Pretty Little Liars, “It’s Alive”: regrets, we’ve had a few

Quick Take: Pretty Little Liars, “It’s Alive”
“A. sees everything, Hanna” - Spencer

Pretty Little Liars

Review: Pretty Little Liars, “It’s Alive”
(S02E01) What, a guy can’t have some guilty pleasure shows? I never watched this ABC Family scripted series last season but I caught up on DVD last week just in time to learn that I’d be interested in watching the Season Two premiere. I’m not going to pretend that this is classic TV by any means, but it’s soapy, occasionally suspenseful and generally well-plotted fare that hooked me enough to see where it goes early this season. Plus I’m hoping to increase our teen girl readership here.

In case you joined the other 99% of the country that missed this series last season, it’s something like a mix between Desperate Housewives and the I Know What You Did Last Summer movies, with four high school girls being stalked by a mysterious stranger known only as A. as they attempt to hide their past dark secrets while navigating typical teen travails. A. seems to know things that only their deceased friend Alison could know, and has an uncanny ability of texting them ominous messages when they’re at their most vulnerable.

The season premiere picks up right where last year’s finale left off, with the four girls baffled by the disappearance of Ian, a prime stalker suspect who appeared to meet his end in a clock tower hanging before vanishing into thin air. The cops think Ian skipped town and are convinced that the girls are covering for him, mostly because he’s married to the older sister of one of the girls, Spencer. The rest of the town remains suspicious of the four girls as well, making their daily lives fairly miserable.

Aria’s mom is finally tired of her trial separation from dad and announces that she’s ready to come home. Aria’s English teacher/boyfriend Mr. Fitz is in the doghouse about associating with his gorgeous ex-fianceé Jackie and apologizes to Aria about misleading her. He says he was still in love with Jackie when he met Aria, but “there’s not one moment when we were together that I wasn’t thinking about you”. Looks like Fitz is still on the up and up for now. Right after Aria leaves his apartment, she receives a text and picture from A. that proves A. has been in Fitz’s apartment, and sure enough she sees that Fitz’s spare key is no longer under his doormat.

Emily’s mom announces that they’re moving to Texas to be with Emily’s military father, which results in a creepy real estate agent dropping by for a survey of the home prior to showing it to potential buyers. No romance for Emily this week, and no sign of her probable new girlfriend. She takes the time to apologize to Toby Cavanaugh for ever doubting him, restarting her friendship with him.

Spencer’s family is in turmoil over the disappearance of in-law Ian, the police suspicion surrounding Spencer, and Spencer’s growing feelings for misunderstood neighbor boy Toby. Spencer’s sis apologizes for hating her, asks again what she knows about Ian’s disappearance, says she knows Ian would never leave her.

Meanwhile, over in Hanna land, geeky Lucas completes his mission of mercy, bringing Hanna’s ex-boyfriend Caleb back to town to confess his love to her. Caleb lets it slip that he wrote a love letter and gave it to Hanna’s friend Mona to pass on to her, apologizes again, then confesses his love in person. Hanna responds: “I’ll never be able to forget that you were using me” and shows him the door. We’ll see how long that lasts. Hanna confronts Mona, who responds by saying she was just trying to protect Hanna, finally apologizing for her actions.

The girls are forced to go see a therapist together, apparently at the behest of the suspicious police force. While prepping for their second visit, they decide to come clean about their troubles with A. However, when the girls reach the office Spencer notices that Fitz’s diploma is hanging on the therapist’s wall (OMG!), so they hastily and clumsily beat their retreat from the office since they know A. has been there. Unfortunately, this suspicious behavior is exactly what A. planned, and the therapist reacts by advising their parents that the girls must spend some time apart.

Well, that whole forced spending time apart thing last about ten minutes until Spencer spies an anonymous text on her sister’s phone saying something about how it’s not safe for the caller to come home yet, causing Spencer to send out an SOS text to the girls. They meet and send a reply text back to try to verify the identity of the caller by asking the name of Spencer’s sister’s baby, something only Ian should know. Caller correctly responds back “Taylor”. So is Ian still alive?

The show ends with a gloved hand erasing incriminating video files on Emily’s computer while being given a tour of her home by the real estate agent.

Quick thoughts:

  • There was an inordinate amount of apologizing in this episode
  • A. wasn’t much of a presence
  • SOS texts occur about once every two episodes. That’s a lot of emergencies, even for teen girls
  • By Steve Geise

    About the author

    Reviewing for various magazines and websites since 2004.

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    1 Comment
    On: Wednesday, June 15, 2011
    Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

    We all need our guilty tv pleasures Steve, and what better time than the summer! 

    I like the premise for the show a lot and will need to check it out.  


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