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Pretty Little Liars - Power Play - Review: "Better Late Than Never"


7.14 - "POWER PLAY"
Directed by Roger Cumble
Written by Lijah J. Barasz
Reviewed by Gavin Hetherington

I apologise for the lateness of this review. When 'Power Play' aired, it was my final week at University and I had so many deadlines to hit and couldn't find a back-up to review the episode.

SEASON GUIDE





'POWER PLAY' REVIEW

Holy Moly! This was an episode and a half!! After a couple of hit-and-misses so far in 7B, I can safely say this episode is finally what I was hoping for this close to the end. I say this every week but that board game has given me absolute life this season - it's allowing each character to shine every time it's their turn, and in this episode, even the others who didn't play still knocked it out of the park. It's the first time in a long time I can say all the Liars had a fair amount of greatness in one episode alone. This week it was Ali's turn to play the game, and it led to some fantastic scenes with her in the baby shop. Not only that, but we do find out Jessica's killer, as well as see a potential betrayal from one of the Liars herself. Just all in all, so much to discuss. I was thinking of maybe doing it as a double review with the next episode considering my lateness of writing this review (again I do apologise, Uni kicked my butt in the last few weeks), but after seeing this episode, I just knew it had to have its own review.

ARIA THE BETRAYER

Aria is actually having a great time storyline-wise since the return of Nicole. At first, I was so disappointed we didn't get to see the follow-up to the cliffhanger of the previous episode, with Nicole turning up to Ezra's apartment. Instead, we got a tidy 'I'll take care of it' from Ezra, and before we know it, she's gone again. But I can forgive that considering what the rest of the episode provided us with for Aria. Firstly, seeing her become more desperate has been fun to watch - but to see the extent she would go to to skip her turn, just wow. I enjoyed those video calls from A.D., and the decision Aria made to leave Alison to go into the baby store alone. I didn't expect to see Sydney in the car, or to know that she created the game. Alas, though, she is not A.D. I would have been disappointed if she was, so that was a sigh of relief. But extending the option for Aria to join the 'winning' team was a nice little turning point. Not only that, but for Aria to point-blank lie to the girls when asked where she was, well, that's certainly not a good thing (except for us, the viewers, because it's getting juicy af). The end scene, where the game goes through the girls and lands on Hanna - shivers. Loved it! Drama, drama, drama!

And poor Hanna! Now it has landed on her again, but she had a pretty chill episode this time around. Still, she got her fair share when she joined Spencer to look for Mary. Who should she find, but Ted! I've missed Ted, he's a sweetheart. I was ready to burn him at the stake when it turned out he was harbouring Mary - but then he made me like him again when he came clean to Hanna. Seriously, what a guy. I enjoyed their reunion, too, and it will be so nice to see a reunion with Ashley too. The three together, like a family again, that would just be the dream for the Marin-family-ever-after. I liked the little twist of Ted turning out to be Charlotte's father, and then, another reveal that Lucas was Charlotte's friend back when she was Charles, all those years ago! What does it all mean?! I'm sure now that it's Hanna's turn again that we will find out the connections with Lucas. I've always liked Lucas, but it is about time some of his dirty laundry came out in the wash!

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE EGGS

Long before this episode aired, I had heard a lot of rumours and theories in the PLL fandom about Alison's baby actually being Emily's due to her eggs being stolen. It made total sense, and it looks like it's true, too. But that doesn't take away from the greatness of the reveal. I loved the entire scene of Alison in the baby clothes store, from having to select 10 items, to being given the customised gift from A.D. that's for the donor - Emily. The franticness of the entire scene, especially when she cries for the puzzle piece, shows her own desperation during that moment. The game is really pushing the girls to their limits and providing them with some dramatic moments. And this line - 'It's not mine, Emily. It's yours.' - was delivered so well, I still got chills despite already knowing the secret. To end her storyline in the episode with her decision to keep the baby, or at least delay the abortion, was a nice round-off.

