“Pretty Little Liars”: The Complete Fourth Season is actually a step up from season three. Sure, the four ladies make some boneheaded mistakes helping “A” further his or hers vendetta, but there are some good revelations which further the plot along nicely and we do get a few answers not to mention some solid drama for each of the girls.
“Pretty Little Liars”: The Complete Fourth Season
Genre(s): Drama, Crime, Mystery
Warner Home Video | Rating – 1046 min. – $59.98 | June 3, 2014
THE MOVIE – 4.0/5
Note: This review does contain some MAJOR SPOILERS about the season, so please skip if you don’t want to know certain plot details.
The end of the third season of our favorite ‘tween mystery, “Pretty Little Liars”, the girls, or bitches as “A” would put it — smart candy Spencer (TROIAN BELLISARIO), design taffy Hanna (ASHLEY BENSON), sweet liquorish ARIA (LUCY HALE) and cotton candy Emily (SHAY MITCHELL) — are still in big trouble with “A” but a new figure is in the mix, the mysterious woman nicknamed “Red Coat” who may or may not be friendly to the ladies. Also, the four, along with Mona (JANEL PARRISH) who is at least partially back on “Team A”, are pulled out of a burning cabin by a woman Spencer, Hanna and Mona swear is Ally (SASHA PIETERSE)!
It’s another season of red herrings, false villains, misunderstandings, shocking revelations and yet more stupid decision making primarily by the girls who seem determined to play into A’s hands… or I should say A’s all seeing, all knowing, God-like hands. The year also finds Hannah once again breaking up with Caleb (TYLER BLACKBURN) mainly because the actor’s starring role in the spin-off series, “Ravenswood” which was cancelled after only one season (and 10 episodes) so Caleb will certainly be back in season five to a bit of a surprise as toward the end of this year finds a suitor, though the “A” drama gets in the way… But for Hannah, her breakup with Caleb pales in comparison when her mother is accused of killing a corrupt cop.
And of course, there’s more drama between Aria and Ezra (IAN HARDING) who, after time away and their relationship over, accepts a teaching position at Rosewood High School but obviously these two lovebirds can’t stay apart as much as Aria wants even with her own suitor in the form of a kickboxing instructor who, unless I’m mistaken, disappears halfway through the season. In any case, when the two hook-up again, she keeps this from her friends, though by year’s end, a deep secret is revealed much to shock of fans… BUT not so shocking as it’s ANOTHER red herring, albeit it does change the dynamic between them and leads to a dramatic emotional breakdown for once.
Not to be outdone, Emily and Paige (LINDSEY SHAW) aren’t exactly simpatico of late with each seeing little of each other until later where Paige confronts Emily about a secret she believes involves “A” and thus putting Emily in danger, leading to an ultimatum to which their own bond might be on the outs.
Lastly, Spencer’s season-long ordeal is less about her and Toby (KEEGAN ALLEN) and instead on, as with last season, her mental state. This go around, as she becomes obsessed with decoding Ally’s recently discovered diary, with codenames and fictional stories mixed with non-fiction, she begins delving into buying prescription pills to stay awake as long as possible and in turn look like absolute crap which initially doesn’t raise many alarms with her friends.
“Pretty Little Liars” is hardly the perfect series by any stretch mainly because the writers have to continue to find ways to keep “A” relevant and the girls’ more than one step behind him/her which then doesn’t make the girls look very smart and in fact make dumb mistakes in the process. I will say, there is one point, toward season’s end, where Emily gets a hold of some cash to be sent to somebody and lo and behold, “A” didn’t get their hands on it first! I thought for sure Em would once again screw things up. In any case, while not perfect, it is effectively alluring, being able to get the viewer to watch the next episode and I will admit, this season is a game changer and having seen the season five premiere, takes the story to whole new place with new mysteries intermixed with the old.
Episodes (favorites marked with an asterisk):
1. A is for A-L-I-V-E*
2. Turn of the Shoe*
3. Cat’s Cradle
4. Face Time*
5. Gamma Zeta Die!
6. Under the Gun*
7. Crash & Burn, Girl*
8. The Guilty Girl’s Handbook
9. Into the Deep*
10. The Mirror Has Three Faces*
11. Bring Down the Hoe
12. Now You See Me, Now You Don’t*
13. Grave New World*
14. Who’s in the Box?*
15. Love Shack, Baby*
16. Close Encounters
17. Bite Your Tongue*
18. Hot for Teacher
19. Shadow Play
20. Free Fall*
21. She’s Come Undone*
22. Cover for Me*
24. A is for Answers*
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.0/5
The five-disc set comes housed in a standard DVD case with a side-sliding slip cover. Inside is an episode guide.
A LiArs Guide to Rosewood: Bonus Recap Episode (44:12) – This allows viewers who missed some or all of the first three seasons to get caught up, with the help of Mona’s narration, with highlights so you can sit and enjoy season four.
Deleted Scenes (2:41) on ‘This Mirror Has Three Faces’ and ‘Now You See Me, Now You Don’t’
Deleted Scenes (2:52) on ‘Close Encounters’ and ‘Hot for Teacher’
Unhooding Red Coat: Alison is Alive! (7:52) looks at where Alison had been during the two years and what happened that fateful night she disappeared and includes on-set interviews with the cast and crew discussing the events of season four.
Pretty Little Scenes (8:22) is about the set and costume designs featured on the show.
Confessions of “A” Lair (7:19) – Here we get a tour of the headquarters of “A”.
Deleted Scene (0:38) on ‘Free Fall’
VIDEO – 4.25/5
“Pretty Little Liars” is presented with a 1.78 anamorphic widescreen transfer and for the most part looks good with good details, bright colors and minimal amount of artifacts and no obvious signs of compression. Although I think this is a series that would look great in high-def, as it airs on television, it’s still fine in SD.
AUDIO – 4.25/5
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track offered is adequate with clear dialogue mostly coming out of the center speaker and some decent depth for ambient sounds and the mystery/dramatic score and choice pop music making up the bulk of the front and rear channels.
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Overall, “Pretty Little Liars”: The Complete Fourth Season is actually a step up from season three. Sure, the four ladies make some boneheaded mistakes helping “A” further his or hers vendetta, but there are some good revelations which further the plot along nicely and we do get a few answers not to mention some solid drama for each of the girls. The DVD released by Warner Home Video offers up good video/audio transfers but the bonus material is a bit limited in scope.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman