My completely arbitrary point system is back for the Season 5 round-up of the craziness in the quaint little town of Rosewood, so let’s get into this (in more or less chronological order):

  • The trend of having Aria express her emotions though her wardrobe continues: smiley-face patterned top during her mini-escape to Syracuse; skulls and crossbones when her boyfriend turns out to be a lying scumbag; skulls and a handcuff pendant when she just murdered this season’s designated ‘A’ tormentor. +3 points for consistency.
  • We had to wait until season 5 to see one of the Liars get wasted. After everything these girls have been through, I feel like subtracting points, but then again Hanna’s hangover outfit was spot-on so, wash.
  • I’ve said this before, but what is it with all the gay women and zero gay men in this town? Is Rosewood, PA somehow located on the island of Lesvos? Every new female character introduced to the show turns out to not only be gay, but also attracted to Emily. – only 2 points, because Emily IS gorgeous.
  • Also, aside from Emily’s asian heritage and that Adderall-dealing girl who only appeared once on the show, there are zero Asians and Latinos and very few African-Americans on this show. (btw, is Mona Hawaiian?) And when they do cast a black actor, they’re mostly caricatures or murdering psychopaths. -8 points because COME ON, PLL, we need some diversity.
  • The cops on this show are either corrupt or incompetent. No points for that, but: the one cop who seems intent on actually doing her job constantly interrogates minors without adult supervision. -3 points because we’ve all watched enough TV to know better.
  • There are so many holes in Ali’s “kidnapping” story that I’m not even gonna go there, but why is no one asking the obvious question? If this “kidnapper” didn’t rape her and didn’t ask for ransom money, then why the hell was he keeping a teenage girl hostage for 2 years? Was he the only adult on this show who’s not a pedophile? -6 points because if ever there was a justified predator plot line, it was this fictional kidnapper dude.
  • The hair and makeup department must hate Roma Maffia (btw, has any actor or character ever had a more amazingly fake-sounding name, ever?). That wet-look curly mop isn’t doing her any favors. However, she’s the only adult actually doing her job and coming even remotely close to uncovering the truth, so +3 points for that.
  • Apparently, in the PLL universe, Hollywood stopped making movies sometime during the ’50’s. The only type of movie that exists in Rosewood is black & white. It’s not just the only thing they’ll watch on TV, it’s also the preferred date night / family outing choice at the theater. +3 points for consistency but -2 for trying to convince us that every teenager in this town is a film snob.
  • Ghosts and confessions about this “creature” haunting Ravenswood? Really? Just let it go already. -5 points for subjecting us to this hideous storyline again and -4 points for setting up the possibility that this “A” person might or might not be a supernatural entity during that entire episode. – another 3 points for the shameless promotion of a shitty movie and -5 for reminding us that there are morons out there who still believe in Ouija boards. Oh, and -4 more points for the most fake-looking CGI fireflies ever after Caleb’s anticlimactic tale, which frankly is not even good enough to be good campfire scary story fodder.
  • Is “She’s Mona” a Gossip Girl or a Suits reference? +5 points for either possibility.
  • Is Emily always clumsily dropping her books when Paige is conveniently around to help her pick them up so they can chat? Couldn’t they for once just run into each other in the hallway between classes? You know, like normal highschool students? –3 points for lazy writing.
  • Toby goes to the Police Academy and graduates within maybe a week. -7 points for the time warp that is this show, because now they’re just rubbing it in, and also: sorry Toby, you’re no Doogie Howser.
  • Alison sort of, kind of rocks the dark wig, but none of our Liars bother to even slightly disguise themselves when they’re snooping and sneaking around, knowing there are security cameras everywhere. -4 points, but also +3 points to the hair department, as I assume they’re the ones who vetoed the disguise idea, because it would take them forever to make their flat scalps presentable for the next scene, and there’s a fine line between doing their jobs and overworking the curling iron.
  • Hanna doesn’t even know how to pronounce ‘SAT’ and needs human dictionary Spencer to explain big words to her, but she somehow did well enough on her SATs to be suspected of cheating and is now considering top-notch schools for college. Really, writers? -8 points because, as much as I love me the Marins, Hanna is no Doogie Howser, either.
