GUEST POST! Series Review: Pretty little Liars season 1

Today I’m happy to announce my first guest post. The lady responsible for the PLL season one review is Zoe, who blogs over at the Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger

Go check out her amazing blog!

pretty little liars season 1 cover

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale) returns to Rosewood after a year sabbatical after the disappearance of her friend, Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse). Returning, she finds that not only she drifted apart within the group, but that they all disbanded after Alison’s vanishing. Hanna Marin (Ashley Benson) is now the popular “it” girl, Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario) is still the overachiever with the demanding family, and Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell) is the athlete who is lost and unsure of herself. The girls start to receive suspicious messages from an unknown individual calling themselves “A”, who knows deeply personal things that they are threatening the friends with. Naturally, no one wants to speak or say anything. Aria hooks up with a teacher named Ezra Fitz (Ian Harding) and is horrified to learn that he is her English teacher, but the two refuse to call it off. Spencer has problems when she meets her sister, Melissa’s (Torrey DeVitto), new fiancé, Wren Kingston (Julian Morris), and he kisses her. Melissa obviously calls off the wedding immediately and Spencer is cast out in her family.

Emily is confused after meeting Maya St. Germain (Bianca Lawson), the girl who just moved into Alison’s house, and develops feelings for her, but she is still seeing her boyfriend Ben Coogan (Steven Krueger). When the girls start suspecting that “A” may be Alison, her corpse is recovered on the DeLaurentis property. The friends are again hauled in for questioning, with Hanna getting increasingly edgy about Detective Darren Wilden (Bryce Johnson) sleeping with her mother, Ashley Marin (Laura Leighton), who is trying to get shoplifting charges against Hanna dropped. Jenna Marshall (Tammin Sursok) returns to school, and it freaks the girls out. Alison set fire to the garage that blinded Jenna, but her step brother, Toby Cavanaugh (Keegan Allen) took the fall for the girls seeing as Alison had something on him. Aria and Ezra continue their terribly incorrect relationship, while Aria deals with how to tell her mother, Ella (Holly Marie Combs) that her father, Byron (Chad Lowe), cheated on her with his student, Meredith Sorenson (Amanda Schull). She and her father find mutual ground.

pretty little liars season 1 a

Toby returns to school and is Emily’s lab partner. The two become friends though Emily does not want anyone else to know. Aria and Meredith get into a fight when Aria tells the woman to stay away from her father. Hanna is angry with her boyfriend, Sean Ackard (Chuck Hittinger) when he refuses to have sex with her, and crashes his car, resulting in Hanna’s father returning to lecture her, introduce her to his new fiancée, Isabel Randall (Heather Mazur) and her daughter Kate (Natalie Hall). Emily and Ben break up when he attempts to force her into something, and Toby comes to her rescue. The girls are desperate to block all communications from “A”, and block unknown people getting hold of them. Wren is convinced that he had fallen in love with the wrong sister, and drunkenly professes his love. Blocking A is a bad idea when Hanna has a song dedicated to her, Emily receives pictures of her and Maya kissing that were stolen and Aria’s mother gets informed of Byron’s infidelities. Ezra calls things off with Aria when he reads a text on her phone that she forgot at his house, and is sure that more people than just “A” know. Hanna works in a dentist office to pay back the damage on Sean’s car and discovers that Jenna is seeing a psychiatrist there. Aria and her brother are having difficulties dealing with their parents constant fighting due to the information that A shared.

pretty little liars season 1 ezra and aria

Hanna and Sean sort their things out, and she joins him at his abstinence classes where she meets Lucas Gottesman (Brendan Robinson) and they continue to become friends. Emily goes to Homecoming with Toby, even though the girls are all extremely angered by it, and Hanna feels like an idiot after having sent Maya there to be Emily’s date. Spencer’s new flame, Alex Santiago (Diego Boneta), gets angry with her due to lies from Melissa, making him feel used and insecure. Ezra and Aria sort out that they love each other, and then he runs off without explanation. Sean is furious with Hanna for ditching him at the Homecoming crowing when she snuck back to her offices to steal Jenna’s file but instead gets Toby’s, and find out that Alison knew that Toby was sleeping with Jenna, and used that against him to make him take the fall for the accident that caused Jenna’s blindness. Emily gets the wrong idea about Toby and runs, injuring herself. He rushes her to the hospital and leaves. Mike starts fights at school, and Aria tells Sean to get over himself and sort things out with Hanna, though it seems she is rapidly becoming more interested in Lucas. Emily decides to date Maya and see where it goes.

