'Pretty Little Liars' season 2 premiere: 'How is 'A' always one step ahead of us?'

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Image Credit: Danny Feld/ABC

ABC Family’s charming teen soap Pretty Little Liars is nothing if not a guilty pleasure. And last night’s season 2 premiere, which found the show back with new episodes for the first time since March, certainly delivered on that deliciously guilty front. One of my favorite, delightful moments was a quick exchange between two of the show’s main BFFs Aria (Lucy Hale) and Hanna (Ashley Benson), after the gal’s secret-wielding nemesis “A” had struck yet again, while the foursome was at one of their newly mandated therapy sessions. “How is ‘A’ always one step ahead of us?” Aria asked her group of pals in disgust, after they stormed from the shrink’s office. But it was the biting response from the always-fiesty Hanna that got me: “I’m starting to think that b—- has super powers!” Bam! And that’s exactly the way I like my Pretty Little Liars: sharp and sassy.

But also, the dialogue got me thinking: Hanna, you can’t seriously be just now realizing the power that “A” has, can you? “A,” as we’ve all learned, is craftier than MacGyver, slicker than James Bond, and less traceable than Lisbeth Salander. And that’s exactly why we all watch this show. But regardless of that tiny detail, it was yet another great episode of the teen sudser. I’ll dash off a few of my overall thoughts from the episode below, but mostly I want to hear what you thought in the comments section at the end of this post. So read on — but note: there are SPOILERS below — and then sound off. Please!

The episode’s title, if you happened to catch it before watching, might have given an idea of what was coming down the pipeline. Yes, a slug like “It’s Alive” definitely suggests that the presumed-to-be-dead-in-last-season’s-finale Ian (Ryan Merriman) may still be alive. As the episode revealed, no one could find a trace of Ian’s whereabouts, which certainly doesn’t make him dead. The four girls, who saw Ian hanging dead in the belltower at the end of last season, did have a little contact with him (or someone using his phone and posing as him) at the very oh-my-gosh end of the episode, via text messages to his wife and Spencer’s still-pregnant sister Melissa (Torrey DeVitto).

And it does seem likely that the person sending the texts from Ian’s phone is indeed Ian. “Ian’s alive!” Spencer (Troian Bellisario) gasped after she queried him about what he and Melissa were planning to name their baby (Taylor) and he correctly answered. The big question is, of course: How the hell did Ian survive that strangulating fall in the belltower and get away even though the girls all say him dead? How could he have pulled that off? It’s mind-boggling, to be sure, but this show will undoubtedly figure out a way to explain it away that is only slightly ridiculous. (Executive producer Marlene King told me that we’ll learn what really happened with Ian by episode 4 of this season.)

Another big development of the hour was the introduction of therapist Anne Sullivan (Annabeth Gish), who the girls’ parents forced them to see as a precautionary measure after their accusations about Ian. Of course, therapist Anne got virtually nowhere with the girls, although they did strongly consider telling her about “A,” since the shrink wouldn’t have been able to tell anyone else what they revealed behind closed doors. “Do we want to talk about that thing?” Aria asked the girls. And they almost spilled the beans, until Spencer realized that “A” had struck, by putting Aria’s on-again-off-again boyfriend Ezra’s (Ian Harding) diploma in Anne’s office as a warning that basically said to the girls: Don’t say a word about me to anyone, especially this therapist. Cue the “super powers” comment from Hanna.

The reversal in their plan to tell therapist Anne, however, only worked against the girls, as the confounded woman then suggested that the foursome be broken up…a bit. Explained Ella (Holly Marie Combs) to Aria: “She doesn’t think you girls are capable of maintaining a healthy friendship at the moment, so she’s recommending you spend some time apart.” It also seems like therapist Anne may also get some love from “A,” as we watched her leave her office late at night with someone creeping around in the background.

There were lots of other details in the episode that are basically just at the tasty morsel stage as of now: Toby (Keegan Allen) and Spencer finally reunited, despite the protests of her parents; Alison’s brother, Jason (the newly cast Drew Van Acker) mysteriously moved back to Rosewood; Ella moved back into the Montgomery household after her separation from Byron (Chad Lowe); Noel Kahn (Brant Daugherty) returned to Rosewood High from suspension; Emily (Shay Mitchell) faced the reality of moving to Texas; Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) returned to beg for forgiveness from Hanna, who ended her friendship with Mona (Janel Parrish) after finding out she trashed his letter to her; and Aria kept things cool with Ezra.

And of course, there was the short tag at the end of the episode, where we saw the leather-gloved “A” presumably deleting the video files from Emily’s computer while being shown around the house by the real estate agent leasing out the property. How the hell does he/she/shim do it? Yet again, Hanna said it best: “super powers,” indeed. “A” is simply mystifying and wonderful.

Overall, a lot seems to have been put in motion for a juicy season 2. Do you agree? Did you enjoy the premiere? What storyline is intriguing you the most so far this season?

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

Read more:
‘Pretty Little Liars': What to expect in season 2
‘Pretty Little Liars’ finale: Alison’s death (maybe) solved, another character (maybe) dead, and more mystery to come
‘Pretty Little Liars’: Troian Bellisario on Spencer hitting ‘rock bottom’ and the mystery she’d like to see more of next season
All the guys on ‘Pretty Little Liars’ are basically the same

Comments (83 total) Add your comment
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  • MWeyer

    CW shows should take note, this is how to do great teen guilty pleasure with suspense, thrills and laughs.

