Continuing from the previous episode, the girls locate where "A" took Alison, and find themselves locked in a room where they can oversee where Alison and "A" are talking. When "A" is revealed to be Cece Drake, the episode takes an overview of her story on the events leading up to how she became the way she is, going from Charles to Charlotte and her anger towards the girls. The episode ends with Charlotte finally stopping the game, and where we leave the girls finally free. At least, until the brief preview of "five years later" where something new is happening to them....
The Big "A" Reveal
I'm honestly uncertain how I feel about this episode as a whole. For a mid-season finale, it was quite lackluster and it felt incredibly rushed with not a whole lot answered. While it was conclusive in some areas, it severely lacked in others. And overall the editing was just, well, horribly done, especially towards the end.
Cece being Charles was actually intriguing, and the more we learned about her story the more it kind of made sense when you placed everything from the timeline of events into perspective. I know some people may be taken aback by it, but when there have been so many fan theories being thrown about for years having the final reveal would be kind of jarring. But honestly, I'm not that disappointed since it does place things into perspective. And I liked that they included a transgender story in there, with Charles being Charlotte who everyone knew as Cece on the show. When you take into account it was one of the reasons why Kenneth wanted to lock her away in a mental institution and erase any trace of her existence within the family, well, it really makes a lot more sense. This is why Marlene was asking fans to have sympathy when the reveal happened. Although I have to say, just because her story was heartbreaking in that sense, it doesn't negate her actions and what she did to the girls, the hell she placed them through. Cece does have a sickness when it comes to playing the game, treating them all like her dolls, and not giving an ounce of consideration of their own safety and well-being. Her being transgender shouldn't erase the crimes she committed. It's one of those things where you understand where they came from, but it doesn't excuse what they chose to do. As the saying goes, "Cool motive, still murder."
And then there's Sarah Harvey, who I predicted being sketchy as fuck, I even predicted that she may have been Red Coat. Though I have to say her reveal was rather...abrupt? Unexplained? I mean, how did Cece find her? Sarah disappeared the same night Alison did, and if Cece was returned to Radley after accidentally hitting Alison over the head, what happened in between then? Is Sarah insane, or is she just a really good liar and manipulator, as her old friends had originally said so in previous episodes? I mean, it would be interesting if we had some more details on that to have it all make sense on how these two were scheming together. And what happened with Cece? Has she been taken into jail?
I feel like most of this episode was explaining in flashbacks to piece how Cece was the one doing most of what happened throughout the show and her backstory, but none of tying some of the other loose ends together in making a cohesive episode. It was like, here is an information dump, and now here is the end. Like, it was interesting, but it wasn't satisfactory enough after everything we had to endure all these seasons, you know?
Things I liked about the episode:
++ I did like the explanation and backstory of Charles being Cece, since some of them made sense when you thought about it. I particularly liked towards the end when Alison used her chosen name, not the nickname she'd been using but the one she wanted for herself, Charlotte. However, I doubt that the show ever considered making Cece "A" from the beginning, like Marlene probably claims with suggesting that it was someone introduced from the first season, the first episode even. I don't think they had someone in mind for a final reveal until very recently. And that's okay, sometimes that happens, but don't advertise it as that when it wasn't. At least the retconning made sense by connecting those dots to make the reveal work.
++ Can I just say, the actress who plays Cece did a tremendous job? Her emotional scenes were so amazingly well acted, I was impressed.
++ Also, Cece/Jason. They actually went there. Even though Cece says they never did anything sexual, it still counts as an incestuous relationship.
++ Emily punching Sarah. Fucking finally. That show be the tagline of this show, "trust no new bitch!"
Things I didn't like:
++ The fuck was with that technology? I would've been fine with regular camera surveillance, not some hi-tech scifi equipment.
++ As I mentioned before, the editing of this episode was piss-poor, it's kind of embarrassing. Some of the transitions were weird, and that ending was absolutely atrocious. It was like, after all that, there is no follow-up? We don't even see their graduation, we don't even see the aftermath with them and their parents, what happens with Cece or Sarah? What about Mona and what happens with her? I mean, I known this is about the girls finally moving on and getting the hell out of Rosewood, but seriously, after all that has happened to them you can't just suddenly transition to Labor Day where they're all saying goodbye to each other. It was too rushed, poorly edited, and just all around bad. Ugh.
