Pretty Little Liars winter premiere creates new questions with the same old charm.

Pretty Little Liars returns and it's not all that different from where it started. The liars are reuniting and returning to Rosewood. Except this time they're in control — sort of. With "A" locked away and Alison begging for help, the tables have turned and created a different dynamic for the continuation of season six. Although "Of Late I think of Rosewood" may not have audiences on the edges of their seats, it's a decent start with some twists and turns. 

It's time to flash forward five years from where the show left off in the August season. Charlotte, the evil “A" and Alison’s sister, is still locked away. The liars have moved away and now have the chance to explore life without being tormented every minute. Emily (Shay Mitchell) went to Pepperdine University in Malibu, California and is working as a bartender. Aria (Lucy Hale) attended college in Savannah and is now working at a publishing company. Hanna (Ashley Benson) broke into the fashion industry after going to New York and Spencer (Troian Bellisario) is on Capitol Hill as a lobbyist.

Alison stayed in Rosewood and she’s a high school teacher. Alison receives the news from a man named Dr. Rollins — there is going to be a hearing for the release of Charlotte (Vanessa Ray), but it’s only four days away.

Now, the girl who ran away is asking for the others to return. Alison writes letters to the four liars and asks them to return to speak at the trial.

The liars first reunite back at The Brew, a place where they once sat and schemed and now are doing something even crazier — having a conversation over coffee. Although it’s only five years forward, the liars seem to have their lives together, which unfortunately means a life apart from their high school sweethearts. But at least the liars have some new love interests. Maybe some old flames will spark and create some drama as the season progresses.

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But the biggest surprise of all has to be the old mental institution, Radley Sanitarium. Hanna's mom, Ashley (Laura Leighton), decides to transform the creepy place of insanity into a hip, new hotel. It looks stunning, but the memories are rather terrifying. Ashley tells Hanna over a glass of wine that people will soon forget — but that’s rather doubtful. Not many, including the liars, are likely to forget the torture that took place involving Radley. 

Alison is back in the classroom with the liars and is giving her spiel as to why Charlotte should be released. She’s giving the lowdown of the hearing and what the judge wants to hear from the people involved. Alison looks sweet and innocent with her floral patterned skirt, but she’s trying to be in control of one last lie. No matter what the girls say — the expressions on their faces make it clear they are uncomfortable with Charlotte’s possible release. 

The liars later discuss what they’re going to say in court — this time it’s Aria who is the voice of reason. She asks if the girls are truly fearless. Her doubt continues as the girls enter into the courtroom.

Spencer, Hanna and Emily speak without missing a beat. They explain how there is no threat if Charlotte is released. But as Aria sits before the judge, her mind flashes back to the dark, grim dollhouse that caused her so much pain. She tries to catch her breath before blurting to the judge how she wouldn’t feel safe.

Alison looks defeated, which is understandable because she has been striving for her sister’s release for several years.

Despite Aria’s breakdown, the other statements from the other liars, Mona (Janel Parrish) and Alison must have been stronger. Charlotte is released.

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The girls drink away the night and wake up the next morning to receive a frantic phone call from Alison — Charlotte is missing.

In Rosewood, someone missing is never a good sign. The coroners are soon covering up Charlotte’s body on the Church’s lawn. The death is bittersweet — “A” was finally discovered and just as quickly is gone. But now there is another long list of questions beginning with: who killed Charlotte?

The liars might as well flash back to the pilot episode for the funeral scene. During Alison’s funeral in the pilot episode, the liars were reunited in the church to mourn over Alison — someone who tormented them. They all held their breaths as Jenna came to the funeral. And finally, an officer approached the girls about the murder of Alison.

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The parallels are eerily similar to the latest episode. The liars are reunited in the church to mourn the death of a tormentor — this time it’s Charlotte rather than Alison. The liars pause as Sara Harvey (Dre Davis), who was once Charlotte's No. 2, enters the church and finally they discover Charlotte’s death is being investigated as a homicide.

The episode is full of questions that’ll likely take ages to answer — hopefully not another six seasons. All in all, not much has changed in Rosewood. 

Pretty Little Liars airs every Tuesday at 8 p.m., on Freeform. 

Rating:

 3/5

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