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25 March 2015 @ 06:48 am
Pretty Little Liars: "Welcome to the Dollhouse" Season Finale Review  
Pretty Little Liars 5.25 "Welcome to the Dollhouse"

On the way to another prison, the van gets stopped and the girls are gassed and they wake up in an elaborately designed secured facility that "A" disguised as a dollhouse-like replica of the girls' rooms and Alison's house. They are then forced to play their respective roles while trapped there. Meanwhile, Spencer's parents finally get clued into what is happening re: the "A" situation and both them and the boys go to the police to try and track down where the girls were taken. The season ends not where one suspects....


The Puppet Master vs. the Dolls

The entire fandom basically got trolled, in both the best and worst possible way.

Granted I knew that the identity of "A" wasn't going to be revealed in the finale, since I looked it up that it was going to be revealed in the beginning of next season instead of this one (because how else are they going to lure fans back in unless they leave it on a cliffhanger?) However, we got several steps forward with major clues to mull over about the possible revealing of who is behind all of this, and why.

Mona, on the other hand? I was not expecting at all. The reveal that she was still alive seemed almost like a rehash of Alison being alive after her disappearance, though in hindsight it makes sense. When you take into account that when they showed her body in the trunk it truly did look like she was officially dead, though since "A" likes to play with their toys it would seem to be that they probably injected her with something to paralyze her and then place her into their elaborate makeshift dollhouse to play the part of Alison (also disturbingly fitting since Mona wanted to become Alison for a time). This sets off the framing of Alison for her supposed murder and getting the girls arrested, thereby allowing "A" to kidnap them and place them all alongside Mona, too. When you look at it from that perspective, it's almost too perfect of planning it's scary. Whoever constructed this is quite twisted and psychopathic, especially since wherever the girls are they seem to be in a secluded area where nobody can hear them.

The construction of the "dollhouse" is also textbook psychopath, it reminded me a lot of the creepy murderers who would reconstruct certain things from childhood and trap their victims there to become their dolls in recreating something, again either from childhood or their own concoction and amusement. And of course now we're getting closer to the identity of at least one of the "A"s involved.

From what we learned from the finale, Spencer deducted from letter blocks that whoever is holding them hostage is "Charles"; though that could be a number of things, much like the whole "Varjak" situation. Is it their actual name? A codename? Something to string the girls along (because why would they leave an anagram of their name unless they wanted one of them, especially someone like Spencer or Mona, to figure it out)? At least we know whoever it is there is a connection to them and the DiLaurentis family. Based on the footage and pictures, possibly twins? Jason having a twin? Or did Jessica have other children we don't know about? What about the identical dress that young!Alison found that she was told to keep quiet about? What that alluding to Bethany Young, who could also be related to the DiLaurentis family as well? How many siblings/half-siblings do Spencer and Alison have? So many more questions are arising now because of this finale.

But even though we have more questions, at least there's progression. We have more people involved now, the parents and the police, and we're getting somewhere with why "A" is doing all these things. Possibly. I am of course reconstructing my own theories about this.


Things I liked about the episode:

++ The entire atmosphere was unsettling and disturbing. Them being arrested and placed in prison was bad enough, but being trapped and locked away in "A"s lifesize prison dollhouse and forced to play more games? That is even worse. Them realizing how trapped they truly are made me feel claustrophobic for them. It was truly creepy and well-done.

++ MONA IS ALIVE. MONA IS ALIVE. MONA IS ALIVE. ♥ ♥ ♥ Like, sure it was a complete fake-out on the show's end to make us believe that she was gone for good, and they even mentioned that yeah she was dead for real (though honestly how can you successfully hide something like this without making sure people won't come to that conclusion idek), but I don't care about MONA IS BACK AND ALIVE AND IT MAKES ME SO HAPPY ILU MONA NEVER LEAVE ME AGAIN. (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

++ I felt bad for Mona, though, because she basically was trapped there for months playing "A"s sick little playhouse game. Playing the part of Alison, being a good girl or else she would be punished, essentially being psychologically tortured until she was able to do whatever "A" told her to do. Again, this is a sick, twisted individual who is doing this and is able to twist and bend people at their will for total control. Of course, Mona is a smart cookie and has been able to figure out certain things and not forget herself in the process. That's my girl. ♥

++ Hanna basically being relentless in wanting to get out of there. I would be, too, if I was in her shoes. She is having none of the charade. And basically all the girls using their heads in trying to find a way out of that place, being resourceful and sneaky in trying to trick "A". Amazing, I loved it.

++ Loved that staged fight though between Spencer and Emily, mimicking their previous staged fight they had in the earlier seasons when they were playing who they believed to be "A" at the time as well. Excellent callback.

++ The mannequins at their faked constructed "senior prom". There is nothing creepier than mannequins esp in that setting, jfc. :S

++ The parents (at least Spencer's parents) finding out the truth! Finally. I think I feel more relief whenever someone new is in the know about "A" and what the girls have been going through for years.

