When it comes to dramatic thrillers on TV, maintaining a tight story line that connects throughout the season or seasons is a daunting task. For network series with 24-episode seasons, the task becomes even more difficult.
This season of Pretty Little Liars has shown the strain of trying to stretch an intricate and layered story line over filler episodes. After last week’s PLL, we complained that the series was frankly asking too much of its loyal fan base when it came to ignoring oversights. But tonight? Tonight was a good night. Tonight we watched the Liars make mistakes, but they were believable mistakes. Even better? They learned from them.
What might have been most impressive about tonight’s episode was that all four Liars showed growth, maturity, and good old fashioned common sense. This was an especially tall order considering the ‘Previously On’ recap included facts we learned from Hanna’s dream last week. Just to be clear, we’re accepting dreams as facts now? Whatever.
After years of agreeing to make all decisions like The Babysitter’s Club and act as an ill-informed democracy, hot-for-cops Spencer finally attempted to go to the police with evidence against Noel even though Emily and Aria were against the move. Of course, Spencer called elevator-hottie Marco too late and lost the USB, but we applaud her decision to actually, finally, for once go to the police instead of trying to put her years of watching Law and Order to work. You are not Olivia Benson. None of you are.
Then there was Emily, who we admittedly have been a little harsh with in the past. We still believe that if it wasn’t for all that beautiful hair it would be much more difficult to ignore her naivety. Anyway, Emily started off the episode with the quote of the night. Upon learning that Noel Kahn lived at his parents’ cabin, you know, the one that was in many, many, many episodes in earlier seasons, Spencer and Emily finally connected Noel’s cabin to the same area where Hanna was held. “How did we not put this together sooner?” Good question, Emily. Thanks for beating us to it. We also don’t know how none of you put this together, but we’re here to grow, not blame. Being aware that it was a ridiculously obvious oversight helps calm our annoyance.
Next up is Aria, who put those eyebrows to use and scored Jason some sympathy points with the county clerk. What was even better than Aria’s #fleekgoals was remembering that she already chose Ezra over Jason. Rather than do the easy and predictable plot twist of jumping into bed with Jason moments before getting Ezra’s text that Nicole wasn’t rescued, something we surely would have seen in previous seasons, Aria adulted the hell out of the situation and stood by her man. Still, we’d love more flashbacks of Jason during his Thor-era.
Lastly there was Hanna, who thought she could watch half of The Departed, throw on a baseball hat and know how to conduct herself as a member of the Sopranos.
Her ridiculous plan of drugging Noel (how was she going to carry him from the bar to the motel?) and showing him Sarah’s phone (next time put the case on a different phone) ended as badly as it was planned, which is a great step forward for PLL. If that terrible plan had worked, we would have to seriously question how a guy who managed to kidnap five women and hold them hostage for months didn’t know that you shouldn’t accept drinks from people trying to blackmail you. You’re learning, PLL. And we noticed.
Season 7 of Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8E/5P on its new home on Bravo!