Monday, 19 March 2012

Pretty Little Liars UnmAsked

OK, so last time I did a blog about the revelation of A on Pretty Little Liars, the show stitched me up by not revealing anything at all, and killing Ian off, one of the major suspects. Now almost exactly a year on we’re at the Season 2 finale, “unmAsked”, where this time - true of the title - there won’t be any empty hands. The showrunners have made no disguise about revealing the identity of A during the final episode so today the wait is finally over – it’s A Day.

I shouldn’t really be as excited as I am because I’ve read the books and I’ve known all along who A is. But comments inferring that “we’re not following who A is in the books” and "don't go for the obvious" from the PLL producers have lured me somewhat in the hope of being genuinely surprised with millions of other viewers tonight. But is this a double bluff? The way the last few episodes have gone down makes it so obvious that A is actually going to be the A from the books – we’re in a position now where it is so much more likely than it was at the end of Season 1. Show creator Marlene King:

"We’ve known who “A” was since the pilot was written, so knowing that, I don’t think there would ever be a way to do this show unless we were committed to this person being “A," because we wanted to make sure “A” always had a motivation, a reason for “A” to do what “A” does. When we reveal “A,” you’ll go back and say, “Oh my god, it all makes sense!” And believe me, it will." 

I’m not sure it will be very satisfying though, and absolutely unworthy of a pull-the-rug-out moment.

But perhaps if A is the same A as in the books, the show still plans to steer the plot in a different direction. King says: “We do reveal who “A” is but the character who plays “A” will be back in season 3 so there’s not really an ending to it in that regard.” Which, if you’ve read the books, you’ll know is contrary to the part where A is revealed, then has a massive showdown with the PLL at a disbanded quarry and ends up falling over the cliff to their death (true soapy stuff, and would make awesome television). She also alludes to the episode being “an ending and the beginning of a new chapter” which certainly ties in with the book which, after the revelation and death of A, instigates a new one in its place almost immediately, along with a new whole plot twist revolving around the death of Alison. If the show is going in that direction – and surely it is following the content of the Halloween special – these comments from producer Lisa Cochran-Neilan make perfect sense: “I think that everything they thought was real isn't real.”

Without giving too much away, here’s a run through of the latest suspects and their odds.


Odds: 6/1
Previously suspected? No
Motive: Alison was a bitch to her. Then she befriended Hanna and all was perfect, until the rest of the PLL hooked up again after getting the mysterious texts from A. Is Mona just jealous?
Behaviour: She has started getting messages from A... is she sending them to herself? During last episode's set up of Melissa, she was the only other person who was involved. Plus, she gave Hanna her old mobile phone which reeks of a set-up.
Too obvious? Way too obvious.

Odds: 8/1
Previously suspected? No
Motive: does he even have one? Aside from perhaps a sinister backstory with Alison that we haven't been privy to yet, there is absolute no reason for Ezra to be A. But maybe the show has a few cards up its sleeve?
Behaviour: Well, it is a bit suspicious that he came into the PLL's lives just as they started receiving texts from A. And out of the four girls, Aria has always got off the lightest.
Too obvious? Not to me, but he's a firm A favourite amongst fans.

Odds: 10/1
Previously suspected? Yes, in Season 1. Since he's lip-locked with Spencer he's been in the PLL good books.
Motive: they blinded his step-sister (even though she's a bit rape-y with him anyway). Alison was horrible to him... but then Alison was horrible to everyone.
Behaviour: He can be uber creepy when he wants to be. And since Jenna had her eye operation, he's been surprisingly brotherly the past couple of episodes...
Too obvious? Sometimes an early double bluff can throw you off.

Odds: 12/1
Previously suspected? Yes, constantly. But the fire in 2x23 may have scuppered all that. Why would she set herself up like that?
Behaviour: Not just creepy with her sunglasses and stick, Jenna has always been very smart and even if she has no idea who A is, knows how to wind the PLL girls right up. She's had links to almost every suspect the girls have had: Toby, Garrett, Jason, Melissa. If she's A, then she's working with someone else.
Too obvious? the last couple of episodes have all but ruled Jenna out. But then she surprised us all by swatting a fly with pin-point precision - has she secretly got her sight back?

Odds: 15/1
Previously suspected? Yes, going into the finale she is the person the PLL girls are now focused on exposing, even her sister Spencer.
Motive: Alison constantly flirted with Ian, her dead husband and (possible) father of her unborn baby. It's now been made clear that Melissa was sending threatening messages to Alison in the run-up to her murder, warning her to stay away from Ian. But did she sign them as A?
Behaviour: Missing guns. Secret conflabs with Garrett. Showing up on damning videotape evidence the night of Alison's murder...
Too obvious? I think so. I'll always maintain Melissa is actually on the PLL's side.

Odds: 16/1
Previously suspected? Yes, Garrett's presence and threat has only really come into play in Season 2, but he's someone the PLL know they cannot trust
Motive: Garrett's links to Alison and the PLL are unclear, apart from his membership in the NAT club (all knowing all seeing).
Behaviour: Did he join the police force to cover up real evidence from Alison's murder case? He stole the crucial page five from her autopsy report and gave it to Jenna. And now he's having urgent whisper sessions with Melissa...
Too obvious? He may have killed Alison, but I don't think he's A.

