Thursday, September 4, 2014

PLL: "Taking This One To The Grave" (5x12)

They were ready to spill it all to the cops in the last episode... but A stopped the Liars in their tracks. This led Emily, Spencer, Hanna, and Aria to wonder... could A be Alison? Anything is possible in Rosewood, and after viewing the #fatalfinale...........O.o....... but, I'm getting ahead of myself.

The mid-season finale opened up with Aria, Emily, and Hanna in front of the Vanderwaal house, which was being taped off by police. Officer Maple asked Hanna for her statement. Visibly shaken, she refused to step foot back in the house. Aria told Ezra that there was no way someone could've survived that. There was just too much blood. The girls received this text from A... "It's all your fault."

Alison takes a polygraph exam PLL 5x12
c/o kissthemgoodbye.net

Thirty-six hours earlier, Alison DiLaurentis was at Rosewood PD getting hooked up to a polygraph machine. The instructor explained how the lie detector worked, and asked her a few simple questions. Behind a pane of 2-way glass, Detective Holbrook was overseeing the test. He was asked if he wanted to wait for Lieutenant Tanner, but Holbrook didn't answer. The test began.

Mona's bedroom PLL 5x12
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Over at Chez Vanderwaal, Mona was reading in her bedroom when her mother interrupted, telling her she had company. Emily, Spencer, Hanna, and Aria were waiting downstairs, and they wanted Mona's help. The girls were convinced that Alison was at the police station ratting them out, likely saving herself in the process.

Back at Rosewood PD, the instructor asked Alison who else was in the barn on the evening of her disappearance. Alison claimed that when she left the barn, Emily, Hanna, and Aria were all asleep. The instructor asked about Spencer, noting that Alison had left her name out.

Mona Pretty Little Liars Taking This One To The Grave
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Across town, the Liars were still over at Mona's house. She opened up to the girls about what she had gone through when Alison dubbed her "Loser Mona." She claimed that Alison had stolen her life by giving her that nickname. At one point, Mona had come to believe that it was true. She apologized to the girls for taking out her "Ali Anger" on them. Spencer wondered if Mona was actually that scared of Ali, and Mona replied cryptically, "Aren't you?" The Liars accepted Mona's apology, and she agreed to help them, as long as no one knew about it. The girls all left, but Hanna stayed behind to wait for Leona's chocolate chip cookies.

Emily, Spencer, and Aria contemplated why Melissa had given Spencer the recording. Emily thought it was a solid confession, but Spencer claimed that it didn't really change anything. There wasn't any proof of Melissa's actions on the video, and it made Spencer look complicit in Bethany's murder. Spencer believed Melissa simply wanted her sister to know the truth.

Mona, Leona, and Hanna PLL 5x12
c/o kissthemgoodbye.net

After getting her cookies and telling Mona that she'd see her in school, Hanna was about to leave Mona's house when Leona stopped her. She asked if the bullying was starting back up now that Alison had come back, but Hanna claimed that she didn't really know. She told Mona's mom that she wasn't friends with Alison anymore, and that all the girls were afraid of her.

Mona sends out a Code A Pretty Little Liars
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Upstairs in her bedroom, Mona called someone on her cell, telling them to "Send out a Code A. She's plotting something big." Later, she arrived at the Brew, convinced someone had been following her. She told a worker to lock the door behind her, and was surprised to find an empty room. Lucas showed up, and told Mona that Alison had gotten to Mona's army first. Now, instead of calling her "Loser Mona" they had begun calling her "Crazy Mona" and were siding with Alison. Mona asked Lucas if someone could be crazy and not know it, and Lucas mistakenly thought she was speaking about herself. Mona clarified, telling Lucas that she believed that Alison was a full-on sociopath.

At school Mona met with the Liars in the girls bathroom. She told them that Alison volunteered to take the polygraph test. Wondering why she would do something that extreme, Mona suggested that Alison had come to believe her lies. She added that Alison wasn't having fun anymore now that her "dolls" weren't letting her play with them. She told the girls she believed Alison was A. She also believed that being a sociopath, Alison had assembled the perfect group of friends that she couldn't get bored with. Smart Spencer, loyal Emily, admiring Hanna, and compassionate Aria. At that revelation, Spencer began to wonder if Ali's plan was to have the Liars take the fall for everything A had done. The girls finished talking just as Cindy and Mindy walked in to the bathroom. Mona said hi to them as she left, and the Liars left the bathroom as well. The twins then exited the stalls and exchanged mischievous grins.

Mindy and Cindy PLL 5x12
c/o kissthemgoodbye.net

Out in the hallway, Emily dropped a book and Paige picked it up for her. Em asked if they could talk, but Paige simply kissed her and said she was tired of talking. The two made plans to decorate Emily's house for Christmas.

