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Pretty Little Liars S05E01: "EscApe from New York"


Never have the Pretty Little Liars seemed more like the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers than they did in that random park in New York City. They were surrounded by Putties, all of them wearing different masks that spanned the illustrious history of A: conveniently positioned hoods, dollfaces, Alison faces, and, of course, the ever-useful screen mask. Some of them weren’t even former A masks, just goofy ones you can buy online. A Guy Fawkes mask. Some kind of crazy Venetian number. I’m surprised someone wasn’t wearing one of those Scream deals or an Eyes Wide Shut apothecary get-up. They bounced around like clowns, circling the Liars, menacing in numbers but kind of laughable in action. I half expected Alison to hop up on an Emily-Spencer standing pyramid base and flying kick one or two in the face.

But the police broke up the party and everyone scurried away like rats. No butt-kicking was to commence. The show did, however, find a somewhat subtle if terribly goofy way to let the Liars and the audience know that, yes, Virginia, there IS an A-Team. There are numbers who are willing to do any amount of heinous bidding for Uber A. And, as Emily seems contractually obligated to remind us every 10 minutes, A is always one step ahead. There is a syndicate out to get them.

What's all the more interesting is that this A syndicate is about to fight a turf war. The news of Alison’s return from the grave has been something of an invitation for all the crazies in Rosewood to reemerge. Melissa showed up at the end of Season 4, Shana’s back in the picture (well, for a while anyway), and even Lucas (Lucas!) has reappeared. I think I remembered Lucas as more of a Seth Cohen type than he really was, but to be fair, he didn’t really have much to do other than stand around and listen to the Queen of Rosewood Crazy, Mona Vanderwaal.

All this time Mona, has been on the cusp of redemption, edging slightly toward making amends with the peers she tortured, particularly with respect to Hanna. And even this latest move might almost be a way to save her friend from the clutches of the predator of outcasts, Alison DiLaurentis. While her motivation might conceivably be less vindictive than it was the first time around, Mona resurrecting an A team rings more like a schism. She’s an excommunicated cardinal raising a following of like-minded individuals (well, similarly interested individuals—no one is like-minded to Mona) who are ready to stand up to Alison upon her return. As she paced around that room, trying to remind everyone of Alison’s tyranny from over two years ago, I got the feeling that this was exactly how Mona got everyone involved in the first place. This was just a new wave, a fire in her belly with news of Ali finding her way home.

So Uber A had “bitch’s” army (according to Spencer, “bitch” is the gender-neutral pronoun for A) and Mona had her ragtag crew of geeks and sad sacks, probably including Paige at least for a little bit and, most importantly, Melissa. Melissa who told Spencer she’s been trying to protect Spencer from the beginning. Melissa who perennially ranks very high on the list of A suspects. Melissa, another daughter and another person who gives Papa Hastings reason to drink. The thing is, there was a third party ready to kill Alison.

While the A Army and Mona’s Heroes built toward an inevitable collision, there was a vigilante out there who was ready to rub Alison out, and she had the inside story. She was the one who helped spirit Alison away and the one who did Alison's bidding when Alison needed things done. She was an emissary and courier. She was a messenger and a cleaner. She was a pal and a confidante.

So when Shana turned on Alison, pointing the gun in her face, ready to snuff her out on a grand stage, it was exciting, for a lot of reasons. The fact that she was sniffing around town for information on what people thought of Ali and that she found nothing but sludge and misery meets our current dilemma with Alison's return. To circle back to something we talked about a lot during the second half of Season 4: Why do the Liars even want Ali back in Rosewood? She was nothing less than a Disney villain in mid-priced couture before she absconded, and now she's a lightning rod for high-stakes contrappassi and other cleverly executed trouble. The Liars will insist that she’s their friend but—is she?

The root of the argument is in the conversation that Not Rish and Melissa had near the beginning of this episode. Melissa was all for condemning Alison and even brought up how the Liars, Spencer specifically, are worse off with her around. That’s the side I feel many PLL fans can understand (putting those words in Melissa’s mouth is undoubtedly the start of the show's humanizing process for the character after seasons of vaguely demonizing her). We saw these flashbacks of Alison being completely terrible and unabashedly manipulative. Who wants that in their lives? But then Not Rish said those magic words: “You don’t know anything about where Alison’s been or what she’s gone through. I’m trying to reserve judgement.”


