This review contains spoilers.
5.6 Run, Ali, Run
In direct disagreement with this week’s episode title, Run, Ali, Run was more about the Liars’ efforts to keep their recently-returned leader around following the re-emergence of A, rather than doing the smart thing and sending her into the night. The fact is that their lives would be much easier with her gone, especially since all of their enemies are now fully aware that their original target isn’t as dead as they’d previously assumed, but these girls have enjoyed being a fivesome again and aren’t ready to let Alison go just yet.
Well, most of them anyway. After A’s big statement of intent at the end of last week’s hundredth episode, the girls are coming to terms with the death of their misguided dreams of normalcy, slotting back into their default modes with more feeling than they’ve had in years. Spencer is still trying to fix things she has no control over through sheer force of will, but it’s actually Aria who is chief researcher/obsessive this time around. Even Hannah and Emily have a little more agency, and it’s a welcome change.
Mainly because Alison has been so helpless since her return, a far cry from the girl who bragged of her immortality and manipulated her followers into blind obedience as a fifteen-year-old innocent, and her friends have changed just as much in her absence. The only trouble is that A has upped their game at the same time, and the physical attack on Alison this week proves that. It’s a different kind of threat than they’ve seen before, from Mona’s deranged campaign, which now seems positively quaint, to the still unsolved reign of ‘Big A’.
The negative is that Alison is in town and attracting more danger than ever, but the positive is that the gang’s best crime-solvers have also gathered in Rosewood. Ezra, for all his wrongdoing, at least has access to all of the surveillance equipment and clues that he’s collected over the years, Caleb can’t resist getting involved no matter how much he wants to distance himself from the drama and those shattered daydreams of hobbies and happy lives are egging the girls on more than ever.
I’m also glad the Liars have realised how useful Ezra’s creepy boxes of information might be, even if he has to hide them in Aria’s attic to avoid police suspicion. In fact, this episode seemed to exist in a different universe than the last five hours, with Spencer’s indignant reminder to Aria, Aria’s shut down of the reignited flame and the reminder of the hallway cameras all painting Ezra is a different, far less romantic light. If we can’t have an outwardly sinister Ezra, then this version of the story is a good consolation prize.
A might be back on the scene, but it’s evident that the Liars and friends aren’t willing to become clueless victims again just as quickly. The problem is that they’ve traded one set of lies for another – Alison’s kidnapping, Shana’s murder – and A has more in their arsenal than ever. Shall we even bother theorising who it might be? Was Shana actually A and this her successor, or did they get the wrong girl? It’s unclear, but then everything on this show is unclear, and at least the return to this somewhat boring status quo is ushering in some potentially compelling drama for the central characters.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Miss Me X 100, here.
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