Pretty Little Liars “Last Dance” Review (Season 6 Episode 9)

Pretty Little Proms 2

As per expected, tonight was a bit of a filler episode of “Pretty Little Liars,” but it was admittedly a fun one, nonetheless. In “Last Dance,” the girls were denied their prom, but come hell or high water, they were getting one, anyway. So, Veronica Hastings volunteered the use of the barn, which didn’t go over so well with anyone concerned, but the girls opted to make the best of it, anyway, with even the moms getting in on the action.

All the moms in one scene, much less one episode? Yes, please! I smell something, and it ain’t what’s in the dumbwaiter of the DiLaurentis basement- can you say spin-off? If there’s a “Pretty Little Moms,” sign me up, cause every scene with them was money in the bank, let me tell you- especially once the wine started flowing! (Remind me to stay on Veronica’s good side, lol.)

Another of the things I did like about the episode was the whole full circle nature of it all- it was kind of like those final series of shots in the original “Halloween”- here’s where “A” has been, and here, and here…and so on. Of course the girls would have their faux prom in the barn- like Aria said, it’s kind of where all this began in the first place.

Reminders of episodes and seasons past abounded: here’s where the dog dug up Jessica’s body in Veronica’s yard…and over here, there’s a mention of Noel Kahn and Bridget Wu, at the prom together, no less…plus reminders of the creepy twins and others long unseen, like Lucas and Jenna (also at the prom together!)…plus the moms’ basement adventures at the DiLaurentis house, to boot.

Of course, this was also a bit of fan service as well, as if to acknowledge, yes, we know all your theories and rest assured, we feed off of them, so just go on and keep theorizing, because there’s all sorts of ways this could go, and not all of them are gonna be right, obviously. In fact, while I stand by my previous theories in the review of the last episode, I’ve even come up with a new one, so let’s do this, one last time. Shall we dance? Let’s! It is the prom, after all!

It all started way back when- remember when Mona was “Big ‘A’”? Good times, right? Well, the show just about fell over all the Hitchcockian references back before the big reveal, particularly all the business at the Bates Lost Woods Motel, what with the creepy clerk and Mona’s lair and glory hole and so forth, which were straight-up “Psycho.” Then when a new “A” was crowned, some of the craftier theorists out there came up with a widely-regarded theory that perhaps “A” was a cross-dressing/transgender male that wanted what Ali had- to be a girl- and envied her that, as well as the girls, and that was prominently why he tormented them.

When it was revealed that there was a Charles, the theory went into overdrive. You see? It’s her own brother! Of course he envied her! It all made so much sense, and those theorists were overjoyed because it lend that much more credence to the theory. Then came the little Jenner that could: Caitlyn. Sensing a publicity nightmare, it was recon time, but what to do when so much planning had gone into things? It was obvious- turn right to the source: the fans.

So, I. Marlene King and her merry band of writers pored over the theories and made it a point to announce that precisely one person had correctly guessed the identity of “A.” Then they proceeded to pull a fast one, and fans all know that King is the prettiest little liar of them all, right? Instead of choosing the one theory, she actually chose…wait for it…TWO theories, and melded them together.

Pretty Little Moms

The evidence, you ask? Well, it’s right there in this episode, isn’t it? Remember the scene where the PLMs- that would be the “Pretty Little Moms”- invade Kenneth DiLaurentis’ home on an ill-advised field trip so that Veronica can have it out with him once and for all? The ladies all file into the house, and what’s that on the night table? Oh, just a copy of Patricia Highsmith’s classic “Strangers on a Train.”

Now, I don’t need to tell you Hitchcock fans where all this is headed now, but for the neophytes out there, here goes: this book was famously adapted by Mr. Hitchcock back in the day and tells the tale of two men who are strangers and meet on a train- hence the title- and realize they have a common problem at hand. They both have reasons to want to get rid of someone in their lives, but everyone knows that when someone is murdered, the first people they look at are significant others and family members, so one of them makes a proposition: what if they each killed each other’s “problem,” at a time when each had a rock-solid alibi so that they would each be eliminated as suspects in the process.

Since neither of them knows their respective targets and has no reason to want to kill them personally, no one would ever suspect it, right? Naturally, things go south from there, but the idea is still pretty solid. So, I propose: what if two main characters on the show did precisely that? It would likely be adults, of course, and it would have to be meticulously planned, but it could definitely work. So, who were the culprits?

