TV Recaps

The Lying Game: Sutton – Dead or Alive?


I’m beginning to wonder if ABC Family should rethink this show’s timeslot. While quite different from Pretty Little Liars, it’s similar as well. In place of A, we have the constant mystery of Sutton’s whereabouts and whether she’s dead or alive and someone pulling strings from the background. It’s running a lot on mysterious steam, but without answers that steam will run out.

The summer season built an intriguing mystery that was being covered up by their parents, who were clearly entangled in a very, very messy, but exciting web. So far, the winter season seems to be throwing one thing after another into the mix and none of these things are fitting. I’m not sure if the writers are trying to throw the viewers off track, confuse the hell out of us, or are actually going somewhere with all of this.

This week’s episode revolved around Sutton’s disappearance and picked up with Emma still holding the gift with the creepy message. Thayer and Ethan are convinced it’s one of Sutton’s lying games. Apparently in the past, she stole a girl’s things, waited on her to replace them, and then gifted them to her with a snotty note. Personally, this sounds like the worst game ever, but to each their own. I will agree with Thayer who said, “The only way to win a lying game is not to play.” Unfortunately, these three start playing a game of their own.

Ethan and Thayer convince Emma to keep posing as Sutton, but to do so in a way that will draw her out of hiding. This means appearing as if she’s using Sutton’s name to get into college. If Sutton feels like her sister is still trying to steal her life, she’ll come out of hiding.

Before leaving town for her college tour, Emma spends some quality time with Ethan, leading them to see a heated exchange between his brother, Dan, and Alec. This leads Emma to decide when she’s ending the identity fiasco after her trip to Texas. Thayer is convinced Sutton will blow her out of the water at the last possible second.

Later when Ethan asks Dan about Alec, he launches into a story about how Alec saved him from going to jail when he got involved with a Sutton Mercer type. It reeks of trying too hard, but Ethan goes along with it. I enjoy scenes like this with his brother, partly because they gave a great banter with one another and partly because I love seeing Tyler Christopher (Dan) on my TV.

Meanwhile, Rebecca is settling in quite nicely. She’s managed to get Char’s mother into rehab, shipped her niece off to her father’s, and joined the local country club. Ted is unnerved by her easing her way into their lives, but Kristin is quite happy. I have a feeling she needs a girlfriend and it’s been a while since she’s had one. Judging from how slimy Ted and Alec may be, I can see why.

There was an interesting moment between Kristin and Rebecca when Kristin mentioned taking Ted on an anniversary trip to Santa Barbara. Something flashed in Rebecca’s eyes and she shrugged it off, saying she had never been. Too bad Kristin didn’t seem to believe her.

While away on her trip, Emma dreams of the college life she could have if she was a real member of the Mercer family. She even shares her excitement with Ethan via videochat, but Dan interrupts with a harsh dose of reality. Dan may have a point. He’s just so damn bitter about everything, which leads to wonder what these rich people have actually done to him.

College wasn’t the only thing Emma was dreaming about. Her nightmare where she chased Sutton and ended up at her grave was a little creepy. Ted woke her from it, but failed to his daughter was distraught. Where’s Kristin when you need her? Their trip concluded with a meeting with the tennis team and the office of admissions. Emma gave an passionate speech to the admissions counselor about how being given a second chance in life and having hope again. Sometimes this girl lays it on just a little too thick.

After the meeting, Ted and Emma jetted home and were greeted by Kristin and the news that Justin had dumped Laurel. Justin may be one of the most intriguing characters on the show right now. He gave his girlfriend the typical boy cold shoulder and said he was trying to let her off easy, but he’s also covering something up. The box in his room revealed pictures and an autopsy report, which he burned at the end of the episode. Who are his parents? What is their connection, or his mother’s rather, to Ted and Kristin? There has to be one considering he targeted Laurel from the start. Too bad he burned his box of secrets and now we’ll never know.

The episode wound down with Alec getting a call from Annie Hobbs’ clinic while on the phone with the other Annie. I’m still annoyed by this two Annie business. Some kind of clarity is necessary or else I’ll keep resenting the writers for this one.

Emma had a serious discussion with Ethan at his trailer about Sutton never coming back. She thinks it’s sick of her to want to accept Sutton’s life permanently, but really, considering the life she’s lead, I get it. I’m sure everyone else does too. Always hard on herself, Emma says her moral compass just snapped. This just means you’re fitting in because so few people around you actually have a moral compass to begin with.

Thayer arrived, saying that not only is Sutton dead, but he knows who killed her. His train of thought actually makes sense. Wonder if he read the Hardy Boys growing up? First, who would want to kill Sutton? Someone who doesn’t want the secret to get out. Second, who would want Emma to keep being Sutton? Annie Hobbs, who broke out of her psychiatric clinic last week.

This is where things started to get a little after school special. Emma broke down for the millionth time and says she has to go tell the famous – famous last words. She rushed home with Ethan and Thayer to find her house empty. This girl is never going to tell. Why even try? Then really cheesy music started to play and everyone goes all soft-eyed and talked about how Sutton was kind of amazing. I guess they forgot what a lying, cheating, two-faced, downright mean girl she was to everyone. It was so bad it almost left me in the fetal position – except then Sutton walked in, looking all fresh-faced and gorgeous, and saved the day. The bitch is back, guys!


Amber Cunigan
Amber Cunigan is a sarcastic mid-twenties undergrad, extreme book hoarder, Netflix addict, and reality TV aficionado. She enjoys excessive amounts of chocolate and caffeine, tweeting, and all things Ezra Fitz and Ryan Gosling. When it comes to TV, she expects to be thoroughly entertained and when not, she will slam and mock you, but still tune in next week. She's a glutton for punishment. Basically, she's awesome.

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