Pretty Little Liars: New Faces, Same Confusion

Pretty Little Liars S03E07: "Crazy"

I spent way too much time last night perusing the Pretty Little Liars Wiki. Honestly, though, can you blame me? This show gets more confusing every week, and with the introduction of new characters like CeCe Drake and Nate St. Germain, I’m not sure I can keep up on my own. (Also, can we talk about these names? Ridic.)

More than ever, it feels like PLL is juggling too much at once. "Crazy" was fun, but there was a lot to wrap my head around. The introduction of a new character, however intriguing, kind of put me on edge. I mean, I’m used to being stressed out by this show, but it’s a little weird to actually worry I’m not going to understand it all, right?

Still, this is Pretty Little Liars, not Game of Thrones. Even if I may have trouble keeping the names straight—again, those names!—I have a pretty good handle on what’s going on. I think.

And once I got used to CeCe’s presence, I started to like her. We need a mean girl on this show: Ali’s dead, Mona’s locked up, and Jenna’s—well, Jenna’s doing her own thing. While it’s not clear how involved CeCe will be in the overall mystery (my guess is heavily), I was honestly just glad to see someone go into crazy “B” mode again. When she called Jenna and threatened to scratch her eyes out? Delightful.

CeCe aside, part of my concern is that I’m never convinced Pretty Little Liars has a clear enough handle on where it’s going. I know these seasons are plotted out, and that there’s always an endgame in sight. But when we spend so much time on these diversions, I have to wonder if we’re being purposely led astray, or if the writers are just killing time until the next big reveal.

Take Ted, for example. Now CeCe has ties to the other characters: She used to date Jason, and she seems to have had a pretty significant influence on Alison. But seriously, what is Ted’s deal? Other than the fact that he may be the only available silver fox in Rosewood, I’m really not sure what he’s doing here. And while I’m glad Ashley and Ella are getting more screen time, their romantic subplots feel a lot like treading water.

Just watch—next week we’ll find out that Ted is secretly Alison wearing an older man costume. Or whatever, you get the idea. It’s naïve to think that anyone isn’t somehow involved in the mystery, so I should probably just be patient instead of complaining along the way. (Just let me keep complaining. It’s all that I have.) Hell, Ella’s new coffee shop owner love interest probably killed Maya. Stranger things have happened, is all I’m saying.

For me, the highlight this week was everything involving Mona, who is just way too good at playing fake-crazy. (We don’t believe she’s actually lost it, right?) Her creepy rhymes recalled the “A” of Seasons 1 and 2, but she’s obviously at a loss when it comes to Version 2.0. She seems genuinely threatened, too, and I love how protective she is of Hanna. Mona can never be an ally to the girls, but she will probably prove useful before the season is over. Well, unless the new “A” gets to her first.

The episode ended with the reveal of a creepy Maya-centric website—any guesses as to whether she made it, or whether it’s just about her? I’m thinking Maya had a lot more secrets than she ever let on. I’m glad we’re shifting focus back to Maya a bit, because we can only talk about Ali’s murder for so long. Besides, it’s not like the two aren’t connected. I just hope we get answers to one mystery before the next hiatus. Pretty please?

QUESTIONS:

– Is Jenna going to stay away from Nate, or does she want more out of him? Will Ted pick Ashley or Ella, and do we really care?

– Who will be the first to crack the password to Maya’s website?

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I'm late to the game, but I have one very important thing to say about this episode:

Dolls are creepy.
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1) Jenna will try to get with Nate in an attempt to get the dirt on Maya.

2) Ted will probably pick Ashley or neither of the two. So far, I don't really get his character. I mean, PLL never adds new characters without a purpose.

