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26 January 2016 @ 06:30 am
Pretty Little Liars: "Charlotte's Web" Episode Review  
Pretty Little Liars 6.12 "Charlotte's Web"

Following the events from the previous episode, the girls remain in Rosewood in hopes that the investigation will soon clear them from any involvement so they can get on with their lives. Aria, however, leaves immediately hoping to get back to her job, however it is known by Hanna and shown through security footage that Aria did leave the hotel that night, making her suspicious to Charlotte's murder.


Old Habits Die Hard

Aside from recycling the whole "who killed Alison?" murder storyline from the beginning of the show where everything was surrounding making the girls out to be highly suspicious and nobody believing in them, the show is also making things seem like they just can't move passed certain things. Like the girls lying and keeping secrets, and erasing evidence that will obviously bite them in the ass later on. It may have been five years since they've last been deeply involved in something like this, but they should know by now that this never ends well. Not that they ever learned as the show continued on, but now they're adults and whatever they do they'll have serious consequences if their lies and withholding the truth are found out. But again, competence isn't exactly a specialty among the Rosewood police.

And then we have Sarah Harvey who has basically become the Jenna substitute, with her "disability" which I am pretty sure she is faking. After all, she is a compulsive liar and vindictive enough to do that just to get out of punishment. She's done it before and will do it again. Whether or not she killed Charlotte is still up for debate, but she is definitely probably waiting to set the girls up for it nonetheless, and of course taunting them just because she can.

I know that the second half of the sixth season is going to be more focused on the girls and their personal involvement in things, how they are basically reaping what they sow rather than having someone anonymously threaten them to do things or else secrets will be spilled when they were teenagers, and we're also dealing with PTSD from what they've been through and have continued going through even after their nightmares were put to rest, which can affect their decision making when these nightmares are revisited. And because they're adults now, the risks and consequences will be higher and it will ruin the lives they have made for themselves, especially with the people who aren't that aware of everything. Already we're seeing some of them lie to their current significant others, imagine it going so much deeper than that, leading to possible sabotages to these relationships because of their consistent lying and keeping things from them. But honestly, I don't know if that is going to be enough to keep me interested. Already they're kind of setting up the whodunit factor which I can already predict the outcome: more secrets and lies, more of the girls being accused and suspect of murder, more of them accusing others and jumping to conclusions, red-herrings, and then the eventual reveal at the end of the season (or cliffhanger, as I'm certain Marlene King wants to continue with more unnecessary seasons). And honestly, I don't think I have the patience when the writing has the girls not really learning their lessons re: lying and secrecy. It's the one thing that has always bothered me with this show as it continued on, they should know better at this point but they continue making the same mistakes. I know that it sets up the dramatic build-up which in such mystery stories is needed, but it's because so tiring because of how predictable it can be. I just feel like there are other ways of presenting a mystery without resorting to the same thing.


Things I liked about the episode:

++ Emily's entire story in S6B is possibly the most relatable out of all the girls. While everyone else still suffered a lot from their PTSD, they all found successes with their careers and lives. Emily, however, not only has to deal with the traumatic experiences from "A"s torture but also the death of her father affected her so badly that she faltered and failed from her path of success. Her scholarship was taken away, she failed school, and she isn't doing anything remotely satisfactory that everyone else believes she has been doing, so much that she hasn't told anyone about it because she feels so ashamed. Every time we saw Emily in this episode she is clearly suffering internally, she is afraid of letting herself be seen as a failure, as someone who didn't achieve any of her accomplishments. She is trying to set things right, she is trying to cope with her father's death, but she is still struggling with parts of that acceptance, and that is possibly the only good thing to come from seeing the girls five years later from them graduating high school. Emily's struggle is real because I understand how that feels.

++ I have a suspicion that the ending with the mysterious person lying the flowers on Charlotte's grave was probably Jason. He wasn't there for the funeral but he certainly would have come by to pay his respects. That is my theory, anyway.


Things I didn't like about the episode:

++ I previously loved seeing Spencer and Caleb's friendship, but every time they're on screen now I cringe because I know what they're leading up to. It just feels so forced the fact that they have to play up this "omg we hung out once in Madrid and now we're falling for each other / possibly had a fling while there" thing and it's really making me shake my head so hard. It doesn't feel right and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It's no doubt going to create tension for ~drama~ and I'm just not here for that at all.

