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Pretty Little Liars - Last Dance - Review: "Pretty Little Middle-Aged Liars"


6.09 - "LAST DANCE"
Directed by Janice Cooke
Written by Oliver Goldstick and Francesca Rollins
Reviewed by Gavin Hetherington

SEASON GUIDE





Hey guys, I'm back from my three-week volunteering trip in Cambodia! It was amazing and I had the best time. It also meant that I couldn't watch any of my shows - including Pretty Little Liars - while I was away, and a huge thank you to Kate Sidwell for filling in for me during my three-week absence. Be sure to check out her full reviews of episodes six to eight, but I thought I would quickly write my brief thoughts on the three episodes I couldn't review.

6.06 - NO STONE UNTURNED
This was a pretty good episode, if not a little slow. There was good development with the whole Lesli fiasco and I enjoyed the Spencer/Hanna scenes a lot. They're making me start to question Mona again which I do not want to do, but it seems like she is just trying to give and get as many answers as she can - even if she seems a little sketchy. Also, trackers were a nice little touch. "Bitch chipped us" would have been my line of the episode, for sure. Hanna thinking she needed glasses was funny, especially since Lesli's aren't even prescription.

6.07 - O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU
A slightly faster-paced episode but still not the breakout 3 episodes before the summer finale. Nice to see Mona have a bigger role and seem to be on the girls' side. I enjoyed Alison's scenes a lot with her father and escaping with Mona, and doing what should have been done a long time ago - phone the police about Charles! The confrontation with Charles was very sloppy by the girls, they could have done it way more effectively. I hate to say it but I feel like I'm starting to sympathise with Charles a little.

6.08 - FRAMED
Now I know I'd better stop sympathising with Charles a little or Hanna will bite my head off. Nice to see a bit of Charles/Red Coat action too, and poor Aria. I wondered when those autopsy photos would come back to bite them in the ass - and what a way to do it! Rhys does eerily look like Jason, and so that would make him Charles, but not sure they would go that route to be honest. It's not Rhys, too obvious. Good episode though but still not full steam ahead just yet.


'LAST DANCE' REVIEW

I have great love for this episode but at the same time, it didn't totally throw me to the floor and kick me all over like I was hoping for. I binge-watched the previous three episodes before this one as I was away and couldn't watch them, and they were all good but not great. This episode was better than them for sure, no doubt about it, but it still felt more set-up than follow-through. And I know, this is just the penultimate episode but there was very little action or even doing very much. Most of it was Alison trying to find Charles and the girls trying to find Alison. It wasn't until the end where things got really interesting. But I cannot fault most of this episode as the sets were gorgeous and my god, the parents being all together was the best thing that could happen. I enjoyed the episode though I have my gripes. First gripe was how mean the school was to the girls by banning them from prom AND commencement. Prom isn't so bad, but graduation too? Harsh, especially after all they've been through!

One thing I noticed in the past few episodes is how Aria has stopped being the "let's find Charles" person of the group to the "let's let the police handle this" person of the group. She seems to have fallen back somewhat to a less active role which is a huge shame as I was loving the fiesty Aria from before. As a side note, I am very happy she won the internship in Los Angeles - that's my girl. I knew something was up with Clark too, from the very beginning, but I wasn't sure what it was about him. Now we know he's an undercover cop. It makes sense and that's better than having him on the A-team like I was kind of expecting. I guess it means Clark isn't going to be a love interest for Aria to distract her from Ezra, which I'm kind of glad about as I wasn't really feeling Clark. I see another obstacle has come in the way of the Aria/Ezra pairing in the shape of the habitat group in Thailand that Ezra will be going to. I see them being apart for a long, long time before a huge reunion after the time-jump or in the final season. We have both characters set up for the time jump so it will be interesting to see what will happen there. I also loved how they were dancing together while keeping tabs on Alison and Clark. Good teamwork.

I've been really over Emily this season, I can't actually deal. But I liked her in this episode, and I thought she looked absolutely stunning in her prom outfit - the best out of all four of the girls! What beautiful ladies they are. I don't understand why they couldn't keep the Emily/Sara thing platonic but they really do want love interest after love interest for Emily, like they have a pick n mix bag full of potential candidates. I need Emily to get more interesting stat. I kind of liked the Emily and Sara scenes at the prom and I thought it was very sweet, but the vibes that Sara has been putting down indicate she isn't going to be a permanent love interest. There's too much mystery with her. The way she said something like "I want you to know that no matter what happens, you mean a lot to me." Suggests she knows something is going to happen - or something is going to be revealed about her - that will make the pairing not long for this world.

Spencer also didn't do an awful lot this episode either to be fair. She spent most of her time with Toby or the girls to hunt down Alison. She also helped Lorenzo look past his anger at Alison long enough to help them - it was actually really sweet of her. I also like that Toby isn't part of the police force anymore (or at least for the time being) as it allows them to have a bit better chemistry now he's not anal about everything. I am actually really surprised I don't actually have a lot to say about Spencer when I usually do. I guess one of my gripes this episode is how underused the girls were, in a way that I mean they barely did much. I guess it's still better than what Mona got, which was a big fat zero screentime. She was probably off galavanting with Mike, which I wouldn't mind, but I still wish we saw her.

