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Pretty Little Liars - Of Late I Think of Rosewood (Winter Premiere) - Review: "Desperate Little Liars"

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Directed by Ron Lagomarsino
Written by Joseph Dougherty
Reviewed by Gavin Hetherington



Well we have a lot to discuss with the return of Pretty Little Liars. We were left with the reveal that Charlotte/CeCe was A, and when all is said and done, we skip forward five whole years. I'm all for a rejuvenation for a show that's been around for quite some time (six years this June! Wow!), though at first a time jump, to me, was too much in Housewives territory. Or One Tree Hill. I couldn't mind too much, because a breath of fresh air was just what this show needed, so I started to get really excited about this time jump. The show has dealt with little jumps before, but nothing of this magnitude - of years and years. So my verdict on this tactic - did it work? Based on this episode alone, I'm going to go with a yes. I really enjoyed it, and I loved the new sort of feel of the show. Am I the only one who thinks it's kind of matured? I know the characters are now a bit older, but there's just that new TV show smell about this now. Also, the new, updated opening sequence is quite nice too, though it feels a little weird seeing the girls older and Alison added in. I heard a different liar is going to do the "sshh" with each episode, I wonder who will "sshh" the best.

So the main plot of this winter premiere was the reunion of the Liars. They're called together to return to Rosewood by Alison (how poetic, she's still pulling the strings), all to help her get her sister Charlotte released from a psychiatric hospital. This girl put the liars through Hell, and even though I did feel sympathetic towards her story in the mid-season finale, this kind of favour was a big ask from Alison. I kind of expected all the girls to flat-out refuse to help her, so it was quite surprising seeing them on Alison's side at the hearing. I love giving characters second chances, but this is A, and I'm sure Charlotte had changed, and I was quite interested in seeing her outside of the hospital, to see her interactions with the cast and what she was going to do next - but now she's dead. Not sure how to feel about that. It's opened up a great little murder mystery where any of the Liars could be a prime suspect, but it felt very quick and sudden. I kind of knew she wouldn't have killed herself.

"They let A out."

It's safe to say the liars have come a long way since their tortured days by A. Five years have done the girls wonders, well, 3 out of 4 ain't bad. I'll start with Spencer. She's now working for the government, and has inspired her mother to run for State Senate. I can see this becoming a version of Scandal - and we already have more appearances of wine in this episode than any other. I'm happy that she is doing so well, and that she got a great job, as I worried she would fall to pieces when her education started to slip. She's still the smart one and that's the way I like her. She's also quite funny drunk, and her confession of love to the girls was sweet but it gave me a good chuckle. I'll enjoy more scenes of these girls being sophisticated and doing more grown-up adult-ing. And I wasn't 100% sure if Spencer and Caleb are seeing each other - it kind of sounds and appears like it, but I don't know, we didn't see them be intimate. Anyone confirm this for me?

I got a little panicked at the beginning of this episode when it appeared that Hanna had a child. My relief when the kid's mother picked her up from the airplane seat was incredible - I did not want any of these girls being mothers just yet. Not a fan of that plot point. I'm excited to meet her fiancé, Jordan. Now that Hanna may be stuck in Rosewood a little longer, I'm sure he's going to come round and visit. I like how Ashley renovated Radley into a new kind of restaurant - I'm so glad we never have to go back to that asylum. It was quite weird not seeing Hanna and Caleb together as I've been so used to them - and the same with Spencer and Toby, and Aria and Ezra. I'm kind of glad those couples are taking a break, so maybe we'll see the characters do more outside of their relationships.

Poor Emily. This five-year jump hasn't been so kind to her. Firstly, she's working behind a bar (though to be fair, the bar looks quite nice), but she seems to be putting dollar bills in her purse - is she a thief now? And then a little later, she's popping pills. So she's a thieving pill-popping school drop-out. Poor Emily. And on top of that, her father died. This is really sad for her, and her world seems like it's falling apart. She's putting on a good front though, despite her circumstances, so I hope she crumbles under the pressure in the next few episodes. She seems to have regained her friendship with Toby again - another thing I like about this jump is that we get to explore other relationships between characters, some that have long been forgotten about. It will be interesting to see if the writers will take full advantage of Emily.

And Aria. She's doing pretty well herself, and she's on the career path I want to go on, so right now I'm relating to her the most. I also like how she and Ezra didn't jump on each other. Ezra has an interesting backstory in this episode and I'd like to know way more about it - 15 dead or missing from his trip to South America? There's an interesting story there, and whether the show explores it or not, I have no idea. But back to Aria, she won the Prettiest Little Liar award for her honesty at Charlotte's hearing. I loved her story of when she was on the train, and it stopped in the tunnel and the lights went out, and she was the girl screaming. The flashbacks too, not just to the dollhouse but other moments, were a nice touch too. I loved her honesty and I'm glad the girls acknowledged that too.


I was sure when the episode was ending, and the girls were outside the church, that they would get a text from the new A. Uber A. I am also very glad that did not happen, and instead we have a murder mystery where any of the girls could be a suspect. My top suspect is Mona, for the minute. She makes the most sense, but is perhaps the most obvious. There were a few ways the writers could have handled this time jump, and I am very relieved in the direction they decided to take. I really enjoyed this episode and I look forward to seeing more of how this time jump plays out. I'm not entirely sure what year this is supposed to be within the show, or the girls' ages, but so far, so good. A lot of interesting developments and it will be good to keep an eye on some of the girls, like Emily, to see if she goes on a very dark, downward spiral. This feels like the old show, but new, and it's a breath of fresh air to see these girls a little more mature. Maybe now, when the new A takes over, they'll make smarter choices in finding out who their final hurdle is.

And can I just say - I LOVE the promotional posters for this season, like the new one I've used for the header. I was let down that 6A didn't really have good promotional material, but they knocked it out the park with this one.


Prettiest Little Liar: Aria, for telling the truth at the hearing.

Boyfriend Material: Caleb, and apparently he is boyfriend material to Spencer if they are shacking up.

Biggest Asshole: Sara Harvey. Just no Sara.

Most Sympathetic Character: Aria for her PTSD story about being on the train.

Favourite Episode Pairing: I'm going to go with all four girls together, being reunited. It pains me to think these girls just don't see each other anymore.

Best Line: "We're not on the playground anymore Alison. We haven't been in a long time." - Spencer

Funniest Line: "One of the life-saving pieces of information I've learned is that these have an off button." - Hanna

Best Moment: The hearing.

Saddest Moment: Alison in grief over her sister's death.

Creepiest Moment: Lorenzo revealing Charlotte was already dead before she fell from the tower.

Shadiest Moment: Mona was acting a little shady. What is that girl up to?

Funniest Moment: The Coven of the Sacred Cocktails.

Damned Disappointment: We didn't really get to see Charlotte do anything while she was out.

Biggest Question Mark Award: Who killed Charlotte?

Biggest ReveAl: Charlotte is dead, already.

What did you think of the mid-season premiere? Let me know your thoughts on the episode in the comments and be sure to watch the next episode on January 19th 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
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