Warning: Spoilers for Pretty Little Liars
Last week, Pretty Little Liars aired its last premiere. Though this episode is still a part of season 7, it comes after a six month break. Fans have been waiting to find out the fate of each of the characters and the next portion of AD’s sinister plan.
I can’t say that the episode was disappointing because it was exactly what I expected. In PLL, nothing is permanent, but that also means that nothing has consequences. This was the biggest flaw of the mid-season premiere. Just like the wine moms getting locked in the basement, everything resolves itself because the bad guy (or sometimes the good guy or the neutral guy) runs away or everything simply stops being an issue.
The season also has one of my least favorite tropes in any series: not letting the dead stay dead. With the exception of Noel (who may very well still come back through PLL shenanigans), everyone went back to being completely fine after their respective gruesome fights and accidents. Even when the show tries to work through the trauma of its characters, it is often resolved within a few episodes, never to be mentioned again. So far, there’s no reason to think the last episodes of the series will be any different.
On another show, repetitive structure may not be an issue, or perhaps would be a benefit. However, PLL is a suspense show. They give us the same plots with the same characters that leads to the same outcome: A is discovered, but she’s actually not uber A after all. There’s always someone bigger and badder pulling the strings. Then, the former A will join the liars, only to have her motives questioned constantly by the others. In the interim, the Liars will have torrid love affairs and sneak around in the latest fashions.
This set-up attracts people to the show, but having the same plot recycled two or three or four times gets exhausting quickly. Many characters are set up to be AD (as they always are), but there’s so many unanswered questions and plot holes that I have to wonder if this show will come to a satisfying resolution. There are only ten episodes in the second half of the season. One is already gone and we are no closer to any sort of resolution. Either the last few episodes are going to be a chaotic mess of explanation for 160 episodes of outrAgeous plots, or PLL needs to start narrowing down the suspect list and resolving plots for characters ASAP.
PLL is so unique that I doubt it will lose its character in the ending of the series. They’ve written themselves into a place where they can stay thematically consistent. Still, the show owes it to its most loyal viewers to shock them in new ways and adequately put to rest A, the liars, and the many periphery characters who are dead, missing, or still sneaking around Rosewood even in adulthood.