Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game: The Revelations Keep Coming

Pretty Little Liars S02E19: "The Naked Truth"
The Lying Game S01E16: "Reservation for Two"


Both Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game offered up some shockers last night—well, depending on how good you are at predicting things. While The Lying Game ended with a bigger “gamechanger,” it dragged a bit on its way to the big moment. (Incidentally, I wish ABC Family hadn’t ruined it in their promos.) Pretty Little Liars was more solid throughout: There were several compelling storylines to latch onto.

I’ll break Pretty Little Liars down into its separate plots, because there really was a lot happening on Truth Up Day. (Terrible name, but I thought some of the scenes in which students talked about the school being an unwelcoming environment were quite effective.) First, we had Hanna, Kate, and the topless photo: I’ll be honest, I never suspected Kate sent that herself. What a twisted conclusion to an already creepy plot. I’m glad Hanna was vindicated, but I hope Kate sticks around. Couldn’t “A” use another helper in her war against the girls? Also, I just love that Kate was exposed by Photoshopping her birthmark. Her fatal flaw was vanity!

Then we had the unlikely team-up of Emily and Mona working to get Em reinstated on the swim team. I thought the characterization of Vice Principal Tamberelli as a vindictive, bribe-taking authority figure was a little absurd, but hey, this is Rosewood. And of course that made his takedown all the more satisfying—I didn’t care about Emily getting back on the team so much as I wanted to see Tamberelli foiled. Mona’s involvement seemed strange: Is she really helping a friend out of the kindness of her heart? Either Noel dumping her had a lasting positive effect, or she’s got her own agenda.

What I liked about both storylines was the way they forced Hanna and Emily to confront their “mean girl” reputations. These girls have never really been bad—yeah, they’re “liars,” but what have they actually done? I loved Hanna confronting Ella with, “Am I a bully?” I even appreciated Tamberelli telling Emily, “You’re no saint. ... Maybe it’s time you take a look at what got you to this point.” Again, I don’t really feel as though these girls are culpable, but we need to get a sense of how Rosewood as a whole views them. Is it all that surprising that no one is really on their side?

There's not much to say about Aria and Holden, but I feel like my “fight club” prediction is right on the money. Anyone have doubts about this? What else could he be hiding?

Spencer’s storyline gave us the biggest revelation—though it’s something many of you had called already. Spencer’s dad is Jason’s dad, too. I loved Ali’s “subtle” hint in the flashback, re: a Melissa/Jason romance: “It would be a match frowned upon by the gods.” And Spencer’s outrage was great, particularly in the face of her mom’s weirdly calm explanation. We’ve needed more information on Mr. Hastings’ dark past for a while, and an illegitimate child is a step in the right direction.

It’s a credit to Pretty Little Liars that I haven’t even touched on Ali’s secret identity as Vivian Darkbloom. There’s obviously a lot more to that story, and I’m sure we’ll learn more in the coming weeks, but I was too captivated by the girls’ separate plotlines to worry too much about the central mystery. Then again, “A” usually finds a way to get him- or herself involved in everyone’s drama. Until next week, I’ve got plenty of questions to mull over:

– How does Jason’s paternity factor into Ali’s murder?

– When is Mona’s blackmail of the vice principal going to bite someone in the ass?

– Are the parents of Rosewood finally catching on? My only answer to that one is, "it’s about damn time."

While we’re on the subject of questionable paternity, let’s talk about The Lying Game. The series has been working for me in past weeks, and I’m still into it, but the first half of the season did not endear itself to me the way Pretty Little Liars did from the get-go. The Lying Game still has to earn my devotion, and Monday's episode wasn’t exactly what I needed it to be. (I wasn’t the only one bored to death by Ethan’s family drama, right? Fewer horses, please.)

Don’t get me wrong, there were parts of the episode that did work. I hope I don’t sound too cold when I say the repercussions of Derek’s murder are great for the series. Emma has had an easy time being Sutton for a while now, but as I said last week, the real Sutton’s return undermined her credibility. And now we have something as serious as a homicide to put her life under the microscope. How long can “Sutton” pretend to have been at the scene of the crime? It seems as though she’s only making things worse for Ethan with her very inconsistent version of events.

And while I’ve never had much fondness for Dan as a character, I’m glad he’s being forced to make some real choices and not just act as Alec’s lackey. Sending Ethan off was a bold move, which could have severe consequences for his career. Placing Alec and Dan at odds—or at least making Alec suspicious of Dan’s motivation—could also force Alec to reveal more of his dark side. Maybe he does believe Ethan is innocent, but the real reason for Derek’s murder must have something to do with the Emma/Sutton situation, and that’s not anything Alec wants uncovered.

But here's what's not working for me: Everything involving Laurel. I want to like her. I think her relationship with Sutton (well, Emma-as-Sutton) is actually pretty sweet. But this whole band subplot is a useless distraction. It doesn’t feel necessary to the show, and worse, it reeks of a cheap marketing gimmick. Wouldn’t you know it? You can buy an album with the music you heard on the show! That would be okay if this were Glee or Smash or, you know, any series where the music was key. But there is enough happening on The Lying Game without Laurel’s burgeoning music career.

See also: Justin. Unless he’s going to continue his revenge plot against Ted, I don’t see what he’s doing here. And I’m thinking he’s starting to realize that, too. If we can integrate Laurel and her boo into the main story more, I wouldn’t mind keeping both of them around. Right now, though, they kind of feel like dead weight.

