Tuesday, February 24, 2015

PLL: "Pretty Isn't the Point" (5x20)

In the latest twist of things on PLL, we've been focusing our attention on Mike, and so far, he's been a compelling candidate for A. Last week, the girls were convinced that Aria's little brother was scheming to steal their blood, but this is Rosewood, and nothing is as it seems...

Mike's necklace for Mona PLL 5x20
c/o PLL Wiki

The episode opened with all the Liars in Mike's room. Spencer found a morse code necklace that spelled out, "I'm With You..." The girls were unsure if this was a gift he got for Mona that only just came in the mail, or possibly something for Alison?

Downtown at the Brew, Emily was worried to learn that Talia had been talking to her mother, but it turned out that Pam Fields just wanted a recipe. Mike then came in for 2 cups of coffee, claiming that both of them were for him, and it had been a long night. When Emily got a little too Aria-ish for him, Mike told her he didn't need another older sister.

Over at Hollis, Johnny and Spencer were talking about Oxford and traveling abroad, and Toby spotted them. There was still evident tension between Spencer and Toby, and Johnny didn't help matters by making a pretentious comment in Italian. When Spencer and Toby finished their coffee, they took a walk on campus only to find an art gallery had framed their vandalism and was selling it. Spencer and Johnny confronted the gallery owner, and he told them that he had saved it from a dumpster, so it now belonged to him.

Jonny's graffiti in the gallery PLL 5x20
c/o PLL Wiki

Hanna told Caleb about the Glass Slipper Pageant. Caleb was supportive, but tried to remind Hanna that she wasn't exactly cookie-cutter squeaky-clean pageant material. Hanna didn't care, considering that top prize would give her twenty grand for college.

At Chez Montgomery, Andrew tried to tutor Aria, but she was clearly distracted. Mike came in while the two were working, and discovered that Aria had been in his room. He angrily confronted Aria about it, flipping over a coffee table and telling his sister to stay away from his things, or she would "live to regret it."  Andrew came in immediately after the commotion, with a shocked look on his face.

PLL 5x20 Hanna's Pageant Coach
c/o PLL Wiki

Hanna met with her pageant coach, who was less than impressed with her newest candidate. When Hanna didn't have the answers to her practice pageant questions, the coach switched over to talents. Hanna claimed that she could dance, perking the interest of her coach.

Back at the Brew, Emily received a text from Hanna telling her to cancel her weekend. She needed Emily to teach her how to dance. Seconds later, a man walked up to the counter and asked about Talia, and Emily told him that she had just left. He introduced himself as Eric, Talia's husband. Eric told Emily that Talia talked about her all the time, and that she shouldn't feel weird about the whole situation. He then told Emily that he loved Talia, and he planned on loving Talia for a very long time. He was supportive of her need for experimenting or having a one-time thing, seemingly assuring Emily that Talia would never commit to leaving him for her.

On the other side of Rosewood, Mike took a walk into the woods and put a package into the hollow of a tree. He looked around to make sure he hadn't been followed, but he didn't see that Andrew Campbell had been watching him. Later, Andrew told Aria about what he saw, asking if she wanted Andrew to go along with her to find what Mike had stashed. Aria declined the offer. When Andrew mentioned that she shouldn't be home alone with Mike, she told him that her father would be back soon.

PLL 5x20 Andrew and Aria talk
c/o PLL Wiki

Before rehearsing with Hanna, Emily and Ashley had a chat about relationships. Emily claimed that she was having fun with Talia, but didn't see the relationship going anywhere. Ashley told her that everyone gets a little hurt in a relationship, but that no one should actually go into a relationship knowing full well that it's not going to end well or that they're going to get hurt. Emily and Hanna began rehearsing for the pageant.

Spencer and Johnny made plans to break into the art gallery and steal back their artwork. Johnny was clearly more talk than action, considering that Spencer practically masterminded the whole operation. While working on removing the last piece of artwork, Johnny tripped the gallery's alarm. He hastily made it out with the painting, threw it in the van, and the two thought they had made a clean getaway. When they stopped at a gas station, a police car pulled up, and Officer Toby Cavanaugh stepped out. He had gotten the call for the robbery and was there to arrest Johnny. Spencer tried to get him to back off, again, not understanding his position on the force. Toby told Spencer very plainly, that Tanner was still watching her and her friends, and that she needed to walk away.

Jonny gets arrested Pretty Isn't the Point
c/o PLL Wiki

Pageant rehearsal was going well for Hanna. She was just about to do a run-through for her coach when she saw Kate's name on the pageant sign-up sheet. Her anger towards Kate came through in her dancing loudly and clearly, sabotaging her performance. The coach told her that she wasn't pageant material, and Hanna angrily left the room. While outside, she overheard her pageant coach tell Emily that she would be a perfect candidate. Hanna stormed off before she could hear Emily tell the woman off for being rude to her friend. When Emily left the building, she found that Hanna had left without her. Talia was there and tried to talk to Emily, but she angrily told Talia that she wasn't gay because it was trendy, and that perhaps the two of them should just forget it, because Talia was in a relationship with two other people and she was lying to everyone, including herself. She ended the conversation telling Talia that Hanna needed her, so she was going to be with her friend.