At what point has Alison finished her penance? She had to drop out of high school, disappear, run around the Eastern seaboard, live in basements and rusty warehouses, all the while looking over her shoulder for a very real, very organized enemy. Is this Alison we’re seeing actually grounded and disabused of her earnest narcissism, or is she just running a long con so she can sleep in a normal bed again? Spencer invoked the deception principle, but is Ali already using the girls as a ring of human shields?

She seemed plenty honest while standing on that stage with Shana and pointing the gun at her. She seemed to have heartfelt concern for Aria and whether Aria will let Ezra back into her life and further pursue Ali’s sloppy seconds. But she also wasn’t convincing enough to make one of her most trusted allies believe in her goodness in the face of all the bad things she’s done. You can blame Jenna and say that she’s just as manipulative as Ali (she did try to bone her stepbrother), and that her manipulation was complicated by Shana falling for her. But at the end of the day, Shana couldn’t deny the evidence, despite whatever Ali’s been feeding her all this time. Like Ali herself said to Ezra in the lone flashback in response to him telling her that she lies like she believes it: “If you can’t convince yourself, why should others believe you?”


That’s the deep moment of this confrontation. Alison probably doesn’t even believe in her own goodness enough to convince anyone else she’s worth fighting for. There was a desperation in her voice to tell her that Jenna’s a bad guy, but there was nothing she could really say with all the staggering evidence that Shana had heard. And yet, here were these four girls willing to drop a woman off a stage to her death in order to let Alison go home. Aria murdered someone, you guys. Shana, who must have a cranium like a like a hard-boiled egg shell, died on the floor of the Fitzgerald Theater, under the music stands, by the hand of the slightest girl on the show holding the butt of a prop rifle.

Obviously it was Ezra’s tip that led Aria back to the theater to take Shana out before she took down Alison, and these girls are pretty willing to believe anything if it means any measure of respite. But Shana being A doesn’t fit. Sure, everyone who’s part of Alison’s network seems to treat the Liars like dog crap, but to spend time individually and collectively torturing the girls doesn’t seem like Shana. And possibly blowing Alison away doesn’t really seem like A’s style. Shana sounded more like she thought that killing Ali was like killing the head of the snake. No more trouble would befall anyone after Ali was dealt with. I understand how Ezra might've confused Shana for A since she was skulking around a darkened Rosewood while doing errands for Alison. But, if I’m right about Shana being a vigilante and the A Team had no prior knowledge to her plans, it makes Ezra about as useless as ever. All that surveillance and he can’t even get A right. Gah.

It looks like we have quite the season ahead of us. There’s intrigue within the group (can they trust each other? Who’s in charge? Can there be a real honesty between them?) and intrigue outside the group (will the A Army absorb Mona’s Cult, eliminate it, or fall to a Vanderwaal sling? How many people are involved in organizations dedicated to destroying Alison? Can this end in a “Beat It” style, wrists-tied-together knife fight?) while still maintaining all the old mysteries (what does Melissa know that she wants to tell the police? So who is A then? Will Ezra find a way to use this shooting as an opportunity for lip-jutting-out pleas for forgiveness so he can maintain his “unconventional” romance?). “EscApe from New York” set a fine a table without leaning heavily on flashback and awkward exposition, devices that would be so tempting. There’s a lot of promise here. But is there enough promise for this and then TWO MORE SEASONS? Let’s find out.


NOTES

– OMG. Shana riding the ambulance.


– This episode was basically a tribute to the sad, disappointed, and put-upon faces of Papa Hastings. Drink that brown, sir. You’re going to need all that brown.


– The Liars are in the news so often they should probably have a catchy name. The Rosewood Four?


– Holbrook: “Cece Drake escaped police custody.” OF COURSE SHE DID. What’s an episode of Pretty Little Liars without the police being comically inadequate? Then he went on to tell the Hastings that their daughter may be in “more trouble than ever.” Maybe Holbrook's entire life is built on wandering around his quiet suburban existence and muttering promo trailers.

