Pretty Little Liars “The DArkest Knight” Review (Season 7 Episode 10)

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In the mid-season finale of “Pretty Little Liars,” Hanna continued to execute her plan sans the girls’ help, while they frantically searched for both her and Noah, and what’s this…with a little help from the cops, you say? Color me impressed!

In true “PLL” fashion, “The DArkest Knight” raised as many questions as it answered, and managed to both appease (Emison!) and do things guaranteed to tick off fans (Spencer! Toby! Um…Yvette? No! And yes!), and, as per usual, showed I. Marlene King to be the prettiest little liar of them all. Yeah, right, IMK- we won’t find out who Mary’s other child is until the second half of the season…NOT!

I was going to go back to ye old ways of doing things, but screw it, I think we can knock this sucker out the new way, so fair warning: it’s about to get all kinds of spoilery up in here, and fast. Let’s do this.

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Call the Cops! – Yes, for once, the girls actually sought out a little help and finally called the freaking police for once, even going so far as to tell them Noel was in on the Dollhouse thing. We also discovered newbie Marco did his due diligence on the case- and on Spencer, who gave him a smooch for his troubles.

On the one hand, Rosewood’s PD is so incompetent most of the time, one can hardly blame them for taking matters into their own hands more often than not. On the other, there have definitely been times where there was no reason not to seek out a little help beyond sheer plot contrivance.

As such, one can hardly blame Hanna for being stunned when she saw the girls were actually alarmed enough about her state of well-being to resort to not only calling the police, but alerting the press, starting a full-on manhunt for both her and Noel. Unfortunately, in calming their fears and coming back to let them know she was fine, she left the door open for Noel to make a clean getaway.

After wisely seeking out Mona for advice on how to handle things from there- “Next time, call me BEFORE you abduct someone and go on the run- it just makes my life a little easier,” quoth the Queen upon her arrival- it seemed like all was under control, but alas, Noel is a wily one.

You’d think Mona would have stayed put to keep an eye on him and let Caleb handle Jenna-watching duty, but NO! Off they went, then off he went and it was just a matter of time before a showdown was in order.

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DNA, he ain’t “A”- or MD’s Baby, Either- Meanwhile, Hanna was at least smart enough to get a sample of Noel’s DNA via his blood and take it to a lab to compare and contrast with Mary’s to get a definitive answer one way or another, which impressed even Mona- high five! Alas, it was no match, meaning Noel was…NOT THE FATHER! Err, I mean, not the child, rather.

I can’t imagine anyone was particularly surprised by this, as it’s standard PLL procedure to cast shade on someone before going another way with it entirely. But given that IMK told us it wasn’t going to happen this mid-season, I genuinely wasn’t expecting the later reveal of who it actually was- even if most people predicted who the REAL adopted baby was some time ago. (Yes, you called it, M.J.- credit where credit’s due.)

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Ezaria Down! – This is what happens when you gloat and take too much for granted, people. After prematurely pseudo-celebrating the lack of info on Nicole and Ezra’s imminent return, Aria prepared a quiet dinner for two back at Cafe De Ezra, only to discover the hard way via a TV report that Nicole had been found after all.

Not only that, but that the cameras captured Nicolzra/Ezhole/whatever in a passionate embrace as they clung to one another and covered each other with kisses. This is where a live DVR does one no favors, people, as Aria didn’t hesitate to rewind and watch it all over again, and no doubt a few more times where that came from…back and to the left! Back and to the left! (Oops, that may actually be the Zapruder film.)

Sorry, Ari- ya burnt! And let this be a reminder to all you ‘shippers- don’t count your shippings till they hatch!

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Ali up! – On the other hand, IMK made another ‘shipping contingent mighty happy when she finally commiserated ye olde Emison fanatics and made it official- dem girls hooked up for reals, yo. Enjoy it while you can, kids- and to Emily: way to play the field, GF- in your face, Paige!

