Pretty Little Liars 5.09 Review: “March of Crimes”

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Pretty Little Liars has grabbed my attention. This week we have Emily committing theft, Spencer seeing double, Caleb’s unfaltering trust in Hanna reiterated, Aria coming around to believing Hanna, and Al getting the shock of her life.

This episode brought together the investigative team of Emily and Spencer. Emily overhears a recording with Ali’s voice that Noel is listening to and logically, for this show, breaks into his car to find out what he has in his possession. She finds photos and recordings of Ali during the time she was supposed to be dead. These prove that she wasn’t kidnapped. Emily spills to Spencer who races to the lake house to hide the new evidence and is confronted there by Noel. He wants his stuff back because it’s his insurance against Ali. Spencer counters that she and her friends need insurance too. She comes to an agreement with Noel to hide the pictures and recording in a safe place for all of them.

Next, Spencer, while at the eye doctor spots two Jennas. She immediately calls Emily to come and see for herself. When Emily arrives, she is surprised that the “second” Jenna is her new friend Sydney, who for some reason is dressed almost exactly as Jenna is (there’s that twin thing popping up again). Emily demands to know why Sydney is friends with Jenna, but doesn’t get an adequate response at the time, though later Sydney tries to explain that she met Jenna in Philadelphia and didn’t know that she would actually like Emily when she got to know her. It’s not really explained if Jenna had instructed Sydney to befriend Emily on purpose though.

Hanna’s drinking comes to a head when Ashley finds her flask and lectures her about dealing with her problems with alcohol. Hanna finally tells Caleb about Zack and he immediately believes her. He heads to the engagement party that Ella, Aria’s mother, and Zack are throwing to confront Zack and ends up punching him. I really can’t say it enough; I’m kind of happy that Ravenswood was cancelled so that Caleb could come back to Hanna. Even though they start off the episode seeming to have fallen into a toxic pattern, Caleb always has Hanna’s best interests and happiness in mind. Caleb reveals that “A” left a note for Zack encouraging him to hit on Hanna a second time.

Finally, Ezra is thrown some shade on this show; Aria is questioned by Lieutenant Tanner about her relationship with Ezra and his possible interactions with other high schools girls, namely Shana. I’ll take any crumb that remotely resembles the writers remembering that Aria was dating her teacher…which is illegal. Aria wises up to Zack’s actions and tells her mother right before the engagement party, leading Ella to immediately end the engagement. Ella is devastated, though she had previous suspicions about Zack, and turns to her ex-husband for comfort.

Ali is continuing to threaten/beg all the girls to keep up her cover story of being kidnapped. Ali actually seems to have lost some control this week. She complains to Aria that she fears their group is falling apart and genuinely questions Jenna about why Shana turned on her. Ali is later summoned to the police station to identify a man who has confessed to kidnapping her. His story matches her lie and the look on her face at the end of episode is perfection. I really, really hope that Ali is getting massively played by “A.” This is “A” baiting Ali, letting her know that “A” truly knows all and can let the cat out of the bag whenever he or she chooses. I think this will lead to Ali amping up her game, which was definitely lacking.

Noel Kahn played a pretty prominent role this episode. I would expect that he will continue to do so this season, but PLL has a habit of building up a character’s story and then explaining away any mystery and/or suspicion that had developed with a flimsy explanation that’s not particularly exciting or satisfying. (See Season 3, Aria’s father’s involvement in Ali’s disappearance That Night was very disappointing to me.)

I had so many favorite moments during “March of Crimes.” Caleb and Hanna working together is always great, but I loved the show acknowledging that the girls and really care about each other outside of the crazy “A” bubble. Spencer took it upon herself to talk to Caleb about her worries with Hanna drinking and with how she was disappointed to see their relationship not being healthy for Hanna anymore. It didn’t come across as a lecture but as a concerned friend who cared about Hanna as well as Caleb. Again this is what Pretty Little Liars does
best; it gives the viewers those moments of true friendship. In the scene that Aria asks Hanna to forgive her, Hanna quietly asks Aria “why didn’t (you) believe (me), it’s actually touching to see how hurt Hanna was when Aria wouldn’t trust her. I also appreciated it because we don’t often get Aria/Hanna scenes and I like to think that all four original Liars each have a special relationship with one another.

[Photo via ABC Family]

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