There’s always been something seriously fucked about Ezra Fitz. Sweet, poetry writing, inoffensive, waistcoat wearing, English teaching, puppy faced Ezra Fitz. And harmless! Completely harmless. All he wants to do is sleep with one of his 15 year old students and live a normal, decent life with the little girl that he loves.
What is so wrong with society that a man can’t just stick it into whatever pretty, underage girl that he pleases without being treated like a criminal, huh?!
So yeah, it’s basically official. Ezra is A. Naturally, you can’t always trust whatever plot twist Pretty Little Liars decides to throw into it’s satisfyingly ludicrous narrative. It’s like Lost for teenage girls – twists are introduced, harrowing, shocking plot lines are set up, the internet loses it’s mind and then pfft. The plot line often evaporates into thin air.
Ezra, in all probability, might not be A. But that doesn’t mean that he isn’t going to be wind up being any less of a villain.
I mean, come on now, that man has been straight up wrong since the first episode. And truthfully, since that first episode, although the Twin Peaks meets Babysitters Club vibe caught my curiosity, it was the sickly teacher student relationship that got my attention.
You’ve got to hand it to the makers of this show who have blatantly had this whole piece of the puzzle cut into shape since day one. It seemed inconceivable, for one thing, that a show like Pretty Little Liars which is primarily marketed as being for ‘family viewing’ could actually get away with showing a 15 year old student having a sexual relationship with a (how fucking old is Ezra supposed to be?) teacher in a positive light absent of consequence. Not only that, but they made Ezra so goddamn cute, knowing full well that teenage girls would be howling their hormones at his full moon and making obsessive, tumblr shrines to the man without ever stopping to think, Wait a minute – isn’t what he’s doing basically just pedophilia?
But here is one of the few shows in recent memory that has four teenage girls as it’s lead characters (seriously, if you can name me any others then feel free to), which doesn’t patronise its core audience of a similar age. It portrays the girls the way that teenage girls actually feel and act – like mature, well rounded grown ups. That they have the World kinda sussed out already and that whatever decisions that they make are not only final but correct, regardless of their legality, morality or the countless throws of adults who tell them how bad an idea it might be. The ballad of Ezra and Aria is one such an decision.
The whole relationship began with concerns in the show, everyone knew it was at least a little bit wrong and had dramatic ramifications attached to it, but it was played as a romantic battle. An unruly love story. Tale as old as time. That it was all worth it because: LOVE.
Any girl who’s experienced their teen years being repeatedly hit on by older men know that queasy feeling that builds up as you get older and understand just how very wrong a man needs to be to want a relationship with a 15 or 16 year old girl when he’s in his twenties or thirties. You get to that age yourself and you look at your male friends and imagine them suddenly bringing a girl of that age out with them as a date and it turns your fucking stomach.
Ezra Fitz is gross. He’s a textbook, schoolyard Jimmy Saville with the looks of a teen magazine cover star. Whilst the show plays this relationship insanely well – embroiling us in a toxic yet insatiable love affair in which for right or wrong we root for it’s survival – underneath the dazzling smooches in the rain sequences and I CANT LIVE WITHOUT YOU grand gestures, there’s something rotten and sinister. Since day one this has been a show about a missing teenage girl, presumed dead, and who should happen to get involved with one of her vulnerable, grieving teenaged friends? An older man in a position of authority. Well fuck me if alarm bells weren’t ringing from the offset.
There’s been plenty of fantastic hints throughout the show at there being something disingenuous and malevolent about Mr Fitz’s intentions for young Aria Montgomery.
There was that whole scene in the bar that time where Ezria (to use their ship name) try and have a normal date in a bar when one of Ezra’s old buddies shows up and no shit, Sherlock thinks there’s something pretty insane about a grown man hanging out with a young girl.
Not to mention all the references to Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita in the show – a book about an unreliable narrator (yup) who happens to be a middle aged literature professor (yup) having a relationship with a 12 year old girl (almost). The girls read the book and also find a suspect dry cleaning receipt for one Vivian Darkbloom: an anagram of the writer himself.
But there’s also been plenty of clues that have pointed directly at Ezra being A. He’s the only character in the show who owns and uses a typewriter and most of A’s letters are typewriter produced. There’s the brand of whiskey he drinks which A is shown buying, drinking and using the bottle of for plenty of mysterious and threatening end-credit cut scenes. There was all those photos of Aria sleeping that time when somebody was trying to frame Jason (I mean, come the fuck on – nobody twigged then?)
And then there was that Halloween episode that was set on the train with that weird ass party with the guy who won American Idol or whatever playing a gig (completely lost on me). Ezra couldn’t attend because he had a job interview. On Halloween night (*coughwhatafuckingbadliecough*). And then low and behold Ezra somehow manages to drive alongside a moving train and board the motherfucking thing like he’s Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible.
Sure thing, Mr Fitz.
Ezra might not be A, but the endgame of who A is seems so much less interesting than the mystery of who Ezra Fitz is. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s probably the inscrutable Board Shorts and that whilst he was at Hollis he partied hard and had a wild time with Alison (who would have been, what, 12 or 13 years old at that point?).
The events surrounding Alison’s apparent death are too hazy to ever theorise correctly, but if we look at the plot line of Lolita then there’s something in there that still has parallels to a potential clue.
If we fast forward towards the end of the book then we see Lolita escaping the grasp of her older ‘lover’ Humbert, going on the run and hiding out only to be found years later as a married woman who still refuses his advances. Humbert gives her a fat wad of cash with which to live comfortably and happily for her entire future and leaves her the hell alone.
Obviously, marriage (probably) won’t play any kind of part in all of this but the rest of it? Ali could be on the run and hiding from O.D.E (Old Dirty Ezra) and his wealthy family does seem to be in the habit of making generous donations to young women with which he’s been involved (pretending to get knocked up by Ezra apparently results in a pseudo lottery win. DING! DING!). Did Ali go on the run? Is she hiding specifically from him? Was she potentially paid off to disappear like Ezra’s fake baby-mama?
The obsession that older men have with young teenage girls is a recurring theme in PLL and Ezra isn’t the only one actively seeking jailbait in Rosewood, either. Wilden always gave me the vibe that he was secretly undressing Hanna with his eyes, and Wren, Ian and Jason DiLaurentis were blatant in their affections toward Spencer, Hanna and Aria. Seriously, are there any older male characters in PLL who possibly aren’t just in Rosewood to loiter round the high school and make a killing in the statutory rape sweepstakes? Every single one of them is a Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused: getting older whilst the girls stay the same age (puke).
So Season 4 has been a blessing for slowly upping Ezra on the insanity scale. That dream sequence where Aria imagines him being escorted out of school by the feds for sleeping with her? GOLD. And all those lingering shots of stalking, crazy eyed Ezra watching Aria through windows and across hallways and shit? DYNAMITE.
Removing Aria from his romantic entanglements for this past season has highlighted just how creepy he really is. He has no apparent friends his own age, hangs out on his own in the same places as his students (forever alone) and reads out incriminating passages from books right in the middle of English Class whilst giving Aria a taste of his Buffalo Bill Death Stare.
Here’s hoping that Pretty Little Liars drops the whole ‘family viewing’ angle and goes flat out fucking dark in the rest of the series. Because honestly? I want to see Ezra dancing around in front of his mirror, dick tucked between his legs and applying makeup whilst wearing Alison DiLaurentis’s scalp as a wig.
Best. Twist. Ever.