    • Doola

      I think The Vampire Diaries does it just fine. The rest of the CW, yes they need some help.

      • shanana

        what the heck vampire diaries isnt even that good!!!!

    • jake

      The writing is ridiculous, but the GUYS on this show are so incredibly hot, I have to watch. Like any girl wouldnt take back Caleb after finding out he write that letter. Stupid Hanna.

      • Sara

        That made me so mad. Just take him back already, Hanna!

      • kate

        Hey! Caleb did a bad thing in helping Jenna so lay off Hanna!

    • tvfan

      I agree. People should get over the mistakes the teens keep making because that is so realistic. As is switching between be smart and being stupid.

  • Captain

    The thing that bugs me about PLL is that it seems to operate on an episode-to-episode basis. We all know what the large mysteries are but it never seems to be building towards anything particular. Instead, each episode is just a tiny piece in the big, convoluted, unbelievably complicated mystery. Because of this, its extremely easy to lose interest in the show. I mean really, after an entire season, what substantial information do we really have about the identity of A or Allison’s death? Nothing. Instead we get tidbits of clues all pointing in different directions and it’s starting to feel like nothing will be solved.

    • David

      I see your point but there’s like 8 books out right now, so of course they’re gonna drag it out from episode to episode. If they start revealing who A is then PPL would only last for 2 or 2 1/2 seasons. I like there’s always a different mystery in each episode, it keeps bringing you back for more. I’m glad ABC Family has made such a great teen mystery show, there hasn’t been a show this good on ABC Fam since Kyle XY.

    • Doola

      I agree, I stopped watching after the first five or six episodes. There was just no reason to consistently watch. You can pop in and out of this show and not really miss anything.

  • Amy

    The books are soo much better than the show. A is a lot more realistic in the books

    • Steven

      I agree. A in the show has hints on paper towels and fortune cookies. REALLY? In the books it was much more believable. The show is pretty awful. I only watch because of my love for the books.

  • David

    I loved the season opener! Ian has to be dead, there’s no way he could of survived that from last season. There as to be more than one ‘A’ cuz there’s just no way that he/she/it can do all of this stalking/terrorizing these Pretty Young Things.

  • Mike

    Clearly, A’s a ninja.

    • funny ha ha

      THIS

    • Edna

      My guess is that “A” is Reverand “A”ckerman.

  • Doug

    One of the show’s producers said they’re not planning to reveal A anytime soon – maybe not till the end of the series, so no point being too invested in that storyline. Besides, I think the only character who could believably be A is the computer from “Eagle Eye.”

  • D.

    I would hope the PLL’s would soon realize that even if Ian was alive, there is no way he would have texted Melissa w/that info as he wouldn’t have known her phone had been returned.
    Love this show, and even tho I know who “A” is in the books, I’m enjoying the mystery of whom “A” might be in the series.
    My only complain so far is that the episodes go by so fast. I wish they had done a two hour premiere. :D

    • D.

      *complaint – forgot the “t” – oopsie.

  • wanda weithers

    That’s the beautiful thing about a guilty pleasure television series: you can suspend belief in the real world for about 42 minutes and just enjoy the rollercoaster ride. I know I do. :)

  • Danae

    What I like about PLL is that in every episode they give you the right amount of answers about who A may be or what will be her next move that it makes you wanna see the next episode.

  • v

    Guess you weren’t a LOST fan.
    Im guessing the same for the show, we will never discover A until the end.
    Very entertaining show.

  • Jenelle

    The show is bad compared to the books. A isn’t believable at all and I don’t like that the girls are bffs right away.

    • Steven

      THIS. It took a long time for them to become comfortable together. That’s part of what made the books great.

  • Umm

    Terrible tv show, embarrassing to take it seriously.

  • Ash

    I’m sorry, but those girls are retards. Why would Emily just leave her computer there like that?

    • Lola

      You mean in her house? In her room? Yeah, that’s just ridiculous.

      • Ronnie

        They are retards. Something that important shouldn’t just be saved in one place. In an age where they appear to be so into technology, you’d think they would be aware of backing up.

      • Ash

        Well, yeah, when you’re having an open house and random people are walking in and out. She didn’t even have a password!

  • Ana

    Some of the more adult oriented soaps, should really take a look at what they’re doing on PLL. They have the right amount of romance, angst and humor. This show is very entertaining, the episodes really keep you guessing throughout the entire hour and the final minutes are always a nail biter. I for one hope they drag out this “A” thing for a very long time. There is no mystery on TV anymore and PLL has brought that back. Plus, very happy to see Annabeth Gish back on TV, hope there’s something more to her character, she can’t be just a shrink??

  • Lee

    I personally have loved this show since day 1. Yes, you could probably miss an episode & not miss much story wise but the cast & dialogue is quite appealing to me not to mention I want to see what earrings Aria has picked out this time…LOL . (always love them)..I just enjoy the show even if it is a little dragged out storyline. A great break from all the crime & competition shows. No dont take it seriously as another reader wrote, Its a soap opera, meant to entertain, who takes them seriously? LOL..anyway, cant wait for next weeks show…

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