Pretty Little Liars Review: “Bloody Hell” (Season 5, Episode 21)



The lead up to the big A reveal is paved in misdirection, and a series of unfortunate events – but, that’s not really a departure from what fans were expecting when they tuned in tonight. On this episode of Pretty Little Liars, the Liars find themselves crawling back to their former friend turned enemy turned friend again (it’s hard for us to keep up, too), Ali (Sasha Pieterse). You may be thinking that it’s a giant leap in the wrong direction, but when you really think about it, it’s strategically masterful. If they’re going to face-off with A, and it’s really about time they get on with it already, it’s probably better to have their own evil genius on the planning committee.

“Bloody Hell” turned out to be a chaotic reminder of just how detail-oriented (and, dangerous) A can be when backed into a corner. Now that the Liars have figured out that Ali isn’t the infamous single-lettered antagonist, A doesn’t have one of the best cards in her/his deck to play any longer. All that effort to divide and conquer apparently had an expiration date. But, that hasn’t stopped A from targeting the Liars individually – including a visit to jail to provide the necessary motivation for Ali to stay in line (not that she’s ever been good at that particular task).

The most surprising personal affront came half-way around the world when somehow A managed to sabotage Spencer’s (Troian Bellisario) Oxford interview. This scene played out as the most implausible moment of the entire episode – more so than her mother surprising her with a trip to London the same night (that’s just not normal) or agreeing to coach Ali for her date with the jury.

I’m not sure if it’s simply that the blood managed to make it into her purse and all the way through airport security and customs that seemed more unlikely, or if it was just that Spencer miraculously didn’t notice it at any point before she saw it oozing all over that poor professor’s chair. I’m not a medical professional, but there seemed to be quite a bit of blood, more than just one vial’s worth – enough that it’d be hard to not accidentally discover before it became awkward for everyone.

On top of that, Aria (Lucy Hale) is quickly becoming my least favorite character during the back-end of season five. She’s failing school, which seems about right considering her mental capacity is thoroughly exhausted dealing with a psychotic stalker, but she’s not doing much to change the situation. With her and Ezra (Ian Harding) on the rocks, she’s a little on the distracted side, but it seems like getting out of Rosewood would be an even bigger priority. Flaking on her study sessions, even when she actually remembers she has them, and falling for her tutor, a guy with nice dimples but limited game, isn’t helping to re-establish her as a stronger character.

More jarring are her interactions with the other characters which are also bringing in mixed reviews. She’s assertive in certain situations, but her performances lean more toward painful to watch than something to cheer about. A has targeted Aria more than once as the weakest link, but this is the first time I’ve ever been ready to jump on that bandwagon and give A a high-five. Instead of using this as an opportunity to show fans how far she’s come, she’s falling flat at just about every turn.

Pretty Little Liars is nearing the finish line and at this point your guess is as good as mine for who A might be. The writers have eliminated nearly all of the usual suspects (or killed them off), but just like Mona (Janel Parrish) was in season two, maybe they’ve hidden this A in plain sight. With all the characters starting to unravel, the clock is ticking on how much more they can handle before the truth is finally revealed. I’m betting it’s someone in the Liars inner circle.

Tell us, do you have any theories for who A might be? Chime in below!