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Pretty Little Liars - No Stone Unturned - Review: “Happy Birthday”

16 Jul 2015

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Hey everyone! I’ll be taking over for Gavin while he’s away the next few weeks in Cambodia. I know his are pretty big shoes to fill, but I hope you all will enjoy reading my thoughts and sharing your own on this crazy show!

Let me first start out by saying, I think this has been the weakest episode so far for 6A. I understand that there are usually a couple of fillers, not every episode can be a show-stopper, but I was kind of expecting a bit more from their self-proclaimed “Summer of Answers”. The only redeeming thing about this episode was the huge clue we got at the end and the set up for the next few episodes. Other than that, this episode didn’t really give us much of anything except a bunch of dead ends.

First, let’s talk about Lesli and Mona. As of the last episode, Lesli became the prime suspect, which in my mind, automatically ruled her out. Not only could you smell the red-herring on her a mile away but hasn't Marlene said that A is someone we know from the first episode and season 3. I don’t remember Lesli being around during the first episode so I’m going to consider it safe to rule her out. Although, the writers made a solid effort to throw me off, (I was almost swayed by those fake glasses and human sized cages) I basically came into this episode planning to disregard most of the clues that would be presented. Turns out I was at least sort of right. We found out, through Mona, that Lesli actually hated Bethany and that she wanted her records back because she’s only pretending to be stable. Now that we know these things, it makes Lesli no more of a suspect than anyone else because she has no motive. I’m also happy that this seems to clear Mona of any backstabbing that might be going on. Some of the things she was doing last episode were a bit shady but I love her so much I just couldn’t believe she was back on the A Team. Honestly, Mona is such an asset to their team, I don’t know why they don’t include her more often. They need to get over whatever trust issues they still have with her because she came into that lab and dropped a whole bunch of knowledge on them. I loved her line about how they wouldn't have gotten a picture of A unless A wanted them to - A is always one step ahead. This whole scene really highlighted how much smarter Mona is than them and with Emily being so sidelined this season it seams like the Liars might have a vacancy…

I’m only sort of joking about that, don’t worry! I love Emily, I really do. But her storyline this season has been terrible. The introduction of yet another love interest was a mistake, in my opinion. Not only that, but subtlety is definitely not the writers’ strong suit. Right from the start they've made this Sara and Emily storyline so painfully obvious. Why can’t Emily just be her own person?? To me, she’s one of the strongest characters on the show. She handles things well, she’s mature, she’s smart, she always seems like a grounding force for them all. She is capable of being on her own - of carrying a storyline on her own. It’s just getting frustrating at this point. But maybe I would be more ok with it if it was a different love interest, which brings me to my next point. I DO NOT trust Sara. AT ALL. There is something so sketchy about her. Maybe it’s her demeanor after being locked up for so long that’s leading me to wrongly doubt her but I just think there’s something really off with her. This feeling was only reinforced with that whole “car accident” situation. Something about it didn't feel right and the fact that she was so quick to point the finger at Lesli’s car when we now know that Lesli most likely has nothing to do with it…I don’t know, it raised a lot of red flags for me. It seems like she’s trying to play the victim way too much so they’ll never see it coming when she stabs them all in the back (hopefully not literally but with this show, you never know!).

Over the past couple of episodes Hannah has been frustrating me. She’s my second favorite character (after Aria) so I've been trying to cut her some slack. I know she’s trying to process and get over everything in her own way but it makes me sad that that involves pushing Caleb away. I was so happy when Hannah’s mom gave him the advice to just start treating her normally again. That’s exactly what she needs and I’m thrilled that they seem to be getting back on track and back to normal. I thought it was so weird when they were in the lab and Hannah started letting all the animals out and then as soon as an animal gets out she freaks out. Didn’t she expect that to happen, why else would she open the cages? That whole animal part was honestly just really weird to me. These people have gone up against A and countless other creepy scary things and they're still freaking out over a cute little raccoon and some rats??

