Pretty Little Liars / Screen

Pretty Little Liars has found its way back into an A-shaped groove with the stupidly titled “The Silence of E. Lamb”

Sometimes I get really excited to watch Pretty Little Liars. I’m not sure why since it’s unlikely any random episode will yield much in the way of results, those are only saved for finale episodes, but I was strangely anticipating “The Silence of E. Lamb”, and I can’t even pinpoint why. Maybe it’s because the show seems to have found itself again now that A’s back in the picture, which it’s undeniably more comfortable with than anything else.  We’re back to a more familiar PLL, though it still has some odd spots to work on. But I think I’m just most intrigued by watching the girls gradually adjust to Alison’s return and figure out what that means for them.

Hanna, whose look has transitioned to dark makeup and leather jackets, has only Caleb to turn to about her growing disillusionment with Alison being back. Though turning Hanna into a walking afterschool special with her drinking isn’t doing much for the show, her attempts at distancing herself from Alison are important, and I wish they could happen without PLL turning into a PSA about the dangers of underage drinking. Caleb and Hanna turning to alcohol together to drown their respective sorrows doesn’t feel as genuine as it should. But even with that, her storyline this episode was actually the most satisfying.

A lot of it has to do with Caleb who is absolutely over Alison. I’ve been anticipating seeing them interact one-on-one since they made sketchy eye contact a couple episodes ago, and they don’t disappoint this time around. Whatever Caleb may be, he’s not the type to fall under Alison’s spell. If he’d been around pre-A, when Alison took being a mean girl very seriously, he probably would have fallen into a camp that just shrugged off Alison’s ridicule, because she definitely would have ridiculed him. Since he’s the only person who knows just how fed up Hanna is with Alison, he’s the only one not demanding she give Alison her time and attention, and he’s unforgiving in his interaction with her, calling her out on needing a lot help.

Because Alison is, as Emily puts it, needy. She’s always been that way, even when she seemed to be all-powerful. Her need back then just presented itself differently. Now it’s even more severe which isn’t unbelievable considering her attack last week. But it’s becoming extreme, especially for Hanna. Caleb and Alison’s run-in only leads to Alison to disapprove of Hanna and Caleb’s relationship, which rings especially hollow considering what we know of Caleb. He’s definitely going through some things in the aftermath of whatever happened in Ravenswood, but Caleb is still a way healthier presence in everyone’s lives than Alison is particularly when Alison’s lies are only adding more pressure.

Caleb and Hanna picking up where they left off works well despite how predictable it is. Granted no one could have predicted Hanna and Caleb would reunite while they’re both bowing under their respective demons. It gives them a darker quality that’s never really been present with the two of them, seeing as how they’ve usually been a very light pairing even with first season drama on their record. Considering how crappy life is about to become for Hanna it’s nice that she has someone she’s happy with right now though her and Caleb both being in bad shape could prove to be disastrous. And it’s not like Hanna’s other relationships are doing so hot. Her obvious irritation with Alison is rubbing everyone the wrong way, and when she tells Sydney a bit too much about New York, it quickly comes back to bite her as A tells the other.

On Emily’s end, dinner at her house is particularly stressful. When Spencer and Aria bail and Emily doesn’t want to be stuck with just Pam and Alison, Hanna comes through as a buffer, but she does so with vodka and gets kicked out. But not before being subjected to more of Alison’s lies about her “kidnapping”. It’s as eyeroll inducing for me as it is for Hanna. We’re both amazed at how easily Alison just says whatever, and this time it’s about sitting alone and in the dark, blaming herself and wondering what she had done that was so horrible to have deserved that.

I mean, Alison was kind of a terrible person, but we don’t need to get into that.

Pam isn’t picking up what Alison’s putting down, courtesy of old friends at the police department who’ve told her about the holes in Alison’s story. Whatever those holes may be aren’t being made clear just yet, but Alison’s so heavyhanded when describing her ordeal that I’m surprised more people aren’t questioning it. Pam’s also picking up on Emily and Alison’s relationship, calling for the dinner just to see for herself what the nature of it is. I remember when Pam was my least favorite PLL mom, and she’s come so far since then, far enough to point out that Emily’s not required to keep saving Alison again and again.It’s an important something to bring up. While Hanna’s ready to cut Alison off competely, and the other Liars are occupied with other matters, Emily’s the only one who’s taking it seriously (like when she stayed up to watch Alison sleep last week), and the only one in danger of throwing herself so completely into Alison that she ends up where she was a few years ago.

While Spencer’s family is falling apart, she and Aria are investigating Radley, and have little time to bend over backward to accommodate Alison’s anxiety. Spencer’s her usual Type A self, planting a camera to spy on Melissa, but Aria might as well be flailing around at Radley. She gets it together eventually, but it takes her some time. Once she gets over being called a thief (by Bethany’s old roommate) for having Bethany’s drawing, she ends up stealing Bethany’s entire sketchbook, but she alerts Eddie in the process.

For now it’s only clear that Bethany really hated Jessica, perhaps because of some role she played in the death of Toby’s mother which I knew (and dreaded) was going to come back up. There’s also the matter of Alison being caught on Spencer’s camera as she sneaks out of her house. “The Silence of E. Lamb” is stupidly titled, that’s for sure, but the episode balances well the girls’ personal issues, particularly those with Alison, with the overarching A mystery.

Stray Observations

  • Mona: “Sometimes I just like to walk.” She’s so great. Her and Sydney pretending to hardly know each other is great. As is everything about Sydney insinuating herself into everyone’s business. This whole thing is great.
  • Awkward moment: Emily calling Paige to apologize for making her tell about Mona’s army and almost ending the call with an “I love you” and ending up with “I’d love to hear from you.”
  •  Imagine if the Liars had actually managed to make up with Jenna. They were only fighting Alison’s stupid battle, and it’s one that’s come to define their lives.
  • Ella and Zack’s engagement party is coming up, and I’m really excited to see Ella! Though I’m now really concerned about Pam.
  • I’m convinced Alison doesn’t hear herself when she speaks.

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