Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game: The Plots Thicken

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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I finally felt like I was getting a little bit of payoff for watching so many of The Lying Game episodes. There were actual answers...in fact there were more answers in this one episode than there have been in the season thus far. That was awesome. And Sutton...the evil doppleganger...I don't know if I flat out hate her or just dislike her strongly. She's bad and definitely adds to the show with her more than evil streak. And thank goodness Kristin finally came around to not trusting her husband. Too little too late in my eyes asI can't respect oblivous women.
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I think both shows are messy and soapy. I don't like soaps, that why I don't watch. The same is happening with these two.
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Charisma Carpenter is awesome. So glad to see her on this show!
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PLL is great. Even better when Jenna is on screen. Trying to guess who 'A' is is fun. I reckon it is a girl from their schoold who hates Allison too. TLG is okay but got better when Charisma joined. Finally a woman to admire among all these girls.
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I'm really hoping that Rebbecca is the twins' mother. I mean she looks a lot like them. Like the resemblence is almost crazy sometimes. Plus I love Charisma Carpenter.
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I'm not that sure that this episode of PLL was that good. I found that a fair amount of it was a bit too predictable or just plain stupid. Near the end when Aria's mum was picking her up and asked where Morgan was (is it Morgan? I don't really care) and Aria didn't answer her, but instead stood looking like a rabbit in headlights for nearly 45 minutes was probably the pinicle of the stupidity. Any parent would know!



I was surprised that Hannah destroyed the USB stick, but that was a stupid thing to do, and to be honest she seems to be getting more stupid by the episode - she's really starting to annoy me, but I suppose her irrational reactions help the plot (sometimes). I'm not surprised, however, that Caleb had a back-up and took it to Spencer (who is now, without a doubt, their leader). I'm glad that someone else is now privy to the secret alliance, but I kind of wish it wasn't Caleb. I like the idea of the group using him but keeping him in the dark - building tension between him and Hannah. I also think that another character, not of the groups choosing, and with an alternate agenda, would have been a more interesting prospect.



The will he/won't he with Ezra was about as teen drama cliche as it gets. Did anybody really think that he wouldn't listen to the voicemail message and go to Aria? And what was with that road where she was waiting? If I was in one of those cars behind Ezra's, which he just abandoned, I'd have been pissed and beeping the horn. I also like how they were both bone dry within minutes of getting into his car - it reminded me of Charlies Angels!



As for Toby - run as fast as you bloody can mate! I can't blame the guy for leaving, after all, his step-sister wants to screw him and blackmail him, his ex-girlfried (who it turned out was gay) has just told him that his current girlfriend is seeing someone else, who happens to be his Doctor - and all this while he's lying in a hospital bed after someone tried to (possibly) kill him. And if he wasn't the target for the faulty scaffolding, as Jenna hinted to, then who was? Who else would have gone up there - Spencers Dad perhaps? I doubt it, that sort of work is what he was paying Toby for in the first place.



I think that just leaves Emily. I remember seeing her talk to Toby briefly (the "Spencer's dumped you for your Doc" talk), but beyond that, was she in this episode? I think she's a good actress and I like the character, but if she doesn't start asserting her self more she'll become easily replaceable - which probably isn't a good thing with a show like this. She certainly is the weakest link in the group, which is saying something when you consider Hannah's recent behaviour. Anyone else starting to notice a bit of a divide in the camp - Spencer/Aria proactive and affective as opposed to Hannah/Emily useless and inaffective (almost destructive in Hannah's case).



Anyway, this was a bit more ranty than I intended, I guess this episode annoyed me more than I realised. I think the writers need to give the viewers a bit more benefit of the doubt and try not to dumb things down as much. They also need to get 'A's scheming back in there again. Finally, anyone else think Mona is more involved than she currently appears to be?
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Hannah is being written as if they don't quite know what to do with her character.



Spencer is becoming the coolest one.



"A" is now being written as if he/she is a childish brat pulling pranks rather than the more intelligent and manipulative character "A" has seemingly been.