Anyways, moving on to Spencer. I don’t trust Dean. I thought he was okay for a bit until he started asking all these shady questions about Alison. But I’m going to tentatively give him the benefit of the doubt for now. I really loved how he finally called Spencer out. She missed a meeting and that got him really upset because he takes things seriously and she just doesn’t. She didn't even answer his calls, which led him to believe that something terrible had happened to her because, more often than not, that’s the case for addicts. But Spencer didn’t even realize this because, as usual, she was only thinking about herself and what she needed to take care of. I wasn’t surprised at all by Dean’s declaration of feelings for Spencer. I actually wouldn't mind it. I’d like almost anyone more than Toby at this point. I’m not feeling Spoby anymore and I haven’t been for a while, not since he was so obnoxious last season. Making him such a non-presence this season is not helping things either. I’ve almost forgotten about him completely.

Finally, let’s talk about Aria, my favorite pretty little liar. I like how involved she’s been this season. A lot of the clues that have been discovered she’s been directly involved in finding or at least there at the time. I do ship Ezria so I had mixed feelings about them this episode. I was happy Aria acknowledged that he was her person to go to in times of stress but I was also disappointed at the end when we saw him sitting with Emily’s friend. They seemed to be getting along really well and it’s starting to feel like one step forward, two steps back with them. Aria’s new photography friend, Clark, is an interesting character to me. He’s really nice and I like him…I just want him to be good so bad! I did trust him before, but then he started asking Aria a bunch of questions about how close they are to catching A and then suggested that they split up in a creepy junkyard where we know A has been. On this same trip she found a creepy doll which he could have easily placed there because he suspiciously was already there when they arrived. This is one thing I don’t like about this show. You can never just enjoy a new character because there’s always something sketchy about them and you can never trust anyone. I feel pretty confident that Clark is just a red-herring though because he wasn't around in the beginning or during season 3 so he could be a helper at most.

I’ll wrap this up by laying out the new clues we got during this episode. There weren’t very many. So far I think they’re just giving us clues for red-herrings they’ve set up, nothing too substantial. The Liars learned something we already knew, that they had some kind of tracking device put inside them and that’s how A has recently been able to know so much about where they are. Part of me wondered if this tracking device has actually been around for much longer than their time in the dollhouse. A has always had a freakish sense of where they are, so it wouldn’t be too far fetched if they have been chipped the whole time. I’m just not sure when it would have happened, maybe even as far back as the night Alison disappeared?? But the biggest clue we got came from Mona. She shared that Lesli was in Radley the night Bethany ran away and that she wasn’t the only missing patient. Charles escaped that night too, which means that he wasn’t dead when those records said he was and the organ donation forms were all fake. So now we know that Charles is almost definitely still alive. But to make this revelation even more thrilling, earlier in the episode we got another interesting clue. Alison’s dad found a birthday card on the hood of his car and it really upset him. Right away, I thought that Charles had left the card, as I’m sure most of you did as well. At the very end of the episode, we see Mr. DiLaurentes digging up Charles’s grave and the camera pans to the disturbing message written inside the birthday card. Turns out I was right, it was Charles that left the card and he’s planning on coming home really soon!

Hopefully things start to pick up a bit for these last few episodes. There are still so many questions and answers that we need before we have closure and they’re running out of time! What are your thoughts on last night’s episode? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!

About the Author - Kate Sidwell
Kate is a 24 year old, USA based, Psychology/Public Health Researcher - but that’s just her day job! In her spare time she is an avid TV watcher (some may even say addict!!). Some of her favorite shows are Jane the Virgin, Bates Motel, The Flash, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Rookie Blue, Silicon Valley, Beauty and the Beast, Sleepy Hollow, The 100, The Mindy Project, Pretty Little Liars, Once Upon a Time, The Royals, Orphan Black…so pretty much too many to count and a huge variety! She’ll give pretty much any show a chance! She also devotes a lot of time to her tumblr ( where you can find her reviewing and commenting on most of these shows and just generally fangirling! She’s excited to be writing for SpoilerTV on Complications, Baby Daddy, Proof, Switched at Birth, Secrets and Lies, and Minority Report!
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  1. Goodbye Revenge, ∞x∞16 July 2015 at 01:46

    Great review! I haven't ever read over a Pretty Little Liar review so I'm not sure how it was usually done but you did fantastic! Although Hannah is actually my favorite liar though. I think that Sara is on the A team. And I agree that Lesli probably has nothing to do with it.

