The PLL marathon continues, and with it the completely arbitrary point system which, at this point, centers mostly around random details rather than the actual plot, because this thing is so convoluted that I can’t even.
Laid out chronologically and sorted by episode name & number, here are my random thoughts on the first part of season 6 of Pretty Little Liars:
1. Game On, Charles
- Hanna casually drops the word ‘facetiously’ in a sentence, because the writers need to remind us that she’s actually smart. +2 points
- Mona calls A “It”. +4 points for the Stephen King reference, because this is one sadistic nasty clown messing with our girls right there.
- +3 points for Aria, Alison and Hanna’s shorter new ‘dos this season. Really digging Hanna and Aria’s bob. And the beard looks good on Ezra, too.
- Mona’s blonde tresses though… yikes. Are the rest of the cast punishing her for all those awesome sleek blowouts in seasons past? No points subtracted, the poor girl’s been through enough already.
- All these murders/abductions and still no FBI getting involved in the investigation? Why is Lt. Tanner still in charge after her Alison/Liars blunder? – only 2 points, because the last thing we need is new characters to get acquainted with. And does this also mean Holbrook will be back, now that the charges against Alison were dropped? No points, just wondering who they’ll bring in to maintain the creepy pedophile/teenage girl ratio.
- The “mystery A intruder” at Alison’s home is wearing a pig mask. We later find out that the mannequin was a plant to misdirect the cops while Ali was sneaking out to meet Caleb and Ezra. – only 1 point because subtlety was never “A”‘s strong suit.
- So we’ve established that Papa DiLaurentis’ only function so far is to ask questions so the teenage audience can keep up. Alrighty then. +3 points.
- Mona is at the bottom of a well, à la Silence of the Lambs? Brilliant. Now if only Buffalo Bill would show up to say ‘It puts the lotion in the basket‘, I’ll award PLL all the points. For now, +15 because this. is. awesome!
- They shut down Radley! +6 points because that place was a nightmare, but -3 because obviously the plot will lead back to our favorite sanitarium somehow.
- Spencer is the first one to figure out the Charles DiLaurentis riddle. +4 points, because of course, and +3 for Emily for finding the secret passageway to Charles’ vault, but only +2 points for the girls torching his precious memorabilia, which led to their rescue, because they could have easily been barbecued in there.
- The Save The Liars operation is successful! And that other girl who had gone missing was alive in A’s dollhouse all this time! I’m a bit ashamed to admit the reunion with their loved ones made me tear up a little bit. +6 points but also, damn you, PLL!
2. Songs of Innocence
- The Liars are all little balls of fury and depression, and understandably so. This version of PTSD is much better than Aria’s mopey phase back during the fake “A”=Ezra reveal, so +3 points. Emily is making secret trips to the firing range, Aria is being a bit of a dick to Ezra, Spencer needs anxiety meds and Hanna is hellbent on redecorating. And the adults are actually doing some parenting! +5 because it was about time.
- Out of all the liars, Aria is being the most stupid, as per usual, and lies to the cops about having seen “A” sans mask. +4 points because of course, but then came this capper from Ella: “Aria you’re very smart, but please remember you’re also very wise“. +3 for delivering the funniest line of the episode, Mrs. Montgomery.
- Aria might be an idiot but at least she continues to wear her feelings. That ‘barf’ tee? +4 points. Alison, on the other hand, keeps dressing like her late mother, only frumpier. What gives? -2 points.
- Ali has the hots for Toby’s new partner? +2 points, because of course she’s going after an older guy. This show wouldn’t be PLL without one more inappropriate relationship now, would it?
3. Songs of Experience
- Why are we supposed to care about this Sara person? I mean yeah, she was locked up in that place for like two years and her mom sounds like a monster, but can’t she just go away? Her friends said she was a mean girl, and haven’t we had enough of those for a while? -3 points for wasting time on what seems to be a useless plot line and another -2 for that awful wig.