At the same time, Leona walked out of the principal's office. She talked briefly with her daughter in the hallway before leaving. Alison gave Mona a glaring look from across the hall, just as the principal called her into his office. Alison stared Mona down as she walked past her.

Ali D Pretty Little Liars
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Over in Apartment 3B... Ezra and Aria were making pumpkin pies from scratch because Ezra had been invited to Chez Montgomery for Thanksgiving Dinner.

At Chez Hastings, Spencer was looking through a photo album when Toby arrived in uniform. The two shared a kiss, and she gave him an engraved stopwatch as his graduation present.

Toby's Watch PLL 5x12
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Back at Rosewood PD, Lucas asked Officer Maple about the school liason program. When Barry left the room to grab a pamphlet, Lucas plugged a wireless adapter into a USB port of the computer on the desk. Mona sat on a toilet in a stall in the station's restroom, laptop in hand, and hacked into the station's computer system.

Emily, Hanna, Paige, and Caleb were over at Emily's house decorating for Christmas. Paige seemed to enjoy sharing a tradition that was so important to Emily. Hanna tried to lie to Caleb about working with Mona, but he caught her and called her out on it.

In Spencer's kitchen, Mona played the audio from Alison's test for Emily, Aria, Hanna, and Spencer. During the test, she claimed that Alison was the unofficial leader of their group, and she supposed that the girls would do anything for her. She told detectives that as far as she knew, Spencer was a loyal friend. Alison also told them that it was her fault that Spencer was angry that evening. She told the police about finding Spencer's pills, and claimed that she told Spencer she wouldn't tell anyone about them. When asked if Spencer would've done something risky to ensure Ali's silence, Alison claimed that she had no idea, the girls never talked about the pills again. When asked by the instructor if she had anything else to say, Alison stated that she had nothing to do with the murder of Bethany Young.

Holbrook and Alison chat PLL 5x12
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Over at Chez DiLaurentis, Holbrook stopped by to talk to Alison. He asked her if she played the piano, and Alison claimed that she used to play as a child, but she doesn't really remember why she stopped. Holbrook sat down with Alison and told her something, but we couldn't hear the conversation between the two.

Still in Spencer's kitchen, Emily commented that Alison didn't really say much during the test. Mona disagreed, suggesting that the questions told a lot more about the police investigation than they thought. Caleb entered the room, and Hanna apologized for not being able to lie to him. Mona said that she knew Hanna wouldn't be able to do it, so she brought Caleb on board to assist in hacking Rosewood PD. Caleb found out that the police looked into Bethany Young's medical records and something in the records helped to prove that Spencer would've been willing to kill Bethany in order to keep her pill addiction a secret. According to the police, that was reason enough to make her a person of interest in Bethany Young's murder. Spencer realized that it was probably just a matter of time before they would arrest her. About to call her parents and ask for help, Mona stopped Spencer. She commented that if it were her, she would want to know exactly what those records said. They planned to go back to Radley and find out.

The girls put Emily in charge of keeping Alison busy while they pulled off the Radley Heist. Alison seemed confused that Emily wanted to talk to her, but Em told her that she didn't want things to end the way they had. Alison claimed that she didn't either, and seemed pleased to possibly have Em back on her side.

Mona and Spencer sneak into Radley Sanitarium PLL
c/o kissthemgoodbye.net

Mona and Spencer broke into Radley with the help of Caleb and Hanna. Not long after Spencer and Mona got inside Radley, Detective Holbrook arrived outside. As he entered the building, Hanna tried to contact Mona and tell her about his presence.

In accordance with the plan, Aria was working a volunteer shift at Radley and she created a distraction that allowed Spencer and Mona to sneak in and find Bethany Young's files. As Aria was cleaning up the paint she had purposely spilled, Detective Holbrook spotted her and came over to chat. He asked her a series of very odd questions. Finally, he ended their conversation by asking if Spencer had suggested that Aria volunteer at Radley, and Aria answered no.

Hanna's list of schools PLL 5x12
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Hanna and Caleb were still standing lookout for Spencer and Mona when Caleb noticed a list of potential schools that Hanna was looking at. She claimed that she actually "did kinda good" on the SATs, so she had a decent choice of colleges. She sent a text over to Emily, asking her if she was still keeping Alison busy.

Alison figures it out PLL 5x12
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Back in Em's bedroom, she received the text and continued to talk with Alison. When Ali wondered how the other girls would take to her friendship with Alison, Emily claimed that there wasn't a group vote on who she was allowed to be friends with. Emily suggested some tea for Alison, and when her back was turned, Ali picked up her phone and read the text from Hanna. She told Emily that her mom never shopped at the last minute. She questioned Emily, "I'm A, right?" and Em countered back, "I don't know, are you?" She took her phone back from Alison, who was shocked that Emily would betray her. She brushed past her, claiming that Em had given quite the performance.