Runners and Riders:

Odds: 25/1
Previously suspected? No
Motive: She's very similar to Ezra in the fact that she doesn't appear to have any previous link to Alison and the girls, but maybe this is something the show have not divulged as yet. She's had her problems with Emily, but is that enough to be A?
Behaviour: Again, she came into their lives just as A appeared on the scene. She's also a lot shadier than Ezra, and capable of running around in a hoodie and attacking people. There was also that AWOL spell where she was in "rehab" and just recently she vanished off the face of Rosewood. Where is she and what has she been doing?
Too obvious? She's not been in it consistently enough to be A. If she is, it will be very unsatisfying and we'll need a hell of a retcon.

Odds: 28/1
Previously suspected? No
Motive: Has he even got one? He's such a sweetie.
Behaviour: He has great hacking skills, making him a worthy A. And an angry streak when it comes to protecting Hanna.
Too obvious? He's such a late addition to the cast, I just don't see how it adds up. If Caleb is A I will cry.

Odds: 33/1
Previously suspected? Yes, he's been hiding a gazillion secrets. He's also proved his worth being the creepiest person in the whole show with the dark room in the shed incident earlier this season.
Motive: Alison's brother, and they clearly hated each other. He hated the PLL too (saving maybe Aria) so maybe this is all a hilarious game to him?
Behaviour: Sinister to the extreme, but then we found out what he's been hiding and why he's so angry - he's Spencer's half brother! Now the secret is out, he's been almost - almost - a kindly figure to the girls in recent episodes.
Too obvious? Jason is a very interesting character and I believe there's more to come from him. I doubt he'll be revealed as A at the end of this season, but there's something bubbling with him, and I like the way the girls are beginning to relax around him... could be a fatal error.

Odds: 40/1
Previously suspected? No - she's a PLL for godsake!
Motive: The most strong-willed of the PLL girls, she always seemed to butt heads with Alison when she was alive. Alison enjoyed taunting all of the girls with their individual incriminating secrets, but Spencer always seemed the one most likely to crack.
Behaviour: Spencer is akin to a mini Sherlock Holmes at times, with her dogged determination to bring down the NAT club, and reveal the identity of A. She's also fiercely clever, completely paranoid, and willing to go through with the most dangerous of stunts. Out of the PLL, she is the most unhinged, and the most brilliant.
Too obvious? It would be an amazing twist if Spencer was the mastermind behind it all.

Also Rans:

A Parent
Odds: 50/1
Previously suspected? No. I've lumped them altogether, but there's a few more choice suspects than others: Spencer's parents, and Byron, Aria's dad.
Motive: For Spencer's parents, they've been hiding a lot of secrets about Alison and her family, none more so than Peter Hastings having an affair with Alison's mother and Jason being the result. Perhaps Alison knew their secret and threatened them with it, as believed by Spencer? As for Byron, he's had his own fair share of playing around. Did Alison know about that too?
Behaviour: Parental: over protective and annoying. Peter Hastings out of the lot of them could have the most people fooled. Byron? Well he's just so creepy and repugnant that he might as well be A.
Too obvious? Highly doubtful (and a bit weird)

Aria, Hanna and Emily
Odds: 66/1 (each -  not working as some super anti-Spencer group)
Previously suspected? No
Motive: The same as Spencer - could their awe inspired love of Alison have turned nasty, and they just couldn't stand her anymore? Or each other?
Behaviour: Aria's too self-obsessed, Emily's too gentle, and Hanna's too ditzy. That's why none of them have the potential to be A.
Too obvious? It would be too much of a twist. Spencer makes sense; this doesn't.

Odds: 100/1
Previously suspected? Yes, he's overtly creepy and seems to pop up whenever the show is having a stalker moment. But he always seems to have an alibi...
Motive: unknown, possibly just likes terrorising pretty little liars.
Behaviour: Has good connections, smooching up to both Mona and Jenna. Likes to wear hoodies a lot.
Too obvious? He's not well drawn enough to be a major character such as A.

Odds: 100/1
Previously suspected? No
Motive: Unless sexy British doc has a backstory with Alison, he's just the token guy everyone sees at the hospital when they break their arm/have smoke inhalation/get glass in their hand.
Behaviour: He was there at the start of the A campaign, but then disappeared for almost a whole season's length before randomly re-appearing again. Should we be paying attention to that?
Too obvious? If Wren is A I will laugh and laugh.

Odds: 200/1
Previously suspected? Yes, very briefly. Turns out he had a gambling problem, or something bizarre.
Motive: Alison was so mean to him, probably more so than she was to Mona, and nobody ever stood up for him. Finally he managed to build a friendship with Hanna, only for her to spurn his advances and get all cosy with Caleb.
Behaviour: Becoming increasingly erratic, smashing up Alison's memorial, rowing Hanna out into the middle of a lake in the night...
Too obvious? We had a major blow up with Lucas earlier this season, which makes me think he's had his moment. Doesn't mean to say he won't come into play later, though.

Odds: 250/1
Previously suspected? No
Motive: To freak his sister and all her best friends out?
Behaviour: He did go a bit mental earlier on in the season, but we put it down to an adolescent blip.
Too obvious? IT'S NOT MIKE.

Also interesting to mention that, just as the Season 1 finale, "unmAsked" will also be paying homage to another Hitchcock film – this time Psycho. The promo below shows scenes of a creepy Motel, and poor lil Hanna in the Janet Leigh role, looking terrified in a towel. Surely Caleb hasn’t been dressing up as his dead mum on the side, has he? King teases: “there’s a very chilling moment -it’s so emotional and heart-wrenching.” There’s going to be a lot of relationship upheaval in this episode so who’s to say one of the PLL’s sweethearts hasn’t been A all this time? Or perhaps one of them is going to be killed off? A death has been whispered about. Only time will tell… not long now until we know all the answers*!

*we will never know all the answers. We just be foolin' ourselves.

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