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Pretty Little Liars - Through a Glass, Darkly - Review : "Devious Little Criminals"

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5.14 - "Through a Glass, Darkly"
Written by Joseph Dougherty and Lijah J. Barasz
Directed by Chad Lowe
Reviewed by Gavin Hetherington

Season Guide

Mona reveals to the girls that she is number-one on Alison's hit-list and she's worried about how far she would go and she's convinced Alison is A. Paige reveals her parents want her to go to California after Christmas. There is a letter addressed to Alison with enough content that would create enough reasonable doubt to get Spencer released. Mona receives a visitor just as she cracked the case and is killed by somebody with blonde hair (or wearing a blonde wig). Though the body wasn't found in the house, it is confirmed that Mona is dead. Mona's body is later revealed to be in the trunk of her killer's car.

'Through a Glass, Darkly' Review

Now You Lay Me Down to Rest

It's three months later (three months after the end of the mid-season finale in which Mona was murdered). Everyone is walking out the church as it appears the service has finished. It's such a shame to not get to see Mona's funeral service, it would have been a great opportunity for the girls to show their compassionate side. Mona's body still isn't found so the casket is empty which only worries me that the person who killed her is going to dump her body somewhere for the girls to find it. Spencer is still an alleged murderer so that little doozy still hasn't been resolved in three months. Alison shows up and boy does the drama start. She decides to pay her respects and tells Ms. Vanderwaal (Leona) that she had nothing to do with Mona's murder. Her reponse?

I was actually really shocked Mona's mother slapped Alison. I gasped at the sound of it too as I had my headphones in and it was actually really loud. I felt that connection. I feel Alison deserved that especially after that little smirk she pulled at the end of 4.12 outside of Mona's house. Bitch. Even if she didn't kill Mona, she needed to be taken down a peg. If I was Leona and I thought she had something to do with my daughter's death, I probably would have done a lot worse, so kudos for her restraint. Hanna removes Ms. V from the situation without acknowledging what just happened to Alison, so it's pretty safe to say Hanna, and the girls, are totally over Queen Bee.

Hanna has been helping Ms. V (I like calling her that instead of her real name Leona, so that's how I'll reference her from now on), probably out of guilt for not being there for Mona in her last few months, but to be fair you can't really blame Hanna when Mona gave her a hundred reasons not to trust her. Anyway, you can tell this is hitting Hanna the hardest out of all the girls which is nice to see. I was really rooting for Mona to be accepted by the end of it. They have a heart-felt discussion about why Ms. V slapped Alison and I understand her reasons. It must be so hard for her. I remember in the mid-season finale when the girls visited Mona's house and Ms. V was so thrilled that Mona had company. It breaks my heart to think about now actually. What she's going through as a parent. Pretty Little Liars may be a teen show but damn, do they know how to be adult.

All Roads Lead to Radley

At Spencer's, her father comes home after he heard what happened in the Church. Peter must be sick to death of hearing about his daughter through other people. But Peter comes with bad news - Bethany Young's parents want her bail revoked. I still can't get over Toby being in the police force so quickly. It's just so unbelievable and pretty much out of nowhere. Tanner seems to be helping at the minute and reveals Jessica DiLaurentis is the witness that saw Spencer in the backyard that night. Darren Wilden had been hiding the statement for two years. Toby's detective knowledge brings up some interesting theories.

This is when we start a series of couple scenes. First up, Aria and Ezra who are at the Brew which Ezra is remodelling. Ezra keeps asking questions and for some reason that always makes me a little suspicious, especially on this show. For understandable reasons, Mike never wants to speak to Aria about Mona. They desperately need to inject some more romance in their love life. We move to Emily and Paige who are talking about Paige's leaving. Even though Paige said they were to move to California after Christmas, they must have waited three months due to the death of Mona. Paige is going to end up missing Graduation, and Prom. That makes me sad. I don't want her to miss any of those moments because they are brimming with romantic possibilities. I can see Paige leaving and then surprising Emily by returning for Prom and giving her a really romantic night (and then end up dead like Maya which I really hope not). I am with Paige's parents on this one - move to somewhere that's safe. Rosewood is not safe for anybody and you'd think after five seasons of stalking, attempted murders and deaths all around, the parents of the other Liars would be more protective but they seem to neglect their children now more than ever. Finally, Hanna and Caleb. Hanna feels she pushed Mona to help them but Caleb is right, Mona was always part of it. Caleb has been trying to get into Mona's laptop but it is locked tight. I think that might be a storyline for the rest of the season, the end goal that we might find out in the season finale. It will hold some really shocking information. Hanna wants to see Mrs. Grunwald of Ravenswood, the psychic, to find Mona's body. Seems legit.

