Written by Megan LaBruna

Pretty Little Liars

Plot: The girls work together in a race against time to uncover information about Charlotte’s death and save Hanna from A.

The seventh season of Pretty Little Liars premiered this week with nothing short of a shocking opening. Not only did we find out that Alison’s mother Jessica has a twin sister Mary (Andrea Parker), but also Ali’s husband is working with Mary to basically trick her into believing she’s crazy. Why would someone’s husband do such a thing? Well that’s because he’s actually in love with Charlotte (Vanessa Ray), Alison’s brother who became her sister, who through the discovery of medical records, turned out to be her cousin…and the lies are only just beginning to unfold.

Last season Pretty Little Liars jumped five years in the future to show how everything had changed, but really nothing had changed because by the end of the season all the girls were mostly back with their high school boyfriends and they were still being tormented by A. This season premiere, however, proves that the new A is not only smarter, but more violent than the last few. While the A of seasons past has threatened the girls with blackmail and creepy riddles, the most recent A straight up kidnapped Hanna (Ashley Benson) and has threatened to kill her. Based on the small amount of information we as viewers know about this A, I’m inclined to believe the threat is real this time.

While I love the coupling of Aria (Lucy Hale) and Ezra (Ian Harding), I’m not happy to see them growing closer again. He was a major part of her growth as a character, but I think she’s come so much into her own without him and I don’t like them rekindling their romance, because it is essentially a step backwards for Aria. Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) started dating Spencer (Troian Bellisario) last season, which I have to say, I was not a huge fan of at first. But, by the time the season had ended, I had accepted the pair and actually understood how they grew close together during their time abroad. Though I should have just held out on accepting this new pairing, because it is fairly clear that the writers have every intention of reviving Hanna and Caleb. This was foreshadowed last season when we found out that Hanna went back to choose Caleb over her work, but he had already vanished. She even states how their lives would have been different had she returned just a few minutes earlier or never left in the first place. With Hannah now missing, Caleb is noticeably distraught and it’s clear he still has feelings for her that run deep.

I’m happy to see Mona (Janel Parrish) is back on the Liars’ side. With her vast knowledge and scary ability to deceive those around her, she is a great asset for the girls to have against this new A. Although, in my opinion, she was the best A the show has had to date. As for other deceptive characters, I understand Alison (Sasha Pieterse) is a moderately terrible person, but over the five year jump she seems to have truly worked hard to help Charlotte get better and has really invested in the idea of family. So the fact that her husband is in cahoots with her secret Aunt Mary to drive her crazy is unfortunate to see. Then again she may not be as reformed as she seems. Based on her limited and questionable conversation with Emily (Shay Mitchell), she may have been the one to kill Charlotte last season. Then again, as with most of the plot lines in this show, nothing is ever as easy or as straight forward as it may appear to be.

While the show is based on the books by Sara Shepard, the storyline has since veered away from the original plot. In the books there is a set of twins, and the creators had already stated that this major twist wouldn’t be the case in the show. However, they did mention that there would be a set of twins at some point, just not the ones readers were expecting. With Mary being the surviving twin of the now deceased Jessica, I think we’ve now solved that piece of the puzzle. Now the question remains as to whether or not she can be trusted or if she is a true villain as she is currently being portrayed.

I’m looking forward to this new season of Pretty Little Liars, I think viewers will see much more growth and strength of each character as an individual as well as some serious turmoil that will test the friendships between the girls now that the threats are even more real, the demands are higher, and the love interests are being crossed. In the world of girls, vengeance is vicious, secrets are abundant and as the theme song states, “Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.”

Rating: 8 out of 10

Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8 PM on Freeform

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.