The girls prepare a memorial for Alison, and her brother, Jason DiLuarentis (Parker Bagley), returns to Rosewood, very much a changed man. Toby is targeted for Alison’s demise, and he is still being looked for.  Jenna wishes to speak at the memorial, and the girls are terrified. Asking why, Jenna tells Spencer that Alison was afraid of her, she told her so at the hospital. Jason tells Spencer that Alison told him that she set the fire at Jenna and threatened Toby to force him to take the fall. Aria goes double dating with Hanna, and Noel Kahn (Brant Daughtry) really seems to like her. Ashley Marin is suffering from financial constraints and Hanna partners up with Lucas to sell some of her old things to help out around the house financially. Alison’s memorial site is wrecked the night of the memorial, and nobody knows who did it. The girls are all gathered for the SATs at school but get trapped there seeing as a heavy storm rolls in. Emily was not with the girls the night before, the night the memorial got wrecked, and Detective Wilden accuses her of doing it as well as forces Emily to tell the rest of the girls that she may be interested in girls, which he discovered by illegally going through her bag and reading a private letter. Veronica Hastings (Lesley Fera) is extremely unimpressed, and tells Wilden he has lost his job over this. Aria and Noel get very close, and Ezra returns, confusing Aria immensely. Spencer and Alex grow closer than ever when her mother shares a secret about him.

pretty little liars season 1 memorial

Wilden has stepped back and called the FBI in to investigate the murder of Alison, and a new video turns up that shows she was with someone else, but not who that person is. Alison is wearing Toby’s sweater in the video, and the FBI redouble their efforts to track him down. Toby meets with Emily to explain to her that Jenna forced him into the relationship, and that he did not want to do it, so there was no abuse going on. He also tells her to meet him behind the church later after she has thought about everything. Mona’s birthday comes along, and she and Hanna have a major fallout, resulting in her being uninvited to the birthday party, though “A” has made it clear that they will be there. Melissa’s ex-boyfriend Ian Thomas (Ryan Merriman), who also kissed Spencer, though Melissa doesn’t know, returns to Rosewood and wishes to see Melissa again. Spencer tries her best to mend fences, and it works. Emily’s father, Wayne Fields (Eric Steinberg) returns from military deployment, and Pam Fields (Nia Peeples) is distant with Maya, and it is evident later that she has pictures of Emily and Maya kissing, though she has said nothing. Aria and Noel get very close, and Aria tells Ezra in no uncertain terms that it is over, no matter what. Noel suspects something is going on. The girls go to Camp Mona, and start their hunt on their “glamping” trip. Toby is arrested, and he is sure Emily told the cops about him. Spencer and Emily find a tree that has a heart with Alison’s and Ian’s names carved into it. Ezra meets with Aria at the campsite, and he professes his love for her. They make out in his car. Hanna sees this, and sees that someone is writing on the car. She chases after “A” and gets run over by a car.

pretty little liars hanna hospital season 1

Hanna is hospitalized, and meets with the girls. She informs them Noel Kahn is “A” and that she saw him write something on Ezra’s window. Aria is forced to confess her romance to her friends. Before Spencer has time to wrap her mind around it, Melissa and Ian elope with one another. Lucas admits that he is in love with Hanna, and she attempts to gently turn him down, and he ends their friendship. Emily tells her father that she is gay, and her mother is angered, refusing to accept her daughter. Hanna’s mother takes an unauthorized “loan” from the bank that she keeps hidden, though Hanna finds out. Mona throws Hanna a welcome home party, and Lucas gets into a fight with Sean, Hanna’s mother’s money goes missing, and “A” is responsible. Aria needs to inform Ezra about Noel knowing about them, but she is having issues. Alex and Spencer go their separate ways when “A” gets involved, and Maya has dinner with Emily’s family. Her mother still refuses to accept Emily, and makes it clear that she is unhappy. Lucas tells Hanna that it was him who destroyed Alison’s memorial. Jenna tells Toby that it was she that turned him in, and not Emily. He makes it clear that no matter what, he will never touch her in a sexual manner again.