3) Caleb!
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The thing between Wilden and Hanna, I always knew there's this chemistry between them ever since season 1.
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@LawrenceCarel I don't think that'll be the password seeing as how Maya only said "I missed my dolls" and not "Please wait, I missed my dolls." I think it's more likely that the password comes from the first line that Mona said in the children's ward:



"Miss Aria- you're a killer, not Ezra's wife." or more appropriately "Maya Knew". Thoughts?
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I don't think it's the password but it's a good clue for the girls that Maya must have known something, maybe who A is? or Alison's killer. She clearly paid the price for knowing too much.
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I missed that one! Good observation!
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I agree that there are too many questions and it really is unclear where we are heading at this moment. It was a fun episode but not one of PLLs best.

I also loved Cece, but indeed, what's the deal? Is she just a random character or is she more than that? But I think she's fun, how she handled the whole Nate-Jenna situation, like it.

But really what are Ted and Nate still doing here, c'mon their stories are so boring and annoying to watch.

What I really disliked about this episode was Spencer, really girl, what's the deal?! She's all over Jason and even helps him do an hit-and-run. WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH HER!? Get your facts straight, Spence, weren't you supposed to be the smart one? I hope her drooling over Jason will be over soon, cause it's horrible to watch!

Still this episode had great suspense and the overall plot (Aria/Mona/Hannah) was great. I really loved that and it kept me forget the not so great parts. That's actually most of the times the case with PLL. The main plot always keeps the show going and the subplots always slow the episode down. Maybe they should pay a little more attention to that. However still loving PLL and I enjoy it every week.



Q's:

1. Probably not, because then Nate becomes extremely pointless to the story. Other than his interest in Jenna, he has nothing.

2. Ted, please, leave PLL now!

3. I hope Emily (her storyline has been really flat lately and I want her to give a little more to the show) but it will probably be Caleb, as mentioned in other comments.

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"Please wait. I missed my dolls"

PWIMMD

PW=IMMD?
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She never said please wait, so I don't think its the password unfortunately.
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Will Ted pick Ashley or Ella? I don't think he has a choice. Ella wants the owner of The Brew and Ashley's OTL is all the wine so Ted doesn't really have a shot. Unless he can bring charges against Hanna for something, it seems like his evenings are going to be filled with one-off dates and the right hand of God.





I'm also glad CeCe is around to single-white-female dead Ali. Someone needs to shake things up and choosing Emily as the first person to endear herself to is a nice step. Emily is so passive and, outside of Maya's death (which feels like AGES ago) and remembering her lost evening, she doesn't have a whole lot of action. Aria and Hanna are breaking into asylums and Spencer is saving her half-brother from a DUI arrest. What did Emily do this week? Go shopping and miss Ella at the coffee shop. Em needs to be brought into the proactive world.





Also: dear Nate, don't hit on your dead cousin's ex-girlfriend. It's rude
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How did A know that Hannah and Aria would sneak into the insane asylum so that Mona could somehow lure them into the nursery where the tape recorder was hidden? And what was the point, to make sure that Mona was still playing for Team A, instead of warning her old friend Hannah? The whole asylum-nursery scene seemed overly-contrived to me.



I don't mind the new people, because Team A has to send in new players, and they reveal more clues to unravel.
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crack the password, they gave that away in the previews Caleb duh the only one you can!!!, second I was not confused at looking forward to more CECE gee either she trained Aly or Aly trained her either way some one was in B I T C H in training mode , Ted will pick gee let me think no one Ashley and Ella will pass, another great episode period!!
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I think this episode was amazingly creepy and awesome. I didn't even have time to worry about stuff that we might not find out before the end of the season, because everything involving the asylum is just too damn great. The only thing that worries me is that the writers decide to go the way they did in the books, seeing how Alison keeps popping out and introduction of mental institution and children's ward, but I really hope they don't go that way. Still the episode was really good, can't wait for more :)
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@Foyboy: I was thinking the exact same thing...in the end there will be a whole lot of unresolved questions like LOST.
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Watching PLL for answers is like watching Lost for the answers; it won't end well. This show is about the crazy journey, not the destination.
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Glad I wans't the only one confused. I kept feeling like i needed to look up when this thing or another happened.
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Already when the show began, and the first episodes revealed to us were it was heading, I was wondering how it would keep the story interesting in the long run. And I think the beginning of this season has shown the limitations of the story.