- Also, why is Emily the one adopting the new puppy? Isn’t she supposed to be the ‘loyal’ one, as in loyal to her friends, instead of blowing them off to look after Sara? As Hanna says,”we don’t even know her”. +4 points for my girl. Aria is supposed to be the compassionate one, but she doesn’t seem to give a flying fuck about Sara either. -3 points because a) it was only last season that they agreed on those labels, b) if Sara is not “A” or connected to A/Charles in some other way, she needs to go and c) haven’t these girls learned not to trust new people by now?
- Alison is being quite the insightful, altruistic, dare I say decent human being lately. +6 points because you just know the longer she keeps this up, the louder she’ll snap.
- Aria and Ezra are playing detective and no one’s telling anyone about this Charles because…? Well, they still have a couple of seasons to go, so I guess I get it. +2 points
- Hanna had an imaginary friend called Mr. Biscuit. -4 points for beating that thing to the ground, because really, PLL, this girl has been smoking hot for 5 seasons now, shouldn’t we be dropping all the eating disorder jokes by now?
- How many hiding places does the DiLaurentis household have? -3 points because it’s not like a 50-room mansion but +2 points for Aria discovering the photo in the button jar. Also, -2 points for me, because apparently I’m the only one without a loose floorboard in my bedroom.
- “A” is back, it’s not Andrew, because of course, and this Charles plotline is actually moving along. +2 points for not dragging it out too long.
- So Andrew is pissed, and justifiably so, but how does he go from “not wanting to believe what everyone said about Aria and her friends” and secretly staging his own (unsuccessful) rescue mission to calling the girls “toxic dumps”? He may have been wrongly accused but these girls were kidnapped and tortured, so that’s a bit harsh under the circumstances, dontchathink? Also, if this “manifesto” was planted by “A”, did no one think to do a handwriting comparison? I know this show rarely ever makes sense but come on! -2 points.
- Jason looks DAMN fine while actually keeping it together after the big Charles D reveal and scoring the sympathy points, too. +4 points and + another 2 for actually answering questions honestly, which is a refreshing change of pace for the show.
4. Don’t Look Now
- Whoa that’s quite a cold open: Charles was not only Ali and Jason’s unhinged brother, committed at Radley at the tender age of 6, but he’s also dead. +4 points for the girls immediately doubting what Alison’s dad had to say.
- Oh hey, look who’s back: Aria’s dad, and he wants some father-daughter time in the form of ‘mini golf and a movie’, because that’s what you do when your kid was kidnapped and tortured for a few weeks. +3 points for Aria shutting him down.
- Spencer’s digging through garbage to find Aria’s anti-anxiety pills? Um, no. -2 points because come on, and – another 3 because if anyone ever needed meds to make it through the day, it’s these girls. Not cool, Mrs. Hastings.
- Asking Ezra’s new pastry chef for some pot, now that I can buy. +3 points because the last time anyone mentioned weed on this show was season 1 Maya, and another +2 points for Ezra actually dishing out some solid advice.
- Man, Ali’s dad is COLD. -3 points for no ashes and no funeral for dead Charlie. A little too convenient, daddy DiLaurentis. Also, I finally figured out why he gives me the creeps so much: he looks like Yuri Geller. No points, just sayin’.
- What’s with everyone’s outfits in this episode? Spencer’s wearing a hideous jumpsuit, Emily’s awful plad shorts match the shirt tied around her waist, Aria’s ginormous necklace is awful and too big for her tiny frame and Hanna’s getup, although not horrible, is definitely forgettable (I’m diggin her necklace though). -4 points, because usually only one or two of the liars are fashion impaired.
- Aria manages to find Charlie’s file in a huge storage warehouse full of identical boxes within minutes. Spencer knows just about what any drug is used for off the top of her head. What the hell is going on? -3 points because they’re not even bothering with some semblance of plausibility any more.
- -3 points for making Sara so annoying and insisting on having her hang around unnecessarily, and another -5 for making her into a Miley Cyrus lookalike with that new ‘do. And where are her friends? We know her mom is a bitch but her friends were still looking for her not too long ago…? -3 points for conveniently forgetting plot points once again.
