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Tuesday, Aug 3, 2021
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Pretty Little Liars S5Ep14 Through a Glass, Darkly

ASHLEY BENSON, SHAY MITCHELL, LUCY HALE, TROIAN BELLISARIO

Amidst the vast sea of questions revolving around Pretty Little Liars, one thing is for sure, this show sure knows how to come back with a bang! We pick up 3 months after the Christmas special, at Mona’s Hawaiian themed funeral. Well, Mona’s keepsakes’ funeral since a body hasn’t yet been found. Our little liars are united in believing Alison killed Mona, but how to prove it and get Spencer off the hook? That is the $64,000 question. Speak of the devil and she doth appear. Ali shows up to pay her respects/plead her innocence to Ms. Vanderwaal, whose response is one heckuva slap. I don’t think I’ve been that oddly satisfied with TV violence since Game of Thrones Purple Wedding.

Hanna has been helping Ms. Vanderwaal with household chores, errands, etc. which is very generous of her. She reassures Mona’s mom that the funeral was a good thing to do, to help others cope with her death. In return, she’s gifted with one of Mona’s stuffed animals. R.I.P. Mona.

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Papa Hastings makes an appearance at home to slap some more bad news on Spencer. Bethany Young’s parents have been trying to petition to have Spencer’s bail revoked, and apparently this time it may work. The DA finally unsealed the indictment, revealing why Spence was arrested in the first place. (Wouldn’t they have had to tell her this at the time? Probable cause and all? I must not watch enough legal dramas because I’m a bit confused.).

Officer Toby is taking advantage of his new job to read the aforementioned file, which Lieutenant Tanner gladly explains. Spencer was arrested due to a witness statement claiming to have seen Spence with a girl matching Bethany’s description the night she disappeared. Who is this crucial witness? Mrs. Dilaurentis, of course. And who took the statement? Why, our least favorite crooked cop, Wilden. So, let me get this straight: Spencer Hastings is charged with murder because of the testimony from a crazy dead woman taken by a crooked cop known for harassing this girl and her friends, who is also dead? How exactly does one take this seriously? Who am I kidding? This is the Rosewood PD. They would believe a pink elephant in a tutu trampled Bethany with a rousing enough speech. Toby thinks Wilden suppressed it on purpose, that Walden was paid to keep Mrs. D quiet. To do that, Wilden used Mrs D’s affair with Bethany’s father as leverage, whom she met at Radley. Did you get all that?

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Ezra seems to have bought Rear Window Brew and is doing a complete overhaul inside. Aria is taking a grand tour of the plywood debris when the topic of Mike comes up. Aria hasn’t spoken to Mike since the funeral. Ezra offers to talk to Mike about Mona to relieve some of Aria’s guilt.

Emily and Paige are cuddling, savoring their last few days together before Paige leaves for California. Emily insists she be the one to take Paige to the airport. Rip our hearts out, why don’t cha, Paily? While I agree with Paige’s parents to get their daughter out of this murder town, my heart is breaking for Emily. This poor girl just can’t catch a break in the love department.

Meanwhile in Perfect Couple Land, Hanna is trying to convince Caleb to contact Mrs. Grunwald to help find Mona’s body. Hanna believes her psychic abilities are real, citing her saving Ali. Caleb, who has experienced Mrs. Grunwald’s eeriness on a much more personal level, wants nothing to do with it, warning Hanna not to get involved with the supernatural. Sound advice, Caleb, but we all know Hanna is far too stubborn to just give up that easily.

Aria has gotten a letter from her first choice college, a small letter, not a big letter, which should be her first clue. Big surprise, she wasn’t accepted. One has to wonder whether Aria just didn’t have the chops or if this is -A keeping everyone in town. Don’t worry, Aria, doesn’t your father work at Hollis? Worst case scenario, you go there for free, within close proximity to Ezra and can stick around Rosewood for at least two more seasons. Ali interrupts this moment of bad news for Aria, who straight out accuses Ali of being -A, of killing Mona, of killing Bethany, then resorts to blowing her rape whistle when Ali grabs her arm. Just… wow. Word of advice, Aria, provoking the person you believe to be a sociopathic killer is NOT in your best interest. Ever.

