Pretty Little Liars “Bloody Hell” Review Season 5 Episode 21

LUCY HALE, TROIAN BELLISARIO, SHAY MITCHELL

On the latest “Pretty Little Liars,” things have immediately gone from bad to worse, in an episode that more than made up for the slower ones earlier this mid-season in spades, with the aptly-titled “Bloody Hell.” This “A” is certainly stepping up their game, managing to nearly potentially kill two characters, threaten another- behind bars, no less- and sabotage yet another across the freaking pond in England! Clearly, this “A” is not messing around.

Let’s start with the former- first potential victim: Mike Montgomery, who it turned out “A” tried to sabotage via his weight lifting rack, which he/she (or one of “A’s” minions) jury-rigged to fall apart while Mike was lifting weights, which could well have killed him had the weights fallen a certain way. It nearly did Aria, who climbed up on it to reach Mike’s pinned-up schedule and took a tumble when it broke apart that could have cost her big-time, but thankfully only resulted in a sprained ankle- and an unexpected kiss, courtesy of Andrew. Needless to say, Aria was suitably freaked out- especially as she realized “A” was almost certainly after her brother. (If not by Andrew’s kiss, to boot.)

Number two victim, this one much more successful, was Cyrus, aka Hank Mahoney: a “Broadway Melody” reference, of all things- it actually refers to a female character in the film who goes by the decidedly male moniker, and occasionally dresses as a male in the film as well, interestingly enough- thanks Wikipedia! (This is also interesting…) Anyway, “A” caused the mechanic to have a not-so-accidental “accident” that was very nearly lethal, causing Cyrus to have to pay a visit to the burn unit.

Hanna and Aria pay him a visit as well, where he gives them yet another old-school film-based clue: that of the name “Vojack.” That’s actually an unwitting Cyrus referencing “Paul Varjack” from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (the movie, not the novella, tellingly- remember, Ali how went by the movie, not the novella in previous episodes? – definitely a clue there, as it would have to be someone who knew that- Cece?) only misspelled, because he didn’t see it spelled- he heard it.

That means Cyrus actually talked to “A” which might have yielded some solid results if it weren’t for the fact that Cyrus was almost certainly doomed, judging by the last scene with him, as “A” rose up in bandages from a bed adjacent to Cyrus like Michael Myers at the end of the original “Halloween” when he went after Laurie that last time before he was shot by Loomis. I halfway expected the music to start up.

I don’t think that was unintentional on the part of the show- is anything? Anyway, nice to see them update their references to at least the 70’s. Maybe by the end of the series, “A” will be referencing “Fight Club” or something- Aria was “A” all along- she just didn’t know it because she’s living in a state of hyper-reality to rival Mona’s! Or not. Either way, Cyrus is toast.

My favorite moment of the show, though, was the absolutely bonkers moment when “A” or one of his/her minions somehow managed to roll a hollowed-out can into Ali’s jail cell, complete with a doll of her, with her “Orange is the New Black” duds on, and a snarky note, as per usual, this one reading: “You’re already over a barrel- wanna be in one, too?” Oh, that “A”- such a wacky sense of humor.

At literally the same time as this is happening, Spencer is in England to interview with an admissions officer at a posh college in Oxford, and is in the process of charming the pants off of the old gent when blood gushes out of her purse into a swanky chair and onto the floor of his office. Sez “A,” after a mortified Spencer high-tails it out of there: “Keep calm, but watch your carry-on. There’s more blood where that came from.” Like I said, that darn “A” always with the wise cracks. You rascal, you!

So, needless to say all of this was just plain bonkers, from nearly start to finish. Hell there was even a sexy Emily lesbian dance party, and though it was certainly no match for the Hanna freak-out dance party of last week- how could anything ever be, ever? – it was fun for a hot minute until Talia, out on her keister after a separation from the hubby when she told him the truth about her sexual orientation, started raining on the sexy parade with her tears. To paraphrase Tom Hanks in “A League of Their Own”– and I’m quite sure it’s the first time that phrase has come up in a “PLL” review- “There’s no crying in a sexy dance party!” (Hey, at least my references are slightly more current that the “PLL” writers’…)

Another fabulously nutty moment came when a character named Claire Handleman (Anne-Marie Johnson, another “Melrose Place” vet) announced to beauty pageant participant Emily that she was, and I quote: “the Contestant Coordinator of the Glass Slipper Collective.” That may be the greatest fictional job title ever. Thanks, “PLL.” For daring to go completely out on the rails in every way. You rock, truly. Sounds like some sort of fairy tale princess spy agency, which should so be a show. “Cinderella may have lost her glass slipper, but she’s still got her automatic weapon- tonight on ABC Family’s new series, “The GSC”!