- “If Charlie’s still alive, why would he do this to me? To us?” asks Alison, who knows her brother was committed at the tender age of 5 because her parents were worried she wasn’t safe. Didn’t she read his Radley file? They don’t lock people up at the loony bin for nothing, Ali. -6 points because for such a devious girl, she can sure be thick sometimes.
- When Papa D tells her what prompted him and Mrs. D to send Charlie away, she doesn’t want to hear it. – only 1 point, because moody teenager.
- Aria’s taking artsy black and white photos, because of course. +5 points. Aria’s photos are all varying degrees of close up shots of DOLLS, because apparently she didn’t get enough while at “A”‘s? – only 2 points because she’s Aria.
- Within the span of 4 episodes we’ve gone from Andrew to Charles to Charlie to oh wait, he’s dead. -2 points for the obvious misdirection that is Charles’ grave at Ali and Jason’s aunt’s back yard.
5. She’s No Angel
- Oh look, it’s the girl from The Ring! No wait, it’s the girl from that Sia video. Is she having a seizure? Nope, she’s doing an interpretive dance! And what’s with the old bathtubs? Ah, no matter, +5 points for the most unintentionally hilarious sequence yet.
- Mona’s back rocking those butterfly shades, which she probably stole from Jenna. +3 points but also -2 because where IS Jenna?
- +3 points for Aria’s cute top and + another 2 for Hanna’s awesome Blair-esque black and yellow outfit.
- Sara wants to go home and Emily is trying to stop her by suggesting she gets legally emancipated. -4 points because really, Emily? And also, Emily knows “legally emancipated” and Hanna, having been through her friend’s trial AND accused of murder, doesn’t know what perjury means? Any why is Emily speaking for this girl? Doesn’t she know they have bigger fish to fry? -3 points, because she was doing so well last season.
- Photographer Clark is ‘rethinking’ his subjects and wants to go from shooting pretty scenery to taking photos at a junkyard. -3 points, because no way he could pass off mountains of garbage as nature photos at National Geographic. No wait, the photos are, conveniently, for a contest Aria should enter, because you know, she’s oh so talented. -2 points because we’ve already established Aria is pretty much incompetent in everything she does.
- But wait! Aria is “embracing the creepy”, which leaves me sort of meh, but then manages to get her hands on the Liars’ first ever photo of “A”. +6 points because I’m tired of knocking her down.
- That bitchy redhead is back, and boy is she pissed! -2 points for Mona actually cringing instead of putting that awful Lesli in her place. But then wait, Lesli does a 180 and apologizes to Hanna. -2 points because hello, red flags. And then Mona drops the bomb: Lesli was a patient at Radley for a long time and knew Bethany Young AND Charles. +5 points for that little twist.
- Spencer is nibbling at a pot cookie, so naturally the show’s making her look like an über pothead. This show is well past after school special territory, PLL writers. Just give it up already! -5 points. However, +4 points for Spencer getting the munchies during her NA meeting. (also, welcome back, Dean! Are you here to up the pervy 20+ ratio? Of course you are. +2 points.)
- Alison knows she’s not going to be winning a popularity contest any time soon, so -3 points for the writers making her seem so wounded by what she overheard the cops say about her. While I’m at it, why on earth would a cop who knows Ali’s history ever want her to mentor young kids? That whole sympathy card business is a little too on the nose, PLL. -4 points.
- So Charles is definitely dead? Well, as definite as anything can be in this wacky universe. And “A” has boobs. But then the DiLaurentis family donated his organs and Spencer’s nightmare was from Radley and not the doll house, so please tell me somehow all of this will make sense. -4 points, because of course it won’t.
- Aaand Lorenzo goes in for the kiss, because why the hell not? +3 points for consistency.
- Mr. Di Laurentis is the most douchey father on this show. And he has some pretty stiff competition! -8 points for treating his daughter like crap after revealing that he also treated his firstborn son like crap, too.
