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Pretty Little Liars S05E02: "Whirly Girly"


That bus pulls into Rosewood and the Liars get off, only to see Alison find herself facing a decision. She looks out at her four damaged friends and considers what it would mean to be back in this silly, soapy town. What would being back afford her? A warm bed? A stable life? Four walls that aren’t rusted and covered in roach doo-doo? Maybe. But you have to assume, after two years of wandering around the tri-state area in paranoid nomadic homelessness, that she also considered the far heavier bad stuff.

Would she have known the specifics as she stood on that bus step? No. No one could. Because they’re all too ridiculous. I feel like it’s been a while since we’ve had an episode with sequences that were so forced and dialogue that was so inconsistent. That’s a generous descriptor for the episode, "inconsistent." There were so many peaks (most of which came from Hanna), but the valleys were so very deep. Chasms of sudsy, laughable, word vomit. Consider Mama Hastings’ answer when Spencer asked whether Melissa was back from London.

”Oh, yes. And don’t expect any souvenirs because all she brought back was attitude."

That was followed by the longest pause I’ve ever heard someone take on television. If this episode had been a live sports broadcast or aired during the golden age of radio, it would've just been dead air and someone would’ve been fired. It was the kind of awkward pause so cavernous and desperate it makes you want to just crawl off somewhere and die. Mercifully, she finished her thought.

”And secrets.”

WHAT. IS. THAT? Here’s the thing. Troian Bellisario, who’s been on a roll lately with her rational if short screeds about the state of the TV and film industry and its effect on young audiences and actresses, recently took to The Hollywood Reporter to implore members of the Television Academy to not ignore primetime teen soaps when mulling their Emmy nominations. It’s something worth discussing, how these wildly popular shows with depth to their storytelling and a very specific genre school of acting only seem to be awarded orange surf boards and plaques attributed by “the people” and not “a discerning group of your professional peers.” And Pretty Little Liars, foolish as it may be to many of us, usually maintains a level of quality that supercedes its brethren in polish, chemistry, and complexity. Usually. This was an unfortunate week, days after Bellisario's plea made its way to the masses, for PLL to air an episode that introduced a Chekhov's Dog in the first 20 minutes and had Jason, you know, there.

Now, with all that being said, this show does know how to have fun. Hanna pulling items out of the fridge as she was about to embark on a journey of nervous binging that we haven’t yet seen and asking about whether the giant brick of cheese in her hand would melt (to which her exasperated mother responded, “All cheese melts, Hanna”) was so funny, as so much of what Hanna says is. She is the Sawyer, the Sheldon, the Badger, the Roger Sterling of PLL. She is clearly the writers' favorite person, the one they like to gift with all the best one-liners (Spencer is a close second). And it’s a great example of how the show can be funny without forcing injections of cornball. You don’t have to crowbar in campy bits; you can maintain its trajectory and keep the humor without dipping into narrative tomfoolery.

Aria spent the entire episode living out an orchestral version of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by imagining Dead Shana’s violin-playing morning, noon, and night. Emily tried to keep the peace and defend Ali even though everything around them is falling apart. And Spencer, in an all-too-short bit of enlightenment, ignored a phone call only to find the Jason sitting by himself in the dark. And all of them are killing me by assuming Shana’s death is the death of A.

One the hardest things to swallow in this episode was how everyone still maintained that Shana must've been A. It was most disappointing from Spencer, who should've been the first to realize that Shana had no beef with the Liars per se, only the monster in their midst. Why would that be the same person sending them on high-stakes scavenger hunts and punishing them for crimes that don’t involve Alison? It doesn’t add up. Last week's premiere left me convinced that Shana is a red herring. This episode made me feel like PLL is trying to pull a fast one. If Shana is indeed supposed to be that frightening woman Mona was so scared of, that would be the greatest travesty perpetrated by the show to date. Because Shana comes off as just a woman on the brink for love, while Mona is a bad, bad lady.

Alison stood in the mausoleum with her grave and the body of the woman people said was her, hoodie over her head like a babushka (unlike Hoodies who wear their hoods like, well, hoods), and told Mona about her contrition. She’d been to Hell, she said, and it was easy getting there but coming back was hard. She didn’t apologize, but she did remark that she’s paid some amount of penance. And Mona looked at those sad little eyes and told her Alison is going to wish she’d stayed dead. Mona feels she doesn’t have to hide anymore. She can be very open about her distaste for the blonde scourge. She’s a grassroots villain. If hatred for Alison is church, Uber A is the Vatican—but Mona is a ramshackle house where the people actually go, the one that touches peoples lives, the one with the distilled, localized, and potent message. She’s mobilizing. And that’s scary.