  • It’s been fall of senior year for like 3 seasons now, but we get Thanksgiving AND Christmas-decoration bonanza all in one episode. -5 points for deliberately messing up the already wonky timeline.
  • +4 points for Mona and her mom blowing kisses at each other, because of course they wouldn’t want to ruin M’s impeccable makeup. Another +3 points for Mona’s outfits, because even when they’re crazy, she manages to pull them off. Ah, I’ll miss you, girl.
  • While I’m on the subject of crazy outfits, -5 points for Aria’s clashing patterns, but +3 for consistency and for whoever hates her character so much in the wardrobe department.
  • +20 points for not one, but all the main players (and Mona) finally coming out and admitting what we’ve all known for years now: Ali is a sociopath. Amen, sisters.
  • +4 points for the predictable mid-season Who Is “A” reveal, because it only means there’s be some other A to torture the liars (and us) in later episodes.
  • Spencer: “I’ll surprise him with a gesture”
    Hanna: “Like the clowns? Court jesters are like clowns, right?”
    +6 points for this hilarious exchange, and another +2 for Hanna’s coy smile afterwards and the possibility that she’s been playing dumb all along.
  • It’s been fall for over 3 seasons of the show but they suddenly jump a month from Thanksgiving to Christmas over the course of their mid-season break. +5 points for finally giving us a timeline we can follow and another +3 points for dressing the girls appropriately for winter weather in at least one scene but then -4 points for everyone going outside in the dead of winter, right after a blizzard, in 2 feet of snow, wearing tank tops and shivering out of fear when the ominous “A” message shows up.
  • +6 points for the hilariously awesome dead-girl halloween outfit Mona’s rocking in Alison’s dream sequence. + another 2 points because Mo’ Mona is always better, even if for the last year or so she’s been given cartoonish dialogue.
  • I know people are always hating on Ezra, but his little pony joke was cute, and he hasn’t been completely useless this season. At least no more useless than Alison’s creepy twin minions, the ridiculously named Cindy and Mindy. And Aria is becoming slightly less annoying, too. I’ll only subtract a measly -2 points for everyone’s being on board with Ezria and even including him in their family get-together. Which reminds me, another -2 for none of the parents being in Rosewood to spend Christmas with their children.
  • All the Liars’ gowns at Ali’s Christmas charity ball were beautiful. +5 points each for a total of 25 points, and another 3 extra points for Emily’s stunning dress and cleavage.
  • +5 points for Lucas as Santa Claus and +10 points for Caleb finally switching his tacky flannels for a great suit but -8 for the awful shirtless bed-buddies coming down the stairs in matching Santa undies, especially since they all seem to have forgotten that EZRA IS AN ADULT and until recently (or is he still?), their highschool teacher.
  • So wait, it wasn’t enough that mama Montgomery’s fiancé turned out to be yet another pedo-perv in what was a very confusing character arc for the creepy cafe owner, now they have to make Holbrook into a sleazeball, too? He went from being slightly flirty with Hanna to full-on creeper mode over the course of a couple of episodes for no good reason other than the show seems to be upping the pedophile-to-normal-adult ratio each season. -7 points because it’s getting ridiculous, and – another 5 for that godawful undone Santa jacket with the wifebeater showing underneath at a party where even the grungiest teenagers were dressed to the nines.
  • When snooping around in Ali’s house and glimpsing the hooded figure, instead of heading to the kitchen to grab a knife, Spencer breaks a photo frame and grabs a shard of glass to use as a weapon. Isn’t breaking glass significantly more loud than making a dash to the knife block? I’m not sure if I should knock off points for the silliness or award them for badassery so, wash.
  • Not only do we jump forward a whole month after the mid-season finale, we leap over the entire winter season for Mona’s cenotaph (thanks, Spencer!). So it’s March in Pennsylvania, yet our little Liars are wearing sleeveless dresses, because of course. -3 points for tricking viewers into believing PA weather is akin to California’s.
  • -6 points for making Aria annoying and useless once again. Having your teacher boyfriend “ask Mike over to help with his shelves” so he can act as grief counselor is stupid, but allowing “A” to wrap you in plastic secured with staples long enough to steal Mona’s encrypted laptop? And then just rip free in one swift swing of your arm? And not tell Ezra about it, because duh, secrets? Really? Sigh.
  • Still, Mike’s arms are looking hot, so the Montgomerys get a few plus points for that one. +4, to be exact, because the next time we see this beautiful kid, instead of showing off his new bod, he’s sobbing for the loss of Mona.
  • Okay, let’s see:

-Hanna got into a bunch of colleges while Aria keeps getting rejection letters and being waitlisted.
-Aria goes to Emily instead of Spencer for academic advice, then writes the most ridiculous, humiliating letter in the history of college applications and emails it to Ezra’s ex, who happens to be the admissions officer at this new fictional college.

-Then she tries to delete it, and then she gets accepted (!).

-And then “A” gets his/her hands on the letter, because of course.
-Emily, although having no actual cooking experience, offers to cater Ezra’s party; Ezra accepts.
-Emily spends the night trying to pipe some type of white filling into grapes (!) and flinging fyllo pastry to the wall before calling her mom to ask for her failsafe empanada recipe
-Ezra doesn’t fire her, presumably because she’s as bad at cooking as he is as being an English teacher.

-He does hire someone else though, after letting Emily slave away in the kitchen all night.

-Papa Holbrook lives in a trailer park where a hobo casually chops deer gut on a tree stump-turned-butcher block.
-Hanna gets nothing but deer guts all over her shoes after that impromptu visit.
-Caleb and Spencer decide to destroy the incriminating knife Toby found in the woods by thowing it in an industrial kiln, instead of like, I don’t know, soaking it in bleach or whatever acid solution Walt and Jesse used to dispose of evidence in Breaking Bad, which looks to be exactly what the killer did.
-They decide to do that on school grounds, because of course.
-Then they split up, leave the knife unattended and Spencer wanders around the hallways as Caleb gets locked up in the furnace and is almost incinerated.

-Jason hooks up with Ashley, which I get because Ashley is awesome, but jesus with the inappropriate relationships on this show.

-14 points for cramming all those ridiculous plot points into one episode, but +5 for Hanna’s awesome makeup. The girl is looking more gorgeous every day. And another +3 for Aria finally switching to an iPhone.