++ Also, poor way of handling the loose ends, as well. What happened to their mothers trapped in the basement of the DiLaurentis home? Why didn't we see them reunited with their daughters? What about what happened with Jason and Kenneth and their reactions to what happened? How was Rhys involved and how was Clark hired as an undercover cop, and who hired him? Also, in terms of the flashbacks, who really killed Jessica DiLaurentis? Also, everything surrounding Bethany Young. Previously we believed that Bethany and Jessica were close, are we to take away that Bethany either lied about being close with Jessica because she was possibly clinically insane from whatever diagnosis that was given, or that it happened and the show completely forgot about it? How did she develop such an intense hatred for Jessica and Alison? Also, what about the events that happened in the Halloween episode, "The First Secret", again the person who had been forever stalking and harassing Alison? Oh, and if Cece never hated Alison and had only discovered that she was alive the night the girls were pulled out from that fire, who was after Alison when she was in hiding? Unless that is something for the second half of the season.
I mean, while this show did give answers to the whole "A"/Charles/Cece thing, it left so much left unanswered that it's kind if disappointing, to be honest. I feel like they thought that we only cared about this "A" reveal that they didn't have to get that deep into everything else, which is bullshit, imho. It's like when they didn't get fully into what else happened to the rest of the girls when they were trapped in that dollhouse and how they tried to mend their friendship afterwards. We got some of the PTSD, but not all.
Overall: I have to admit, as a mid-season finale I'm not impressed. I liked some aspects of it, but as a whole it was really messily dealt with in terms of editing and execution and rushing to explain things with no real payoff in the end. Cece being Charles and the explanation that followed was decent, I'll give them that, and the flashbacks to connect it altogether was good, but everything else? It all fell flat, to which I'm disappointed by. Especially considering that it would've been more effective if "A" had been someone that all the girls knew and trusted at some point, not just someone that Alison was really close to and the rest of them kind of knew but didn't necessarily trust. It's kind of lackluster compared to previous finales the show has had, which nothing will ever come close to how great the S2 finale was, imho. I expected that with the big "A" reveal that there would've been more cohesive way of going about it. Unfortunately it was a letdown, it felt like they were in a hurry just to wrap it up and it showed.
My Expectations For S6B
Despite it being attached to that god-awful ending, we did get a brief preview of what is to come for the second half of the season where we fast forward five years where the girls are now in their twenties, past their college years and have their own separate lives. And are joined together in Rosewood once again for something new haunting and tormenting them. In this small preview, the girls are running in warning Alison that "he" is coming after her. This leads us to wonder who this new person may be, and why. Could it be that this is the person who had been hunting Alison during the time she had been on the run? Since it wasn't Cece, since she hadn't known that Alison was still alive during that time, nor would it have been Mona since she didn't care about where Alison had been as long as she didn't come back to Rosewood. Also, wasn't it said that there was a Big "A" and Uber "A"? If Cece was revealed to be Big "A", could this be Uber "A"?
As for my expectations for the rest of the season to unfold, I'm hoping that we get to see Alison visiting Cece wherever she is being held. One of the things that we learned was how alone Cece had been during her time in Radley. Even though part of me still doesn't want Alison to forgive her for the things she did, and she shouldn't, but despite that Alison certainly isn't that cruel and would want to at least keep in touch.
Another thing that I read was how the girls are still going to be affected by what happened to them, even after all this time. Granted, this show goes back and forth with showing them dealing with their PTSD on a consistent scale. But regardless I do want to see more of them dealing with everything they had gone through, and what they are going to continue to go through.
More Mona, please. I want Mona to be a part of this five year jump, too, and I want to see how well adjusted she is with her own life. And I want he and Mike to still be together.
Answers to some of the things that we didn't get answers to in this finale. I mean seriously.