“Pretty Little Liars” returned to ABC Family for its fifth season on Tuesday, and the hit series didn’t skimp on the drama. The show picked up right after the jaw-dropping events in the Season 4 finale, and explored the major cliffhanger: Who does Ezra think 'A' is?
The Season 5 premiere, “EscApe From New York,” began with medics tending to Ezra’s gunshot wound. But that doesn’t mean that the Rosewood High School English teacher is in the clear. Alison spots “A” riding on top of the ambulance and realizes that as long as Ezra knows “A’s” identity, he’s not safe.
In order to protect Ezra, the girls hatch a plan. To get things in motion, Hanna calls the hospital and warns them to put security detail on him. The gang then splits up to head to the hospital – Aria and Alison heading in one direction, and Spencer, Hanna and Emily going in another. The idea is to catch “A” by surprise, but Hanna has a backup just in case – the gun she took from “A.” She hands it to Aria and Alison, and the girls set their trap. Luring “A” to Alison, they get him/her to follow the blonde out. Spencer, Emily and Hanna plan on watching her back, but what they don’t realize is that the hooded figure they believe is “A” is actually working with a group of other people. A dozen masked and hooded figures surround the girls in a New York City park, taunting them. But before they can act on anything, a police officer breaks them up.
While the five Liars wait for Ezra to pull through, the Hastings family seems to be struggling to understand the news that Alison is actually alive. But for Melissa it’s not the news that the blonde teen is alive – it’s the fact that “another family is missing their daughter … and she’s really dead.”
However something else also seems to be plaguing Melissa – guilt.
“Mom, there’s something you need to know,” she says, leading her dad to look up. But before Melissa could continue, their interrupted by Officer Holbrook. The Rosewood cop reveals to the Hastings that CeCe has escaped police custody, and that Spencer could be in serious danger because of it. Melissa tries to open her mouth about the mysterious secret she’s keeping, but Mr. Hastings cuts her off before she can. When Holbrook leaves he warns Melissa that her mother can never find out what she told him.
That’s not the only drama going on in Rosewood. Thanks to TV coverage, Mona discovers that Alison has resurfaced. And needless to say, she’s not happy.
“We’re mobilizing,” she says to a mysterious person on the phone. But who is “we”?
None other than Lucas and other students scorned by Alison – including Paige.
“I picked you because we all have one thing in common,” Mona tells her new minions. “Alison DiLaurentis.” While a majority of the group seems to agree with Mona, Paige isn’t biting. In order to get Paige on board, Mona warns her that Alison will never let her be a couple with Emily. But that’s something that Paige is willing to risk … until Melissa walks through the door.
As a group against Alison forms, the girls decide they need to seek shelter from “A.” And fortunately Alison knows a place they can go. Taking them to a theater, Alison reveals that this used to be Ezra’s “special place.” In a flashback, “Pretty Little Liars” fans see that Ezra told Alison that the theater belonged to a friend of the family. In reality the building is actually the Fitzgerald Theater, a property owned by Ezra’s family. And when Holbrook receives a phone call from the NYPD about Ezra’s shooting, he quickly figures out that the theater might be key to finding the girls. The Liars settle in for the night and Alison makes some suspicious phone calls to some of her “friends” who helped her. Shortly after that, Shana shows up at the hospital looking for Aria. She tells Aria that Alison sent her to make sure she was okay, but Aria doesn’t want her help.
Meanwhile, another one of Alison’s “friends” shows up for her – CeCe. Covering Alison’s mouth with her hand, CeCe secretly pulls her old friend aside from Spencer, Hanna and Emily.
“You asked for my help in Ravenswood,” CeCe says to Alison. “Now I need yours.”
Meeting up with Noel, Alison gives CeCe the money, passport and plane ticket that she was going to use to escape town. And while that seems like a permanent goodbye for the pair, CeCe tells her that they’ll “always find a way back to each other.”
Aria seems to always find her way back to Ezra. Waking up at the hospital, she finds Shana inside Ezra’s room. And while Ezra is in stable condition, he quickly begins to falter when he sets his eyes on Shana.
Confused about what happened, Aria makes a phone call to the girls to update them on Ezra’s status. But unfortunately she can’t tell them what happened because of bad cell service. As Alison, Spencer, Hanna and Emily wait for Aria to call back on the theater’s line, they receive another phone call – from Officer Holbrook.
Because of Holbrook’s surprise call, Aria can’t get in touch with the girls again. Defeated, she returns to Ezra – who is conscious enough to reveal the identity behind “A.”
Frightened about being discovered, the girls make the executive decision to flee the theater and get Alison on a plane. Then Alison drops the bomb that she no longer has the plane ticket. Hanna and Spencer are angry that Alison is still keeping secrets, but Emily knows the truth. Ezra had been paying CeCe for information, and it had been CeCe who helped Emily escape the box in Ravenswood. The twist is that CeCe actually killed Detective Wilden, and Alison believes that it's partially her fault. While she tells Emily the truth, she doesn’t want any of the other girls to become an accessory or go down for CeCe’s crimes. Unfortunately there is no time to argue about it, though, because Shana shows up at the theater with a gun.
Admitting to locking the girls at the lodge and starting the fire, Shana tells Alison that she’s not playing a game – she wants justice for Jenna. She reveals that she fell in love with Jenna after Alison asked her to dig up dirt in Rosewood. And after hearing Jenna and everyone’s horror stories about Alison, she wanted to make her former friend pay. Alison and the girls beg Shana to reconsider, but Shana’s bent on using the gun on Alison. But what Shana didn’t realize was that Aria headed to the theater shortly after her. Using a prop gun, Aria knocked Shana off the stage – killing her.
The Season 5 premiere concluded with CeCe dressed as Vivian Darkbloom and boarding a flight out of the city.
What did you think of “EscApe From New York”? Let us know your thoughts and theories in the comments section or send a tweet to @AmandaTVScoop.