Pretty Little Liars Season 4 Review “A is for A-l-i-v-e”

Pretty Little Liars Season 4 Episode 1 A is for A-L-I-V-E (7)

They’re back! Picking up exactly where they left off, the “Pretty Little Liars” were in fine form on the inaugural episode of the fourth season, “A is for A-l-i-v-e”. Oftentimes episodes that come after a big cliffhanger are a bit of a letdown, as things get resolved so quickly it can’t help but seem a bit anticlimactic. Though it certainly seemed that way at first blush, I’m happy to say that things immediately went into full revelation mode, but with the requisite “PLL” twist, because it just wouldn’t be the show without it.

As this is a review and not a recap, I’m going to forgo a point-by-point breakdown, and it’s a good thing, because it’d take a good page to plow through that Mona confession alone. That said, I’m sure I wasn’t alone in being initially disappointed when it was revealed that the contents of the trunk were…a dead pig? What the what? Let it never be said that “A” was subtle, though, as it actually turned out to be a bit of a placeholder for the real victim, a decidedly dead- for real this time- Detective Wilden. That’ll show him for doing double duty on “The Client List”!

Anyway, that came later, but first we had the big reveal-a-palooza from Mona. Of course, the best thing about it is that it all fits in neatly with what happened on the show previously, and yet, this is Mona we’re talking about, so who knows if it’s actually the truth? That sure was convenient, for instance, that the computer self-deleted or whatever, just before it was revealed whether the second person involved in Garrett’s murder was in fact, as Mona said, Melissa. At least we know Wilden was definitely in on it- but, of course, he’s dead, so fat lot of good that does the girls.

Here’s what I think was true: Jenna and Shana are definitely involved, as we’ve seen that previously in a non-Mona context and…well, that’s about it, really. I think I buy that Lucas did the massage thing, and the rest sounds relatively plausible, but could also be complete BS, frankly. I’m particularly skeptical of Mona’s claim that Cece pretended to be Alison at Radley and she didn’t realize it because she was on “new” meds. Yeah, right. If Cece was there for the reasons we heard from Wren she was (if he can be trusted), then why would Cece pretend to be her enemy, Alison? That doesn’t make sense to me, but feel free to justify it below if you think it’s plausible.

I loved the scene with the mini-me versions of the girls carrying, well, mini-me versions of the girls that they claimed Mona’s friend “Alison” gave them. As creepy as some of the stuff on this show has been in typically spooky locales, I was impressed by how unsettling this scene was and it was set in broad daylight. How uncanny a doppelganger was mini-Aria, BTW? She looked like the real-life version of Emily the Strange, as in the cartoon character, not the “PLL” one. And those dolls were as freak-a-licious as ever. I definitely wouldn’t want those things staring me down at the foot of my bed at night. My sister actually had a stuffed clown that looked just like the one in Poltergeist that did just that- she’s braver than I am, because…no. Just no.

Other stuff you might want to know: The poster in Ali’s old room by her bed was in French, and translates as “Girls Have All the Fun”- I looked to see if it might be a film, but didn’t see any by that name, English or French. (Let me know if you know anything further below!). When Mona spoke to that person in the hall- also in French, I might add- she said “Please, not now!” Last and probably least, and this may admittedly be reaching, the mysterious woman at Wilden’s funeral put me in the mind of another French-themed source, the cult film The Bride Wore Black, which was one of the inspirations for “Kill Bill” and revolved around a woman who sought revenge against a group of people…not unlike a certain “A” is doing with our girls.

Beyond that, we saw the return of Ali’s mom, who was pretty creep-tastic her own damn self, what with her shrine-in-progress to her dead/not dead daughter and vacant stares out the window. We also got a sense of where Ali gets her snark from: “You’ve really kept the weight off”, indeed. (Well, Ashley Benson would have had to, seeing as she spent her hiatus almost entirely in a bikini.)

We also got another look at the sinister RV of doom- way to hang the girls out to dry, Toby! That said, it was nice seeing him and Spencer back together after her prolonged flip-out, or to see her smiling, period. Girlfriend was not looking good for a while there. On the other hand, I may not know that much about fashion, but the girls were looking mighty sexy for a funeral in those not-entirely-appropriate outfits (see above pic). But then, I guess they always look fetch, right? Bonus shout-out to Paige, though- she looked as good as I’ve ever seen her, though maybe not as good as Em in that football jersey and short-shorts. Stiff competition, though.

We met a new character in Officer Holbrook, the new investigator in charge of both the Wilden and Reynolds murders. He seemed to take a slightly friendlier approach to the girls, but that may just be his style, meant to unnerve them before he really gets under their skin in earnest. Unfortunately for the girls, it shouldn’t be long, what with “A” in possession of footage of not only the girls at the cop car taking evidence, but the aforementioned RV of Scooby Gang clues.

Nice job both writing and directing by series regular I. Marlene King. I especially appreciated the big fake-out with Aria and Ezra, which I fell for, hook, line and sinker. Way to give me a heart attack! It would also seem as if Jenna is either about to duck out of town again- and/or in serious danger of joining many of her cohorts in a short trip to a long casket. Note also that she was clearly at the lodge and got burnt, which means she likely set that fire. No wonder she was apologizing to Toby! Way to try and frame your stepbro, ho!

Well, that should about cover it for “Pretty Little Liars” this week. It was one hell of a ride, to be sure. Let me know if you think I missed anything major in the comments section. Until then…kisses, bitches! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)