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Pretty Little Liars - Songs of Innocence - Review: "What Happens to Bad Little Girls?"


6.02 - "SONGS OF INNOCENCE"
Directed by Norman Buckley
Written by Joseph Dougherty
Reviewed by Gavin Hetherington


SEASON GUIDE




The girls wake up in a morgue-like room of the Dollhouse. Alison gets in front of the cameras to trick A into leading her to the girls. Charles keeps Mona in a well while the girls burn Charles' memory room. Alison, Ezra and Caleb find the girls at just the right time. The police find Sara Harvey in the Dollhouse. Toby tells Spencer that it's Andrew who was after them after he became obsessed with them since Alison went missing. The girls find out that A's name is Charles DiLaurentis. Emily asks Alison who Charles DiLaurentis is.


'SONGS OF INNOCENCE' REVIEW

Following the insanely good premiere, the follow-up didn't deliver the intense action like its predecessor. And that's okay. This episode was much needed to dial back the 8.0 richter scale of the premiere in order to show us the mental anguish the girls now feel. Nobody sane comes out of their situation without scars and fortunately this episode helped us understand the girls a little better and what it is they're going through. It's important to note that Mona was missing from this episode, which is a huge disappointment to me as I really wanted to see her. I also can't wait for Alison and Mona to come face-to-face and see how they interact now things have transpired. I also really, really wanted to see the moment the parents were reunited with their children. 3 weeks is a long time knowing your child is in danger so this was a little off-putting when their reactions weren't as... urgent as I thought they would be. Like, it took throughout the episode for us to realise the parents weren't sure how to deal with this problem, and fraction by fraction we started to see the communication between mother and daughter establish itself. I'm also frustrated that Aria's dad is still MIA, and we all know Hanna's dad is a useless tool anyway, I mean so what if your daughter gets kidnapped and is missing for nearly a month. Also, where is Spencer's dad? It seems like all male figures were stripped from this episode and we only really got the mother and daughter bond. We only saw Alison's father and he was as much use as a chocolate fireguard.

"You would have done the same for me."

Let's start with Alison then. Alison has matured a lot since going through her trial and prison ordeal. I was beginning to lose trust in her and I didn't like the kind of person she was at the time (she seemed very sneaky and quick to replace her friends) but so far in season 6, she's been incredible. I love this Alison! When her father said she had no obligation to do what she did to save the girls, her blunt response of "Yes. I did." was worthy of a standing ovation. I also found her little interaction with Toby very off-putting though and it seemed hella awkward. I know things have happened between the two in the past to put them off each other, but maybe we'll see some development between the two, especially now that Alison's potential love interest is Toby's partner Lorenzo. It was bound to happen at some point and Lorenzo seems like a nice guy, which is exactly why I'm already suspicious of him. Call me crazy but I'm not jumping on the Loralison/Allenzo bandwagon just yet. Let's see where he goes from here.

"I wanted to take him apart because of what he did to you."

Toby seems to be returning to his former self now that Tanner isn't pulling his strings. I like it. I'm still not over the time it took for him to become a fully-fledged police officer complete with a partner and a car, but I'm starting to warm up to the possibilities this storyline gives him, especially now Lorenzo is in the picture. The whole Andrew-is-dead theory was quickly abolished in this episode, which is partly a shame as I did like the theories that were posted relating to Andrew. I liked that he wanted five minutes with Andrew when he caught him. He'll do anything to avenge his love, Spencer, and I find that insanely romantic. So speaking of Andrew, what did Toby mean that Andrew thought the girls were a representation of the feminisation of society? Is Andrew angry that girls really do run the world? Girls have more power than they did 50 years ago? What is his deal? He started the show so loveable, now he's a sexist creep. The girls saying that he could be Charles DiLaurentis - you're wrong. Never believe the Liars when they come up with a theory because they end up unintentionally lying. It's rarely right. This isn't Scooby-Doo where Velma always says she knew it all along. They're not gonna know anything until it's laid out in front of them spelled out in permanent magic marker.

"I'm gonna say this as delicately as I can... your father's a liar."