++ I'm not entirely certain what's going on with Ezra's storyline. His girlfriend went missing while they were doing some rebuilding work and then we discovered dead? And the murderer wasn't caught? Is that why he's so angry and bitter all the time now? And his anger was directed at Charlotte and is now suspected of murdering her because he couldn't take it? I mean, I'll be honest, it would be fantastic that they would do something to make up for him not suffering the consequences of his predatory stalking of young teenage girls a few seasons ago (still pissed off they never went through with that, considering how it fit the theme of the whole damn show up until that point dammit), but I highly doubt it'll go in that direction, sadly. And that's why this whole mislead of him being involved is so tired. We know they'll never convict him. He'll just say that he's glad that Charlotte is dead and be done with it.

++ That whole prayer thing at the dinner table was...weird, for a lack of a better term. I know that Alison is trying to understand and even pinpoint who might be the guilty party of killing her sister, but it just seemed rather weird that she is suspecting her friends. Granted, they hated Charlotte which is justifiable given to what she did to them, but it seems like such a stretch that she seems to be considering one of them did it. Although to be fair, the rest of them thought that Aria did something until she cleared the air. So, idk.

++ Aria may still be repeating the whole secret relationship thing with her current beau, but at least she upgraded and moved on (for now) from Ezra. But Hanna? Girl, no. Go back to Caleb.

++ The show trying to make Sarah Harvey menacing, lol. You tried, but failing so hard. She just needs to go at this point. I'd happily accept Jenna back to replace her, please.

++ I'm still not a fan of the updated text message system they have going for the show now. It seems like they're trying too hard to seem different with the approach now with a polished version, which could work but is a bit distracting. Also, is it just me, or is the new opening theme with all of them seem rather off? Everyone seems to look too odd.


Overall: I liked some parts of the episode, but as a whole I'm not sure if my interest can hold for that much longer unless something grand happens. I think my major gripe is with the whole relationships thing. I would have liked it better if it didn't seem like it wasn't so long ago that characters, like Hanna and Caleb for example, were happily together and now they're not, and now they're trying to push this Spencer and Caleb thing onto us and it's just not working out. We know that Hanna/Caleb and, to an extent, Spencer/Toby are endgame relationships, have been since the first season, and to add unnecessary messing with these character friendships has me immediately noping out. Not to mention that after the mid-season finale disappointment, I'm just not overly interested in this particular mystery. I don't know whether this means I'll cease doing my reviews and just do a huge reaction at the end of the season or not, we'll just have to see.
 
 
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Julie: Original ★ must involve humansragnarok_08 on January 26th, 2016 07:34 pm (UTC)
Not to mention that after the mid-season finale disappointment, I'm just not overly interested in this particular mystery.

Same for me :/
Chelsea: Arrow → Felicitysictransits on January 27th, 2016 02:33 am (UTC)
I agree that Emily's storyline is most relatable. I always find it so unrealistic when TV shows have characters who are super successful right out of college.

I don't like Spencer/Caleb either. =/ Or Sarah Harvey for that matter, it's annoying that she's still around.
Renée: Pretty Little Liars. Hanna.rogueslayer452 on January 27th, 2016 01:55 pm (UTC)
I know that you can't always equate realism with this show, but it is a strange and kind of infuriating trend when you have characters who basically come out of college completely successful. Yes, it can happen, but in this day and age it is pretty damn hard to achieve and it's hardly ever depicted properly in media.

I can't believe they didn't learn their lesson from Ravenswood, the spin-off that I actually really loved but unfortunately the reason why the show was cancelled was because any interest from others was killed when they decided to break up Hanna and Caleb for a romance plot that went nowhere. And here they're basically doing the same thing, and it makes even less sense.

Sarah Harvey is such a pointless antagonist. She is just there to be ~menacing~ but is more of an annoyance than anything. She just needs to go.
Naomi: PLL Allison in hospitalfrelling_tralk on January 27th, 2016 02:25 pm (UTC)
That whole prayer thing at the dinner table was...weird, for a lack of a better term.

It reminded me a bit of younger manipulative Allison, I wonder if that was intentional and they're planning on bringing some of that ambiguity back to her character?

And I have no idea why they still keep bringing Sara's character into it, she never had any emotional investment for the audience, nor can the actress save it. I definitely would prefer to get Jenna back instead

Renée: Pretty Little Liars. Spencer Hastings.rogueslayer452 on January 29th, 2016 03:26 pm (UTC)
Possibly. It just seemed so weird, like obviously Alison is upset about Charlotte and knows that the girls were reluctant to even lie to the court in order to get her released for her sake, and knows that they have every justifiable reason to hate Charlotte and want to keep her locked away, but would she go so far as to think any of them were capable of intentionally murdering her? After everything that was done to them? Though perhaps that is her reasoning behind it all, that because of their traumas they wouldn't be able to let Charlotte go without extracting one final act of revenge? But wouldn't Alison understand this, considering that Charlotte herself also tormented Alison for years and years? I don't know. Like, I understand Alison's mentality with wanting Charlotte to be released and allowing her to get a second chance, it just seemed rather odd in the execution the show is giving....