You’ll excuse me if I feel a little bad for poor Sabrina- I’ll bet she wishes she had those teenage witch powers right about now- or she will when she finds out. IF she finds out. They don’t call it “Pretty Little Liars” for nothing, folks.

It was also nice to see a return of sorts of the OG Ali, who parlayed a jealous snipe at Paige into the real deal by playing the sympathy card FTW. You go, girl. Oh, and she’s preggers with the unholy spawn of Archer/Elliot Dunhill/Rollins. Ugh. That’s not good. Cue the “Polyester” clip.

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Haleb Rising, Spoby Falling – And yeah, Hanna and Caleb hooked back up again for the first time in some time, and there was much rejoicing amongst their fans! RIP Spaleb, we hardly knew ye. For the record, I call Mona. Dibs!

Speaking of Spencer, she got one last smooch- possible emphasis on LAST (Sorry- too soon?)- out of Toby, as he prepared to leave town for good this time. We also learned that the house that Toby built was already sold- but to who? As Toby and Yvette- Tobvette?- went to leave, Toby almost texted Spencer, but in the end, opted not to.

Probably just as well, as when we last saw the happy couple, they had inexplicably wrecked the truck they were in, literally just outside of Rosewood city limits. Every time Toby thinks he’s out…Rosewood pulls him back in! Poor Tobvette.

Chances are, he’s fine and they were just clearing the way for yet another old-school HS romance to rear its ugly head yet again, but we’ll see, as neither one looked too hot. The real question is: what the hell happened there? You gotta wonder.

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The Elm Street Swap Meet is a Battleground, or, Jenna’s Got a Gun, Everybody Run! With Noel on the loose, the girls had no choice but to meet with him for a swap- his flash drive, which Mona wisely snagged from his shoe while he was still in captivity (which Hanna had no idea about because of her freeze-out of the girls), for Hanna’s camera, with which she filmed her shenanigans with Noel, having intended to coerce a confession out of him on film before he flew the coop.

Instead, all she got was her cutting and tormenting him, which wouldn’t look too good to those cops the girls finally got involved, so it was time to pull a fast one and dupe the po-po and go-go to- but, of course- an abandoned locale on Elm Street. No, not 1428, home of Freddy, though that would have been pretty cool if they did. Way to drop the ball, writers!

Instead, it was 1465 Elm Street, a former school for the blind, which Jenna once attended before it closed back in 2009. Staked out there were Noel and Jenna, who sent along Sydney as a decoy to keep Mona and Caleb occupied, in an amusing touch- but also a few unexpected guests as well, at least one of which was likely the REAL A.D./Uber-A/whatever. The other was Mary Drake, but we’ll get to her in a minute.

After locking the girls inside, the two lured them upstairs by playing footage of Hanna’s captured video, all the better for one of them- likely Noel, given that Jenna legitimately seems to be blind for real- to snag the flash drive in the meantime. After doing so, as one does in a show like this, the girls decided to wander about, discovering a room stuffed with well, stuffed animals- as in the taxidermist kind, not the ones for kids, unless your kid is really weird.

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“I feel like I just walked into Tim Burton’s garage sale,” said Aria, and that about sums the room up in general, what with all the bizarre bric-a-brac like creatures in jars and skeletons and what not. They go to leave, but Em stupidly leaves her phone upstairs and her and Hanna have to go and get it.

Seriously, IMK? That’s what you went with? Why in the world would Emily put her phone down in there in the first place? Whatevs- I’ve learned to stop asking logical questions with this show LONG ago. It would have made far more sense to split the girls up by having Noel and Jenna go after them all at once, but leave it to this show to go the dubious route.

Instead, Noel handles Hanna and Emily upstairs, while Jenna goes after Ali, Aria, and Spencer downstairs, armed with a gun and apparently truly terrible hearing. I thought blindness was supposed to enhance one’s other senses? Yet, Jenna must have walked by the girls at least two separate times, and they weren’t exactly being quiet as mice, let me tell you. Clarice Starling, Jenna is not.