All four liars have convened to try to comfort a freaked out Spencer that her bail won’t be revoked, that they will find a way out of this. She responds that they found the letter from Bethany explaining everything, but the opposing council is trying to say Spencer forged the letter. For once, Aria is the voice of reason, pointing out Mona was able to prove Ali killed Bethany and was killed for it. So all they have to do is link Ali to Mona’s murder and the dots will connect themselves. Caleb hasn’t found anything on Mona’s laptop and Ali has an alibi. But how to tear down Ali’s alibi. Sorry, Jason, you are the weakest link and no one is impervious to your half sister’s lost puppy dog eyes.

Ezra has invited Mike to the renovation party to do man stuff, like saw things and talk about his dead girlfriend. It’s sweet that Ezra is attempting to bond with his girlfriend’s brother, but Mike isn’t so welcoming. Either he has gone through all five stages of grief at a record speed, or he is still in denial. I can’t decide which.

As it turns out, Hanna ignored Caleb’s advice and brought Mrs. Grunwald to Rosewood. They have met at Mona’s grave. Hanna admits she thinks Ali killed Mona, asking for aide in finding Mona’s body. Hanna gives her the stuffed animal which she immediately is able to correctly name. Let the creepiness ensue.

Emily and Spencer have lame excused their way into the Dilaurentis home to “look for a muffin tray” aka gifting Jason into realizing the truth about Ali. Spencer starts in with the facts. Traces of Mona’s DNA were found in Ali’s trunk.

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But it’s not enough to arrest her while Jason has given her an alibi. (Wait, so a dead woman’s statement can land Spencer on trial while DNA evidence isn’t enough to make Ali a suspect? I most definitely need to watch more CSI, this sounds all wrong to me.) When facts don’t have an effect, Spence uses the ‘I’m your sister too’ approach. It seems to shake Jason up a bit, but who can tell?

Hanna and Mrs. Grunwald are still at Mona’s grave. Mrs. Grunwald is having trouble getting through the psychic walls, gates and barriers of this ‘psychically constipated’ town. Never one to miss out on a great one liner, Hanna replies “I eat a lot of fiber.” Mrs. Grunwald explains secrets carried over into death are toxic, they cannot be seen clearly, more as through a glass, darkly. Hanna asks our human Ouija board if Alison killed Mona. As if on cue, the winds in the mausoleum pick up, fluttering rose petals to the ground. Mrs. Grunwald replies “Each one hated the other because each one feared the other.” What chapter are you on, creepy lady? We got there about four years ago. Hanna persists, askng where Mona is. Her soul is caught in dirt and insects and cold, where there is no peace, only fear. Great, now I’m going to be worried about Mona’s soul all day.

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Spencer doesn’t think her speech has worked on Jason and boy, is she discouraged. Emily has a plan, though. If ya can’t beat, join ’em. She stole Ali’s hairbrush, wanting to plant the hair as evidence in Mona’s house. Spence seems to be convinced, regardless of the possible repercussions should they be found out.

Jason is strolling down nostalgia lane accompanied by old photographs when Ali arrives home. He points out she has always been the favorite, that they have very different perspectives of their childhood. Ali catches on that Spencer has planted a seed of doubt in Jason’s mind, and claims the other girls are trying to set her up for Mona’s murder. Except Jason admits Ali did leave for a while that day. Uh oh, Ali, your web of deception seems to be quickly unraveling.

Aria stops by Caleb’s new place to casually ask a few totally rhetorical, not at all about her questions about hacking college websites. Caleb quickly sees through her façade. Aria asks him to hack into her prospective college’s websites to find out if it was something she did wrong or -A’s doing.

Spencer and Emily have committed another B&E to plant Ali’s hair. Spencer notices a vent nearby, but instead of planting the hair, she finds a hidden camera. Could this be exactly what we need to exonerate Spence?! They take the news back to Hanna, trying to convince Hanna to tell Ms. Vanderwaal about the cameras. Hanna is reluctant to do so, still thoroughly creeped out by her experience with Mrs. Grunwald. Ultimately, she does go to speak with Mona’s mom, who has decided to start a fund in Mona’s name to buy books for the library. She hands Hanna a copy of Terminations which triggers a flashback in which Mona tells Hanna she is smarter than Spencer (definitely debatable), to never hide who she is. True BFF advice. Spurred on by her flashback, Hanna mentions Mona wanted to set up cameras to keep an eye out, effectively starting to spin the wheels in Ms. Vanderwaal’s head.

Aria has dropped by the hollowed out Brew looking for Ezra and/or Mike. Alone in a dusty empty dimly lit shell? No good can come from this. Aria speed dials Mike’s cell, only to hear a phone ring right behind her. Whipping around, -A is there in all their masked glory, holding Mike’s phone. Aria tries to run, but forgets -A has superhuman powers, easily catching her and pinning her to the wall, nail gun aimed right at her heart.