Because, most importantly, with a single text message, Mona was able to get Alison to lie where it was least welcome. After a “pact” was agreed upon by the Liars where they would all start telling the truth, no matter the consequences, starting with what Ali did to Jenna oh so long ago and continuing all the way through what happened to Shana, Alison had one look at that text and spun a completely different yarn to Holbrook about being kidnapped for two years. Now all the Liars are back to lying about everything. It’s all snowballing, their stories being constructed on the fly. Even though there was a reason for it, a threat, they are, indeed, all back on Planet Alison. Bringing her back into their lives is only making things more complicated, not bringing any joy.


So, in that moment standing on the step of the bus, deciding whether to alight in the town of her ruin, Alison probably couldn’t understand the specifics of what two nights in Rosewood would entail. But she felt there was at least a chance of disaster, for her and/or her friends. So she turned back, her one last chance to slip away into the darkness and save herself and the women she’s brought down with her. But Emily, poor silly Emily, pulled her off and told her she doesn’t have to run anymore. Because A is dead. And there are no more threats. And Rosewood will be safe as long as they start telling the truth.

Now, two nights later, Mona has a new cult prepared to take her down, Spencer seems willing to be the voice of reason in cutting ties with her, and Chekhov's Dog has found her mother buried in the backyard (alive, if you recall). Was that warm bed worth it?


NOTES

– Did episode director Joanna Kerns make an Abbey Road reference here in the opening of the episode? Between this and so, so many extreme close-ups, Mrs. Seaver is making some bold choices.


– Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is the first time Papa diLaurentis has showed up since the Mona Code-heavy episode “Crazy” back in Season 3. Not John Slattery gave an inspired performance for a father who insists he’s an engaged father but has only been around three times in four (and change) seasons. Though he also came off creepy, along with every other dude in this episode. “Everyone with a penis is a suspect” in full effect.

– Jason is really running with that EWAPIAS ball. Sit alone in the dark some more, dude. That’s how normal people live their lives: in the shadows, ready to scare young girls. He’s also texting in secret (he hid it when Alison comes out to sit on the porch) and, of course, visiting that older apartment building in the “bad neighborhood”—the one filled with frightening, lispy old men. Probably Jason’s future.

– Aria was reading Paradise Lost and wore a shirt that said “You’re No Good.” Maybe a touch heavy-handed.

– Whistles and apps for everyone! Please tell me Mona’s whistles play a role later in the season.

– Toby’s back! Get a haircut, hippie.


– Did you completely forget that Emily killed someone once? I totally forgot. Also: Looking back on “Crazy,” do you remember the Mona-Code for MAYA KNEW? “Miss Aria, You’re A Killer, Not Ezra’s Wife.” Is Mona psychic? If she is, I think everyone should just give up now. You’re not going to beat a pre-cog with a cult following.

– I didn’t say enough about this last week, but one of my favorite scenes was the one where the girls recalled life before A like soldiers at war remember what it’s like to be back on the homefront. Aria wasn’t there for that conversation, so this week was her turn to reminisce about how things used to be before she was cyberbullied and tampered with by a grown man using her for a book. You know, the good old days.

– Chekhov’s Dog is named Pepe. In case you just thought I forgot.

– Mona and Mike are back together! Is anyone ‘shipping them? Or is Mona too sinister to ‘ship? Or is she too cool for Mike? To wit, Mona on how to use a whistle: “You put it between your lips and blow.”

– Emily: “What’s going on? Why can’t I eat dinner?” That sure sounded like a Hanna line. Good one, Em. But Hanna would not to be outdone. After Chief Suspect Jason got angry and scared the girls outside Hanna’s car, Emily told Hanna to follow him when he drove off. Hanna: “You follow him. I have to change my underwear.”

– With A being “gone,” the Moments of A aren’t around anymore. But each episode of Season 5 has ended with someone in a hoodie being filmed from a high angle. Sad Alison is sad.

What'd you think of "Whirly Girly"?


