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24 December 2014 @ 06:07 am
Pretty Little Liars: "How The 'A' Stole Christmas" Special Episode Review  
Pretty Little Liars 5.13 "How The 'A' Stole Christmas"

In the special Christmas episode, the girls remain in Rosewood for the holidays while conducting an investigation in hopes to incriminate Alison and let Spencer off the hook for being framed for Bethany Young's murder. Meanwhile, in classic A Christmas Carol fashion, Alison gets visited by the ghosts of Mona and her mother to warn her about what is to come.


The Girls vs. Alison

This episode didn't bring anything new aside from how the girls no longer trust Alison and are convinced that she killed Mona, though it does give some insight on who Alison has now aligned herself with, at least for the time being.

Honestly, I feel terribly conflicted because while I know the girls have every reason for distrusting Alison, the show has humanized her so much prior to these recent episodes that I can't really see the Alison = Epitome Of All Evil sort of thing that the girls see. Which for them I can understand that is how they feel, not just with everything that happened but with their disillusionment from their history with her. So for them to naturally assume that Alison is "A" and behind everything it makes perfect sense. But to everything that we, the viewers, have seen and witnessed through Alison's perspective it doesn't.

I've said this before and I'll reiterate: I don't believe Alison is "A" and I don't believe she killed Mona. I do think the girls have valid reasons to distrust her, but not on these particular things.

The Bethany Young situations is trickier since we still don't know all the information yet, though the connection with the DiLaurentis family is definitely a big one. Did Alison know Bethany? Was there something that Alison isn't saying regarding her relationship with Bethany? Is that letter that Hanna found real, or was it planted? There's still pieces of that puzzle missing and I think that it all combines to what really happened that night when Alison was knocked out and presumed dead by her mother.

When Jessica says to Alison in this episode, "they'll be coming for you", it may allude to two specific things. The girls plotting their revenge on her, or someone else entirely, perhaps even both.


Things I liked about the episode:

++ Alison DiLaurentis, just everything about her scenes made me want to hug her. I've come to find myself loving Alison the more we see of her, and it helps that we're not seeing her through the lenses of how the girls see her, but rather Alison's perspective and seeing how she is when she's alone. And I think the major credit goes to Sasha who manages to capture my heart with her acting.

++ I am curious about why Jenna and Sydney decided to join Alison's ranks now. For survival they say or to be on the inside, possibly both. And I'm also curious as to those twins.

++ Speaking of, again with the twin allusions. First with those two and then with the flashback dream sequence with young!Alison finding the two identical yellow dresses that her mother told her to lie about. Significance? Alison and Bethany might have been twins? Bethany and someone else being twins and Jessica was giving that dress trying to play nice? Idk, but it's intriguing me and I'm hoping that more answers are given soon.

++ Mona flashback, yay! And more Mona in general, really. Just proves that even though the character is dead doesn't mean she can't come back in another form.


Things I didn't like:

++ I felt this episode was kind of anticlimactic? Not like the Halloween episodes where something major was kind of revealed. I guess that's what it meant with "A" taking a holiday vacation.

++ Ugh, Ezra being there and acting like he's part of the family instead of a creepy stalkerish pedo that he is. Boo show, boo.

++ lol Paige going "that's what you want not what I want." Karma coming back to bite you on the ass when you decided things for Emily instead of allowing her to choose for herself. Sounds like Paige may be leaving Rosewood (hallelujah!) however considering this show she'll disappear only to reappear again claiming to be for Emily which I am not here for that.


Overall: Not the best of episodes as far as specials go, I much prefer the Halloween ones since they are guaranteed to bring some of the creepy. But still decent enough to watch and wait until the show comes back from hiatus.
 
 
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Naomi: PLL Mona confessingfrelling_tralk on December 24th, 2014 08:30 pm (UTC)
Ugh, Ezra being there and acting like he's part of the family instead of a creepy stalkerish pedo that he is. Boo show, boo.