  • +3 points for the look Spencer gives Toby when he enthusiastically exclaims she’s been accepted at the University of Hawaii. The girl wants bricks and ivy, Toby, not wearing flip-flops to class.
  • “Ham’s got a sketchy texture”, says the guy digging through Spencer’s trash (and sorting them out on her squeaky clean countertop), looking for “art supplies”. Mmmkay. -5 points, because ew, and – another 2 points for Spencer getting excited to hear about this guy’s trip to Italy and learning to make her own tempera paints, Boticelli-style. Since when is Spencer the artsy one?
  • Of course Spencer has bolt cutters in her trunk. +2 points
  • You’d think after all those incriminating pieces of evidence “A” leaves around, which may or may not be covered in the Liars’ prints, they’d have started wearing gloves when they go snooping around where they’re not supposed to. -4 points, because I expected more from you, Spencer.
  • To Spencer’s recitation of the Merriam-Webster definition of paranoid and the distinction between that and being meticulous, Caleb says: “No, you’re being a thesaurus”. +2 points.
  • Okay, first the furnace then the liquid nitrogen-spraying vestibule… “A” is not only getting increasingly homicidal, but also quite inventive with the claustrophobic places (s)he locks the liars in. +4 points for his/her expanding repertoire.
  • The look Ezra gives Aria when she says his ex bought what she wrote in that awful letter “because she’s a good writer” is priceless. +5 points, because even her boyfriend thinks she’s a moron.
  • The liars spend like, what, five years in a constant state of confusion trying to figure out who this “A” person is, but suddenly they’re completely sure it’s Ali and Holbrook pulling all those stunts and incriminating them. -4 points for the obvious red herring but -3 because this is getting really old and they’re almost out of “A” candidates at this point.
  • Holbrook pulls Hanna over in the middle of nowhere to whine about how Ali destroyed his life. Boo-hoo, Officer Creepy. Hanna smacks him AND verbally puts him in his place in 3″ flat. +6 points for our sassy Marin girl.
  • Emily’s putting the moves on the new girl at the Brew. Who happens to be a professional chef, we’re supposed to assume? Which makes her yet another older and inappropriate love interest, oh and wait, she’s also married! So I guess +3 points for the writers staying on board the pedophilia angle?
  • Holbrook says he’s not the one helping Alison out and they immediately believe him. So now they’re suspecting Mike because he’s being all sneaky and weird. Okay, I’ll buy it. What I don’t buy is Aria telling the girls Mike won’t go back to visit Alison in prison “because she told him not to“. Since when does Mike listen to his big dumb sister? Since when any teenage younger brother, ever, for that matter? -5 points because a) really? and b) Mike is signing the guest log at the prison literally two seconds later.
  • While we’re on Mike: +12 points for the shirtless work-out scene, because yum.
  • Spencer didn’t figure out Johnny was not hired by Hollis to paint a mural until she saw the headlines? What, the whole painting in the dark wearing flashlight headgear didn’t tip her off? -3 points, because she’s smarter than that, and – another 2 points because even if illegal graffiti on campus grounds makes it on the local paper, it would never be front page news.
  • Even academic decathlon champ Andrew has bulging biceps? We don’t do that whole decathlon thing where I’m from so I wouldn’t knnow, but I assumed most of these students would be type-A nerds who would never waste type pumping weights? No points for that, but -2 points for Andrew being on the baseball team too and having the balls to stick around and run to the girls’ aid against Creepy Cyrus. Then again, +4 points for Aria recruiting him to do her dirty work, because of course she would.
  • Although every single dad on the show (except maybe Emily’s) is either absent, or useless, or both, papa Marin definitely wins worst douchebag dad of the year award for paying his stepdaughter’s college tuition but not Hanna’s, and being a dick about it. -3 points for disappointing my favorite Liar, but +2 points for consistency, because he’s always been kind of a dick.
  • +6 points for Hanna and Emily’s dance training (although they’d get ALL the points for a glorious Center Stage-type montage) and + another 5 for Hanna’s “she makes you feel like the girl at fat camp who got caught eating her toothpaste” comment about her awesomely named pageant coach, Nan Zabrinsky and her “What? It was minty” when Caleb and Emily give her a WTF look. + an extra 4 points for Hanna’s hilarious aggro improvisation moves while she’s picturing who she’s up against: none other than her bitch of a step-sister, Kate, and another +2 points for the entire Kate angle being the work of “A”, because if she never appears on the show again, it will be too soon. And while I’m at it, another +4 points for introducing a beauty pageant to PLL because it was probably the one big thing missing from a teen show.
  • But here’s the thing: didn’t Emily get the job at the Brew because she needs money? And Hanna signed up for the pageant because she needs tuition money too. So why would Emily sign up for the pageant to win the prize for Hanna when she already could use the money for herself, and more importantly, why doesn’t Hanna just get a job now that her mom is unemployed? Sigh. – only 3 points because when did anything ever make sense on this show? Plus, Ezra made himself useful and suggested she get a job and pay her way through college by giving Hanna (and, more importantly, us) the hilarious image of him wearing a hot-dog costume, so +2 points for that visual.
