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Pretty Little Liars - Charlotte's Web - Review: "Duck, Duck, Goose"


6.12 - "CHARLOTTE'S WEB"
Directed by Joanna Kerns
Written by Jonell Lennon and Lijah J. Barasz
Reviewed by Gavin Hetherington

SEASON GUIDE




'CHARLOTTE'S WEB' REVIEW

We are now two episodes into the Winter 2016 run of Pretty Little Liars, and with this second instalment, I can honestly say I am really enjoying this season. The whole time jump thing doesn't even seem important anymore and I easily forget that we're five years in the future, but Charlotte's Web was quite the intense episode. Not an awful lot happened, and action was at its bare minimum, but what we had was a bit of a back-and-forth game of whodunit, where all fingers pointed at Aria and Ezra - a couple I started to lose patience for last year but my, their relationship is now actually interesting. I'm really loving several storylines at the minute and I'm still excited about where they are heading. It seems, at the minute, that this time jump really has rejuvenated this show and gave it new life. I hope it lasts the next 8 episodes too.

"Nobody can see that security footage!"

Aria was definitely the most interesting Liar of the bunch this episode. We knew from promos that she would be pointed at as a potential suspect in Charlotte's murder, as Hanna reveals at the start of the episode that she left the hotel room, and the excuses Aria gives her don't add up. Very fishy behaviour, but of course I knew it would have something to do with Ezra. Five A-free years have given the girls a false sense of security, making them think it's still okay to lie instead of being honest. Did their previous horrific encounters with A not teach them anything?! Anyway, it was cool seeing Aria's work life and it's quite bizarre seeing her kiss a random guy named Liam. Haven't seen enough of him yet to make a judgment, but it's a good thing I guess, that she has other romantic interests. Her relationship with Ezra feels better without them getting into each other's pants right now - I am dying to know more about what happened to Ezra in South America. While the flashback to what happened when Aria left the hotel room was good, it was also a little predictable - it's obvious Ezra didn't do it. But I did get chills when Spencer linked it to the case study she showed him years before about a dead bride.

"It's not a giant leap... In fact, I think I told Ezra how to do it."

Spencer wasn't the most prominent player in this episode, but what she did get was good. I am loving the dynamic between mother and daughter, and it looks like Veronica is really stepping up to the plate. Maybe she learned a lesson of morals from being locked in that basement with the other parents? "You're not a liability. You're my daughter." Aww. It's going to be interesting to see if the upcoming arrival of A will destroy Veronica's campaign, but it's already looking like it may be damaged with the link Spencer has to Charlotte. I loved when Caleb said he would hack into voting machines to make sure she wins. It was funny, and very Scandal-like. Speaking of Spencer and Caleb, the more they appear together, the more I kind of like them together. They have good chemistry, something I always thought, and they're very compatible. It's still a little weird, and totally bizarre how they ran into each other in Madrid! Caleb talked of coincidences in this episode, but he should know, in Rosewood there are no coincidences.

"Your dad would be really proud of you, Emmy."

I'm glad we got a little more insight into Emily's situation in this episode. I'm still a little confused about why she was at the medical centre getting blood taken (and can we just ban needles entering arms on television full stop now please?) - is she sick? Desperate for money so she's doing an experimental trial? It was hard to see her so broke it took another girl to pay for her parking - Sabrina, who I'm not sure is a love interest or not. I sure hope not, I'm not a fan of the constant carousel of lovers. I was emotionally attached to Emily actually, as she is obviously still mourning the death of her father. It was quite heartbreaking during her scene with Pam, saying "I don't need to see where he's buried to say hi", and I can see Pam really struggling herself. The scene at the graveyard though, when Emily sort of breaks down - "I know that I messed up, okay, but I'm going to fix it." - was some great acting, and it only got creepier when Sara arrived. What is her deal? So there must have been a fire, because Lorenzo confirmed she had burns on her hands too severe for her to murder Charlotte. As someone mentioned, this may turn out to be the next Jenna Thing.

"And thank you for helping the police find Charlotte's killer, and anyone who could be protecting him... or her."

Who else thinks Jordan is a hottie? I think he's actually ideal for Hanna, and she does seem really happy with him. I'm kind of rooting for them to work out. There was also a mention of a Red Velvet cake - wasn't there one in season four or something, is this important whatsoever, or am I just being paranoid? Anyway, Hanna had the burden of Aria's secret getaway at 3am on her shoulders, and I loved it when Alison made that speech during dinner. I had some goosebumps when she said "or her" and looked up at Hanna. Talk about shade. I liked how she refused to look into the Radley's security footage, saying that she doesn't do that anymore. It looks like the liars are slowly losing control again and that's what I love about this time jump. Hanna does end up deleting the security files for Aria, but it's going to bite her in the ass at the end. Also, I love how her wedding might happen on a Hampton's estate - maybe Amanda Clarke/Emily Thorne will be in attendance. A Revenge fan can dream.

"Last night you asked me if I thought my friends had anything to do with Charlotte's murder." "You want to change your answer?" "Yes."

EPISODE VERDICT

Great, but not a perfect, episode of the second half of season six. The murder mystery is so interesting and is giving this show a little bit of new life, even though murder mysteries are very common in Rosewood and the girls are always prime suspects, even 5B was all about how the girls might have murdered Mona in the eyes of the police. But this is just somehow different, it feels different. I haven't really cared about the absence of A and it has been refreshing to not have the constant texts, but I also can't wait for them to come back. Individual storylines for the characters are the best they've been in years, and I feel really invested in what's going on, even for characters I stopped caring about ages ago. I'm really impressed with the turn of this show and where it's heading, and the next eight episodes will hopefully not fall to the pressure of what usually happens - a great start, a very soft middle, and a big ending. Just make all of it great.


EPISODE AWARDS

Prettiest Little Liar: Hanna, she tried to be loyal to Aria, until it looked really bad, then got the truth out of her - and still covered her back by deleting the CCTV footage.

Boyfriend Material: I'm actually going to say Jordan. He's quite dreamy actually.

Biggest Asshole: Lorenzo - he's going to be the new Tanner.

Most Sympathetic Character: Emily for her ordeals and her scene at the graveyard.

Favourite Episode Pairing: Hanna + Spencer + Emily for getting the truth out of Aria.

Best Line: "So you kept the table?" - Caleb. "Of course I did." - Hanna.

Funniest Line: "You'll save 'em, I'll dress 'em." - Hanna

Best Moment: The dinner at Alison's.

Saddest Moment: Emily at her father's grave.

Creepiest Moment: "It's not a giant leap... In fact I think I told Ezra how to do it." - This right here sent chills up my spine.

Shadiest Moment: Emily lying to Hanna - that girl is all lies now.

Funniest Moment: Not really one in this episode.

Damned Disappointment: Playing duck, duck, goose is going nowhere just yet.

Biggest Question Mark Award: Who was at Jessica's grave at the end? Her killer? Uber A?

Biggest ReveAl: Aria left the hotel room with Ezra and saw Charlotte enter the church.


What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts on the episode in the comments and be sure to watch the next episode on January 26th on Freeform!



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