Lol I thought it was hilariously inappropriate for him to strip down to his boxers in front of all of the girls, rather than just Aria, considering that he's still their English teacher! It was super-weird too for him to be hanging out in his boxers with Toby, Caleb, and Paige, considering that they are all teenagers and he's an adult... I did have a chuckle at his mention of getting two ponies for Xmas when he was younger though, that was cute, but otherwise he really needs to find some friends his own age, geez

And yeah the episode wasn't one of the best for plot revelations, but I did enjoy the scenes of Allison being visited by ghostly Mona and her Mother (I'm with you on finding her character sympathetic, although we do seem to be in the minority?), and the final A message was also a nice touch
Renée: Pretty Little Liars. Spencer Hastings.rogueslayer452 on December 25th, 2014 11:53 am (UTC)
Seriously, it really grosses me out that this adult male, who we have established has having already stalked and gotten personal information about the girls without their knowledge and even knew who they were prior to even meeting them, is hanging out around them like what he did meant nothing. I know that this is mainly because of Ezra/Aria which the show is trying to say is okay. Hell, the officer knew about it and didn't do anything, despite the fact that Ezra is still teaching at their school.

I know it was perhaps meant to be "sweet" of the gang all there, and to make the contrast that the girls have people around them during the holidays while Alison doesn't have anyone, but it's still very creepy and gross to have Ezra (who is I believe in his mid-to-late twenties?) only hanging out with teenagers. Doesn't he have adult friends anywhere?

(Answer: of course not, because his entire purpose was to spy and research underage girls.)

Sigh. I've already ranted about this many times, but it still irks me that, a show that originally has been about predators is sweeping this under the rug for the sake of a relationship that was already inappropriate to begin with (and made creepier and grosser with the reveal of his true intentions). I mean, when you think about it, there really is no difference between what Ezra was doing and the NAT club videos.

I'm with you on finding her character sympathetic, although we do seem to be in the minority?

Which is what is confusing me if we are indeed in the minority, well, the show has done well in humanizing Alison and making her such a complex character in her own right. We've seen her alone and from her perspective, and while she might not be entirely innocent in many things, she hardly is full-blown villain like many want to believe she is. The fact that the narrative choice has been to show us her side of things makes it even more interesting to really understand her character, which I really like seeing. I've been reading Sasha's recent interviews and I love what she says about the character, about how Alison is alone and lonely and afraid and is still trying to figure herself out. And that's what fascinates me about her. It's similar to why I loved Mona so much, too.
Naomi: PLL Allison in hospitalfrelling_tralk on December 26th, 2014 01:32 pm (UTC)
I mean, when you think about it, there really is no difference between what Ezra was doing and the NAT club videos.

Yeah I agree, I think it's funny that the show emphasised what a creep Ian was for dating an underage Allison and flirting with underage Spencer, yet do everything they can to romanticise Ezra dating Aria, even though it turns out that he knew she was 16 years old from the beginning. He's every bit as bad as Ian, yet somehow the show expects us to buy him as the romantic leading man.


And do you have a link to any of Sasha's interviews? :) I've definitely been a bit taken-aback at so many viewers seeming deadset again Allison and convinced that she is playing the girls, even though season 5 did give us so much of her POV
Renée: Pretty Little Liars. Emily.rogueslayer452 on December 26th, 2014 02:19 pm (UTC)
Well, a very recent one where she gives some hints about where 5B is going to be taking, which alludes to the girls shifting their suspicions about "A" (and we know that currently they think Alison is "A" means quite a lot). There's one interview that came out prior to the mid-season finale where she talks about Alison and her relationships with other characters. She has also talked about Alison being a victim and how much she has changed but that won't stop the obstacles, trust issues and the rocky relationship she will have with the rest of the girls.

And there's another interview, where it doesn't really reveal much but I just think it's too cute and I love that she talked about the books versus the show.

