The 100th episode of Pretty Little Liars started off with Jenna waltzing back to Rosewood and ended with a literal bang…or explosion.
Ali’s been gearing up for her return to school but no one’s buying her contrition act. Hanna’s still having feelings about who she is and what she wants when Caleb suddenly just drops back in her life. Emily’s tries to play peacemaker between Ali and Paige, Paige is having none of it. Emily starts to falter and cave in to Ali and actually initiates a kiss with her. Aria has now transferred her gilt over killing Shana to taking away someone important, Shana, from Jenna. Aria starts her obsessing and just strolling around Jenna’s house where she catches her crying (where are these parents?). Aria proceeds to take about 15 steps backward (in my opinion) and spends the night with Ezra (again, parents?). Spencer’s dealt the heaviest blow this episode when her mother announces that she is leaving her husband. She explains to Spencer that she can’t take all the lies and secrets anymore. This leads to a moment that Pretty Little Liars does best; Hannah comforts Spencer as she knows what being in the middle of a divorce is like. It’s these scenes that keep the show watchable in between all the confusion and outright ignoring of continuity. The viewers are always reminded that these girls are friends who value each other very much.
Ali and Mona face off. They both threaten each other devolving into a slapping match. Mona twists this to her advantage when she replays the footage at school showing only Ali berating her and smacking her. The girls confront Ali about her lying yet again, as Ali had told them that she did not retaliate when Mona hit her. I think Ali’s reached the point where she just can’t not lie. It’s her automatic default.
We finally get some explanation for the sudden presence of Sydney, the new swim girl. She meets up with Jenna and Mona presumably to plot against Ali. Now I’m actually interested in Sydney. At first I assumed that she was brought on as some kind of foil between Paige and Emily, destined to be not much more than a plot point. Showing her in a different setting with two master schemers makes me want to more about her and her reasons for joining up with Jenna and Mona.
By the end of the hour, we’re still waiting for that shocker the commercials promised for the 100th episode. It comes in the form of an explosion. Toby’s house has been set on fire and amidst the chaos, all the girls’ cells start to beep. I hope it’s “A.”
The episode covered a lot more ground than the previous two did; we were treated to Mona getting the best of Ali, there was finally some acknowledgement of the weirdness of the Hastings family, and I’m all but positive that the real “A” is back to torment the girls even more.
Caleb’s return wasn’t shocking (the actor’s spin-off was canceled) but I hope he doesn’t contribute to Hanna’s insecurities. She dating Travis right now, and he really seems to care for her, and Caleb left town and then shows back up without even giving her a head’s up. I’ve always liked Caleb but he can’t expect things to fall back into place as they were before. I also don’t see it as a good idea for Hanna to be caught in a love triangle. She has enough going on as it is.
Jenna coming back certainly promises to liven things up. And the teasing of this new trio of Sydney, Mona, and Jenna has got my attention.
This episode’s strength was in no character giving Ali a break. As soon as she came back the girls were falling back in line for her. I think we have seen that there is no more blindly following and believing Ali.
[Photo via ABC Family]