“She’s Better Now” is jam-packed with lies, secrets, and conspiracies with very little pay-off. That is par for the course with Pretty Little Liars. It is, however, rather lackluster for the season and midseason premiers. Usually, Pretty Little Liars focuses its premiers on the aftermath of the shocking twist of the finales. But, the midseason finale and the Halloween special between the two didn’t leave much fallout for the titular liars to really deal with.
Nobody particularly cared that Garrett Reynolds died, except perhaps his off-screen mother. Aria Montgomery doesn’t even seem to have residual trauma from the event, despite the fact that she was sealed in a crate with his corpse and nearly thrown off a train. There is also a rather significant lack of interest in the fact they finally found Alison DiLaurentis’s long last corpse on the same train ride after half a season of looking.
Additionally, none of the characters even know the big twist from the midseason finale: Toby Cavanaugh is part of the A-Team. It’s a lot less fun as a fan of the show to no longer wonder if Toby is skulking around because he’s that creepy or if he’s really just watching out for his girlfriend, Spencer Hastings. There is no wonder. He is really just that creepy, and part of the conspiracy to bring them all down. Or, if he’s not that creepy, his next twist isn’t going to be particularly shocking.
So, what’s left then?
Mona Vanderwaal was released from the psychiatric hospital and has returned to school. But, the main characters are pretty much stonewalling her. Nothing happened there until she set part of the school on fire in a confusing and mostly off-screen sequence of events.
Byron Montgomery, like everyone else in town, might somehow be part of Alison’s death. Spencer, of course, obsessed about it. Aria offered a half-hearted defense of her father. After a full series thinking Byron was the scum of the earth, it’s hard for the characters or the audience to summon much care, though.
What, then, is there? Not much at all. “She’s Better Now” is really just a filler episode.
That’s okay, because Pretty Little Liars usually delivers with its deliciously confusing and explosive plots. A filler episode here or there isn’t going to hurt the series. It just wasn’t the best way to usher in the second half of the third season.