Next Episode

AIRS ON 8/30/2016

Season 7 : Episode 10

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Wow, I guess my computer screen is too small for accurate viewing, but with all that dirt on the corpse's face at the end, I really thought it was Allison. Which I thought was surprisingly soon, but kind of awesome and shocking. (I know, they show her after the body, I thought she was a ghost or something, since no one looked at her. Haha.) Now I got here and discovered it was her mom. Borrring. Wouldn't that have been cool? Allison getting offed for real?
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Emily: “What’s going on? Why can’t I eat dinner?” That sure sounded like a Hanna line. Good one, Em. But Hanna would not to be outdone. After Chief Suspect Jason got angry and scared the girls outside Hanna’s car, Emily told Hanna to follow him when he drove off. Hanna: “You follow him. I have to change my underwear.”

actually the best part of that scene was after Jason startled them by rapping hard on the driver's window - Hannah responding by rolling down the window and saying "Hey Jason, what's up?". Her delivery of that line was comedic gold.
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I am sorry, but I am not an Alison fan and Toby needs a hair cut. I will always continue to love my favorite Hanna. She is so funny. I better nor see Spencer off the deep end anytime soon and I need Aria to recover. Poor Aria. Also, I feel like Emily needs to get out of her Ali daze or else I feel like she is going to betray the original four liars, Lastly, I am patiently waiting for Caleb to arrive !!

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the epi was good but yeah, a bit weak... i was like: wth? these liars can't tell a lie!!!
but hanna, oh hanna... she's the best and i'm anxiously waiting for caleb...
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I think this episode was good for me, if only because we are finally getting off the 'search-for-Ali' train and moving into some new territory. That being said, my first thought when they found Mrs. diLarentis' body, was: Do the writers actually know what's happening, or do they just decide a dead body is the best way out of the hole?

The girls are getting worse and worse at lying, they should just cash in their chips, at this point, they might be safer in a cell... from their own bad decisions. And Jason, that hat. If you want the people you're threatening to take you seriously, when the wardrobe.

I really hope with all my heart that Shana is a red herring, because if that's the big climactic ending to 'A', I've wasted the past few years of my life... which is still entirely possible either way.
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"I've wasted the past few years of my life. . . which is still entirely possible either way." Hahahaha, yep, pretty sure that no matter who A is, there were more enlightening and productive things we could have done with the hours spent watching Pretty Little Liars. :)
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Hanna is the star of the show. My favorite line ever from her that remains to date is:

"Sometimes you poke the bear. Other times the bear pokes you". LOL :P
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i think mellissa killed the other girl..the one that is in the grave and no one knows who that girl is...and all that time melissa thought she had killed alison!!!
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toby went backstreet boys mode with that hair cut!!! simply hate it!!
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I hate having Alison back from the dead. She is so uninteresting this way and I still don't like her.
This show has gotten so complicated and messy now. It's hard to understand what is going on. It makes no sense. Sasha couldn't have been (the only) A at least. Mona is just not believable as the main villain either. She wasn't earlier, so why should it be more believable now?

I hope Caleb returns!
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caleb will b back--ep.5!
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Thank God for Hanna, that's all I can say. At this stage, she's kind of the only reason to watch this show, although I have to admit, Mona is still a supercreep and that's always entertaining.
I don't really have a lot to say about this episode, and I had less than nothing to say about the last. I'm not sure whether that speaks volumes as to how I feel about the show in S5 so far, or as to how well the show is doing in telling it's story at the minute.
Toby's hair is horrendous. I have been saying this since 4A ended, but still. Get a proper haircut!!
I'm hoping Caleb's return will inject some life into the show, cos at the minute, it's dead.
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Is it just me or do these reviews normally get more comments? I feel like the show is finally getting interesting again, sasha's acting is great, and she's so young, I would've thought she could pass for maybe 23 so I'm shocked that she's only 18. Having her as an alive character is breathing much needed air into this show, I finally feel like important stuff is happening now.
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Adding Alison to the group is definitely a difference-maker. It raises the stakes in a natural way and mixes up the relationships because of each character's individual ties to their former queen bee. She's the premise of the show, after all. It would be surprising if she didn't change the game.

And, yeah, you're right. There usually are a few more people commenting. Maybe there's a lot of PLL/World Cup crossover? A lot of Russia or South Korea nationals letting 0502 collect dust on their DVRs?
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The scene with Ali and her dad in Ali's bedroom was some of the best acting I've seen from Sasha.
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Oh god Hannah and her one liners, I love her.