I'm rather torn about the whole Paige thing. It's such a crappy situation to be in now, and while I consider myself to be an Emison shipper, I feel sorry for Paige in a way. Only because, if we keep my opinion solely in relation to season 7 and not what came before, Paige has been a nice help for Emily. She's not been backstabbing (that we know of) and I really enjoyed the bike race. If this was another couple, I'd be totally on board. But now Paige has turned down the offer in Iowa while Alison has decided to keep the baby - grr, argh! It's so complicated haha. I do feel a touch of pity for Paige, and I am glad she came back to help bring closure to that whole love storyline they had in the past, but I'm also ready for Emily to just settle down. I don't think she should settle down with Paige, unfortunately. I have liked her this season, but the whole baby thing is just too big now, that if they got together, it just wouldn't feel right. Get rid of the love interests, writers, and just settle Emily down!!

JESSICA'S KILLER REVEALED

It's nice to have Peter back after, you know, his daughter got shot and his past dirty deeds have come out, so he needed to face up to that. Better late than never. While Spencer has been circling the drain for a few episodes now with the whole Mary Drake drama, it was nice to even see Mary Drake back for a couple of pivotal scenes. The flashback, to when we saw Jessica in her room seasons ago, turns out to be Mary, which was quite clever. And Peter also gave more insight with the revelation that Mary killed her own sister, Jessica. I do want to believe this and let the whole 'Who Killed Jessica?' be the end of that, but I also don't know if I can trust Peter's word at face value. It makes sense, but so do other options. Anyone know if it's confirmed for definite? Anyway, Spencer finally getting some answers from her father was something she desperately needed. All that's left now, for the Hastings at least, is for Spencer to acknowledge that while Veronica may not be her birth mother, she is still her real mother. It's about love, not blood.

EPISODE VERDICT

Consider my life restored. The many developments in this episode alone has catapulted the show into its final stretch - Aria potentially joining A.D., Jessica's killer finally revealed, the baby belonging to Emily, Spencer getting closer to the truth about Mary Drake, potential shade with Lucas - how can these not make you even more excited about the final 6 episodes. I'll say it again, this is the episode I was waiting for. It's made me excited all over again just to see what will happen next, and it's about time. No more beating around the bush, no more hoping for something to happen - it's going to happen! We are getting answers and some fresh drama when I thought the pulse was slowly starting to die. And can I just say, I am so excited for Mona to know about the game in the next episode too. I'm living, Liars, I am living!


EPISODE AWARDS

Prettiest Little Liar: Alison DiLaurentis.

Boyfriend Material: Ted!

Biggest Asshole: Sydney.

Most Sympathetic Character: Alison.

Favourite Episode Pairing: Spencer and Hanna.

Best Line: Spencer: "If the cops get one more clue about what we did." Aria: "Then it's game over."

Funniest Line: None.

Best Moment: Alison finds out Emily is her donor.

Saddest Moment: Emily and Alison come to terms with what A.D. has done to them.

Creepiest Moment: Aria gets the video call from A.D.

Shadiest Moment: Aria not telling the girl about Sydney; the game skips her turn.

Funniest Moment: None.

Damned Disappointment: No confrontation between Nicole and Aria.

Biggest Question Mark Award: Will Aria join Team A.D.?

Biggest ReveAl: Emily is the donor - though plenty of theories were floating around before this reveal.

What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments and make sure you tune into the next episode, airing tomorrow, May 23 on Freeform!



About the Author - Gavin Hetherington
SpoilerTV Senior Staff Writer and award-winning author of the 'Abyssal Sanctuary' series. Gavin joined SpoilerTV in August 2014 and, as of 2016-17, reviews Pretty Little Liars and Salem. Previously, he reviewed 2 Broke Girls, Devious Maids, Mistresses and Sleepy Hollow. Gavin also writes special anniversary articles, most recently for Charmed and Desperate Housewives. You can contact him at gavin@spoilertv.com.
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