PLL (Please Leave Lucas) Alone!

It may seem that by simply choosing to be a viewer of Pretty Little Liars I should take my medicine when it comes to its faults.  But the issue is that while it is definitely a guilty pleasure show, it was fairly decent. Storylines/characters showed promise and a girl could always admire the Liars’ wardrobe selections. But then PLL got too impressed with itself; it asked, how can I trip up the viewers and make as many suspects as possible for A?

The strength of the show, for me, will always lie in the first 7-10 episodes. Those were the ones I marathoned when I discovered I actually enjoyed the show. The mysteries, and characters, were fresh.  Since tuning into the second part of the second season, the show seems more dubious to me. And the show continues to expand its universe, probably in an effort to create a wider field for potential “A”’s in future plots.

The past two episodes have made it blatantly obvious what the twist they are building toward will be (although not as blatant to some: fangirls on Twitter were very quick to cry out to everyone that Lucas was A). In the first episode back, Emily and Spencer are at an impasse, angrily arguing to the point where Hanna and Aria are also ostracizing Emily.  At first I was confused: I couldn’t really remember what all went down in the mid-season finale, so I searched my brain for the cause of it. But as soon as A reached out to Emily I guessed the ploy: the Liars were playing A in order to trap him/her/it/them. That didn’t bother me much since it is a typical movie/tv trope.

However, in last week’s episode, a similar “hoodwinking” occurred. I already feel the writers have screwed the Lucas character over in the past. (Not to mention I don’t like the Caleb character or his hair; there I said it. In fact, I thought his name was Tyler as I typed a draft of this post, that is how little I care about his presence).  First Lucas became the geeky friend to the hot, popular girl Hanna who would never have a shot. When he is rejected, not only does he “de-friend” Hannah, he becomes one of the first red herrings for A when they show his muddied shoes after the destruction of the memorial to Allison.

Then they remediated his character by having him go fetch…Caleb from wherever it was he went. End of story. (Except the guys are now roommates since Caleb is homeless in Rosewood). The past two episodes have displayed Lucas and Hannah as the best of friends again. I understand that him getting Caleb was a friendship-repairing act but us viewers did not get a taste of that until now (or an even gradual return to hanging out). Now, (rant time) it seems those feelings for Hanna never went away and he cannot juggle their friendship, his friendship with Caleb, and Hanna and Caleb’s omnipresent relationship. Never mind that he is the one that fetched Caleb back into all of our lives.

So clearly Lucas has issues; I get it. It makes sense that he would need to call a crisis hotline to deal with his problem since it is so all-consuming. But can we please have an intervention when it comes to the Liars jumping to conclusions? I am trying to rationalize it by blaming it on enhanced paranoia, but seriously? If Ezra was calling the hotline, would they all (minus Aria) j’ accuse him as well?

There was no suspense. I get that we as viewers have more insight into what Lucas is thinking but that knowledge combined with the Liars penchant for going on witch-hunts was just too much. But I never thought for a second that Lucas meant hurting Hanna in his cryptic calls. I mean, I do find it odd he may have been calling about either admitting his love or his inability to be friends but that leads me to my next point: this was straight-up character assassination. If he isn’t A, he was either painted as mentally unstable, suicidal, or just plain creepy to-serve-the-storyline. Having the Liars run around frantically screeching their heads off did not help the situation nor did its effect on Hanna’s demeanor.  Meanwhile, Lucas is side-paddled into the lake. Not sure how this will be resolved vis-à-vis Lucas’ explanation for going MIA afterwards but at this point, I am not sure it matters to me.

I really only care about these two at the moment. Please don't frak it up!

UPDATE: The rant continues…instead of using the plausible storyline of Lucas being upset over the Hanna/Caleb of it all, no, too easy…Surprise! Lucas is into gambling? And gambled away Caleb’s “money.” Did viewers know of this secret stash of moolah? Obviously he makes bank by doing whatever he does with technology but did we know there was a physical stash? I could have used a bit of foreshadowing on this, I mean, this is a complete contrivance that also effectively assassinates the character via a different means: now he is a creepy, closet gambler. If the writers at all alluded to this reveal, they sucked at it. And finally, the nerve of Hanna and Caleb! Poor Lucas (or the person played by Brendon Robinson who used to be Lucas and is now a caricature of his former self). Lucas is basically attacked by Hanna and goes into hiding, attempting to regain some money that no one really knew existed. He then makes some of it back, only to have Caleb say, “It is a start.” Isn’t Caleb’s new found family loaded or something? Remember, Caleb, how you were frantically searching for Lucas over half of this episode? Hanna only offers up the phrase “You’re not who I thought you were.” So, he isn’t A? Or it turns out he is the type of person that takes financial risks? Or both? Does the show even know?

I only write this in the hopes that PLL stops playing these games once they supposedly reveal A later in this season. Where the show goes from there, I have not a clue. But hopefully it will rely less on toying with the audience and more on staying true to the characters they have created.

P.S. If I tried to write a similar rant about Glee, I think my head would explode.



About Staciellyn Chapman

Grad student at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. This blog is an attempt to condense the craziness that is my TV viewing habits (with the occasional aside into film, music, and general life).

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