11:11 pm EDT, June 21, 2016

‘Pretty Little Liars’ season 7 premiere review: All roads lead to the Lost Woods Resort

The season 7 premiere of Pretty Little Liars brought back all the suspense, romance, and confusion that we’ve missed since the season 6 finale.

Despite being the first episode of the new season, Pretty Little Liars season 7, episode 1, “Tick-Tock Bitches,” was a blast from the past in many ways. From Ezria and Emison, to a stakeout and a grave dig, this premiere had all of the ingredients of our favorite Pretty Little Liars moments. If the premiere is any indication, season 7 will be one of the show’s best.

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Related: Pretty Little Liars refresher: Everything you need to know before the season 7 premiere

The episode begins with a flash forward, but luckily we only have four days to fill in this time instead of five years. Even so, the suspense is killing me! We’ve seen these girls go through some extremely intense and terrifying things, and I don’t remember ever seeing them as scared as they were when they were digging that grave. Who’s the grave for? We still have no idea, but notably missing from the group were Hanna, who we’re still trying to save, and Alison, who could be the culprit behind everything!

Before the flash forward could provide any potentially useful information, we did a swift rewind back to the night when Hanna went missing. The gang retreated from the creepy scene of the crime, but the creep level was even higher in the Rosewood town square. First of all, Mary Drake casually showed up to report a break in at the Lost Woods resort, which apparently she owns, as if she hadn’t just jogged into the A trap. Second of all, they found an extremely life-like Hanna doll suspended from the bell tower. A.D. must be the Martha Stewart of Halloween decorations because that doll was seriously impressive.

pretty little liars, lost woods resort

The doll version of Hanna was at the church, but the real Hanna was the one in the dollhouse, and this one didn’t come equipped with her bedroom set. Even though A.D. knows Hanna isn’t Charlotte’s killer, they’re still punishing her pretty harshly for setting them up. It was truly terrifying to see her stripped down (to a level acceptable for network TV), cut and completely bruised. What was the deal with that taser device? The bruises made sense for the picture sent to the group, but there was no evidence of the taser sent to anyone. Therefore, this A.D. character may just be completely sadistic.

We learned a surprising amount about Mary Drake in Pretty Little Liars season 7, episode 1, considering she was only introduced in the season 6 finale. She was initially put in Radley as a teenager when something bad happened to a child while in her care, but she was readmitted several times. Even though there’s obviously something sketchy about her, as she and Elliot clearly have malicious intentions with Ali, she actually seems relatively calm and honest. If nothing else, she’s scholarly! Who needs that many textbooks, anyway?

The one thing that really stuck out to me about Mary Drake was her passport. Most notably, the flight she took from Heathrow to Philadelphia the week before Charlotte was murdered. This sounds a lot like the flight Melissa would have taken to get back to Rosewood for the election, so don’t cross Melissa and Wren off your suspect lists anytime soon.

A.D. gave the Liars and co. 24 hours to turn in Charlotte’s real killer, so they put all hands on deck to figure out exactly who that could be. It’s kind of astonishing that after everything this group has been through, they still had to go the anonymous route to figure out what everyone thought. You’d think once you’ve been tortured with someone, you could let them in on your opinions, no matter how controversial.

pretty little liars 7x01, emison

Nonetheless, once all of the ballots were cast, there was one vote for Mona (likely from Spencer), one no name (from Emily), one vote for Spencer (unknown), and the rest were for Alison. It’s interesting that even though the Liars still have no idea what Mary Drake’s purpose in town is, they still chose Alison as their primary suspect. Sure, Aria and Ezra are now convinced that it was actually Ali that they saw in the town square the night of Charlotte’s murder, but it still seemed like a bit of a leap to me.

Alison’s relationships with the girls have been complicated to say the very least. However, in Pretty Little Liars season 6, it really seemed like she stood squarely on their side. The fact that her name was written the most definitely reveals that the scars that Alison has bestowed on these people over the years won’t ever fully heal.

Now back to that romance I mentioned earlier. Emily was perhaps the one wounded the most by Alison, and it really seemed like she had put away any lingering feelings for her friend. Apparently that’s not the case, because all of the Emison feelings came rushing back in this episode!

The gang needed some evidence, or at least a motive, to prove to A.D. that Ali was the killer, so Emily went to the hospital to try to talk to her. In an incredibly eerie scene, she actually got what she thought was a confession (it may have been, but it may also have been something brought on by the injections Elliot was giving her), and she didn’t tell anyone about it! Emily basically chose Ali over Hanna and the rest of her friends, which was surprising but bodes well for Emison shippers in the future.

A romance that came a little less out of left field was Ezria. They rekindled their flame in the Pretty Little Liars season 6 finale, and although they’re not ready to label anything yet, and Aria is still technically dating Liam, things look promising for them in the future as well. I honestly did like Liam, but Ezria is so iconic! That musical recall back to the pilot with “Happiness” by The Fray was a highlight of the episode (even though the kid who put it on was nowhere near old enough to be in there).

pretty little liars 7x01, ezria

Real life Spencer was having some trouble coming up with the evidence needed to save Hanna, but luckily, dream sequence Spencer had exactly the advice that Hanna needed! The question is, was this actually a dream? Has any dream sequence in Pretty Little Liars ever actually been a dream? Spencer was definitely acting strange, especially when she said, “You’d tell them the truth right?” This could all be explained by the fact that it was Spencer in Hanna’s imagination, but more likely this was someone pretending to be Spencer to get information. Once her kidnapper realized that Hanna truly knew nothing, it could make sense to let it look like she escaped.

Just as Emily finally came clean to the group, and found the evidence they needed to convict Ali (in the form of a red jacket), Hanna did escape. Unfortunately, she escaped right into the grasp of Mary Drake, so who knows what that could mean for her. The dream sequence Spencer had a distinct Mary Drake-esque quality, so she could truly want to help her. This could especially be true since Caleb went rogue and delivered the “proof” of Alison’s guilt to the Lost Woods Resort. Even if Mary Drake didn’t get the memo, it seems like Elliot did! And the award for worst husband ever goes to…

Who’s on our rA.D.ar?

  • Mary Drake and Elliot (duh)
  • Melissa and Wren — the Heathrow to Philly connection could definitely point to their involvement
  • Sara Harvey — even though she was absent in this episode, she’s still the sketchiest person in Rosewood
  • Alison! — could she really be Charlotte’s killer?

What did you think of the ‘Pretty Little Liars’ season 7 premiere?

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