After a hot streak of episodes that have boasted some of the greatest material to come out of Pretty Little Liars so far, That Girl Is Poison felt like the first episode to step down off that pedestal, and revert back to more traditional (at least in this shows eyes), and consequently bland, storytelling. Though the show is still attempting to focus on its stronger story arcs, there was a bit of a struggle to really find something concrete to drive them this week.
Jenna’s re-emergence seemed like the perfect stepping stone for something crazy. With her declaration of confidence coming so soon after we saw her crumble in front of the girls just two episodes previously, it can only mean that there’s more games afoot, but that craziness never really came. As a character, Jenna was never one to let people get the best of her, even as a blind teenager she always found her spot at the top of the food chain, so it would make sense for her to get ahead of the Liars again. My only complaint is that we never really got to see her climb her way back in front. She basically leapt back again without any real struggle.
It’s was pretty nice to see Lindsey Shaw return as Paige again. As a couple she and Emily never really had as much of a spark as Emily and Maya, but she’s a solid second choice, and she’s a great source for some drama, courtesy of her obvious love for our girl Em. Sadly, this appearance didn’t really result in much, with her role becoming more of a necessity to force Emily to discover the truth about what she was actually drinking “that night”. I’m all for furthering the story, but the past few weeks did that without being so exploitive of the show’s B plots.
For fear of being too negative, I think I’d better take the time to discuss what this episode did right; more mystery. Lucas hasn’t had as big of a role as he’s had before, as least so far this season, but his attitude shift, and sudden change in demeanour are things that really need to be explored more, which this episode did, at least partially. What was Lucas doing with those pills that Emily was taking that night? He has an obvious distaste for Alison, but would he really be cruel enough to take part in this new A’s sinister games?
I’m happy with this season overall, and few breaks in pace are good, but the show needs to stay in touch with what it’s does right and really go for it more, like it did for episodes 1-4.