Pretty Little Liars Season Premiere Review: “A is for A-l-i-v-e” (Season 4, Episode 1)

773x e1371016272936 Pretty Little Liars Season Premiere Review: A is for A l i v e (Season 4, Episode 1)

For a teen drama, Pretty Little Liars has always edged on the mature side, and the season four premiere keeps this trend going in a big way.

Last season ended with the Liars narrowly escaping a fire which could have been set by any number of people on their growing enemies list, only to be confronted with a new shocker. As if finding out that Mona (Janel Parrish) was no longer the voice of crazy behind the A-Team, the police car that was supposed to be swimming with the fishes at the bottom of a hopefully-not-super-local river, fully equipped with a streaming video of Hannah’s (Ashley Benson) mother running over Detective Wilden (Bryce Johnson), was now on display in the Rosewood town square – flashing lights, muck, and all.

Someone went through a lot of trouble to tow this water-logged piece of metal right into the middle of town – without being seen, naturally. When the Liars arrive the video is on a loop, playing loud and clear for any passerby to see (or hear). Of course, no one happens to stumble on the scene before the Liars plus Mona drive by. Whoever put it there clearly has good timing since as soon as things start to get incriminating, miraculously, a couple walk down the street.

The first question the Liars plus Mona should have asked after they got over the initial shock was, “where was this video player manufactured?” because the last time I checked, not too many electronics can spend a few days underwater and live to play again. Instead, one of them came up with the brilliant idea of checking the trunk.

There’s been a lot of speculation about who (or what), but mostly who, was going to be in the trunk. My money was on Jason DiLaurentis (Drew Van Acker). He was clearly a threat to someone, or he wouldn’t have been almost killed in the elevator mishap last season. We haven’t seen him since he mysteriously disappeared from the hospital, and the most anyone has heard from him was a vague text message Emily received. Even his mother’s reassurance that he was alive and well didn’t seem convincing. If “A” has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t trust what you can’t see – and even then there’s room for interpretation.

So what was in the trunk? A dead pig.

That should have been their first indication that a cop was dead, even if they weren’t completely in agreement about who it was. Wilden’s car plus dead pig, the equation practically solves itself. Which leads to the bigger question of, “who did Wilden piss off enough to get rid of him?” We already know that he had some attachment to the B-Squad, but it’s also possible that Alison (Sasha Pieterse) was pregnant with his child when she was murdered -  er, if she was murdered, so this could be an elaborate revenge plot. All the evidence is starting to stack up against the fact that Alison’s really dead, despite the body. All we know for sure is that someone who shares enough of her’s DNA markers is dead. And now, so is Wilden – not a huge loss.

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Pretty Little Liars S04E01 Pretty Little Liars Season Premiere Review: A is for A l i v e (Season 4, Episode 1)

To start us off on a new season of drama, Pretty Little Liars took it back to the beginning with an iconic sequence that you might have thought you’d seen before. The series launch point was the death of missing teen Alison DiLaurentis, who was discovered buried in the backyard of her family’s home one year after her disappearance.

When Aria (Lucy Hale) moves home with her family after their hiatus abroad, the Liars have gone their separate ways – that is, until the funeral of their best friend where they simultaneously received a cryptic text message from someone calling themselves “A.”

Since then there’s been a lot of speculation about who this “A” person really is. We thought we had it all figured out when the truth came out that Mona (Janel Parrish) had been behind terrorizing the Liars. Unfortunately, or fortunately for the show, that didn’t stop once Mona was locked away in Radley (the sanatorium). Partly because Mona was smart enough to slip out unnoticed and start recruiting cohorts, and partly because there were some new players who decided to join the fun. The entire time we were led to believe that Mona was the one calling the shots, but even the A-Team has its secrets.

The end of this episode has a similar ring to it. After the Liars attend Wilden’s funeral in an attempt to find out what “A” had on them, they head outside to be confronted by the detective in charge of the investigation.  Once he retreats, the infamous “A” decides to strike again with a text message that signals a new beginning for the Liars.

If there’s one thing on Pretty Little Liars that has been consistent, it’s that Mona is one of the bad guys. There’s a nice sob story behind her transition from goody-goody to evil-doer, but she’s been pretty much a permanent resident on the naughty list. Going into season four, it’s hard to tell where she’ll land. She received the same menacing text as the Liars which puts her squarely on the receiving end for once. Right now she seems to be on the Liars side, but she is a mad genius so this could all be one big ploy to distract us from what is actually going on. It wouldn’t be the first time the Liars were fooled.

That didn’t stop them from taking full advantage of her current step-down status. We were able to get a few of the answers to questions that have been plaguing us. This tied up a few loose ends, but presented the Liars with a full-on conspiracy situation in the process. If it wasn’t Mona behind some of those things, especially the ones early on, then who was? It’s obvious there is a new Queen B in town, and she makes Mona look like an amateur. The way she (he) wiped that hard drive remotely, despite Mona’s best attempt to counter, was startling to say the least.

Mona may have met her genius match, and with Toby (Keegan Allen) being coerced into giving up the lair, things are definitely going south – and fast.

Only one episode down and we already have more questions than we ever can expect to get answers. The mystery women at the funeral – literally cloaked in mystery – is starting this new level off with some bold moves. If she’s “A,” I wouldn’t hold your breath for a quick reveal – Pretty Little Liars excels at playing hard to get.

Who do you think killed Wilden? Was Melissa really behind the Halloween train tragedy? And, who’s the new “A?” Let us know what you think is coming on this season of Pretty Little Liars in the comment section below!

Until next episode. 

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