– Speaking of Cece Drake, we sure did learn a lot about her in "EscApe from New York," did we not? She was the one who killed Detective Dead Eyes McCreeperson. She wasn’t Red Coat, except for that one time Alison needed a decoy to save Emily from the biggest buzzsaw in Ravenswood. And she is able to mumble some French. No sign of Bruce, though, so it was a little disappointing.

– Look at Paige being the reluctant participant in her cool-guy (leather?) jacket and almost walking out on Mona’s Heroes entirely. Paige is the kind of woman who knows that Emily, with all her victimized baggage, is still the best chance she’s got to find happiness in Rosewood. With so few swimmers in town, I imagine people get around to practice with the same people quite often. Paige needs to lock that down.

– Holbrook taking a leap of faith on calling the Fitzgerald Theater in the middle of the night was possibly the most ridiculous thing he’s ever done for this case. I think he needs Detective Not Sean Young to ground him.

– Your Moment of A: None, it doesn’t seem like. Just this shot of Shana ready for her chalk portrait.

What did you think of Pretty Little Liars' Season 5 premiere? Where do you think the show is headed?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 3/15/2016

Season 6 : Episode 20

51 Comments
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You know, I'd decided to stick it out and watch PLL to the end because I sort of want to know what happens, but I can't take another three seasons of this. This show has dragged on for much, much longer than it should have. It feels old and worn, and to me at least it doesn't seem worth it anymore. I think it should have been wrapped up a few seasons ago, and this is just excessive.
Who knows, maybe I'll come back to it eventually. For now though, I'm done.
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(¯`*•ø,¸¸,ø¤º★º¤ø,¸(¯`*•.¸ Love this series ¸.•*´¯)¸,ø¤º★º¤ø,¸¸¸,ø•*´¯)
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"But is there enough promise for this and then TWO MORE SEASONS? Let’s find out." my thoughts exactly

where's calebbbbbb?
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I don't know why alison thinks sharan is A....her mother is protecting someone.....certainly no reason to protect her....
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They were surrounded by Putties, all of them wearing different masks that spanned the illustrious history of A...I half expected Alison to hop up on an Emily-Spencer standing pyramid base and flying kick one or two in the face. &----This right here-HILARIOUS! And so on point!
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i guess shana was not A..just another charecter wanted 2 kill alison!!!
about melisa..i think she killed the other girl who is in the grave...and all these years she thought she had killed alison!!!
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My initial reaction to Aria killing Shana? HOLY SHIT, maybe she'll get an interesting storyline!! But then I thought better of it cause that wouldn't revolve around Ezra.

I halfway feel like having Shana as an "A" was a copout. It's like, "Here's let's introduce this random character that seems shady from Day 1. And if Shana knew Ali was alive and wanted to hurt her (and would have been able to meet her), why even bother with the others? It seemed like Ali was the only one she was really worried about. But I guess I should just be grateful that we got some form of an answer so quickly.

I am interested to see how things play out this season, especially in regards to the group dynamics. I'm also curious to how long the girls will get a reprieve from -A and how Mona's Army will factor into all of this. Will they just target Ali or will the girls be hurt by it all as well? How far will Mona's Army go? Will they be the -A type figure for the immediate future? And how long will Lucas pretend he's a hard ass now?
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Urg , i knew it was too good to be true and that they wouldnt get rid of that Ezra creep . THey'll even milk the shooting as a way to get him back into Aria's pants .
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I can't believe they renewed this show for another good season. It should have ended after Season 2.
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two seasons*
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Really glad Ezra is alive. I actually wasn't surprised by the Shana thing, but I do wonder whether it was the writers intention for her from the start as she always seemed like a really random character.
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LOL at Shana being the "A"... she was so random since day 1, it was like writers tried to make her important but she was so random first she was apparently dating Page, then she was into Jenna, next she randomly enrolled in Rosewood High and joined Rosewood swim team (of course) and then she was a childhoold friend of Alison.. so now this, damn this show sure know how to introduce random characters.... like all the random extras that were on Mona's I hate Alison Club.

I'm the only one that thinks is weird that Alison has history with Ezra and seems to care about him when they have barely interact in the show?

