TV Rundown: Week of Jan 17 | 'Pretty Little Liars' Reveals More, 'Blacklist' Twists & 'Reign' Bids a Winter Farewell

Pretty Little Liars continued to pull back the curtain on the current state of the girls’ lives post-5 year jump and for one Liar in particular, the answers continue to get worse and worse. That Liar is Emily, who added a possible cancer diagnosis to her growing list of heartbreaking misfortunes. Will she ever catch a break?

Out of all the Liars, Emily has lived the most tortured existence and her happiness always tends to be a short-lived phenomenon. The best thing she can do for herself is avoid Ali, who tried to reel her back into their toxic dynamic.

The only Liar doing well is Hanna and “Charlotte’s Web” introduced viewers to the source of some of that wellness…her new fiancĂ©. First impressions were that while he’s a nice guy, their connection was far from explosive. Her chemistry with Caleb remains more impressive.

As speculated on in the opener, Spencer is harboring a pretty big crush on Caleb. Whether he reciprocates her attraction at this point remains unknown and hard to decipher. Still, Spencer is definitely contemplating breaking the most sanctified of “girl rules” to make a move on him.

Aria’s drama with Fitz comprised their usual song and dance. He’s still depressed and apparently giving into the dark side. There to usher him over is Ali, who’s already turning on her friends in a quest to secure justice for her sister. Who could’ve seen that coming? Oh, everyone.

All things considered, “Charlotte’s Web” was a decent episode. Among the top takeaways were that Emily deserves happiness, Hanna needs to reunite with Caleb, Aria’s new guy is a vast improvement over Fitz, Ali is a tyrant and the show desperately needs more Mona.

The Blacklist made fans wait for the entire episode before unveiling the much hyped #BlacklistTwist and if you’ve been keeping up with recent headlines concerning series lead Megan Boone, you might have seen it coming. The show has decided to write in the actress’ real-life pregnancy and the result on-screen is a Tom/Liz baby. Things are about to get very interesting.

For those concerned this is going to turn into a “Mad About You” baby Mabel situation, let’s not panic. Jon Bokenkamp has proven he’s more than capable of weathering storylines other shows have capsized in the midst of; such as a shadow government/global conspiracy (see “Revenge”). 

For every baby Mabel, there’ve been baby storyline successes. Take “Bones” and “X-Files” for instance. Yes, it is a gamble for “The Blacklist” but it’s one worth waiting to see shake out before getting too shaken up by it. Given there have been countless anvils alluding to this plot twist since the season began; it’s clear this storyline was mulled over long before the public was ever made aware they were even having to weigh their options.

For instance, Liz told Red her biggest dream was to have a family in the season's first batch of episodes, the Djinn predicted having a child was Liz's greatest desire and she looked longingly at a baby in a diner when she was on the run. Was all of that coincidental? I think not.

Reign said goodbye until spring with a winter finale that was every bit as eventful as last week’s episode. Directed with terrific finesse by actress Megan Fellows; “Bruises That Lie” had so many big moments it’s hard to know where to begin. First there was Claude’s short-lived marriage and her perfect reaction to being stricken by her temporary husband, she knocked him out with a succession of punches. Leith's training came in very handy!

Then there was the reveal of Catherine’s deviously ruthless scheme to set Claude up in the untenable marriage to begin with so Claude would eventually be set free to marry whomever she wishes to, therefore keeping the promise Catherine had made to her a few episodes ago.

Catherine’s scheme also benefited her by driving a wedge between Charles and Narcisse, ultimately leading to her unseating Narcisse as regent. The closing scene revealing Catherine’s deceit was downright unexpected. Every time you think she’s gone soft, she surprises by having another trick neatly tucked up her sleeve.

Elsewhere in the kingdom, Greer arranged for her sister to adopt her baby and the speculation as to her child’s paternity officially ended with the revelation that the pirate she’d had a fling with earlier in the season was the father. Over in England, Elizabeth met Lola and tried to deal with her own baby drama. Sadly the hour ended on a tragic note for the auburn queen, as she suffered a miscarriage brought on by an apparent assassination attempt.

Topping the suspect list for that despicable deed is Dudley, who had the motive, means and opportunity to do so. After last week’s episode, this viewer’s favor really wasn’t with Elizabeth and “Bruises That Lie” wound up changing that, mainly due to actress Rachel Skarsten’s terrific performance. She portrayed Elizabeth’s turmoil at coming to terms with not being able to be with Dudley and the later heartache of her miscarriage with such gravitas, it was impossible not to empathize.

Other tidbits by episode’s end included: Mary’s awkward flirtation with Gideon, which is coming rather quickly on the heels of Francis’ death. This pairing just isn’t working. It’s not necessarily the timing, it’s the fact it feels inescapably ill fated and well…awkward. Narcisse’s downfall was to be expected, though one can only expect to see him rise from the ashes eventually.

Who would want it any other way? He’s been such a marvelous addition to the show as a villain/rogue. He’s truly Catherine’s male equal and that’s saying something. In this episode Elizabeth earned her spot as the series’ third queen, the final support leg of the royal trinity.

Over the course of the third season’s first 10 episodes, she’s proven to be every bit as complex as her rivals. Now viewers must wait until spring to watch more of these fierce ladies ruling. It will definitely be worth the wait.

[Featured Image by Freeform]

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