While it takes a certain kind of person to understand the allure of Pretty Little Liars, even the most obsessive of fans must admit that the recent winter premiere, "She's Better Now," was lacking the usual copious amount of intrigue that comes standard with any story in the daily lives of Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale), Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario), Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell) and Hanna Marin (Ashley Benson). http://youtu.be/1fZX0GBNai8

With the release of Mona (Janel Parrish) from the loony bin and back into the not so welcoming fold of Rosewood High School, her determination to be embraced by her fellow students manifests in the form of appearing in Hanna's room in the middle of the night to implore her forgiveness. Hanna, naturally, is coerced into believing that Mona may have genuinely changed.

Hanna's plea on Mona's behalf does not sit well with her fellow A victims, who are still reeling from the events that took place on Halloween (Garrett's death, Aria getting locked in a trunk with a corpse and the revelation that Alison was blackmailing Aria's father, Byron). Mona's return doesn't seem to sit well with anyone else at Rosewood either, particularly based on the appearance of a "mad" cow brain stuck to the inside of her locker.

The appearance of the hotel desk clerk from A's hotel den of stalker paraphernalia as the new school janitor also leaves the quartet highly suspicious and ill at ease. Witnessing Mona converse with him doesn't make them feel any better about her "mental recovery." In the meantime, Aria has been getting harassed by A for not telling her boyfriend, Ezra, about the child he doesn't know he has. In fact, Aria appears to be a target of many in the new season, with Byron's former mistress, Meredith--and Aria's new teacher--harassing her after class to stop texting on her phone.

With Emily on lockdown by her father and Spencer oblivious to the fact that Toby is on the "A" team, the girls seem more powerless than ever against whatever A has in store for them this time, which, as it turns out, is exploding a building with Meredith in it (who, unfortunately, lives). Still, in spite of this plot point, there is something missing from the original dramatic verve of the show. Sure, there's the revelation that Jason is in cahoots with Mona, but then, at this point, everyone is in cahoots with everyone. So I suppose the only way for the rest of the season to truly shock is if one of the As is Aria, Emily, Hanna or Spencer.