So these three couples have amazing relationships and I'm sitting here. Alone.

Blow My Whistle Baby

Oh no. Aria has been rejected from Oberlin. Damn. As someone who applied to University last year, I can understand the feeling of being rejected. I got accepted into four out of five of my chosen Universities, but the main University I wanted to go to was the one that rejected me. So unloved. I am currently at a great University so all things turn out for the best so I'm sure Aria's situation will improve too. Don't worry Aria, I'm here for a hug. Of course, Alison shows up when she's least wanted and Aria doesn't stand for it. It's nice to see the girls fight back after all those years of being pushed around. Aria makes sense of why Alison should be A, but Aria should know by now that she's only in season five and there's still two more seasons to go before we find out who really is A. Alison is only the twenty-sixth suspect (might be more or less, I lost count) so far so there's a high chance she's wrong about her. Then Aria pulls out a whistle - extremely wise and effective, the girls really should have thought about this whistle four seasons ago. Could have helped them out of so many sticky situations.

The four liars meet up at Spencer's house where Spencer is panicking about the revokation of the bail. Aria comes up with a plan - prove that Alison killed Mona so the police will realise the two incidents are connected and that Alison is the one who is behind it all. Problem though - how?! Spencer comes up with a wicked plan, tear down Alison's alibi. That'll teach her. Ezra is working with Mike and it seems like Ezra really wants to connect with Mike. Call me skeptic but Ezra is really pushing Mike. Ezra thinks Mike wasn't acting like he lost someone but come on Ezra, forcing Mike to talk about his feelings won't help right now. Grief is different for everybody and because Ezra hasn't seen Mike cry yet doesn't mean he isn't grieving.

Mrs. Grunwald is in the house people. I always like her appearances on the show. Always so intriguing with a dash of creepy. For instance, she's introduced here sniffing the flowers at Mona's crypt. Just look at the way she does it, sheer perfection! Hanna reveals why she called her and she's shocked to think Alison killed Mona. Hanna gives her the stuffed dog that Ms. V gave Hanna at the start of the episode. I would have said this was disrespectful to give it away so quickly, but Hanna is trying so hard to find Mona and put her to rest that giving Ms. Grunwald the stuffed animal was really sweet. Grunwald shows Hanna that she was right in calling her when she gives the name of the teddy without Hanna having to tell her. I think we all know where this creepy psychic stuff is heading...

Neither Can Live While the Other Survives

Woo Jason, someone who doesn't always pop up is in this episode too. I like it when the show can let its secondary and tertiary characters appear to keep the PLL universe looking consistent. So Mona's DNA was in Ali's trunk and only the audience know Mona's body was actually in a trunk so this does not look good for Alison. Spencer tries to get Jason to retract his alibi and even plays the sister card. If there's anything Spencer is good at, is getting people to do what she wants without ever returning the favour. He seems to consider it. Back at the crypt, Mrs. Grunwald is working her magic. It seems so far-fetched for real life but not too far-fetched for Pretty Little Liars. I can dig it. I love a little magic with my drama. Grunwald says something that's very Harry Potter like - "Each one hated the other because each one feared the other." This is some serious Voldemort prophecy shit. If we don't get a devastating wizard war at the end of this series, I'm gonna be disappointed. Grunwald does say Mona is not in Rosewood and "betrayal" comes into it. She's also surrounded by Earth and dirt and insects, so it's safe to assume she's been buried.

Spencer and Emily admit defeat regarding the alibi plan. Tough luck huns. Emily shows the sneaky thief side to her and reveals a hairbrush she stole from Alison's house. And she has a plan. Oooh Emily, you sly, sly dog. I never thought Emily could be so devious. The plan is to plant the hair in Mona's house so when the cops do another sweep (three months later? really?) they'll find it. Spencer of course voices the logic and reasoning but the situation appears desperate, and if someone has to go to jail, it's got to be Alison, right? Speaking of Alison, she arrives home where Jason is looking through some painfully-obviously-photoshopped photos. The way Jason talks makes Alison realise Spencer had talked to him. He asks where she was Thanksgiving Day and she doesn't answer but she insists she is being framed by Aria, Spencer, Emily and Hanna.

