Pretty Little Liars “To Plea or Not to Plea” Review Season 5 Episode 22

LUCY HALE, SHAY MITCHELL, IAN HARDING

On the latest episode of “Pretty Little Liars,” we got both an episode we were all dreading and some of us prayed for- one much-‘shipped couple officially parted ways and one of the girls finally- FINALLY- let a parent in on the fact that they were being tormented by someone who was seeking to frame them for Mona’s death.

Of them all, I think the writers chose wisely with Hanna, because Ashley is definitely someone that’s going to have her daughter’s back- and yet is mighty vulnerable to attack her own damn self. Lest we forget, Ashley pulled a Marion Crane early on and took some cash from the bank she used to work for. She’s also willing to go the extra mile, as evidenced by the whole Wilden affair. This gives the writers some juicy avenues to explore all around, so I think it was the right way to go.

Just to contrast and compare: Emily’s mother worked in the police department and her father is in the National Guard; Spencer’s are both lawyers; and Aria’s father is a teacher and her mother has also taught school. Of the other three, Aria is easily the most vulnerable, thanks to Mike and his association with Mona, so that’s still a possibility, but Hanna was definitely the way to go at this point and time, given all the dirt “A” has on her.

To wit: he/she/they have Hanna and Caleb on video admitting they’re about to go to the storage room to mess with evidence, Tanner herself saw them there, there are bone fragments in the barrel that the police are convinced are Mona’s (though it has yet to be firmly proven) and now we know that “A” used Hanna’s blood to put on Mona’s clothes that she was wearing at her time of death. To paraphrase a well-known saying: frame, set, match. Done and done.

Of course, “A” also has a matching set of blood vials of Aria’s and Spencer’s, assuming that wasn’t Spencer’s blood at the interview she went on in the previous episode. My guess is that it was Mona’s and that “A” had hoped Spencer would get busted with it at the airport. She wasn’t, but somehow “A” knew both that and that the blood did end up breaking at the interview Spencer was on- as evidenced by the text she got after- so I think if Spencer had been caught with the blood, it would have just been more fuel for the Ali accomplice fire, as it were.

Although Veronica would have no doubt taken care of that noise pretty quickly, as it seems pretty unlikely that Spencer would have been crazy enough to actually carry around a vial of Mona’s blood, much less anything with her blood on it while traveling abroad, making it a dubious prospect to prove under the best of circumstances. I think maybe “A” was trying to rattle Spencer’s cage more than anything- probably to get her to come back home ASAP so that he/she/they could better screw with her.

And guess what? Mission accomplished, as Spencer was in the process of doing just that at the end of the episode, least of all after she discovered that her mother and sister were actively trying to keep her there under false pretences, after Veronica found out that Ali had a plea bargain that she could possibly use to incriminate Spencer. That was unfortunate, as it was coming after a sweet moment- for once- between Spencer and Melissa.

Of course, Melissa only has herself to blame, given that she immediately lied after telling Spencer she wouldn’t anymore. But did you also notice the look she had when she mentioned doing iffy things in the moment for the people you loved? Hmm… (Nope, still not giving up on the Melissa is on the “A” team thing- sorry!)

Of course, “A” is hardly about to make things easier for anyone, so the minute everyone rallied to Hanna’s defense, “A” promptly erased the messages on the phones of everyone concerned, inside the precinct, no less. That means “A” (or the minion in question) had to be someone nearby, which makes me think it was likely someone law enforcement that did that particular deed. Unless someone blue-snarfed them, or whatever, from outside, I suppose. I hate to say it, but Toby does fit the bill, and he is being awfully uncooperative lately to all concerned.

At the same time, they’ve played that card before, so it’s probably someone else entirely that we haven’t thought about for a while. Still, it almost has to be law enforcement, given that “A” somehow had access to those Bibles that were going to the facility Ali is in, otherwise how would “A” keep being able to mess with Ali from behind bars? After all, Ali got slipped a message in a barrel last week, a dusty note in the laundry room, and then this week was tormented by her jail mates, who tossed her room, wrote a threatening message on her wall (“Take the plea”) and then at least one of them beat her up a bit.

I got to say my admiration for Ali despite her past behavior was considerable, especially after she ultimately refused the plea bargain, which took a lot of guts, under her given circumstances. But you’d like to think, after seeing Hanna walk by looking miserable, she would have had to have a heart of stone to do that to her personally- and didn’t, so that’s a point for Ali, who could use some in my estimation.

