Pretty Little Liars Explodes... in a Good Way; The Lying Game Fizzles

Pretty Little Liars S02E23: "Eye of the Beholder"
The Lying Game S1E20: "Unholy Matrimony"

On Monday, Pretty Little Liars was explosive while The Lying Game fizzled out. Disappointing, given that the latter actually wrapped up its season. I’m pleased with the way Pretty Little Liars has upped the stakes and made Mondays enjoyable again, but I don’t think I’m alone in wishing The Lying Game had stepped it up. Aside from that final moment, it left me a little cold.

But first, let’s talk about Pretty Little Liars, which I mostly quite enjoyed. Like I said last week, it still feels like we’re saving up for the big finale, but we did get a literal fiery explosion, so I guess I can’t complain about the show taking things slowly. We also saw another side of the characters, which is always something I’m looking for in a series. I like it when submissive people develop backbones, or villains start to show compassion. In real life, people are far more complicated than too many teen shows make them out to be, and I appreciate PLL working on its character development.

In this episode, I was especially pleased with Ezra standing up to Ella and Byron—not because I necessarily think he’s right, but because he needs to take a more assertive role in his relationship with Aria. If he wants her parents to believe that she is grown-up enough for an adult relationship with a man, then he needs to defend that position. I’m enjoying the relationship between Ezra and Ella, which is cold but gently thawing. It makes sense to me that Ella would try to do what’s best for her daughter without forgiving Ezra for what she sees as taking Aria’s innocence. It also follows that Byron would not even be a little bit interested in negotiation.

And I loved seeing more of Jenna’s vulnerable side. I mean, she’s never really been a villain through and through—there is always the sense that she’s also a victim here, and not just because Ali and the girls accidentally blinded her. But she seemed genuinely touched (albeit confused) by Hanna rescuing her from the fire. I’m hoping by the end of this season she becomes an ally, as I still don’t think she’s directly involved with “A.” If someone wants her dead, too, it makes sense that she would try to pool her resources with former enemies. And God knows the liars could use a little help.

I will say the continuation of the “A” mystery is probably what worked for me least in this episode. PLL keeps adding more characters and more possibilities, and I guess I’m just feeling worn out. I’m ready to arrive at a conclusion, or perhaps move on to something else. The scene with Duncan and Aria in the airplane was just silly—I accept that Ali felt threatened by someone, so I could have done without the reminder. And we didn’t really learn anything. I’m sure all of this “Vivian” stuff will become important, but right now we’re just being strung along.

I guess I should touch on the romance a bit. At this point, I have little invested in Spencer and Toby, because let’s face it, that way lies badness. But I don’t really get the appeal of Wren either, aside from the fact that he’s really attractive. Would Melissa ever be okay with Spencer dating her ex-fiancee? The Hastings family has suffered enough: Maybe Spencer should date someone, you know, new. I did appreciate Spencer saying, “Don’t confuse fate with really bad luck.” I think that covers a lot of what these liars have been through.

I didn’t realize Monday’s episode of The Lying Game was the season finale, and I’m actually glad. Too much build-up would have made it even more disappointing. Look, it wasn’t terrible—we didn’t get a single performance from Laurel’s band!—but the whole thing felt very inconclusive. That might be okay for a subtler drama, but The Lying Game (like Pretty Little Liars) rests on the big reveals and shocking moments. We got some in this episode, but we already kind of called it, right?

The episode dragged out two major revelations: that Rebecca is the twins’ biological mother, and that she and Ted had an affair. (I’m sure he’s the biological father, and that’s the other half of the secret. I don’t understand why they didn’t confirm this as well, unless I’m totally off track.) The problem is that we basically knew both of these things already, especially that Ted and Rebecca were somehow involved. Seeing Kristin slowly find out was upsetting, but it wasn’t a shock. Frankly, I thought she’d catch on a lot sooner.

The big surprise was, of course, learning that Sutton and Rebecca are working together. I will give The Lying Game props—that’s not something I saw coming. And while it gets me excited about the show’s second season, it’s really a tease of a cliffhanger. I understand that the series needs to leave us wanting more, but there’s something particularly frustrating about this exciting of a plot development being dropped so haphazardly. (Full disclosure: I didn’t even see this when I first watched, because my DVR clipped the end of the show. Damn you, ABC Family.) The most exciting part of the episode shouldn’t happen over the credits.

Otherwise, there was a lot I felt “meh” about. Honestly, I think Emma is overreacting to Ethan’s brief moment with Sutton: It just feels like manufactured tension. We know these two are going to end up together, and I hate the fact that the show is dragging it out for the sake of drama. I also hate that we’ll probably need to see Emma and Thayer hook up, then break up, before we see her back with Ethan. I’m not an insane shipper—I accept that characters break up, and I like what switching up the dynamic can do for a show. I just don’t buy this particular break-up, not after what Emma and Ethan have been through.

Finally, I’m glad Alec was arrested for Derek’s murder, even though I’m sure he didn’t do it. I think taking him to court could reveal some of the secrets he’s still hiding, but again, it felt underwhelming. So much of this episode struck me as inevitable: I like when my teen mysteries catch me off-guard, and aside from Rebecca and Sutton’s evil plan, The Lying Game didn’t do that for me. Either way, I’m looking forward to next season, and I hope the writers are working on a more cohesive arc. I need to know what other lies these people are hiding, and why they’re worth killing over.


Questions: Pretty Little Liars

– Is Jenna going to join forces with our core four?

– Should Spencer hook up with Toby, Wren, or someone entirely different?

– Is Maya gone for good?


Questions: The Lying Game

– What’s the end game for Rebecca and Sutton?

– Can Kristin forgive Ted, or are they headed for divorce?

– When will Sutton stop throwing herself at Ethan?

