Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pretty Little Liars 5x16 "Fresh Meat" [Contributor: Katie Campbell]

"Fresh Meat"
Original Airdate: January 13, 2015

While other high school seniors’ most difficult decision will be deciding what college to attend, the Liars are not only juggling college admissions but also getting ahead of the ruthless “A” to stop him/her/they from framing them for Mona’s murder. Talk about a stressful school year!

Speaking of college admissions, Aria has yet to receive an acceptance letter from any school, even her safety school, Talmadge. When Aria tells Ezra, he reveals to her that she probably didn’t get into Talmadge because Jackie, his ex, is an admissions officer there. Aria then sends Jackie a letter explaining the hardships of dating an older man and how that negatively affected her high school career. When she tells Emily about the letter, Emily rightly flips a lid and tells her it’s the wrong way to get accepted. With all of the torment “A” has caused the girls over the last few years, Aria surely has an arsenal of hardships to write about in her admissions letter instead. The letter was already sent, though, so Aria goes to the school and tells Jackie she wants to withdraw the letter.  Jackie declines but promises not to tell Ezra about the letter, expressing her disgust with him. Then Jackie attempts to bond with Aria over, what she perceives is, their mutual hatred of the man. Jackie’s niceness toward Aria seems super fishy, though. Aria later receives an acceptance email from the school but the celebration is cut short when she finds an excerpt from the letter used as a bookmark in one of the books at Ezra’s new bookstore.

Hanna is the MVP of this episode, bravely attempting to visit Holbrook at a creepy, middle-of-nowhere RV park, where he is allegedly staying at with his father. Of course, Holbrook isn’t actually there and his father mistakes Hanna for Ali, meaning Ali and Holbrook have been in contact and possibly plotted Mona’s murder together. “A” cannot take the opportunity for granted when a Liar goes out alone. Hanna returns to her car, discovering it was broken into and that the perpetrator filled her teddy bear with raw meat. Seriously, you would think the Liars would have started traveling in groups seasons ago!

Spencer and Caleb make a good team, just not an A-Team (no pun intended). The pair searches for Toby’s family’s bloody knife, which possibly was used to kill Mona, after Toby discovers it while searching Mona’s family’s property with other police officers. The duo decide, against Toby’s will and behind Hanna’s back, that the best plan of action is to destroy the potential murder-framing weapon, before “A” can find it, if he/she/they hasn’t already, and use it against them. Spencer and Caleb find the knife and take it to the pottery kiln at school to destroy it for good before “A” can get his/her/their black gloves on it and plant the knife to incriminate the Liars and/or their significant others. Of course, things do not go according to plan. Caleb is locked in the kiln, while Spencer is wondering around the school doing God knows what. Fortunately, Spencer gets back in the nick of time to save Caleb from burning to death, but alas, the knife is gone. So for the most important question—what will be their couple name: Spaleb, Cencer? (On a side note, this show has hands down the worst couple names. Haleb, I mean, really?!)

Toby later angrily confronts Spencer about taking things into her own hands and destroying the knife against his wishes. She argues back, noting that he broke their pack too and looked for the knife. That is the only way he could’ve known it went missing. Toby said that he was trying to do the right thing by giving the evidence to the police. I feel that this foreshadows that Spoby will be on the rocks for a while. “A” will taunt Toby and back him into a corner, leaving him with the difficult decision of following the law, as a police officer, or protecting Spencer and the other Liars. 

The orange jumpsuit life does not suit Ali. No one wants anything to do with her. She calls Jason, who refuses to talk to her. Hanna later visits Ali to tell her that she’s not fooling anyone. Ali warns Hanna that the Liars are next and that “A” will either kill them or frame them. Hanna stands her ground, putting Ai in her place and calling her a liar. Hanna defends herself in a way that she couldn’t a few years before when Ali labeled her as “Hefty” Hanna and made her feel ashamed of her body. To me, Hanna’s character has shown the most growth over the course of the show. Spencer was the one, who originally, always butted heads with Ali and questioned her actions. Hanna now has this fiery spirit that enables her to stand up for herself and those she cares about. 

In a move out of left field, Jason and Mrs. Marin have an impromptu hookup. The parents’ relationships and interactions, of course, take a backseat to the Liars’ scenes, so as a viewer, I don’t really care that Mrs. Marin cheated on Ted, though I suspect the show will later try to make us feel sympathetic for Mrs. Marin over her guilt for cheating. I feel the parents’ scenes should be minimal, since they’re not allotted much time for character development in the first place.  Remember way, way, back that Mrs. Marin and Mr. Montgomery struck up a friendship when he felt overwhelmed about becoming a single dad. Nothing came of this relationship, though. They didn’t become friends, date or work together to figure out why their daughters are constantly lying to them. The only relevant plot development I could see coming from this is if  “A” is revealed from things Jason could inadvertently tell Hanna’s mom.  

At the end of the episode, Ali receives a new orange jumpsuit with a note in the pocket from “A,” notifying her that her friends will be seeing her soon. Proving her true colors, Ali smiles smugly, enjoying the fact that “A” is still out torturing her friends. 

Do you think Ali is partnering with “A?” What new tactics will “A” use to torture the Liars? Are Spoby and Pailey officially over? Will Aria go bald? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Memorable Moments/ Quotes:
  • How are the girls just now finding out that Hanna and Holbrook kissed?!
  • “He is not that bad of a cop. He’s just a really bad kisser,” said Hanna about Holbrook.
  • LOVE Emily’s ‘I was up ‘til 5 am’ t-shirt! (Sadly, the shirt’s saying is probably true for her and all of the other Liars, as they either try to figure out who “A” is or get out of “A”- related trouble.)
  • Aria is afraid she will go bald and have to wear a floppy hat, picking up trash in Rosewood because she can’t get accepted into any colleges. (This is a legitimate fear!)
  • “The back of a cereal box is more interesting than this girl,” said Hanna, who is known for her hilariously snarky one-liners, about her college tour guide.
  • Introduction of new characters: Talia Sandoval, the chef who catered at Ezra’s bookstore, and Johnny Raymond, a random man who talked to Spencer about moving into the Hastings’ guesthouse (Could they be new possible “A” suspects? The verdict is still out on these two.)


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