Pretty Little Liars: “Miss Me x 100”
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Pretty Little Liars: “Miss Me x 100”

Boom goes the normalcy.

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Pretty Little Liars

"Miss Me x 100"

Season 5, Episode 5

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Since it’s been 100 episodes, now is probably the right time to discuss the Liars in terms of which Spice Girl they each are. Aria is Baby (under the belief that she is Posh), Emily is Sporty, Hanna is actually Posh, Spencer is Scary (even though she’s wished forever that she could be Ginger), and Alison is Ginger (even though she is terrifying). As the Ginger of the Liars, Alison set off on her own when she faked her own death, only to fail miserably at her “solo career” and have an even bigger target painted on her back with her return by her once adoring fans. For all of its insanity, Pretty Little Liars is a show about girls (or women, depending on which Rosewood resident you ask) and their lives, especially their friendships. It’s a girl power show about rising above adversity. 

To compare these characters to the Spice Girls may seem like a joke, but it’s no more ridiculous than an omniscient cyberbully assigning generic Bratz dolls to each character.

As for the actual episode: The majority of Pretty Little Liars’ 100th episode, “Miss Me x 100,” is a fairly low-key episode. In fact, there’s a lingering sense that the episode is perhaps too low-key to be both an episode of Pretty Little Liars and a 100th episode of television. 

Since the second episode of this current season, Pretty Little Liars has toyed around with the idea of a world without A. No B, no C, no Q—simply the typical horrors of living in Rosewood (adult males, mostly). So having proven the show can in fact live without A, Pretty Little Liars decides to go back to its bread and butter in “Miss Me x 100”: absolute insanity.

Ending with a literal bang, “Miss Me x 100” is almost the show’s love letter to itself (in addition to the fans, of course). That may sound like an insult, but for a show to truly love what it is as much as the fandom does, that means something. Pretty Little Liars could probably last without ever truly returning to the A of it all, at least for the rest of the season. Instead, the show goes back to the A well, having proven its storytelling worth outside of it. It acted without A because it knew it could, and now that it has, it can get back to omniscient cyber bullying antics. This is a show that is confident in itself and confident in its audience’s ability to accept that it knows what it’s doing. It’s just not Pretty Little Liars without black hoodies and creepy dolls, after all.

Pretty Little Liars is a show that could have easily gone for fan service-based character returns in its 100th episode. The fact that Melissa Hastings, Noel Kahn, Bruce the three-eyed baby with a watermelon, either one of Emily’s parents, Samara (Claire Holt) and her hats, Wren, Adam Lambert, and more didn’t return in the episode for no other reason than to give the audience that nostalgia vibe is commendable. Keep in mind that The Vampire Diaries, another show with a rabid fan base, also just celebrated its 100th episode and went that route without looking back (including bringing Claire Holt back).

Instead, the 100th episode is treated like just another episode of Pretty Little Liars—and “just another episode of Pretty Little Liars” is never really a normal episode of television.

The episode posits a very important question: How can the Liars constantly trust Alison DiLaurentis? The flashbacks never lied: Alison was a terrible person. It doesn’t look like age and experience have changed her for the better; they’ve just made her amp up her survival instincts and helped her learn how to pretend even better. This is not to say that Alison DiLaurentis deserved what happened to her and whatever Mona, A, and/or karma have in store for her. If any of the characters on Pretty Little Liars simply knew how to let go of things, everyone’s lives would be so much better. In fact, more characters would actually be alive—and quite possibly behind bars—on this show.

The thing about Alison’s character now is that, even though she is still not completely innocent, she’s very clearly trying to move on with her life and find some semblance of normalcy. Unfortunately for her, there’s no possible way for her (or any of these characters) to know what normal is outside of her status quo, which involves lies upon lies.

None of the Liars exactly know what “normal” is either. Aria attempts to alleviate her guilt with the returning, blind again Jenna, but she only ends up pulling another “Anita” on the girl and then sleeping with her conscienceless ex-boyfriend. Emily attends glee club-sponsored Frozen singalongs alongside her sometimes unstable ex-girlfriend and Donna LaDonna from The Carrie Diaries (Chloe Bridges) in between part-time mediator work. Spencer is Spencer.

Just rattling off those moments, it’s even more apparent that the episode—which is penned by showrunner I. Marlene King and directed by the always fantastic Norman Buckley—doesn’t go out of its way to exist outside of the season. What’s been set up in those previous four episodes continue organically in this one; it was all building to this moment in time. What will become of the 100 episodes after this one? Probably a lot more of the same, but again: “More of the same” when it comes to Pretty Little Liars isn’t exactly predictable.

Stray observations:

  • 100 episodes of Pretty Little Liars, 100 episodes of amazing quotes. I’m partial to “Bitch can see!” myself. Congratulations, Aria.

  • Actually, “Why are you talking to me like Ben Franklin?” from Spencer is a great quote too. This show is so delightful.

  • This is the part where I plug Pretty Little Liars Annotations again. 100 episodes of Pretty Little Liars ago, I started making blog posts about Aria Montgomery’s “fashion sense,” tagging them with the phrase “That’s So Aria.” The rest is history.

  • Toby is “re-reading Fitzgerald” because there are no other authors in the Pretty Little Liars universe.

  • Caleb returns and mentions nothing about ghost orphans and centuries old curses. That is almost as upsetting as his current hair-facial hair situation. He also barely says a word to Hanna in the episode despite being the one who refused to tell her about anything that happened in Ravenswood. That is almost as upsetting as Toby’s current hair situation.

  • Veronica Hastings as the terrified wife and mother is the best she’s ever been as a parent to Spencer.
  • Soapbox: Aria’s instability over Shana’s death is the result of Aria finally being a part of the same television program as the rest of her friends. Of course, by the end of the episode, she’s back in the black hole known as her relationship with Ezra Fitz. Ezra’s constant demands for Aria to not feel any remorse are strange but also sort of in character for what we know about Ezra Fitz. He’s a man child who refuses to mature, but he’s also a manipulative predator who doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong.
  • Donna LaDonna being a part of Team Mona makes a lot of sense, considering the fact that every scene she’s in features her acting like a viewer of this very show, desperate for any and all dirt about people she doesn’t know. This makes the death of The Carrie Diaries hurt just a little bit less.

  • We’re all adults here, but the question must be asked: Team Mona or Team Ali? Show your work.

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