Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of Pretty Little Liars. To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
After last summer’s much maligned finale, Pretty Little Liars returns for season 6B! Despite the finale’s shortcomings and plot holes, we can at least say it was action-packed. Even with the excitement of the “Five Years Forward” twist, the 6B premiere still had a lot to live up to.
“Of Late I Think of Rosewood” may have had several good ideas but unfortunately did not live up to the bars set by previous premieres. However, if the writers are going for more of a “slow burn” this season, then it served as an excellent precursor for storylines to come.
Return to Rosewood
The episode centers on Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse), who is now an English teacher at Rosewood High, as she tries to reunite her friends Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale), Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell), Hanna Marin (Ashley Benson) and Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario). Five years have passed since the vindictive A aka Charlotte DiLaurentis (Vanessa Ray) tortured the girls and they have all seemingly moved past it. Aria has a successful career in the publishing industry, Hanna is moving up in the fashion world and Spencer seems to be following in the footsteps of her mother, who is running for Senate. Meanwhile, Emily seems to be harboring her own much darker memories since her father died.
While they have all gotten away from Rosewood, Ali pulls them right back in for Charlotte’s hearing. She tries to get the girls to lie to a judge by saying they do not feel any danger from Charlotte. The hearing initially goes in Charlotte’s favor with Emily, Hanna, Spencer and even Mona Vanderwaal (Janel Parrish) speaking positively of her. However, Aria is the one who speaks against Charlotte after she experiences painful flashbacks during the hearing. She brings up a time when she was on a train that stopped in a tunnel between stations. The pitch black darkness reminded her of every tight space A put her in and she couldn’t breathe. She heard a girl crying and felt relieved she wasn’t the only one who was scared. But then the light came on and everyone was staring at her screaming.
Charlotte still gets released regardless but that doesn’t deter the girls from enjoying each other’s company. It’s here where the cast’s performances shine the most. From when we see a slide show of the characters taking selfies during their first reunion to when Spencer drunkenly tells her friends how much she loves them, the chemistry between the show’s stars has never been more apparent. We know the girls have been through hell and back together but it’s refreshing to see them actually have fun and be carefree 20-somethings for a little while.
While the core friendships remain the same, a lot has also changed in the girls’ lives. For one thing, none of them are with the significant others they were dating five years ago. Hanna is now engaged to someone who is not Caleb (Tyler Blackburn), though it seems like he could possibly be involved with Spencer. After all, they did seem to spend a lot of time together in Washington and Caleb is even staying in Spencer’s barn. Could Toby (Keegan Allen) be aware of this? If he is, then it’s obviously not affecting their Brotherhood of the Ex-Boyfriends fishing trips.
Meanwhile, Toby and Spencer may not be together but they are on good terms. They even make plans to meet for dinner after Spencer finds him building a house presumably for a girl. (Could it be the Yvonne Phillips character who was teased in the “5 Years Forward” special?)
Not all is good for the Brotherhood of the Ex-Boyfriends though. While in South America, Ezra’s (Ian Harding) friend Nicole was dragged off by “half-baked refugees” and no one can find her. This baggage has caused problems with his writing career since he can not find the strength to write a second novel. What happened to Nicole is a very different mystery than most Pretty Little Liars stories and it should be intriguing to see if this will connect with the overall story.
Just when they thought they were out…
Speaking of the overall mystery, we only get a brief glimpse of it but it keeps us intrigued nonetheless. Much like in the pilot, the girls have a little too much to drink and they have a slumber party-like get together, this time at Hanna’s suite in the newly-established Radley Hotel. It’s during this same night when Charlotte’s body is discovered on the ground outside of the infamous bell tower. According to Toby, she must have committed suicide sometime between 3 a.m. and first light since sprinklers automatically come on at 3. The bottom of her clothes were wet but the rest of her body is dry. This has to be an important clue. Now, let’s hope this isn’t refuted later on with some unnecessary plot holes!
Later on at Charlotte’s funeral, we see Sara Harvey (Dre Davis) in attendance. She is being escorted by a man who looks like he’s trying to help her walk. Could the girls have done something worse to Sara off-screen in last August’s finale? It seems like this could be the next Jenna Thing!
At the end of the episode, the girls run into Lorenzo Calderon (Travis Winfrey), who tells them not to leave town since Charlotte’s autopsy revealed she was actually pushed from the bell tower.
Welcome back to Rosewood!
It would have been more interesting for this episode to be a complete reboot of the show. Remember the pilot episode where the characters casually mention secrets like the Jenna Thing without outright revealing anything? This was what made Pretty Little Liars so exciting at one point in time! Sadly, this did not have the same level of excitement as earlier seasons. Hopefully, it will improve as time goes on. We haven’t even seen New A yet! (Come on, we know it’s going to happen!)
Meanwhile, the “who killed Charlotte” mystery will be a fun case to solve but it’s hard to ignore the subtext behind her death. Last summer’s finale created a lot of tension with the LGBT community for portraying Charlotte as a vindictive and manipulative transgender character. After all, she lied to everyone about her real identity and even dated her own brother. The show could have saved itself by having Charlotte develop as a character. To have her get murdered automatically eliminates the only transgender representation on the show and it seems like this will do more harm than good.
Political correctness aside though, this episode planted the seeds for what is sure to be an addictive mystery.
What did you think of the season 6B premiere? Sound off in the comments below!