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Pretty Little Liars season finale recap: Taking This One to the Grave

One Liar lands in jail just as another high schooler lands in a body bag.

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Pretty Little Liars
Ron Tom/ABC Family

Pretty Little Liars

TV Show
run date:
Ashley Benson, Troian Bellisario, Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell
Current Status:
In Season

A Pretty Little Liars finale is essentially what fans want out of the show every week. There’s intrigue; there’s humor; there’s romance; and there’s real, disturbing, potentially traumatizing drama. Those are the things that combine to make Rosewood a place worth revisiting, and this finale had all of them. In fact, this finale did what every episode has tried to do all season: It finally took Alison to the next stage of character development.

Five seasons ago, Ali was the mean girl whose life ended too soon. Then she became the former mean girl whose life had been taken from her by an anonymous bully. Now? She’s gone full-on Heisenberg. Wait, there’s a more relevant Breaking Bad reference here: Ali has gone full-on Todd. That’s right. She’s a sociopath.

After years of lies, that’s what the girls have deduced, thanks to the help of Mona. And that’s what has led us to the crime scene at the start of the hour, where Aria, Ezra, Hanna, and Emily stand outside of a house as the police ask for their statements. But just as “A” texts to let them know that it’s all their fault, we flash back 36 hours prior to the crime, where Ali is taking a (voluntary) polygraph at the police station and the Liars are gathered at Mona’s house.

At first, Mona refuses to help the girls take down Ali based on the fact that she’s already number one on Ali’s hit list—she has no idea—but if she can’t help them, she will apologize to them. In a major red-flag moment, Mona apologizes to the Liars for taking out her anger toward Ali on them. And then once again redeeming herself, she changes her mind and calls Lucas to report a “Code A.”

Only, what Mona discovers when she gets to The Brew is that her army has now become Ali’s army. All Crazy Mona has left is Lucas and four desperate Liars in need of help. So she agrees to help them, but in secret. More specifically, in the bathroom, where they come to the conclusion that Ali is quite literally a sociopath.

According to their theory, Ali constructed the perfect group of friends to manipulate in order to keep herself amused. She’s got Spencer, the smart one, Emily, the loyal one, Hanna, the admirer, and Aria, the compassionate one. It’s like Ali and her four dwarves. Only, these dwarves are sick of being treated like crap. And as soon as they realize that Ali must’ve gone to the cops to end the game, they see that, in order to end a game, Ali has to be running it. What game? The one Mona started. Just like that, we’ve got our “A.”

So while Mona goes out to get some information on Ali’s confession, the Liars use their time to meet up with what Mona calls their “bed buddies.” Aria and Ezra spend their time making his grandmother’s pumpkin pie recipe for Thanksgiving dinner, which he’s been invited to, while Paige finally shuts Emily up with a kiss in the hallway. And it must’ve been a decent kiss because it lands Paige an invite to help Emily decorate her house for Christmas. Also decorating are Caleb and Hanna, who seem to be on good terms. And then there’s Spencer, who gets to see her man in uniform for the first time. And because the very idea of reality is a moot point in Rosewood, Toby is already graduating from his super-speedy police academy. He came to remind Spencer about tonight’s ceremony. She says she’ll be there. Spoiler: She won’t.

But it won’t be because she’s dead. It will be because Ali is framing her for just about everything. Namely, Bethany Young’s murder. When Mona gets her hands on Ali’s confession, the Liars hear Ali talk about Spencer’s drug problem on the night she disappeared. And by the time Caleb shows up—Hanna can’t resist telling that face absolutely everything—things only get worse. Apparently, he found out that Ali is completely off the hook for Bethany’s murder, and Spencer is 100 percent on it. In the police’s mind, Ali found out Spencer’s drug problem and promised her she would keep quiet. And then, to gain favor with Ali, Spencer murdered Bethany. Yeah, it doesn’t really make sense, but it’s Rosewood, so you know.

NEXT: “A” commits murder