Lots of suspects, and I don’t think it was a coincidence that it was this particular group of women that was presented with the evidence, which most of them glossed over in their drunken stupors, in favor of concentrating on the picture of Charles nearby. But take a look at who we’re talking about here: Veronica, whose husband not only cheated on her with another woman- a woman who ended up dead, I might add- but who fathered another child with her. Now that’s a pretty strong motive.

There’s also Ella, who herself was cheated on by Byron with another woman. Ashley had any number of crimes under her belt to be concerned with, but I think we can rule her fairly safely out since those have been dealt with in the past already. Although it is somewhat suspicious that Pam was the one who pointed out the picture, thus possibly diverting attention away from the book, lest anybody get any ideas, I have no idea whatsoever what her motive would be, so I’m going to cross her off the list.

That still leaves one more suspect, however: Kenneth, whose book it was, and whose house they were in. Kenneth certainly has reason to be mad enough to kill, as he was also cuckolded, just as Veronica was. That said, would Veronica really have barged into the house of the person with whom she engaged in an illicit murder pact with to confront him in front of everyone? Probably not. So, I don’t think it’s her, either. But Ella, on the other hand…

I mean, think about it. Ella was mighty cagey throughout this episode. She was wary of going over to Kenneth’s, she was constantly trying to get them out of there, and of all the women, she was the one who looked the most at ease, yet most tightly wound, given the heightened circumstances. Why was that? Because she had the most to hide at that moment, and I’ll tell you why: she killed Kenneth. That was the smell Ashley smelled in the dumbwaiter, and why Ella seemed so on edge- she was afraid Ashley would discover the body.

As for who locked them downstairs, well, we all know that “A” has minions, so why couldn’t Ella? The minion was tasked with getting rid of the body while the women were locked downstairs, after Ella tipped them off, likely via text message. So, why? Because Kenneth could no longer be trusted. He was acting crazy and talking to the police and Ella knew she had to get rid of him or he’d tell them everything under duress. So, she either took him out or had someone else do it. My guess is, she went over earlier, under the guise of having a drink and poisoned his, which was what we saw on the table left half-finished. Poison, if history is to be believed, tends to be the murder weapon of choice for women, after all.

So, who was Ella’s accomplice? Obviously Rhys, who the women caught after the act of stashing the body in the dumbwaiter. When he heard them call out, he came down, gave them a suitable excuse and then went outside and waited, perhaps even going around to the basement to make a noise to attract their attention so that the ladies would go investigate, then went back in, and locked them in downstairs. That done, he could now finish the job of getting rid of the body.

So, how did Ella and Rhys meet? Simple. Ella wasn’t sure she could trust Kenneth to do what he was supposed to- my guess is kill off Byron- so she dug up some dirt on him. This led to Rhys, who is…drum roll, please, indeed Charles. He looks way too much like Jason for that to be a coincidence. He happily went along with it because either he resented his father for keeping him locked up all these years and/or he thinks Kenneth killed his mother. In actuality, however, it was Ella who killed Jessica. That was the deal- she’d kill Jessica, who Kenneth hated for cheating on him with Peter- and he’d kill Byron for doing the same to her. (Another possibility- she wanted him to kill Meredith, aka the woman Byron cheated on her with.)

Only Kenneth chickened out, just like the guy in the book did after the first murder was already committed, so Ella had to cover her tracks. So she murdered him, too. Now, I know what you’re thinking: what the hell does this have to do with all the girls and Ali and so forth? Not a damn thing. See, this is an entirely separate thing going on amongst the adults, at the same time as all of that other stuff. While all of this is going on with them, Charles is ALSO tormenting the girls, but as “A.”

I know what you’re thinking- but didn’t Rhys meet with Clark at that doll shop, and the latter turned out to be a cop, so doesn’t that mean Rhys is likely a cop, too? Maybe. Or maybe he’s a dirty cop, like Wilden and others before him! That still doesn’t not make him Charles. Note that Ella dropped that she thought Rhys was Charles, right before they were locked in the basement- that was to plant the seed of it in the others’ minds, just in case he tried to double-cross her, too.

Another possibility: Rhys isn’t Charles, but is a cop, and was there looking for Kenneth, who disappeared under what looked like suspicious circumstances, what with the drink and the book and all left out and his car still there. Wanting to get the ladies out of the way, he made up an explanation for why he was there, but then he pulled a fast one, doubled-back, made some noise to get them downstairs and locked them safely out of his way, then continued his search of the house for Kenneth and/or clues to his whereabouts.