6. No Stone Unturned
- Dean was “just in the neighborhood” when he drops by Spencer’s. And oh hey look, he just happens to carry around a box of brownies in his bag. +2 points because of course Spencer doesn’t find any of this suspicious when a cute guy is involved.
- “What’s Kimye?“, asks Sara. “You don’t really need to know. No one does“. Thank you Caleb! Here’s +6 points, and another +10 for finally reminding your girlfriend why you’re always around.
- Hanna’s seduction of the poor valet was hilarious. +3 points
- Who’s this Nicole who knew Emily in Haiti and why does she look like Vanessa Paradis after a trip to the orthodontist? Doesn’t matter: Ezra is hitting it off with her, because no one can resist a british accent on any show, ever. But she seems nice and is actually age appropriate, so I’m behind this. +3 points.
- “Why does Caleb want to cut your meat?”, asks Spencer as she and Hanna are going through Lesli’s car, and it’s not a euphemism. +3 points for getting some of her funny lines back. Then, Hanna exclaims she can see better through Lesli’s glasses, which are clear. Again with that whole dumbing down our sassy Marin girl business? – only 1 point, because she’s still hilarious.
- Ashley is being her awesome self once again, and Dean professes his love for Spencer. +4 points because with the amazing Marins and yet another 20-something putting the moves on one of the girls, all is right with the PLL world again.
- Lesli (or whoever “A” is) chipped the Liars, which we learn after this delightful exchange: “she experiments on animals?” “Of course she does, what did you think we are to her“? +5 points because if you’re going through the trouble of furnishing an underground bunker, implanting a tracking device is into a human being is small change.
- + another 2 points for setting this up when Emily’s neck was too sore to get tattooed there (but -3 points for those impulsive tattoos and the very unprofessional tattoo artist).
- Oh okay, so Lesli isn’t “A”, according to Mona. She’s just a wackjob. Oh, and Charles is still alive. I’m getting tired of following this, so -4 points.
- Sara kisses Emily, because of course every new girl Emily meets also happens to be gay. +3 points for Emily but -2 for the abnormally large population of lesbians in this town.
- This entire episode basically just cancelled out everything we learned in the previous one. -4 points because by season 6, the Liars should have learned not to jump to conclusions.
7. Oh Brother, Where Art Thou
- While Hanna was kept in that dungeon, Ashley applied for every scholarship she could think of for her daughter. +4 points for Ashley, because that’s parenting, ladies and gentlemen.
- Sara’s having supersized therapy sessions. +2 points, because if anyone needs them, it’s that girl. Emily is being way too possessive of Sara and it’s seriously bumming me out. -3 points because YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE WHO WANTS HER AROUND, EMILY.
- While pumped full of drugs at Radley, Mona hallucinated she auditioned for American Idol, because of course they’d remind us about the pipes on that girl! +2 points.
- Charles is planning his own birthday party. -3 points, because that’s just sad.
- Aria’s creepy doll phase was very short lived. I’d subtract points for the stupid plot point but look, Mike’s back, so wash. However, Mona’s still keeping her own doll display even though she spent months in that life-size dollhouse. -3 points, because not even Mona can keep it together that well.
- Hanna mixes up Cyclops and cyborgs because either they’ll keep reminding us of Hefty Hanna or they’ll try and make us forget she’s supposed to be smart. -4 points because both in-jokes are getting old.
- Alison’s dad figured out Charles is alive so he just packs up his daughter and skips town. And leaves his son behind. And of course tells none of this to the cops, because he’s the most useless parent on this show. -5 points because come on.
- +4 points for the liars performing surgery on each other to remove the chip implants. Where’s cute doctor Wren when you need him?
- Alison drugs her dad, has Mona pick her up and HOLY CRAP FINALLY SOMEONE CALLS THE POLICE ON THIS SHOW! +5 points for Ali, and + 1 measly point for Aria for almost dialing 911.