++ Tanner finally cooperating and focusing the investigation where it should be rather than thinking the girls are doing this to themselves or having one on her. Granted I still think Tanner knows something else, but we'll see.

++ Even though Alison was only in one scene in the finale, Sasha continued to knock everything out of the park.


Things I didn't like:

++ Less about not liking but more with the confusion about some of the things we didn't get to. Why was the gas mask important for Mona to have? What about the cryptic message/anagram that Spencer found behind Mona's hairbrush in a previous episode? Where was Holbrook and how does he factor into all of this? Also Andrew as well? Are they all working together?

++ I feel like the finale should've been two hours long instead of one because there are still so much to uncover and understand.


Overall: I know some fans are going to be disappointed about the lack of the "A" reveal (though honestly idk what y'all were expecting), but I was absolutely enthralled with this finale, simply due to the structure and what was happening. I knew we weren't going to get the answers we wanted and it was a way of enticing us to come back next season to uncover the truth and see how the girls are going to get out of this situation. But for the finale itself it was quite a ride, and started off with a huge bang with the girls being kidnapped and trapped inside "A"s playhouse. "Welcome to the Dollhouse" is an appropriate title to have for what this finale had to offer, and it really plays with the creepy factor of what "A" is capable of. The cliffhanger basically allows us to see that this "A" isn't kidding around, and they are truly going to have to find a way out of this by themselves.

Season Five Overview: The fifth season started off strong, with Alison returning to Rosewood and giving us more to her than just that mean girl from the past, and things definitely hit a peak with the events of what happened t Mona and the aftermath that took; the season unfortunately hit a dull point in the middle though and for the latter half of the season it felt slow and not progressive enough, particularly with all the flings the characters were having that had zero point to the plot which, all things considered, we needed more of when there's still so much left unanswered. The season ended on a strong note, though, with these last few episodes. So overall, I say the season was rather good, and I loved having not just Alison back but also Mona returning in the end. My two favorite characters, which I'm hoping both will still play a major role next season as well.

Season Six Hopes: The girls to break free by themselves, the reveal of Big "A" (the "A" holding them hostage now) and the beginnings of the reveal of Uber "A" (basically omnipresent Overlord "A"); all the parents being involved with what is happening so the girls don't feel so alone with keeping secrets anymore, more Alison and Mona, and Alison/Emily scenes pls. And for Ezra to be revealed as Uber "A", but that's just my own hopeful wishing.
 
 
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Samarsakuraberries on March 25th, 2015 02:43 pm (UTC)
The entire fandom basically got trolled

Sigh. Pretty much. I even woke up early to watch this episode before work, so I wouldn't have to worry about A spoilers on Tumblr. Turns out I needn't have bothered! While I loved the creepy, claustrophobic atmosphere of the episode, I hate that it brought up more questions than it answered, and honestly, having the Big A be someone that the girls don't even know is kind of a dud for me. Also, the Big A doing what he's doing because he's a twisted psychopath is also a disappointment.

Well, at least I'm hooked again?

oh, and at least now Alison will hopefully be speedily exonerated, now that Tanner knows Mona is alive!

Edited at 2015-03-25 02:44 pm (UTC)
Renée: Pretty Little Liars. Spencer Hastings.rogueslayer452 on March 25th, 2015 04:15 pm (UTC)
honestly, having the Big A be someone that the girls don't even know is kind of a dud for me.

I don't know where I heard it, but either Big "A" or Uber "A" is said to be someone we would've known from throughout the entirety of the show, and how once it is revealed it will all make sense. Or so it's been said. Of course I don't know how true that is now, but I'm sure the show will try to come up with something to ~connect it all together with Alison and the girls and the why.

(I'm already kind of revising my theories based on the finale, so I may do some kind of theory/speculation post later once I have my thoughts sorted out)

Well, at least I'm hooked again?

Same! The show kind of hit a rough patch for a while there, but it quickly drew me back in and now I'm really looking forward to the summer premiere to see where they go from here.

oh, and at least now Alison will hopefully be speedily exonerated, now that Tanner knows Mona is alive!

True! I can't wait to see how that goes and what will happen with Alison in the aftermath of everything, same with the girls once they escape their abductor.
Julie: TFP ★ calls out in fate's eyesragnarok_08 on March 25th, 2015 04:56 pm (UTC)
The entire atmosphere was unsettling and disturbing. Them being arrested and placed in prison was bad enough, but being trapped and locked away in "A"s lifesize prison dollhouse and forced to play more games? That is even worse. Them realizing how trapped they truly are made me feel claustrophobic for them. It was truly creepy and well-done.

Yes, I really liked that too.

The entire fandom basically got trolled, in both the best and worst possible way.

Yup, pretty much.
Tinkagwaevalarin on March 26th, 2015 09:48 am (UTC)
I admit, I lost interest a little during the second half of the season, but after this finale, I'm completely hooked again. And for the first time in quite a while, I can believe again that they do know where they are going with everything. And that has me very excited for the next season.

