TV Rundown: Week of Feb 7 | Mona Returns to 'Pretty Little Liars', Red Surprises on 'The Blacklist' - Plus, 'Teen Wolf'

Pretty Little Liars finally gave viewers a glimpse of its most underutilized character: Mona Vanderwaal. In her one scene with Spencer, she gave the season its biggest energy jolt to date. Mona is a character that has time and again proven to be incredibly valuable to the show. She’s run the gamut of archetypes, from outright villain to redeemed heroine, a lot of times within a single season. Why the show hasn't used her more is beyond understanding at this point.


Last season, she was left just as traumatized as the Liars following her own kidnapping by Charlotte. She was held prisoner and presumed dead by the entire outside world and still no one on the show seems all that sympathetic to her plight. As if she hasn’t done anything to prove she’s changed. She hasn’t done any less to prove herself than Alison and she’s been fully embraced back by the Liars for the most part.

Personally speaking, the show doesn’t get any better than when Mona and Ali are locking horns. In one corner you have an underestimated braniac and in the other, a diabolical debutante. It’s an entertaining rivalry, rich with complex layers and it’s never boring to watch. Ali is Mona’s only worthy advisory and vise versa. While Spencer is exceptionally book smart, Mona and Ali know how to use their intellect in the real world and to far greater effect. As a result, one could argue they're the show's strongest characters.

Another highlight of "Do Not Disturb" involved Hanna’s verbal smackdown of her boss. Yes, it was a moment of sheer fantasy. There’s no way an employee who told off their superior like Hanna did wouldn’t be blacklisted from working in the fashion business ever again. Fantasy aside, it was amazing to see Hanna fighting back in some capacity, even if it wasn’t against the emoji texter. Spencer and Aria’s team up was also well played and their discovery of a secret Radley tunnel was eerily surprising. Yes, it was a little outlandish but this is “Pretty Little Liars” so that’s to be expected.
The Blacklist pursued a disturbing villain straight out of a Grimm Brothers' tale. Tasked with protecting a child who’d escape their captor, Liz got a chance to practice her mom skills. As they were last week, Liz's baby was a major player in the storyline of "Lady Ambrosia (No. 77)". As the episode opened we learned that a new couple had stepped up to the plate, ready, willing and able to adopt Liz and Tom's baby. With the adoption becoming a reality, Liz began struggling with her decision. Whether Red's claim that she was responsible for her parents' deaths will put a damper on her second thoughts remains to be seen.

How bizarre was what Red disclosed to Liz about her parents? Was that supposed to encourage her to keep her baby? And what, if any, clues did viewers actually learn about Liz's parentage? The writers clearly want us to think Red discounted himself by referring to Liz's father in third person (which is not that difficult to explain away) and by claiming he was dead. Perhaps, he was referring to death in the figurative sense? He could have been straight up lying or speaking in metaphors.

Either way, his comments didn't really discredit the speculation that he's Liz's biological father. He knows way too much about Liz's mom. Intimate details only someone very close to her would know and way more than could be attributed to a family friend. That said; the theory he could be Liz's uncle (her mother's brother) certainly gained a little steam with his latest missive.

Now to the other major episode development: Tom's life is hanging in the balance after a business deal gone wrong. In yet another display of his loyalty to Liz, he turned down his ex-lover's offer to run away together and his reward was being cut down in a hail of bullets. Ever the survivalist, Tom took out the guys who tried to kill him and made a fateful escape. Unfortunately he's not out of the woods and by episode's end he was barely clinging to life. The preview for the next episode indicated Liz would finally come to blows with Red over her relationship with Tom.

We’ll see if this actually comes to fruition. “The Blacklist” has previously teased a showdown between Red and Tom that either plays a very small role in the episode or fizzles out before it even starts. Maybe that will shake out differently this time. The most important thing is that Tom is not killed off. This is a character that gives the show tremendous entertainment value and boasts loads of potential storylines for the future. #LetTomLive 

Other episode highlights included “Saturday Night Live” star Leslie Jones' hilarious cameo as a fellow patron at the DMV, who struck up a conversation with Red. Their interaction was absolute comic gold and if that wasn’t enough comedic relief for the episode, “The Blacklist” also threw in a priceless scene between Red and Glen. James Spader and Clark Middleton share a repartee that is absolutely phenomenal. More please…

Teen Wolf finally set Lydia free! It’s taken what feels like forever but the red-haired heroine has been liberated from Eichen House and is ready to take on the world. After sharing a pretty intense moment with Stiles (her valiant rescuer) one can’t help wondering if they're actually headed towards a real relationship. Does anyone on this show have time for romance though? And why and when did Stiles and Malia break up? For answers to those questions and many more, we’ll all just have to stay tuned.

Photo Credit: "Pretty Little Liars"/Freeform/ABC Family, "The Blacklist"/NBC

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