Pretty Little Liars: Pretty Isn't the Point
February 18, 2015 6:18 AM - Season 5, Episode 21 - Subscribe

Determined to get college tuition money without the help of others, Hanna pushes forward with her quest to win the local beauty pageant and hires a pageant coach to ensure her win. Quickly learning that you have to be more than a pretty face to win the grand prize, Hanna turns to Emily for help. Also needing a little help, Aria asks Andrew to help keep tabs on Mike, whose increasingly suspicious behavior suggests a chilling connection to Mona’s death. Meanwhile, Spencer decides to help Jonny on a less than legal adventure.

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posted by Bulgaroktonos (13 comments total)
God, obviously I have a ton of thoughts about this episode, starting with JOHNNY IS THE WORST. We have all always known he is the worst so Spencer why can't you see it? God I hate him so deeply. I did appreciate that they used a proper two-tool lock picking technique to get into the gallery; so many shows imply that you only need the pick and not the torque wrench to pick a lock and it drives me bonkers.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:25 AM on February 18, 2015

Also, Talia's husband -- Emily, GET OUT of that toxic relationship! It's totally fine to be in a relationship you know isn't going to last and if you just wanted to be hookup friends with her that could be absolutely fine but that's clearly not what's going on, and her husband is clearly in denial about some of this and so is she. At the very least, if someone, especially someone in high school, is being referred to as an "experiment" by your husband, something is deeply wrong. Poor Emily. You definitely know better. Also do not join a beauty pageant.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:27 AM on February 18, 2015

And really I haven't even been able to begin processing what Mike told Aria. I mean, Mona was Mona, it's totally plausible that she had a fridge full of vials of her blood because in Mona world it makes perfect sense that you need to demonstrate loyalty to A or for Allison or whomever through, uh, giving them a bunch of vials of your blood, but the whole thing is crazy. I am really not sure what to think about all that and it's going to take me a while to wrap my head around it. I do think it's pretty clear at this point (as it has been for a while to everyone except our intrepid adventurers) that Allison is NOT A. She's also just been left to languish in prison for most of the season in a way that's kind of odd. Also still a horrible friend and sociopath even if she's not A.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:29 AM on February 18, 2015

Yeah Ali isn't A, but she's also not a good person; this can't be emphasized enough.

The Mike reveal feels like the first WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON moment since Mona died. It does make sense for Mona, but it's objectively really weird. I'm super excited to see where it goes. Mona is actually dead, though, right? I thought we saw a body in the closer to the episode where she died.

The beauty pageant plot continues to make zero sense, and Emily entering to win it for Hanna is the cherry on that particular bit of nonsense. Also, $20,000 isn't going to solve all your college woes. That's less than a year and a half of tuition at Penn State. You're investing a lot of time and energy into a part of a solution, when getting the school to recognize that your dad refuses to pay is probably the actual answer.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:44 AM on February 18, 2015

Oh and ugh Jonny. That plot just needs to end. Why are Emily and Spencer both being so stupid about romantic/flirty relationships.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:45 AM on February 18, 2015

Emily at least gets it so she's better than Spencer, but I think she's naive enough, and sufficiently forgiving in general, that she'll let herself get sucked back in.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:49 AM on February 18, 2015

The Mike reveal feels like the first WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON moment since Mona died. It does make sense for Mona, but it's objectively really weird. I'm super excited to see where it goes. Mona is actually dead, though, right? I thought we saw a body in the closer to the episode where she died.

I agree with this. It was great! The "WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON" moments are what make this show great. They're also teasing really hard the "X episodes until the A reveal" thing so...maybe...that's true? I mean, it probably isn't? But it would be so great. I also love that I think that Mona's character existed in such a way that while, as you point out, the whole blood/faking her death thing is objectively bonkers, it does make sense to her. I mean, Mona had a different way of looking at everything and she was very smart and always a few steps ahead of everyone but A, so it actually does work for the character even as it creates a SERIOUSLY WTF moment for us as an audience, and I think that's the show at its best.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:54 AM on February 18, 2015

Something else really important to me is that, whenever we do find out who A is, he or she have an actually good motivation that makes sense. If it were Ali, that would make sense because she is a crazy sociopath who likes manipulating her friends and was also brought up in a world of lies by her mother. When it was Mona back forever ago that made sense because she was somewhat unbalanced and knew them all from school and knew they were Ali's friends and had been deeply damaged by them.

Whomever A is, he or she has gone to a TON of trouble (and spend a ludicrous amount of money) to make their lives miserable and keep track of them and manipulate them (something that hasn't happened as much recently and I'd be happy to see return, especially when they are made to turn on each other to protect themselves). I'm okay with the reason involving a certain amount of mental health issues -- it pretty much has too as there's really no sane reason to do all this -- but if it's just "As be crazy" that's really unsatisfying. Even if the reason A has is relatively petty (and, again, it would sort of have to be), I am really, REALLY hoping that a justification is offered that works for the character.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:03 AM on February 18, 2015

Oh definitely. The show could absolutely lose me with the A reveal, if there's not a motivation that I can get my head around. The whole premise is so insane that the motivation shouldn't and can't be sensible, but it needs to work in the world of the show.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:08 AM on February 18, 2015

My question is what ended up happening to that vanful of deeply mediocre art after Barn Dick got arrested and then kicked out of his barn? I hope that the cops are using it as an object lesson for at risk teens to ward them away from being awful and pretentious.

"Do something with your life or this could be you!"
posted by Copronymus at 9:17 AM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

"You see how heavy-handed this art is? This could be your future."
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:33 AM on February 18, 2015

I would like to see A end up being all of them, unknowingly scheming against each other, like, they all saw the effect that Mona et al had on the others and took opportunities to 'become' A at one point or another. Sort of like the (third) ending to Clue, I guess. It's a terrible message (girls are all mean bitches and backstabbers!) but I think it would be, Clue precedent aside, really original.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 2:33 PM on February 18, 2015

Maybe the whole thing is Ezra's Humbert Humbert style fever dream as he fantasizes about doin' it with high schoolers, wracked with guilt and narrating unreliably.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 3:35 PM on February 18, 2015 [3 favorites]

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