The beloved teen show has been off track from the books since the very first episode when it was revealed not one of the four main characters matched her book description (albeit, Aria is pretty close). So upon its season five premiere, the hopes of certain characters being dead, others ever being introduced and story arcs happening, were all lost.
The audience first sees the Liars at Mona’s funeral, three months after her murder. Emotions run high as Hanna is openly upset about her “friend’s” death and Spencer is a suspect in a murder case, causing all book fans to openly groan. As the storyline openly no longer follows any story arc of the books, it’s hard to tell who is friend, who is foe and most importantly, who is A.
The Liars, Spencer, Hanna, Emily and Aria, are still actively searching who has been threatening, stalking and openly harassing them under the guise of “A.” With Mona’s death still lingering over Rosewood, the primary suspect is their friend-turned-enemy, turned-friend-again, turned-enemy-yet-again, Alison DiLaurentis. The flipping back and forth of “Is Alison A?” and who to trust in the affluent Philadelphia suburb aren’t what is unrealistic about this show (the story garnered 18 books over nine years), but the fact high school seniors can run about a city at all hours of the night and yet their parents don’t seem to wonder where their daughters are.
With graduation looming for the Liars, one would assume that it’s crunch time: finals, cleaning out lockers, saying last goodbyes and grad parties are the norm of many American high school seniors on the verge of graduating. Not in ABC Family’s world. Spencer, Hanna, Emily and Aria have all the time in the world to investigate if Alison is the current A and to prove she murdered Mona.
As it looks like there is no current crossroads for book “Pretty Little Liars” and television show “Pretty Little Liars” to collide, there is one thing both sets of Liars have in common: their knack for getting into heaps of trouble where there shouldn’t be. (Brief spoilers for those who haven’t watched.) Aria almost sees her death by nail gun, Emily and Spencer intend to plant false evidence in a murder case and Hanna … well Hanna is too busy trying to channel her dead “friend’s” spirit to cause trouble. If all this bouncing back and forth among storylines is too difficult to pay attention to, there is one more factor trying to grab your attention on the screen.
While this may be the 21st century and most millennials are connected to the Internet 24/7 in one way or another, the suggested hashtags that popped up across the screen throughout the hour were more annoying than conversation-worthy. #PLLCoverUp, #PLLSocialHour, #MonaCam, #PLLFireworks and the obvious #PrettyLittleLiars were all intended to get viewers buzzing about the show on social media, but with bright white font appearing on screen at some of the most dramatic and gasp-worthy moments, the hashtags just took away form the suspense each scene had to offer.
Though book readers may be rolling their eyes and inwardly sighing, the always-clever I. Marlene King has dropped some subtle (and other not-so-subtle) hints not only about the identity of A, but also of the constantly twisting “Pretty Little Liars” book series plots. Why does Ali remember that family outing differently than Jason does? Is it typical that the youngest sibling has three albums full of baby photos while the first born has seemingly none? And with Ali blatantly warning the Liars they’d be sorry if they let her get arrested, viewers and readers alike are left with their minds churning the never-answered question: Who is A?
With stoylines overlapping, questions not being solved, saturated colors and perfect hair gracing the screen, the premiere of the fifth season of “Pretty Little Liars” receives a C-. There has to be something to get the viewers to come back for next week’s installment, and wrapping everything up nicely and neatly within the hour is all too perfect for the Rosewood teens. There is no way Spencer would have gotten off that easily with a murder charge — A would have made sure of it. While last season’s acting may not have been the best from the “A” cast, the premiere shows every actor is back to make sure cable television is hooked on the Liars’ saga.