Even though I agree that Toby should cut his hair, I read somewhere that he is letting his hair grow to donate so they can make wigs for people with cancer because her mother has it, but the reason that he went to London just to confront Melissa was silly, I don't think he is rich enough to just buy a ticket to London just for that... but anyway it's just tv.
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This episode makes me think that we are going to find out that Alison is the uber A who has been toying with everyone. She could've easily gotten someone to be the "face of A" so that they would be able to convince people like Mona to carry out revenge. Alison could've easily solved her problems by telling Holbrook, the most competent detective the show has seen, that "A" whom the police found out about in season 2, had been the reason she left town. She wouldn't have had to rat out her mom or Jason or anyone, but she chose the most ridiculous lie that she knew would box the liars into more corners. And if anything she didn't look sad at all when her mom was found(understandable, but still). Also, it could be heavyhanded foreshadowing that she was in a variation of a black hoodie at the end of the episode, even though she no longer had a reason to hide.
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I love it when the show makes me laugh, and this episode had plenty of that. For example, when Alison returned home after supposedly being dead, her dad's reaction was pretty much a "meh". That killed me.

Now I'm waiting for Caleb to return and explain his adventures with ghosts and spirits. That'll be fun to watch.
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You're crazy if you think Caleb is ever going to bring it up again.

Hanna: "Where've you been, Caleb?"
Caleb: "I've been around."
Hanna: "No, seriously. You left me. And now you're here. And all you could tell me was that is was complicated. What the hell?"
Caleb: "It's too long a story."
Hanna: "I've got time."
Caleb: "I'm still a little raw from the experience. It's only been a few months since I left."
Hanna: "A few months? It's been six days."
Caleb: "What the? Is ghost booty what makes time travel possible?"

Fin.
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I don't think Caleb will bring it up, but I read an article saying marlene was trying to have a ravenswood episode this season to show those who watched the spinoff what would've happened had the show been renewed.
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And P.S. Yes, I had to dig extremely deep to remember that Emily once killed someone. "Nate." Nate who? And then slowly, but surely, I could remember him again, something about Maya and a cabin. None of the particulars though.
"A teenage show where you can't even remember who killed who. Ah, well done ABC Family."

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Is it just me, or did it feel like there was an awful lot of conversations in this episode that weren't really conversations, more like arguments where people were actually almost screaming at each other. I think it was the scene in the deserted cabin when I realized "my goodness, another scene wherein characters yell at each other and look perpetually scared".

I love Hanna though. Good gracious her lines are hilarious!
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"Feels like it’s been a while since we’ve had an episode with sequences that were so forced and dialogue that was so inconsistent. That’s a generous descriptor for the episode, "inconsistent." There were so many peaks (most of which came from Hanna), but the valleys were so very deep. Chasms of sudsy, laughable, word vomit "
Exactly , this two first episodes introduced some interesting plots but the dialogues have been awful and more implausible than ever
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Interesting how Ali's first instinct was to lie. No matter what, she still defaults to that. There looks to be a split coming in the group, with Spencer and Hanna on one side and Emily and Alison on the other. Don't know where Aria will fall once she gets past her PSTD over killing Shana.
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Did Hanna really regress and go on a binge I missed it.
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They only showed her getting the food out of the fridge, not actually eating it
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Didn't love it,but didn't hate it...
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This season only had two episodes yet but already two dead bodies- and I approve that! Strong start into the new season! I just hope it's not already on downturn...

Even though I liked Mrs D I really hope her and Shana stay dead! People on PLL seem to die and come back like walkers from The Walking Dead or characters from Vampire Diaries! *Cause dying is too mainstream* :P

I really hope that Emily and Aria will bond much more cause of the fact that Aria killed someone- by self-defense of course. I'm looking forward for Emily to comfort and guide her through her situaion!!

And Mona is STILL the psycho because of Ali's bitchyness?! Really?! Recruiting her own minion-circle to torture back?! REALLY?!?! I hope that's not the master plan for this season...

Now I'm absolutely sure: PEPÈ IS A!!! He can be everywhere, see everything, sniff everyone and NO ONE would suspect a thing! It MUST be him! That's how PLL-logic rules, right?!
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Everyone with a penis is a suspect. Sorry, Pepe.