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Aria begs -A not to hurt her, calling them Ali. It must have worked because instead of putting a nail through Aria’s heart, -A pulls a nearby plastic sheet over Aria, nailing it closed as a sort of plastic sarcophagus and disappears. Aria is able to pull the sheet off pretty easily, but I was honestly afraid for her for a couple seconds. -A is getting more intimate in their torture of the liars and it is truly terrifying.

Ali has a run-in with Mrs. Grunwald on the street. She forgoes the small talk, apologizing for her loss. Alison tries to bail on the conversation, but Mrs. Grunwald gets a hold of her arm, I assume to read her aura or whatnot. What she discovered is unknown to me as her face is completely unreadable.

It seems the police have found Mona’s hidden cameras and the footage is grisly at best. The footage clearly shows a blonde girl in a black hoodie dragging Mona along the floor, bashing her head into a wall, then taking the assault out of sight. Tanner and Officer Blue Eyes–I mean, Toby, are showing all of this to Jason, giving him the chance to retract his alibi. He admits it could very well be Ali, that he lied about her alibi that night.

Aria has been a busy little bee, dropping by various places, this time Emily’s house, as she is about to leave to bid Paige farewell. Aria tells her about the attack, putting the blame squarely on Ali. Emily questions if it was really Alison or not, but Aria is sure of it. Emily postpones Paige to take down Ali.

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Alison has figured out she is about to be caught in her own web of lies, and as usual, is trying to make a run for it. She begs Jason to stall the police so she can get away safely, which he seems to oblige to, I’m assuming mostly out of guilt for being the catalyst to her arrest. Ali makes it out of the house, only to run into all four little liars, who refuse to let her go. They’ve earned a front row seat to her takedown after all she’s put them through. Ali insists she’s didn’t kill Mona, that the girls are playing right into -A’s hands. Who will protect them once she is in jail? (Right, because she has done such a bang-up job until now) Tanner and co. have caught up to them by now, and finally Alison Dilaurentis is under arrest for the murder of Mona Vanderwaal. Victory!

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Aria is finally home for the night, waiting on Mike to get there. She swallows her discomforts and attempts to have a little sibling bonding time with Mike. She tells him Ali has been arrested. When that tidbit doesn’t get a response, she opens up. She admits she’s afraid to know what Mona has told him, that she has been afraid to come to him, but with Ali behind bars, they don’t have to be afraid anymore. Mike is none too thrilled with the way people are treating Mona post mortem, believing if they had told her how great she was in life, she wouldn’t have been as manipulative as she was. It’s clear Mona was Mike’s first love, Aria recognizes this, asking him to tell her about the real Mona sometime. She leaves him alone in his thoughts and overhears him break down in tears. Poor Mike.

Emily has finally made it to the airport, where Paige is nowhere in sight. She fears she lost her chance to say goodbye, when Paige appears beside her. Emily bought a ticket to Atlantic City just to get past security. How very romantic comedy climax of her. Emily begs Paige to stay, but Paige is not swayed by anything. She wants to live a normal life away from the clutches of -A, even if it means she will lose Emily. It’s a really tough call, but I can’t blame her for this decision. They share a tearful embrace and our collective hearts break for Emily as she watches Paige walk away from her one last time.

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When Spencer arrives home, she’s greeted by Papa Hastings, Officer Toby and Lieutenant Tanner. Tanner has swallowed her pride and come to her. They now believe that Alison also killed Bethany. The charges have been dropped, Spencer is once again a free girl.

The little liars should be celebrating Ali’s arrest, but they are focused more on getting out of Rosewood now, while they are free to do so. A chance at an actual life, it’s such a surreal idea for these girls, but it seems to be coming to fruition. There’s even fireworks from a nearby carnival to ring in their girls’ new freedom. Except for the three red flares spelling out -A. Coincidence? Extremely unlikely. The girls try to explain it away, that Ali set it up before she was arrested. But when ‘nearby fireworks’ suddenly becomes a shower of sparks raining down on your backyard, you’d better think twice, ladies. Whether -A is Alison or not, this has always been a team effort. It’s not over yet. Not by a long shot.

TROIAN BELLISARIO, ASHLEY BENSON, SHAY MITCHELL, LUCY HALE

Citing: ABCfamily,  yourreactiongifs.tumblr.com

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