Season 1 follows best friends Aria Montgomery, Emily Fields, Hanna Marin, and Spencer Hastings who grow apart when their clique leader and ‘queen bee’ Alison DiLaurentis goes missing. A year later they all begin receiving messages from the mysterious “A”, who threatens to reveal their darkest secrets.
Spencer Hasting’s story follows her broken relationship with her sister, Melissa, in the aftermath of Spencer’s brief attraction to her former fiance, Wren Kingston. Things get more complicated with the arrival of Melissa’s former love interest, Ian, whom Spencer also had a previous relationship with. Spencer develops a relationship with the neighborhood loner, Toby, who has been branded as the lead suspect in Alison’s murder. Both characters do feel like a natural fit. Although I felt really sorry for Toby but even more so for Spencer. Not only does she have to deal with an unsupportive family, mechanizations set by the mysterious ‘A’, and being set up as the number one suspect in Alison’s murder. Of all the characters I definitely sympathize with her the most. During the season’s climax Spencer makes a bold move against Ian who then tries to kill her (who didn’t see that coming). Ironically enough, the one person dead set on ruining Spencer’s life actually saves her.
Emily Field’s story, of course, involves her dealing with Alison’s death, ‘A’ being a butthole to her, and her dealing with her sexuality. That’s right people, Emily is gay. She develops a relationship with this girl named Maya who helps her embrace her being gay. They seem like a good match and Maya’s a likable character. Maya develops a relationship with Toby. I liked that arc. She helps Toby to come out of his shell. Completely sucks that her mother is responsible for Maya being shipped off to rehab for her drug use. Emily then forms a rivalry on the school’s swim team with Paige McCullers but then evolves into a relationship as it is revealed that Paige is also gay. Paige does come off as a bit of a douchebag at first but she does show another side to her. However, due to Paige not wanting to openly come out as gay the relationship crumbles though the two become friends.
Aria Montgomery’s parents separate due to her father’s affair with another woman whom Aria witnessed. This becomes a hard time for the family as her mother moves out and her brother acts out. Aria develops a relationship with her teacher Mr. Fitz and honestly this is probably the weakest arc. For some reason, the show wants to show that a teacher having a relationship with their student is cool but it’s not. Aria makes me sick with her relationship (obsession) with Mr. Fitz. And what makes it worse is the fact that both know they’re wrong, and despite both their lack of subtly, the numerous times they were nearly found out, and the many times ‘A’ has notified Aria that he knows about them, they still have yet to actually do something intelligent.
Hanna Marin is dealing with her boyfriend who she wants to get intimate with but isn’t ready for himself. It’s kind of funny considering most teenage boys wouldn’t hesitate. Her and her mother have this situation where her father has left the household and they are struggling. I do not like her mother (mostly because she looks like throws up after every meal). Hanna ends up discovering that he mother stole money from a client at the bank where she works to help them financially but ‘A’ has her jumping through hoops to get the money back after he/she steals it. She later develops a friendship with Lucas and a relationship with Caleb, which honestly feels unnecessary and completely forced. Lucas falling for Hannah was a bit predictable but it didn’t stop me from sympathizing with the dude. He did venture into douchebag territory after being rejected but does comes back with him assisting Caleb. There’s no way a good mother would ever let her daughter move some guy she don’t know into her home, regardless if it is her daughter’s friend or not. Ashley Marin, you get thumbs up for being a shitty mom. Also, throughout the season she is distant from her friend Mona but the two become close again. Mona was annoying but the character did grow on me. The most significant part of her story is when she is nearly killed by ‘A’ after coming close to discovering who he/she is.
The Verdict: In the end, season one is great. Hanna, Spencer, Aria, and Emily are great characters and their friendship is solid. There are some great story arcs among them though the Aria and Fitz story and Hanna and Caleb story are frustrating. Jenna is awesome and I like where the season went with the character and I would like to see more. Who the hell is ‘A’ and why in the hell are they torturing these girls? Also, what the hell happened to Ian and how will this affect the girl’s lives? Pretty Little Liars (Season 1) gets 3 out of 5.
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