- Why is Toby being the worst? First he decides to go after Charles on his own, then he steals Spencer’s pot candy, then he suggests to Lorenzo that they patrol outside their jurisdiction, then he’s high as a kite when he has Charles in his cross-hairs. -10 points because I’ve had it with you, Cavanaugh, and another -2 points for Sabrina’s good intentions.
- Do all these colleges and contests and whatnot still use snail mail instead of email? No points, just wondering. But hey, +2 points for Aria being a finalist for this photography contest no one cares about.
- If Alison and Jason are alone at their house watching that old video, does it mean Papa DiLaurentis is still out cold at some hotel room? +3 points for that funny little loose end.
- Charles isn’t working alone, which is a relief because not even Bruce Wayne could have pulled off that kind of operation. Who’s this ‘friend and ally’ who’s sending him meaningful birthday presents? +2 points because I’m guessing we’re about to find out.
- Hanna’s kicking ass with her #realtalk. +4 points because our Marin girl is on fire.
- Lorenzo thinks he could have stopped Charles and “made him answer for what he’s done“. Aw, that’s cute, Renzo. +2 points
- “All the healing power goes away when you reheat soup in the microwave“, says Ali. -3 points for that little chunk of wisdom and – another 4 because really? Alison is making soup now and folding laundry now?
- The cops are in the middle of a manhunt for Charles but Tanner is more than happy to dispense a few of her men to guard Aria while she’s displaying her creepy doll photos at the gallery. Apparently Tanner has an appreciation for Aria’s “eye for detail”? Yeah, no. -5 points
- Even in their alone time, Charles and Red Coat are in full get-up. +2 points for the ridiculous factor.
- “I think your wardrobe speaks a lot louder than mine”, Emily says to Aria. Thank you for that understatement, Em! +2 points. Also, they may be stalked and hunted down by Charles, but they are still teenage girls making plans for senior prom. +3 points and + another 2 points for the theme of said prom being “enchanted forest“, because of course.
- So Charles is now toying with Tanner too. Meanwhile, this “profiler” they called in just writes random words like jealousy and punishment on a whiteboard. No wonder no one’s even close to catching this guy. -3 points for the Rosewood Police Dpt.
- Alison’s been pretty much useless since she came back, but now they’re just giving her inane dialogue to serve as exposition. -3 points for lazy writing.
- Ezra shows up at Aria’s gallery showing with a date and a hideous shirt with… is that a palm tree print? And he paired that shirt with a skinny tie? -5 points
- Clark asks way too many questions, so of course he’s somehow “involved”. -3 points because you’re just being way too obvious now, PLL. But +6 points for finding a wonderful Jason lookalike to play Rhys. What’s with the British accent though? Ah, who cares.
9. Last Dance
- The girls’ ire at being banned from their own prom and commencement for safety reasons is spot on. +5 points for Aria’s “It’s fairy tale themed, maybe they can go as the village idiots“zinger when she suggests the police post guards everywhere.
- Mrs. Hastings is throwing the girls a pity prom at the barn; Aria wins the photography contest, which includes a summer internship in L.A., but she’s worried about leaving the girls behind to contend with Charles. +4 points, because Aria is on fire this episode.
- “Was that thunder, or music?” asks Ella. “That was probably Hanna parking” says Ashley. +3 points for our favorite Rosewood mother, and those are the only points the moms get tonight.
- “When I turned in my badge, I got frostbite” says Toby, who isn’t really taking his suspension too hard. +3 points for the writers being generous with all the characters this week.
- It’s not that the girls’ prom dresses are ugly, it’s just that the ones Charles picked out for them at the bunker were so much more stunning and theme-appropriate. -4 points for the missed opportunity.
