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Pretty Little Liars - The Wrath of Kahn - Review: "It's Close to Being Over, Bitch."


7.09 - "THE WRATH OF KAHN"
Directed by Chad Lowe
Written by Jonell Lennon
Reviewed by Gavin Hetherington

SEASON GUIDE





'THE WRATH OF KAHN' REVIEW

Firstly, I apologise that this review was not posted the day after this episode aired - I've been in Paris and just got back yesterday. So, instead this review goes live the day that the mid-season finale airs, to hype it up a little and remember the episode that comes before. With the announcement that Pretty Little Liars will be ending after the next 11 episodes, which I had no doubt of, it also gives this episode a sort of bittersweet ambience. Things are heading off in one singular direction now, instead of what seemed like a random route on a road to nowhere, so it just so happened that I really enjoyed this episode. I felt that there was enough progression to keep it from being considered too filler, and a few good scenes to anticipate the summer finale tonight.

A PAIGE FROM THE PAST (WHERE SHE SHOULD HAVE STAYED)

Whether you love or hate Paige, you have to agree that she sparks some kind of new life into Emily's rather dull storylines lately. I couldn't be more disappointed with the evolution of Emily's character, so why not bring back one of her past love interests. I wasn't overtly keen on Paige back in the day, so bringing her back was something I felt impartial about. I am glad she's back, only because she's acting shady and it means Emily isn't just floating around the other Liars, repeating things we already know and going off and doing things that have no relevance to the plot. I found Paige complimenting Emily to be a little overkill on her part, which to me indicates Paige is going to crush her for this coaching job. I cannot trust her right now - I don't know if we're supposed to, or if it's the way Lindsey is playing her, or what - but she is not to be trusted.

Just look at the way she's looking at Sabrina, when Emily phones her at the end to tell her Noel Kahn is behind it all. So sketchy. I do like Lindsey Shaw, but Paige is a whole different matter. I can't wrap my head around what her game is at the minute, or if she even has a game. She's always been the kind of stalker-y, obsessive type (remember when she almost drowned Emily?), so this is not exactly new behaviour, but she should have grown out of it by now. I'm thinking she's in on the A.D. game, or some kind of game with Jenna and Noel. Maybe A.D. is orchestrating them, and they probably have very little choice but to go along with it. Are they victims? Villains? I'm unsure, but one thing is sure, either we discover why Paige is shadier than midnight soon, or she's gotta go. I'm starting to like and pity Sabrina more and more as these episodes go on.

EZRIA WITHOUT THE EZRA

I always think I like Aria more when Ezra is out of the picture. I don't totally mind them as a couple, but I do prefer it when she's able to fully commit to the Liars when her ball and chain isn't dragging her down. Except, Aria only substituted Ezra for Jason, but to be fair to Jason, he provided way more help than Ezra has been lately. I'm still trying to get used to his long hair too. It was a welcome change for Aria to really have some drive for finding out answers, and her 'act' at the courthouse to get the lady to hand over the information she has was a great moment for her - and it proved very useful in the end. While I didn't expect to get any names of who Mary's other child is, we are one step closer with the name of the judge - Noel Kahn's father.

Lest us not forget the flashbacks of this episode - and there were a few. I wasn't surprised that Aria and Jason had a thing in the time jump - but I was a little surprised he had his long hair for as long as he's had it. It was interesting to see how they were together (though we didn't really see much), and what it was that caused them to go their separate ways. Maybe Aria would have been a more interesting person if she had of went to Ethiopia with Jason. In fact, I really wish she had of. It did end up showing the sort of obsession Aria has to her relationship with Ezra, as Jason himself noted. It felt like Jason was there as a character to throw out generic romantic lines at Aria, like "she's really special" and "you two were always meant to be" and, the creme-de-la-creme, "I can't imagine there's anyone better than you". Very sweet, but too manufactured. It was a good moment to end with, when Aria got the text from Ezra that Nicole wasn't one of the hostages, to see the torn reaction from Aria. Should she be happy that someone could still be dead? Very hard stuff there.

SPARCO, POLO

I really wish Spencer did not lose that damn drive - because she almost made it with yet another Prettiest Little Liar award. She should have had that taped to the inside of her bra or somewhere A.D. (or whoever) could not have easily got it. 7 seasons and 149 episodes have meant nothing to Spencer, she just does what she wants. Regardless, she still had a great episode sleuthing, and I loved her flashbacks to the dollhouse. More of these please writers, before the show ends! The flash drive was such a helpful, incriminating piece of evidence that the girls could have used. It would have blown so many doors open, and I was hoping she would look at the other files too - like Mona's, since she was there longer, and I'm curious to see what happened to her to transform her into "Alison". Great acting as always Troian, and I loved her reaction to seeing the video for the first time. Truly sad.