Also: with the suggestion that Shana is A even though she's barely contributed to the plot of the show, you have to consider everyone that's ever had a bit part on the show could be A. That guy Emily met in that woodworking shop? He's A. That person that ordered an Americano after Hanna talked with Emily at the Brew? She's A. Anyone that's ever read a book in the background of the show? All of them are A. There's an A line of succession. Being A is a tough business so you can pretty much count on everyone in Rosewood, at some point, getting a crack at being A due to imprisonment, fleeing, or death.
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Not only those with a penis, also every member of the vajayjay-fraction is a suspect! XD Let's see, we already had Jenna, Shana, Paige, Ali herself, Mona of course, etc and endless list. Remember Miranda Collins who passed through the PLL-universe while switching from one to another tv show? She's A, too! :D
Caleb should be on the A-list, too. Toby, Ezra and Paige were already suspects, now it's Caleb's turn!
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Anyone else just yelling at Spencer, of all people, you certainly can tell Toby! I mean, I can only hope once Caleb returns they can return to their sleuthing ways, I don't see Caleb tolerating too much of Alison drama.

Besides the fact that only Emily seemed to bother to give Aria two minutes of time, when, seriously, its not the same Emily, everyone knows what happened with Nate and further you had a gravely injured Caleb as proof. Aria is committed to secrecy, but I would say the rest of you have a bigger concern. Ezra. He knows too much to buy this story and Aria will need a shoulder to cry on, I fear that Ali is already planning to try another seduction technique on him when she needs to but though I am not the biggest Ezria fan, he isn't going to fall for that again as, in his twisted way, he loves Aria.

I was very disappointed that Spencer didn't totally just say, wait, this is bullshit. I was also disappointed that one little snide comment from Ali seemed to shut down the glimpse of the Spencer we know there in her bedroom. And just throwing that Jason is both of their brother? Ali, you are doing nothing to win me over. Honestly, I hope that Mona starts to notice some of the cracks to exploit them just because I weirdly started getting her last night.

So...Jason, my thought on him has been for awhile that in a drugged stupor that maybe he did knock Alison over the head and then Mrs. D tried to cover, but I imagine she told Jason's father who did something or other (maybe actually killed the girl in Alison's grave) and Mrs. D was covering as long as Alison was in hiding, but as soon as the girls started to undercover her existence, she wrote that email, but Mr. Hastings stopped her. Jason just looked too shock for me.
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After two weaker seasons PLL is finally returning to it's former glory. The show is once more a Thriller.

1. I'll miss you Mrs. D :(

2. If Mr. D, Not Mariska and Laura Leighton had any common sense they would have taken Liars and Alison away from Rosewood immediately. According to what the parents know there is a kidnapper and a killer on the loose.

3. I have a feeling sooner or later someone will kill Pepe. His days are numbered.

4. Jason is creepier then ever before. Walking into Ali's room in the middle of night was NOT cool.
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Something about tonight made me a little suspisous of Toby, not 100% sure why, but the Melissa/When thing didn't ring true. And also Ali at the end with her mum's body - did she look happy about it to anyone else?
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I'm also thinking they are making Jason too suspicious, which means he has probably been following his sister around for the last year or so looking over her or something along those lines..
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How I see it; I think that Shana thought she was A. I believe the real A was just laying low for a while now; wouldn't be surprised if A ends up being one of them five!
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Why in good heavens would they think that Shana was the ultimate A, haven't they learned anything? They jumped to that conclusion rather fast without much evidence at all. Did they think that the audience would really believe that either? Come on now.

R.I.P Mrs D-- just what this show needed, another unsolved murder.

I like that Allison is back and messing with the group dynamic a bit, will be interested to see that play out a bit further. If the show is going to pretend that A is no more it would be nice to see them getting back to "normal life"; school, dating, jobs, random town events, whatever. Plus, maybe some time could actually pass in this universe.
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Time probably won't pass for a while, there will be a christmas episode this winter.
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Every so often I like to remind myself that the characters are supposed to be 17 and 18 years old and that everything that has happened on the show has occurred over the course of about a year and a half.

In the time it took me to binge watch "Breaking Bad" they've probably solved two murders, committed one themselves, had multiple hook-ups, had half a dozen new people wander in and out of town, and been questioned by the police.
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These girls lives are SOOO messed up, I totally forgot Emily killed someone. Also how many more dead bodies and injured people are going to pile up around these girls before they get locked up.
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Umm...okay. Emily has killed one person and Aria has killed one person. Both in self-defense. Why would they get locked up for that?
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Tampering with evidence, abetting, breaking and entering, withholding information from the police, robbery ... just to name a few. Most people who shoot someone in self defense don't flee the crime scene.
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I'm not sure there is something to see in this episode but kudos that somehow the pace has up compared to the last seasons. Not digging Toby's hair.
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I was thinking that too!
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