This review contains spoilers.
6.16 Where Somebody Waits For Me & 6.17 We’ve All Got Baggage
It wasn’t an extensive source of information, but the flash-forward glimpsed at the end of season 6A did tell us a couple of things about what was coming – Alison was going to get married to a mysterious ‘Rollins’ fella, and there would be some unknown force making trouble for the Liars once they were back in Rosewood. We’re rapidly approaching that eventuality, and the path to at least one of those things has started to reveal itself.
‘A’ aka Evil Emoji aka devil face, for the most part, has taken a back seat this season, with the mystery focusing instead on Charlotte’s murder. We’re pretty sure that, like always, those two villains are not the same person and, instead of A pretending to be the dead girl a la Mona in season one, they’re setting about solving the crime for themselves. The question is whether they know who killed her and are just messing with the Liars, or they have no idea and have been picking up the same red herrings they have.
We’ve already moved on from Ezra as the main suspect, and have instead zeroed in on Melissa. Rules number one and two of Pretty Little Liars are that it’s never Ezra and it’s never Melissa, but that they’re always mixed up with something shady anyway. This is just another four-episode arc that will end with the girls discovering Melissa couldn’t possibly have done it, and we’ll move on to someone else.
Still, having her back on the show is a wonderful thing, and she brought with her mention of another oft-shady character. The reference to Wren was only in passing but, given his history with Charlotte and involvement with Radley, he’s been on my suspect list since the first episode. Now that he’s been mentioned by name? Surely he’s not such an outside choice anymore.
The flashback scene with Melissa and Hanna in the bathroom was a delight regardless of the faux clues it was dropping, and it felt a lot more authentic than the one in Where Somebody Waits For Me between Hanna and Caleb. While the reasons for their break-up can be largely assumed by any viewer paying attention, this was just awkwardly done. I worry that Caleb’s getting a bit lost in this love triangle, simply because he’s the boy.
Hanna, on the other hand, is going through yet another identity crisis. She clearly worked very hard to get away from Rosewood when she went to New York, becoming the kind of person that just didn’t fit with Caleb anymore. Since she came back, that mask of ‘New York Hanna’ has been slowly slipping away bit by bit and, even if she doesn’t really want her old life and her old boyfriend back, they’re safe and familiar in a way that Jordan doesn’t feel anymore. It’s really interesting, and completely something that makes sense for her character.
Hanna and Caleb’s lost love is paralleled with both Byron and Ella getting remarried and Aria and Ezra doing the creepy dance they always do when they’re together. Liam knows now that Ezra wasn’t just Aria’s teacher and, after taking some time to get his head around the ‘Ezria’ toxic dump, continued to partake in the lie to their publisher. Of course this is going to blow up in their faces, but there’s tons of potential for unintentional comedy on the way.
More than that, though, the season is continuing to shed a little light on the awfulness of Ezra Fitz, in a way it never dared to before. In his apology to Aria, he admits to the lies he’s told and the things he’s talked her into and, although Aria admits to vaguely writing about their relationship in her replacement chapters, he’s convinced it was an ‘act of love’. The look on her face at that moment tells us everything.
The stuff with Spencer and Veronica seems relatively inconsequential to the mystery, but was still a really lovely storyline for them both. While it’s fine to watch Aria interact with her parents and Hanna and Ashley’s double act, the Hastings have always felt the most like characters in their own right. Worrying about your parents’ mortality – from health crises rather than psycho murderers – is part of growing up.
It’s unclear right now how the election will tie into the A mystery, if at all, but it has to be a big deal if two of the show’s strongest players – Mona and Spencer – are involved. Now Caleb has been fired from his job and kicked out of the apartment, which could mean trouble for his and Spencer’s burgeoning romance.
If I’m honest with myself, I can actually see the show having Caleb not be entirely what he seems, after all the talk of A hiding in plain sight. We never would have bought it before, not least because Caleb spent a half-season in Ravenswood, but a lot can happen in five years. When he threatened Mona in that elevator, experience told us to believe that Mona was up to something, but maybe it was the other way around?
Whoever’s targeting the Liars this time, I just hope they up their game soon. Stealing Emily’s eggs and threatening to use them is twisted enough, but it’s not exactly up to the dangerous schemes we’re used to on this show. Then again, it’s always Emily – the weakest link – who’s gets targeted first, and it won’t be long before the rest of the girls have something equally damaging A can use against them.
We’re edging towards the scene we saw in Game Over, Charles, and I suspect things won’t start moving properly until season seven starts. This is a set-up season, and it’s got a huge amount to do in a short space of time. I’m cutting it some slack but, as ever, enjoying the ride all the same.