“A” returns to Hanna, mocking her about the money, and making her do some ridiculous things to get her hands on it. Emily’s mother goes through Maya’s bag and finds some pot in it, which she automatically gives to Maya’s parents, who ship her off to rehab, so to speak. Emily and her mother have some nasty fights about it. The trip that Alison took to Georgia to see her gran makes Spencer think, and a corresponding golf tag makes her think Ian was with her out that side, and that he may be the killer. The girls get further in the video than they did before with the cops, what with the camera showing that it was Ian that Alison met with, and that they got close, and a frame of her collapsing, and looking distinctly dead. At the school dance-a-thon, “A” tells Hanna to dance with Lucas for a lot of money. She breaks his heart and loses Sean. The other girls try to sneak into Ian’s office, and the latest bad boy student, Caleb Rivers (Tyler Blackburn), helps Emily with her phone to speak to Maya, who seems distant. Emily gets drunk.  Spencer’s laptop with the video on it goes missing, and they cannot seem to find it. Aria’s mother is intent on setting Simone (Alona Tal), Aria’s former babysitter, up with Ezra.

Emily has issues with a swimming teammate, Paige (Lindsey Shaw). Paige is upset with Emily returning to the swim team and beating her, and makes a homosexual comment. Spencer reports it, and the coach hauls Emily and Paige in, and Emily is angry that Spencer did what she did. Ezra and Aria plan their first real date, but “A” gets involved and wishes for Hanna to expose Aria’s romance, and gives a gallery ticket to Hanna to give to Mrs Montgomery. Hanna is trapped in detention after school, and there is no way that she can stop the chain of events set on course, though she laments about it to Caleb and he ensures that Aria’s mom does not make it to the gallery opening. Instead, Mr Montgomery drives her there, and they end up hooking up together. The girls are terrified of Noel Kahn, who is also threatening Ezra with exposing him if he does not get the grades that he wants. Eventually, “A” has him busted for false papers, and just like that they are back at square one. Paige handed the team name bands like the girls have, and when Spencer tracks down the store to find out who bought them, she finds out that “Spencer Hastings” bought them. She realizes that she is being framed, and decides to be Toby’s French tutor, to hear what he knows. Caleb asks for Hanna to show him who the popular kids with money are, and she points them out after he bribes her for not telling Aria that Hanna gave her mom the ticket. Aria almost had a heart attack when her mother said that she had gone, but soon figures out that this was not the case. Paige turns up at Emily’s door in the middle of the night to apologize, and is subsequently in an accident, leading to Emily swimming as anchor for the team meet.

pretty little liars season 1 blocking a

Aria and Hanna follow Mr Montgomery to the school where they find out he is having an affair with her mother, so she is confused as to why they are sneaking around. On the way out, the girls run into who they expect is “A”, but turns out to be Caleb who is crashing at the school because he has nowhere to go. Later, the school finds out that Caleb has been sleeping at the school and kicks him out. Hanna then offers that he hides out in her basement. Mr Montgomery has a parent teacher conference with Ezra that ends badly when he thinks that Ezra is trying to take his wife out. Toby and Spencer get closer to one another and Emily notices this. Mrs Marin gets into a sticky situation about the stolen money when Mrs Potter, the woman whom she “borrowed” the money from, has a nephew that turns up. After all her unhappiness with Caleb, he is the one that gives Mrs Marin the out when he informs her that the man is running a scam. Paige’s father shows up at the school and has a public fit about Emily getting preferential treatment because she is gay. Emily leaves the school later and Paige kisses her.

Toby is afraid of Jenna, and sneaks the girls a note with “bad” on it, which turns out to be “214”, though they search they have no idea what that means. Mrs Field gets hurt and angry when she hears of how Emily was treated, and sorts the situation out. She is crushed that her daughter thought she would not stand up for her, and the two get closer. The girls all get together for the school play, and Jenna wishes to compose music. Aria gets in on the play to work with Ezra, and it ends very badly for them. After rehearsal, the girls discover a trophy of Ian’s with blood on it, which they insist on turning in to the police. It turns out to be rats’ blood. Hanna and Caleb get a little close, and Mrs Marin kicks him out of the house when she finds out that he has been staying there. The girls are dealing with uncomfortable questions from the police when they hear about the trophy and the rats’ blood, and they run into Garrett Reynolds (Yani Gellman), a police officer that they know and who says he will help them out. The blood evidence linking Toby to the crime is corrupted, and he is freed for now of all charges. Melissa is pregnant with Ian’s child, and this throws a bit of a spanner into the works. The police focus their energy on Spencer, and even go as far as to get a search warrant for her things. After the massive fight with her mother, Hanna runs off with Caleb and loses her virginity to him. Mrs Marin agrees that he may use the guest bedroom for a while, noticing that he is not as bad as she made him out to be. Toby and Spencer find out that Jenna is relevant with 214, and they find a motel room in the same place and get very close there, finding out that Jenna is not there, but finding each other there, and kiss.

