This review contains spoilers.
5.7 The Silence Of E. Lamb
Since the return of Pretty Little Liars’ ubiquitous villain, A hasn’t really had to do much stirring of the pot. The girls, now with the addition of ultimate catalyst for drama, Alison, have been doing a decent enough job of fracturing their previously unbreakable bond all by themselves, and the added threat of a brand new (or old, have we determined which?) adversary is just the cherry on top of the stress cupcake.
Hanna is faring the worst, what with the sign-posted drinking problem and beef with Alison. Caleb’s back in town and it has taken a pleasingly small amount of time for Haleb to resume, but Hanna’s identity crisis is in full swing nonetheless. She’s the member of the group who’s probably changed the most – first into Mona’s Alison-substitute and then into an older, more confident version of herself – and Alison’s attempts to control her when it comes to Caleb really didn’t go down well.
This season has done a really good job of balancing out the old, queen bee Ali with the new, needy and traumatised victim she’s apparently become, to the point where it’s hard to tell if she’s being genuine with Emily or if she’s just back to her manipulative ways. She’s smart enough to know that she needs an ally, and Emily’s affection for her makes her the easiest target. Spencer is too suspicious, Hanna too resentful and Aria – well who knows with Aria – Emily was her only option.
Speaking of Aria, she may have been a personality-vacuum for the last four seasons, but this year has seen her actually get in on the mystery-solving at last. Seeing her sort through clues and obsess with Spencer was so weird I had to double-check, but it’s definitely an improvement on the alternative. We all know that, unfortunately, Ezria is endgame and they’ll have to get back together at some point, but seeing her stick by her no-more-slips decision means that both characters can do something a little more interesting.
This is the best Ezra has been since his ‘Big A’ arc, but then sharing scenes with Spencer makes everyone better. They’re both meticulous, obsessive puzzle-solvers – two sides of a disturbing coin – and seeing that addressed was wonderfully fascinating. Depending on your tastes, they are two of the best characters on the show, providing the writers care enough to make them that way. Spencer is invariably entertaining and consistent in her quirks, but we’re in a strange place with Ezra right now.
Does the show want us to see him as the romantic lead, the creepy stalker or the obsessive investigator? I don’t know anymore, but the version of him we saw this week was definitely my favourite. Pulling him away from Aria was the first good decision, making me think having him integrated into the main group wouldn’t be the worst thing, as long as they remember to keep calling him out on his shit. This antagonistic pairing, like the equally intriguing one between Alison and Caleb seen this week, is far more interesting than any of the romances going on right now.
The mystery has shifted back to Radley, where Aria was volunteering uncover, and to the puzzle of Bethany Young. Sparia’s investigation led to a couple of revelations – Bethany was probably the blonde girl who was with Toby’s mother (oh yay, Toby’s mother is back…) the night she died, and Mrs DiLaurentis was most certainly bad news. We knew that after the night she crept up behind Spencer in her bedroom, of course (and the fact that she buried her daughter alive after witnessing her ‘murder’), but that drawing confirmed it.
Next week looks like another bad one for Hanna, as Alison moves in with her chief frenemy while her dad’s out of town, and Emily replaces Aria on Spencer’s crack investigative team. See you there!
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Run Ali Run, here.
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