Poor Spencer. In fact, poor everyone. I'm gonna start with Spencer first though. It's through Spencer that we get our first flashback revealing the kind of torture the girls went through. I really did not expect that the girls were forced to torture each other, I was really shocked at that. How brutal but insanely amazing at the same time as it opens up so many more doors to go through this season. We see with Hanna the kind of resentment that is directed at the others, or guilt as in Aria's case when she tells Spencer she's sorry out of nowhere. At first, when Spencer arrived home and Veronica had removed the pills to help Spencer sleep, we think it's the same old un-caring parents we thought Spencer had in the early days of the show. But I can totally side with Veronica on the pills situation. Spencer did have a problem with drugs and Veronica has just got her daughter back, safe and sound. Why she would allow her daughter to potentially harm herself and ruin her future because of her terrible ordeal is very understandable. Obviously it's hard because Spencer went through an awful experience and now she can't sleep - and who can blame her - but Veronica is really just thinking about what will be best for her daughter in the long run. I'm liking that Spencer is having more scenes with Toby now too and it feels more like how they were before he got his police job. More of this please, and less angst between the two, although I know it's going to be a rocky road since Spencer stole some of Aria's drugs and is most likely going to start using them. I do hope she can take them without getting addicted, but who knows what road the writers will go down with her. The episode ended a little sweet with Spencer and her mother going to watch a movie together. It's what was needed after the emotional turmoil the viewer (as in us) went through. I still can't get the girls' screams out of my head from the flashbacks.

"It has to be Andrew!"

Aria was an interesting one to watch in this episode, mainly because her turmoil has resulted in her acting out in a way that could have repercussions since she lied to the police about seeing Andrew's face. I love that she wanted to fight. Early on, she's already displaying signs of moving on from the trauma, or trying very hard to, as she jokes to her mother "too early for sarcasm?" I love this and it makes me respect Aria so much more now. She's not letting herself be destroyed by what happened to her, which led to the amazing quote I've given the Best Line Award. We all know she's wrong and Andrew isn't to blame for the dollhouse or anything A-related, but she knows he's a bad guy in hers and the girls' lives and she tries to do what she can to put a stop to it, even if it meant lying. It's what the pretty little liars do best, after all. Loved the Ella/Aria dynamic in this episode, especially since Ella was basically by her side (or within close distance) throughout the episode and could just tell when her daughter was being honest. It's clear lying is weighing heavily on Aria's mind when she tells Spencer about it, but she's intent on Charles being Andrew. "It has to be Andrew." She's so ready to know who is tormenting them that she'll believe anyone is A at this point. Her insistence that it is Andrew is quite heartbreaking too as it shows that fractured mind she has where reason is put aside for potential solace from her agonising ordeals. Aria is never usually considered my favourite but I think she's going to be the one to watch in 6A. Let's just hope her father hasn't completely abandoned her and that we see more of Ella.

"I said don't look at him!"

My poor sweet Hanna. Right from her first solo scene away from the girls, we knew she had been hit the hardest. As another note, I loved the little flashes to their fake rooms when the girls returned to their real rooms. I also loved Hanna's distinction that the room in the dollhouse was not her room. She's displaying some denial about what happened while also desperate to move on from it by trying to remove the memories completely from her room. Hanna had some of the best scenes in this episode too, such as when she got Caleb to help bring furniture downstairs and her mother walked in (so much for Hanna staying in your sights, Ashley!) and they have that scene - Ashley looking at Caleb and Hanna telling her to not look at him but to look at her - was so much. I couldn't deal. It was so true to Hanna's character too and that's what I love about this episode - the reactions, the trauma - it's all very real. My favourite moment was when Hanna was with her mother in her room and she's sitting on her floor and she tells Ashley the games Charles made them play. So much authenticity in Ashley Benson's voice and the revelation that she doesn't have to spend every minute with the girls was heartbreaking. I would love for this resentment to progress as it would be an interesting avenue to explore. It would require the girls to meet up and be honest and maybe lead to an explosive scene, though judging by the end of the episode, maybe the girls did talk everything out over the phone? I hope not. I want more drama where this is concerned. Loved Caleb's scenes with Hanna too and how much he was there for her. "Have I ever told you I think you're the bravest person I've ever met?" I love how Hanna can be honest with him, especially about her friends. Not wanting to let her night stand go is the first good step for Hanna - means she's not ready to let go of everything just yet.There's hope.

"You mean there isn't any more bad people out there? Nobody who's ever going to hurt anybody again?"