pretty little liars season 1 girls at school

Garrett is following Spencer around, and later the other girls, including Aria. Garrett speak to Ezra, too, right after Aria leaves his place. Aria and Emily overhear Caleb arguing with someone over the phone, sounding distinctly like a girl, and they tell Hanna. Naturally, she refuses to believe it, but is forced to when she sees a pendant around Jenna’s neck that she was sure Caleb was going to give to her. They find out that it is in actual fact a flash drive, and Hanna confronts Caleb. He says that when he moved there he was just spying on her for Jenna, but when they got close he broke that arrangement off. She kicks him out of the house for the final time, and Mrs Marin grows concerned. Hanna slaps Jenna when she comes across her in the school restroom. Aria cuts it close by accidentally sending a text intended for Ezra to her mother. When her parents argue about her right to a secret, they split up again. Ian encourages for Spencer to take her things and go. Emily and Paige are attempting a relationship which is not going well when Paige cannot admit to anyone but Emily that she is gay. Aria finds out about Ezra’s old fiancée, Jackie Molina (Paloma Guzmán), and they argue no end about it. Emily meets a girl named Samara Cook (Claire Holt) who is supposed to be helping with Paige dealing with her homosexuality, and instead gets along better with Samara when she is sick of Paige dodging around the issue and treating her like a secret. Emily finds the storage key that Caleb was hired to find at Hanna’s. Caleb comes to the house to say goodbye to Hanna, seeing as he is moving to Arizona. Mrs Marin tells him that she is at the Founders Festival, and encourages that he say farewell. He goes to the festival and Mona intercepts him, getting rid of the letter that he intended for Hanna. Using the key, the girls discover Alison’s old lunchbox with a flash drive in it, containing a lot of videos. They have proof of Jenna forcing Toby to do terrible things, as well as proof on other things.

pretty little liars getting the laptop season 1

They find out what is on the videos, including one with Jenna forcing Toby to have sex with her. Hanna is confused when she finds out that Caleb went to say goodbye to her. Lucas overhears Mona telling Caleb to get lost, and figures out that she is lying. She says he must drop it and she will try and help transform Lucas into Hanna’s man. Spencer and the girls buy a prepaid phone to blackmail Ian about the tapes, and demand $10 000-00. Jenna is seeing Garrett, and is worried about the video getting out there. The girls call in Garrett for the proposed rendezvous, and Spencer is dealing with a worried Melissa. She figures she left her phone at the church, and they return for it. Instead, they get into an accident, and Melissa ends up in hospital. Spencer returns to the church, and instead finds Ian there, who attacks her. Someone, presumably “A” intervenes at the last minute, killing Ian, though he attempted to admit that he killed Alison, though he said he knocked her hard whereas Alison died of suffocation. When the police show up to help the girls, who went to Spencer’s aid via a phone call they were having, are relieved, thinking Alison’s killer has been captured. Instead, the police ask them if it is a joke, and tell them that there is no body in the church.

Best Episode: There’s No Place Like Homecoming / Monsters in the End

Worst Episode: Know Your Frenemies

Rating: 7/10. There is a lot that is wrong with this show (such as why the hell nobody went to the cops as well as why they are giving “A” so much power), but there is also enough to keep you entertained if you remember that this is a story for young adults, or, more precisely, young teenage girls. Logic is a very different thing, and things are seen very contrarily. The cast was relatively well done, with irritating characters like Mona, shallow ones like Sean, ones that are hilarious such as Hanna, the ones that are detailed like Caleb and just everyone in between. They most certainly have a good mix of good, bad, annoying, funny and realism, though I must say how these girls are going about things is bizarre. It also deals with a lot of serious issues surrounding kids, for example popularity, sex, honesty, integrity, college, fitting in, etc. I would not say that this is the greatest show in the world, though I will have to give it props for keeping you interested in the crazy melodrama that it is. I wouldn’t really say it is a guy’s show at all, and I cannot think of a self-respecting guy who would cop up to watching it. It is a guilty pleasure for older girls, and sadly I got lumped into that when my friend insisted that I watch it. I must admit, however, that Shay Mitchell is probably the worst actress that could have been cast to play a gay girl seeing as I have never seen anyone more uncomfortable about holding another girl’s hand or having to kiss her, etc. I like all the parents that were cast for the girls. I really like Spencer, she is sarcastic, sharp and incredibly smart, and is definitely not a bad girl for the others to turn to in a time of crisis. Overall, it is fun in that incredibly melodramatic teenage way of thinking and viewing, and there is enough to keep you hooked. Eventually you forget about how absurd the concept is about a person holding four girls hostage.