Outside, Paige had stopped by Emily's house to bring her some soup when she noticed Alison leaving. She watched as Alison got into a car with Cindy and Mindy and decided to follow them.

Spencer and Mona search Bethany's files PLL 5x12
c/o kissthemgoodbye.net

Spencer and Mona were looking through Bethany's files when Spencer asked Mona to play a tape from August 8th. On it, Bethany's voice could be heard saying, "she really liked me, but everything she really said to me was a lie, every word and every visit." While reading the file, Spencer learned that Bethany was supposedly talking about Mrs. DiLaurentis, who was having an affair with Bethany's father. During the session, Bethany questioned if she could trust anyone in the DiLaurentis family, wondering if it is "like mother, like daughter?" Mona stopped the tape, and both girls wondered if Alison had known Bethany. Realizing that there was a lot of information to look through, Mona began dumping the contents of Bethany's file in her bag, claiming that they were borrowing it.

Toby left a voicemail telling Spencer that he was on his way to the ceremony, as he didn't want to be late.

As Mona and Spencer were about to leave Radley, they spotted Holbrook blocking the way they had come in. Hanna sent them down a back stairwell, and Caleb turned off the emergency exit so they could get outside without being noticed. As Mona and Spencer walked out, Spencer was trying to reach Toby. Distracted by his phone while driving, Toby's truck was hit by another car.

Toby's Car Accident PLL 5x12
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The episode came back to Thanksgiving Day, and Emily, Spencer, Aria, and Hanna were at the Brew discussing Toby's injured leg. Paige arrived and told the girls about following Alison and the twins out to an abandoned farm. She claimed that there were at least a dozen cars waiting there. Just as Paige claimed that Alison was building an army of her own, Detective Holbrook came in and arrested Spencer for the murder of Bethany Young. Toby and the girls protested, but Spencer was taken into custody anyway. Emily, Hanna, and Aria promised to get a hold of Spencer's parents.

Mona and her mom hug PLL 5x12
c/o kissthemgoodbye.net

Mona was at home in her bedroom, listening to the August 8th recording. Her mother yelled for her to come downstairs, and she helped her take a few things outside to her car. The two were heading to a friend's house for Thanksgiving. Leona said goodbye to Mona, who claimed she'd be right behind her mother. As Mona walked back into her house, she heard rustling in the bushes, causing her to lock the front door behind her. Blond hair peeked out of a black hoodie standing on the walkway, but Mona didn't see. By the time she glanced out the window of the door, Black Hoodie was gone.

Black Hoodie watches Mona PLL 5x12
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Back at Chez Montgomery, Ezra arrived for Thanksgiving Dinner with the homemade pies. Ezra and Aria talked about Spencer's arrest and possible bail, but Spencer was still being processed. Mona called Aria and told her that Alison lured Bethany to Rosewood. She knew about her mother's affair. According to Mona, Alison set Bethany up because she was jealous of her and wanted her dead. While Mona was talking to Aria, the figure in the black hoodie picked the lock and crept up the stairs towards Mona's bedroom. Mona told Aria over the phone that Alison was A and she could finally prove it. The girls hung up, and Aria and Ezra rushed over to Mona's house.

Mona hung up with Aria and shot a satisfied look to the mirror in her bedroom. She claimed, "Game over, Alison. I win." She heard a noise outside of the bedroom, and thought it was her mother. She called out for her, and when she turned around, she saw the figure in the black hoodie inside her bedroom. Mona gasped and fell back, surprised.

A 1.0 meets A 2.0 PLL 5x12
c/o kissthemgoodbye.net

Hanna, Emily, and Aria arrived at the Vanderwaal house and found the door open. The living room was trashed, and there was blood on the railing. Hanna yelled for Mona and ran upstairs to her bedroom, and screamed as the camera panned to the outside of the house.

The girls react to Mona's death PLL 5x12
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We found ourselves back where the episode started, with police tape surrounding the Vanderwaal house. Detective Holbrook addressed the press with an official statement. He claimed that they are deeming what happened inside the house to be a homicide. He declared that they had not found a body, but the amount of blood found suggested that the "victim's wounds were fatal." Leona screamed, and Emily, Aria, and Hanna cried, devestated by the news. Alison looked on from across the street.

Alison watches from afar PLL 5x12
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Later, probably that very evening, it was nighttime and the decorations around Emily's house were all lit up. Black Hoodie took the statue of Baby Jesus from the nativity and replaced it with a Mona doll. We watched as Black Hoodie opened the trunk of a car, and placed the statue of Baby Jesus on top of Mona's dead body.

Mona's dead body PLL 5x12
c/o kissthemgoodbye.net

Lastly, A cut out a picture of Specer, Emily, Hanna, and Aria. A placed the photo in a snowglobe, sealed the bottom, shook it, and put it back down on the table.

