Pretty Little Liars Season 4 Review “Who’s in the Box?”

Pretty Little Liars Season 4 Episode 14 Who's in the Box (5)

True to the title, the mid-season “Pretty Little Liars” premiere was mostly about figuring out “Who’s in the Box?” and what the what was going on with all that went down on the Halloween episode. So, naturally, the girls had lots of questions, and all too few answers. If Ali was alive, who was buried in her place? How was she (the victim) confused with Ali, DNA-wise? Is there a twin involved? Was it someone missing from the immediate area? Were there others with unanswered questions elsewhere? So many questions.

No real answers, but I was impressed by how savvy the show was this time around. With Ezra out of the closet of “A” suspects, it gives his character a creepier underbelly than there was before we had this information. The showdown with Mona was some impressive joust-and-parry from two expert liars well matched. You could cut the underlying meanings between every word they said with a knife, their conversation was so loaded. I liked Mona’s astute observation that his reading list said a lot about him, and the way he turned it on her when she started making overt suggestions- not to mention that look he gave her as she walked away. Creep-city.

And yet, I didn’t really see it coming, so well-played. In fact, even after all the evidence, I still can’t help but give him a little bit of reasonable doubt. That early scene with Aria was very well done, and he was convincingly apologetic for everything he’d put her through. But then, we get to the isolated house on the outskirts of town, and it’s creep-city again.

Part of me wants to think they’re pulling another Toby on us, and Ezra’s just doing all this to protect Aria, and is only team “A” because he’s working from the inside- at a much higher level than Toby (or even the local cops) ever could, hence the more advanced bulletin board- and all the girls found was the lair of another helper trying to bring down “A,” a la Mona. Or so she claims, at least. She’s a hard one to pin down, too. Who knows? Maybe Mona and Ezra could form an “A”-fighting subset of their own.

Hey, Ali could be pulling a fast one, too. She’s just as wily as these two, if not more so. We’ve already seen what an awful person she can be, and now it seems she actually kept a journal of all the secrets she’d amassed on various people. Whatever she was planning on doing with all of that information was undoubtedly nothing good.

Ali could easily be the real “A”- after all, she led the girls to that lair, and it could have easily been to throw the scent of guilt away from herself. I mean, it was clearly Ezra’s place- how did she know about it? Because she knew he was getting close to figuring out what she was up to. What better way to throw a wrench into those plans than to make herself look like the victim?

Note that Ezra was holding a copy of “Rear Window” when Mona approached him, and mentioned the significance of books- it’s about a guy who witnesses a murder from afar, only to have it covered up and people think he’s lying, so he has to take matters into his own hands to prove that a crime actually happened, putting people he cares about in harm’s way in the process. Sound familiar? (Note also how hard he hit the fact that a lot of people missed the point of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde- I’ll leave that for you to look into here.)

Meanwhile, Team Spoby hit the bricks looking for info on what happened to his mother for real. They followed a lead to a pharmaceutical company, who they threatened their way into to a letter of apology for calling Toby’s mother’s death a suicide. Spencer’s dad wisely pointed out that if they budged on that, it was to try and make it go away, and that a real lawyer would have gotten a lot farther with that info. But points for effort for Team Spoby.

More impressive by far was Hanna’s efforts: you go, playa! I already liked her spunky snark, but now brains, too? I may have to convert to Team Hanna. But first, a moment to reflect on the end of Team Calanna. Or Team Haleb? Come to think of it, that doesn’t sound right at all, anyway. But he was the only guy I thought might actually be guilt-free in any of this, so sad moment. Well, don’t cry too much, he has his own show, which we’ll be getting into later.

Best lines:
“Guys, don’t fight in the crypt!”- Aria (don’t know why, it made me laugh- something about the delivery.)
On Mona’s driving skills after she honked at Toby and Spencer, passing by- in Jenna’s former car:
Toby: “She must be making progress.”
Spencer: “Yeah. She’s working on her aim.”
Spencer, on sarcasm at the Hastings house: “That’s sort of the native tongue in this house.” (Bonus points for the “Mythbusters” reference!)
And, of course: “Whoever finds her, gets to keep her.”- “A.” (Whatever that means.)

Other notable moments:
The glimpse into alterna-Ali, Sara’s own crew of little liars was well-done; Ashley got a job working for Ali’s mom, who Ali told her to hire in a “dream” (I’ll just bet); Ali and Emily kissed, and she played it off, breaking Emily’s heart in the process; Aria’s got a key to Ezra’s love shack- and access to whatever’s going on in the cellar! (More paintings of trains? Spare military gas masks? The Ark of the Covenant? )

This was a well-acted, well-constructed episode that hummed along nicely, and took right where we needed to be and did exactly what it needed to do: recapped all the crazy crap that went down and tried to make sense of it. I liked the renewed enthusiasm of all concerned, and the way the cast kicked things into high gear and hit the ground running with new attitudes and plotlines to pursue. Nice job all around, “Pretty Little Liars”.

What did you think of the show? Still in denial about Ezra, too? Sad to see Caleb and Hanna go their separate ways and force Tyler Blackburn to make his best cry faces? Who’s in the box? What’s in the cellar? Who’s on first? (Oh wait, that’s something else.) Whatevs. See you next week, Little Liars fans!