Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game: The Plots Thicken

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Hey, looks like last week’s double-dose of awesome wasn’t just a fluke! Monday’s episodes of Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game continued to propel their plots forward, with big reveals and some great subtler moments. Can both series keep performing at the top of their game? No, but seriously, if they intend to step things up every week, I’m going to need a Xanax to get through these season finales.

For the first time in a while, Pretty Little Liars gave us another glimpse at Alison’s last night alive. And it was a doozy: Ian, Garrett, and Jenna in Alison’s room, shortly before someone killed her. The video that Caleb recovered from the cell phone “A” dropped revealed that Ian had tried to get the spy tapes back from Alison but that she’d refused to hand them over—and that Garrett wanted out before Ian’s hidden-camera shenanigans ensured proof of his complicity. (Got all that? Me neither.) The video cut out just as Alison was climbing up the stairs to her room: Was this mere moments before her murder?

Pretty Little Liars is rarely that straightforward, but "The Blond Leading the Blind" gave us a lot to think. It actually feels as though we’re approaching answers instead of just dawdling, and that’s refreshing. I don’t care if we learn exactly what happened to Alison that night by the end of this season—and I’d be surprised if we did. But we now know that “A” was tormenting Ali before her death, that Garrett did take Jenna back to Rosewood on the night of Ali’s murder, and that Ian wanted to make sure whatever they were trying to cover up wasn’t planted solely on him. And what about Jason? Was he really passed out, or could he have been—just throwing it out there—bashing his sister’s head in with a hockey stick?

It’s easy to dismiss Pretty Little Liars as mindless teen drama, because—let’s face it—sometimes it is. (Case in point: the scene between Ezra and his student where they talked about romance versus practicality. Vom.) But episodes like Monday’s give me more faith in the show's writers: They know where the story is going, and they’re taking us there at their own pace. I’ll do my best to be patient along the way. However, if the promise that “A” will be revealed in the season finale turns out to be a trick, I’ll probably end up writing a series of very angry letters. You have been warned.

Okay, so more speculation? I have a feeling there’s more than one evil plot going on. I don’t think Jenna was responsible for Toby’s fall, but I’m not convinced she set up that booby trap for someone else, either. (The possibility crossed my mind, but who would she be trying to hurt?) There are plenty of shady characters: the NAT club, Noel Kahn, even not-gay Holden. It seems to me everybody has a different agenda, and some of them are bound to collide. By the time we learn the identity of “A”—and that’s IF there’s only one person behind the persona—I’m sure there will plenty of other questions to be answered.

One more thing: The Ezria kiss in the rain was super romantic, you guys. Like, my heart swelled a little bit, even though their whole relationship continues to be all kinds of inappropriate. Look, sometimes I’m allowed to just be shallow and gushy. We’re all watching the same ABC Family shows—you’re in no position to judge. Anyway, I have no idea how this can end in anything but tragedy, but good on them for giving it the old college try! (Er, high school try. Aria is still in high school.)

Here’s a fun little behind-the-scenes tidbit for you: My notes for Monday’s episode of The Lying Game were significantly longer than my notes for Pretty Little Liars. That’s because a whole lot happened over the course of the hour. And I’ll be honest—I probably would have settled for an episode devoted entirely to Sutton being a bitch, but Black and White and Green All Over" was all that and more!

Of course, Sutton’s machinations were definitely the highlight for me. I think what makes her such a fascinating villain is that when the show began, we started off rooting for her. It was only as we learned more about her day-to-day life that we realized that she was kind of, well, awful. Sutton was a mean girl in the same way Pretty Little Liars’ Alison was: She was cruel, highly motivated, and too self-involved to worry about anyone else she might be hurting. As her actions in Monday's episode indicated, Sutton’s still a lot of those things. I mean, let’s call a spade a spade: Sutton is Emma’s evil twin.

Maybe it’s more complicated than that, and sure, Sutton has had moments meant to provoke sympathy, but she’s mostly just awful and I love it. First Sutton kicked Emma to the curb, then she welcomed Emma back—not because she cared about Emma’s well being, but because she wanted to avoid a nasty public break-up with Ethan. Whatever loyalty Sutton once felt for her twin appears to be long gone, because at this point, her main concern is getting her old life back at any cost. And oh, yeah, I guess solving the mystery at the heart of this series is still kind of on her agenda? Doesn’t mean she can’t screw with Mads’ love life for kicks along the way.

I’m still less interested in the Justin stuff, if only because I find Justin to be the dullest character on this show. However, I like the effect his aborted revenge plot is having on the other characters. We’ve got Sutton and Laurel on the outs again, because God forbid Sutton go a day without undoing all of Emma’s good work. And more importantly, we have Kristin seriously doubting Ted. It was great to finally hear her say, “I don’t trust you ... How do I know there’s something else you’re not telling me?” Because come on, Kristin. Your husband has been shady for a while now. It’s about time you noticed.

Then there was the big reveal that Annie Hobbs is—wait for it—not Sutton and Emma’s biological mother after all. I’m not exactly loving this twist, because now we have yet another super secret mom to look for, but I’m still sort of curious to see how this plays out. Anyone else thinking that Rebecca might be the woman they’re really looking for? I had my suspicions before she showed up in Annie’s hospital room with an ominous “What have you done now?” At the very least, I’m glad we finally have confirmation that Rebecca’s got nefarious plans of her own: I love watching Charisma Carpenter be bad.

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