Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ships that aren't Shipping -- Part Six: Aria and Ezra on Pretty Little Liars

Welcome to part six on my series of posts on ships that aren't shipping, but totally should be. If you want to catch up, or revisit the previous couples, there was also; Part One: Oliver and Felicity on Arrow, Part Two: Charlie and Monroe on Revolution, Part Three: Emma and Hook from Once Upon a Time, Part Four: Skye and Ward from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Part Five: Wade and Zoe from Hart of Dixie.
But today we're here to talk about Aria and Ezra on Pretty Little Liars. If you're not up to date on the show, then be advised there are spoilers about to explode all over the screen.

Slow Decline into Ruin.
Aria and Ezra are pretty much my favorite on screen couple of all time. So, I just don't know where or how to start on this one!
Its hard to believe that Pretty Little Liars is still going strong half way through its fourth season. I thought for sure that the show's premise would give it a short life span, but the writers have managed to keep the wheels turning and the fans tuning in week after week.
For a long time, I wouldn't ever miss an episode, if only to see what Aria and Ezra were up to. But now, I'm actually feeling betrayed by this show, and its something I've never felt before.
Around five episodes ago, because of the unfolding plot, I couldn't bring myself to watch it anymore. Just the other day, I cracked, because I got to the point where I couldn't stand not knowing any longer, so I did a quick catch up. But before I get any further into that, let's revisit their relationship from the beginning.
Aria and Ezra met and got together within the first couple of episodes of season one, and I was instantly hooked. Their relationship had everything; a sense of the forbidden, because in the beginning Ezra was her teacher and they were literally breaking the law by being together. But there wasn't anything sleazy or creepy about it. Ezra was genuinely a nice, sweet guy, who really cared for Aria and wanted what was best for her. 
On a sidebar, Aria and Ezra shared two of my favorite TV kisses -- one where Ezra was leaving his teaching position to go and work elsewhere, and the second was (I think) the first time they'd seen each other after Aria's parents found out and forbade them from having a relationship.

There were a few times when Aria and Ezra had the "we can't be together" moments, but it was easy to see that their love was inevitable. They just kept gravitating back to one another. So at last they accepted what was clearly fate and started trying to work out how they could be together. For a time, Ezra took another job elsewhere, but there were still many issues stacked up against them. Aria's parents found out, and they had to deal with the expected fall out from that, but they stayed together and only seemed to get stronger.
That was, until season three, when it was revealed that Ezra had gotten his teenage sweetheart pregnant, and his parents had hidden the existence of the child from him. So his ex-girlfriend and their love child came into the picture, which slowly but surely drove a wedge between Aria and Ezra, as Ezra's perspectives and priorities changed. This time, they actually did break up, and while I was annoyed (especially when Aria flitted off and started kind of dating another guy, who was also really nice and hard to dislike) but I thought this was typical series drama they like to put between couples to keep things interesting.
What really ended up being interesting was the fact that Ezra's kid wasn't really his kid. The ex-girlfriend had cheated on him, and then passed the baby off as his and gotten a pay out from Ezra's parents (who are insanely rich). When the truth came out, the ex-girlfriend pretty much fled the scene, and it was at that point Ezra realized what he was really missing; Aria there for him in what was no doubt one of the darkest times of his life.
However, being Ezra, he wasn't about to barge back into her life and announce he'd made a mistake. He was more subtle about it, and once Aria knew his position, it was once again inevitable that they'd get back together.
That was until the writers decided to throw suspicion onto Ezra, pointing to the fact that he might be A.
Yes, the sociopathic, psychotic, mysterious figure that has been torturing the girls since episode one might be Ezra. And that was when I started feeling betrayed.
I shouldn't have been surprised. Just about every other secondary character had been cast in the A shadow at some point in the past three and a half season. Last season it was Toby, and that was taken to the extreme that for a while there, the audience was led to believe Toby was dead. I was disappointed in the destruction of Toby and Spencer's relationship, because I also really liked them as a couple.
So that fact that the writers were turning the tide toward Ezra shouldn't have been so shocking, but in a way it was.
Now I have a real problem with this, because in the episodes since this apparent revelation, Ezra has started acting almost like a totally different character, and that's what really annoys me. I don't like the creepy factor they've added into his recent actions, though I understand that they're using it as a tool to show us a different side of him. More annoyingly, now I am forced to go back and see every moment Aria and Ezra shared with a jaded eye, knowing that it all could have been a lie.
If there had of been clues from day one that this was a possibility, then I wouldn't be so upset about it. But I just feel like the writers are making this crap up as they go along (maybe they're not, maybe they really were planning it for a long time) But it almost seems like they've just said "we've got to keep this train rolling, who can we accuse of being A next?" And bam! -- went and wrote these recent episodes and totally changed who Ezra was.
However, all hope may not be lost. On last week's episode, when Aria found out that Ezra might be A, the creepy factor increased with Ezra chasing Aria through the woods at night (side note, do you know how much time these girls spend running through dark woods? One would have thought they'd know not to go near the woods at night any more). When he caught up with her, Ezra told Aria he'd been writing a true crime novel about Ally, and that was what he'd been hiding from her. I latched onto the reason like a life line, and I'm praying its the truth, and not Ezra, as A, trying to deflect suspicion. Of course, Ezra still admitted that he'd known who Aria was when he'd first met her, and was actually trying to get close to her and the other girls for the sake of his story, but hadn't ever lied about the fact that he'd fallen in love with her (awwww!) Anyway, Aria was still justifiably upset about it, and the preview for this week's episode shows Aria dealing with the fallout of finding out who Ezra really was all this time, and the true of the origins of their relationship. I'm really hoping that eventually Aria will forgive Ezra, and they'll slowly work their way back from here. I want Ezra to be Aria's hero, to be the one protecting her from A, the one she eventually turns to for help, not the evil psycho who has spent the better part of the last four years stalking and torturing these girls.

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