isn’t involved with the A-team? Why would A bother reporting her whereabouts to the police when they’ve got more pressing matters to attend to? Even if we do discover who ‘killed’ Alison next week, I doubt things regarding CeCe, Shana and Jenna are actually going to be addressed. There comes a point (usually when actresses leave the show) when we just have to cut a few threads of and, if we do indeed get the answers we’ve been craving during next week’s episode, then Pretty Little Liars will have bought itself a lot of extra leniency from fans.

We now have a full week to clarify our theories and decide on a probable narrative for the night Alison disappeared, whether it’s confirmed next week or not. Who turned up right at the end? Who is in the grave? Most importantly, who tried to kill Alison in the first place? With our fingers crossed for the spring finale to answer all of these queries and many more, let the theories fly one last time! See you next week.

Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Cover For Me, here.

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