Add to that the seriously creepy and claustrophobic atmosphere of the episode and the Mona reveal (even if it was a fake-out): Well done, show!

What about the cryptic message/anagram that Spencer found behind Mona's hairbrush in a previous episode?
My guess is that it was just a clue for us as the viewers, spelling out A's name before we officially learn it in the finale. And just giving us one more hint for the Charles is Alison's brother/possibly Jason's twin theory.

As for the gas mask, I expect it will become important in the season 6 premiere.
Renée: Pretty Little Liars. Spencer Hastings.rogueslayer452 on March 27th, 2015 06:34 am (UTC)
Yeah, the show hit a rough patch where it stalled in its progression, and it's an unfortunate downside to having so many episodes a season where there are going to be fillers that don't offer much of anything. I wasn't impressed with what they were trying to do with the girls and their respective storylines. But these last few episodes, and the finale especially, really made up for that.

And man, I'm really intrigued with what is happening.

I've been readjusting my theories and based on what was revealed in the finale, I have come up with several possible scenarios of what is happening. One is obviously the twin theory, but another is the probability that those children in that home video wasn't Alison or Jason or completely different, like maybe Bethany Young, "Charles" and the other brother? Maybe Jessica had other children we don't know about, or was involved with someone else, or something along those lines. I'm still working out the details of this theory, but it would explain what is happening if, say, Jessica abandoned these kids in favor of Alison and Jason and why Bethany was so angry with Jessica and jealous of Alison. Idk, again it's a work in progress.
Maria: billieshyngi on March 26th, 2015 03:18 pm (UTC)
This episode was the most interesting of all this season!

++ The parents (at least Spencer's parents) finding out the truth! Finally. I think I feel more relief whenever someone new is in the know about "A" and what the girls have been going through for years.

++ Tanner finally cooperating and focusing the investigation where it should be rather than thinking the girls are doing this to themselves or having one on her. Granted I still think Tanner knows something else, but we'll see.


Best parts of the episode! Finally we are getting somewhere with the story and solving the A mystery.

But that dude, charles-what's-his-name.. I think that person's story is going to be something "not-good". Like.. Maybe he's A. But I have a feeling he's not. And he's going to be someone "long lost person whom has never been mentioned on the show before".
It's like a bad excuse to make the mystery go on; adding more people into it. So if he's (or she) is someone we don't know, I'm going to be so disappointed!

And for Ezra to be revealed as Uber "A", but that's just my own hopeful wishing.
Haha! That's what I've been hoping so long too! :D

Tbh, I haven't been this excited of PLL returning since the 2nd season! I have high hopes for next season.
Renée: Pretty Little Liars. Secrets.rogueslayer452 on March 27th, 2015 05:09 am (UTC)
Like.. Maybe he's A. But I have a feeling he's not. And he's going to be someone "long lost person whom has never been mentioned on the show before".

I've seen a lot of people consider this, and voice their disappointment if this is to be true, go which I understand that sentiment completely. Though while anything is possible at this point, I don't think it'll be someone that we haven't met before. It probably seems that way because, unfortunately, there's been so much information over the course of the show that everything seems convoluted (a downside to the show, unfortunately); and while Marlene King likes to dick us around and give the run-around on many things, I'm inclined to think that there is something planned for this particular "A".

Now, the identity of Uber "A" is something I'm quite intrigued by once we get into that. I've read a lot of theories (both of Uber and Big), and I have conducted some of my own, esp now after the finale where I'm going back and connecting those dots.

Tbh, I haven't been this excited of PLL returning since the 2nd season! I have high hopes for next season.

I'm also quite excited. While I think having Alison be alive and returning to Rosewood was the best thing the show has done of late, this finale comes close in second.
Mariashyngi on March 29th, 2015 07:55 am (UTC)
and I have conducted some of my own, esp now after the finale where I'm going back and connecting those dots.

I'd love to hear your theories!
Chelsea: PLL → Ariasictransits on March 27th, 2015 12:49 am (UTC)
I admit at first I was really disappointed with the Big A Reveal. But after reading other people's theories online I'm actually looking forward to seeing where this goes. I have a feeling Charles will end up being someone we know.

I like the idea that there's still "Uber A" to be revealed. I've always wanted Aria to be "the" A. I'd be happy with Ezra too though! xD
Renée: Pretty Little Liars. Emily.rogueslayer452 on March 27th, 2015 03:07 am (UTC)
I think there were a lot of high expectations of what people thought the Big "A" reveal was going to be (or have anything revealed at all), because I've seen a lot of disappointment voiced over it. But interestingly, we didn't really get enough information that concludes either way who this "Charles" person is. We've only been given clues which allows us to go back and try to connect the dots or come up with theories of our own.

(And lord knows I have quite a few theories, even though I know they won't ever become true, heh.)