  • That Jonny (no h, ugh) guy serves no purpose other than getting Spencer into more trouble than she’s already in, and to act like yet another token college-aged guy hitting on a teenage girl. -6 points for that entire story line and – another 2 for his shitty rabbit artwork.
  • Toby, as Lt. Tanner pointed out, has been a cop all of six minutes; even if we can forget that he enrolled and graduated withing the span of a few days (GAH), wasn’t his motivation supposed to be helping the girls out? And now he’s Mr. By-The-Book? -3 points, because I’m not buying it.
  • I know I’m well past pointing out plot holes in what is a giant logic-defying show, but: what is “A”‘s end game here? Is it to torture and terrorize the Liars? Is it to kill them? Is it to get their asses thrown in jail? Whoever this incarnation of “A” is, (s)he’s had plenty of opportunity to accomplish either of those things, on multiple occasions. Why plan out elaborate schemes to incriminate them for any given crime when (s)he can just kill them at any time? Conversely, why try to kill them when (s)he’s been planning to make them seem guilty of all these crimes? Just pick a lane and stick to it, “A”. It’s beyond confusing at this point. -6 points for making me waste brain cells on trying to untangle this mystery thread.
  • +3 points for Mike dropping the A/Mona/blood bomb we all knew was coming. Even teenage girls have been exploring the blood theory since Mona fainted at the chorus auditions.
  • Do Oxford professors actually refer to the US as “the colonies”? No points, just asking. But +2 points for Spencer’s confident smile because you know she’ll ace that interview… and then “A” happens.
  • +4 points for “Keep Calm and Watch Your Carry-On”, because it was the best “A” text to date.
  • Melissa and Wren’s flatmate is putting the moves on Spencer, making him what, the upmteenth adult character who hits on an underage girl on this show? I should probably start awarding instead of subtracting points for this plot device because, again, consistency. Although why do Melissa and Wren need a flatmate to begin with? Meh, wash.
  • This whole OITNB twist is not working, PLL. Also, Alison apparently not only lost her edge when she went inside, but also totally put her guard down, which is not like her. -4 points because if we can’t count on Alison’s clever, devious side, then what next? Aria finally becomes awesome? Not with retarded ideas like “It’s probably best if we split up” while trespassing on a mystery man’s property, that’s for sure. At least they’re being consistent there, so +2 points for that.
  • First Jonny, then Colin… Does Spencer really need not one, but two (older, duh) guys to wean her off Toby now than their relationship has gone to shit since he started being all Mr. Cop? -3 points because there are enough inconsequential vaguely attractive 20-something men on this show already.
  • +4 points for Caleb being the only voice of reason and the best boyfriend in this entire show.
  • Mr. DiLaurentis doesn’t like the idea of “12 random strangers off the street deciding what happens to his daughter“. No points retracted even though his questions are inane, for the same reason I don’t knock off points for the glaring plot holes: the show is targeted towards preteens who probably know zilch about the justice system (or care about plot consistency).
  • I know I’m repeating myself, but who in that wardrobe department hates Aria so much? Black & white horizontal stripes on what can either be described as clown pants on a petite girl? On anyone, really? Why? -5 points because even Aria doesn’t deserve this.
  • “A” can remotely hack into the Liars’ phones and delete all the incriminating text messages. Okay, sure. What I don’t buy is that none of these supposedly smart girls, not even Hanna the brainiac with her tech-savvy boyfriend, figured they should probably back up their phones every once in a while, or take a screenshot or something. -4 points because you can’t have it both ways, PLL.
  • Alison shows up for her trial with a new ‘do and fresh highlights, because of course. If this girl had access to a curling iron while on the run, then she absolutely has access to a hairstylist in jail. +3 points for keeping the hair department busy even under the most implausible circumstances.
  • Why are these writers trying to make us think Hanna is an idiot while simultaneously a genius? Ah, no matter, the Edith Pilaf line was hilarious so +4 points for that one.
  • +3 points for the touching Marin mother-daughter scene in prison, because count on Ashley and Hanna to give me all the feels.
  • -4 points for the show’s obsession with Hamlet. Shakespeare wrote other plays and sonnets too, PLL. And Ella, if you’re gonna suggest quotes to Aria for her yearbook picture, why not Romeo and Juliet? You know, forbidden love and all that jazz?