Emily won the Prettiest Little Liar award in this episode for a couple of reasons. Firstly, she showed her awesome bad-ass side in this episode with the gun range storyline. Who knew she could shoot a gun like that? She was so good, and the perfect defence (and offence) against Charles, Uber A and any other prick that wants to take the girls down. The other reason I loved Emily so much in this episode were her scenes with Pam, specifically when she broke down crying. I sobbed my little heart out with her and she was actually the most emotional out of the girls despite perceiving herself as the strongest with wanting to be able to defend herself and her friends. I was relieved to know Emily phoned Paige and Paige offered to come back. I wouldn't have believed for a second that Paige wouldn't have contacted Emily somehow so I'm glad that was addressed. I'd love for Paige to come back, just to see what would happen now so much time has passed since she's been away. But anyway, Emily's speech to her mother that I quoted above was so deep. She's totally right and it could foreshadow the fact that no matter who the girls take down, there's always going to be someone next in line. I find that chilling, but what a scene for Shay Mitchell. Totally, props to her for being a fine actress and handled the material brilliantly. Damn girl, stop making me cry!

EPISODE VERDICT

I wasn't expecting an absolutely out-of-this-world follow-up to last week's awesome premiere and I can absolutely settle for this slower-paced outing of Pretty Little Liars. I liked that we got to explore the emotional and mental states of the girls rather than have it jam-packed with action so we wouldn't know where to look. The actresses handled the material so well too, showing that they all have what it takes to go through this crazy rollercoaster journey of Pretty Little Liars and make it believable for the audience. Interesting things are being set up now and themes such as resentment amongst friends and hidden agendas are coming back in full force as we get ever-closer to knowing who Charles really is. Thanks for letting us explore the characters a little, but I would like to see more of the time the girls were away as well as what the families/friends/boyfriends were doing it that time too.


EPISODE AWARDS

Prettiest Little Liar: Emily Fields. Her need to defend following their ordeal is very admirable.

Most Macho Male: Toby, for chasing Andrew, catching him and wanting to string him up by his testicles.

Biggest Asshole: Alison's dad. He knows more than he's letting on.

Most Sympathetic Character: Hanna Marin. I could really feel her pain.

Favourite Episode Pairing: Hanna and Caleb.

Best Line: "I don't want to own it, I don't want to memorialise it, I don't want to think about it being in a diary somewhere in my room. I want a nice big wall between before and after." - Aria to Ezra about writing down what happened to her.

Funniest Line: N/A.

Best Moment: Hanna in her room, talking to Ashley about how Charles would make them play games.

Saddest Moment: Emily breaking down to her mother.

Creepiest Moment: The flashbacks.

Shadiest Moment: Sara at the beginning, "now you know what happens to bad little girls." Cryptic and creepy. Also, she ran away from home and Pam shouldn't call her mother? Something's not right there.

Damned Disappointment: We didn't get to see the parents' reunion with the girls, also, why didn't we get Mona?

Biggest Question Mark Award: Lorenzo - is he a good guy? I'm just really suspicious of new people.

Biggest ReveAl: Charles didn't torture the girls... they tortured each other!


A's Mysteries

MISS_JILLYB's THEORY OF SARA HARVEY

There's something not right with Sara Harvey, which is something I think a lot of people can agree on. Within this episode, we see some shady things happen regarding Sara. The beginning where Emily talks to her was creepy as with her line about what happens to bad little girls, and then her reappearance at the end when she ran away from home (again) but doesn't want Pam to phone her mother, and that she wouldn't get through anyway. Just what is Sara Harvey hiding?

One of the best people to follow on Twitter for everything Pretty Little Liars is Miss_JillyB. She has an awesome theory about Sara Harvey that I wanted to share with you guys because I'm just not as creative when it comes to thinking of these things.


What do you guys think? Is Sara really Bethany in disguise? Or do you have a different PLL theory for Sara Harvey?

What did you think of 'Songs of Innocence'? Let me know your thoughts on the episode in the comments and be sure to watch the next new episode on June 16 on ABC Family!



About the Author - Gavin Hetherington
Award-winning author of 'Abyssal Sanctuary: Remnants of the Damned'. Gavin joined SpoilerTV in August 2014 and reviews 2 Broke Girls, Mistresses, Orange is the New Black, Pretty Little Liars, Salem, Scream Queens and Sleepy Hollow. Gavin will write previews for Devious Maids and Shadowhunters, and backs-up Empire, The Flash, iZombie, Once Upon a Time, Reign, Scandal and Supergirl. You can contact him at gavin@spoilertv.com.
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