Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
As the second half of season six of Pretty Little Liars begins, the liars welcome viewers back with what they do best: lie. Aria (Lucy Hale), Spencer (Troian Bellisario), Hanna (Ashley Benson), and Emily (Shay Mitchell) cannot seem to get a break. The five years without A have clearly not taught the liars any lessons. One step back into Rosewood, and they fall right into the same habits. Or maybe it’s just Rosewood? The town does attract creepy and crazy people.
The five-year jump did give the series a refreshing look. The liars are now adults and have adult lives. All of the liars have moved on from their past relationships and some even formed new ones. Aria is dating a new man named Liam and Hanna is engaged to a British man named Jordan. As for careers, Aria, Hanna, and Spencer have found jobs that suit their interests (book publishing, fashion, and lobbying respectively). The only not so fortunate character is Emily. She dropped out of college while dealing with her father’s death.
The initial reunion is a great scene because the liars meet in person for the first time in five years. Just like any millennial in the age of social media, the liars take cute selfies with each other before sitting down to catch up. “Five A-free years,” says Hanna. It is really nice to see the liars in a happy place in their lives, free of any outrageous drama.
But this is PLL, and we all know they are not going to have a happily-ever-after. The writers clearly want the liars to suffer more and add more trauma to their lives. Like the original premise, a big death (Allison’s “death”) shakes up the liars’ lives and they have to start lying to deflect suspicion from themselves and to save their asses. Even though the liars are supposed to be young adults, they are really still teenagers with adult problems. Yes, there is some growth like moving on from past relationships. But even with this, the liars are still connected to their exes. Aria is publishing Ezra’s book, Spencer reads up on Toby’s new girlfriend, and Hanna has some reservations with letting Caleb date Spencer.
The liars are not the only ones back in Rosewood. PLL cannot continue without A. I hope you are not surprised. The first few episodes build up to this reveal. A even has a new look. Instead of the classic back hoodie, the new A decides to don a head mask of an old man and whatever outfit that suits the location, (such as a bellhop in The Radley hotel or a mail man in the liars’ neighborhood) so A can openly stalk the liars. Not creepy at all. I personally would have liked A to keep the black hoodie look but I guess five years is enough to change a character.
With A back in the mix, the liars can relive the good old days. They can return to their constant paranoia. They can again lie to their families and their partners. They can tamper with police evidence. And they can build their reservoir of secrets. The liars must have missed all these old habits because they return to these habits so seamlessly.
Well I guess we are all back on the rollercoaster. I’m ready for PLL to mislead me into thinking that every secondary character is A until they are ready six seasons later to unmask the new incarnation of A.
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