One thing I can't seem to get beyond is the death of "Ian", played by Ryan Merriman. Did he die in the church being hung in the bell ropes or did he die later when they found him on the barn? If he died in the church, why didn't forensics discover he was hung/strangled and that time of death was earlier? If he died later, was he held prisoner by "A" since the church and done away with later? Where and how was he held and why killed later?



It's an odd show. It interesting with fairly likeable characters, but the plot or pacing doesn't pay off well enough episode to episode. It's also getting irritating how "A" could possibly know everything going on. It seems more psychic than actual overall spying on the girls.
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I totally agree the whole Ian situation was very confusing and the plot is sometimes questionable, but I still really love some of the characters so I guess I am a glutton for punishment!
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Agree with you both.

Also, who pushed Ian? Did we find out and I missed it?
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A pushed Ian off the bell tower
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i dont watch PLL so im in the minority here but i thought last nights the lying game was awesome! there is no better way to phrase it than sutton is emma;s evil twin because there is nothing remotely likable about sutton; not only does she care about herself, but she wouldnt stop bitchin g about how she never knew their real mother and emma did even though she has a family that loves her even though she is in fact her! and its about damn time mama mercer noticed ted was up to something. i swear she;s the only character who doesnt have an agenda and is just like "people shouldnt keep secrets!"

and most likely i think that rebecca will be emma and sutton;s mother, a because she showed up at "suttons" birthday party b she showed up at the hospital for a throwdown with annie at the end of the episode and c she looks a lot like emma/sutton. mad props to alaexandra chando for being able to play two completely different people!
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This show is so flawed. All the twins need to do is appear together in front of the parents and have Sutton say, "Mom, dad, this is my sister Emma. You have been getting to know her these past few weeks". What exactly would happen?



Why did "Rebecca" want to be called "Annie" and then it's seemingly dropped, as everyone is back to calling her "Rebecca"?



In an early episode, How did the "pervy" foster-brother know where Emma went, that she had a twin, where she lived, etc.? There was absolutely no explanation for it.



I believe there was an issue with Sutton having lost her phone in the car when it went into the water, yet her friends were trying to call her and complaining there was no answer back from her.



I actually wish they had cast actual twins, Chando is not great, but may be getting better as it goes on.



This show is over once we know the story, but dragging this all out is bad. It should have been a movie or even a two-part mini-series thing.



Ratings are not good, so don't think it's coming back.
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Somebody tried to kill Sutton so obviously they can't just come out in front of her parents but I do agree that I wish that Sutton would just introduce her...
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I thought Rebecca used to go by Annie but wanted to be called Rebecca now.
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Yeah, that's it! Confusing. I seem to remember thinking they did not want to confuse her with Annie Hobbs, so they made some plot fix to change her name, as she was named Annie in reference to being the sister to Char's mother, which I thought, and I think others thought so too, was Annie Hobbs.
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PLL was pretty good but I still need more, I loved that Caleb is actually in the know now
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Even though PLL is ... well ... a dumb show, I always watch the new episodes, and so far this season I haven't been disappointed. It always feels like they're just going in circles and never make any progress in finding out who "A" is, but during this season they have. I am just disappointed that this season, we haven't gotten any Spencer/Melissa drama, and we haven't gotten that many Allison flashbacks like the one we got in this episode.
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PLL was great this week! I love how they answered the "Is Holden gay?" question very quickly, although it was pretty obvious he wasn't when he checked out that girl that passed by his little outdoor table after talking to Aria at school. I was happy when Ezra showed up to meet Aria, because I really thought that he wouldn't. I want them to be together, but I do not see how that is going to happen. And the biggest thing for me this week was the whole Toby & Spencer thing. I hope Toby is back soon because he is too cute to be gone.
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Lying Game was awesome this week because of Sutton. She's an awful human being and you have to give major props to Alexandra Chando to bringing alive two incredibly different characters that you forget it is one person acting. Sutton is the worst but you also kind of see her magnetism and why she gets away with everything, you're just drawn to her. Can't wait to see what kind of destruction she wrecks next
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When I first started watching The Lying Game, I had to look up Alexandro Chando on IMDB because I was sure she must be related to Charisma Carpenter, they look so much alike. I still have some trouble telling them apart in little thumbnail stills.
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