Anyway, I guess Emily may not be participating in all the Pageant Games anymore, as she was semi-disqualified for being Ali-adjacent. Though she might get paid for her troubles, at least, thanks to some quick thinking semi-extortion from Talia on Emily’s behalf. God, I love this show.

Other stuff:

Andrew asked Aria to go see “All the President’s Men”– see, I told you they’d updated to the 70’s on the writers’ staff- and referred to it as “ a thriller about getting messages from a shadowy figure who knows everybody’s secrets”- gee, why does that sound familiar?

The girls visited Ali finally- first Aria, Emily and Spencer, then Hanna, separately. They told her about their new evidence and how it exonerated her, but one problem: doing so might have to come at Mike’s expense, much to Aria’s dismay. Hence “A” wanting Mike out of the way. Veronica Hastings also confirmed that Mike was screwed, albeit while not knowing who exactly Aria was talking about. She also contemplated giving counsel to Ali, in part because of her daughter’s impassioned plea that Ali was actually innocent after all.

Ali also got another message in jail when she wrote “Mona” in the dust on a countertop in the laundry room, and returned later to see that “A” (or one of his/her minions) had added “told everything.” Does this mean that Mona told “A” everything she knew about Ali- or that “A” has Mona recorded telling everything on tape/video/whatever about Ali? Or even that “A” tortured Mona for info about Ali before he/she killed her? If so, what does “A” have on Ali exactly?

Favorite line: Hanna, on the nurse at Cyrus’ hospital: “I could have taken her.” Followed by this equally amusing one by Aria, when Hanna laments that she didn’t do enough to help her: “What did you want me to do, juggle?” I think the only thing that could have made this episode more awesome would be Aria juggling, honestly. Bonus points for the “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” reference- way to drag this show into the year 2000, writers- there may be hope for you yet! (I kid because I love.)

Ashley’s engagement to Ted is back on, as well, and Spencer met a guy named Colin (Oliver Kieran-Jones, “Episodes”) who lives with her sister Melissa and Wren- both conspicuously absent in this episode. He seemed okay, but who knows on this show? I do think that the blood was in Spencer’s purse before she got to their “flat,” though. Looks like she might be staying for a while, as Veronica leaves a message for her to cancel her flight back for the time being, for some unspecified reason. Whatever it is, it clearly had something to do with Ali’s files.

We ended with a cliffhanger, as Hanna asked Ali point blank the significance of the name “Varjack” to her personally and we never got an answer, then we saw “A” or a minion putting twenties into Bibles from Ali’s Correctional Facility, all on the same page, sporting a variety of interesting Bible verses, notably this one, from Deuteronomy 32:35. Sounds ominous, to be sure. From the looks of next week’s preview, Hanna looks to be the next in hot water- and there’s also a return of the infamous barrel- can’t wait!

Great episode, as ever, the show is really firing up for a slam-bang finale that should be something if the lead-up is any indication. I am really going to miss this show when it ends in the next few weeks. Here’s hoping it goes out with a real jaw-dropper!

What did you think of the latest episode of “Pretty Little Liars”? Any theories on who the big “A” is? Could it be Andrew? Aria? Um…Ashley? (Probably not.) How about someone whose name doesn’t actually begin with an “A”? Is Mike doomed? Is Spencer screwed on the college front? Is Colin shady? How about Talia? Or her husband? Who in the world has infiltrated Ali’s jail on the behalf of “A”? What does “A” have of Mona’s? Who- or what- is in the barrel? Hopefully, we’ll get the answers to some of this in the weeks to come, but feel free to post your crazy theories below, and I’ll see you next week!