Pretty Little Liars / Screen

‘PLL’: Episode 411, ‘Bring Down the Hoe’ Review

Last night’s episode gave us all our girls in plaid and boots (and some lame dancing aside from Jake and Aria and Paige and Emily), some really enjoyable time with Jake, some not-so-enjoyable time with Ezra and finally a Cece sighting.   This episode didn’t do much in terms of moving the A plot forward though it did confirm some things we already knew and did a good job of setting the stage for next week’s finale. 

We finally see Cece again.  She’s not alone in her machinations though, and she definitely has a partner.  Though the red coat was in the room with her it’s unclear if she’s the one who’s been wearing it.  She didn’t have it on when she turned up at Ezra’s loft, but that may have been because she left it at the dance.  Or maybe Cece’s taking orders from someone else.  She was indignant on the phone to her partner who was keeping her waiting, and even though she said she wouldn’t go back to Rosewood, that’s exactly what she ended up doing. Maybe Cece’s strings are being pulled by someone else?  If she’s the one running the show then who was the talking to? Perhaps Wren, absent from this episode after being all over last week’s? 

On the Spoby front, I was glad to see more emphasis being placed on Spencer’s rough spot between Toby and the other girls.  What could be a very normal situation, in a more normal environment (having to choose between boyfriends and best friends) is compounded with A.  I was glad to see Spencer vocalizing her frustration with what’s been going on and having to choose between Toby and the girls which would have been a lot better if Spencer had brought up how hard it is to keep secrets about him from the others considering the last A-related secret Toby kept. In general I wish there was more of an emphasis on that because it was more than just a huge breach of trust for Spencer but also for her friends, and even if Spencer’s totally sure of his loyalty now, why would the other Liars be?  It would be a great source of conflict to have at least one of the Liars doubting Toby and his intentions, but Pretty Little Liars would rather make Toby a victim of A instead.

Even though Toby’s story exhausts me, it doesn’t compare to Ezra’s. On the heels of the news that Malcolm isn’t his kid, he’s copping a major ‘tude and growing an unfortunate beard while trying to reach Aria who’s headed to the dance with Jake (who looks great in jeans).  I’m frustrated by the inevitable return to Ezria while Jake and Aria keep getting cuter, as that cuteness is tainted by the lingering Ezra-shaped shadow.   Even if Aria and Ezra are supposed to be endgame, I don’t see the point in keeping Aria’s romantic life revolving around him at all times.  At least a season of Aria with someone else would be nice, but only if she actually wants to be with that person and isn’t running around trying to be over Ezra.   After seeing Aria in various states of anxiety over her and Ezra’s complicated relationship, it was nice to see her having some fun with Jake. 

With Veronica’s removal from Ashley’s case, the situation is looking dire for the Marins. The discovery of Ashley’s muddy shoe in the wreckage of Emily’s house doesn’t help either.  Some hope arrives in the form of Travis who can testify to Ashley being long gone when Wilden was killed.  I hope his statement helps and doesn’t end up making things worse because I’d like to see some headway being made into the investigation of Wilden’s murder since this murder mystery is reaching Ali levels of ridiculous.  Who didn’t want to kill the guy?

I’m also looking forward to seeing the Marins in a better place so Hanna can finally stop worrying so much.  So far this season’s done really great things with Hanna’s character and her relationship with Ashley, and I think they both deserve a happy ending to this particular story, and they should get it soon. 

I hope Travis gets a happy ending as well and doesn’t crop up again with something terrible having been done to him or his dad. I’m all about Ashley’s troubles ending, but the continued desperation of the Liars to get to the bottom of this current mystery has them being very shortsighted about the risks they’re taking and the things they’re doing. Knowing what A’s done to all of them, I think Hanna shouldn’t have been so quick to encourage Travis to speak up, but she was too set on this mess being over to really entertain the thought of A setting her sights on Travis and his family.  He had valid reasons for keeping quiet (protecting his dad and avoiding trouble with the person who gave him the money). It was a cowardly move, but he doesn’t even know half of the danger he could be in for screwing with A’s plans, and Hanna was in no hurry to tell him.

I don’t want the conclusion of the Marins’ drama to come at the expense of someone else (but it would make for some really great drama if it did).  A few seasons ago the Liars wouldn’t have wanted that either, but as the situation has gotten worse, they’re going to lengths they’ve never gone to before.  They’ve always made bad decisions regarding A and the decent ones they make blow up in their faces, but they’re getting more and more desperate and taking action (sometimes questionable action) to accomplish their goals.  Between relatively small things like making fun of Jenna’s recurring blindness and being willing to steal someone’s truck, the girls have definitely changed since we first met them.   They’re single minded in a way they haven’t been before, and are more likely to get themselves into serious trouble even without A’s help.   A excels at getting her victims into terrible positions, but it’s the steps they take to get out of them that digs them in so deep.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see something happen to Travis, and if it goes there, I’m excited to see how Hanna deals with that.

The finale airs next week and sees the Liars headed to Ravenswood, and I hope all  the revelations the promo promises are real.  Marlene King has promised a lot of answers to big questions, and I’m hoping we actually get them, but in true Pretty Little Liars fashion we’ll probably be left with loads more.

Also, let’s not pretend putting an ear to a door is a suitable way to eavesdrop.

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