For the 100th episode of Pretty Little Liars, Alison returns to school hoping to try and make amends and start anew. She nearly succeeds until Mona intervenes, creating a small rift between herself and the girls. Spencer gets shocking news that her mother plans on separating from her father. Caleb returns to Rosewood, stirring some emotions in Hanna. Jenna returns to Rosewood, ready to stir up some shit. And we have an explosive ending where the identity of the unidentified girl in Alison's grave has been revealed, and someone blew up Toby's house, and "A" has returned.
Alison DiLaurentis vs. Mona Vanderwaal
Given their antagonistic relationship, I find what is happening very fascinating.
Alison did take things a bit too far, which she made worse by not immediately telling the girls what actually happened and letting them hear it (and see it) directly from Mona herself. But in a way I can understand why Alison reacted the way she did. When confronted by Mona, she was uncertain on what was going to happen. Mona is quite unpredictable and when alone in an empty church at night after being followed, what else is Alison supposed to think? Never mind that everything that has happened, knowing that Mona played her, knowing her role in everything that's gone down, this stirred up emotions in her that suddenly arose in the heat of the moment, leading to things she would regret saying and doing, hence her not telling the girls immediately.
But Mona clearly had her own motives by going there. She wanted to get Alison alone to ignite a reaction, she wanted to get it on film so she could have "proof" to all those at the school that Alison hasn't changed. Also, letting the other girls see that Alison had been lying to them again.
Here's the thing, I truly do believe that Alison has changed, and is attempting to make amends with those she hurt. You can see it in her eyes and expressions. It's not like before where you could literally tell that she was scheming. But with Mona, that's a different story. This is someone that, no matter how many times you apologize, they'll never forgive you. Characters like Mona and Jenna hold grudges so tightly that they cannot see past their schemes of revenge. Mona is deadset on making Alison's life a living hell by turning everyone against her, making her wish that she had remained disappeared. And the thing is, Mona isn't someone people should be relying on considering the history she's had, and yet others seem to be going for the "devil you know" sort of situation where they would rather stand behind Mona rather than have Alison back. And let's face it, it's easier for them to believe that Alison has gone back/will go back to her old ways rather than think Mona has any other ulterior motive and is using them in her plot of revenge. Hence why people, like Paige, are willing to believe that they are only protecting themselves instead of seeing the full picture that there is something else going on.
And think about it, had Alison not gotten that text that Mona sent she probably would have told the police the truth about what happened. Mona is intentionally starting this war hoping that Alison leaves, and is willing to do anything to ensure that happens.
Both Alison and Mona are quite interesting character studies, the bully and the bullied switching places, and it's something I want to further talk about at another time because it's something worth looking into. But for right now, it'll be interesting seeing this turf war between them, this long grudge that neither will go down without a fight.
Things I liked about the episode:
++ I feel sorry for Alison because she is trying hard to protect herself along with trying to move forward, and seeing that Mona manipulated the situation where she purposefully recorded and edited the video clip of Alison threatening and slapping her from their confrontation makes me even sadder, especially when her friends saw the video and realized that she didn't tell them the entire truth. Of course, Alison did react rather strongly and she definitely should have thought it through that Mona wasn't there coincidentally just to make conversation, that she may have ulterior motives for initiating such a confrontation (and we all know she definitely planned on having the girls be preoccupied so that could happen). But still, Alison is trying hard to go back to normal (rather than go back to being who she once was) and with Mona intervening, it makes things even harder. But with all of that, I actually do like that there's obstacles that she has to go through.
++ Caleb is back! Seeing his new appearance was a bit jarring, not that it isn't good, but I'm just so used to him with longer hair and clean-shaved. But overall, I like it. Him and Hanna have undergone a slight makeover, which makes sense. And because Ravenswood is no more, I like that they gave a small reference to it in relation to why Caleb returned. Sadly, we probably won't get more into that, which I'm disappointed with because that was his personal story to deal with and I wanted to know more (/forever mourning the loss of Ravenswood).
++ Jenna is back, and apparently that new girl is in cahoots with her. And Mona. Figures. Never underestimate any new character that appears, especially when they start getting close to the girls.
++ I'm quite curious about what secrets the Hastings family has. Based on what her mother's words, it seems that whatever has been happening behind closed doors, there was an unspoken agreement that they wouldn't involve their children into it, and somehow that got broken. It seems to be rather huge deal that her parents are going to be separated over it. So now it's going to be Spencer and her mother versus her father and Melissa?
++ EMILY AND ALISON THOUGH. EMILY/ALISON. I didn't expect them to go there, but they did, and I was quite happy about it. But of course the stint with Mona and the recording had to kind of ruin it a bit, because again I do think Alison is being sincere and genuine, but is going about things wrong due to her fears. Emily, of course, has all the right to be disappointed. But with that ending, I have some hope? I'm also hoping that Alison is being sincere with Emily and not just doing it to gain more trust. Idk. Idk. But I quite like the possibility, because I don't want them to be an easy relationship; I want Emily to question and challenge Alison, and I want Alison to really make the effort to make amends and prove herself worthy of being trusted again and that her feelings are reciprocated.
++ That ending though. I think that was the best ending to an episode I've seen on this show. Having everyone together, not just the girls but the boys too, gathered around watching as they announce the identity of the missing dead girl in Alison's grave, and then a literal explosion happened which reveals that "A" has returned. And the fact that "A" has returned shows that no, this isn't over, and with Alison being back and Mona planning/plotting alongside Jenna (and possibly Melissa?), shit is gonna hit the fan big time.
Things I didn't like:
++ Ezra and Aria. Ugh. Just. Why?
++ Who is Travis and why should we care about him? Like you expect us to believe that Hanna has been caring about this guy who we literally have not seen in how many episodes? And with Caleb back, I know there's things they have to work out, but I'd rather not have any triangle problems happening, tyvm.
++ Paige is still on my shitlist.
Overall: For a 100th episode, this was very awesome. I liked seeing characters coming back, seeing the consequences of what happens when emotions get stirred up (and used for the diabolical plans of others in greater schemes), and that ending was superbly well done. I really love seeing all those characters together. It's not just the girls now, and that Toby and Caleb (and, unfortunately, Ezra) are part of this now too. Oh, and I can't wait to see how Caleb interacts with Alison, because you know it will happen eventually. And "A" being back into their lives will for sure be interesting. Excited for what is gonna happen next.