- Alison’s yellow poufy gown is like a glowing beacon in that prom, and yet the Liars still somehow manage to lose her. -2 points. Also, what’s with the drag queen make up? What about that ridiculous goth crown and gigantic earrings Emily’s wearing? Hanna’s Little-J-level raccoon eyes? And why are they spending literally half the episode walking around in circles? Also, how big is the school’s budget for these dances? What’s with the elaborate maze designs? And where are Noel Kahn, Mona and Jenna? Weren’t the girls just looking at their instagram prom photos only moments before? Ah, whatever, – only 3 points because none of this is supposed to make sense anyway.
- The moms are having a girls’ night in to keep a close eye on the girls, so of course they get sloshed and don’t see them leave the barn as Veronica dishes about her husband’s affair with her dead neighbor and they proceed to act even more recklessly than their daughters. +2 points.
- Alison’s little speech convinces Spencer to let her go looking for Charles? Um, no. -4 points.
- Clark continues to act suspicious, so of course he’s revealed as one of the good guys. Check out the badge on Clark! + only 1 point because this is getting way too predictable.
- Texts that show up red on the iPhone? What sorcery is this? -6 points because “A” texts are pretty ominous even in black and white and it shouldn’t have taken the girls more than 0.2 seconds to figure out that’s Ali’s phone.
10. Game Over, Charles
- Kudos for yet another exciting cold open; the mid season finale seems like it’s about to deliver. +4 points for building expectations.
- Mona is one of the red hoods, and she’s known Clark was a cop all along: “Aria, maybe you thought he was happy to see you, but I could never get past the bulge in his pants.” +6 points.
- Wait, Charles has his own cellular network? I was only joking about my Bruce Wayne theory but damn, it’s starting to look more plausible. Holy high-tech secret vault, Batman! Is that a next generation induction stove on that table? Nope, just an interactive whatchamacallit. +2 points.
- Are both Mr. DiLaurentis (Kenneth! I finally learned his name!) and Jason dead? Nope, not according to… Cece? What? Cece is Charles? That’s the big reveal? -4 points and – another 3 points for the uncoordinated gasps.
- Cece has injected Kenneth and Jason with the ever popular “they can’t move but they can hear us” drug used in just about every thriller. +4 points. It’s the same drug she used on Mona, so + another 2 points for explaining that long shot of blue, dead-eyed Mona in the trunk way back when.
- Why is baby Alison a brunette in the flashback? -5 points because come on, you could have found a blonde infant, PLL.
- Okay, back to Cece: she’s what? A transexual? Transgender? That explains the dress in Ali’s flashback but still. Then Jessica had a funeral for Charles so he could become Charlotte. What? Whatever, +4 points for the LGBT community support.
- Bethany was a bigger wackjob than Charles and killed Toby’s mom. Cece inserted herself into Jason and Ali’s life, accidentally bashed Ali over the head with that rock because she thought she was Bethany. She met Mona at Radley, learned all about “A” and took over the game to smoke Ali out by threatening her friends. +10 points because this actually kind of makes sense (as much as PLL will ever make sense, anyway).
- And Sara was the other Red Coat! +5 points because of course she couldn’t be trusted and -3 for Emily immediately going “no way“. Maybe next time you can date someone who isn’t a psycho and/or didn’t once try to drown you, Ems? I miss Paige. But hey, +4 for that awkward punch and + another 2 for Emily going to Pepperdine – so I’m guessing a reunion with Paige might be in order now that she’ll be in California?
- Mona’s stiletto heel has a hidden spike? Love the ingenuity, but come on. And of course Spencer can diffuse a bomb, so wash, I guess.
- The girls are packing up and ready to leave for college, and Spencer quotes Winnie The Pooh! And we’re gettng a time jump! +6 points because now at least all these 20-something ladies will no longer have to play teenagers.
- +5 points for wrapping up a large part of the story but -10 for the unanswered questions: Who killed Jessica DiLaurentis? Who is this financial wizard Rhys and how did Charles/Cece/Charlotte fund this entire operation? Will the moms ever get out of that basement?
And there you have it! With all the craziness and implausible stuff going on in the first half of Season 6, Pretty Little Liars still managed to come out on top with a whopping +78 points this time around!