Friday, January 9, 2015

Pretty Little Liars 5x15 "Through A Glass, Darkly" [Contributor: Katie Campbell]

"Through A Glass, Darkly"
Original Airdate: January 6, 2015
Katie Campbell is a senior at California State University, Fresno majoring in mass communication and journalism with emphases in public relations and advertising. She enjoys analyzing television and loves television series that celebrate strong female friendships. Katie is the newest member of Just About Write and will be recapping Pretty Little Liars this season. Please welcome her aboard. :)
“People leave. People die. It’s the only sure thing there is in this world,” Mike said to Ezra about Mona. In the season 5B premiere episode, “Through a Glass, Darkly,” that is the only sure thing the Liars know as they’ve discovered time and again nothing in their lives is really how it appears to be.

The episode opens with the gang dressed in black dresses and purple leis at Mona’s funeral with an empty casket, since her body has yet to be discovered.  Then surprise, surprise… Ali shows up at the funeral where she is promptly slapped by Mona’s mother, who also thinks Ali is the killer. Spencer sums it up best sarcastically: “Showing up to your victim’s funeral? Classy.”

Determined to find Mona’s body, Hanna turns to the not-at-all-creepy Mrs. Grunwald (insert sarcastic eye-roll here) and her psychic abilities. Grunwald reveals to Hanna that Mona ‘s spirit is not in peace and that she is having trouble passing through to the afterlife. Grunwald said that Ali and Mona hated one another because each was afraid of the other, since each knew secrets about the other. Grunwald said that she can only see “through a glass, darkly” and that Mona’s body is not in Rosewood but in the dark because her spirit is bound due to the betrayal and loss that she suffered. Grunwald later runs into Ali and tells her that she is in her thoughts and prayers and they exchange significant stares, and I wonder if it’s supposed to be some sort of warning or acknowledgement of whatever Grunwald knows about Ali and Mona. I hope the show reveals more about Grunwald and explores more of her background.

One thing that really stood out to me this episode was how Ali had really lost all respect, sympathy, and power. When Aria ran into Ali and was corned by her, she refused to listen to Ali and instantly blew her attack whistle. As Mona’s alleged killer and the supposed “A,” she officially lost her status as leader and even as the “it” girl. I recently binge-watched the first two seasons of Pretty Little Liars on Netflix and recall how the old Aria, from before Ali’s disappearance, was blackmailed into staying at a Halloween party she didn’t want to go to because Ali threatened to reveal her father’s affair with a student. No longer the trusting, easygoing and naïve girl, Aria won’t let Ali even attempt to threaten her and shuts her down immediately. Jason is also through with protecting Ali. When the police showed him the video of the blonde attacking Mona, Jason discredited Ali’s alibi, admitting she had not been home the entire Thanksgiving Day, resulting in her arrest.

One of the most interesting aspects about this show is the constant reminder of how people and our relationships with people are not black and white in nature. No one is 100 percent evil or 100 percent good. Ali can be mean and heartless toward others, but can also make them feel special.  She has a way of warping the truth to justify her actions and remembers the past in a way that is favorable to her. As Jason tells her: “You always had a knack for that… remembering things differently, you and Dad.”

Going along with the black-and-white theme is the girls’ tumultuous relationship with frenemy Mona, played so beautifully by Janel Parrish.  Mona was once Hanna’s best friend, then became “A,” and lastly turned out to be a trusted ally of the Liars'. In a flashback, Hanna recalled Mona telling her that she was smarter than Spencer and that she hid it because she was afraid. I’m certain that moment was a confidence builder for Hanna since she is often portrayed as dumb and naïve. I hope the show continues doing flashbacks with the girls and Mona, since those scenes give so much insight into their characters.

Mike and Aria’s hear-to-heart about Mona solidified her importance on the show and was tear-jerking. As Mike tells Aria, regarding Mona: “She wasn’t nice. Anyone can be nice. There will never be anyone like her. Ever.” Too often, people, especially women, are described as "nice" when people can’t think of anything complimentary to say about them; despite the fact, there is so much more depth to a person than one adjective. Mike stating that “anyone can be nice” and recognizing that Mona wasn’t shows that he acknowledges she caused problems for his sister, but again Mona wasn't a black-and-white character, so he loved her despite all of her flaws. Aria tells Mike that she would like to hear what Mona was really like sometime to get to know her through his memories. Then when Aria leaves the room she can hear Mike sobbing in the other room as she cries as well. These heartfelt moments really anchor the show, giving it a much-needed change in pace from all of the nonstop drama.

Per usual: “A” makes a dramatic appearance, attacking Aria and stealing Mona’s hard drive. I’m still not sold that Ezra isn’t a member of the A-Team, since Aria decided not to tell him about the attack (hmm… suspicious).

For once, all of the lies and chaos spin in the four girls’ favor. Ali is arrested for murdering Mona and Spencer is greeted by Toby, who I must say looks extra hot in his police uniform, and Tanner with the news that the charge against her of murdering Bethany Young has been dropped, with evidence indicating that Ali could have possibly killed Bethany in addition to Mona.

At the end, the Liars fantasize about leaving Rosewood, imagining lives free of “A.” Of course, “A” will have none of it. The girls question whether Ali is really “A” after a fireworks show that illuminated a bright red “A” and whether Ali could have pulled this off locked up in an orange jumpsuit.

With all of the bombshells that happened this episode, viewers are left with even more questions. Is it still possible that Ali is “A?” Could “A” really be an A-Team this time? What is on Mona’s encrypted laptop and who stole the hard drive? Did Ali really kill Mona? If not, who did? As we all know, this show has proven over the last four years that the simple answer is never the right one.

Memorable Moments/Quotes: 
  • Loving Aria’s red moto jacket! Very “A” -esque.
  • “It was so ghastly,” Spencer said about Ali showing up at Mona’s funeral.
  • “She’s not some card flipper at the carnival,” said Hanna, defending Mrs. Grunwald’s psychic abilities to Caleb.
  • “They’re the ones that are asking you to lie and all I want is the truth,” said Spencer, trying to persuade Jason to stop protecting Ali.
  • Possibly the most quotable exchange on TV ever: “How can you live in such a psychically constipated environment?” Grunwald questioned Hanna. “ I eat a lot of fiber,” she responded.
  • I noticed Mrs. Grunwald is wearing a wedding ring. Does this mean we should expect a visit from Mr. Grunwald soon? Will he also have a supernatural power?
  • Paily’s goodbye was so sad but with the Liars’ relationship history we know it’s never really over.
  • “I’ve been to Atlantic City. You made the right choice,” Hanna said about Emily staying in Rosewood.
Any good conspiracy theories about this season thus far? Share your thoughts on this episode with us in the comments below!


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