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'Pretty Little Liars' finale recap: A car crash, a death and another round of lies

March 22, 2011 |  6:30 am

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Well, I guess we can finally cross Ian off our list of A suspects. Or can we? The season finale of "Pretty Little Liars" managed to produce just as many questions as it solved. At this point, the storyboards for this show must look like a "Family Circus" trip crossed with the "Gossip Girl" hook-up chart. It could mean that we're headed for a completely genius second season, in which the Tolstoy-level complexity will all play out in interesting ways. Or it could mean that "Pretty Little Liars" is painting itself into a corner. 

It was a doozy of a conclusion, but I can't help but feel a tad disappointed. After all that buildup, we didn't learn that much. Ezra is moving on to work at Hollis, which at least means that he and Aria can finally break out of the loop of boring close calls they've been caught in this season. He'll be working with his ex-fiancee, which had Aria all in a huff, but I can't imagine that we've seen the end of them together. I was crossing my fingers for a Maya-Emily reunion this episode, but things were fairly tame on her front -- just, you know, her family moving to Texas and her involvement in an entrapment scheme. 

"Pretty Little Liars" started out with Aria as the leader of the Rosewood pack, but I think that the last part of the season has really shifted the focus to Spencer. Her relationship with Toby is easily the most rich and believable that's developed on the show, and living with Alison's suspected killer as her brother-in-law has created some of the best scenes of the season. This week, Spencer took a tip from "The Wire" and used a prepaid cellphone to have Ian meet her in the woods to buy back the flash drive. Now that we're pretty sure that Ian was "the boy next door who gets off on watching all the girls next door," Spencer's sure that she can get him to confess and throw him behind bars.

But while the other three were waiting to lure Ian into their web -- with, little do they know, the cop who happens to be Jenna's lover in tow -- Spencer was collecting her panicked sister from the church. The car accident they got into (which can't possibly have been an accident, could it?) brought out a side of sororal feeling from Spencer that we haven't seen in a while, and she seemed driven to find Melissa's phone in order to fix, in some small part, the wreck that their relationship has become. Of course, the girls in the woods met an Internet-hired patsy and Ian, revealing his inner sleazeball, found Spencer in the church.

In the ensuing scuffle, I couldn't tell if Ian was confessing to killing Alison, or just trying to make a plausible suicide cover-up for Spencer. In either case, the next time we saw him, he looked very dead -- thanks to the mysterious figure in black who pushed him at just the right moment. That must have been A, right? And if so, then it must be someone Ian knew -- his last words were: "What are you doing here?"

But of course, we can't be sure because after the police showed up his body had disappeared from the Belltower. Here's hoping there's something good coming up, and it's not just that someone has been slipping acid into the Rosewood water supply. And what was with the inexplicable return of Lucas, and his selfless mission to bring Caleb back? "Pretty Little Liars" fans, do you have any theories on how they're going to wrap this up? One thing I'll give this show: It sure knows how to pull off a cliffhanger. 

-- Margaret Eby

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Full 'ShowTracker coverage of 'Pretty Little Liars'

Photo: The girls plot a way to trick Ian. Credit: ABC Family 

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