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My challange to everyone is to compare The Lying Game agains a list other TV shows that had a season reveal, other than Bobby stepping out of the shower that left the previous season of Dallas as just a dream, that had changed the dynamics of what the viewer had spent all season with. Movies, I can name a few, like The Crying Game big reveal two thirds through. Hay, even the greatest of them all, "No, Luke. I am you father." can be mentioned in the same post. So if you have a TV drama season ending reveal better than learning Sutton and Rebecca had been plotting agains the viewer all season long, please list them......
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OH I forget TLG great as well!!!
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First of Kristin has no clue at all, on the hammer is about to crashed down, Ted is toast , that is Rebecca's endgame Ted but this is the bigger question since we saw Sutton and Rebecca (mom which if you didn't know that, you were not paying attention) does Rebecca's endgame include Emma, I am sure she know's that they switched, SUTTON will not give up on her and Ethan now for PLL great as usual
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The other half of Teds secret is that Kristen has been raising as her own the daughter of her husband and his mistress. When Kristen finds out, what will that do to the Kristen Emma-being-Sutton mother/daughtr relationship?
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I do not feel sorry for Jenna AT ALL, I mean I don't think she deserves to die in a fire but SHE RAPED HER BROTHER. And looks very much like she plans to do it again!! I mean seriously, send that girl away to an institution. I appreciate Spencer for continuing to remind us of this. Toby is the victim here, not stupid Jenna. She deserves whatever she gets.
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A is actually an ancient town conspiracy, and the ancients are A..... Or is that the Secret Circle?
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The Lying Game had THE best reveal since the movie The Sixth Sense. We viewers have been lied to for all 20 episodes. Each episode now has completely different story lines that we now know the evil alliance of Sutton and Rebecca were in control before the first scene of episode one. The above review of TLG seems to have missed a bigger picture. This has been the best TV show of all time, the most evil villain since J.R. Ewing, and a twin so wicked that the dictionary has a new definition; SUTTON.
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hold the fort, granted Sutton is an evil B!tch but but but if mention good ole JR you must be a Dallas fan!! which I am too looking forward to June and TNT for the reboot, okay back to it Sutton does not come close to JR let me throw some names out their Abby Knot's Landing Alexis Dynasty, Paige Knots Landing are worse than Sutton but I do agree this was an awesome episode, I'm sure about the end game with Rebecca, Sutton but if you did not know the Rebecca was the mother you was not paying attention TLG is just great
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Great post bkyle2429. Details are spot on. And of course I'm compelled to add to the discussion. As bad as J.R. Ewing was, he only framed Mackay for murder. Abby never killed anyone. Neither did Alexis. And Paige accidently killed Peter during an arguement, But in The Lying Game, Sutton murdered in cold blood Derek, and that is a first! In addition, the evil alliance destroyed, in just one season, three families. What do you think?
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I think A is Mona,,, but from last 2 episodes,,, someone else is taking over.. that even Mona doesn't know
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For the lying game:



- Maybe to destroy Alec, Ted, and maybe leave a few more bodies here and there? hehe I keep thinking Rebecca killed Derek.



Divorce. I hate cheaters.



Probably not. But I wish she would.



One of the things I loved about TLG was the fast pace, now it's kindda dragging along. I really wish we didn't have to go through the Emma-Thayer thing. The Sutton and Rebecca reveal was a good one, but I think they should have given us one or two more.
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I knew the lying game was going to be kind of boring since this entire half of season 1 they've moved pretty slow and the most interesting thing to happen was Ethan getting framed.
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I am rutting for Jenna to be redeemed, but the core four did blind her and pulling her out of an exploding building doesn't really make up for what she's been through. Toby is my guy!! Spencer belongs with him, Wren is fun but INAPPROPRIATE!(5 to 7 year gap) (doctor and a high school student)!! haha

Maya is probably being held hostage by A and she's gonna be a bargaining tool or something, .. or she's A. either or, not invested in her!
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Aaand. I hope Maya is gone for good. And more Wren! YUM
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I wonder who does Jenna's hair. Is it Toby? Hmm..
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PLL:

-- No, too much bad blood. And a Jenna with sight is as bad as Alison

-- I more for Toby.

-- Yes



Lying Game:

-- One big happy (completed messed up) family

-- I'm hoping she can forgive him, just so Rebecca doesn't get what she wants.

-- Never she will always want what she can't have. Right now Ethan b/c he wants Emma. Later who ever Emma wants.
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i also thought the lying game was a boring finale, because we all already knew that rebecca is the twins mom and while it was surprising that she;s working with sutton, it didnt have as much impact as it should;ve because the rest of the episode was so blah. i mean, rebecca wanted her new husband to get arrested? if that;s the case, sutton is a chip off the old sociopathic block.

i think kristen will start to forgive ted, then the whole he-fathered-twins-one-of-whom-they-raised-as-their-own-with-his-best-friend's-new-wifey thing will come out and that;ll be it for them.

no, sutton will never stop throwing herself at ethan, and i hope to heaven he keeps shutting her down, although im afraid he;ll give in if emma and thayer hook up.

only one thing i have to dispute: if you don;t think alec killed derek, then who did?
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Rebecca, she more than likely took that picture of alec threatening that guy, then she killed him and took the tire iron and planted it in the house once sutton said that they would be searching his house.

Think about it he is a DA he know the risk of keeping evidence and he is not the type to handle his real dirty work that sloppy.
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PLL:



1. Hmmm, dunno, but that could be really interesting!

2. Someone new. And hot. Can never have too many hotties in this show!

3. Hope so, cos she was annoying as all heck!!
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I thought they were both good, I did not see the ending coming at all but I thought it was good, also awesome episode of PLL too and can't wait for finale
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I didn't realize it was the finale either. Disappointing.
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