This was an entertaining episode, ohh PLL now I know that I can have at least 3 more summers with this non sense entertaining of this show.
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"The Liars are in the news so often they should probably have a catchy name. The Rosewood Four?"

It's ironic you said that, since them being in the news is exactly how the books got their title. After news pops ups about the girls in the books, the media dubs them as the "pretty little liars".
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That's not irony, love.
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basically anyone we think is good in Rosewood is bad and everyone we think is bad is good.
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That scene with the many faces of A was the lamest ever... I'm really hoping having Ali back will change up the dynamic of the group...and I'm hoping Ali can earn some redemption. Shauna=one of the many people introduced into the mix that she just didn't matter, her death was very underwhelming. This show has too many characters and unfinished stories that I dont even remember how they connect in the first place
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"The Rosewood Four" It's so lame...it's borderline pathetic :D
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1. Ezra is Alive (Surprise)
2. Lucas is Back (yay, not yay, yay ...)
3. Cece is gone for good (I hope, no more doppleganger please we have Vampire Diaries)
4. Melissa have a secret (AGAIN)
5. Noel Kahn is ... (fill the blanks)
6. Mona is a leader of the AdLHA (Alisson diLaurentis Haters Anonymous, yeah anonymous someone know the twin with glasses nope so anonymous)
7. Shana is dead (I don't see her finger move so dead)
8. Finally a good Police officer in Rosewood (I don't remember his name sorry), but he find the real name of Ezra in only One episode not an entire season and the Liars.
So PLL will be back for season 5, 6 and 7.
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the show's headed into a wall, just like it's been doing for more than two seasons, who gave a F*** about Shanna????
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One question keeps popping up... What do you have to do to piss off so many people at once? Enough to want to kill you? Over the course of 18 years?
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Mona's "Who has personally felt victimized by Allison DiLaurentis? Everyone? Ok good" meeting was pretty fantastic.
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at least i'm down to half watching this mess. it used to be so good, but now everything just feels awful. also, acting.
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There is no way Allison has been hiding in basements and abandoned theaters for two years. Did you see her hair? That is not an on-the-run 'do. If she's been hiding anywhere it has been at a day spa.
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You have to wonder how she managed to survive by laying low, when in this episode, she decided meeting up with a wanted fugitive in a populated coffee shop would be a good idea
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Oh and you know that gun that Shanna had was the same one Hanna gave to Aria. It was in her coat. And thay was the one that shot Ezra right?
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I think we can assume that the NYPD is gonna be a little more competent than Rosewood PD. They might actually remember to dust it for prints. :)
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yep, which means it has Hannah and Aria's fingerprints on it..and not Shana's because she was wearing gloves
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So the liars either killed someone or witnessed a man-slaughter and then one of them just casually suggests they go home? and then when they do call the police about it, they leave? thats deffo illegal and a lot more imorral than the accidental murder itself. Im finding it difficult to empathize with these girls at the moment.
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All of this started with the girls doing something illegal and attempting to cover it up, only to be blackmailed by A into doing more illegal stuff. Really, this whole mess would have ended if they had just confessed to blinding Jenna.
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Ugh, that's a point, are they now gonna be blackmailed by A because, he/she knows aria killed shana? I hope not, it'll REALLY prove the rosewood police incompetence if they didn't already figure that the liars were involved in that. PLL is always at its worst when the plot is TOO unrealistic. I know the whole thing is unrealistic and so cut it some slack a lot of the time, but sometimes it just takes the piss.
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Thinking about this last night, it seems with Shana's actual admission to things and things we know Mona was responsible for...I am actually not sure if there has actually been a separate A who has been torturing the Liars themselves. I mean, I think you can list and connect up responsibility of a lot of things. I don't think this means that there isn't a Uber A and that person is responsible for whoever is truly after Ali, but I am kind of tempted to think that we just haven't met that person yet. Like, I won't even be surprised to find out that Jenna may have been helpful to both Mona and Shana at some point, but that she considers her justified revenge on them done and she hasn't even begun on Ali herself yet.

