Pretty Little Liars Season 5 Review “Through a Glass, Darkly”

ASHLEY BENSON, SHAY MITCHELL, LUCY HALE, TROIAN BELLISARIO

In a highly affecting episode of “Pretty Little Liars,” we picked up three months later, as Mona was finally being laid to rest- sans her body, which had yet to be discovered. Putting aside the inherent oddness of the fact that the girls and others were all wearing leis to said event- not as strange perhaps, if you knew actress Janel Parrish was, in fact, Hawaiian, even if it was never mentioned that her character was on the show- it was nonetheless an emotional endeavor, culminating with an appearance by Ali, who was promptly bitch-slapped by Mona’s mother, thus confirming that even she thinks Ali did it.

I myself am not so sure, as it just wouldn’t be the show’s style to allow something so obvious to actually be true. Oh, I don’t doubt that it connects to Ali in some way, mind you, but I don’t honestly think she did the deed herself. Why risk it when you’ve got plenty of minions willing to do your dirty work for you? It’s tempting to think it’s Cece, too, what with the blonde hair and all that we saw on the tape and in the episode when Mona was killed. That was, in fact, my primary choice of the culprit, but now I’m not so sure. Once again, it’s just way too easy to assume it would be an actual blonde.

Now that we’ve gotten a look at Mona’s hidden camera footage, however, it did at least seem to confirm that a woman had done the need, if not necessarily a blonde one. Rather, that’s what I suspect that the killer wanted any potential looky-loos to the scene of the crime to think, whether they thought it was Ali or Cece or just some rando blonde in general, which means it’s likely neither one.

Which, as ever, brings me back to Melissa. I’ve always maintained she was in this up to her neck, and what better way to literally kill two birds with one stone than to exonerate her sister Spencer as she did before, while also casting suspicion on the very people most everyone would think had done it anyway, including Mona’s own mother. Makes sense to me, and it’s nothing Melissa hasn’t done before, right?

Also, it kind of worked, didn’t it? It might have taken a bit longer than the perpetrator intended, but ultimately, it got Spencer exonerated, albeit with an unexpected assist from Jason- or was it? I mean, he’s part of the Hastings family, too, right? And it was clear that, like everyone else, he’d just about had enough of Ali’s antics his own self. Hell, Emily almost planted evidence incriminating Ali, and not so long ago, she was one of Ali’s most ardent supporters- and admirers. Not anymore.

Indeed, you’d be hard-pressed to find any Ali supporters beyond her father and maybe Cece at this point. Sure, Ali has her minions- but they were noticeably absent this episode. Hell, maybe she’s safer in jail, whether she did it or not, you know? Doesn’t seem like Ali has too many, well, allies, these days, pun definitely intended.

On other fronts, Hanna threw a Hail Mary pass in Ravenswood’s direction, getting a visit from the creep-tastic Mrs. Grunwald (Meg Foster, who, as I recently discovered, has done her share of looking “Through a (sun)Glass, Darkly” way back when, when she was starring in the cult classic “They Live,” one my all-time fave sci-fi flicks.)

Mrs. G. confirmed that Mona and Ali both have secrets, and both had reasons for not wanting those reasons getting out- tell us something we don’t know already. (I did laugh when, after the supposedly psychic Mrs. G. wondered aloud why she would live in such a constipated environment, and Hanna said, without missing a beat: “I eat a lot of fiber.” )

The titular episode name did come into play in this scene, as Mrs. G. quoted the Bible, noting that the atmosphere around Rosweaood was such that it was near-impossible to get a straight reading on the place- hence the metaphor of seeing things from afar, and reflected, as if within a mirror.

It’s also worth noting that that title, “Through a Glass, Darkly” is the title of a classic Swedish film by noted director Ingmar Bergman that has some ties to some of the crazier plotlines in this show, i.e. a main character with mental issues, implied incest (remember Toby and Jennna?), and a main character who’s a writer. Granted, it’s a bit slow and dramatic and in black & white, which may not be many “PLL” fans’ cup of tea, but on this show, it’s rare for a reference to not mean something deeper, and the writers do love their old movies.

Beyond that, Mona’s super-encrypted laptop was stolen by a masked figure who also terrorized Aria; a file found hidden in Wilden’s old office revealed that he’d taken a statement from Mrs. DeLaurentis that said she saw Spencer with a blonde wearing the same clothes as her daughter the night Bethany died and subsequently covered it up, likely at someone’s behest; Paige opted to take her parents up on their insistence that she move to California sooner than later; Aria is having trouble getting into her colleges of choice and thinks someone- likely “A”- is responsible; Mona is a big fan of Henry James, notably “Terminations”; and, at long last, Ali was arrested.

Also, the girls plotted their post-graduation escape, as “A” announced that she/he/they were still out there via fireworks (!), despite Ali’s current situation; and Aria and Mike had a long-in-the-coming talk about Mona that was actually sort of heartbreaking, with both reduced to tears in the process.

Definitely an emotionally-charged episode throughout, which makes sense, given all that’s happened over the last few seasons of the show. How could it not be, what with Ali being arrested, and the sad loss of Mona? And I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens next. It might have been a bit of an exposition-heavy episode, but with the table firmly set for any number of possibilities, it should be interesting to see how the show proceeds from here.

What did you think of the latest episode of “Pretty Little Liars”? Does Grunwald know more than she’s saying? Who stole the laptop? How long will Ali be in jail? What will “A”’s next move be? Will the girls ever make it out of Rosewood, or die trying? Who will Emily add to her ever-revolving group of girlfriends next? Sound off on this and more down below, and see you next week!