Of course, “A” got Hanna in there anyway, so it doesn’t really matter, except in terms of Ali saving face by not betraying her friend. I know that people like to hate on Ali, and she certainly has done plenty to deserve it, and has only herself to blame for a lot of her own circumstances, but I think we all know by now it’s unlikely she killed Mona. But that she didn’t try to drag other people down with her, least of all people she claims are friends, says a lot about her as she is now, and that’s something, I suppose- and she certainly has a lot to lose by not calling out someone as her accomplice, so there you go. You go, Ali.

Maybe now that Hanna’s in there she can at least have someone who will have her back, since no one else clearly does. That is, assuming Ashley tells Hanna that it wasn’t Ali who got her in there, like she thinks at the moment. I’m sure she will, though, and Ali certainly will, even if Hanna doesn’t believe her at first. Maybe they can start a gang together in jail- blondes unite!

As for the Aria situation, obviously we knew that was coming- to me, it was practically a done deal already- but it was nice to see both of them handle it so maturely, even after Ezra got wind of the Andrew thing. I also liked that he, Emily and Aria got to pull one last caper before they went their separate ways- feels fitting to end on something like that, after all they’ve been through. Speaking of which, who do you think will be answering that phone number, if anyone? I couldn’t help but notice it wasn’t the usual “555” number, as is usually the case in movies and TV, which really made me want to call it- it’s: 727-242-7839, if anyone’s game!

Obviously, whoever it is, they’re rich, they live in an isolated, gated home and have cameras all over their property, and cash and who knows what else in a safe there, plus a lawyer of their own at their beck and call, so it’s clearly not one of the girls. My guess? I’m going with Peter Hastings. Maybe the blood thing was done intentionally to scare Spencer into staying put, while he took care of some business with Ali and Hanna, thus ensuring his daughter was kept out of it. But is he “Big A”? Debatable.

If so, why would he help to get his own daughter put in jail, as “A” did earlier on in the series? That means “A” might actually be the one pulling the strings here, too. Like, in a “if you do what I say, your daughter will be safe” kind of way. That would explain why the lawyer was there getting money for him- it’s blackmail pay-off to “Big A” for framing Hanna over Spencer. It’s nothing “A” hasn’t done before to the girls’ parents, after all. We already know the Hastings will do most anything to keep her out of jail, so that would hardly be out of character- and they’re already actively trying to keep Spencer out of town without her knowing it, so it fits.

That was the gist of the episode, but there were some great moments here besides the ones already discussed: Spencer having fun at an English pub, playing darts, buying beer for the first time and especially her rattling off about her “Bucket List” (she’s had one since she was 6!); and Hanna’s priceless mug-shot moment (“Spring Breakers,” redux, bitches!), for instance. All in all, another great episode as “A” continues to turn to screws on the girls, one by one. Who will be next? Aria? Emily? Or Spencer?

My money’s on Aria, but a lot of people think she is “A” so I might be wrong, if that’s the case. I’d love it if she were, but I still maintain if it’s any of the girls, it’s Spencer, who might just have a split personality, if you think about it, given her past actions- and the overall actions of her family as well. Emily’s probably the least likely, though. Honestly, I don’t think it is any of the girls. I think whoever it is has some serious cash at their disposal, and Spencer is the only one that really fits that bill, and I don’t see her having that kind of access, so it must be someone else, IMHO. (If it’s any of the Hastings, I still maintain its Melissa, possibly working in tandem with Wren.)

Whatever the case, from the looks of next week’s episode’s preview, it seems that Ali will soon be having her day in court, so that should be interesting. I think we’re all curious about what she’ll say- even she may not know at this point- or if it will be true or not. But from the looks of it, Hanna isn’t leaving jail as soon as we might hope, which is too bad. Still, that gives her more time to form that girl gang with Ali, so I’m all for that!

What did you think of this episode of “Pretty Little Liars”? Glad one of the girls finally told their parents about what was going on, at least to a point? Sad Ezra and Aria finally called it quits? Who’s at the other end of that Varjack phone line? What was that lawyer grabbing from the safe besides money? How will Hanna fare in jail? Will Spencer wish she stayed in England? Who will “A” target next? Who is “A” for that matter? Sound off with your craziest theories down below, and I’ll see you next week!