  • Why is everyone suddenly referring to Mike Montgomery as a ‘kid’? He’s 16, which was about the same age the Liars were when “A” started dragging them down this rabbit hole of murder and blackmail. Might have been okay to treat him as a kid while he still looked like one and acted up like the troubled teenager he supposedly was, but come on, writers, this ‘kid’ hooked up with Mona, smashed a car in a fit of rage, has bulked up considerably and has proven he can pretty much hold his own for a while now. Also, Hanna? That’s noble of you and all, but he was an even younger kid when you decided to make out with the guy, so let him help you get out of prison because you need to get your makeup game back. –3 points, and -another 3 points for Ezra stupidly handing him his car keys.
  • Okay, an arrow through the windshield and then more archery target practice? I know “A” likes his/her variety when it comes to weapon of choice, but did Daryl Dixon accidentally walk on set? Are they filming this in Georgia? Is that why it’s always unseasonably warm? Was it Katniss Everdeen? Why is archery such an important element to this trial that they had to use it against Mike, Caleb and Ezra as well? -4 points for confusing me even further.
  • Lt. Tanner was the only cop who actually seemed competent, so of course now they’re painting her as the ultimate bitch who has it in for our group of Liars and dishes out a ton of sarcasm to go along with her accusations. -3 points, because she already has the worst hairstyle on the show, no need to make her a villain, too.
  • All this Andrew stuff has got to be a red herring, right? One of many on this show? Please tell me they’re not going to pin this entire “A” thing on a character who’s only shown up like, what, 3 times in the past 5 seasons? -5 points for that possibility.
  • As the girls are being hauled to prison, “A” causes an accident, barges into the van Terminator-style and gasses them. Okay, fine. But then each girl wakes up the next morning locked up in their rooms, except not: they’re in some mysterious location elaborately set up to look like their bedrooms. And a voice welcomes them over a PA system. Is it going to be a SAW-type twist? Cube? Oldboy, maybe? -3 points for reaching new heights of ridiculousness.
  • Ah, okay, it’s not. It’s just “A”‘s dollhouse. This somehow makes it even more stupid, but also super awesome in that WTF kind of way we’ve come to love PLL for, so +4 points.
  • Mona is alive and apparently nuts. She thinks she’s Alison, she’s wearing the yellow top Ali wore the night she disappeared, it looks like that blonde wig is actually her own hair, and she’s throwing a tea party for the girls, because what else are you going to do in a doll house? No surprises there, but +3 points for at least trying to connect all this creepy doll/mask plot line somehow (remember Mona’s actual dollhouse in the flashbacks?) and +3 points for sticking with the absurdity of it all.
  • The three musketeers are trying to figure out a way to prove the existence of “A”. I get why Caleb, being tech-savvy, is crucial and why Toby’s inside knowledge as a cop is useful, but how is Ezra helping except to provide unnecessary exposition and punching inanimate objects? Ah, whatever, +3 points for the guys sticking together and trying to save their damsels in distress, but -2 points for Emily being the only one without a bed buddy trying to help her.
  • Wait, so Mona is not insane after all, just playing her part in this game “A” has forced her into. Yay for snarky Mona’s return and for our gal keeping it together for so long! +6 points.
  • Alison is being selfless and coming clean to the Hastings about “A”? Holy crap! +7 points for someone finally telling an adult about “A” and another +2 points for that someone being our favorite pathological liar. And since we’re on that, another +4 points for Mrs. Hastings newly established ‘no more secrets’ policy.
  • Caleb’s last name is Rivers and that awful redhead friend of Mona’s is Lesli Stone. Are half the characters on the show bastards from Westeros? +5 points for the remote possibility of a GoT nod.
  • PLL is intent on having a prom episode this season so the girls are totally on board with “A”‘s wacky plot, because why not? +2 points for teasing us with the possibility of DIY gowns made with construction paper and duct tape and no points subtracted for the actual dresses because they look stunning.
  • Spencer knows how to make candelabras with copper pipes and wire and what supplies to procure in order to short-circuit the entire dollhouse so the girls can make their escape, because she somehow trained to be an electrician somewhere between her violin, piano and riding lessons. +3 points because seriously, I’m just awarding points for ludicrous plot devices now, and +another 2 for just about everyone on this show being a piano virtuoso.
  • Andrew is eavesdropping on Mrs. Hastings’ phone call and Spencer figures out “A” is someone named Charles. Then Caleb’s hacking prowess leads them to the Campbell farm, so I’m guessing we’re sticking with this Andrew thing? Is he the little boy in the home video with Mrs. DiLaurentis? Then who is this Charles person? Is that anagram apparently everyone on the internet managed to solve before Spencer pointing towards that twin theory? Ah, who even cares any more? This was not a proper reveal, it was bullshit. -20 points because now I’m pissed.

Final tally: Miraculously, this ridiculous season actually ends up on the positive side, with an impressive +21 points, because as exasperating as PLL is, it’s also highly entertaining.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the PLL point system for season 6!

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