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‘Pretty Little Liars’ ‘Shadow Play’ review: Spencer’s drug-induced film noir

Spencer delves into a film noir world as she hunts for answers in Ali's diary on "Pretty Little Liars" "Shadow Play."
Spencer delves into a film noir world as she hunts for answers in Ali's diary on "Pretty Little Liars" "Shadow Play."
Facebook/Pretty Little Liars/ABC Family

'Pretty Little Liars' 'Shadow Play'


Pretty Little Liars” had a whole new look in the latest episode, “Shadow Play,” which aired on February 11. But even with the film noir look, it hardly revealed anything at all. Rather, the episode was a testament to how Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario) is losing it all over again, this time due to her pill popping.

When the episode first begins, it’s promising, if only because the girls search Ezra Fitz’s classroom and find Ali’s journal. That should be enough evidence to talk to Aria (Lucy Hale) about Fitz, right? Well, it is -- except the girls can’t get ahold of her. That, and the mystery deepens when they see Mona (Janel Parrish) taking a stack of papers out of Ezra’s room later.

But this mystery doesn’t develop much past that on this ABC Family drama. That’s because, while studying the diary and watching a film noir, Spencer has a headache, and suddenly her world has changed to an old-school crime drama set in black & white. As such, it’s all in her head, and nothing really develops in the “real” world.

Rather, the “PLL” episode is spent watching Spencer breakdown as she talks to Ali (Sasha Pieterse), Toby (Keegan Allen) grilling Spencer about Ali’s whereabouts, Hanna (Ashley Benson) playing the part of a switchboard operator tracking a phone number, Emily (Shay Mitchell) falling for Paige all over again, and Aria caught up in Ezra’s world.

It’s not until the final moments of “Pretty Little Liars” “Shadow Play” that Spencer realizes what was in front of her all along. “Don’t look at the book,” Detective Toby tells her. “Look at the pages.” And when Spencer finally comes out of her drug-induced reverie, she does. A, a.ka. Fitz, has messed with the pages of the book. It’s a Trojan horse with little changes to the text. But since Spencer took photos of the original book’s pages, they now have a better grasp of the book’s clues.

This also means that the girls can be 100% certain that Fitz is up to no good. After all, he was the one who planted the book and the clues. But where is Aria? The girls show up at her porch and see the one thing they failed to take into account: that Aria hasn’t been truthful with them, that she’s back with Fitz.

While “Shadow Play” was intriguing, and even beautiful, it didn’t lend many clues to the overall storyline of the show's drama. But this last moment sets up something big in Rosewood, because Aria is about to find out the truth about the man she thinks she loves.

“Pretty Little Liars” airs on ABC Family Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. EST.

© Elizabeth SanFilippo 2014

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