And I loved the whole storm backdrop of the episode, as it gave Spencer's scenes more of the dark and gritty feel that it needed. It could have been amped up a bit, and been like a true DH disaster episode, but unfortunately it only went as far as a tree falling through Spencer's window. Loved the scene anyway. And the door being open and the shadow on the wall? That was great and effective, but I was also shaking my head so hard at Spencer. Silly, silly girl. As much as I enjoyed the following scene with Spencer and Marco, I wasn't entirely convinced of their chemistry. I'm still not, actually. I don't feel they're as compatible as they should be, but I do like the name Sparco, so I'm just going to roll with it for now. Maybe he's up to something too? But I'm only thinking that because this show has made me rather paranoid about everything.

I WILL FIND YOU, AND I WILL TRY AND DRUG YOU

Oh how I really did admire Hanna in this episode. She went with her gut and took a very active role in her pursuit of Noel. It really helped level this episode too, so it wasn't what I would consider filler. While she made a few mistakes and some her plan was as transparent as the "ghost" of Detective Wilden, I couldn't help but find myself sucked into her plan. It was rather solid, though how she planned on drugging Noel in a public pub and carry him herself to her secret den is beyond me, but I'm sure, if she had of succeeded in drugging him, the scene would cut to him already being on the chair. Movie magic and all that. The sleuthing level was very high when she got Sara's phone from the rubbish he disposed of and threatened him with it. That was very clever. But trying to give him a drink? Oh, I'm glad Noel didn't fall for that, because that would have just made him very, very stupid.

The entire interaction of that scene was very well done, and I loved how Hanna began it, when Noel said "I'm waiting for somebody" and she responds "You're waiting for me." The confidence, the sass, everything was perfect. Noel was a good match, and it seemed that he won when he overpowered her for the phone. It's just a shame she wasn't more smart about the drink, or it could have been a pretty fool-proof plan. I found it oddly hilarious that she went a more physical route in the end by clubbing him over the head. Effective, I have to say, and literally the icing on the cake when she said "it's over, bitch". Oh Hanna, we know it isn't exactly over, and Noel is going to turn out to be just a guy trying to hide his own secrets, and not the A.D. she is after. But it does mean the next episode is going to be amazing, because Hanna has now probably put everyone in danger with her plan, which I both love and hate her for.

EPISODE VERDICT

'The Wrath of Kahn' was always going to be about Noel, so it was a much-needed episode to show the desperation of Hanna to expose him as the man who tortured her - whether she is right or wrong is another question. But at least every character had some good moment, even Emily, which I'm surprised at, and that's thanks to Paige being back (whom I dislike and find all too shady). I much enjoyed Ezra being out of the picture so Aria could spread her wings a little, and Spencer managed to get some good material with her flashbacks and creepy moments alone, and Hanna put her foot down in a big way - she's had enough, we've had enough, and it's time to force some answers out of people. Overall, a good episode, and one that will lead into one hell of a summer finale, one that I think is bound to top last year's.


EPISODE AWARDS

Prettiest Little Liar: Aria Montgomery. Was going to be Spencer, but she let the flash drive go and get stolen. Rookie mistake. Plus, Aria is always better when Ezra isn't there, she can focus on actually helping along the mystery.

Boyfriend Material: Marco. He's a good guy, I'm sure, it's just a shame I don't find him that compatible with Spencer.

Biggest Asshole: Noel Kahn.

Most Sympathetic Character: Sabrina, actually. I feel sorry that she's being forced in this love triangle with Emily and Paige.

Favourite Episode Pairing: Aria and Jason.

Best Line: Hanna: "It's over, bitch."

Funniest Line: Emily: "I'm glad they don't have a 'have you ever committed a crime' box. My answer wouldn't fit on two lines."

Best Moment: Hanna clocking Noel over the head before saying the best line of the episode.

Saddest Moment: Spencer having to watch what happened to her in the Dollhouse.

Creepiest Moment: Spencer in the house alone with the tree crashing through the window and the shadow on the wall.

Shadiest Moment: Paige at the Brew, watching Sabrina as Emily phones her.

Funniest Moment: None.

Damned Disappointment: All of the important information is blacked out in the report. Also, no Mona or Alison (I'm always going to complain about this - fortunately the promo for the next episode rectifies this problem).

Biggest Question Mark Award: How is Hanna going to f*ck this one up?

Biggest ReveAl: Noel's father was the judge presiding over Mary Drake's child's adoption.

What did you think of last week's episode? Did you love it? Hate it? Let me know your thoughts on the episode in the comments and tune into the mid-season finale, airing TONIGHT on Freeform!



About the Author - Gavin Hetherington
Award-winning author of the 'Abyssal Sanctuary' series. As Senior Staff, Gavin joined SpoilerTV in August 2014 and reviews Dead of SummerDevious Maids, Mistresses, Pretty Little Liars and Salem. Gavin will write previews for Empire and Shadowhunters, and backs-up Once Upon a Time, Reign and Scandal. Gavin also writes special anniversary articles, most recently Charmed. You can contact him at gavin@spoilertv.com.
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