Pretty Little Liars Review: “Scream For Me” (Season 5, Episode 8)



Aria (Lucy Hale) is apparently channeling all her guilt about Shana and directing it at Hanna (Ashley Benson) on this episode of Pretty Little Liars. It was only a matter of time before she found something to focus on besides her own grief, and Hanna’s current penchant for alcohol makes her an easy target. What it also does, is make it that much easier for A to get what she wants.

Obviously, the text message from A was about ‘divide and conquer,’ a method that isn’t usually successful when it comes to the Liars, but Aria is playing right into his/her hand. Not only does she condemn Hanna for coping with the recent events in her chosen manner, but she doesn’t even hesitate before going off on her about the Zack confession. Hanna could have easily kept it to herself, and after listening to Aria’s self-serving rant, probably wishes she did.

The situation involving Zack and Hanna is upsetting on all fronts. I’m not sure what the writers were thinking when they concocted this addition to the storyline, but it doesn’t seem like their brightest idea. Making Aria’s future step-father a child molesting pervert? That doesn’t seem like it would benefit anyone. It definitely doesn’t do anything to move the narrative along, but neither did this episode (for the most part).

If anything, “Scream for Me” just served to reinforce the generally psychotic behavior that constantly stems from Ali (Sasha Pieterse). Having Noel Kahn (Brant Daugherty) break into the Marin’s and scare the living crap out of Ashley (Laura Leighton) might have gotten the results she was looking for, but it was just poor form. Of all the parents, Ashley has always been the most understanding and lenient, point-in-case insisting that Ali get out of the house. She didn’t deserve that anymore than the Liars deserve what they’ve been put through on her behest, or because of her.

On top of that, listening to Ali weave her web of lies is exhausting. No wonder Lieutenant Tanner (Roma Maffia) has her suspicions. Who wouldn’t? Every time one of the Liars shows any indication of being surprised by Ali’s tenacity for lying, sneaking around, etc. Pretty Little Liars loses a shred of credibility. At this point, the only thing that could redeem her is walking into the Rosewood police precinct and recounting what really happened to her, truth by inconceivable truth, on record. Nothing short of telling the whole truth for once would make her any more of a believable character. Even when she does manage to fill the Liars in on past or present events, she does so with an agenda. There are always holes in her stories, and she always stars as the tragic victim.

The writers partially redeemed themselves by including gratuitous Hanna and Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) scenes. Once again, these interactions did nothing to progress the story, but watching them back together definitely makes for enjoyable television. On the same note, the often absent Toby (Keegan Allen) was on hand this evening. Spencer (Troian Bellisario) may have needed some comforting after being kicked in the face by a horse (ouch!), but having Toby around didn’t do much more than that unfortunately.

Pretty Little Liars hasn’t done much in the way of developing the story this season, which is making the show fall a bit flat. Ali’s return sparked the resurrection of a new antagonist, but other than that has only lent itself to additional frustration on the part of viewers. This isn’t the first episode this season where the ending credits started to roll and I wasn’t entirely sure anything had really happened. There’s still an element of suspense, but not the same urgency that the narrative formerly had. And, now with the Zack tangent, it’s as if the writers are grasping at anything that will get a reaction from fans.

Let us know what you think of the new direction (err, non-direction) of Pretty Little Liars in the comment section below!