“They Don’t Allow Fireworks In Prison”: The Broken Laws in PLL 5×15, “Through A Glass, Darkly”

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At the beginning of the episode, the girls attend Mona’s Hawaiian-themed funeral which takes place three months after her death. Her body hasn’t been found, but Mrs. Vanderwaal filled a casket with Mona’s keepsakes. She’s looking for closure, but Alison shows up to extend her supposed condolences and to insist that she had nothing to do with Mona’s murder. Mrs. Vanderwaal greets Ali with a loud slap in the face. It’s the kind of slap that I almost don’t want to write about because Ali deserved it so much, yet it’s still against the law.

Broken Law # 1 Alert!

18 PA Cons. § 2701. Simple assault (in relevant part).

Broken Law Click Here to Reveal

 

Ali spends the majority of this episode trying to convince various people of her innocence; she begs Aria to believe her that she’s not “A,” only to have Aria blow her Alison DiLaurentis whistle in her face. She also claims to Jason that the PLLs are working together to frame her for killing Mona, which Jason does not seem to believe. Ali’s behavior is rather tame in the eyes of the law in this episode, but ironically, she ends up in jail anyway. Events and evidence that will be discussed later in this article cause Ali to get arrested for Mona’s murder. Part of this is because the police learn that Ali gave them a false alibi for the night that Mona was killed, bringing us to:

Broken Law # 2 Alert! (From previous PLL episodes)

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 4903. False Swearing (in relevant part).

Broken Law Click Here to Reveal

When the police show up to arrest Ali, she tries to flee town, but the girls block her way. They ignore her cries that she’s innocent, that “A” framed her, and that if they let the police arrest her, they will be next. The fact that Ali even tries to escape from the police trying to arrest her is against the law.

Broken Law # 3 Alert!

Attempt- 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 901, Escape – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5121 – Attempted Escape (in relevant part):
Broken Law Click Here to Reveal

Hanna doesn’t break the law in this episode, unless defying Caleb’s wishes is illegal. Caleb discourages Hanna from contacting Mrs. Grunwald, but Hanna seeks the psychic’s assistance anyway. Her behavior is also questionable when she follows orders from Spencer and Emily to tell Mrs. Vanderwaal about Mona’s hidden cameras, leading Mrs. Vanderwaal to find them and show them to the police.

Peter Hastings is home from Out Of Town, for once. He informs Spencer that after months of trying, Bethany Young’s parents might successfully get Spencer’s bail for Bethany Young’s murder revoked. He explains that the police have revealed the reason behind Spencer’s arrest. Toby/Officer Cavanaugh looks into this by looking at evidence and questioning Lieutenant Tanner.

**Legal note: Toby would most likely not be able to participate in any of this case because he has a major conflict of interest.

Toby finds out that the main evidence supporting Spencer’s arrest is a statement that Jessica DiLaurentis made to Detective Wilden stating that she saw Spencer with a girl wearing Ali’s clothes on the night of Ali’s disappearance and Bethany Young’s death. Toby wonders where this statement has been for the last two years, and Tanner informs him that Wilden deliberately suppressed the statement. Toby speculates that Wilden was paid off to keep quiet. If Wilden wasn’t dead, he could have gotten himself in trouble for:

Broken Law # 4 Alert!

Tampering with public records or information – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 4911

Broken Law Click Here to Reveal

and

Broken Law # 5 Alert!

Bribery in official and political matters (in relevant part)- 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 4701

Broken Law Click Here to Reveal

One might expect a girl in Spencer’s position to be on her best behavior. Emily eloquently reminds her that she is “being charged with actual murder.” This doesn’t stop Emily from persuading Spencer to participate in her plan that’s wildly against the law. Emily steals Ali’s hair brush while Spencer talks to Jason.

Broken Law # 6 Alert!

Theft by unlawful taking or disposition – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3921 (in relevant part)

Broken Law Click Here to Reveal

Emily fills Spencer in on her plan; she took the hairbrush so that she could plant Ali’s DNA at the Vanderwaal house so that the police would find it and arrest Ali for killing Mona. Spencer initially protests, arguing that “creating false evidence is an actual crime!” Somehow, Emily still convinces Spencer to help her break into the Vanderwaal house and help her plant the evidence there. They break in, but before they plant anything, they discover Mona’s hidden cameras in the vents. This outstanding behavior brings us to:

Broken Law # 7 Alert!

Criminal conspiracy – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 903 (In Relevant Part) (Emily and Spencer)

Broken Law Click Here to Reveal

and

Broken Law #8 Alert!

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3502. Burglary (in relevant part) (Emily and Spencer).

Broken Law Click Here to Reveal

Although Emily and Spencer don’t actually end up planting the DNA evidence, they clearly intended to do so, and breaking into the Vanderwaal house was a substantial step towards that goal, leading us to:

Broken Law # 9 Alert!

Attempt- 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 901, Tampering with or fabricating physical evidence – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. — Attempted Tampering With Or Fabricating Physical Evidence (in relevant part):

Broken Law Click Here to Reveal

Emily and Spencer persuade Hanna to tell Mrs. Vanderwaal about the cameras so that she will call the police without the girls looking suspicious. Lieutenant Tanner shows Jason footage from Mona’s camera of the attack that claimed Mona’s life, and Jason says that it’s possible that the attacker in the video is Alison. He then admits that Alison’s alibi which he corroborated was untrue and Alison was not with him and his father when Mona was killed. He’s doing the noble thing now, but the fact that Jason went along with Ali’s false alibi is against the law.

Broken Law # 10 Alert!

Hindering apprehension or prosecution – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5105 (in relevant part)

Broken Law Click Here to Reveal

While Hanna is busy trying to communicate with the dead and find out information surrounding Mona’s death from Mrs. Grunwald, Caleb teaches Aria how to hack into private college files so she can find out if “A” has anything to do with her rejections from college. This doesn’t exactly seem like the sort of behavior that the admissions office seeks out in future students!

Broken Law # 11 Alert!

18 Pa Cons. Stat § 7611. Unlawful use of computer and other computer crimes. (Caleb and Aria)

Broken Law Click Here to Reveal

Paige leaves Rosewood to move to California and Hanna insults Atlantic City in attempt to make Emily feel better. Spencer goes home to find her dad with Lt. Tanner and Toby. For once, the cops are not there to arrest Spencer, but to give her good news. Tanner explains that Spencer’s no longer being charged with actual murder; the DA is dropping the charges against her. Tanner says she believes Alison killed Bethany and Mona.

Spencer and her friends stand outside, celebrating her freedom for approximately three seconds before “A” intervenes in the form of a giant “A” in the sky made out of fireworks. The episode ends focused on a terrified-looking Alison in jail while the typical “A” scene music plays in the background. The girls wonder, once again, who “A,” is, because it can’t be Ali; “they don’t allow fireworks in prison!” Let’s see how much trouble the next episode brings!

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