I have a feeling they're only keeping Sarah around is because, considering how "involved" she was in the beginning of the season, she is now a prime suspect. But, ugh, she's so unnecessary as a character. As you said, there is no emotional response from the audience, she has little to no characterization whatsoever, and is now only placed here as a ~menacing presence which is kind of laughable at best, because all she does is give over-the-top silent glares.
Samarsakuraberries on January 29th, 2016 02:12 am (UTC)
I actually don't mind that the girls haven't learned their lesson re: secrets and lies. I think it makes sense given what they've been through and how they could essentially depend on no one but themselves because of what A put them through. I think it also emphasizes that they will always be affected by what was done to them; they fell into these habits because of A and it's hard to break free even after so long. I think it's a nice touch.

I love Emily's storyline so much. It just makes so much sense, and you're right, it's relatable. And it hits me so hard because I lost my father too, and though I was younger than Emily was it affected me strongly as well (though I didn't realize it until much later).

When it comes to Hanna and Caleb, I actually wouldn't mind this whole breakup if it meant they stay broken up. I mean, I love them together, but how many people really stay together after high school? It would be a bold, realistic move if they simply grew apart and became different people because that's what happens in real life! But sadly, I have no faith in this show to be able to handle that, and I'm sure it's all just unnecessary drama until they get back together, and that I can't stomach (do you watch Castle? they did the same thing with the married couple for the first half of last season only to bring them back together which everyone knew was coming. it was so stupid).

And the whole Spencer/Caleb thing, idk. I would totally be okay with them being platonic besties having grown closer after meeting in Madrid (that Madrid thing was cute, I admit, I'm a sucker) but as a couple? Eh. But I'm reserving my judgement until I see what the endgame is. (also, lol, you don't like Hanna's new beau, huh? I don't dislike him or like him, mostly 'cause he's so...vanilla.)

I completely agree that there's something wrong with the opening theme. Spencer looks practically skeletal, and all the girls look weirdly stretched and distorted.

Oh, and I meant to say regarding Ezra's girlfriend - I was having a hard time understanding what was going on too. What I got from it was that she was dragged away by militants and Ezra...saw and couldn't do anything about it? I think? That's what I understood from the hints they were dropping but I could be wrong. I guess he's dealing with the aftermath of her violent abduction? Or the guilt of being unable to do anything? It must have been pretty traumatic regardless (assuming I'm understanding what happened correctly).

Edited at 2016-01-29 02:58 am (UTC)
Renée: Pretty Little Liars. Spencer Hastings.rogueslayer452 on January 30th, 2016 02:41 pm (UTC)
I think it also emphasizes that they will always be affected by what was done to them; they fell into these habits because of A and it's hard to break free even after so long.

It's not so much them repeating things as a matter of a defense mechanism, trying to protect themselves even if it's a horrible decision, because I agree it's a force of habit when faced with a repeated offender or situations where it becomes so natural, but it's more of a writing issue. A lot of shows tend to do this, and it gets to the point where it's less self-aware and more of the writing becoming lazy in terms of how the girls should stop and think about what they're doing. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. It's just a pet peeve of mine when it comes to anything in writing, and it's frustrating as a viewer when something could have been done differently (like if they have to lie or cover something up, try a different method instead) but instead the end result ends up becoming so predictable.

do you watch Castle? they did the same thing with the married couple for the first half of last season only to bring them back together which everyone knew was coming. it was so stupid

I've been more of a casual watcher and only catch episodes every so often, but I know about that stunt they tried to pull and ITA, it was so unnecessary. It was obviously trying to create drama for the audience to be invested in (like the whole "will they or won't they work things out") but the trouble is that storyline no longer works anymore. It's something that has been done countless times, and unless they intend to do something different, everyone expects that they'll be back together eventually. Having them separated for a short period of time only for the drama (+ ratings) is so ridiculous, and I hate it. It's just so...gimmicky, and everyone knows it.

It's pretty much the whole thing with the Hanna and Caleb splitting apart so Spencer and Caleb can hook up thing. Not only is it going to create unnecessary drama between these characters but also ruin the friendships that had already been established. It's so stupid. And I agree, I would have loved it if Caleb and Spencer actually got closer as friends during those five years. But sadly, we're going to go through this whole nonsense and it's something I just cannot stomach.

also, lol, you don't like Hanna's new beau, huh? I don't dislike him or like him, mostly 'cause he's so...vanilla.

That's basically my thoughts. He's just so...bland.

And yeah, I'm not quite sure what to make of Ezra's storyline. Everything given to us so far seems rather garbled and not entirely clear.

Edited at 2016-01-30 02:59 pm (UTC)