    I definitely agree that this season has not been a "summer of answers". Honesty most of this season has been rather boring with no real furthering of plot except now we know Charles is alive- maybe, who knows its PLL!

  2. Rafael C. Sousa16 July 2015 at 02:31

    Hey Kate! Totally agree with you! Great review!
    This was such a weird episode to be thrown at us in the middle of the "Season of Answers". They could've wrapped it all up in about 2-5 minutes. Mona's the best character on the show. She's the only one that's taking it all seriously. She doesn't stop until she gets all the answers, while the Liars are just running around in circles, being played by Charles' wrongful clues.
    I still remain with 3 top suspects. #1 Wren (I've been saying he's A from day 1 lol), #2 Toby (he doesn't seem that surprised when Spencer tells him the truth about Charles in episode 7's promo) and # 3 Sara (all this boyish look gave her this androgyny look so she could really be Charles pretending to become Alison).
    To sum up, this episode was just frustrating.

  3. This whole episode could have been simplified down to the scene at the lab and the end with the birthday card. Everything else was just filler. I guess they're having a hard time extending the Big A reveal for 10 episodes after the "Charles" reveal. While Mona's not my favorite character on the show, she's definitely the only one with any common sense. The other girls still act like amateurs but they've been doing this for how long now?? You'd think they'd realize they should question every clue, especially the ones that seem to just fall in their laps.
    My #1 suspect is Wren too! He's just always been so suspicious and I've thought it was him for forever so it's going to take A LOT of strong evidence to convince me otherwise at this point. I think Toby or Sara could definitely be helping A though. And I think Ezra is also in the running, as much as it pains me to say it. I did have a theory for a second that maybe either Ezra or Aria was A and they were working together, but that's only because the only way I could handle either of them being involved is if they both are. But yeah, definitely a frustrating episode, but thanks for reading and commenting with your thoughts and theories!

  4. Gavin always sees the good parts and man i love that he can see that but really. I said it in one of his reviews, this season intead of "seasons of answers" should be called "seasons of borinhood" .
    A you are the hell right. Emily's storiline is horrible, they are killing her character, Sara needs to go.
    I really ahte how teh girls cant live without a man, or someone by their sides, I was proud of Hanna for being like she was to Caleb (tho she was unffair to him), she was kinda onwing and i hope that it doesnt turn out in her trusting everything to him and not doing things on her own.
    Mona was the highlight of the episode, she always brings thats assyness and i dunno but she makes every episode more enjoyable.
    Love the review so on point.

  5. Thanks for stepping in Kate, great stuff

  6. You were on point on Mona having a brain LOL, even the son-called "smart one" of the group couldn't see through that bogus piece of paper. Was there ever a doubt in your mind that Charles was dead? The short blonde hair girl has every sign of Stockholm Syndrome.

  7. Thanks! Happy to help!

  8. Yes! I think that's it! She's either a part of the A team or is A/Charles or she has Stockholm Syndrome. I like that idea though! And yeah, I'm surprised Spencer just took that form as truth I would have expected her to question things a bit more but I guess that's what Mona is for! I don't think anyone but the Liars thought that Charles was actually dead haha.

  9. Thanks for reading and sharing! This season has been a bit boring. I think they rushed things in 5B and then realized they still had 10 episodes before the reveal so now they've slowed everything down. We only get like one good clue per episode which isn't great. However, sometimes it's exhausting thinking and complaining about all the flaws especially with a show like this so I definitely can appreciate Gavin's positivity! At the end of the day, we watch because we love it and are invested in the characters and story. At least that's the case for me...sometimes I just have to be real with it though because it is a pretty frustrating show! Who else could get away with 5 years of non-answers haha! And yes, Mona steals the show in every episode she's in! Love her!

  10. I'm going with Stockholm Syndrome rather than that her being Charles/A, she's supposed to be the "smart one" right? So how did she not catch that? I guess you're right, mona is there now to take her place right? LOL i would hope so, i think i saw some people actually thought he was dead.

  11. Sorry I couldn't comment sooner Kate but fantastic job filling in! Wi-fi is so sketchy here and wanted to say this review and the other review are amazing. Keep up the good work!


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