Pretty Little Liars Review: “The Guilty Girl’s Handbook” (Season 4, Episode 8)

Pretty Little Liars

Orange may be the new black on Netflix, but on Pretty Little Liars it’s not a good color on anyone.

Hannah’s (Ashely Benson) mom is facing life in prison and seeing her in that orange jumpsuit doesn’t do anyone any good – as if jail doesn’t look bad enough on her already. And, it gets worse. The judge decided not to grant her bail. This comes as a huge shock to Hannah and her friends of course, but frankly, it shouldn’t.

Ashley (Laura Leighton) is in jail under heavy suspicion of killing a police officer. Yes, Wilden (Bryce Johnson) was crooked, but he was still a law enforcement agent. They take that stuff pretty seriously. That’s not to say that they don’t take all murders seriously, but cop killers aren’t exactly looked upon fondly when they’re caught – in an entirely special circumstances type of way.

Of course, Hannah isn’t taking this one sitting down. Well, she was sitting down for most of the plan – but she did have a plan. And, who did she call to help her pull it off? None other than the best liar she had at her disposal – Mona (Janel Parrish).

This brings us to the greater issue at hand – Hannah’s version of a plan. If you take the worst idea you can imagine, throw a compelling motivational sob story behind it, and wrap it up in a pretty bow, that’s pretty much how her plans look on the outside. On the inside, they resemble a Monet painting – in the words of Cher Horowitz, “from far away, it’s OK, but up close, it’s a big old mess.”

The major problem with Hannah’s plans are that they always make things worse. Her best intentions are smothered in bad planning and tunnel-vision. The entire time she has devoted to selflessly saving her mother from spending the rest of her life is prison courtesy of ‘A,’ she never once seemed to consider what this all would do to her mother. So what, she’s going to confess to the murder, and then what? Her mother will be home, but Hannah will be in prison. Like Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) said, “prison for kids is still prison.”

Plus, this is Hannah we’re talking about. Could she really survive in any sort of isolation, especially requiring matching outfits and ill-fitting tennis shoes? It’s sad for me to admit, because she is definitely one of my favorite characters on the show, but out of all the Liars, Hannah seems the least equipped to handle real world consequences. She is dealing with some pretty heavy stuff at the moment, but essentially it’s not something that is happening to her, as much as it’s happening to her mother.

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