Three months after the discovery of the bloody crime scene, the girls attend the memorial service for Mona. Still believing that Alison killed her, they devise a plan to plant evidence so Alison is not only charged with not just her murder but also with Bethany Young's murder as well.
Pretty Little Lying Liars Who Lie (And Frame)
I'll be honest, after this episode I got incredibly pissed at the girls for what they did.
It's one thing to not want to be associated with Alison anymore because their perception of her has changed since before she disappeared, but it's another to plant evidence and frame her for something that they think she was involved in. That is a serious crime that, if found out by authorities, could get them into far more trouble then anything "A" could ever frame them for. One of the major flaws the girls have had for a long time is always assuming things without any concrete proof, always positive that someone could be "A" or someone is behind wanting to hurt them; surely gut feelings can be correct even without evidence supporting these claims, but to intentionally interfere with a criminal investigation just because they don't like or trust someone is incredibly reckless and rather stupid of them. Even if Alison is guilty of many things, from lying and manipulation, that doesn't excuse what they did just to get rid of a potential threat in their lives.
Alison isn't a saint, that's obvious enough; she's clearly done things she needs to atone for and she certainly is keeping secrets, but she isn't a murderer. She didn't kill Mona, and I don't believe she killed Bethany Young, either. I truly believe she is being framed, and unfortunately because she's an easy target based on her past and history, she ended up being arrested for a crime she didn't commit.
What's interesting about this though is that now the girls have turned into the antagonists. They have become the bad guy due to their actions, no matter what their motive was. They intentionally framed someone for murder without any concrete evidence (the letter they found could have easily been planted, much like how they planted evidence themselves), and they did this so Spencer could get off the hook from being framed herself and so they could get Alison out of their lives for good. It's just that they're so sure that they got it right, that they put the "monster" in jail and everything can go back to normal, that in the end when the "A" was spelled out in fireworks they didn't want to accept that they could possibly be wrong. That it's all Alison. Alison was the one who did the fireworks. Alison will be the fault for everything that goes wrong, believing it was all pre-planned, that this is Alison worked from beyond bars to go after them, etc. Alison to them is the Bad Guy, and will always be the Bad Guy until someone else comes along who proves them wrong.
I think what startles me most about this whole thing is that it was Emily who came up with the idea to plant evidence. Emily, the one person who Alison trusted the most, the one person who believed in Alison the longest before everything turned to shit. And I'm thinking that perhaps that is one of the main reasons why she did it. She was incredibly hurt that Alison wasn't being entirely truthful to her that she wanted to hurt her just as much. If that meant framing her for murder, then so be it. Just as long as Alison is out of the way and out of her life for good.
Despite this though, it does make for a good way of creating this false sense of security for the girls thinking they locked up the main problem. I can't wait for the moment when they realize they fucked up, and they fucked up bad. I want them to suffer the repercussions of jumping to conclusions and thinking they can do what they did and not get away with it. I want them to face Alison and admit that they did dirty by her, and I want Alison to not forgive them immediately afterwards. If that happens, it'll be quite rewarding, imho.
(Knowing this show they'll get off the hook too easy, though, which sucks because the girls need to stop being so reckless all the time, i.e. talking about all things related to "A" in public for anyone to eavesdrop; you'd think after all this time they'd be smarter, or for the show to have better writing to make them smarter in these situations)
Things I liked about the episode:
++ I loved seeing Mona's mother and her raw emotional state. It was painful watching the scene where she slaps Alison, but it's really telling how much she was hurting and seeing Alison triggered something inside of her and it was quite convincing how in pain she was. Plus her scenes with Hanna were rather sweet. I wish we had see her prior to this, of course.
++ The return of Mrs. Grunwald. I like how despite Ravenswood no longer being around there connections are still there since it's still part of the mythos of the show. I like how they kept that continuity with what Caleb experienced there, and how he would be against Hanna wanting to ask Grunwald to be part of figuring out what happened. It also goes with something I had been working on with Hanna wanting to reach out to the other side to deal with where Mona was and wanting answers. It makes sense, since she is the only one aside from Caleb who knows that there is another side, even if she didn't experience it for herself as personally as Caleb had. I know many PLL fans aren't that thrilled with the otherworldly elements being mixed into the show, but I like it. Plus again, continuity and all that, something I'm happy the show isn't forgetting about.
++ Sasha Pieterse really nailed all her Alison scenes. You can really feel her desperation, from wanting people to believe her and feeling that downward spiral as she acknowledges the girls she thought she could trust have turned against her. Granted the show tried to make us think Alison had been playing them, but again that was faulty on their part since they had already humanized Alison from the moment we found out she was alive. No matter the outcome, I have become a huge fan of hers (the actress and the character) that she's become kind of my new favorite on this show. Sasha really brings out the human side of Alison to where you feel for her. ♥
Things I didn't like:
++ As mentioned, the whole thing with the girls deliberately planting evidence to frame Alison for murders she clearly didn't commit and that they clearly don't have any concrete proof aside from them assuming Alison did them and wanting her out of their lives. Just, their entire attitudes in this episode bugged me for some reason whenever the topic of Alison came up and their sure certainty they had it all in the bag. It's so gonna bite them on the ass later, for sure.
++ In fact, the whole "we know who 'A' is" schtick needs to die, because every single time they think they have it figured out they don't. "A" is never who they assume it is.
++ lol @ Aria with the rape whistle. Really? That was literally the stupidest scene ever.
++ The whole Paige thing was a yawner, since I don't care about her character. Blah blah blah she leaves Rosewood but she'll come back later because that's the expected thing, blah blah blah.
++ I'm still not really that sold on Toby being in the police force, especially that soon and with handling things with the cases of what is happening. Shouldn't he not be involved since it's a personal case anyway, involving Spencer? It just seems weird to me, then again this show is far from logical. I mean, the incompetence of the police, the town remaining oblivious to everything that has been going on. Anything is possible, apparently.
Overall: I'm uncertain how to rate this episode since I'm not fond of the girls at the moment after what they did, and I'm more rooting for Alison at this point. But in terms of setting up the possible fallout of their plan, I'm pretty interested to seeing how it'll all gone down.