Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pretty Little Liars - Shadow Play

Snooping for evidence that may prove Ezra (Ian Harding) is A, the Liars find Alison's (Sasha Pieterse) missing diary in the teacher's desk. While watching and old movie and going over the diary and the various other evidence she's gathered late that night, and still popping the Uppers like Tic-Tacs, Spencer (Troian Bellisario) hallucinates herself into a black-and-white noir where the shadows hold as many questions as answers. Making the most of the look, lighting, and style, Pretty Little delivers a terrific-looking episode whose hidden truths and unclear motives fit naturally into the world of a noir tale.

While working out the clues she's uncovered in a hallucinatory world similar, but more old fashioned in both look and sensibilities, to that of their own, Spencer and her friends continue their investigation as Aria (Lucy Hale) spends more and more time with Ezra. Emily (Shay Mitchell) questions Paige (Lindsey Shaw) to get a better read on the now missing Shana (Aeriél Miranda), Spencer confronts Alison (Sasha Pieterse) for the truth about Ezra, Toby (Keegan Allen) grills his girlfriend about both Alison and A, and Hanna uses her connections as an old-school switchboard operator to follow the lead Spencer uncovered before her drug-induced hallucination.

Working through the problems in her hallucination reveals a startling truth about the diary to Spencer once she snaps out of her delusion which seems to confirm Ezra's true motivations. Together the Liars decide it is finally time to confront Aria about the love of her life being their nemesis, but the episode has one more revelation for the trio as Spencer, Hanna, and Emily discover the secret their friend has been keeping from them.

Even without the black-and-white noir style which dominates 90% of the episode, the storyline of Spencer working through the problem works on its own leading to what should be a series of emotional confrontations concerning the Liars suspicions. What the clothing, setting, lighting, and various noir touches add is another layer to episode that rightly centers around Spencer whose myriad of problems (and Bellisario's look) best fit this style of story. The result is easily one of the show's most memorable episodes.

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