By Chelsea Hensley
“In the Eye Abides the Heart” marks the halfway point in Pretty Little Liars’s final season. Five more episodes to go before we kiss these girls goodbye forever. So why do I feel more annoyed than ever? The show’s always had problems with pacing and plotting so it was naive to think those wouldn’t translate to the final episodes as well. But I’d hoped, in vain apparently, that it would get it together for these last few. Or at least for Troian Bellisario’s directorial debut, but alas, my prayers went unanswered.
The biggest, weakest plot in this episode belongs to Aria, now doing A.D’s bidding (and being oddly confused about it like she didn’t open this door herself last week). Let’s pretend it makes sense for A.D to need inside help to get information they’ve had no problem getting before. Instead, let’s talk about how we’ve always been privy to the Liars’ secrets until now. It’s what makes it easy to sympathize when they make stupid decisions to cover them up. But now we’re in the dark about what in Aria’s file could send Ezra to prison (not to mention why Spencer’s meeting with Wren).
For a show steeped in mystery and questions, the Liars have been immune. Revoking that immunity now makes for disjointed viewing that puts distance between us and them. I thought we might at least learn what’s driving Aria to betray her friends (if it’s something stupid, so help me…), but we don’t even get that. And it’s hard to enjoy Aria finally getting so fed up she takes Ezra to task for dropping everything to run to Nicole’s side because I don’t get why this is necessary.
The Liars barely spend any time with each other. Aria’s either alone or with Ezra (or sometimes just opposite a creepy as hell avatar of herself), Emily’s either with Alison or Paige, Spencer’s with Marco, and Hanna’s with Mona. So not only are we kept at arm’s’ length but it’s the same among the Liars, who don’t even feel like they’re in their own episodes this week.
In some cases, that’s to be expected. Emily and Alison have to press pause on their usual fight against A.D and decide if they want to become mothers. Having a baby seems like one of the most obvious ways to scream “adulthood” so I’m not surprised Alison and Emily decide to raise the baby together (PLL is trying hard to be semi-adult these days). It makes sense that Emily would want to, and it even makes sense that Alison would agree. She thinks Emily makes her a better person (or at least makes her want to be a better person) so having a baby can’t be too scary if Emily’s going to be there, too. Or at least that’s what Alison thinks. Maybe it’s true. I definitely want it to be, as I’m very uncomfortable with the alternative.
In Hanna’s corner, we’re back to suspecting Lucas of some kind of villainy. This is boring, as most things Hanna does are these days. But like many other things, it’s bolstered by Mona’s inclusion. Telling Mona about A.D is something that should have happened eons ago, if only because Mona’s the only sensible person in this whole town (Paige is a close second just by virtue of wanting to get the hell out of there). As a former A, Mona’s got more insight than the Liars who still can’t figure out how their stalkers think despite having a zillion of them.
And finally, Spencer, pumping a suspicious Marco for information about what the police think happened to Archer. I can’t tell if we’re just watching all the Liars slowly implode, but this is not a good episode for Spencer, who’s oddly…stupid. None of these girls are stupid (not even Hanna), they’re impulsive and make bad decisions, but they are not stupid. After years of dealing with a stalker and police, they are definitely not stupid. But still, Spencer totally misses all of the obvious signs that Marco doesn’t trust her, and it just now occurs to her that she used Archer’s credit card to pay for her drinks at the Radley bar and then signed for them using her name.
The real tragedy of PLL is that these girls have never really needed an A around to screw themselves.
- Toby and Caleb are at his cabin “not fishing”. The fanfiction literally writes itself.
- Did me and the PLL writers take different biology classes? Correct me if I’m wrong, but the baby can’t biologically be Emily’s and Alison’s. Alison’s carrying a baby produced with Emily’s egg, fertilized by some stranger’s sperm.
- At the top of my list of “Most Useless PLL Characters” is Wren Kingston. He either has to die or be A.D. for his appearance to be even remotely worthwhile.
- How does Hanna go from listening to Emily talk about how awful she feels about her EGGS BEING STOLEN AND IMPLANTED INTO HER FRIEND to saying, “Me and Caleb would make cute babies.” She’s not the brightest bulb maybe, but she’s not an insensitive ass either so I can’t believe she’d say that.
- And also: what nerve Emily has to ask Paige to raise the baby with her and Alison like Alison hasn’t been the absolute worst to Paige. SHE MADE PAIGE WANT TO KILL HERSELF, EMILY.
- Just give Janel Parrish her own show already.
Chelsea A. Hensley is a writer and blogger who recently received a BA in English from the University of Missouri. Besides television, she also loves chocolate chip cookies, puppies, and Dragon Age. In between episodes of her favorite shows, Chelsea’s hard at work on a young adult novel. You can read more of her writing on The Chelsea Review and follow her on Twitter @ChelseaBigBang.
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