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Heads Will Roll, Or, Let the Bodies Hit the Floor Fortunately, all was forgiven when the two respective parties got into it, resulting in two unexpected developments- or one, at least, given that most had puzzled out who was going to go down, courtesy of a bullet from Jenna’s gun. Honestly, I didn’t think “PLL” had it in them to do a full-on decapitation, but there it was, in all it’s glory, the true nightmare on Elm Street.

Yep, after cornering Hanna and Emily in the hall, axe in hand, Hanna got the best of him with some sort of metal pole or something like that, followed by Emily pushing him down on the floor after he dropped the axe in the ensuing fracas.

Unfortunately for Noel, Emily pushed him down onto said axe, and in the most spectacularly gory scene of the entire series to date, it lopped off his head and it went tumbling down the stairs, like that Sorority Girl Noel pushed so many years ago. Karma’s a bitch, my man. RIP Noel Kahn- I hate to see him go, but I loved watched his head roll down the stairs, pseudo-“Prom Night”-style.

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I Need an MD, Stat! – Alas, it was tit for tat as Jenna literally blindly fired her gun at the other group of girls, and bagged one of them- no less than many fans’ favorite of the liars (myself included), the almost-always-the-smartest-girl-in-the-room Spencer Hastings. Will she actually die? Not bloody likely, but it was certainly a nasty wound, that’s for sure.

Not too shabby for a blind girl, I suppose. I guess Jenna somewhat got her revenge, but before she could do any more damage, Mary Drake arrived and tackled the Ray Bans off of the girl as she slammed her to the ground, knocking Jenna out. Shortly thereafter, the show dropped the baby bomb: MD’s long-lost child was none other than Spencer!

Of course, there was plenty of foreshadowing for this revelation, notably the one-on-one semi-showdown between the two at Casa Hastings earlier in the season, where the two ably matched wits, showing that Spencer was a chip off the old crazy.

As many pointed out, this would explain why Melissa has always been wary of Spencer- she’s the product of her father’s affair with Mary, who may or may not have been posing as sister Jessica at the time. Or maybe Peter just likes ’em on the crazy side. Whatever the case, mystery solved.

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This is the End, Beautiful Friends – Beyond A.D/whoever dragging Jenna out on the sly while the girls attention was diverted by the whole MD/Spencer thing and making a getaway, that was all she wrote for this episode. I think it was a smart move to go ahead and reveal the MD/Spencer thing early, as it’s one less thing to deal with later, and gives them that much more time to effectively wrap other things up later.

Oh, don’t get me wrong: it’ll be a miracle if they do even a remotely satisfying job tying everything together by this point, but the more they could get out of the way the better, and with that solved and Noel out of play, seemingly along with Jenna (at least for the moment), that gives them plenty of time to deal with other, more pressing matters.

As you’ve no doubt heard, the show won’t be back for its final run of episodes until late Spring, sometime in April, which gives us an awful lot of time to mull things over, perhaps do a re-watch of the series as a whole and come up with plenty of crackpot theories as to how they’re going to end this crazy train. It should be a fun ride, regardless, especially with IMK confirming the finale will run a solid two hours- or an hour and a half, at least, sans commercials.

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While a little too much time was spend on the mid-season finale dealing with all the various ‘ships in play for my tastes, the ending confrontation more than made up for it, and if you’d told me we’d ever see the day that “PLL” featured a full-on decapitation, I’d have told you that you were crazier than a roomful of Radley patients, and yet, here it was. You gotta love it.

Be sure to share your theories down below or in the usual places- Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, et al.- all of which I am on and can be linked to down below. I look forward to reading and dissecting them, and I’ll see you in April. Until then, Aria remains the shusher, as it should be, and I remain convinced that all of this is a crazed fever dream of Pigtunia– see you in the Spring, my pretties!