I am curious about this whole Mona angle thing. I mean, I think I will have a hard time really empathizing with a lot because I can't get back what she did, and what Lucas now might be willing to do, to Hanna and I will have a hard time swallowing a Paige redemption story if she decides to just be a mole in the army out of sheer curiousity, but it is a new angle to the show that might be interesting.

And still what on earth does Melissa know that impacts her father? He knows that Spencer has known about Jason for awhile and hasn't actually said anything, right? I mean, I don't even know if Jason knows that she knows he is her brother.
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yeah Jason knows Spenser knows. My bet is that is has something to do with the girl in the ground, that was the aspect Melissa was upset about
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I'll stick around for time being,probably till winter finale,all depends on episodes,but if Shauna was really A (weak),then what will they do? Girls(yes girls,not women(refering to show)-actresses are around 25-ish,Sasha youngest 18,but Troian is already 29) should already graduate long time ago.

At least thank God Ezra didn't lose his memory or something and was somewhat usefull.
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This show is just so absurd, which is what makes me love and loath it all at the same time. I know this is wishful thinking at this point but would it really be so terrible if the writers gave us anything to work with. Especially now that the show has been extended until season 7, I fear we will never get any answers and continually get strung along.

None of the reveals excite me like they used to because I know it is just another red hearing or some strange bit of misdirection. Like who believes Shauna is actually A, no one. Heck, she probably wasn't even part of the A team at all but instead was method acting for her upcoming broadway audition or some other random thing the writers will invent.

So we learned that CeCe murdered Wildon, which on the surface was nice but at the same time we have no idea why she did that and who really cares?. Don't even get me started on the continuing "Melissa has a secret" saga. We get it, she has a secret! tell us already or stop mentioning it.

I don't know, I used to like this show but with every new episode I find myself being more and more annoyed with it. I really hope Ali returning will spice up the group dynamic and push the show into some kind of fresh rhythm.

Also, no one seemed very concerned that they just watched Aria kill someone! Just saying
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The show was absurd from the beginning. Think about it, all of this happened because one teenage girl pissed off 90% of the town.
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That scene on the playground for was so cheesy haha. It was an OK episode expected more shazam
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Good, but with the news of renewal through season 7, we will not get any answers soon. Like that all of Ali's bullied people are getting together, maybe they can start their own secret group with white dressed people and blue coa
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I was thinking the same thing. New -A team which will be -B for the word that rhymes with witch??
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Um..so that wasn't actually horrible. I actually...yes, this is actual enjoyment. Too bad Ezra is about two seasons behind the girls in suspects....well at least we are knocking down pegs to get to Uber A. I almost wonder if it could be as easy as Jenna at this point. Anyway...my two basic points I thought

1. So, we aren't supposed to think Melissa Hastings is evil incarnate anymore? But maybe Mr. Hastings is? What the hell else does he have to hide? I mean, he knows that at the very least Spencer knows about Jason, right?

2. And I really hope Holbrook sticks both with being the only non creeper man on the show who isn't Caleb or Toby and not a bad guy at all because, hey, a competent and pretty good detective. He might solve this whole thing!
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Holbrook isn't creepy? The more show makes him nice,more creepy he gets for me. I don't know,if it's actor,character or show ,but something's off.
When they portrayed Caleb as someone shady,this and that,I knew it can't be him,because it's PLL.
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I guess just in comparison I am not finding Holbrook creepy. I am mildly concerned that they are going to explain the whole Ravenswood escapade as that Caleb had some sort of mental breakdown.
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I wouldn't blame anyone for thinking Holbrook is creepy just because of PLL's base tenet: "Everyone with a penis is a suspect." Most men on this show have some dark, awful history that usually involves taking advantage of young girls somehow so the fact that Holbrook seems so nice and honestly invested in solving this case makes you wait for the other shoe to drop.

But I also believe Holbrook is the nicest adult male on the show. Except for that weird flirty relationship with Hanna (that culminated in a kiss that he outwardly rejected), he seems to pave everything he does with good intentions.
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But alas, I guess you are reminded of the saving of where good intentions lead...
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Entertaining episode but we all know shani wasn't A.
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very true ,but one A Team member off the team!!!!
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And 5 more will now sprout up before Caleb is the next boyfriend accused of being A :)
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