If this is true, then Ella is trying to cast suspicion on him because she’s actually in it with the “real” Charles, who would be someone else- I’m still going with Wren. Besides, if he’s crazy, it’s not like he couldn’t have multiple things going on- “A” is nothing if not a multi-tasker. However, Ella doesn’t know that he’s the one actually tormenting her daughter- she thinks that’s “A” and that “A” and Charles are different people, but can’t say anything because of her involvement with the latter.

Charles

Which, of course, means that my other potential theories can still be used, aka that Wren is “A/Charles,” Melissa is the Black Widow and Cece is Red Coat; or possibilities number two: Wilden, who faked his death, is “A,” Cece is the Black Widow (or Red Coat), who helped cover it up and get him out of town and perhaps Jenna is whoever Cece isn’t, as she has good reason to hate Ali and doesn’t know who killed Shana, but knows it’s one of the girls, so doesn’t care who she tortures in the process.

I wouldn’t put it past Mona to be involved, either, though the fact that Jenna seemed to be with Lucas makes me wonder if he might be as well. Also a possibility: Sara, who told Emily at one point, cryptically: “Whatever happens, you mean a lot to me.” What exactly did she expect to “happen”? Maybe she’s a minion, and knows something was about to. Why else show up, after saying she wasn’t? Not to mention, for all she knew, Emily wasn’t going to be there. So, lots of possibilities there, too.

Either way, like I said, I genuinely think King has multiple ducks in a row here, some of which are going to pay off next week and some which will not because if she ended them all, what would be left? There’s got to be a villain for the rest of the series, and barring a “new ‘A’,” they can’t reveal everything in one fell swoop.

So, I think three members of the “A” Team will be revealed, definitely, and the real identity of Charles, who is the leader of said team, will be as well, but not the so-called “Uber ‘A’,” which is likely one of the older characters, such as the parents. To be clear, I don’t think Ella is “Uber ‘A’,” because why would she torture her own daughter? Kenneth would have been a possibility, but I genuinely think he’s dead (also, he wouldn’t torture his own daughter, either), whether Ella did the deed, or Rhys or whoever Charles is.

As I posited in a previous review, though, Peter is a distinct possibility (because he hates Ali’s family for the blowback on his and perhaps Veronica cheated on him with one of the girl’s fathers- likely Byron), as is one of Ezra’s relatives, who, at the very least, hate Aria, and perhaps the girls by extension, because of Ezra’s fixation on them. Note also Ezra’s previous “relationship” with Ali, whether it was on the up-and-up or not. He’s also booked to get out of there soon, so he might have an idea that he needs to put a little distance between himself and the smell of smoke, as it were, sensing things are about to go from bad to worse, but he wants to wait until Aria leaves to make sure she’s safe.

PLL 4

So, I fully admit that a lot of this is completely bonkers, but that’s kind of par for the course with this show. A lot of theories I’ve read are just as out there. For instance, there’s a super elaborate Maya-is-alive-and-is-“A”-after-stealing-the-“game”-from-Mona one that’s pretty convincing. I wouldn’t be surprised if that one was right, either, though I’d obviously like to be right about at least some of this after investing so much time and head space trying to figure it out. Hell, if I was just partially right about some of it, I could live with that. Just so long as it makes a reasonable amount of sense, I can live with it.

That said, I really did love how the show paid lip service to all the theories going around as of late in the last few episodes, and I can’t help but think the ones that have been alluded to directly aren’t the right ones, as we saw with the way-too-obvious Clark, who turned out to be an undercover cop, which was a reasonably clever twist. Alright, I’m going to quit while I’m ahead. So many possibilities! Agh! This show makes us all into crazy people!

This was a fun episode, and had some great moments- loved the near-ridiculously elaborate prom set-up (man, does this Rosewood have quite the “dance” budget for these crazy get-togethers!), the girls’ fairy-tale inspired dresses, the fact that the show seemed to clear Caleb (breathe a sigh of relief, those worried he might be on the “A Team”…I think); Aria rightfully referring to the cops as “village idiots” (lol); Toby’s talk of “A” rigging a “lethal disco ball”; Lorenzo showing up for Ali after all and Spencer vouching for her, even though Ali thought she hated her; Red Coat’s spooky “goat” mask (or was it supposed to be a wolf?); the fact that they played “Disturbia” at the prom- even though it’s pretty old at this point, it definitely fits; and the mom scenes in general. I’m telling you, Marlene- spin-off! The kids might not care, but us old fogies would watch the crap out of it!

All right- it’s now or never, “Pretty Little Liars” fans! Post your comments and crazy theories below, and I’ll see you for the big mid-season finale next week and see whose crazy theory- or theories, as the case may be- wins out. See you then, and happy hunting!