Obviously The Lying Game’s final scene was a doozy: It didn’t make up for a hit-or-miss episode, but it was definitely a great moment. So, Mads now knows that “Sutton” is really Emma—where do we go from here? What really intrigues me is that this wasn’t a calculated move on Emma’s part. She blurted out her confession in a panic because she couldn’t handle being held accountable for Sutton’s crappy behavior. Even if Mads is cool with it (and personally I’d be pretty pissed), there will be consequences. How long can Alec stay in the dark when both of his kids know the truth about the twin swap?

One final thought: Alec telling Ted, “The closer I get to [Rebecca], the safer your secret is.” Rebecca and Ted are totally the biological parents of Sutton and Emma, right? That’s the secret that makes the most sense to me, but feel free to throw in your own speculation in the comments. And let’s find Laurel a better storyline, yeah?

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TLG - Laurel could be the twins' half sister then, bet she'd like that. Rebecca is hot but she is definitely up to something, she must know who the twins' parents are. She seems to like Alec even though he was mean to her as a teen - suspicious.



PLL - I enjoyed seeing Mona being nice to Emily, she gained a lot when Alison died but seems to understand the pull Alison had over the girls.



'A' is probably a girl who goes to their school, it is the only way to get all those secrets intimate about them.
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Does no one else think Alec killed Derek? In the episode where that happened, he was just getting back from somewhere when Rebecca showed up and said something like, "I thought you were staying close to home" because he was waiting for word of Mads, who was at the concert with Ryan. And since he was the one telling Derek what to do, he would be the logical one to want to keep him quiet. So I really think he's going to pin that on Ethan, using Dan and Emma/Sutton's crappy testimony to do it.



As for Emma telling Mads who she is, I'm pretty sure Mads will just think it's another lying game and not believe her.



The scenes with Justin/Laurel/Baz are really awkward and I hope they resolve that soon.
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Does no one else think Alec killed Derek? I don't think so. Thinking about it I'm more convinced that if a main character was a murderer it would mess up too much of the story lines. It has to be someone from Derek's drug dealing days. But I do think that there will be enough evidence to get Thayer and Mads to start doubting their Father as being an upstanding guy. And the winner is: REBBECCA.
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PLL:

I thought the truth thing was really powerful, I think anyone who has made it through High School could identify with those scenes.



I'm not sure how I feel about "Vivian Darkbloom" but then again we know nothing about her yet, hopefully the payoff will be worth it. I loved this episode, it left me wanting more which is something PLL is an expert at.
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Laurel is finding a new love. Bye bye Justin. Laure's new love is MUSIC. You go girl.
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Sara Shepard is the JJ Abrams for liars
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pll: the first call from the number in the jacket is Mona's as emily says later "i didn't recognize you on the principal's speaker" - good clue!

Loved the entire episode.



tlg: laurel looks like dead weight in the story, ever since the begining and the writers didn't get a way of going around it.

Hated the plot with ethan and sutton;

where was char on her ex's funeral?! anyone?



TLG is going down... it won't last that long if it continues like this.
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-I agree that Laurel needs a better storyline

-My bets are Mads doesn't believe Emma when she says she isn't Sutton; its too soon and too easy

-PLL was great all around
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Okay even if Mads didn't believe Emma, Thayer knows. If anything Mads would believe her brother, plus Emma's non-injury would prove she isn't Sutton.
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I WANT to see Emma strip off that band-aide and show Mads she's got NO head wound. BOOM! And then Theyer will chime in with the rest of the twins story. Emma HAS to find the killer(s) of Derek and that girl is going to need all the help she can get, not more conflicts. So I'm guessing the trio of Emma, Mads and Thayer will eventually I.D. the murderer(s) from Derek's drug dealing past. I cannot see the story line of the twins surviving if Derek's murder had to do with the twins.
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I wish Mads knew about Emma but I just don't know if its going to happen. Unless the writers are really well prepared, I don't know if the first season is the time for 2/3 of the characters to know the secret that is the premise of the show. It looses to much tension if most characters know of the switch
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But will all want even more of the primary characters to learn for themselves about the twins! Who out there wishes the Laurel would figure it all out before the end of this season? And Mamma Mercer putting all the hints together? Are you not wishing the Alec walk into a room and find both twins ready to Spanish Inquisition him? Oh the possibilities! But for now, bring on the Mads!
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im in the minority because i dont watch PLL, but yes i think sutton and emma;s bio-parents are ted and rebecca. i thought from the beginning ted had to be their real dad, because otherwise what the hell is his role in this?! and it mkaes a lotta sense rebecca being their bio mom, because of her timing, how unhappy ted was to see her, alec dating her to protect ted's "secret", the fact and she twins kinda look alike. and the only thing i want to happen for laurel is i want her to find out about the switch. She knows somethings up because her sister was horrible to her for most of her life, was a good sister for a few months, went back to being a bad sister and then became nice again. i really want emma to tell laurel the truth because her and laurel are really sweet
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If Ted is the father and he already knows that emma is in the picture (he saw sutton with thayer in LA) how come he is trying to frame one of them?
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that was alec who saw them, i dont think ted yet knows about the switch.
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Yes, that's true, it was alec.
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I don't think we have been shown the twins birth parents yet. Season two anyone? I think Rebbecca is on a take no prisoners mission of revenge on her high school tormentors. Rebbecca is using Laurel, Mads, Char and anyone she can to take Alec and Ted DOWN.
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The PLL girls were pretty evil back when Ali was alive, which I think everyone was referring to in the ep. I loved the show and it seems to be getting really good and less cheesy!
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I wouldn't say they were evil they just followed Alison's evil-ness. The taunting of Lucas, the shunning of Mona, ruining Noel's relationship for the hell of it, the blinding of Jenna all were Ali's ideas and they just followed along and anytime they showed the slightest hint that they weren't okay with going along she whipped them back into line with her insults, threats about revealing their secrets, and playing on their insecurities.
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