Pretty Little Liars
unmAsked

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | 10 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
What The Water Gave Me

So you've got the Black Swan, who sometimes represents less the Dark Half than she does the Totality of a person, which is what this show is always driving towards: Not the things you want to define you, but the things that you hide away and end up controlling you. If Alison is an Angel of Disclosure, it's because the natural action of life and the world is about driving you away from the safe places and into the zones where you're less comfortable, and that means -- especially on this fever-dream of a show that's entirely about secrets and surveillance and the terrible fearsome loneliness of forging an identity -- that the Black Swan isn't what we're running from, but what we should be running to.

Alison, Red Riding Hood, was about the beautiful lie. Vivian Darkbloom was a double agent. But I think the Black Swan is really the goal. It's the wholeness of seeing Jenna as she is, in her complexity, and it's the wholeness of looking past grief to see all the ways you were in denial about Alison's sickness, and it's about realizing that love and cruelty aren't exclusive opposites. That the people who love you can also hurt you, and still love you -- and that you're no different from them.

The Liars are Liars because they each have areas of weakness, but if they were just strong enough to look at those areas directly, they'd have all the power they wanted and more. We just want to appear lovely to ourselves and others, so we keep the harder sadder scarier shit locked away... Which is ironic, because that's exactly where it can continue doing the most damage.

The Black Swan is scary looking because you're not there yet. You keep her in shadow. But once you find her, you realize two things: That she is you, and that you are beautiful.

LAIR

Mona: "Want some gum? It's noticeably retro in its packaging."
Spencer: "No, I'm too busy looking at this hilarious diary of Alison's."
Mona: "Honey, do you really think your sister would ever hurt you?"
Spencer: "That was a random, terrifying thing to say. Oh, and speaking of terrifying, here's a noticeably retro gum wrapper keeping A's place in this diary. Hey, can I have a piece of gum now?"
Mona: "Sure, I'll just go out to the car and get more, even though I just told you I have some. It should take about as long as it takes a tiny little girl to put on a hoodie and become a shapeshifting ghost ninja."

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Pretty Little Liars

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