Pretty Little Liars Review: “A Dark Ali” (Season 5, Episode 10)



Pretty Little Liars gave fans a much needed coping episode this week as the writers gear up for the summer finale. The first half of season five has went by pretty quickly, even though most of the episodes recently (gripping 100th episode aside) have come across as more of the filler variety. The Liars have had a lot of sordid opinions about their current predicament, but haven’t really seemed ready to act on any of the potential plans that they’ve bandied about – until now.

Since Alison’s (Sasha Pieterse) return, the Liars have been juggling their own emotional baggage along with the newfound attention that comes along with being part of Ali’s post-disappearance posse, in the present tense as opposed to the past, for a nice change in pace.  Unfortunately, it looks like Ali isn’t ready to give up the spotlight just yet – not even in the interest of her “closest” friends.

“A Dark Ali” closed with the revelation that Ali was pulling the strings behind her supposed kidnapper randomly coming forward and confessing on last week’s episode. At this point, it’s really amazing that anything she does comes as a surprise, but this probably caught a lot of viewers off guard – even my own suspicions were limited. After Ali’s very convincing performance earlier in the episode, with Emily (Shay Mitchell) and the later flashbacks, it seemed like Ali would have been the last person to concoct this elaborate plan. Although, oddly enough, in her twisted mind it probably makes her the most likely.

Fans have listened to her rant and rave in the last couple episodes about her concerns that Detective Tanner (Roma Maffia) and other adults weren’t jumping on the kidnapping story bandwagon. The first part of her plan to rectify this involved the break-in at the Marin’s, and apparently the follow-up called for an actual person to take the fall for the kidnapping itself – at least in theory. If anything, the way things played out definitely cemented the plausibility of her story for the authorities, even if Ali had to manufacture all the pieces in the investigatory puzzle herself.

As if the Liars needed another reason to distance themselves from Ali, her role in egging A on seems like the icing on the cake. That is, if there really is an A. At this point, Ali is as good a suspect as any for the identity of the mystery tormentor. I wouldn’t put it past her to make up an antagonist in the interest of pursuing her own warped agenda. Ali has always been a complex character. In past seasons, viewers had limited interactions with her that weren’t framed as flashbacks or dreams. But, now that we’ve been introduced to her on a more permanent basis, she seems truly confounding. Nothing she does seems to be lacking a nefarious motive.

The Liars are finally on the same page about Ali, and with only a couple more episodes before a lengthy hiatus, what they decide to do now is really the most suspenseful plot point. Spencer’s (Troian Belissario) plan for the Liars to simply come clean to Tanner seems like the most logical option, but it also will put them under an uncomfortable amount of scrutiny, which they probably deserve. Where this plan really gets messy though, is when it comes to Aria’s (Lucy Hale) role in Shana’s death. Murder, even under the auspices of self-defense, is a tricky thing.

The one bright spot on this episode is that it looks like fans are finally going to discover what Melissa’s (Torrey DeVitto) been hiding about the night Ali disappeared. For as messed up as the Hasting family is, it’ll definitely be refreshing for this secret to be out in the open.

Tell us, what do you think Melissa is hiding, and what you think is going to happen on the next episode of Pretty Little Liars? Sound off below!

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