Hanna had a bit of progression herself with Caleb. We know what those two are going to be doing during the time jump and how Hanna is going to live without that scholarship fund from the potential Charles DiLaurentis aka Rhys aka most likely going to turn out to not be Charles. Well, I guess how could he when he was in the DiLaurentis house while Charles was at prom? Anyway, we all knew Caleb wasn't going to New York to visit his father - and Hanna knew that too - so it was a nice surprise to have him show up at the prom when he did and get a dance in with Hanna before telling her the good news. She could really do with the good news too and it really is a light at the end of the tunnel for her. But like the other girls, Hanna didn't do an awful lot away from the others, so a lot of their storyline involved them all being together.

This was definitely Alison's episode to shine. Not only did she glow in her dress, but she actively went to see her brother. You can tell just how desperate she is to meet Charles and learn why he hates her so much. She sympathises with him, we can tell, but she's also a little scared too. She doesn't tell the girls about the text (or phone call) Charles sends to her, so she rides solo in her mission. Of course, the girls don't let her do this alone, and so Alison had the worst luck when the others spotted her in a randomer's photo in the background. Photo-bomb level: Alison. When she walked down the 'haunted forest' part and came across the mirrors, I knew she would be taken by Charles. I am glad she put herself in that position though, as reckless as it might have been. I'm also surprised Charles trusted her enough to think she was alone after the fiasco with Jason two episodes before. The scenes with Alison at the prom though were awesome.

Before I talk about some of the best parts of the episode, I have to give major props to the stage and prop department for their gorgeous sets and for making their prom look magical and beautiful. The lanterns, the trees. I didn't go to my prom, but if it had of looked like this, I definitely would have. The costume designers too, and make-up, were on point. The episode looked gorgeous, though the action within didn't live up to that.

My favourite parts of the episode were totally the parents. This was definitely their best episode in a very long time and it's such a rare treat to see them all together. While they ended up locked in a basement (rookie mistake that the liars themselves have done countless times), they still showcased how awesome and badass they can be. I loved Veronica's drive to find out the truth from Kenneth (reminiscent of Spencer) and how the other mothers tag along to find out what Kenneth knows. It felt very Scooby-Doo with them and how they slowly started working things out themselves. I was actually really scared when Rhys showed up (as the prime suspect of being Charles) but I was glad that it gave the mothers some dramatic scenes to work with. Only gripe I have is how pretty stupid these four adult women are - seriously, you leave the house where the girls are staying outside and not one of them thought about taking their phone? All four? They don't just keep them in their pockets? I wonder how long they will be trapped down their for but I guess it's what they deserve for being just as careless as their daughters. You're right Pam, you guys had one job. They were really funny altogether though and I loved their dynamic - it was like looking in a portal into the future and that's what the girls are going to be like in 20-30 years time.

EPISODE VERDICT

I want to say I loved this episode through-and-through, but I couldn't due to too much set-up and very little action. What I can say is this was probably the best episode of the season since the premiere and that it has made me very excited about this fAce to face reveal next week. Like seriously I am so ready to see who the hell is Charles. Looking back on 6A, I realise most of it was pretty slow which surprises me because at the time of watching each episode, and enjoying them, I thought we had a lot more going on than I thought we did. Fortunately, this episode kicked things up a gear as we head into the summer finale. My body is ready, I cannot express just how much I need these answers to a lot of things - who hit Alison with a rock that night, who killed Jessica, who the hell Charles is, etc. I loved the prom aspect of this episode and the parents totally nailed it, but still a slow progressive episode that set a lot of things up for the future.


EPISODE AWARDS

Prom Queen: Alison DiLaurentis.

Prom King: Lorenzo.

Biggest Asshole: The teacher that tells Aria to scram.

Most Sympathetic Character: Spencer. When she tells Toby about the speech she wrote, it made me sad.

Favourite Episode Pairing: Alison and Charles.

Best Line: "The only reason we survived is 'cause we had each other." - Spencer.

Funniest Line: "Well fill it with the police. It's fairytale themed, they can come as the village idiots." - Aria.

Best Moment: When the girls strut their beautiful stuff into the prom despite being banned, got me thinking of Maleficent when she wasn't invited to a party. I'm proud.

Saddest Moment: Veronica talking about her husband's affair.

Creepiest Moment: Alison walking in the 'haunted forest'.

Shadiest Moment: Sara and her talk with Emily about "no matter what happens".

Damned Disappointment: WE DIDN'T GET TO SEE CHARLES'S FACE BUT ALISON DOES! Love and hate.

Biggest Question Mark Award: Who locked the mothers in the basement? Was it Rhys, or did someone else drop by?

Biggest ReveAl: To Alison, Charles's face. To us, a big fat nothing. SO EXCITED FOR NEXT WEEK!


What did you think of 'Last Dance'? Let me know your thoughts on the episode in the comments and be sure to watch the much-anticipated summer finale on August 11 on ABC Family! It's time to come FAce to Face with A.



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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