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.