Aria went off into the woods on her own to find the package her brother had hidden. It turned out to be an envelope with a vial of blood in it, and Aria thought it belonged to her, Spencer, or Hanna. Mike told her it was Mona's blood, and when he went to snatch it back, Aria dropped it on the rock, smashing it. Mike was devastated, and Aria ran back to the car and drove home.

Emily offers to help Hanna PLL 5x20
c/o PLL Wiki

Back at the Marin homestead, Emily found Hanna and explained what happened. Ashley walked in to tell the girls that she just got off the phone with Hanna's father, and not only had Kate not signed up for the pageant, she wasn't even in PA that weekend. When Ashley left the room, Emily told Hanna that she would participate in the pageant for her, in order to win the scholarship money for her.

Over at the Hastings Estate, Spencer was relieved to see Johnny had gotten out on bail, but realized what that meant when she learned who had bailed him out. Veronica had posted bail for him, while simultaneously evicting him from the barn. Johnny had just come to borrow packing tape. Spencer apologized for everything that happened, and how Toby treated him, but Johnny claimed everything was fine, and he'd just live in his van for a while. Before leaving, Johnny kissed Spencer.

Mona and Mike flashback Pretty Isn't the Point
c/o PLL Wiki

Aria rushed into the Montgomery household, yelling for her father, her encounter in the woods with Mike still fresh in her mind. Mike flew through the door behind her and told her that he could explain. Mike told Aria that he went to surprise Mona a few nights before Thanksgiving, and found out that she was hatching a huge scheme. She was drawing her own blood, storing it in a refrigerator that looked like a CPU tower. Mona claimed that she had been offered a part in a brilliant plan that A had come up with. Mona's plan was to fake her death, get Alison and the Liars arrested for her murder, bring A down and come back and show that Ali and the girls were innocent the entire time, thus making Mona the hero of Rosewood.

Mike told Aria that the two had plans to meet up several times after everything went down, but Mona never showed. Mike went to visit Alison because he wanted to see what she knew about A, and Ali told him that Cyrus lured her out of town, just as she had told Hanna. Mike had been holding onto hope that Mona was alive, but he didn't think that she was alive anymore. The vial of blood was her promise to come back to him, and it was all he had left of her.

The Liars realize Ali isn't A PLL 5x20
c/o PLL Wiki

Aria told Spencer, Hanna, and Emily what Mike told her. The girls realized that Alison probably wasn't A, and didn't kill Mona, and that they had not only accused her of that openly, but helped send her off to jail. They discussed how they had destroyed a lot of evidence that would have proven her innocence because of their pigheadedness. Ultimately, they decide they've got to face Alison, apologize, and try to find a way to get her out of prison.

In the last scene, black gloves picked up one of Mike's dumbells, did a few curls, and placed it back on the stand. The episode ended with A pulling out a wrench.

A loosens the bolts in Mike's room PLL 5x20
c/o PLL Wiki

My Thoughts:

Hanna's dance was the best comedy relief this show has seen in a long time. I love that they took this turn, rather than have Hannakins totally kill it. Because believe me, Ashley Benson can totally kill it dancing. Her smile at the end, and that little shhhhyeshhhh movement with her hand? Ugh... the gifs are still making me chuckle out loud, and probably will continue to do so for a while!

Can Talia go away already? I'm not feeling her storyline at all. I don't like when we're fed filler, and I feel like that's all she is. I think Emily just needs to chill for a little bit, and not need to date someone. Why does she always need to be potentially dating someone?

Emily is honestly just the sweetest, best friend. She really cares so much about her friends, and I love the idea of her entering the pageant to help Hanna. I'm just not sure if she's going to make it, because as was stated in the promos, it's a biiiiiig time commitment! 

You know... I've been thinking about Toby as such a candidate for A lately, and this episode made me think a little differently. Not that it clears him or anything, but why warn Spencer that Tanner is still watching her and the Liars? Does that really need saying? Shouldn't Spencer already being thinking along those lines?

In case you were wondering about Mona's confession to Mike, I wanted a little clarification of what she actually admitted to. Here's the transcript of that scene with my thoughts (in red) added. If you're ever in need of clarification or quotes... definitely check here!