A decorates for Christmas PLL 5x12
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Pretty Little Liars Snowglobe PLL 5x12
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My Thoughts

Well, Mona was at the top of my list of possible victims, and it turned out I was correct. Boo. I didn't want to be right on this one.

I feel like I could sum up everything that happened in this episode with "Mona died." Okay, so maybe we did get a few tidbits of information, but normally, finale episodes answer so much more than this one did. Boo for that too.

The Liars teamed up with Mona, which, thanks to promo pics, was obvious. I liked the idea of having Spencer and Mona return to Radley to discover more information. It would've been nice if we could've learned a little bit more than the fact that Mrs. D. was having an affair with Bethany's father, and she could possibly be her mother. I feel like we already could've guessed at that.

Mona's army turned on her, which I did not see coming. I never figured that Alison would be able to sway everyone back into her court, but somehow she did it. You know, unless Paige was lying about her following Ali, Cindy, and Mindy.

Holbrook visiting Alison without her father present was extremely shady. I can kind of understand not wanting to wait for Tanner. Ali might've changed her mind if they didn't do the test right away. Even weirder, though... he asked Ali if she played the piano and she claimed that she used to as a little girl, but she couldn't remember why she stopped. We definitely saw her playing piano while talking to her mother in 4x10 (The Mirror Has Three Faces.) This little tidbit reminded me of the discrepancies between Alison and Courtney DiLaurentis in the books. Courtney didn't know how to feed the cat, Alison didn't know details of certain events with the Liars, etc.

Spencer getting arrested came at us from a mile away. Honestly, I thought more Liars would be arrested. I'm thinking that Spencer being in custody at the time of Mona's death might benefit her in the long run. Kind of rules her out as being A. Perhaps the show is trying to rule out the Liars one by one and we'll figure out who A is by process of elimination?

In the last moments of her life, Mona called Aria to say that Alison was A and she had evidence to prove it. That certainly seems to be the direction that the show has been going towards. In that phone call, she claimed that Alison lured Bethany to Rosewood, Alison knew about her mother's affair, and Alison set up Bethany because she was jealous of her and wanted her dead. Was Mona right? I'm thinking that she probably figured out something huge, but she might've interpreted it incorrectly. But that's largely because I don't really want Alison to be A, so I'm a little biased, I guess.

From an action and suspense standpoint, this episode was great. I think it lived up to the fatal finale hype in that sense. But as far as answers? Well, it really fell flat. Everything we found out, we had already guessed. Melissa buried Bethany alive. She thought Spencer did it. Mona was the one who died. A might be Alison.

I like the twin imagery that they've been using, but I really wonder sometimes if they're simply paying homage to the books or setting the scene for Alison's twin. I go back and forth on this a lot.

Bethany Young has really got me stumped. Why did she have to be 17 when she escaped from Radley? I know we've all speculated that Bethany Young was not her real name, but is it possible that she wasn't really 17, either? Maybe Bethany really is someone's twin, and we know that twin to be younger than they really are. Hey, it's even possible that everyone in Rosewood including Bethany's twin, thinks that Bethany's twin is younger than they actually are. In that case, Bethany and Alison could very much so be twins.

Then there's what Mona said to Aria over the phone about Alison and Bethany. Supposedly Alison knew about her mother's affair, which isn't really shocking. Alison made a game of collecting secrets. But luring Bethany out of Radley, being jealous of Bethany, and wanting her dead? Why? The only reason I can figure is that the girls are twins, just like Alison and Courtney in the books. At some point, one twin wronged the other, whether it was an attempted stabbing like the Halloween story, or impersonating the other like in the books. I'm not willing to rule out the twin theory just yet!

Another odd thing with Bethany Young... I think it's really strange that we haven't seen her picture. We also never see A's face. Coincidence?

And back to Alison as A... I just can't figure out why, you know? Like, I understand why Mona was A, but if Alison stole the game from her, what was the reason? So she could prove that she was really alive and come back to Rosewood? Because it didn't really seem like that was part of her plan in New York. She only came back because she thought it was all over.

Mona made another interesting claim earlier in the episode, wondering if someone could be crazy and not know it while talking to Lucas. She then went on to elaborate that she thought Alison was a sociopath. In all honesty, it would be interesting if they would go this route. Could Alison be acting as A and not even know it? I'm thinking no, just because a storyline like this would have to be handled so delicately, and I'm not sure that ABC Family would want to go there, you know? Mental illness is no joke, period.

When it comes down to it, Taking This One To The Grave was a pretty solid note to end on. Coming up, there's a Fan Appreciation Special in October, and that will have to hold us fans over until the next new installment of Pretty Little Liars. The Christmas Episode, "How The A Stole Christmas," is set to air in December, with the back half of Season 5 premiering in January 2015. The wait is officially on!

-S

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