It's difficult to base an entire show around a single mystery that can be traced back to one high school girl. And it's especially difficult when said high school girl isn't likable. For years, Pretty Little Liars got away with this formula, because quite simply, Alison DiLaurentis was "dead." For all intents and purposes, she was gone. But now that Ali's back, there's the question of: Has she changed? Is this the mean girl we've heard stories of? And if so, are we supposed to root for her?
Thus far, this season has done of good job of humanizing Ali and incorporating her back into the world, therefore entirely shifting the dynamic we've come to know. Ali's return shook things up. But as the weeks go on and it becomes apparent that Ali is still lying, fans are left to decide whether she's someone to be for or against. And after years of only debating Ali's true intentions in occasional flashbacks, this much Ali is a lot to take in. At times, trying to figure her out is what drags things down. There's enough mystery surrounding Ali that she herself doesn't need to be another question mark in a book The Riddler would be proud of at this point.
And this week, the Ali question is front and center when Pam Field re-enters Rosewood and invites the girls to dinner. In a bathroom confessional, the girls try to think of excuses not to go, but Ali finally gives in. Correction: Ali gives in only after Emily agrees to walk poor scared Ali home. Honestly Ali, we get you were attacked, but Emily almost got cut in half once, so suck it up. Sidenote: Sydney comes out of that bathroom stall without flushing and then touches Ali's scarf without washing her hands. So we will officially label her "villain," right?
In the hallway, Emily finds out about Paige's traumatizing experience with the dead rat—again, suck it up—before Mona drops a line about Noel lending her notes. So is he back in school or is she just making stuff up? And who writes their name on the outside of their notebook in huge bubble letters? That wasn't even cool in the '90s.
At the rebellious cafeteria table, Caleb sits reading about swamp things and not caring about exams while Hanna "bugs out" about Ali being back. Cue Caleb and Ali's interaction, in which Caleb proves he knows all he needs to know about Ali, and you know what? He doesn't like her. He calls her a tornado and then walks away from his final exams because he's cool like that. Instead of taking boring tests, he shows up at Hanna's house with some beer. But clearly Hanna feels Ali's less of a tornado and more of a hurricane, because she sends Caleb away… for now. She has a dinner to get to.
NEXT: Drunk in love