Mona: I've been offered a chance to make things right for your sister and her friends.
Okay... someone has reached out to Mona, but is it A? She makes it sounds like it's A, but A would never want to make things right for Aria and her friends. So, if that's the case, the chance to make things right didn't come from A... where else would it have come from?
Mike: Mona, what are you talking about?
Mona: I'm talking about exposing "A" and finally bringing that person down.
A would definitely not be okay with this.
Mike: Is that your blood?
Mona: Yes. And soon it's going to be smeared all over this house. And Alison DiLaurentis is gonna look responsible for killing me. Because "A" wants to see her locked up.
At this point, it's conceivable that this could have been A's plan. No hiding that A is not the biggest Ali D. fan.
Mike: Why would you want to be involved in all this?
Mona: Because "A" came up with this plan, Mike, and it's brilliant.
Still claiming that this is all A's plan. The wonderful, masterful plan of A. 
Mike: Wait, wait, wait. Stop. You've been talking to "A"?
Mona: Not directly. But I will eventually. I have to earn it. And to do that, I have to commit to this 100%. That means I go away. And when I find out who "A" is, I come back. Alison gets out of jail and your sister and her friends are finally safe. And I'm everyone's hero.  
Wait, wait, wait... what? She hasn't been talking to A directly, so she's just acting on the orders of someone that she thinks is A. She'll eventually meet with them, and find out their identity, but she has to earn it. To earn it, she has to commit to faking her death 100%. When she finds out who A is, she comes back, outs A and everyone is safe again.
Mike: What do you mean "go away"? For how long?
Mona: You have to look at the big picture, Mike. It's only temporary. 

I guess the thing I don't understand, is why Mona would agree to any part of this, other than what Mike said about her being too smart. She thought she was smarter than A and one step ahead, and she just wasn't. What exactly was the point of Mona faking her death for A? Would she join A in the game, trying to get the other Liars incarcerated/killed? Is that really what Mona thought?

One thing I do like about Mona's plan, is that it is similar to one of the plot points from the books where a Liar pulls an Alison to show everyone exactly what a teenage girl is capable of. Oh, and then she brings down A and everyone goes free.

One thing I've gotta point out, and I don't even remember how far it went back, but there was a point that I felt like Tanner was setting the girls up for a sting operation that they didn't know about, but would identify A and enable the girls to move on with their lives. She's just always given me that impression that she knows waaaaay more than she says.

That being said, could that be what Mona was talking about with Mike? Maybe her faked death was orchestrated by Rosewood PD in order to flesh out the monster that's A and bring all the secrets to light? You know, in exchange for not prosecuting Mona for all the crimes she committed by A? Maybe that was the idea, and it all went horribly wrong, and someone killed/tried to kill Mona?

Who else would put an idea/offer like that out there on the table?

So... we're basically right back where we were in Through A Glass, Darkly. Is Mona really dead? Is she alive somewhere? And if Mona isn't in the barrel... who or what is?

And then there's those spoilers... The Reddit board ones that have been making their way around. I read them, and I'm just not sure about what I read. Spoilers are difficult to process without all the other elements of the show. Plus, you're relying on what someone is telling you the end result of one episode is, and that might not be the point. So. Yeah.

I have to wonder if we're going to be so twisted and pulled around in circles and such by the end of all this, that we'll be entirely too confused to put it all together. Although, there is a claim from producers that by the end of 5x25, we should be able to do it. You know, if we're clever and all.  

Which brings us to my A candidates for this week, in no particular order...

Toby Cavanaugh - He's consitantly there/not there. He'd definitely have the time to do all the things A does offscreen. I constantly have to remind myself that he spent a year in juvie because of The Jenna Thing.

Ezra Fitz - He's also been out of the area a lot lately, and he still has all that surveillance equipment. He did say something about putting it in his storage unit...

Jenna Marshall - Being blinded by Ali and the Liars is a pretty decent reason to go all A...

Bethany Young - she's still such a big mystery, and we seemed very focused on her for not really knowing much about her, let alone seeing a picture of her.

Someone's Twin - as much as this would satisfy a lot of requirements the producers have set in a cheeky sort of way, it would still be a character that we know nothing about and haven't really properly seen, even if we've seen the actor portraying the twin that we do know. You know? 

In the back of my mind... I keep toying with the identity of A, and the reason behind it, and I'm just not sure. We've been given so many clues and non clues about A and why they play the game they play. We're supposed to feel sorry for them, but it's likely that they're responsible for every corpse in Rosewood, so..........

Then there's always that thought that I've had that they could take everything back to the moment that Mona entered Radley, or when Spencer was in Radley... and we've just been inside someone's headspace this whole time. That would definitely get quite the big reaction. Oh, A is all in so and so's head... If that happened, I pity all the TV screens that would get things thrown at them. 

Only 5 more episodes left until we supposedly learn some really juicy details, and possibly, but probably not... the identity of A... I don't recommend waiting with bated breath. Prior history, and all!

-S

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