Pretty Little Liars: “Crash And Burn, Girl!”
B+

Pretty Little Liars: “Crash And Burn, Girl!”

B+

Pretty Little Liars

“Crash And Burn, Girl!”

Season 4, Episode 7

So nice to be back in Rosewood! Where the preferred methods of framing people involve creating intricate masks of their faces and then getting publicly recorded holding up signs that say “GUILTY.” Also where the Ezras show a penchant for violence and hoodies when their romantic secrets are threatened just saying probably.

Anyway, the Season of Mom Danger continues, with Hanna’s mom having just been thrown in the clink for the murder of Darren Wilden. Watching Hanna pretty much fall apart emotionally without her mom is fairly heartbreaking, and it once again shows why Ashley Benson is the best in the cast at getting to the heart of emotional matters. Plus, you know, that black nail polish was a dead giveaway, mood-wise.

So with a Liar’s mom in danger of getting the death penalty, the gang is fired up to get some answers and, more specifically, a bead on who DID kill Wilden. And it isn’t just the Liars. Let’s deal with everyone in order of how seriously they took their detective work this week.

Toby and Caleb: Shocking development! Boys storm the rankings! Spencer and Hanna’s beloveds team up with the purpose of solving this whole A business once and for all (a victory for mansplainers everywhere, if it happens). After we get a good look at their well-appointed investigation wall (maps! suspects!), the boys focus their search on a flight center where a Cessna took off and landed somewhere close enough for A to set that lake house fire last year or something oh God this plot is defeating me, help me out, Caleb and Toby please. They end up speaking to this hot piece named Nigel who is like, “Literally, I don’t know anything about anything, except that the night was foggy, I mean, oops, what’s a night?” Turns out, Nigel the hot piece is in cahoots with A, so when he gives up Cece’s name when the boys come back to shake him down, it’s more than likely misdirection. Whatever, just let us know that this guy is board shorts, re-cast him as Finnick Odair in the Hunger Games sequels and be done with it. These boys have college-application essays to write.

Emily: With Hanna gone dark and Spencer kind of loosely supervising the No. 1 Gentlemen’s Detective Agency, it’s Emily who takes the lead on finding Wilden’s real killer. Which includes swiping evidence from right under her mom’s nose—the key to Wilden’s apartment. In it, they manage to find a box of old, spoiled Faux-maha Steaks, and a note from A telling him to meet her at her house fire. The good news: It’s a clue. The bad news (besides the fact that they have literally one million clues and no idea how to piece them together) is that her mom gets suspended because of the missing evidence and THEN gets a car crashed through her living-room wall, almost crushing her, because A has just declared it open season on moms, so, you know, maybe Mrs. Hastings ought to see what the hourly rates on food tasters are. More importantly: more of Emily using her increasingly dogged and tunnel-visioned determination to solve A-related mysteries and less about her beleaguered rotator cuff. Em’s a pitbull who’s beginning to rival Spencer for that quality, and it’s a waste to have her spinning her wheels in physical therapy for a swimming career that we’re never going to see anyway.

Spencer: She’s supervising Toby and Caleb’s Hardy Boys adventures, as well as helping Toby keep his secret sub-investigation (into his mom’s untimely demise). She’s holding it down. She’s backing Emily up. Spencer’s fine. Don’t worry about Spencer, okay?

Hanna: Hanna is not fine. She screwed up royally with all that nonsense with her dad’s gun, and now her mom might pay with her life. She’s to the point of trying to convince Ashley to take a plea deal of 20 years in prison just to avoid a death sentence. Now, I am not of a mind that any of the Liars will turn out to be A, but if Hanna were A, trying to talk her own mother into a 20-year jail term by playing the daughter card sounds just like something she’d do.

Mona: She’s retreated back into the shadows this week: practicing violin with Shana, helping Mr. Hastings prepare for his big presentation to the shareholders, rappelling down an elevator shaft to rescue Jason DeLaurentis.

Aria: Aria did the least to help Hanna and her mom this week, but she had a lot on her hands, so we can cut her a break. The frustrating part is that this entire plot with her brother getting accused of vandalizing Connor’s car is part of an incredibly tedious stalling tactic on the part of the show. We’re just treading water until Aria and Ezra get back together, and Ezra strong-arming the principal into dropping all disciplinary action against Mike only nudges him closer to Aria. Also, real talk for a minute? Obviously Mike isn’t the vandal; the first and most obvious suspect never is. It’s not like Ezra isn’t an obvious suspect, but the fact that he has never come under any kind of suspicion within the show even when it’s a pretty easy leap to think he’d have reason to fuck up Connor’s world makes me think there’s something super dark about him that the show hasn’t unleashed yet.

Stray Observations:

  • Thanks to Sonia for filling in and enduring all those washed-out Ravenswood scenes last week. I have it on good authority that she got all the color back into her life by the weekend. 
  • I know Hanna’s really going through it this week, but I like to think she’d have made that “Madame DeBarge” gaffe any week.
  •  Say what you will about this Nigel Wright character, but he looks like he makes a mean Lady Gray tea.
  •  In the closing tag, A purchases a “Home Repair For Morons” book to send to Emily, moments after sending a car crashing through the front of her house. The style points, as always, belong to A. 

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