Here's something we don't see every day - Aria and Caleb sharing a scene together with just them. It's a nice treat actually. Caleb is still trying to decrypt Mona's laptop but still getting nowhere. Aria reveals why she is really there. She has been rejected by a few Universities now and she needs to know if it's because of her being a crap applicant or if it's A. I'm kind of thinking the latter though Aria does seem to have been pre-occupied from her studies of late, as have all the girls, since A started messing with them. Caleb is pretty great to offer help. If he teaches Aria how to hack websites and stuff, she could end up becoming an evil mastermind. Spencer and Emily break into Mona's house and find a way to plant the hair naturally but they find a camera. Maybe this is it! Maybe we will actually see how Mona's death scene went down because I am dying to see it. I bet they make it all I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Mona's Alive!! (In Flashbacks)

Emily and Spencer try to get Hanna to tell Ms V. about the hidden cameras in her house. They realise that it must have seen what happened so Hanna agrees and goes to Ms. V. Every scene with her in it now is too emotional to bare. She wants to set up a fund and it's a really sweet gesture. Ms. V hands her a book - "Terminations" by Henry James (maybe that holds a deeper connotation?). It's flashback time and yay we get to see Mona. Mona teaches Hanna some valuable life lessons that she has obviously listened to in the course of the show - she doesn't have to hide anymore. I love this flashback and I want more Mona. Even though she is dead, we are really starting to get the new Alison-flashback vibe from early seasons.

Aria goes to The Brew when Mike and Ezra aren't around and we enter the familiar horror movie set-up. Insert scary "A" encounter here where nothing is achieved except to add dramatic effect. There's a small chase here before 'A' nails Aria to the wall. Aria repeating "don't do this to me" and calling her "Alison" has little effect on her attacker and I think we all know it isn't really Alison doing this. But dammit! The attacker took Mona's computer! Now they're screwed. Mrs. Grunwald finds Alison too and they have a great little interaction; I love Grunwald's voice. So mellow. And those eyes. Wow. I love the little arm grab as Alison is walking away. I really like Grunwald's style.

YAY! We do get to see some of Mona's fight with her killer. It looked brutal and horrible and nasty and dammit I wish it never happened to Mona. Jason, Tanner and Toby are watching it when Jason thinks it could be his sister. DUN DUN DUUUNNN! Then he reveals the truth that Alison wasn't with him and his father on Thanksgiving. DUN DUN DUUUNNN! I wish we could have seen more of the tape but that's it for now. Now time for some Aria and Emily and it appears Paige has to leave now, but Emily can't go over there right now even though she wanted to take Paige to the airport. Never mind, maybe romance is dead.

Liars, Unite!

Escape time for Alison. She's figured out that the best thing to do is run, but she's too late. Alison asks Jason to try and stall them. She runs outside where she is then confronted by the Liars. Oh no Alison, you're not getting away this time. Alison still tries to leave but the Liars aren't having any of it. They're adamant that Ali killed Mona but Alison tries to reason with them. She even warns them that they'll be next if she isn't around to protect them. Time runs out and Tanner catches up with Alison. Alison is arrested. Got to say I loved this scene. It was so intense and a little uncomfortable too. I want Alison to pay for her crimes more than anyone but I really don't believe she killed Mona so she really has been set up by not just A, but the Liars. That's pretty hardcore. Makes the girls even more badass and unforgiving than in the past.

Aftermath. At the Montgomery household, Aria tells Mike that Alison was arrested for Mona's murder. Mike doesn't seem bothered. Now I find his behaviour a little unsettling. Mike hits the nail on the head here - now Mona is gone, they're all acting like she was a saint. Mona did need the support that people are showing her now but are far too late. It really is too little, too late. It's a bit of a strange thing here with Mike as he says she wasn't nice, but he'll never meet anyone like her. That was sort of a back-handed compliment. But of course, he's right. Aria says the best thing she could in this moment and asked if he could let her know what the real Mona was like. So sweet. The moment she left the room, Mike started crying. We don't see it, we just hear it and that makes the entire scene all the more heartbreaking. Dammit. My eyes welled up with tears there. I never ever thought Mike would do that to me.