There are others that I cannot immediately find, but Sasha has talked a lot about Alison and how different her character is now that she is alive and back into the fold of Rosewood and the girls, that I just love hearing her thoughts about Alison and how she approaches the character and everything else in between. :)
Naomi: PLL Mona By sininfernofrelling_tralk on December 26th, 2014 03:54 pm (UTC)
Cool, thanks for all the links!
Julie: Original ★ if not now whenragnarok_08 on December 25th, 2014 01:43 am (UTC)
Ezra being there and acting like he's part of the family instead of a creepy stalkerish pedo that he is. Boo show, boo.

Yup, did not like that.
Renée: Pretty Little Liars. Still here bitches.rogueslayer452 on December 25th, 2014 11:59 am (UTC)
It honestly grosses me out. I have forgiven the show for a number of ridiculous things they have pulled over the seasons, but this is one that I cannot because they have literally just let something so disturbing go all in favor of a popular relationship on the show.

I would have loved Ezra to become another antagonist for the girls to defeat, it would have been amazing for Aria to be disillusioned by the truth and that fairytale that she had created when dating him. Because let's face it, everything about them from day one was cheesy. It would have been so fascinating exploring that, having that fantasy shattered and dealing with the aftermath. But hey, why have that kind of development when they can just sweep it all under the rug like nothing ever happened? Ugh.
an idea is bulletproof: Pretty Little Liars - castelizalavelle on December 27th, 2014 02:17 am (UTC)
I'm with you on Alison not being A.

I have read the books so I can read some book things into her character (staying very vague in case you've not read them) and I find that sometimes helps and sometimes hinders what the show is trying to do with her.

Agreed about Ezra. Seriously does no one else in that group ever point out that they're all hanging out with their teacher?! I knew a teacher who liked to hang out with students when I was in school. He was a creep and tried to bully me. Then when I met him again as an adult I realized just how pathetic he was then and still is now.
Renée: Pretty Little Liars. Spencer Hastings.rogueslayer452 on December 28th, 2014 04:02 pm (UTC)
I know what happens in the books, so all the spoilers and the twist reveal about Alison and Courtney and whatnot. Obviously, the show doesn't seem to be heading in that direction, but it's interesting to see the characterization of Alison and how it could easily be implied as such (that flashback with Jessica having two identical dresses and telling Alison to lie about seeing them, for example.)

Seriously does no one else in that group ever point out that they're all hanging out with their teacher?!

I feel like Marlene King often forgets this in order to make him part of the "main group" if you will, but it just shows inconsistency considering how discreet they're supposed to be. I mean, you'd think people in Rosewood would be concerned that an adult male teacher is only hanging around teenagers, never mind dating one, since it's implied that many people have known about it for some time. I know that Rosewood has been painted as not a really safe or competent place to live, but for goodness sakes. That is a huge red flag. Just everything surrounding Ezra's involvement irks the hell out of me because it's not even acknowledged or dealt with, especially after revealing the disturbing truth about what he was doing.

If there's one thing I cannot forgive the show for, it's the Ezra situation. I know this show doesn't rely much on realism, but when a show is supposed to be a commentary about predators and stalking of young girls, this is kind of inexcusable and irresponsible to just brush it all aside in favor of a so-called popular couple.
an idea is bulletproof: Pretty Little Liars - castelizalavelle on December 30th, 2014 01:31 pm (UTC)
The show seems to not be heading in that direction exactly and they've flat out said they wont... but then they keep teasing it so I'm wondering what they're going to do.

I'm sure the actor who plays Ezra is great and everyone wants to keep him employed but I just so grossed out by the character. Plus he was a spy. He totally used a teenage girl for his own research and then developed feelings for her. So their entire relationship is based on him being manipulative.

Yes to the fact the show isn't supposed to be realistic but they should be doing more about Ezra. I don't like the idea that it's showing young girls that a relationship with a teacher (or any other adult) can be the most romantic thing ever. It really isn't.