Pretty Little Liars Season 5 Review “Surfing the Aftershocks”

Pretty Little Liars Season 5 Episode 3 Surfing the Aftershocks (9)

On the latest episode of “Pretty Little Liars,” it was time again for some housecleaning, in “Surfing the Aftershocks.” All the better to prepare for the much-lauded 100th episode, no doubt, which is two weeks from now, and reportedly features the return of some fan favorites, including Caleb and Jenna, and some big reveals/shocking developments.

As such, this episode served mostly as set-up, with little in the way of forward momentum, save the revelation that Jason couldn’t have killed his mother, as most of the Liars believed, save Spencer. (Fun fact: He was in rehab at the time, which is also where his character went on “Devious Maids” during the first season when he was off shooting “PLL”- turnabout is fair play, I guess!)

Instead, Jason announced he was leaving town, and warned Spencer that whoever the mysterious unsent email was intended for that Mrs. D. told she couldn’t protect anymore, might well have been the culprit that killed her- and might kill Spencer if she kept digging into the matter. Given that we know Mrs. D. protected whoever hit Ali, it would stand to reason it must be someone she had good reason to protect. I posited that it might be Cece, but now I wonder if it might be Spencer’s father- and possibly he who killed Mrs. D. as well.

We know that Melissa had a secret she told her father that he didn’t want to tell his wife- or Spencer, for that matter- and that he seemed to think that Spencer might have killed Ali until she turned up alive. Then Melissa told him the secret and he went all wide-eyed, and has been acting crazy ever since.

Of course, the show’s standard tack is to make someone look guilty for a stretch before revealing that that person was a red herring meant to throw the viewer off, i.e. Toby and Ezra. They did it with Jason most recently, and now they’re doing it with Spencer’s father, who has been off ever since Melissa told him whatever she told him, which reached its creepy nadir on tonight’s episode, when he insisted on giving Ali a ride home when he found her out wandering at night alone.

Given that we didn’t see Ali again for the rest of the episode, the implication was that he might have done something, but since Ali was featured in the preview for next week’s episode, it would seem that she’s fine. So, I think that Mr. Hastings is just another red herring, even though he might well have been the one who assaulted Ali way back when. When the show tries too hard to make someone look guilty, it usually means that they aren’t.

But I do think Mr. Hastings is guilty of something, or he wouldn’t be freaking out so much lately. The real question is: what in the world did Melissa tell him that night at the precinct and why is he so insistent on keeping it a secret, when Melissa wants to tell Spencer and her mother alike? He implied tonight it was to keep them safe, in that what they didn’t know couldn’t hurt them, in a legal sense, but was that it, really? Hard to say. I feel like there’s something I’m missing that would make it all make sense, but I can’t quite put my finger on it just yet.

Other developments: Aria and Ali both visited Ezra separately, who was back in Rosewood for the first time since his shooting, and made sure he was on the same page about what Ali’s cover story for her absence was and to fill him in on what happened with Shana. Ali read Ezra’s manuscript and she concluded that it wasn’t the whole story and that he’d left key information out on purpose which might prove helpful moving forward, which Ali said he needed to keep in a safe place, lest it fall into the wrong hands.

Aria stuck to her guns, insofar as maintaining the break-up between her and Ezra, and Emily did the same with Paige, not in the least because she got all stalkery on her and new girl Sydney. Hanna realized that Mona remade her in Ali’s image- the patented “Ali Upgrade”- after her own makeover because she missed Ali in spite of her being the one who sent her away in the first place, all the better so that she could rule the roost.

Best line- Emily: “Coincidences happen.”
Spencer: “Yeah, all the time. They grow on trees like coconuts, just waiting for you to walk under them.” Nice!

That was also crazy that Ali picked out he dress her mother wore to her own funeral to wear to her mother’s funeral, much to her father’s chagrin. I also liked the notion that “A” intentionally sent the dog to the DiLaurentis’ household so that Mrs. D. could be found sooner than later. And the showdowns between Melissa and Spencer were as charged as usual, in the best way- “friendly fire,” indeed. Nice Borgia reference, too.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, it was also nice seeing Ali continuing to be uncharacteristically vulnerable. I feel like if Mona keeps pushing her buttons, Ali might well backslide into her meaner side. As nice as it is seeing a kinder, gentler Ali, I’m not sure how long she can keep it up if people keep badgering her, and Mona seems hellfire determined to. I guess we’ll find out when Ali inevitably returns to school.

That was about it, really. This was, by nature, an expository episode of the show, more set-up for what’s to come than anything else, and, as such, not that much happened to propel the plot forward much, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I think it will all be worth it when the inevitable Mona/Ali showdown happens over the next few episodes.

What did you think of “Pretty Little Liars” this week? Who do you think hit Ali in the head? Who killed Mrs. D? What is Melissa’s secret and why is her dad so skittish about it? Why was Jason in New York? Does Ezra know more than he’s letting on? What will Mona get up to next week? Is there hope for Aria and Ezra? Who’s in Ali’s grave? Sound off below and I’ll see you next week!