When Emily arrived at the airport, I was worried she had missed her moment with Paige. Thankfully she hadn't left yet and Emily thinks she stayed for her, but turns out the airline changed the gate they were boarding and they're boarding now. Oh man, I was hoping she'd say she had just changed her mind. Emily tries to get her to stay by telling her Alison is in jail and now I know why she fought so hard to frame Alison - she just wanted Paige to stay. I love that about Emily. She fights so hard for love that she truly deserves to finally be happy. But Paige can't stay. She explains she doesn't want to fight anymore because there won't be a chance for her to live - that's something that's going to bother all the Liars through all this fighting A stuff. They're not living. They're not going to be happy. I can understand Paige's wanting to go, but dammit this episode is really breaking my heart now. Seriously? You couldn't have spared me this heartache? "Please don't go"... "I have to"...

Let's just savour that kiss until Paige returns and makes Emily happy again.

And They All Lived...

At Spencer's, Tanner and Toby are with Peter Hastings when Spencer comes home. Tanner tells Spencer that they believe Alison killed Bethany Young too. Spencer got her wish - she's now out of being prime suspect while Alison takes her place. Spencer is really happy, like so happy she cries. She must have been so scared of the thought of going down for something she didn't do, but I'm guessing she now may feel guilty for setting Alison up when now the police believe Alison set Spencer up. I understand why Spencer fought to get Alison convicted so she would get let off, and Emily did it to make Paige stay and Hanna truly believes Alison killed her friend, but I'm not sure why Aria was as invested as the others in framing Alison. I get that Alison had treated them all badly in the past but Aria didn't really have the justification along with the others to do something as vindictive.

Never mind, we have a nice little scene with the Liars all together while it appears things have been tied into a neat little bow and the Liars are unsure of which way to go. They contemplate getting out, just like Paige did, now that Alison's spell was broken. I wonder when Aria will tell them she's been rejected from the next step in education. Randomly, some fireworks start going off and they're pretty beautiful. Of course, nothing is ever random in Rosewood and we have another little message from A, and I must admit, as the years go on, A is getting more creative about getting his or her message across to the Liars.

Happy 2015 to you too, A. Every time they are sure somebody is A, turns out they're wrong, every single time, even when they go the extra mile. Something always happens to right after to make them doubt that they've got the right person. The shower of sparks was pretty cool though. We end the episode with Alison lying in bed in jail. I'm conflicted here. I don't know whether I should be happy she's locked away or feel sorry for her.

Episode Awards

Prettiest Little Liar: Hanna Marin. She really works her ass off in this episode to try and get Mona's body found. She shows the most compassion and remorse too.

Most Macho Male: Mike Montgomery. Crying is far from being macho but whenever a guy shows his sensitive side, that's when he really becomes a man. And he stole this episode from the other guys so fair play to him.

Favourite Episode Pairing: Emily and Paige. Sweet. Heartbreaking. Moving on to the next chapter. Was a heartfelt goodbye.

Best Line: "How can you live in such a psychically-constipated environment?" "I eat a lot of fibre." - Mrs. Grunwald and Hanna Marin.

Best Moment: The Liars unite against Alison before she is arrested.

Saddest Moment: Mike's off-screen crying. I'm writing this as I wipe a tear from my cheek.

Creepiest Moment: 'A' staples Aria to the wall.

Biggest Reveal: The fact we actually got to see some of Mona's death scene. I had a feeling it would be recorded but I thought we'd be waiting at least another 20 episodes before we get a glimpse of it.

Best Cat Fight: Ms. Vanderwaal vs. Alison DiLaurentis. WINNER - Ms. V!

Is this Paige's final episode? Were the Liars right to take down Alison? What did you guys think of 'Through a Glass, Darkly'? Let me know in the comments and be sure to watch the next new episode of Pretty Little Liars on January 13th on ABC Family!

About the Author - Gavin Hetherington
Award-winning author of 'Abyssal Sanctuary: Remnants of the Damned'. Gavin joined SpoilerTV on August 9, 2014 and will be reviewing 2 Broke Girls, Mistresses, Orange is the New Black, Pretty Little Liars and Salem in the 2014-15 season. Gavin's favourite shows include Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Scandal and much more. You can contact him at
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