‘Pretty Little Liars’ Season 7: The Beginning of the Endgame

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This is it, bitches! Yes, “Pretty Little Liars,” fans- the end is near. Returning for one last run of ten episodes, the show is truly winding things down in earnest, with showrunner I. Marlene King promising that all will finally be revealed, once and for all. But will it be a satisfying conclusion, or more akin to something like “Lost,” where we were left with more questions than answers? That remains to be seen.

Either way, the first episode back since the longest hiatus yet- got to make the most of that final run of episodes of Freeform/ABC Family’s highest-rated show to date, after all- got the ball rolling with a fun set-up that was quintessential “A” shenanigans. Or should I say “A.D.”?Whatever the case, this was “Playtime” no one in their right mind would want anything to do with.

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When we last left the liars, a lot of insanity had gone down, and in a decidedly short amount of time. Noel Khan was decapitated, Jenna (Tammin Sursok) was abducted after seemingly having shot Spencer (Troian Bellisario), Toby (Keegan Allen) and Yvonne had been involved in a car accident of some kind and Spencer had found out that Mary Drake (Andrea Parker) might be her biological mother.

With this episode we find that the gun found on the premises where Noel was killed and the girls were terrorized was, in fact, not the one used to shoot Spencer with, confirming that at least one more shooter was on the scene- presumably the one who took Jenna.

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Meanwhile, Spencer confronts her mother, Veronica (Lesley Fera), about what Mary Drake said, and found out that, indeed, Mary Drake was her birth mother, who was forced to give her baby up for adoption after she gave birth to Spencer at Radley. It seems that, posing as her sister, Mary had seduced Peter (Nolan North) Hastings and gotten herself pregnant in the process.

Though the circumstances were obviously less than ideal- after all, this meant her husband had impregnated not one but two DiLaurentis women! – Veronica found it within her heart to adopt little Spencer, and even crazier, stick with Peter all this time. Honestly, why she didn’t kick this creep to the curb long ago is beyond me.

Of course, I’ve been reviewing this show practically since the beginning, and I’ve long since maintained that this would ultimately come down to the repercussions of the actions of the parents of Rosewood, not the liars themselves- a sort of “sins of the fathers” scenario. Boy, was I ever right- especially in the case of Peter.

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I think as we move forward, even more stuff will prove to be connected to the actions of the parents in town- and to their respective progeny. Who knows how many other little Hastings offspring are running around out there, for instance? That dude certainly gets around!

Granted, one of them was a somewhat understandable case of mistaken identity, given that a twin was involved, but that still doesn’t change the fact that Peter knocked up not one, not two, but at least three different women- two of which were decidedly not his wife, and sisters to boot! Yikes!

Of course, that’s just the Hastings. We also know that Byron (Chad Lowe, who directed the episode), Aria’s dad, slept around at least once, but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if he cheated even more- maybe he’s got a little bastard running around out there his own damn self. The question is- who? Could it be Lucas, long a prime suspect for many fans of the show? Or maybe even the recently resurfacing Holden (Shane Coffey)?

SHANE COFFEY, LUCY HALE

Lest we forget, Holden and Aria (Lucy Hale) go way back, with his father and Byron having been longtime friends, leading to the two having played together as kids. Might Byron have had a little “playtime” with Holden’s mother as well? You never know. Either way, his coming back at this point and time, and getting himself involved in Aria’s wedding is awfully dubious.

Note also his proficiency with a computer tablet- Lucas (Brendan Robinson) may not be the only one with the savvy skills to have hacked into the “smart house” that went haywire on the girls, setting fire to Aria at one point. You also can’t talk computer skills without at least a mention of Caleb (Tyler Blackburn), as unlikely as his guilt might seem. Lest we forget as well, the circumstances of his arrival in Rosewood, in which he was living at the school at one point, were a bit dubious.

On the other hand, we already know who his parents are, though his troubled relationship with both them and his adoptive parents might be a solid reason for why he could relate to a lot of what’s going on in this town and potentially even side against the girls. Though, to be fair, he has helped out the girls an awful lot, and has slept with both Hanna (Ashley Benson) and Spencer, and his affection for both seemed genuine. Still, “seemed” might be the key word here. Of these three choices, though, this one seems the most unlikely to me, though.

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES

Instead, I direct your attention to my all-time favorite suspects: Melissa (Torrey DeVitto) and Wren (Julian Morris). Melissa already had ample enough reason to go after Spencer, and she certainly seems closer to her father than her mother, but if she knew about all this other stuff- that Veronica wasn’t Spencer’s real mother, for instance- it would only add fuel to the fire.

And with Dr. Wren providing more access to the likes of Radley and the wherewithal to fund and forge on behalf of the nefarious “Doctor” Rollins, the two working together could certainly do a lot of damage, as well as having had a lot of access to inside information, with Dr. Wren’s connections.

These two working together always seemed the most likely to me, and if you factor in Melissa’s connection to the N.A.T. club, who had blackmail-worthy material on her, she has plenty of motive to do the “A” thing- or “AD” in this case. If you look back at my many reviews over the years of the show, Melissa has always been my number one suspect, with Dr. Wren a close second. As such, either one being involved wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest.

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Of course, there are plenty of other suspects where that came from. Ezra (Ian Harding) has always been a possibility, and one can never rule out Mona (Janel Parrish), though it would be a bit anticlimactic if it were her, having already been her once as it is. I do think both know more than they let on, though, being as how they both were knee deep in everything that’s been going on from the jump.

Remember Ezra’s freaky lair in Ravenswood? Or the fact that Mona was left alone in that control room the night Sara (Dre Davis) tried to blow shiz up? No way, with all the access they had to all that information that they don’t know more than they let on, IMHO. Both have always been a bit shady, not in least Ezra, with his pedo tendencies, and bad habit of sleeping with his students, and he also has access to a lot of cash, thanks to his uber-rich family, who he might not be as estranged from as he lets on.

I could go on, but you get the idea- everyone’s a suspect. Even the girls, as far as I’m concerned. I certainly wouldn’t put it past Ali (Sasha Pieterse) to go back to her old devious ways- note her return to form in the mid-season premiere, as she came after Paige (Lindsey Shaw) in that meeting, claws fully out. Many have also long suspected Aria as well, who hasn’t been as preyed upon as the other girls, to a certain extent.

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On the other hand, it’s not as if Spencer shot herself and kidnapped Jenna, so, while she was certainly a leading suspect amongst the girls, I think we can safely rule her out of things this time around. Emily (Shay Mitchell) doesn’t seem very likely to me, either. Hanna, though, has always been a lot smarter than she leads people to believe so she remains a possibility, though her motives for such a thing are far less obvious than, say, Mona, Ali, Spencer and Aria.

Whoever it is, we’ve only got nine more episodes to go to find out, and with King promising a revelation in every episode, lots of juicy details to discern along the way. While certain plot points and twists may never be adequately resolved, knowing the end was near in advance might well be enough for the writers to both retcon some dubious time-line mistakes somehow, as well as explain a lot of occurrences along the way, enough to come to at least a moderately satisfying end, one can hope. We shall see.

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Until then, I love the high-tech board game concept, and the pieces are all in place for one hell of a big finish. Hopefully, the show will stick the landing, but even if it doesn’t, it’s been one hell of a ride. Join me next month for an update on where we stand, and a look ahead to the big finale, and as always, thanks for reading!