Pretty Little Liars Season 5 Review “Fresh Meat”

TROIAN BELLISARIO, KEEGAN ALLEN

On the latest episode of “Pretty Little Liars,” while the Ali was away, the Liars did play- at getting themselves thrown right in there with her in jail, where they too could become “Fresh Meat.” I mean, honestly, will these girls ever learn? Or guys, for that matter, as Toby and Caleb weren’t much better.

To wit, a knife surfaced on Mona’s property while the cops were searching for clues, and Toby, recognizing it as one that belonged to his family, and which Caleb had used, opted to cover it up instead of turning it into the cops like he should have. Granted, it would have incriminated them both, especially if either one of their fingerprints were on it, which did seem likely, but still. The bonehead move came when both of them went separately to retrieve said evidence.

As ever, Toby went alone to do so- never a great idea in the “PLL” universe- but then Caleb dragged Spencer into retrieving it with him, which, while admittedly better than going alone, is still a big risk to be taking, especially given that Spencer just got herself out of big trouble with the police just recently. You’d think Toby would have been more upset about that, but he was more concerned about whether or not it was doing the right thing, his being a cop himself and all.

Regardless, Caleb and Spencer found the knife first, and went to destroy it via the high school’s kiln, only for Caleb to get trapped inside and “A” proceeding to turn up the heat and lock him inside. Thankfully, Spencer got to him just in time, but the big question is: did the knife get destroyed or did “A” get a hold of it?

I’m guessing the latter, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it was “A” who planted the knife in Mona’s yard in the first place, in hopes of someone involved doing something stupid, which they obviously did on all counts. If they keep this sort of thing up, that note “A”- or whoever- sent Ali that “your friends will see you soon” will be coming true sooner than later.

Meanwhile, jailbird Ali maintains her innocence, with Hanna being the first of the girls to crack and go see her. Ali insisted that the reason she was unaccounted for on Thanksgiving at the time of Mona’s death was that she got a text from Cyrus wanting to meet, and when she got there no one showed. She assumes it was a set-up, and who’s to say she’s wrong? I do honestly believe that Ali was innocent, at least in the case of that particular crime. Now, whether she was lying about the meet with Cyrus is another thing, but I don’t think she actually killed Mona, for what it’s worth.

However, Hanna seemingly confirmed that Detective Holbrook was indeed involved with Ali, as evidenced by her super-creepy encounter at the Honey Dew Mobile Park, which was very Lynchian (fans will recall the “Fat Trout” trailer park scenes from “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me”) all around. Holbrook’s dad, who looks to have cancer, was perplexed by the news that his son was supposedly taking off from work to look after him, and then mistook Hanna for Ali, which clearly indicates they’d talked about her enough for his father to get an idea of what Ali looked like, at least.

The problem with this is that surely Holbrook’s dad will tell him “Ali” stopped by, which means that it will get back to him that someone was poking their noses into his business, and Hanna is the lone blonde amongst the girls, so chances are, he’ll figure out who it was that came calling for him without much effort. As it stands, someone knows, as evidenced by the icky teddy bear surprise that someone left inside the poor stuffed animal’s stomach. Well, okay, not as poor as the deer that supplied the innards to place inside said bear, but you get my meaning. All told, one of the finer creep-tastic moments in the show’s history, IMHO.

The rest wasn’t all that interesting, to be honest, save the revelation that Caleb was once arrested on suspicion of murder charges, which were later dropped, and maybe the re-emergence of Ezra’s ex, Jackie Molina (Paloma Guzmán, “Deception”), now an employee at one of the colleges that Aria’s trying to get into. Aria wrote the most dubious letter ever to the board at said college, which Jackie intercepted, and, rather than blocking Aria’s path into getting into the college, fast-tracked it for her, seeing her as a fellow survivor of Ezra’s sleazy machinations. Someone else clearly saw that letter, too, though, and left a bookmark with a quote from it in a book at Ezra’s bookstore obviously meant for him to find. Lucky for her, Aria found it first, but now she knows someone really is out to get her, and actively so.

Plus, there were two new characters introduced: Talia (Miranda Mayo, “The Game”), a caterer that Ezra hires to work the opening of his bookstore at the “Rear Window” café; and Johnny Raymond (Will Bradley, “The Normal Heart”), an interior designer (I think) at the bookstore who’s also moving into the guest house at the Hastings that Melissa used to live in. The former seems pretty harmless, save maybe as a potential love interest for Emily, if she swings that way; while the latter could well be trouble, what with where he’s moving. That was about it, save Jason hooking up with Ashley, and Hanna catching him slinking out afterwards. (Nice going, dude!)

This was clearly a transitional episode, meant to introduce several new characters, who will no doubt factor into events moving forward on the show. As such, it was okay, but saved from the typical such episodes by virtue of that great mobile park scene and the Caleb attack, the rare instance of a boyfriend of the girls getting on the wrong side of “A,” Ezra notwithstanding. Beyond that, it was fine, but nothing spectacular.

Too soon to pass judgment on the new characters, but given the short shelf life of most of them, I won’t hold my breath on them lasting too terribly long, unless Emily makes the aforementioned love connection with Talia, I suppose, and that’s liable to get her on the short list of being messed with, if anything.

What did you think of the latest episode of “Pretty Little Liars”? What do you make of the new characters so far? Do you think they are trouble, or just the usual red herrings? How about the return of Jackie? Will she stir up trouble for Aria in the future once she discovers Aria and Ezra are still a thing? What’s the deal with Paige being out of touch? Is she dead? Was the knife stolen? If so, who has it? Who passed Ali the note in jail? Is Ali really having an affair with Holbrook? Sound off on this and more down below, and see you next week!