The nature of the show leads to a writer's dilemma. The whole point of the story is about discovering the truth behind one mystery. So every episode has to deal with the same question hanging in the air, with the audience restlessly waiting for answers that bring us closer to the "ultimate truth". But no matter which road the writers take, it jeopardizes either the longevity or the show or simply makes it boring. If the writers reveal who A is, it's pretty much game over, and they have to move on to, for example, hunting down and catching A. While that might be interesting, it still kills the original mystery of the show. People might stop watching when they know the answer. On the other hand, there is the second option; pushing out more episodes which simply extends the story. This is what has been done so far, and I think that's beginning to frustrate people. The story is going around in circles, instead of moving forward. Not even small revelations will feel satisfying, when in reality they still don't bring us any closer to who A is. Every time we think we get answers, there is another door behind the one that was opened for us. Every time the girls find a clue, they follow the thread only to discover nothing at the end. Each tidbit of information just makes A seem more omnipotent, capable of sinking her claws into all areas of the girls' lives. In this episode A had managed to hide a recorder inside a doll in a closed off part of a mental ward! We know Mona is involved in the scheme, so is obviously Jenna, Garrett, maybe Lucas, and apparently everyone else that we have suspected at some point of being A, like Melissa and Noel. Has this brought us any closer to who is wearing the darn black gloves at the end of almost every episode? No.



Of course this is clearly the point of a show like this. This is what the audience signed up for. We are willingly kept on a leash which is loosened up a little, then tightened again. However, a game like that might be fun for a while, but how long does it keep us excited? Other shows can handle it differently. Procedurals might have a bigger story arch in the background, but deal with it only now and then. The separate stories each week keep us sufficiently entertained. I'm guessing Castle dealt with the murder of Beckett's mother in maybe six episodes out of 23 last season. Then we have shows like Dexter which have one mystery to solve each season. And then there are shows that really don't have a major plot line at all, they just keep us supplied with stories about relationships, life and all that.



If you're patient, like I think I've been, two fairly well paced seasons of PLL have kept me on the edge of my seat. But the first episodes of the third season raise the question: How long can this keep up? A third season of 24 episodes, supposedly with a few teasing revelations, but without a final answer? What then, a fourth season of the same? A fifth? Every now and then we need bigger revelations like Mona being an accomplice to A, but did even that actually sooth our need for answers? I feel PLL is an entertaining show, and I will keep watching it, but the set-up has its limitations. Most of the events, like visiting a creepy doll shop, just seemingly happen without furthering the story at all. There are all these clues which have mysteriously been spread around Rosewood, are somehow found by the girls, but eventually just lead to another clue, dead end or red herring. If I re-watched the show and wrote down all the things A has supposedly done and all the clues that have been found, I would probably realize that most of them have been conveniently forgotten as the show has moved on. This can become tedious in the long run, and it's all because of the style of the show. Nothing can actually be revealed about A's persona, without risking that the audience figures out her true identity.



I don't really know what the show should do to move on. Maybe it could create a mid-series conclusion, revealing the actual A, and then move on to another big mystery Allison had. If A was revealed, someone else could start sending the girls texts in the second part of the series, only to be revealed as Allison, alive and well. (Clearly a stupid idea, but it illustrates my point about a new mystery.) That might lead to some viewers losing interest, but it sure would be satisfying. Or maybe the show could even out the playing field between A and the girls. Now the girls are several steps behind A all the time. Them being helpless punching bags is a little frustrating to watch. It would be great if the girls every now and then discovered something of A's, crippling A's operations momentarily. Maybe they could stop A's plan at some point or find A's lair. I would want A and the girls to be worthy adversaries.
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